Monday, December 31, 2007
We decided to do Christmas Eve dinner this year. While the adults were upstairs, the cousins were all in Dad's basement playing roller coaster with Dad's computer chair. I handed Jacob the camera and got some good shots.
I love this one of Emma's foot and Hannah.
Emma pushed Daniel while Mary Rose runs along.
Mike and Jeff ran out to get some movies (and beer) and came back with The Incredibles. They couldn't help but watch it on Dad's huge TV.
One of Dad, Hannah and Daniel on Christmas morning.
Dad's new kitty is too cute...he looks just like Guillermo!
Unfortunately, we had to attend a funeral while we were in Chicago. Mike's Great-Uncle-Sammy passed at the age of 93. The blessing out of that was that we got to see a lot of family that we would not have otherwise. We were able to go to lunch with Ev, David and Rachel after services were over.
Jacob, Rachel, Daniel, Hannah and David
We were able to see Ken, Donna and Dave while we were in BG. Here, Ken and Donna's son, David, yells at Daniel for making an illegal chess move. Jacob and Eric play in the background.
Adam, Hannah, Eric, Katherine, Jacob and Daniel enjoy brownies and ice cream after Lou Malnatti's for lunch.
Lighting the candles.
Daniel plays a game of Pokemon with Ed and his very own set of cards.
There was so much snow and ice everywhere in Northern Illinois (on the way home). Mike took this one just outside of Dixon, IL.
We stopped in Sterling to visit Mom. It was the first time I'd seen the marker in place. Mike and I had to brush the snow off of the stones (not as easy a job as it might seem since most have raised lettering). I took this picture and thought that Sue might like to see it.
Our family plot. The Rock River is in the background.
Back on the road, I took this one outside of Des Moines. I ended up taking a lot of pictures of the landscape for some reason.
This cracks me up everytime I see it (they are everywhere in Iowa).
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Apparently, the fuzzy stuff in the sky (not the defined clouds) is snow that's aloft and not reaching the ground. Very interesting.
Hannah's finally starting to feel better. I took her back to the doctor yesterday morning because she was just off. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but I knew that it was something. After being told that I was overreacting by the nurse, the doctor told me that something was, indeed, going on. Her strep symptoms were clearing up nicely but her asthma was still a problem. Oh! And now she has croup. They gave her a nebulizer treatment there in the office and sent me home with a prescription for Orapred. I hate giving her that stuff but it made such an improvement to her demeanor. We still skipped gymnastics today and I think that the break's doing her good. I may let her do TKD this evening but we'll have to see.
The weather here's been very strange. We're supposed to be near 60 tomorrow and then a big snowstorm hits on Saturday. Weird. They're saying that travel on Sunday should be okay...I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
My mom's name is Barb. She works for Creative Memories. She has a fun job. You get to have a scrapbook! She is the best cook because she makes the best matzoball soup.
She wears earings. She has blue eyes. My mom has dark brown hair. She has medium ears, also.
She brings me to school. My mom reads a lot. She talks to friends too. She used to bring chala to my sinugogue.
My mom always says, "pikachu evolves in to riachu, right?" She also says, "Put on your shoes!" and "What did you do at school?"
My feelings about her is, she is a good person. She is nice. I am glad she is mom even thow she does things for my sister and not me!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
6. He takes me out on dates
5. He's an amazing Dad
4. He puts up with my crap
3. He's supportive of whatever I want to do
2. He takes great care of us
But the number one reason I love Mike is because he says things like this:
(I was reading my Bradley Hilltopics Alumni magazine tonight and was feeling down because I read that a friend of mine from high school/college wrote and produced those Macy's commercials...you know the ones with Martha Stewart and Jessica Simpson and I was feeling like I hadn't accomplished much)
Me: Look what Matt's done and what have I done with my life?
Mike: Does he have three kids?
Mike: (Very serious look on his face)I certainly wouldn't have come this far without you.
