Monday, August 31, 2009

August 2009 Round Up

Created using Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.
Click mosaic to biggify, or see my August 2009 Project 365 Posts.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Hey, I read half a book! I started rereading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince after seeing the movie. I also read three blogs all the way through, including a couple of years worth of archives for each. In this case, yes I do consider that equivalent to reading a book, particularly since one lady used her blog entries to actually publish a book.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
At the theater: G.I. Joe (was okay), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (quite good, though missing huge (important!) sections of the book), and we took Luke to see Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (he loved it, though I think it was right on the threshold of being too scary)

At home: The Remains of the Day is the only new movie I saw. It was both better than and not as good as I thought it would be.

Old favorites that I/we watched at least part of this month: Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mad Money, Far and Away, Empire Strikes Back, The Birdcage, The Princess Bride, Dante's Peak, Remember the Titans, Fantasia, The Lion King, Ice Age, Enchanted, Die Hard

Television: Finished up The Closer this month. Law & Order: Criminal Intent and In Plain Sight also finished up, but I can't remember if that was July or August. Now we're just waiting for new shows to start in September. I am absurdly excited that there are new Mac vs. PC commercials out. We just love those! In other television news, I hear Summer Glau is joining Dollhouse in a multi-episode arc. Love that Joss takes care of "family."

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Hubby turned 33. I always spend the 2 weeks between his birthday and mine glaring at him until he "catches up," like it's his fault he's younger than me, LOL. A week or so after his birthday, we finally managed a proper birthday celebration for the two of us: Japanese Hibachi and brown sugar bundt cake. Mmmm!

Little brother also turned 29. I teased him about it being the last year of his 20s, which was supposed to make him feel old, but instead made *me* feel old.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
Both DH and I received gift certificates from my parents to Amazon, which combined with the one from Annette last month got us a nice little haul, which I will show off next month when they actually arrive (though two are pre-orders that won't arrive until later).

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
We had quite the variety this month. Luke had a cold by the end of the second week (better than the first week like it's been the last couple of years). Somehow, I am still surprised when he comes down with something each year, but then I remember that changing classes often means meeting new kids, which also means meeting new germs. Yay. I somehow ended up with an ulcer on my tongue. I had no idea you could even get them there, but my doctor said that given my history of internal mouth ulcers, she was surprised I'd never had one before now. Wow, did it hurt!! It was difficult and painful to both talk and eat for a few days. DH came down with something later in the month. We think it was probably related to all the dust we have stirred up in our room due to our massive cleaning efforts. And then came the great "get sick in the car" episode, which was just not fun for anyone and caused Luke to miss his first day of school for the year.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
We actually did quite a lot this month. We visited the Mighty 8th Museum in Pooler with my parents and my grandfather. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in WWII and/or the air force. We took Luke to see the special dinosaur exhibit at Fernbank, which was one of the reasons we became members of the museum for this year.

Afterwards, to make for a "dino-mite" day, we took Luke to see Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which as I mentioned previously, was almost too scary for him, but he still loved it. Later in the month, DH and I took a day off from work for just ourselves. We saw the Monet Waterlilies exhibit at the High and breezed through the current Louvre Atlanta exhibit. We also ate lunch at The Varsity, scoped out a couple of houses for sale, and saw two movies at the theater: G.I. Joe and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
While we were in Pooler, we tried a local pizza place called Lovezzola's, which is just up the street from the museum. It was quite good! We also visited the Panda Express for the first time (or at least the first time that I can ever recall). It was just okay. Still looking for some good (quite Americanized, I'm sure) Chinese nearby.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
We rented a storage room to start prepping to move. I'd say it is easily 1/2 to 2/3 full already, which is both good and bad. We also had the house measured for an estimate to replace the vinyl and the carpet.

