Wisdom teeth

On Wednesday Lex had six wisdom teeth removed! Six! I said, “No wonder you’re so smart!” He was not amused. :) He had four that had cut through, and two others behind them, still in the gums. The dentist gave us the whole run down of all the possible things that could happen during recovery, but Lex got through it with minimal problems. The dentist talked about face swelling, bruising, bleeding, etc. He did have bleeding the first day, of course, and the regular meds to knock him out. He slept for most of the day Wednesday, then played some Minecraft quietly. I tried to keep him from talking, since he had gauze shoved in his mouth. :)  I kept him home from school on Thursday, but he decided to do some remote learning anyway. Friday (a remote day), he was exhausted and skipped his classes. I don’t think he realized that he was supposed to take both days off!

It has been weird having him in charge of his own medications. We reviewed it a bunch of times, then I left him Thursday to dose himself. He did great and has continued ever since. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you realized (again!) how fast the kids are growing up!

PS. There are no photos because he asked me not to take pictures. He was worried that he would do weird things, like you see people do on YouTube after a dentist visit. He was worried he would do that, and wanted to be sure I wouldn’t take any pictures or videos. :)  A valid concern! I was good though and didn’t take any pictures. :)

Oh what a week! (and it’s only Tuesday!)

The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotion and activity. As you may have heard, presidential election results came in and sanity, civility, honesty, and kindness won! Hallelujah!

On Saturday Eve and I went for a long walk in the beautiful sunshine. I feel like we haven’t done that in quite awhile. We went down to the river, around the village, and back up the hill.

This tree used to have two big bumps. I was surprised to find that the innards of one had fallen out (rotted out?), so now it has a bump and a handle. :)

Then I made an awesome boozy birthday cake for my friend Elizabeth. It’s her 50th birthday (today!) and she has been super bummed about covid-restrictions squashing all her birthday ideas. So I baked her a cake and invited a friend along to delver. The three of us saw outside in the amazingly beautiful September November day, enjoying the cake and each other’s company.

Chocolate Devil’s Food cake with a Bailey’s Irish Cream butter cream frosting and a chocolate ganache filling. Sooooo good!

Sunday evening I got an email from my school principal (the whole staff got the email!) saying that there are some children in our community who have been removed from their home and need emergency foster care.  Fostering is something I’ve thought about a lot off and on in the past, so this felt like a really great time to step up and help. I talked to Lex and Eve about it first, and they agreed that it would be a good thing to do.

I spent Monday squeezing in phone calls and paperwork between my regular work. Paperwork was done, everything approved, and I made a plan to pick the boys up after school Tuesday (today). When I got home and told Lex and Eve about it, and who the kids are, they were both cautiously interested. :) Then Lex said, “In other good news, I got accepted into the Honors Program!”  Sweet!!!  He worked really hard deciding to apply, writing his essay, and collecting recommendations from teachers, parents, and coaches. I’m super proud of him for doing that much, and now he’s excited to be doing even more. He also built me two Adirondack chairs this week. Mema and Joyce sent them to me for my birthday, and Lex put them together. The weather is so nice they might get some use this weekend!

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Today was spent trying to figure out details, such as bedding for two extra kids, schooling, transportation, etc. We have a pretty amazing community though, all of whom love these kids and want to support them. I got a set of bunkbeds, two twin mattresses, four sheet sets, pillows, blankets, and winter clothes all donated. This weekend we’ll spend getting their proper sleeping arrangement set up. They came home with me after school today and had a great time playing with the VR headset and the XBox. I haven’t seen Lex socialize this much in a long time! All four kids were laughing and talking all afternoon/evening. I even made a proper dinner! If you count Annie’s mac and cheese, peas, and tofu a proper dinner. :)  It has been a wild two days!

Tomorrow is Veterans Day (thanks Joyce!) and we have no school, so of course I scheduled appointments. :/ Life of a teacher! Lex will be getting his wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow morning. All four of them! I’m not sure what to expect exactly, but I suspect tomorrow will be a sleepy day for him. Hopefully it will be a quiet day for all of us. I’m ready for one!

