Monday, January 31, 2011

Kindergarten, Cookies, and impending Snow

Finley spent the afternoon in Kindergarten today with my mother-in-law, and her teacher, Gail.  Finley loves going to Kindergarten, and she loves spending time with Gail (and of course her Gramma).  So she had a great day.
My MIL did take the camera with her, and took a few pictures of Finley in Kindergarten.
She has been doing really well, and is able to participate in the class activities, which was nice to see.

This is her teacher, Gail.
Gail has been a life saver this last year and a half since we met her.  I am really going to miss her next year when Finley is no longer her student. (Gail only works with preschool age)
Gail has been there for our whole family.  She means a lot to us.  She has sat with me when I have cried about feeling helpless.  She never comes empty handed when she comes to see Finley - always bringing her a story box, fun paper and stickers, and all kinds of things to make her life easier.
She has been encouraging and fun.  She is witty and easy going.  I just can't say enough good things about her because we wouldn't be where we are without her to lean on.  I can ask her anything at any time, and she calms my nerves.  And if there is something we want to try with Finley, she makes it happen.  BESB is lucky to have her and we are lucky she was assigned to be Finley's vision teacher.
Before Kindergarten today, Finley had an orientation and movement appointment with her specialist, Terri.  Terri met Finley and my in-laws at Target for some practice in a public space.  I gave Finley a little change purse with some money this morning, so she could buy something.  It encouraged her to go to Target with Terry and navigate it with her cane, so that was a plus.  Terry said she did a great job with the cane.  I think Finley's wrist are getting stronger, so she moves pretty well with it now.

Tonight after dinner, Gramma and the kids made these cute little heart cookies.
Gramma had seen the recipe in our Family Fun magazine and wanted to try them.  They are just tortilla shells and sprinkles.  You have to spray the tortilla shells with Pam so that the sprinkles will stick.

She and the kids cut hearts out of the tortillas and then put a lot (a lot) of sprinkles on the cookies.
They all took turns sprinkling the cookies.  There wasn't much left in the sprinkle container when they were done.
Then they bake in the oven for about 5 minutes, and you have these cute little cookies!
 And they tasted pretty good.  Probably because they were covered with sprinkles, but the kids loved them and we thought they were pretty good.  And it was easy and fun.  Thanks Gramma for the fun project!
Tomorrow we are expecting snow.  What?  That doesn't surprise you?  You say what WOULD surprise you would be me telling you we WEREN'T expecting snow?  We are getting a lot of snow and ice, so that day isn't today.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bowling Take 2

I have good news and bad news.  The good news was that no one was sick today, so we decided to try bowling again.  The bad news?  The camera got left on the counter.  Too much.

Mat left this morning for San Diego, so Mat's mom and I took the kids and went to church.  After church, Mat's parents and the kids and I went bowling.  We had a great time.  We bowled two games.  Finley and Cainan got really into it and started to throw the ball down the lane all by themselves.  It was great to watch.

And Cainan WON the second game.  Cainan did.  He was so excited.

We had a great afternoon, ordered pizza for dinner and played a game with the kids before settling in for the night.

This morning in church, the pastor had a bucket of snow to use for a story.  She was allowing the kids to touch it and Finley reached in and took a handful and ate it.  That's our Finley!

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

a miracle

Are you ready for this?

It didn't snow today.

I waited all day, just to make sure, and not a single flake.  That was new.

Today the kids and I decorated with the little bit of Chinese New Year decorations we have.  I need to get some more for future years - especially now that the kids are getting older. 
The kids enjoyed parading around with some dragon shakers and drums.
At least it kept them entertained for awhile.
This afternoon, Mat and I were interviewed for our local paper.  A reporter approached me a few weeks ago about doing an article about Finley and our family, and we said sure!  Anything to get the word out about LCA.  The article will run in March in a special section of the paper.  We are excited to see how it turns out.  She was here about 2 hours, and really just let us talk about our feelings about this whole experience.  It was good therapy.

This evening, Mat's parents arrived to hang with us for a few days.  Mat is leaving on a business trip and will be gone long enough that I needed some help.  I am glad they are here.  It is always great to have company when Mat is away, and the kids were so excited to see them when they arrived.

We went out to dinner tonight to celebrate an early birthday for Mat, since his parents are here.  He chose a favorite Mexican restaurant and we had a delicious dinner.
Tomorrow Mat leaves on a jet plane.  He will be returning on Wednesday.  Right in time for the next snow storm.

Who wants to predict the outcome of his flight home?  Will he have a smooth flight, or will his flight be delayed?  Canceled?  Hmmmmmm..

Friday, January 28, 2011

Change for Change

Today at our local elementary school was "Change for Change" day.  Each month, the elementary school collects change for one day for a charity of their choice.  This month was RDH12 Fund for Sight.  Since Finley will be a student there next year, it was a nice way to introduce her to the school, the teachers, and the kids. 
And it is always a nice way to get the word out about LCA and RDH12.

