Walking

We are on school vacation this week and Eve has been happily accompanying me on daily walks around town.  She is pretty amazing at keeping up a running monologue for an hour and half each day!

The other day, after severe rains, we were out checking out the water levels.  One guy had his driveway completely washed out!  He had a board propped over the ditch so he could walk from his driveway to the road, but he couldn’t get his car out!  (We passed by the next day and he had fixed it, don’t worry!)  We also saw the Dothan Brook, usually just a small babbling brook, now a rushing river!

Eve also tried to save the earthworms that were scattered about the street and bike path.  Fortunately that effort didn’t last too long.  There were A LOT of earthworms!

I love this time I get to spend with her. When we’re out walking I’m able to mentally just be with her and not be distracted by all the things I should be doing around the house.  She still has ridiculous life plans, but she is so happy to tell me all about them and I love to hear her enthusiasm for life and all creatures big and small.  I’m lucky to be her momma and so lucky that she likes spending time with me.  <3

TEDx

This past weekend we went to a TEDx event hosted by Dartmouth College.  It was really cool!  The topic was “Living Bridges” with the the morning being dedicated to defining the problems and the afternoon focused on finding solutions.  We dragged the kids along, with the promise that we could leave at lunch time if they were bored.  They were bored, though I’m sure they learned a few things as well, even though they’ll never admit it!

I didn’t realize until just now, when I was finding the URL to link to, that they do this every year.  We’ll have to go again next year too!  Maybe we can get the kids to stay a little longer. :)

Happy Birthday Eve!!

What started out as a trip to check out the First Robotics Competition in Shrewsbury, MA, ended up being an awesome birthday weekend for Eve in Boston!

Lex will be joining the local FRC team next year and I thought it would be fun to check out a competition.  Unfortunately I was a little slow with the planning and missed the two closer ones (day trips) and leaving just one in MA and one (championship, I think) in Washington, DC!  It just so happens the MA event was this weekend and just outside of Boston, so I suggested a birthday trip for Eve.  She hadn’t asked for any other birthday events or parties, and she jumped at the idea of going to the Boston Aquarium!  Yay!

So we drove down to Shrewsbury, MA yesterday, arriving mid-afternoon.  The event was big and loud and we lasted about 20 minutes. LOL!  After about 10 minutes Eve was ready to go, and Lex was ready shortly thereafter.  We stuck around to watch our local team compete in one match and then took off.  Lex says he’s still excited to join, but thinks it will be much more fun next year when he’s part of it and knows what’s going on.  I can’t argue with that!

As soon as we left this mansion of a high school, Eve found a hill she wanted to climb.

Since we were out sooner than expect, I asked Eve what she wanted to do next.  I suggested a movie, or bowling, or shopping.  She suggested a nature hike.  She’s so smart!  We found a local nature reserve and took a beautiful hike through the dry spring forest.  We heard lots of frogs and saw some signs of busy beavers.  We also decided to have family meeting in the woods.  :)

After that we headed to the hotel for check in, then out to dinner at the Olive Garden. Her permanent birthday request. :)

This morning we drove into Boston to check out the Aquarium.  I love parts of that museum and feel totally overwhelmed with other parts.  I think we all felt about the same way. :)  The fun starts before you even get inside, with a seal exhibit containing fat playful seals who do flips and swim upside down.  They were so silly.

Inside, we had a great time watching the penguins and checking out the enormous tank in the middle!

This turtle is over 95 years old and weighs 535lbs!  Her name is Myrtle and she’s a Green Sea Turtle.  They have two other turtles, called Loggerhead Turtles, that are a bit smaller and younger, but they were napping in the tunnel below so we couldn’t see them.  I remember them from years ago though. One is blind and feels his way around the tank.  Both are rescues that the Aquarium took in.

We headed to Quincy Market for a late lunch, then home.  We got out of town just before the driving rain started!  Poor Alan had to drive in it. :/

Back home we  opened presents, ate cake, and measured Eve on the wall.  I had to reach UP to write her height!  She’s a pretty amazing girl.  She was in a good mood all weekend and we had fun laughing and being silly together as a family.  It was wonderful and heartwarming. <3

Tomorrow it’s back to reality with work and school and meetings and play practice and dentist appointments.  But for now, we relax and enjoy the the rest of the evening together with our amazing 12yr old!  Happy Birthday (not so) little girl!