What were this month's disappointments?
I had a particularly rough week at work early in the month. It's never fun to cry out of frustration. I also came to the horrifying realization of exactly how truly terrible the local schools are. Investigating private schools was nearly as terrifying, which prompted the very speedy decision to move into a better district. Can you say stress? I thought you could. I have also been frustrated by the lack of communication coming from Luke's Pre-K teacher. Telling a 4-year-old to relay messages is not very efficient, IMO.

What were my accomplishments this month?
101 Things in 1001 Days Update: 24% of time elapsed, 17 items complete.

63. Decide whether or not to send Luke to private school.
That was easy. Took a whole day to decide we won't be sending him. Thanks, Kelli!

73. Clean out my closet.
It took the better part of two evenings, but I cleaned out both of my parts of the closet, and DH even did his. From the closet alone, we got rid of over 120 pieces of clothing.

Project 365 is two-thirds over. Hard to believe. It's going pretty well, I think.

What else did I do? Work is going well. We switched from being paired on projects to managing projects alone. I had my first solo project successfully complete this month. It was just a little tiny 3-point project, but it very well. I was also asked to pick up some additional work by my boss. Once I agreed, she told me she was also going to put in for a raise for me. Yay! That will come in handy with the move. Preliminary house hunting is going okay. We'll be getting both a buying and selling agent next month. And the house cleaning is actually going better than I thought, so far. I hope it holds.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Lots of stuff going on for Luke this month (as well as everyone and everything else). He had his first dentist visit, which went extremely well. That was followed closely by his first day of Pre-K. ACK!! He really does seem to be enjoying it. He is also taking the optional phonics class (though they work on more than just that). Both the phonics teacher and the center director have commented on how well he is doing in there. Yay!

We got him yet *another* pair of new shoes. It hadn't even been 3 months since the last ones. I had to move that to the accomplishment section because it is becoming such a regular thing that it is no longer a "special or unusual purchase." They're size 1, and they look huge! He also watched Fantasia for the first time while he was home sick. He loves music, and he really seemed to enjoy it a lot. He's decided Chernabog is his favorite. Must run in the family (it's Jacob's favorite, too). He also managed to put together a jigsaw puzzle mostly by himself for the first time without getting frustrated in just a few minutes.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
Tigger had her feeding tube removed, and she is doing amazingly well! It really is a miracle. I cannot believe that she was just a few days from death, and now she's acting perfectly fine. She has started eating and even playing again. She might even be able to come off the steroids next month. She's already been weaned down to 1/2 a pill every other day. Woo-hoo!

The weather has been really wacky for August. It was cooler than typical in July, and even cooler yet (as opposed to the usual much warmer) in all of August, including several consecutive days when we didn't get out of the 70s. I know the cloud cover from all the rain has kept the temps down, but it's been so weird! And as if we needed any further reminders that fall is coming besides the lower temps and school starting, we can once again hear the half time shows from the stadium that is about 2 hours from the house. It is a shared stadium, so sometimes we get them on Friday and Saturday nights. It was funny the first year, but it got old pretty quickly. Now we hardly even notice. I wonder if we'll miss it after we move? LOL

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Currently feeling: so so busy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ghost Child

Luke managed to give me a pretty good scare last night. He got sick in the car on the way home yesterday. (Yeah, that was not fun.) And he continued being sick off an on for most of the evening. We suspected he was "holding back" and would likely be sick in bed sometime during the night once he finally fell asleep and lost that "control." And we were right; it happened just after 10 PM. We heard him start crying and ran up the stairs, knowing exactly what had happened. We were even prepped with cleaning materials, fresh jammies, and clean sheets, all waiting and ready to go.

As I opened the door and turned on the bedroom light, a ghost child looked back at me. He had no color in his face at all, save for the purple-gray shadows around his eyes. His lips matched his skin, and they were both as white as they could be. I just about freaked. I've read the term "white to the lips" in various books over the years, but I'd never seen it in person, and I'd really prefer to never see it again. I stripped the bed and watched him for a few minutes, but he was still all white, including his upper body as he changed. He was also about to shiver himself to pieces but had no fever (if anything, his skin was on the cool side). Despite the fact that it was now 10:15 PM or so, I dashed across the hall to my room and did what any self-assured full-grown 33-year-old woman would do: I called my mommy.

