Saturday, November 24, 2012

Time for a vacation

I am sorry I have been a slaker with posting.  We had company for the first time ever over Thanksgiving this year, and we have been busy from morning to night.  We had a great thanksgiving and were so glad Mat's parents were here to celebrate with us.

But now it is time for us to leave for Disney.  We are busy packing and getting ready to go.

So I will not be blogging until our return.  Enjoy the end of November and we will return soon!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Marathon shopping

We interrupt this family blog to bring you one of my favorite subjects.


I love to shop.  My husband will tell you that his retirement is somewhere in the mall.  This is not true - don't listen to him.  I am a bargain shopper.  To the END.  I never pay full price for anything, and I love me some hand me downs/yard sale finds.  I am not proud.

What I DON'T love to shop for?  Groceries.  For the love that is all good - what is wrong with people when they go to the grocery store?  Do you really need to stare at a can of soup for 10 minutes before deciding it wasn't what you wanted at put it back?  And I don't dare go to the lunch meat counter.  That is not for the faint of heart.

Mat used to do all the grocery shopping.  Then I became a stay at home mom, and I had to introduce myself to the grocery store.  I have no idea where anything is, AND when I find it, it doesn't seem to make sense why it is there.  It is frustrating, and I get a weeks worth of exercise looking for the things I need.

And then, there is holiday grocery shopping.  I am hosting Thanksgiving this year with my in-laws coming in.  I wanted to make it really great, so I put together my list, and off I went.  I have never seen so many empty shelves.  Bread - forget about it.  Apparently the end of the world is coming and everyone is going to survive on bread.

I was gone for 4 hours.  4.hours.  I had to hit three stores to get all the things on my list, and it wasn't a very long list.  At least I got everything I needed.

Now, Friday?  I will be all over the crazy.  I LOVE black Friday shopping.  My husband does not love that I love it, but it is just so much fun.  I don't ever buy much because I am a true Amazon shopper, but I do like to go out early in the morning, get my fix of really great deals.  One year someone paid me $20 for my parking spot.  I MADE money.  How can you say that wasn't a win?

So Thursday I will search the ads.  Make a game plan.  Then bright and early on Friday, I will head out.  I will be home before the family even gets out of their pajamas.  I am that good.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The weekend that was

This weekend we moved non-stop.  I can't believe it is 9:30 on Sunday night and I feel like we have accomplished very little.

Yesterday Mat and I went to the movies.  We went to see Twilight.  Don't judge.  Mat was tortured through all the movies, and I have to say yesterday's was bad.  There was one part that was good, but I won't go into details in case any readers are insane enough to go and see it.

It did get us out of the house for a few hours with a big tub of popcorn, so that was a win.

Yesterday afternoon we had friends come and visit us.  I was very excited to see them.  They are friends of ours from Connecticut who also now live in Massachusetts.  They still live kind of far away, but took a drive up to see us last night.  Susan's oldest daughter and Arlington are the same age and went to school together in Salem.  They were very excited to see each other.  They stay with us until 7pm and we had a great visit and great time catching up.  Arlington has really missed her Connecticut friends.

This morning we went to church which went.on.forever.  I do like the fellowship of our new church, but we were there for 5 hours today.  That was not something we expected.  Sunday School, then church, then lunch for the "young people with kids" in the church.  (I am not really sure we fit into that last one, but we were invited.....)  It was 2pm before we were home and Arlington had to go straight to a birthday party.

We packed the last for our trip for Disney this afternoon.  One week from today we will be flying to Florida for a glorious week in Disneyworld.  We are all excited about it.  Once I am off the airplane and safely on the ground, we will have a blast.

Tonight Finley has swimming class.  She has one more class before the session ends.  We won't be doing a second session only because she really wants to do gymnastics.  But she has really enjoyed the swimming and it has been good for her back.

Speaking of Finley, things are going okay for her.  We just had to make a lot of adjustments to her accomodations at school.  She has been sitting much closer to the TV and has been complaining of back pain  (she bends over a lot to read print, color, etc).  So between her physical therapist and her TVI, I think we have made the adjustments we need to make things easier for her.  She got a new cushion to sit on in class to help push her forward and make her sit straighter.  She have given her a new slant board that is at a higher angel so that she doesn't have to lean over as far.  And they are going to get something better for her to sit on while they do circle time on the floor.  The little chair she is in is no longer working for support.  Also, we are going to try something called Kenisio taping on her back to help her.  It is suppose to give her added support so that she doesn't lean over as much.  Hopefully all of this together will make her days run smoother.

