Medical update

This is a boring post mostly for my own reference. I went back to the doctor on Monday (8/22) for a throat checkup. I’m starting to feel symptoms again (harder to breath, light snoring, noisier breathing) and wanted to do the injections again. The doctor did the scope thing and compared it to six months ago. He said he didn’t see a noticeable difference in scar tissue buildup, but if I was feeling symptomatic again it was good to do the steroid treatment to prevent further growth. I agreed. I obviously don’t enjoy the steroid treatment process, but I do like the reassurance that we are doing everything possible to prevent the need for future surgeries!

I started working this week (in-service, no students yet) and my voice quality has been very bad. I think it’s because I’ve been talking a lot and kind of loudly due to the crowds of our district meetings. I hope the poor voice quality is a side-effect of the injections, not something else. I’m going to rest it this weekend and hopefully it will be fresh and good by Tuesday when students return and I start teaching all day every day!

County Fair

Eve made plans with friends to go to the county fair last weekend. The fair was a little too far away for me to drop them and leave, so I decided to hang out. Then my friend (the mom of one of Eve’s friends) decided to tag along too, with the rest of their family. So we all went to the fair. Right when it was time to go, Eve ran upstairs and changed into her Gary Graham carnival-inspired dress. :)

We spent a ton of money, ate crappy food, got hot and sweaty and dusty, and overall had a great time! It’s neat now that the kids are old enough to make their own plans. I love Eve’s friends. They keep me laughing.

H(late)BD Rosy!

We got to celebrate the big 4-2 with Rosy and co this year. She hosted a lovely birthday/housewarming gathering.

We were going to stay an extra day to go to the DelCo fair and demo derby, but we bailed. I realized that I am lame the week before the week before school starts. After two years of bailing on family vacations that week, I’ve decided that going forward I need to be home the week before in-service starts. By that point in the summer I have people emailing me updates to the district websites and I’m starting to get planning emails and in-service schedules and it all feels like to much to be on vacation. So going forward I’ll plan better and not lamely bail on family vacations. :)

Happy Birthday Rosy!! We love you. Thanks for opening your house to my crazy crew.

RPI

We visited Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) this afternoon. Our third in-person college tour. It’s interesting to see how each school greets prospective students, what information they focus on at the visits, what parts of the campus they show, etc.

RPI is apparently a pretty prestigious engineering school, but we all kind of agreed that they didn’t put their best foot forward. The tour started with a luke-warm welcome at the admissions building, an old building with even older white guys pictures hanging on the walls. It was clear their heritage was important, however the dirty/broken bathrooms and abundance of sticky sanitizer everywhere did nothing to enhance the perception of prestige.

The student leading the tour was friendly and knowledgeable about many things, but she glossed over the two areas of interest for my group, comp sci and physics. She was a chemistry major and apparently knew little about the other majors. The campus is sprawling and full of old, old buildings. The school was founding in 1824 and the buildings look the part. Many have their build date carved above the entrances. She took us through dark hallways and into a basement-ish classroom. She showed us a dorm that was very institutional looking, small and dark, and not at all inviting. One of the parents asked if it was an older dorm and the tour guide said “Yes, our newer dorms are bigger and air conditioned.” Umm… why are you showing us this scary prison dorm then?!?

They had one really nice, new building that was impressive. She said it was built with money from an anonymous donor, with the stipulation that it would be used for offices, not classrooms. What?! It was a nice looking building though, and the tour maybe should have started there. They also have a really nice auditorium space with lots of opportunities for music and performances, including stage and tech crews. That caught Lex’s attention.

Back through some other old buildings, then the tour guide left us in the parking lot. It was weird. We weren’t entirely sure what to make of the whole thing, but definitely didn’t walk away feeling amazing about RPI.

After charging up at the mall (the car and the people) we continued on our route to Rosy’s house. It was a long drive and we were all very tired.

Lex is ready to start filling out the Common App to apply to WPI and Champlain. We are also going to tour MIT this fall, so he might add that to the list as well. He was undecided about RPI as of this afternoon.

My rock star’s final HPAC

So many years ago tiny little Lex joined the Hartford Performing Arts Camp and today he did his final HPAC performance. It was a little bittersweet, but mostly just AMAZING!! He has come so far and I love everything about him. I found myself recording every song. You can watch the playlist on YouTube, if you want to.

I grinned from ear to ear throughout the whole show. This evening he took a little stroll with me down memory lane as we watch the videos from the first year and remembered how it all began. He then pointed out that he’s currently wearing the green HPAC shirt from that first show! It was too big then and it’s a little small now, but he still loves it. It felt like a poetic way to wrap up his HPAC experience. I will be forever grateful to the music teachers at all three schools for guiding Lex through his musical discovery and setting him on what will hopefully be a life-long journey. 💗

Book Club!

Big news in my social life — I started a book club! Inspired by Rosy and her exclusive book club, I emailed a few friends and started a club. Tonight was our first meeting. I picked the book (Luster, by Raven Leilani) and hosted the event.