 

Teacher of the Year!!

Wha, what?!

Every year in the spring teachers in the building nominate someone for Teacher of the Year. We all have a chance to nominate, then there is a vote, then the winner is announced at the District-wide Back-to-School Breakfast at the beginning of the year.

This year, Covid-19 hit and all norms went right out the window! I maybe thought about Teacher of the Year briefly when I realized we weren’t doing the District Breakfast, but that was about it.  I assumed we were not doing it this year due to Covid.  There is A LOT we are not doing this year because of Covid! But you know what they say about assuming…

At our first official staff meeting, held virtually, of course, the principal announced the two longevity awards (for teachers who have been in the district for a long time) and then said this:  Video

I had no idea! If I even suspected, I would have done my hair and not been eating an apple! :)  The one day I woke up late, threw my hair in a ponytail, and tossed some random foods in my lunch box… turns out to be the day the whole school is looking at me!  LOL.

I feel pretty dang appreciated though!

Later in the evening I logged into the high school performing arts department’s Welcome Back zoom meeting for parents and students. When the music teachers pulled up the website to show parents, they also gave me a shout-out for all the work I’ve done on it and how awesome it is.

I work hard, for sure, and I never feel taken advantage of, but it is pretty nice to get the accolades!  And the plaque!

First day of school — corona style!

Students returned to school today for the first time since March 17th! Teachers returned for in-service three weeks ago, which seems like a lot of time, but boy did it go fast! There is a lot to do and even more decisions to make when you are opening school during a pandemic! But things were done and decisions were made and today we welcomed kids back with smiling eyes and lots of air hugs! It was weird and good and crazy and hard. Kids were on their best behaviors, for today, as we all navigated this new world together. I hope that behavior continues, though I’ve been around long enough to know that’s not a realistic hope!

On the home front, Eve has decided to participate in the fully-remote option and Lex has decided to do the hybrid options.  This meant that today Lex went to school and Eve was home. I made a deal with a neighbor friend that she would bring Lex to school and I’d pick her kids up with Lex at the end of the day. It was very weird leaving this morning and hoping that my kids would both get themselves to “school” on time. We did lots of prepping and planning, and it all paid off! Both kids got where they needed to be, did what they needed to do, and reported back that they had good days.  Whew!

First day photos are a little weird this year.  In hindsight, I wish I had made a #2020 or #coronatime (or something!) sign that they could have held with the pictures, but I didn’t.  Oh well.  I think Eve’s outfit says it all though. :)

We need to work on our group selfies. :)

I tried to take a picture of how exhausted I felt at 7pm, after a full day of school, kid pickup, and then an hour Remote Academy Zoom call (I’m running 4th grade for Remote Academy this year!). My phone decided to do portrait mode. I think it couldn’t handle my exhausted face! LOL.

2020 – the year when school supplies included masks, thermometers, and tick tweezers! 😲😱

Driving!

Lex got his learners permit in the mail this week! He was pretty excited. Alan took him out to drive a few times in parking lots, and I took him out today. He even drove on our neighborhood streets today! 😲😲 He only hit one small curb and I only freaked a tiny bit once when he got *very* close to a parked car. Overall, job well done! He’s eager to keep practicing. Apparently I’ll need to keep practicing my nerves of steel as well! LOL.

So begins a new chapter

This post is probably a week (or month) over due, but it’s taken me awhile to figure it out. Probably everyone who reads this blog already knows what’s going on, but I feel the need to write about it anyway.

Back in March Alan and I decided to separate. It was a hard decision that came after working with several different therapists over time and a lot of soul searching about what we really want in life. Twenty plus years of partnership is hard to throw away on a whim, however we both still have a long life ahead.

