Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

It was a busy day today. I'm on vacation time so I went to bed around 1:30 last night. Up at 8:30 today so not too bad. I let Jess stay up late last night (not as late as me!) and she also slept in until 8:30. When Mike got home from his parents this morning, I ran some last minute errands. Some people may be lamenting the lack of snow this year but I was loving running around on Christmas Eve in a sweater. I hate wearing a coat. I made brownies for the nursing home staff, wrapped some things, and got Jess ready. At 3:30 we were on our way to the nursing home to pick my mom up. By 4:30 we were at church. We were early but we wanted to make sure we were sitting up front so my mom could see. It was a beautiful service. The Sunday School kids sang Away in the Manger. I loved when we lit our candles and the lights were dimmed for Silent Night. After church, we went to eat at the Longhorn Steakhouse. Dinner was good but it was late for my mom and it showed. After dinner, we dropped her off and then went home so the kids could open one present. Jason opened a package of magnet balls and Jess opened a bizarre plant kit. Afterward Jess put on her new Christmas nightgown (Kanani got a matching one) and put out the reindeer food she'd made in school. Then she got Santa's snack ready. We just checked to to see where Santa is. He's in Greenland so it's time for her to get to bed before he starts heading down the east coast.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Plymouth, MA

Sprinkling reindeer food

Modeling new pj's

Jess and her Nana

Getting the manger ready.

Ready for church Adding carrots to the snack for Dancer

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beautiful Day
Today was beautiful - in the 60's and a little breezy. Our tree in the front year lost all of its leaves and Jess loves to throw them in the air and try to catch them.


Try as I might, I just can't keep this updated as quickly as I'd like. Life gets in the way, you know? So, as usual, I'm playing catchup.

We celebrated Jess's birthday as a family in September. We had her friend's party in October because I wasn't quick enough to plan it to get it in the right month. We are limited to Sundays because of dance and we're limited to after 12 because of church. We had her party at Big East Gymnastics where she takes lessons. It was a blast. We invited several of her friends from the neighborhood and church as well as all the girls in her class. They swung on the rings, jumped on the trampoline, climbed the rock wall, jumped into the foam pit and cartwheeled. Jess gives me a heart attack every time she does a flip in the air.

I laugh when people tell me their kids can't make up their minds what they want to be for Halloween until a couple days before. Jessica makes her choice in February when my friend goes to visit her mom who works at WDW. So far, Jess has been Tinkerbell, Cinderella, and Belle. We got 2 years out of Cinderella but I think it might be only one year for Belle because this year's costume was a tiny bit tight (it doesn't help that she needs to layer underneath it to go trick or treating unless she wants to go out in a winter jacket over her costume).

Halloween took over much of the month of October this year. We went to a magical munchkins party at Liz's house on 10/1, trick or treating at Jess's school on 10/21, Halloween party at Plimoth Plantation on 10/28, and trick or treating around the neighborhood on 10/31.

At the magical munchkins party, Jess and the older kids had an egg hunt by flashlight. Jess won at pin the tail on the cat as well as getting the most eggs in the hunt.

Jason went to his friend's house on Halloween and I took Jess out. We were out for around 2 hours. We'd planned on going to the mall first but decided to meet up with the neighbors instead. We outlasted everyone. At the very end, we started getting really cold and Jess's feet hurt so we headed home around 8:30.

A couple days after Halloween, we watched a squirrel take Jess's little pumpkin out of the big pumpkin's mouth and carry it over the fence in his mouth. That was one determined squirrel! He dropped it a couple of times and would look at us in the window watching him and then at the pumpkin as if he was trying to decide whether it was worth it or not. Apparently it was because he went back each time and picked it up again. Finally, he did make it over the fence with it. Jess was upset at first that he took her pumpkin but I told her that the pumpkin would rot anyway so at least this way she was feeding the squirrel.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jessica turns 6!!!!