We are also going to try doing more in braille and less in print in class so she isn't straining her back - or her eyes - so much.  After we get back from Christmas, we are going to start doing at least her spelling words in braille only instead of both.  Finley is kind of excited about this.  I have seen her braille grow leaps and bounds over the last few weeks.  She really has clicked with it.  She doesn't need the "no-peaking" paper any more because she has stopped trying to look at the braille with her eyes.  Her tVI and I are not sure if this is because she is having trouble seeing it, or she is just more confident.  We agree it is probably a bit of both.

She has a great team.  Her teacher, aide, PT, TVI, orientation and mobility - they all work well together and are right on any problems.  They listen to our concerns and work with us to try and improve things where they can.  I do appreciate that.  It makes me a much less panicked mama while she is at school.  I know she is in good hands this year.

Anyway - I am tired.  This week we are equally as busy as I food shop for our Thanksgiving and get ready for our trip.  But I will do it happily because it is all for fun times ahead.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Row Row Row Your Boat

Ah Friday at last.  This week was painfully long, but it is finally at an end.  I worked today to round out the craziness, and it went fine.  A fainting child and a child who broke her wrist.....all in a day's work.
Tonight Cainan had his monthly scouting pack meeting.  We are just at the beginning of this scouting stuff, but Cainan is enjoying it.  I am still on the fence about boy scouts, but we will see how it goes.
Tonight they had some kind of boat regatta.  We found out about it on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I picked up the boat from his scout master.  He had to put it together and then they would race them tonight.  He and Mat had a good time painting it and getting it all ready for the little regatta.
Tonight he and Mat went to scouting event and Cainan had a great time.  He came home talking and talking about it.  Mostly about how his boat seemed to be a bit top heavy and kept tipping over....but he had fun.

I am glad he has something just for him.  And he announces everywhere he goes that he is a cub scout. 

Mat took some pictures with his Iphone, so they aren't very clear, but they are cute - enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In the news

Arlington, our eldest, loves to write.  She loves to make up stories, write articles, etc.  She took a writing class this summer, and will picking up another one in January.

We have a little neighbor girl on the block who is Arlington's age.  Since day one when we moved here, those two have hit it off.  They spend every minute of the weekends, days off, summer together.

Their latest creation was a newsletter for the neighborhood.  It turned out really cute.  They went door to door and delivered it (we only have 10 hours in our neighborhood) and the neighbors ate it up.

I love that she enjoys being creative.  I love to watch her imagination flow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crazy times

This week is turning out to be crazy.  I have a lot of things to post about, but I just don't have the energy.  I ran from 7:30 this morning until 5:30 this afternoon.  I think the dogs thought I moved away.

I don't often have days like that, but today kicked my butt.  Tomorrow will be better.  I want to share with you the little neighborhood newspaper Arlington and her friend (and fellow neighbor) "C" put together and passed out.  I want to tell you about the meeting with Finley's TVI and orientation and mobility instructor.

I want to share our frustrations with Cainan's transitional program at school, and how other parents are feeling the same frustration.

I want to share how excited we are that we are less than 2 weeks away from our vacation to Disneyworld.

But it will have to wait.  I am sitting down at 9pm tonight for the first time.  So I just want to watch "New Girl" and go to bed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Update on Finley

Last night I had a chance to talk with one my good friends who happens to also be an special education teacher.  We worked together the whole time we lived in Connecticut, and I miss her terribly.  We try to catch up on the phone and keep in contact through facebook and visits as often as we can.  But it is not the same not getting to see her every day.  She is a true friend.

Anyway - after we caught up on the phone last night, I had a chance to pick her brain about Finley for a bit.  One thing I can always count on with Jess is that she will tell me the truth.  And she always has my back.  So I knew I would get honest advice and not just support.  Because I need both when it comes to Finley.

The concerns we have lately are some changes we have seen in her stamina and her vision.  While we can't know for sure what is happening, we know something has changed.  For example - Finley has a little chair she sits in to watch TV.  For as long as I can remember, she has been able to keep it 6-8 feet back from the TV and still see what is going on.  A few weeks ago, she started sitting on the floor in front of the TV.  At first I just thought she wanted to sit somewhere different.  But sitting there continued.  So, I moved her chair there, and it has been there ever since.  I did try to move it back, but she pushes it right up to the TV - less than a foot away - and watched from there.  IF she wants to sit with us on the couch and watch TV, she soon loses interest in the program because we are sure she cannot see what is going on.

So that is new.

She is back to complaining of her back hurting her.  Last year we went through a period of time where she would complain her back was hurting her.  She does lean over quite a bit in school to see the paper.  But then her teacher for the vision impaired (TVI) developed a slant board that worked great, and the complains basically stopped.  We use something similar at home plus she sits on a therapy slanted cushion that pushes her forward to straighten her back.  We haven't heard about her back in quite a while.