Mike...I don't tell you often enough how much I appreciate you and everything you do, but just know that I do appreciate and love you very much.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I set up an appointment for her at 9:45 and, wouldn't you know, my phone rings at 9:15 and it's Betsey...the other room mom. What should have been a 5 minute phone call about the party on Friday turned into a 20 minute conversation about how hectic her schedule's been. Betsey also reminds me that I signed up to bring 2 dozen cookies to school tomorrow. AAAAAAAccccccccckkkkkkkk!!!!!! She was impossible to get off the phone! I told her 3 times that I needed to go so that I could take Hannah to the doctor...I almost had to hang up on her. Thank goodness she didn't have my cell phone number or I'm sure she would have called that and talked to me all the way there.
Anyway, we arrived 5 minutes late to her appointment. After finding out that Jacob had strep last week, they immediately do the swab test. After a few minutes, the doctor comes in and says that her test came back positive. Ugh. However, she looks more like she has the flu than strep (her thought was Hannah had flu on top of strep). She orders a flu test. They swab her nose and the nurse takes off. Another few minutes go by and the doctor comes in again. Flu test is negative (which is awesome news...not just for Hannah, who probably would have ended up in the hospital, but for the rest of us as well) so it's the strep that's causing her problems...and aggravating her asthma. We walk out with a prescription for amoxicillin and one for albuterol.
She's definitely a lot sicker than Jacob was (I think I caught his earlier) and it makes me feel terrible for her. I hate it when the kids are sick.
Anyway, I call her preschool to let them know she won't be there and that she does have strep. She was supposed to bring sprinkles for the cookie decorating party they were having this afternoon and I told them that I would try to send them in with Gwen (two doors down). At 11:45, I walk down and knock on their door. Little Gwen opens the door and just smiles at me. I hear Katie (her mom) yell from another room, "are those the sprinkles I've been waiting for?" I said, "how did you know I had sprinkles for you?" Katie says, "I called the school to see if they needed anything else for the cookies and they told me to expect sprinkles from you." LOL! Then, at about 3pm, there's a little knock at the door. I look out and there's Gwen. I open it and she tells me that she's bringing back the leftover sprinkles (that was nice and unexpected) and that Mrs. M wanted Hannah to be able to decorate cookies too, so she sent home 3 cookies and a cup full of frosting. I just thought that was so sweet and it made Hannah's day.
I finally get in touch with Mike later in the afternoon and he tells me that he went to the clinic at work because he hadn't been feeling well either. He now is on an antibiotic as well. That just leaves me and Daniel. I tell you what...if that boy starts coughing or has even a minor sore throat, he'll be in the doctor's office in a heartbeat.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The boys found out yesterday that they earned their high green belts. Mike already has the blue markings for his belt (that's how they designate high from low) and the boys should get theirs on Tuesday. They are pretty excited. They have one more round of testing to go before they have to start breaking boards (and two before they test for their low brown belts)...that should be interesting. I'm just thrilled that Hannah is now in the boys' TKD class on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Maybe now I won't feel like we live there.
We got about 3 inches of snow yesterday...a lot less than the 4-8 they were predicting. That's just fine with me although the kids weren't too happy about it. They wanted that 8 inches. It was still enough to play in, and they did for about 2 1/2 hours yesterday afternoon. They came in for a brief hot chocolate break and then headed back out. I don't know how they stood the cold. It was 20 degrees with a wind chill of 8. They told me that they weren't cold...and I believe them. I remember playing in the snow for hours and not feeling it until I came in. I just can't remember the last time they were able to get out and play. The weather's been so bad that we haven't been able to go out.
Daniel was getting upset with his teacher about the fact that they were only doing Christmas stuff and no Hanukkah stuff. Leave it to Daniel to not let that happen. Wednesday, he convinced his teacher to dedicate a whole day just to Hanukkah. She even asked him to bring in a menorah so that everyone could see it. I guess he ended up showing the whole first grade (not just his class) how to light it and what prayer to say (he actually remembered the prayer). I was pretty proud of him.