If you want to see all the pictures from this weekend, check out the Google Album.

High School!!

I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but Lex is prepping for high school!  The 8th grade class went on a tour there yesterday, and tonight was “8th grade family night” at the high school.  We met the principal and assistant principal, met some teachers, got some questions answered.  All very crazy.  And yet, we all feel ready.  He is excited for it and I’m not nervous, which is a HUGE change from the elementary-to-middle school transition a few short years ago.  He’s come a long way.  At the tour yesterday they got a course catalog and a form to fill out to select their first semester classes.  He’s hoping to take a 3D printing class and I’m hoping he tests out of Algebra I. Have I mentioned that math debacle this year?  It was frustrating, but I think it will all turn out ok.  I’ve been emailing with the high school math director and she has been super helpful.  It was nice to put a face to the name tonight and for her to meet Lex.  He also chatted with the high school band director and came away from that all excited to join pep band!  He already does (and will continue doing) concert band and jazz band, now he’s excited for pep band too! Pep band plays at the home football games!  That will bring a new element to our lives.  :)  I’m not thrilled with the way they handle the language program, but that’s a small concern.  Lex is excited and that’s AMAZING!  Before I know it my little guy will be in high school!  (He’s not so little any more!)

Spring Concert

The HMMS Spring Concert this year was great.  Mostly Lex, of course. :)  I love watching him on the drum.  He’s such a neat kid.

Ready on the timpanis!

Volume up. Enjoy!

I don’t remember any of the song names and he’s in bed now, so you’ll have to just guess.  :)

Photos from the week(s)

Lot’s going on here, yet nothing that feels terribly blog-worthy.  I have a few minutes while the kids are getting ready for bed, so here are a few things from the past week (or few).  I just took a spin through my phone gallery for inspiration. :)

Mini-golf
DBS PTO set up a mini-golf fundraiser again this year.  It was even better than last year because I didn’t have to organize it or clean up!  Whoo hoo!  I did help set up on Thursday (no school Friday) because it was in the library and the parent volunteers needed help, but I didn’t have to plan the whole thing like I did last year!

Eve had no interest in playing, but the boys were happy to play a round!

Jasmine
I came home from school one day and found the cat had claimed a pot holder as her own.  IF I FITS I SITS.

She also helped Eve decorate for Easter. :)Barnaby
We babysat Barnaby last weekend while his family was out of town.  It was fun to have a dog around the house again.  Eve loved the cuddles.  Not so much the farts though! He’s a stinky boy! LOL.

Sun
The sun is starting to come out again!  Hallelujah!

I just realized that I never did a post for Lex’s spring concert.  Oops.  I’m going to put that in a post of it’s own right now.  I love watching him in the drums!

ELA projects

The project for last weekend was a book report project.  All year they’ve had to do “book talks” each month about a book they were reading.  This month the teacher decided to mix it up and gave out a variety of options.  Lex decided to do a book trailer about a Minecraft book.  Eve chose the option of making a playlist of songs to describe the first Artemis Fowl book.  She had a great video project started with images from the internet that resemble the characterless, but when she started looking for music she got frustrated with the difficulty in finding the songs she wanted in good quality, not remixed, and, of course, for free.  Alan and I had a good laugh.  We remember those days of downloading free music!  She ended up just doing a poster for a different book.

Lex, on the other hand, perservered and made a really amazing book trailer!  Alan helped by recording Lex playing the scenes in Minecraft, then Lex used WeVideo to put it all together, with sounds and voice overs.  It came out great!

Lex’s science project

Round two of the science project update.  :)  Lex decided to make his 3D model Earth with a more traditional styrofoam.  He wanted to make it nesting spheres, but after an extended visit to the craft store where they didn’t have exactly what he wanted and everything was very expensive, he decided on the standard cut-out.

He glued two halves together, cut out an eighth of it and slathered the whole thing in a putty that sealed the styrofoam.

Our beautiful blue world!

The continents are a little small, but that’s ok.

All nicely labeled.

I think it’s the epitome of a traditional middle school project, and it looked similar to many others that were presented that day, but he put a lot of work into it and was satisfied with the results.  :)

 

School Projects – Eve

The kids have had lots of school projects lately.  Lots of homework in general!  Two weeks ago it was all about making 3D models of the Earth.  They each had grand ideas in mind, but ended up having to scale down for a variety of reasons.