Jess had a great day today. Last night I decorated cupcakes to put together to look like a spotted puppy for Jess's kindergarten class to enjoy. I was a little worried about how they'd look in the morning because our kitchen felt so hot but I think they looked fine. She wore her "My Birthday Rocks! shirt to school. I wasn't sure she'd want to because its long sleeved and today was 75 and humid but she wanted to so I let her. She chose to go to Bertuccis for her birthday dinner. We've always gone to Bugaboo Creek but unfortunately they have closed. Bertuccis was very good. She was not too impressed with the card I found that had happy birthday sung by Altered Images. She was like "WHO are THEY?!?!" Oh well. She was much more impressed with her present - the Kanani American Girl doll. The doll's current name is Sarah but with Jess, that could change by the moment. Bertuccis gave Jess a free dessert and sang happy birthday to her which she loved. Happy Birthday, my darling girl!!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years

It's been 10 years since planes crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and one crashed into the ground in Shanksville, PA. All over facebook, people are asking "Where were you when...." I know where I was. I was standing in front of the cloak closet in my kindergarten helping a child get his snack. Calendar time had just finished. My para came in and told me what happened; she'd been in the office and had heard the secretaries talking. The office staff set up a tv and staff took turns going to the office to get updates.

I wanted to go to the dedication and consecration of a steel beam from the WTC that was given to the town memorial by NY but Jason was alcolyting so we weren't able to make that. We did go down later to see the memorial (I'll get pics up a little later). At 1:30, I took the kids to Plymouth Remembers. It was a very well done program with singing, prayers, and speeches. There are a lot of things going on in our town today since it is the 10th anniversary; the program we went to was very well attended.

Friday, September 02, 2011

First Day of School Outfit

Over the past month, Jess and I have gone shopping several times for fall clothes. She has 2 outfits that are now contenders for the first day of school outfit. She modeled both tonight and had me take pictures so she could see how she looked (no full mirror here) and make her choice. Can't post the pics here because something's wrong with the sd drive on my desktop and I can't get the internet to run on my laptop tonight so I'm just posting pics I found online of the separate pieces; you'll have to use your imagination to put them together. The purple shirt I got in the 2nd outfit is darker than the picture I have here but I couldn't find the exact shirt online. Being in New England, it's impossible to know yet what the weather will be like next Tuesday which is the first day of kindergarten. So....Jess decided that if it is warm, she will wear the panda outfit (she can take the sweater vest off if she's hot) and she has knee socks to wear with it (she's never worn knee socks before and didn't know what to make of them). If it's colder out, she'll wear the purple outfit which is long sleeved and has purple tights (couldn't find purple knee socks to save my life). Mike took Jess to meet her teacher on Wednesday. I was sad I couldn't go but it was my students' first day so I had to be at work. On Thursday, she went for her developmental assessment which she said was easy. She is SO excited about going to school. She has a new backpack (purple of course with puppies), requested supplies in backpack (pocket folder, glue sticks, tissues, lysol wipes, and ziplock baggies), new black shoes, and a new thermos (ICarly). She's using her Hello Kitty lunchbox that she had from preschool. I need to make barrettes this weekend to go with the two outfits so she'll be all set regardless of which she wears.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

American Girl Dolls
I took Jess to the American Girl store in Natick today. We spent an hour looking at all the dolls and discussed the pros and cons of each. I'm getting her one for her birthday and I think it'll be Kanani, the girl of the year. I'd planned before on getting her a historical one but she loves to do hair and wants me to show her how to do different things with it. With the exception of Julie who she didn't seem much interested in, a lot of them have short hair or curly hair which will be more difficult for her to style. Josefina seems to have textured hair which is long but I'm not sure if the texture will make it harder for her to style. Kanani's is pretty smooth. I'm a little torn between the two but am leaning toward Kanani. Jess wants one with long hair to play with and was happy when I told her that if she gets one doll, she can still get accessories from the other's collections. She really loved the horse set. We had tea at the Bistro there. It was really cute and the food was really good. They have a selection of "My American Girl" dolls that children who didn't bring a doll with them can bring to their table to have lunch with. Several kids had birthdays while we were there and Jess loved the staff singing to them. I told her after her birthday I'll take her for lunch there again. She wants them to sing to her when we go.

Jess lost her first tooth!!!