But a few weeks ago it started.  Each night when I was giving her a bath, she would ask me to run the warm water from the faucet over her back for awhile to make it feel better.  Or she would want me to rub her back.  She would ask to wear her bookbag (which she did last year) to make it feel better.  So my guess is the things we have in place are no longer working.

She is starting to complain of headaches.  It could just be weather related, but who's to know.  We will just have to wait and see on that one.  She doesn't complain often, but every once in awhile she will say her head is hurting her.

So these things on top of her boat loads of extra homework (due to braille) started to have me thinking.  Something needs to change.  While her teacher assures me she is keeping up well in class, and doing great, I feel like we are taxing her vision to the very edge.  I find it silly to make her read everything with her eyes when she is becoming quite the capable braille reader.  We are trying to preserve her vision for as long as possible so that when the cure comes, we have plenty to work with.

So Jess and I got to talking last night about what was reasonable to ask for at school.  And Jess didn't let me down.  She kindly reminded me that I am the mom and that if I feel that Finley needs something, then it is in my right to ask for it.  She knows that we are reasonable people.  She encouraged me to start with Finley's TVI - who knows the most about her vision needs - and go from there.

So after I got off the phone with her, I emailed her TVI.  I didn't expect to hear back from her, but decided to write while the conversation with Jess still fresh in my mind.  And in true Karen style (Finley's TVI) she answered me back.

Just like Jess, Karen has given us nothing but help and encouragement this last year.  She was very kind in her words, and also agreed she has noticed some changes in Finley as well.  Because she mostly does braille with her and doesn't require her to use her vision hardly at all when she sees her, she would talk with the classroom teacher, her aide and Phyical therapy on Tuesday to share our concerns and get some new things in place in the class.  She also agreed that we should put more braille into the classroom to give her eyes a break when possible.  I am glad she agreed.

I am also going to try and get Finley into the eye doctor as well.  Not that I feel like we will get much out of the appointment, but it would be good for the doctor to see things have changed.  We aren't due to go to the retinal specialist until March, but we may need to go sooner.  We will be due for a vision field test for her in January as well.  But even if we can't get into the specialist soon, I feel we are moving in the right direction to help Finley.

I guess we were due for a bump in the road.  For about 8 months, things have seemed to be going so well.  Very stable, and just moving along.  And then all of the sudden, things change.

We are trying to go with the flow, and just take it as it comes.  It is hard to be dosed again with the reality that she really is going blind.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Is it Saturday night already?

Today I took my mom back to the airport.  After a few fun filled days, she has gone back home to be in peace and quiet, and has left me here alone with three kids and 2 dogs.

Do you think she feels bad?  No she does not.

I am just kidding.  Although, I am jealous of her now peace and quiet.

Mat is due back in this evening from California.  His plane was delayed, of course.  For those of you who might be new to my log (shout out to the new readers who are leaving comments!  I love comments!) almost every time Mat flies, he is delayed.  It is kind of freaky.  He comes up against something almost every time.  He has gotten smart and stopped booking trips with layovers because he rarely makes them.

So, today was no exception.  He sat on the runway for 1 hour and 15 minutes before the plane took off.  I am pleased to say that now he is in the air and on his way home.  It will be after midnight before he is here in the house, but I know he will be happy to be home.

My mom and I got a lot done while she was here.  She helped me clean out my closet and now I am donating over 60 shirts to Goodwill.  It was time to go through them.  I have been pushing them aside for years, and that is just silly.  Someone else will enjoy them.

We cleaned out the bathroom medicine closet.  This was not fun, but it looks much better.  My mom is a freak when it comes to organization, so she was a big help.  This morning she was looking for more things to do.  She is wacko.

This afternoon the kids got to play with their friends.  The weather is nice here in the north east for the first time in over 2 weeks, so outside they went for several hours.  Even the dogs got to spend several hours outside which they have not gotten to do much lately either.  hopefully everyone will be tired come bedtime and I will get some peace and quiet this evening.

Tomorrow will mark two weeks until we go to Disneyworld as a family.  This is not our first trip, but we are no less excited.  I love watching the kids there.  I know as they get older they won't enjoy it like they do now, so I plan on enjoying every minute watching them take in the magic.  And dressing them in adorable outfits.  I have never done that before, but Mat tells me this is our last trip to Disneyworld for awhile (sob) so I am making it worth it.

Since I don't have pictures to share of the kids, I thought I would share the outfits they will be sporting for our week in Disneyworld.  You are welcome.  All were made by people from Etsy shops. 