We made the decision right before COVID-19 shut down the world, which left us quarantining together for months instead of separating quickly. It was hard, sometimes, and nice other times, but overall I think it was good. We told the kids and they handled it well. It was a weird world for awhile, going from busy days and hardly seeing each other, to no plans and lots of togetherness day after day after day.

We decided early on that I would stay in the house with the kids and he would get an apartment in town.  Over the course of quarantining Alan started dating online and met someone.  Last week, while I was in Franklin with the kids, he moved in with her. He told me, and the kids, about it ahead of time, so it wasn’t a surprise. The kids had a few questions, but once it was established that this new woman has dogs and bakes croissants, all was ok.

I can’t speak for Alan, but I have been full of emotions. Overall this is a very good thing. I’m looking forward to the open road ahead, full of decisions I make myself! That is a novel concept for me. I’ve done a little (very little, so far) rearranging, taken the kids on hikes, and sat around doing nothing. It has been great! Sometimes the realization that I no longer have a partner in life pops into my head, but then I remember that I’m awesome and strong and ready to take on the world!

I had this eloquent post written in my head last week, but by the time I got around to writing it down, it was not so eloquent. As usual. I feel like I could actually write a book about the last few months, but instead I’m going to leave it as this summary post.  

Birthday Girl!

Hey, we had a birthday around here.  Someone turned 13!!  Craziness!  Everyone kept asking “what are you going to do to celebrate?” but with social isolation and COVID-19 in the air, what could we do?!  We took a hike last weekend and celebrated the big day with birthday presents and waffles and “home school.”  She seemed to enjoy it though!

We started the morning as we usually do on birthdays.  A pile of presents on the table!

My baby girl is 13!!

Happy Birthday!

Eve opened presents and drank seltzer from her new favorite mug!

Maybe it’s time to cut back on the morning seltzer! :)

We all watched the present opening.

Eve had a very specific gift list, so she got very specific items.  She was happy. :)

Her favorite saying. Looks like she needs a nap already!

Talk bubbles need to be in the right place!

Lots of presents and cards kept her busy for awhile.

We had to take a short break so I could make waffles and she could do her Advisory Check-in for school.  But soon enough we were back to presents!

This present from Joyce was like a party in a box!

A fun, messy party in a box!

Cash and waffles! What more can a girl want on her birthday?! :)

The rest of the day was spent “at school,” in other words, sitting at the table in front of our computers.  It was a rainy day, so we did dog walks, but nothing else too exciting.  We are still working on the home/school balance now that they are one and the same.

Around dinner time we had a family “gathering” for cake and singing.

Oh yea, cake!

Quarantines = Video chat birthday parties. It’s a weird world we’re living in, but I’m glad the tech is there to support it!  I wish we were all together in person, but at least we got to see faces and hear voices.  <3

Eve ran away when everyone started singing. Remember when she used to LOVE the attention? Well, not so much any more.

Fortunately she came back for the cake. :)

We measured her on the wall at bedtime. She’s exactly the same height Lex was on his 14th birthday, which is actually a slow down in her growth spurt. We had fun looking at all the heights over the years. Then off to bed!

We now have two teenagers in the house. Yay and boo. She is an amazing girl, full of confidence and silliness and creativity.  I look forward to seeing the person she is becoming, but I also miss the smiley, bald little girl she used to be.  Fortunately she’s still smiley at home and still loves to snuggle!

2020!

It’s a whole new year, people, and a whole new decade! Crazy as that sounds and seems, things on the home front keep moving right along, just like any other day. We celebrated in our typical homebody way. We said no thanks to a few invites and instead opted to stay home, play board games (some new and some old), eat Cheetos (even the vegan partook!), and enjoy our immediate family.

We started the evening with a game of Catan, using the new Cities & Knights expansion pack.  I had very few cities or knights, which resulted in a resounding loss on my end. Oh well.  The game took a very long time and we started to wonder if it would be a one-game NYE.  Fortunately Lex eventually won and we were able to move on to something easier for the late hour: Apples to Apples!