Jess has been playing with a loose tooth for at least a month now. Wiggle...wiggle...wiggle... but it wouldn't come out. Until yesterday. Finally, she pushed it with her tongue and out it popped. She had one coming in behind it (called shark teeth) and now that one will hopefully move into place. Jess wrote a letter to the tooth fairy asking to keep her tooth. We looked up online what the toothfairy does with the teeth and read some FAQs. Apparently Jess isn't the first to ask to keep her tooth. I told her that the toothfairy said in her answer to someone else who asked that she can keep the first one but that she'll need the others when they fall out to help build things in toothfairy land.

My Birthday
I've been 44 for a month today. I had a great birthday and got exactly what I wanted.
My gift to myself was doing the Team Beachbody nutrition challenge. It was the first 10 days of August and it was run by a friend who's a Team Beachbody coach. For 10 days, I committed to having no caffeine, no sugar, keeping my calories below a certain number, exercising, drinking at least 8 cups of water, and really trying to make better choices. I lost some inches and some pounds and feel a ton better. I'm working on continuing to make better choices and portion control which is a weak spot for me. I drink a shakeology shake every day and that has had one benefit I hadn't counted on. My mother, my siblings, and I all have stomach issues related to eating animal fat. I have not had any problems since starting to drink this shake. During the first 10 days of August, I didn't eat a ton of fat but since then I have had a couple celebrations (birthday dinner at Melting Pot and my mom's birthday dinner at Daniel Webster Inn where I tried raw beef for the first (and last) time) where I've eaten things that would have caused a problem before and I've been fine. So, my ongoing gift to myself is to take better care of myself.
My MIL and SIL took me to the Melting Pot after my challenge was over. For anyone who hasn't tried that place, GO!!!! It's not a quick dinner, that's for sure, but it's so worth it! I think I might take Jess there; they have a children's menu for the entree and I'd just share my cheese and chocolate fondues (no Baileys when she comes though).
People chipped in so Mike, the kids and I can go to the dog show this coming weekend. I can't wait! It's at Coco Keys in Fitchburg and really should be a good time. My friend is leaving Plymouth at 6 and asked if I wanted to follow her. Since I don't have dogs to unload or anything to set up for, I think I'll pass at leaving home at the break of dawn.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Jess's Cardiology Appt & My Birthday Idea

We took Jess to Boston Children's Hospital's satellite office at South Shore Hospital yesterday for our annual visit to Dr. Rhodes. Jess did great! She was a little nervous the night before and we watched some videos on Youtube. She had an EKG and an echo. Dr. Rhodes said everything looks good; she has no need for meds, no restrictions and we're all set until next year. I'm glad he has us come back every year. I read that coarctations can recur especially in people who had them repaired as newborns. Jess was 3 months old when hers was repaired so that qualifies as a newborn to me in this case. Afterward we went to IHOP for lunch.

Mike asked me again for birthday ideas and I told him the one I had. He's not thrilled but hopefully he'll go along with it. I put some things on a list because he asked me to but, at least from my immediate family, I really don't want things, I want to do something. Jason was totally confused by that idea although he chooses to get Calumet as a present from both my in-laws and us. That appears to be different though because he's asking for tangible gifts from others. My friend's daughter (who also happens to be one of Jess's babysitters) shows dogs. There's a dogshow in Fitchburg in August and I want to go. It's at a hotel that has a Coco Keys water park in it so the kids would have fun. Mike and Jason's first reaction was "A dog show?!" with a less than enthusiastic tone. Jason's attitude changed when he found out it was at Coco Keys.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What do I want?

Mike asked me what I want for my birthday. You'd think that would be an easy question for me to answer. It always has been - scrapbooking stuff, gift cards for scrapbooking stuff, kitchen ware. This year, what I really want I can't have which is probably why I am having such a hard time coming up with ideas. I want 2 things, neither of which are going to come to fruition; I understand that and I accept it but it doesn't stop me from wanting them.
The first thing I want is to go on a trip with my mom the way she was before the surgery. Whenever I think of my mom, it's always either Before Surgery or After Surgery; that one day is the dividing line in her life and my thoughts of her. I wish so much we could just go back and say "You know, maybe we should see what other options there are besides surgery." We knew about the chance that she may not make it physically back from the surgery, that there's always the chance of death but no one warned us that she may not make it back mentally, about the dangers of anesthesia with the elderly. Since this surgery, I've talked to many other people who were likewise unaware of the mental devestation that can follow anesthesia.

