Monday, September 22, 2008

The MOST important thing!

I know my kids. I know what they lik!e; I know what they don't like. I know whose socks are whose; I know what they eat for breakfast lunch and dinner; I know their friends; I know what they are learning at school. I AM AN INVOLVED PARENT.

So HOW? How?? could I miss that my daughter could not see??????

She came home from school on Friday and casually mentioned she was having a hard time seeing the smart board in her class at school. Her desk is in the very back of the room at a funny angle to the smart board (which is just like an enormous computer screen). I heard what she said, but I guess I just didn't really HEAR what she was trying to tell me.

Saturday, we were at the mall and I pointed to a sign and all of us read it and Julianne said, "What sign???"

"What do you mean, what sign??" said I, the clueless mother. "The big, gigantic sign not 15 feet in front of us . . . " (she whipped her head left and right with a bewildered look). "Honey, the big black one in the middle." I said pointing.

She still looked clueless and started walking toward it. Suddenly about 6 feet from the sign she could finally see it. Trent and I looked at eachother. HOW? How could we not have known??? How has she lived like this??????

I started calling first thing this morning. (Do you know how many optometrists do not work on Monday???) I finally found one and at 10:30 had her appointment and by 1:15 she had new, cute glasses and a perma grin. The whole drive home she was bobbing her head up and down. She would first look over the top of the glasses to the "Original blurry" view and then through the glasses. She would laugh and smile and say some of these things.

"Mom, did you see that billboard? I can read it!"

"Hey, there's numbers on the dashboard!"

"Oh, look at all the trees!"

And then afterschool at home these were her comments. . .

"Wow, check out our backyard -- you can see the flowers!"

"I never knew the U in my name (a large wooden letter hanging on her wall) had little fireworks on it."

And the all time favorite, "Mom, Mom, I can read the tvguide info on the screen as I scroll through the channels while sitting on the couch!" (I think that once and for all explains the number of times Trent and I have said, "Julianne, don't stand right in front of the TV!"

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Waveny Park

I took the kids to playgroup at Waveny Park this morning and got a bunch of cute shots of them playing. Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Funny things my kids say

Yesterday, while teaching Julianne piano lessons she was getting very frustrated. She wants every song (old or brand new) to be perfect from the very beginning. I said to her, "Honey, it doesn't have to be perfect everytime . . . especially when you are just starting it." She replied "MOM, that would ruin everything. My life is 100% totally perfect and if I mess up this song it will ruin everything!!!!"

HOW IS THAT FOR DRAMA??? And she is only 8. We'll be working on that whole perfectionist thing for a while.

Then today, Madelyn came in and said, "Mom, when I do this to my eyes, I see 2 of everything. (and she pulled the skin next to her eyes tight (like chinese eyes) (sorry if that is offensive, but that is the only way to describe what she did) Then she said, "That is because my eyes are magic. I can make 2 of everything and then they disappear when I want them to."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Day in the City with my Sister Carrie

Hurricane Ike

Just an update for any of you who may care . . . Our home in Katy is just fine. During the heavy winds a little water came in one of the windows, but our renters were able to dry it and it caused no problem. Our neighborhood in Katy was fortunate enough to weather the storm without losing power. That is a huge deal!!! It is the difference between enjoying the recovery and abhorring it.

My parents and my brother, Shad's family really took the brunt of the storm. They live more central in Houston and had a very long noisy night and lost power at about 11pm. They still do not have power and are sweltering. My parents have a generator on their fridge and have a small room (about 15 feet by 12 feet) that has a window unit AC, but it also has all their food storage and shelves. I am sure tonight it will be close quarters with my Mom and Dad, Tyler, Shad, Amy and their 3 kids. The AC is little, and that is a lot of body heat in a small space. Hopefully it can keep up.

Here is the update I sent out for them . . .

Dear Everyone,

I just got off the phone with my Mom. They are still doing well. They still do not have power, but the phone is working (it sounds as if it is ringing off the hook, so they may actually start wishing it would go out too! ha ha)

They did learn a very valuable lesson that she wanted me to pass on to all of you if you ever find yourself "hunkering" down through a natural disaster.

IMPORTANT LESSON - Do not store all of your tools, gas, and emergency essentials in a garage that has no door or access other than the electric garage door opener. If you do and the power goes out you will be unable to get to them.