I knew my parents would most likely be in bed and asleep, but I called anyway. I felt bad about it, but I called (and yes, they were asleep). Remember, Mom is an RN, so I was really calling my own private nurse line. I basically wanted to know if I needed to run him to the hospital, or if we could/should wait it out until morning and see if he had improved. My biggest concern is that he was somehow losing blood, though I didn't see any other signs (beyond paleness and chills) that I could recognize as a "layman." We talked through his symptoms and decided that, since there were no major red flag indications, he could wait. And over the course of our 10-15 minute conversation, he did start to "pink up." At least I started to clearly see some color delineation between his lips and his face, though he was still really pale compared to normal. Finally, I started to breathe again, and said goodnight.

Thank you, Nurse Nana, for taking my call! I am so sorry I bothered the two of you last night. He did okay at home today, though he was more lethargic than is normal for him after episodes like this. He seems to have a spell like this every 6-9 months; for example - this past Valentine's Day. Other than being tired and not hungry, he is usually fine the next day, but today, he clearly still did not feel well. He perked up pretty good this evening once I finally got a few calories in him (and daddy came home), and he'll be going to school tomorrow unless something happens during the night (knock wood).

Currently feeling: grateful for family medical knowledge, and mothers who accept phone calls in the middle of the night from borderline hysterical daughters regarding relatively minor issues

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A-(house)-hunting we will go

As you may have guessed from some of the other posts made recently, we are preparing to move. Not too far. In fact, we are hoping to stay in the same county (given that there are 159 of them in Georgia, that's a pretty small geographic area). We simply cannot send Luke to the local schools. The day he started Pre-K, I decided to take a really good look at them. We knew they were not good, but in case we are unable to sell this house in the next year, I was hoping they would be tolerable at least for him to attend Kindergarten. I thought I was going to hyperventilate or throw up upon reviewing the local elementary school's stats. I believe the phrase "over my dead body" came to mind. No no no no no!

Then the great private school hunt started, which was almost just as bad. First off, who the heck has an extra $18,000 a year?! Holey moley. And most of the "affordable ones" were very much too much religious for my tastes. I chatted with a friend who used to teach at one of the most prestigious private schools in the city, and her perspective really helped a lot. She pretty much confirmed all of my worst fears about those upper-crust schools and made me feel much better (and less guilty) about deciding against them. One of the biggest stand-outs was the knowledge that Luke would have been one of the poorest children at that school. Excuse me? We are NOT poor. We're not rich, IMO, and I'm not even sure I would classify us as well-off (depends on your perspective, I suppose), but not poor by any stretch of the imagination, and the last thing I want for my son is the warped perception that we are. (Well, I don't know, after taking another $18K out of our pockets every year for private school, we might be poor!) The more I read, the more uncomfortable I got, plus the insane amounts of money, and I just couldn't bring myself around to the idea that private school was a good choice for him.

I was freaking out pretty seriously by this point. Public schools rotten plus can't afford private school; combined with the stress of L's first day of school and taking Tigger to the vet to see if she could have her tube removed, and it was pretty ugly for a few hours. But, my wonderful and amazing friends all managed to talk me down from the ledge and give me some good tips, and several put me in touch with some of their friends who might be able to answer some of my questions about the local public schools.

So now we're back to the great public school hunt. There really are some good ones once I started looking, and some of the better ones are even in our county! We do have school choice, but there is no guarantee that you will get in to the school of your choice (since everyone else likely wants into those same schools, too). The simplest solution is to move into the district we want. It is something we have been meaning to do for over a year anyway. We were just getting ready to start preparing when I had the whole mishap with changing contracts at work and lost 3 months of pay. Trying to get everything reset and resettled with that took up most of the time we had, plus in all honesty, it fell down on the priority list a bit. We got caught up in our daily routine lives and forgot to look ahead, so now we're playing catch-up a bit. Naturally, there aren't a whole lot of houses for sale in the good school districts. I'm sure part of that is our timing. School just started, so anyone hoping to move over the summer may well have taken their house back off the market, plus anyone wanting to move into the district did so over the summer and likely picked up most of the then-available houses. Result: slim pickings in August. We might do better towards the spring, but that is going to seriously stress me out if we have to wait that long to start looking at houses. So we'll look now, see what we find, and hope we find something good before the spring madness starts. I'd really like to be moved in the next 6 months, if possible.