Day one (Magic Kingdom):  Finley's first (notice she has a matching hair bow and socks for each day!!), then Cainan, then Arlington.

 Arlington's favorite ride is Splash mountain:

Day Two (Animal Kingdom):  Arlington first, then Finley, then Cainan:

Day Three (Hollywood Studios):  First is Arlington, then Cainan, then Finley:

 Check this hair bow - it is so cool:

Day Four (Epcot):  Arlington first, then Cainan, then Finley:

 this one the lady made a doll dress to match - so cute:

Day Five (Magic Kingdom and Mickey Christmas Party):  Arlington, Cainan, Finley:

 My favorite of all the handmade hair bows:

Arlington has an extra shirt, so here it is.  She will probably wear it the day we arrive or the day we leave:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blog slacker

I have been slacking off this week.  Not much to report here - just waiting for the crazy weather to settle down.

We are getting snow tonight, but light snow thank goodness.  It looks like New York and New Jersey are in it for a long night again.  I pray that they get through it with the power on this time.

My mom is in visiting us this week, so my blog posts will be few and far between until she leaves.  We are busy in the evenings catching up.  It is always nice to have company.  Tonight she and I even lit a fire all by ourselves!  (Mat was away on business) and did so successfully.  We were very proud.

Everyone is doing well.  Kids are staying busy.  They are getting excited for the upcoming holidays and our trip to Disneyworld at the end of this month.

We were happy about the outcome in yesterday's election.  I don't make my political beliefs known much on this blog because this is a place I come to make a journal for our family and talk about Finley.  But as a liberal democrat, I was happy yesterday.  I was happy the last 4 years.  And even the 4 before that, and the 4 before that.  No matter who won yesterday, my plan was to wake up this morning and do what I do everyday:  get three kids ready for school, work on making our Foundation great, help prevent Finley from going blind, help with homework, play with the dogs, complain about how many leaves are still in the yard.  Everyday tasks won't change. 

So that is why I am happy.  I am happy with the life I have, and a president isn't going to change that.

So for all of you who felt that yesterday was a huge loss for our country, I hope you come to realize that it only is if you let it.  Go out and make your world what you want it to be.  Don't sit and complain what this group of people or that group of people are doing/not doing, believing/not believing.  Worry about you and what you are going to do TODAY.  And only today.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Arlington's project

Arlington had her first 4th grade project this last month.  They had to do a book report and make a diorama on a mystery novel.

Arlington chose the book called, "School for the Insanely Gifted"

Once she was done, she wrote up the report and made the project:
 This was the school in the book, so that is what she chose.
 She did a great job, and it earned her an A!  We are very proud.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Today Mat and I celebrate 15 years of marriage.

Where did the time go?

15 years ago today we had a wonderful wedding day.  It rained, and of course we were told it was good luck to have rain on your wedding day.  Young brides - that is just a line people tell you so you don't freak out on your wedding day.

But it worked out just fine.  Here we are, still married.  I wish I had pictures to share you, but we weren't given a CD "back then" with photos to upload.  We were given proofs.  Pictures in a book.  Maybe I will get brave and take one or two out of the wedding album and load them up.

We look a bit different.  A little older, a little grayer.  I little more bags under the eyes.

But we are still just as happy. 

Our story began in 1991 when we met in high school.  We dated all through college (going to separate colleges which I think helped a lot) and got married after I graduated.  We never broke up, not once.  We started dating on March 1st, got engaged 6 years late on May 1st, and got married 18 months after that on November 1st.

Mat and I have lived in 6 states and have had 9 residences since we got married in 1997.  We moved from Pennsylvania to Baltimore, Maryland.  We moved from Maryland to San Diego, California.  We moved from California to West Palm Beach, Florida (no he is not in the military).  We moved from Florida to Salem, Connecticut.  And we moved from Connecticut to Massachusetts just last year.

We hope we are done moving.

Arlington came along after 5 years of marriage (and constant badgering from our parents to please give them a grandchild) while we lived in California.  Finley was born in Florida, and Cainan came to us while we were there as well.

With all of our moving, we have always been each other's best friends.  We are comfortable going out to dinner and talking and talking.  We spend the evenings together catching up on the day and making each other laugh.  Do we fight?  Of course - all couples do.  Does he make me absolutely crazy?  Sure.  Would it ever be a deal breaker?  Of course not. 

We have so much history and so many great memories.  And we are a team.  We bounce ideas off each other about work, our kids, our ideas.  We are each other's cheerleader. 

It has been quite the ride, and I would not want to take it with anyone else.  Each family has their own challenges, and we decided to handle ours together.  I cannot imagine not having him there to support me every day.

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life.