Last night was the TKD Christmas party, hosted by the black belts. Members of our school and of our parent school were there. Roxanne and Stephen hosted it at their auto shop. It's not your typical auto shop. Stephen runs a Porche place...they fix and rebuild Porches. The cars he had there were amazing, and the place was huge. At some point, Roxanne forced a big plastic cup of wine into my hand and, not long after, I found myself doing the Electric Slide with her as Master Johnson acted as DJ. After the Electric Slide, YMCA and a couple of other dances, I decided that was enough and walked off the dance floor. Roxanne came up to me and asked me why I wasn't dancing anymore..."I'm too hot," I told her. "Yeah, me too," She said. "I'm afraid I'm getting stin-kay!" She says as she throws her hands in the air and heads back onto the floor. She cracks me up. The kids had a great time and so did Mike and I. I love our TKD school. It's just such a family atmosphere and everyone really cares about you...and misses you when you're not there.
I should really stop blogging right now...Mike's invited a few work friends over to watch football and I need to finish getting the house ready. Then, I get to look forward to another busy week (2 gymnastics classes, 3 TKD classes, 1 Cub Scout pack meeting, 2 Christmas parties, a MOPS meeting and a birthday party). I may just collapse when we arrive in Peoria next week!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Anyway, I handed Jacob the camera on the way to school this morning and he took some (pretty good) pictures of some of the ice in our area. Any white you see on the trees is pure ice. There is a touch of snow on the ground but not much.
This is the little farm (soon to be subdivision but they're keeping the barn) across from the school. You can tell that it's still really ugly outside.
A tree in our subdivision. Trees leading out of our subdivision.
This tree is right next to the school parking lot. I don't know if you can see where it's snapped up at the top right. It also never hangs this low.
More trees by the school.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Jacob thought it was funny that there were still a few green leaves left on the tree. They were acting like a funnel for the rain and ice...
More thick ice on the branches.
Another leaf completely covered in ice.
My poor rain gauge. I don't know if the little beaker's going to make it since it's completely filled with ice and it's glass.
It continues to rain and temps are dropping a little but they are saying that the worst of the storm is behind us. I'm a little nervous because it is supposed to rain through the evening and stuff will probably refreeze but I guess as long as the roads are good, we should be fine. The kids are thrilled because they don't have school today and are praying for another snow day tomorrow. I highly doubt that there will be one tomorrow, but I guess I don't blame the kids for wishing.
Here are a couple of pictures that I took this morning...
The tree in our backyard
A close-up of the branches
The ornamental grass in front of the house. Usually, the grass comes up to the middle of the front windows but the ice is weighing it down (I can't remember the last time I could see so clearly out the front windows! LOL!)
The pine tree in front of the house...I hate this tree but it keeps hanging in there.
Monday, December 10, 2007
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE KANSAS CITY/PLEASANT HILL MO 147 PM CST MON DEC 10 2007
...A SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM IS EXPECTED FROM LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGING ICE ACCUMULATIONS....
A COLD AIR MASS WILL REMAIN ANCHORED OVER MUCH OF KANSAS INTO CENTRAL AND NORTHERN MISSOURI THROUGH TUESDAY...WHILE A POWERFUL STORM SYSTEM OVER THE MEXICAN BAJA SHIFTS NORTHEAST TOWARD THE CENTRAL PLAINS. A LONG-DURATION EVENT...BEGINNING LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND CONTINUING THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT...IS EXPECTED TO BRING DAMAGING ICE ACCUMULATIONS TO A LARGE PORTION OF THE REGION.