Then there is the whole nightmare process of trying to get this house ready to sell. Ha! It really is a mess, with stuff everywhere and flooring/carpet that needs replacing and new paint needed nearly everywhere and a practically dead yard in front and back. It's going to be an uphill battle, but the sooner we start, the better off we'll be. We now have a storage room that is well on its way to being full. We hope to have things better enough, inside at least, to have a realtor come take a look after Labor Day to see what our next steps should be. We also need to start getting our financials together to pre-qualify for a new mortgage to see if we can even afford to live in those districts. The house prices that we are starting to consider "reasonable" are quite scary, and running the preliminary numbers, I'm pretty sure we'll qualify for that amount (likely more, but we don't want to be mortgaged up to our eyeballs!). I know people do this everyday, and if they can do it, then surely we can do it. I'm still marvelling at *how* they all do it and stay sane, though. Are we having fun yet?

Currently feeling: tired of house stuff already

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bionic Tigger No More

Figured it was time for another Tigger update. My last post about her condition was on my birthday, I think. Since then, she has continued to improve and improve. Everyone who saw her when she was so desperately sick and then sees her now is just astounded. She really is returning to her old self, little by little. By the time we left her at the vet to go down to Brunswick and Savannah, we were not giving her any food at all through her tube. She was completely sustaining herself by mouth. She had also gained over a pound and was up to 11 lbs even, which is right where the vet thinks she should be. We picked her up August 2, and after discussing it with Dr. Hochel, we decided to leave the tube in for another week or so, just to make sure she was stable. We also kicked her out of our room to make sure she would be okay mixing with the other cats again. That first week back at work after being gone was insanely busy, and I was not able to monitor every bite she ate as I had been. She seemed to be doing well, but it is so hard to tell with cats.

Her recheck visit was Monday afternoon, the same day Luke started Pre-K. If everything was okay, they would take out her tube! Stressed? Me? Why would you say that? LOL I was really concerned that her weight had not stayed the same, even though she looked okay. Turns out, she had even gained just a smidge (half an ounce), and her jaundice (the yellow tint to her skin) had decreased dramatically. They pulled the tube out, and she didn't even need stitches. She is the bionic Tigger no more! She also wasn't nearly as shaved under her red neck bandage as I expected her to be, so she looked great. Here she is with Kathleen, the tech who cared for her each time she was hospitalized, and Dr. Hochel, who has worked tirelessly to try and get her well. Apparently, all of her efforts have finally paid off!

The plan now is to try and wean Tigger off the steroids. She is to stay on her "one dose a day" routine for another week, then we are to drop to every other day and see how she does. We'll do that for a month or so, and if she is still eating and behaving normally, we will stop it completely. If we're lucky, whatever it was that was ailing her will have corrected itself, and she won't have to be on the steroids for the rest of her life. If at any time after changing doses, she tapers off eating or starts behaving as if she is ill again, we just go back to the previous dose level. They will check her again in October.

She's doing great, though. The snoring that had gotten insanely loud (as in, people could hear her over the phone while I was working, and she was in a different room!) ceased immediately, so it was indeed related to the tube. She is again jumping up on the desk to await her goodnight pets, something she hasn't done for about a month. She is showering us with looks of disdain. She is also back to being in the way when you try to do things which, though annoying, is a good sign. "I'm sorry, were you trying to type? But the keyboard is such a comfy place to relax." LOL The best sign so far? Bengal hissed at her a few days ago, and she hissed back! Our spunky kitty has returned, and we couldn't be happier.