About 8 years ago, I went to Nashville with my mom. We had a great time and I treasure those memories. After that, she wanted to go to Natchez, Mississippi. She had gone with ElderHostel but she wanted to go with me and I put her off. No time, no money, too busy. I feel so badly about that. If there'd been some way to know what would happen after the surgery and I knew that she would have the surgery regardless of what we said, I would have gone away with her for a few days like she wanted and just charged part if I had to; it would have been worth it. Unfortunately, I don't possess a crystal ball or any form of clairvoyance so that trip never happened. I'm usually okay with this; I don't fall apart like I did right after the surgery but every once in a while it hits me. I hear of a restaurant I think she'd like and think "We have to go there." but then I have to factor in things like how far is it, how long it would take to get there and would she be likely to start sundowning while we were out. I see a brochure for a museum or historic site and think "She'd love that." and then remember that there's no way she could handle the physical requirements to get around it (her medications make her very uncoordinated) and whether she'd love it or not would depend on her mood at that moment (her moods fluctuate significantly and quickly).

The second thing I want is something I've wanted for a long time but watching my mom go downhill so quickly has made me want it even more. I want the whole family to go on vacation together. Preferably a cruise or something like that where people can spend time together but don't have to spend every second together and where's there's something for everyone. I want the family to spend time together while we're all still here and able to; I want to build those memories for when people aren't here; I want my children to have memories to look back on with their grandparents. Jason remembers going to WDW with Ruth and Jen. He remembers going to NH with them as well and he has said he wishes we'd go somewhere again. Jess doesn't have those memories. Jason is getting older and spends more time with his friends and away from his family. That's normal; that's growing up. But, I'd like to capture a few more moments where it's family time (extended included) before its too late. But, like with my mom, I do accept that a big family vacation with everyone is not going to happen but it doesn't stop me from wanting it. Guess I should go think of some things that I want that are realistic or I'm going to end up with a Home Dept gift card (so Mike tells me).

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Twinkle Toes
Jess had been begging for these sneakers. She wanted them so badly but I just couldn't see spending $40-50 on a pair of sneakers that she wouldn't be able to wear long, especially at the beginning of summer when she rarely wears sneakers. Jess's grandfather gave her $20 to get something at Canobie. She didn't seen anything she wanted so I told her if she wanted, she could put that money towards sneakers. I had a $10 coupon for Kohls and the sneakers were on sale so they only cost me $11 which I figured was reasonable. She was SO ecstatic to wear them and show them off.

New Hampshire, June 2011
Jason had confirmation camp at Camp Calumet the last weekend in June. He would have been the only boy so the church asked if he wanted to bring a friend. Dawson joined him and they had a great time. Jason wanted us to drive them up so Mike, Jess and I camped at Calumet for the weekend.

The weather was very cloudy when we got there.

Jess still enjoyed running on the beach even though she couldn't play on it that first day.

We went to UberBlast which is an indoor play place on Saturday in North Conway. It was a lot smaller than we'd expected but Jess had fun.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday we went to Storyland (go in after 2 the first day and go another day free). Jess had a blast. Here she is with Heidi's grandfather. Later we watched a chipmunk jump up beside him and start eating out of his cup.

My baby girl in jail.

Antique German carousel horses. Instead of going up and down, they need to be rocked front and back.

I love the way they put the year on the different photo props.

Jess in Baby Bear's bed.

Jess loved hearing and retelling how she flipped out the first time she saw this spider (she'd been 2).

Jess milking the cow. When we came back on Sunday, it was pretty warm, hence the bathing suit.

Outside the Polar Coaster, there's a huge cylinder of ice.

Jess's favorite ride - the Polar Coaster!

Jess in the water area.

Jess making sure she's big enough for the Polar Coaster.

I told Jess I'd go on this with her if she promised not to spin too fast. She was very good and kept it slow for her old mom!

Jess loves her princesses.

Jess learning to ride her bike at camp.

We went out to eat Sunday night and on the way to the Pizza Barn, this deer jumped out of the woods in front of us.

Our last day, Monday, was hot so Jess finally got a chance to play in the water.