EARLY THIS AFTERNOON...A BAND OF FREEZING RAIN EXTENDING ALONG AND JUST NORTH OF THE INTERSTATE 44 CORRIDOR...WAS AFFECTING MUCH OF SOUTHERN MISSOURI AND NORTHERN OKLAHOMA. THIS BAND OF PRECIPITATION WILL LIKELY REACH A PAOLA TO BOONVILLE LINE AFTER 4 PM...WITH MINOR ICE ACCUMULATIONS POSSIBLE THROUGH EARLY EVENING. FURTHER NORTH...A SECOND AREA OF PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS NORTHEAST KANSAS AND NORTHWEST MISSOURI LATER THIS EVENING...GRADUALLY BUILDING SOUTH AND EAST ACROSS THE REST OF THE AREA ON TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT. ACROSS AREAS ALONG AND SOUTH OF THE MISSOURI RIVER... TEMPERATURES MAY BRIEFLY WARM TO AT OR JUST ABOVE FREEZING ON TUESDAY...POTENTIALLY REDUCING THE SEVERITY OF ICE ACCUMULATION. FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED TO BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES TONIGHT AND TUESDAY...WITH ICE ACCUMULATIONS GENERALLY RANGING FROM ONE HALF TO ONE INCH. FREEZING RAIN MAY MIX WITH SLEET OVER FAR NORTHWEST MISSOURI WHERE TEMPERATURES ARE COLDER.
IN ADDITION...ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TONIGHT AND TUESDAY...WHICH WILL RESULT IN RAPID ICE ACCUMULATION AND LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. DUE TO THE HEAVY ACCUMULATIONS OF ICE...THIS LONG DURATION STORM MAY CAUSE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO POWER LINES AND TREES...WHILE MAKING TRAVEL DANGEROUS IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE
ICE STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO MIDNIGHT CST TUESDAY NIGHT...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PLEASANT HILL HAS ISSUED AN ICE STORM WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO MIDNIGHT CST TUESDAY NIGHT. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
FREEZING RAIN IS ONCE AGAIN EXPECTED TO DEVELOP AFTER 6 PM...AND CONTINUE THROUGH TUESDAY. SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS OF ICE FROM ONE HALF TO ONE INCH ARE POSSIBLE WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR ACCUMULATIONS EXCEEDING ONE INCH. IN ADDITION...ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE POSSIBLE...WHICH WILL PRODUCE SIGNIFICANT GLAZING IN A SHORT DURATION OF TIME. THIS STORM SYSTEM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO TREES AND POWER LINES.
AN ICE STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF ICE ACCUMULATIONS WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. COMMERCE WILL LIKELY BE SEVERELY IMPACTED. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. ICE ACCUMULATIONS AND WINDS WILL LIKELY LEAD TO SNAPPED POWER LINES AND FALLING TREE BRANCHES THAT ADD TO THE DANGER.
Luckily, we're all ready to hunker down for several days if we need to. Hopefully, we won't need to!
Sunday, December 09, 2007
We weren't sure if we were going to be able to make it there since we had some ice last night, but the roads were okay and we made it just fine. They had asked last week if we could make sure siblings didn't walk down with the consecrants because it takes away from them so Mike and I decided that he would walk down with Daniel and I would stay with Hannah and Jacob.
We (Hannah, Jacob and me) sat in the sanctuary for Family Service. Halfway through, the Rabbi says to welcome this year's consecrants. The back doors open and the kids start walking though with their parents. They were so cute all dressed in their gowns and new yarmulkes, carrying their Torahs. Mike walks Daniel up and comes to sit down next to us. After they sing some songs, the Rabbi asks the parents to come back up with their kids. There are more songs and the Rabbi asks the kids a few questions. They then walk out and we finish the Family Service and I take Jacob to his classroom for Sunday School. Hannah and I then go look for Mike and Daniel.
While we're eating cake and drinking coffee, I tell Mike a story about what happened toward the end of the service.
In the past several months that we've been members of this synagogue, I have never once felt uncomfortable about not being Jewish. Most people don't ask and those that know don't care. After Mike walked back up to be with Daniel after the kids sang, I heard a little girl behind me ask her mom why I wasn't up with the kids if I had one up there. The mom said, very loudly,
"I don't know. Maybe she's just a Christian."