Currently feeling: thrilled to have Tigger back to herself

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good karma does come in handy

I'm sure I have complained here and elsewhere about all the times that I do the right thing and feel like I get punished for it. It is always so frustrating. We talk about "being smacked by the karma train" on my BB, how it will come around and give the bad folks exactly what they deserve. As it turns out, the karma train works both ways. If you keep on doing those good things, good things will come to you.

Wednesday was a great example. I had two excellent things happen within a few hours of each other. Now, this first one won't seem excellent at first, but stay with me. The morning started out quite routine. Got the child up, fed, dressed, and to school. On the way back, I was a very bad girl, and I called DH on my cell phone. I don't have a headset for it, so yes, I was holding the phone and driving. Bad me! So when I was stopped at a stoplight less than a mile from my house, and the cop one lane over and one car behind me flipped on his lights, you can imagine what went through my head. I hung up on my husband in mid-sentence and hoped he wasn't after me. Ha. As we pulled through the light, he moved in directly behind me. I took the first left to get off the main drag, and he followed. Great. Yes, I was doing something wrong, and yes, I deserved to get a ticket for it. I just wasn't looking forward to the lecture that I was quite sure would come with it.

I rummaged around in the glove compartment looking for the insurance card, and I pulled out my license. I had my window rolled down about half way. From over my left shoulder, I heard him speak as he approached the window. "Sir, may I see your license and insurance, please." Now, I was wearing a baseball hat, so approaching me from behind, I knew there was no way for him to tell. I was in no way offended by the mistake. He, on the other hand, was mortified when I turned around. "Oh, ma'am, I am so sorry!" No, officer, no problem. I'm wearing a hat, and it is tough to tell from the back. I handed him my license, and steeled myself for what was to come.

"Well, ma'am, I see your tag registration has expired." I was momentarily speechless, since that was not at all what I expected him to say. Upon finding my voice, I explained that I had paid the fee and that the sticker was at home sitting on the desk, just a few blocks away from where we were parked. We simply had not put the new sticker on the tag yet. "Yes ma'am, the computer says your tag is current. I'm going to take your license and check something, and I'll be right back." I'm sure he was checking to make sure I didn't have any outstanding tickets or warrants or something. He came back quite quickly, handed me my license, and let me go with only a "Now you do me a favor, Ms. Gaston, and put that sticker on your tag as soon as you get home, okay?" Yes, sir! And can I just say thank you to the city for having laptops in the police cars? If not for that, he would have had to give me a ticket, but because the computer said I was current, he let me go. And not a word about the phone, so he likely had not noticed (I was holding it to the ear opposite from the lane he was in). Whew! Certainly dodged a bullet there.

Then later that morning, my boss called. Two members of our team handle an additional function that the rest of us do not (those two have been on the team longer than anyone else). This particular function is expecting a large increase in activity in the coming months. She needs a third person to help out and asked if I would be willing to take it on. She was asking, not ordering, because it does involve some after-hours work (with time and a half overtime!), and knowing that I had a child, she didn't want to commit me to something I really didn't want to do, so it was truly my choice. Then again, in this economy and environment, if your boss comes to you and asks you to pick up more work, wouldn't you be crazy to say no? Exactly. So naturally, I agreed. "Great! I really appreciate you volunteering to pick up that function. I also want you to know that I am putting you in for a raise." I beg your pardon? I must have misunderstood. Did you say a raise? I had not asked for more money at any time. I had not even brought up the possibility, because I knew that our workload was slowing down, and I definitely did not want to end up at the top of the "to be cut" list. (Hey, that one wants more money, let's get rid of her first! LOL) This was completely my boss's idea that she brought to me. And, keep in mind that the raise was not mentioned before I agreed to take on the extra function. Simply by doing the right thing (taking on more work when asked, and helping to lighten the load on other team members), I was unexpectedly rewarded, with a 15% raise! There was a small glitch trying to get it to go through. The process for managers to obtain raises for their contractors outsourced employees had changed in the last month or so, but it came through just fine this morning. Quite the satisfactory couple of days, I must say.