It was an assembly for the K-4th grades, and all the kids brought in change this morning to support RDH12 Fund for Sight.
The total was $278.86 - which isn't bad for such a small group!  We appreciate every cent.  It was great to be at the school today and have a chance to talk to the kids.  They got to see the video from the telethon about Finley and LCA, and Mat and I spoke.  And they got to meet Finley.
Each grade had a little song/skit put together, and it was fun to watch them perform.  Arlington's 2nd grade classes did a little song that was really cute.
It was a great way to spend the afternoon, and I am so glad that our community knows a little bit more about LCA now.

Thank you to the principal for choosing us this month.  And thank you to all the parents that came out to support this assembly and our family!  We appreciate it!


Fast Fact:  our area has had 56.9 inches of snow in the month of January.  This is 12 inches above the RECORD for snow.  AND - this winter season?  We have had 71.4 inches of snow.  The record is 116 inches for a season.  And the weatherman is pretty confident we are going to hit that.  GREAT.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

When Life Gives You Snow

You take pictures.

At this point, I feel like Mother Nature has turned a deaf ear to my pleas to back off on the snow.  This week took the cake.  Monday was our only full day of school.  Tuesday was a 2 hour delay, and yesterday was an early dismissal.  Today?  Today was another cancellation.  Because we woke to this.
(This is our back patio)

On top of the 50 inches we already have from the last 4 (or 10, I lost count) storms, we added another 14 inches to our pile last night.
(Stairs to no where)

So, when the call came in, instead of crying into my pillow like I wanted to - knowing that this really bites into our summer vacation plans - I rolled over, and went back to sleep.
(Our back patio)

At 8am, Mat got out of bed and drug me outside to help him shovel.  We opened the garage door, and I immediately wanted to go back inside.  A small whimper left my lips.  But - I don't like to be trapped for long, so that meant digging out.

This is our driveway:
It is under there somewhere.  Between the snow mounds.  Right the middle.

This is the top of our driveway.
Under this enormous pile used to be our beautiful stone wall.  I think it is still there.  Not sure - haven't seen it in a few weeks.

This is a shot of our backyard from the driveway.  There are steps that lead up to the yard.  Yep.  I promise they are under about 50 inches of snow.
This is Mat's car once we started to dig it out.  The front was completely covered.
Thank goodness for our awesome neighbor and his snow blower.  He came up and did out driveway and all the way down to the road.  He asked us if we missed Florida yet.
The snow has gotten so bad this winter, I almost said YES to that.  Shudder.
After 2 hours, the outside was shoveled enough that we could get out, so we called it quits.  I could barely move my arms at this point, so it was time to go inside.
(this is our back patio - this is ridiculous)

After Mat left for work, the kids and I went down into the playroom.
Yes, folks, it is DONE.
Okay - well it is sort of done.
We still have some things to do: the baseboards, the door trim, and the doors to the cabinet.
But at least the kids can use it, and stay out of my hair the upstairs for part of the day.

My in-laws gave the kids a really great art table for Christmas, and we were finally able to put it together.
I am proud of myself because I put it together all by myself today (with Arlington as my helper).

It came with cute little stools.
And it has a place for all their art supplies.
And it came with a paper roll, which the girls wasted no time trying out.

We love it - thank you Gramma and Pappy!  We are so glad to have this new table.

Tomorrow is a 2 hour delay start for my district.  I am happy for the chance to sleep in a little longer, so I cannot complain. 

Tomorrow is also Finley's Change for Change day at our local school.  We are going in the afternoon to the assembly to watch the kids put on little skits and sing songs, and then we will talk to the kids about Finley and what is going on with her.  Just another way to get the word out about LCA.

I am reading a new book called "Eye Envy".  When I finish it, I will talk more about it, because it is a book about a guy who is dealing with retinal degeneration - just like Finley.  I am glad I found it.

See you tomorrow.  TGIF.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Mother Nature flippin' kidding me?

Dear Mother Nature,

  On June 23rd, my family has plans to leave on a lovely family vacation with the Pletcher gang.  We look forward to this vacation every other year.  Lake time, family fun, laughs, warm weather, sunshine, good books.  All these things await our little family starting on June 23rd as we make our trek down south to Lovely Lake Norman.

  But dear Mother Nature - in order for that to happen, you need to stop dumping mounds of snow on New England.  Our little towns cannot take much more.  While we are used to a few storms a year - continually causing havoc and piling inches and inches on top of the (not already melted) snow just makes my head hurt.  We have had well over 50 inches of snow in our little neck of the woods since December, and I think that is quite enough.

Today, you thought it would be "funny" to dump another 8-10 inches on our area.  Well, M.N., it stopped being funny about 3 storms ago.  I am watching my precious summer vacation slip away, because we have 4, and now possible 5, snow days to make up due to your antics.  That puts our last day of school on June 23rd.  The day my little family was going to join our big family in glorious sunshine.

You are messing with me.  I am not a happy person.  I moved to the north because the people of Florida were crazy.  But you, my dear M.N. - you need to take a vacation and go reek your havoc somewhere else.  We are all done with you here.

The very cold, very sore from shoveling,
Pletcher Family

**This was originally going to be wordless Wednesday, but I needed to make sure Mother Nature got my message.