Apples to Apples and late night giggles.

We also opened our Family Fun jar. Lots of plays and concerts this year.  Plus a trip to Florida! :)  Its fun to look back and remember that for half the year the kids were in lower grades, and in Lex’s case, an entirely different school!

Tickets galore!

I wanted to make fun party hats to celebrate the new decade. 2020 is just a fun number.  It took some convincing (and lovely modeling), but finally I talked them all into making and wearing (very briefly, in Lex’s case) these super awesome 2020 hats!

How goofy can one get on NYE?!

My overall craftiness has taken a nose dive since I started working. :/

We made it to midnight easily and with little awareness of the passing time. Nobody dozed off, nobody got grumpy, and nobody even wanted to go to bed at midnight!  Ok, maybe some of us kind of wanted to go to bed at midnight, but agreed to stay up and play the game a little longer while listening to New York, New York on the livestream.

An awesome family selfie to kick off the new year! LOL!

I’m always happy to start a new year (or a new anything!) with this guy by my side.

May 2020 be fulfilling and fun and adventurous for all of you. I’m looking forward to all of the opportunities ahead! I’m also looking forward to finishing my book and drinking another cup of tea. <3

Holiday Concert

The high school holiday concert was last night. The dress code was black on black, with a tie for the boys.  And Lex put on a tie!!  I was shocked. He wore Alan’s tie and Alan’s belt, and everything else is new.  I think it might even be his first time in a button down shirt!  The boy has come a long way and who would have ever guessed that percussion would be the path to get him there. <3

Lex in a tie

The concert band had four songs, one of which called for a theremin.  The high school doesn’t own a theremin, so the band director asked Lex if he wanted to play the part on an iPad. He did.  He was nervous and said he made a few mistakes, but I think it’s great and the audience loved it.

It was cool to have him front and center for that piece, because normally you don’t see much of him in a concert. :)

The band

 

Lex

There is a lot going on in Lex’s world these days. I thought I’d share a little of it. Last week he had another belt test and was promoted to second level brown belt, which means he now has a brown belt with a black stripe, worn on the inside. Next time he tests he’ll be able to switch the stripe to the outside, then the following time he’ll test for a full black belt. I said he’s dabbing his toes in black belt range now. :)

Brown belt, black stripe

Videos:

  • https://youtu.be/Ulj_wrK9_VQ
  • https://youtu.be/H9jxHBnoZWo
  • https://youtu.be/XVJ6TnDMGPo

He also auditioned for high school jazz band last week. Unfortunately there were four kids auditioning and the band director said two is ideal and three is a stretch. She called me Friday afternoon to tell me that she did not accept Lex, but that it was a super hard decision and he’s really good and please keep playing and he’ll surely get in next year when this year’s senior graduates. He was sad when I told him, but he admitted that he knew she wouldn’t take all four of them and he’s the youngest, so it made sense. He’s still doing band and pep band, so he’ll get a fair amount of drumming this year anyway, plus he’ll audition for district band and district jazz band, both of which are single weekend events later this fall and winter.

Lex has also joined the First Robotics Club, and will be doing tech crew for the high school musical AND the Trumbull Hall Troupe production of Newsies. He’s starting to wonder if he’s over-committing himself this fall. Not being in jazz band will give him an extra study hall, which is probably a good thing.

Last weekend, at family meeting, Lex brought up the topic of a cell phone. It’s the first time he’s asked for one! Alan and I both agree he’s ready, and that it would be helpful given all he’s doing these days, so we agreed to get him one. We agreed that he would buy the phone and we would pay for the service. Today Alan took him cell phone shopping. They ended up ordering one, which we’ll pick up later this week. I think they had fun shopping together. :)

This afternoon we went to the fair and Lex ran into two friends who invited him to hang out with them. He was eager to go with them. They wandered around, got food, watched the animals, and had fun. It was weird to see him go, but nice to see two friends who wanted him to go along with them. He’s definitely growing up!

<3