Now I just have to hope that I didn't burn through all of my good karma on those incidents. We're going to need it for selling this house and buying a new one in the coming months. Time for a few more good deeds, don't you think?

Currently feeling: pleasantly zen

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Witnessing a light bulb moment

I grew up hearing the term "light bulb moment." Some people call it the a-ha or eureka moment. You know, the moment when your face lights up and your brain suddenly shouts "I get it!"

I think we witnessed one of those light bulb moments last night at dinner with Luke. We've been working with him on his letters. He has most of them down pretty well on sight (frequently confuses M with W, but that is perfectly normal at his age). We're still working on connecting the sounds with the letters. He has improved greatly on that in the last couple of months, and we've started practicing sounding out words. He's not really all that close to actual reading yet, but every little step forward helps.

Yesterday, as we waited on our pancakes (IHOP was Luke's pick for a special first day of school dinner), DH was working on letters and sounds using the placemat. Somehow, Luke brought up Spider-Man, so DH spelled it out and walked him through the letters and the sounds they make. Then, on a whim, I wrote the word "IRONMAN." What letter is this? "I" What sound does it make? "Eye." And what letter is this? "R" And what sound does it make? "Rrrr." So put them together. "Eye-rrr... Ironman?" His eyes got huge and round, and he broke out into a huge grin when we confirmed that it did indeed say Ironman. You could practically see that his brain had made the connection. Letters make sounds, sounds make words. Saying the sound of each letter that you see helps you figure out the word that is written, and that's how you read.

Now I admit, he was primed from the previous word being a similar word from a category perspective. It would be easy to mentally connect the two and make an educated guess at what it says. Had the word been "irony," his guess would have been wrong. But still, it was pretty amazing to see the realization of how reading works cross his face. Gave me goosebumps!

Currently feeling: witnessing the making of a reader?

Monday, August 10, 2009

An Official Pre-K Kid!

How on earth did this happen? I have an official Pre-K kid on my hands. Everyone has asked me if it was hard on either of us today. No, not really. His daycare center offers Pre-K as well, so we just let him stay there. No sense in upsetting the routine if we don't have to. He was assigned to the Pre-K B class, and we also already know that teacher. She used to be in the Twos room back when Luke was. I didn't realize until recently that she had moved to teaching Pre-K. I'm sure it made things easier on Luke that he already knew Ms. Faye. Of course, there are pictures.

In front of the Pre-K B classroom door:

Even with Ms. Faye there, he was looking a little nervous about being in that room instead of in Ms. Crystal's class.

He took a little stroll around the room, since it had been completely redone since the last time he was in there (sometimes during the summer, if the classes were small enough, they would combine in the Pre-K room). He seemed to like what he saw.

And before I left, I had to put his name on his official first day of school nametag. He looks so grown up! I'm sure I won't think so a year from now, but it is so hard to imagine him being older than he is right now. It's just amazing.

Currently feeling: what happened to my baby?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Is the dentist a Sith?

Luke's first ever visit to the dentist was today. Yes, I said first ever. We somehow never managed to take him to the dentist before now, even though they recommend a dentist visit around age 1. We were intending to take him in September, after the "hurry up and get it in before school starts" frenzy died down, but before his pediatrician visit in October. (I didn't want to have to tell her for another year that he had not been to the dentist!) Then we found out that a dental exam is required to start Pre-K! Oops. So I scrambled around to find a good pediatric dentist and make an appointment. I finally just had to basically pick one out of the phone book (off the internet, actually) and hope. I figured we could get his paper signed for school, and if we really didn't like the dentist, then we could look around for a new one right after.