Number 1: Me being a Christian had nothing to do with me not being up there. It had everything to do with the fact that I had two others that I could not leave alone.
Number 2: What business is it of hers anyway?
After I told Mike, he went into protective mode. "Who is she? I'm going to say something." No no. He did have me point her out to him and I could tell that he desperately wanted to say something to her. He then decided that he really wanted to give her husband a "free TKD lesson." LOL! The thing that made me so mad was that it put such a negative light, for me, on a day that was meant to be happy for Daniel. Luckily, it was a great day for Daniel.
On a separate, yet related, note...Daniel decided to make things out of foil yesterday. Jacob told me last night that, "Daniel had a very Jewish day." I asked Daniel how he had a Jewish day.
D: I made a dreidel and a Baby Jesus out of foil and taped them to my door!
Me: Umm...Daniel, Baby Jesus is a Christian thing.
D: Oh man! Really? I've got to take it down now! (after a conversation with Jacob, Daniel decided it was fine to have a Baby Jesus up on his door, so it still hangs up there with his dreidel)
Mike said that he went up to check on them in the shower and Daniel was singing and dancing in the shower: "Torah, Torah, Torah Torah...(sorry, I don't know the rest of the words, but he does!)" Mike thought it was really funny.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
The boys had testing this morning. Hannah didn't test this time since she's not quite ready. We slip-slided our way out there since we had freezing rain this morning. Actually, the main roads were fine but the roads in our subdivision were really icy. Like going 4 mph and still sliding around icy. At one point, the tires began spinning and I was actually going backwards. Ugh. We still have a freezing rain advisory and they're expecting close to .5 inches of ice to build up. I'm seriously tired of winter.
Anyway, the boys did great during testing. At one point, Grandmaster Lee made the comment that Daniel kicked very good and high during his one steps. We were a little concerned that he'd have a problem with testing and weren't sure if he was ready but he did just fine. I can't imagine that they won't get their high green belts.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Driving in this stuff really doesn't bother me too much...you allow extra time to get wherever you are going, put plenty of space between you and the car in front of you, go much slower than normal, double your normal stopping time, etc. My problem is that all of the lights here are messed up. The yellows are about 3 seconds (literally) long. After skidding into the middle of the intersection at my first yellow light (luckily, I never lost control although to continue going straight in my lane, I had to turn the steering wheel all of the way to the left which made going again interesting), I decided that if there were any others where I was the lead car, I'd have to run the red and take my chances if any police decided to pull me over. I got really lucky when the guy in front of me decided to make a left turn (no turn lane) and stopped like the roads weren't slippery. I would have run right into the back of him if the lane next to me hadn't been open.
The bad news is that it's still coming down and I get to go back out into it a little after 3!
It is so cold and gray outside. If it's going to snow, I just wish it would get on with it. Gary, our weatherman, said last night that if it didn't snow at least an inch today, he'd wear a bag on his head tonight. I'd pay to see that. LOL! With my luck, that inch or so will come while my van's sitting outside during Hannah's gymnastics class. Then I'll have to scrape off the van. I suppose I should make sure there's a brush and scraper in the van before I go. That would be a great idea!
Oh...it's just started to snow.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
We are currently in a Winter Weather Advisory. There's a 90% chance of really crappy weather tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to it. My awesome weathermen over at KSHB (who actually get the weather right) say that we could actually get every form of precipitation tomorrow: rain, sleet, snow, freezing rain. Okay, so we probably won't get hail, so I guess we won't get every form of precipitation, but we're going to come pretty close. We're also supposed to get freezing rain on Friday night and Saturday morning. If we do, I don't know if I'm comfortable driving out to Shawnee for TKD testing. I just want to say that I HATE winter weather!!!!!
How long until Spring?