Eve’s plan was a Jell-O/brownie Earth.  She planned ot use brownies as the core, different colored Jell-O as the layers, and fondant as the crust, with fondant continents as well.  It was a grand idea, for sure!  Implementation was a little trickier.  At first she wanted a full globe, but I talked her out of that.  There’s no way Jell-O can support itself in a full sphere!  She settled on a half-sphere.  The next question was how to make perfect half-spheres in an layer-able way.  We came up with this.  Not exactly perfect, or even close to perfect, but she tried!

Layers of Jell-O in containers.

Then she baked some brownies for the inner core.  The challenge came when we had to get the Jell-O out!  There are some preventative measures we could have taken, but we didn’t, so it was all pretty stuck!

The core inner core and outer core. Working on getting the mantle out next.

Things got a little messy with the final layer of Jell-O!

Jell-O EVERYWHERE!

We discussed some salvage efforts, but she decided to just eat the Jell-O and make a paper project instead.

Quick and dirty chart of the Earth’s layers.

The assignment was for a 3D model, so she made a few life-up flaps.

She decided to also make a slide show with these photos, so her teacher knows that she had bigger plans and the paper wasn’t her only idea.  Eve used all the pictures I took along the way and added her own captions to the slide show.  The teachers got a good laugh!

We were eating Jell-O for days and days.

Drum lessons are over now so I’m just going to post this here and write another one (soon?) with Lex’s science project.  Maybe I’ll get around to writing about their ELA projects from this week too.  All are pretty cool.

Subglottic tracheal stenosis

I haven’t posted anything about my second trachea surgery here, that I can remember.  I thought I should though, just for posterity and future reference.  For the moment it’s over and done with.

Last spring I started experiencing shortness of breath and wheezing, like I had back in 2015/16.  Instead of going through the whole process of x-rays, cat scans, asthma treatments, etc, I just went back to the ENT who fixed the problem in the first place!  Actually, I went to my PCP first to get the needed referrals.  My official PCP, a different doctor than I saw during the first round of all this, thought maybe the problem was caused by reflux.  I told him I didn’t have reflux, just the occasional heartburn.  He explained reflux and I said, “Ooohhh, yes, I guess I do have that!”  He gave me the ENT referral, but also had my try Prilosec for two weeks.  Guess what? No heartburn — at all!  That was a nice two weeks.  Unfortunately the damage was already done.

I went back to the ENT in November and he did the scope again, finding that yes, once again the scar tissue had built up in my subglottic area (just below the larynx) and was causing the wheezing and breathing problems.  He said we should definitely do another surgery.  I said, ok, but I don’t want a third, so how can we prevent this in the future?!  He agreed that reflux is a likely cause and prescribed a longer duration anti-reflux med.

So I had the surgery again on February 8th.  I intentionally scheduled it for the week before vacation so I could have two weeks off.  I remembered that last time one week didn’t feel like enough (though when I went back and reread the post I realized I also went to a Lego League competition the day before going back to work, NOT the best idea!)  This time I had a quiet week at home (with the except of Eve home sick one day, snow day another day, follow up appointments another day, etc)  Then we went to Franklin over vacation so I was able to relax there too.  That’s what I do best in Franklin!  :)

I went back to work this week and I’m feeling pretty great.  I can totally breath again!  I can walk up stairs without feeling like I’m dying.  I don’t sound like Darth Vader anymore.  I got nice flowers and a get well card from my coworkers, so I sent out a thank you email and gave them all a quick overview of what’s going on.  Since then so many have come to talk to me about it!  People have said they thought I had asthma, or bronchitis, or emphysema!  Geesh!  I’m glad I cleared that up with everyone.

I’m currently taking reflux meds, but also changing my diet to reduce the reflux in the hopes that I don’t have to be on the meds forever.  Now we wait and see if the whole thing comes back again after a few years.  Fingers crossed it does not!

If you’re curious, here’s a good description of what’s going on.

Here’s a super detailed version of it with some gross pictures, and that article led me to another that might explain what I really have.  I’m posting this mostly for my own reference, in case it comes back again in two years.

Anyway, that’s my story for this evening.  It’s great to be able to climb stairs and read a full picture book without having to stop and catch my breath!