I had heard terrible stories about kids freaking out at the dentist. Screaming and crying and papoose boards and all sorts of nightmares. Given that he had never been to the dentist, and I'm not sure we do the best job of brushing his teeth, I was terrified at what the results would be. The last thing in the world I wanted was for Luke to be punished for something I did (or rather, did not do). Luke even got a little nervous at one point. I apologize to anyone who has not seen Star Wars: The Clone Wars, because this next little exchange won't make any sense. I had been describing it to Luke as "The Tooth Doctor," but I realized I should probably use the correct term: dentist. Luke looked at me with wide eyes. "Ventress?" (She's a "bad guy" with dual light sabers.) No, honey, dentist. The dentist is a good guy. He helps your teeth stay strong and healthy. But yes, on the inside, I was fearing something along the lines of Darth Dentius! LOL

I needn't have worried. Dr. Powell and all of his medical staff are wonderful! The waiting area is very pleasant, with plenty for kids to do. They have a couple of couches, some video game units, a mini theater showing a movie, a gigantic fish tank (is that a requirement now, after Finding Nemo?), and this little room that houses the LEGO table. Note the seat:

I had already downloaded and completed the forms. We did have to wait, but our appointment was at 11:30, and I knew they were basically trying to fit us in, so that was okay. I didn't find the front office staff overly friendly (though not rude), but everyone else was exceptional. I was invited into the back area, but they asked that I wait on the bench near by while they did the x-rays and the initial exam. Luke was not frightened at all and did just fine with both. He did get a little concerned when the hygienist was showing him the dental toothbrush. "Will it hurt?" Nope, it won't hurt at all, she said. And then he was fine. Come on, they were showing The Incredibles on the wall-mounted televisions. How bad could it be?

Dr. Powell spoke with me while the hygienist cleaned. He said that everything looked great! Luke has all of his teeth that he should have to this point, the x-rays are clear (no cavities!), and his teeth are really quite clean (I could hear the "considering he's never been to the dentist" hanging in the air, but he never actually said it out loud). His bite looks good, and there is plenty of room for his adult teeth to come in. Dr. Powell also absolutely could not believe that it was Luke's first ever visit to the dentist. "He's pretty fearless, isn't he?" That he is.

They don't do the panoramic x-ray that shows the full jaw and all of the adult teeth below the surface until a child turns 5 years old, so we'll know more about his orthodontic future at the next visit. Given that DH and I each had braces for 4+ years, we are expecting no less for Luke. Maybe he'll get really lucky and have no wisdom teeth like my father! Hey, a mom can hope. Upon leaving, each child can select a sticker, a toothbrush, and a toy. Should I be concerned that he chose a Penny (from Bolt) sticker and a Dora (not Diego, Dora!) toothbrush? LOL He did pick an alligator toy, though. As we left, he turned to me and said, "Mommy, I love this place! I want to come back again." From a mom's perspective, I'd say that's a hard recommendation to beat.

Happy birthday, hubby, your son has good teeth!

Currently feeling: thrilled!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Mighty 8th Museum

Picking up where we left off, my parents and grandfather had arrived at the hotel and were kind enough to wait as we got dressed and checked out after our pool adventure for the morning. While the car was being loaded, Luke pulled out his Disney 2009 photo album and began explaining the trip to his Great-Grandpa. Don't know how much Pa-Paw could understand him, but they both seemed to enjoy story time.

After that, it was straight to the Mighty 8th Museum. Somehow, I managed to not get a photo of the front or the atrium. The first section of the museum was titled Prelude to WWII. I guess I should have realized what was coming, but it was still rather a shock to enter the very first doorway, round the corner, and see this:

There were also life size photo enlargements of Hitler with some children just to my left from the perspective of the above photo. It made my skin crawl. My first instinct was to snatch up Luke and back out of the room! I had to take a couple of deep breaths to walk through the long narrow room.

Ironically, my grandfather seemed less bothered by it, perhaps because he was more accustomed to seeing such things. It really was interesting, what I got to see of it. Like the Sea Turtle Center, we took turns chasing tracking accompanying Luke, so I missed the front of this hall, but got to see a good bit of the exhibits in the back, like this one.