This morning one friend texted and said her hubby had just returned from Dallas with a raging case of Covid. Damn COVID! Always getting in the way. We had a little group text discussion and decided the show must go on. Fortunately the weather was beautiful so I set up an outdoor hangout.

It was a really nice evening. We sat outside and talked books. Luster and all the other books we had on our minds at the time. It felt so adult and lovely. :) Our next get together is in September and we’ll be reading Burial Rights, by Hannah Kent. I’m looking forward to it already!

Lake House 2023

Welcome to the Hoff House!

For our lake house this summer we found a sweet little place in Vermont, not too far from home. The house was really nice, the view was beautiful, and the wildlife was abundant! There were a few little flaws (slippery pine needles and noisy bunkbeds), but overall it was a beautiful week.

Our craft project this year was painted pots. Arts and Crafts director Rosy did a great job organizing and I made vinyl stickers to mark the occasion.

My goal for the week was to try the paddle board. I did it once before, many years ago, with Eve, but with the two of us on the board together it got silly and neither of us could stand up. This week I gave it a more honest effort and did it!! Multiple times! I am pretty proud of myself! (and love all the support and encouragement I got from the family 💖

I’m not sure it was the perfect house, but it sure was an awesome week!

Community Wildflower Garden

Last year Eve came up with the idea for a beautiful wildflower garden. Because we live in an area with shared common grounds, I floated the idea by the neighbors and everyone loved it. Eve, being Eve, went no further with it.

This spring one of the neighbors reached out to Eve and asked if they could work on the garden together, starting with a simpler plan. The neighbor also has a little more garden knowledge than us, or at least a little more garden ambition! She rented a rototiller and the two of them dug up a large patch of land in the side yard. Two weeks later (today), they re-tilled and planted seeds. A few other neighbors came out to join in the fun as well. I popped in and out for moral support and to take pictures. :) Eve wasn’t excited for the hard work and hot sun, but I think she will be excited when the garden starts to grow. I’ll let her get some decorative stuff for it as well, which is the part she really wants. :)

Camp Update

I got my babies back today. Yay! They had a *great* time at the Governor’s Institute. This morning there was a whole presentation where the director talked about the experience and showed a slideshow of everyone’s final projects. Then we had time to walk around and check out all the final projects. They ranged from digital designs, to video games, to physical robots and “makerspace” projects. They were all pretty cool.

Eve made a really neat wooden box with her drawings engraved in the side. She also created the graphics for a video game that Lex programmed, and a screen printed poster of the game logo. They had fun working together. They also both joined a Dungeons and Dragons group and are now fully addicted. 😄

Eve also made cool/weird/pretty earrings and a little mushroom out of clay and paint. They are adorable, but the earrings are huge. :)

After we were packed up and checked out, we headed to Church Street for yummy bagel lunch and Lake Champlain Chocolates ice cream. We also made a stop at the local game store to buy D&D dice. Yep, they are hooked!

Alan took Lex and Eve back to his house for a bit while I dropped B’Lake off at his Governor’s Institute mathematics camp. It was a very different drop off experience than last week with Lex and Eve. For the math camp they were disorganized, lax, and extremely informal. I hope it ends up being as much fun for him as L&E had.

Em the snail went to camp to keep B’Lake company. 💙💛

After dropping him off I stopped at Alan’s house to pick up the other two and we headed home. Huxley was VERY glad to see the kids again! He slept in his crate every night this week and is definitely missing his cuddles with Lex. 🤗

Tomorrow we’re off on another adventure! Life is good.

Governor’s Institute

Eve and Lex are spending the week at a fancy tech camp called the Governor’s Institute. The camp is held at Champlain College, a beautiful location on Champlain Lake. I dropped them off yesterday, in the rain. I was a weird nervous person trying to be double sure on the parking and plans. I think I drove Lex crazy. LOL. The camp is a super cool camp. Lex and B’Lake did it last year, but it was virtual due to Covid, so it was fun, but not AS fun as in-person. This year Lex and Eve signed up for the “technology and design” session and B’Lake signed up for the “mathematics” session, which is next week.

Eve was up at 4:30am, feeling anxious, I think. She didn’t say as much, but she said she had a stomachache and worried she might have Covid (she tested negative before I even work up). She was excited and nervous, so I knew it was all ok.

I helped them both get packed, ran a few errands with Eve (she needed headphones and Lex needed laundry detergent –he’s planning to do laundry!), then we headed to college. It was a super weird experience.

I don’t think I was too much, but by the end when I wanted one pic of the two of them together, Lex was done with me. :) I jokingly said something about Lex being ready for me to leave and he less jokingly said yeah, he was. :) That boy is exactly where he should be for a rising senior!

Eve, on the other hand, needed extra hugs, texted me before I was even home, and called me at night. She said she was having fun, but that there was a lot of people and activities and she was very tired. I’m hoping she’s having a good day today. She texted me a picture of the clouds this morning, so that’s a good sign.

Red sky after the rain.