It would have been so easy for them to have just pulled the cord which would have let them get in and out easily, but they never thought about it. They have since squished through the attic crawl space and lifted "an attic" access (that has no stairs or ladder) and my Dad very gingerly landed in the dark on top of all the tools and stuff with a tremendous thud. He managed to do it with just drawing a little blood. They pulled the cord and got in. Since then my Mom thinks she accidentally reengaged it and they can't get in again. Maybe this time, they will set up a ladder under the attic access hole.

Their home is getting muggy and hot and they are preparing to move out to the back room and plug in the window AC. The problem is then they have to give up the big screen TV and I don't think they will do that until the BYU football game is over. I mean they still at least have their priorities in check! My Mom was out picking up debris in the yard and the pool (to cool off) and my Dad was on his way to a ward member's house to assess the damage there. He had heard it was pretty bad.

Now, don't feel too bad for them. Their dear neighbor, Helen Viola, has cooked up all her brisket and shrimp and having them for dinner tonight. When the power is out, you either eat it or lose it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Berry picking

Since we first moved here many, many people have mentioned berry picking. Almost daily the kids have asked when we can go raspberry picking and I have put it off over and over again. Today we had some time to kill and we were in town by a park where I had heard there were wild raspberries growing. We decided to go check it out. My hope was that we would quickly find one or two and call it a day. Madelyn would be able to say we picked berries and I would not be on the "bad mother" list in her eyes for avoiding berry picking once again.

But it is a little late in the season for raspberries. We looked and looked and did not find any. But then we found these really beautiful berries that looked just like blueberries. (But having picked blueberries before they were in a cluster like a grape -- not spread all over the bushes).

I squeezed them -- they were purply -- just like blueberries. I looked close at them, but even though they looked exactly like blueberries, the way they grew seemed odd. We watched as the birds went wild over them. I picked several bunches, grabbed the leaves, put them in a ziplock and figured I would google them later.

As we left the park, I rolled down my window and asked if these 2 ladies knew what they were. One replied, that she thought they were wild blueberries. The other gasped and said, "No, they are inedible and will stain everything purple!" I passed another person, rolled down the window and asked. This person said, "Maybe huckleberries???"

I called my Mom, she googled it. She found nothing.

I came home, searched and searched. I entered the leaf type and the berry type and searched all kinds of plant taxonomy sites and found nothing. In desperation, I decided to call the extension service. I looked up UCONN extension and called. This is the conversation.

"Hello, I am so and so at the UCONN extension service, How can I help you?" She answered.

"Hi, I just moved here to Connecticut and found these beautiful blue berries that look like blue berries, but don't grow individually, they grow kind of like grapes. Do you know what it is?"

"Does it have a reddish, purplish stem?" She asked.

"Yes." I said.

"It is pokeweed. And it is poisenous."

"Thanks! Bye"

I found pokeweed on wikipedia. Here is what it says.

"The eating of nonfatal quantities of poke, perhaps of the shoots, may cause retching or vomiting after two hours or more. These signs may be followed by dyspnea, perspiration, spasms, severe purging, prostration, tremors, watery diarrhea (often bloody) and, sometimes, convulsions. If a fatal quantity is eaten, perhaps including roots, the above signs are followed by paralysis of the respiratory organs and other narcotic effects, culminating in the death of the poisoned person."

Good thing we did not try them out!!!!! Hip Hip Hooray for the extension service which saved the day!

I don't know when we will go berry picking again, but Madelyn has already asked 4 times since this morning.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rain, words

The storm blew through quickly and we recieved 6 inches of rain. We did not think much of it, but apparently 6 inches is a lot for CT. At church today, we heard that several members had some flooding in their basement and that the church had also had a little water in the basement, so we were grateful to have had no issues.

After church, we invited another new family over for dinner. While we were eating they commented on how fun it was to do this so spontaneously. I replied that with 4 kids sometimes spontaneously is best. I said, "All too often I plan ahead and then end up with a sick kid or something and all the planning was for nothing. As we left church today, I thought hey, we should have someone over -- all the kids are healthy, there is plenty of food, it is nice weather -- it will be great!"

Seriously within 5 minutes of saying that Madelyn threw up. Trent said, "I guess we were wrong on the all kids healthy part."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tropical Storm Hanna

Can you believe the luck? We move away from the Gulf Coast, thinking we are through with tropical storms and hurricanes only to now be sitting at home, while tropical storm hanna roars through. So far we have just started getting the outer bands. (Just lots of rain) -- We have no idea what to expect??? A tropical storm in NEW ENGLAND???????