The sign below this reads: Corporal Arthur Parker cut this insignia from the tail section of a Messerschmitt Me109 E-1 (4076) downed on the morning of August 31, 1940. The aircraft crashed in Elham Park Wood at 9:30 AM after being shot down by First Lieutenant Denys Gilliams 616 Squadron Spitfire.

Of course, Luke liked the "interactive" parts best. At least this museum didn't have the touch computer screens. I understand why the museums like those, but all Luke wants to do is play on the computers, not look at the stuff. It drives me crazy! Not that I think he got much more out of this display. Maybe he just isn't really ready for museums yet. He thought this mural was pretty amazing. So did my grandfather.

I just love this photo. He was absolutely amazed by this mural. My grandfather was not part of the Mighty 8th. He was in the Army and worked at the airfields in India. "This is exactly what it looked like. Whoever painted it must have been there." Here are some detail photos of the mural:

And a group shot of all of us in front of it. Before you ask, my grandfather is 6'3", or 1.9 meters tall. We're *all* hoping Luke takes after him!

Next to this mural, there was a building of some sort. This was something else I missed somehow while we were there. (So much harder to get everything out of museums with a child in tow.) We did not get to sit through any of the presentation inside, but it was still neat to see.

In the next room was this bomb. I don't know if it was real (disabled) or a replica. I know it is odd to see a child smiling in front of a bomb. That was not really my intent, but I can't really explain to a 4-year-old not to smile in a picture. I really wanted him in the shot for scale. It was just massive.

And the room in the back was a really neat display. Sometimes the screens were a panoramic, sometimes they were different points of view on the same event. There were some additional effects, like strobe lights and such. I only got to see a few minutes of it, but it was quite impressive, and I truly wish I could have seen the entire presentation. Here is a shot from in side the room.

However, the star of the show at the museum is the "plane room." They have scale models:

And their very own B-17 Bomber that is being restored.

It is not behind glass, just sawhorses. You could see the whole plane, and you could (though you should not) reach out and touch parts of it.

Here is Luke standing under the wing; it was *so* hard for him not to touch it!

They also had the nose section of a B-24.

There was a small "house" that showcased period furniture and other historic items, like these:

Per the sign: These items were made by a Belgian Prisoner and her cellmates. The Belgian had owned a shop specializing in hand embroidery and needlework, and taught her cellmates her craft.

My favorite section, simply because it was something I knew nothing about, was the Fly Girls section.

They primarily delivered the planes. They did not fly combat missions. That did not, however, mean that it was not dangerous.

There were some other historically interesting facts about women aviators.

The caption reads: Bessie Coleman was the first African American - male or female - to earn a pilot's license. She was a popular barnstormer during the 1920s, performing in both France and the United States. Coleman was killed during a practice flight in 1926.

This caption said: Four women representing various branches of the armed forces. Before and during World War II, servicewomen faced discrimination from men, as well as other women.

This was captioned: Fifinella, a female gremlin, was the official mascot of the WASP. Walt Disney Studios designed the logo, which was featured on patches, nose art, and WASP newsletters.

I think the thing I love so much about this uniform is that it is for a woman about my height! For some reason, that made me feel better. Doesn't it look so adventurous?

This made me laugh. Caption: Regulations required WASP to keep their hair neat at all times. A cartoon from The Avenger, the WASP newspaper, offers light-hearted suggestions for airplane-themed hairstyles.

Amazing that there were this many of them, and this is the first I had ever heard of it. Way to go ladies! Thank you for paving the way for the rest of us to be considered equals.

I didn't get to spend as much time in this section as I had hoped. It was right at the very end, and I could hear the whining of my child from almost the beginning of the exhibit. His schedule was totally out of whack, he was tired and hungry, and of course, the museum dumps you out in the museum store, so he was begging for toys. We settled on two die cast metal replicas of the B-24 and the B-17. Both have been his constant companions ever since. Maybe the museum did have an impact after all.

Currently feeling: offering my thanks to all who have served this country