Oh, and for my Virginia friends, I had to remind Jacob (who told me this morning that it was probably too cold for outside recess) that we don't live in Virginia anymore and it has to be really cold (10-15 degrees) for them to cancel outside recess. He didn't believe me. Sure enough, at 20 degrees this afternoon, they had outside recess. AND they have yet to cancel school for tomorrow for the nastiness that's heading our way. LOL!
...and was excited about lighting it. It turned out so cute that I'm having Jacob and Hannah make one as well. I'll post the directions for anyone that would like to make one.
*Note* Daniel's class did it a little differently as he doesn't have a designated space for the shamash. They also painted their menorahs before they were baked (we did the baking at home) instead of using food coloring, which I'm sure was a less messy way of doing it (my hands are blue).
Happy Hanukkah everyone!
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
blue and yellow food coloring
Mix flour, salt and water in a bowl. Knead until dough is smooth. Divide dough in half. Add blue coloring to one half and yellow to the other and knead until dough is colored. From each half, make 5 balls (there should be 10 total balls...5 blue and 5 yellow). On a cookie sheet, line nine balls of dough up next to each other. Press the sides together using a little bit of water as glue. Put the last dough ball on top of the middle ball to hold the shamash. Make indentions in each ball to hold a candle (I actually used a Hanukkah candle for this so that I knew it would fit).
Bake the menorah at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely and enjoy your menorah!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I had mentioned to her that Mike and I have a meeting with the psychologists and Daniel's teacher on Thursday and that I was really nervous about what was going to go on. She asked about why we were having the meeting and I told her the long, drawn out story about what's been happening at the school. I explained to her that Daniel's a highly creative, highly energetic child that just doesn't seem to fit into the school's mold. After telling her about Daniel, she went on to tell me about her 13 year old and I thought that she was describing Daniel right back to me. She said that they also went rounds with the psychologists when her son was Daniel's age. She told me about how he had a really hard time with spelling. You could go over a word with him 10 times and then immediately say to him, "how do you spell it?" and he would look at you like you had two heads. THAT IS DANIEL!!!! (teaching that boy the word "the" was a nightmare) She went on to tell me that he has all of these notebooks full of drawings and stories (also Daniel!). I almost fell out of my chair when she told me that her son is a big ball of energy and that he really didn't talk until after he was 3 and even then he was difficult to understand.
When I told her that our boys sounded exactly alike, she told me that we need to have Daniel tested for gifted education because that was her son's "problem." Seriously? I hadn't thought of that. Patsy told me that sometimes, giftedness is mistaken for ADD. Who knew? I then asked her about the reading thing. She told me that, for her son, it was just a developmental thing. One day, it just clicked for him. It also had to do with the type of learner that he is. He's not a rote memorization type of kid (neither is Daniel) and just had to figure out how reading and spelling fit in the bigger picture of things for him.
So, if it's not brought up on Thursday, I'm going to make sure it's brought up to the psychologists. Patsy told me to insist on testing. It would be pretty cool if it just turned out that he was super smart. That would make my year.
Here are some things from one checklist I found at the National Association for Gifted Children site (the ones in bold are the ones that are really really Daniel, although most fit him as well):
makes unusual associations between remote ideas
is flexible in thinking patterns
senses when problems exist
acts spontaneously, intuitively
tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty
senses inconsistencies and discontinuities
readily guesses and makes hypotheses
is uninhibited in expression, sometimes radical
is intellectually playful, interested in fantasy, imagination
always trying to adapt or improve things
has a keen sense of humor, seeing humor in situations others don't
doesn't mind being different
doesn't accept authoritarian pronouncements without own judgement
asks provocative questions, challenges parents, teachers, written and other authorities
is bored with memorisation and recitation
displays energy, sometimes disruptively
produces unexpected, sometimes "silly" responses
is considered, and perhaps resented, by some peers as "crazy"
can show unusual degrees of originality, concentration and persistent hard work on projects that capture their interest and imagination