Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Happy Hallow-wing! At least, that's how Luke has been saying it. My parents got to join us this year for the first time since his very first Halloween when he was 3 weeks old. Even Kitty got a costume this year. I whipped this up in about an hour on Halloween afternoon during rest time.

We thought we might take him actual house to house trick-or-treating for the first time this year. At our house closing on Thursday, the now-former owner of our new house mentioned that the neighborhood has a Halloween parade every year, with a fire truck and everything, that essentially starts right in front of the new house. He said it started at 5 PM, so we aimed to get there around 4:30. We figured that would give us time to get Luke into costume and get out there in time, plus my parents would get to see the new house. I also thought it was very nice of the owner, since technically we didn't take possession of the house until Sunday night, but he said we could come by to see the house and go to the parade on Saturday.

When we arrived around 4:20 or so, there were actually 3 fire trucks already there, and they were blocking the whole street. We could not get to our house! We had to park a block or so away and walk. There were tons of parents and kids already liked up on the cold and rainy afternoon, so we hustled to try and get Luke ready. I think we were ready just after 4:30 (no later than 4:40, I know for sure), but the parade had already left. I can't help but think that all the parents saw all the other parents they expected to see were already there, so they decided to go on and go. Luke was disappointed, but he handled it well.

The mall where we usually go trick-or-treating was just a few miles away, so we headed out there instead. I knew it was going to be pretty crazy as usual, then add in the rain and the fact that it was Saturday, and chaos was bound to ensue. This year, it was scheduled to run from 5-7 PM. I knew to be there early, since last year places started giving out candy early and many were out by 5:30 or so. Apparently they got enough complaints last year that most places at 4:50 were saying "it doesn't start until 5 PM, and we can't give out candy until then." (Some were doing it anyway, but most were not.) BUT, over half the places were *still* out of candy by 5:20, which is inexcusable! There was some increase over the usual crowd, but not enough to account for that. A couple of the stores were new, so I can excuse them for not having any real understanding about how many kids there were going to be. But the places that have been there for at least 5 years? They have no excuse for running out of candy in less than 30 minutes, other than simply choosing to not buy enough (or even close to enough) candy.

I would like to give a special shout-out to Sears for not only having candy but for having many spare bags *and* for having an employee say as we were leaving "we have 4 bags left, but I'm not sure that will be enough, I'll go get some more." They were also some of the friendliest, smiling at the kids instead of just throwing candy in the bucket with scowls on their faces. Still, I feel really bad for the families we passed who were just coming in at 5:40 as we were leaving. I'm not sure even a quarter of the places had any left by then. I hope their kids had fun anyway. Ours sure seemed to. I present Boba Fett Luke, the most feared cutest bounty hunter in the land!

And after we got home and Luke was in bed, I played around with the camera some. Here are our five happy haunts! Left to right: our Pirates of the Caribbean skull bowl, the pumpkin DH carved (see October 25 photo), Luke's Boba Fett helmet, the Mickey Mouse trick or treating bucket that Mom and Dad bought for Luke this year, and Luke's pumpkin bucket (which is the one he decided to actually trick or treat with when given the choice). I think it's quite good for a hand held tricky exposure night shot! Kudos to my mom for figuring out to put the flashlights into the desk drawers to up-light the bowl and the bucket on the ends.

Currently feeling: ghoulish

October 2009 Round Up

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

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
I did all kinds of reading this month, but it was primarily house related. Really ready to finally be able to read something else!

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
Television: The usual, plus new Mythbusters and Good Eats, which celebrated its 10th anniversary.

At the Theater: Toy Story and Toy Story 2 3-D Double Feature (very interesting, but not quite as amazing as I was expecting; hoping for more from Toy Story 3).

Old Favorites: We did show Luke both Kung Fu Panda and Beauty and the Beast for the first time. I know he watched Hercules for rest more than once. Other than that, I don't really remember. It was an absolutely crazy month. Wait, a review of my tweets shows we watched The Great Mouse Detective (thanks, Twitter! LOL).

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Luke's birthday! We had a whole bunch of folks over, and it was so great to see everyone.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
Gifts to Luke for his birthday, obviously. I don't recall any others.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Luke had his first ever bout of pink eye. We also got him the nasal flu immunization, and he was sick for a good 4-5 days from that, much sicker than I expected. We think that may have triggered the ear problems that are now causing the ENT to make noises about a second set of tubes *and* adenoid removal. Thankfully, these are all pretty minor health issues, but it sure seemed to be one thing after another this month.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
My parents got to go trick-or-treating with Luke for the first time this year. I didn't realize it until they said something that the last Halloween they spent with him was when he was just 3 weeks old! Luke and I also made cookies together, and we carved our first jackolantern since Luke was born.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
We were lucky to simply get around to eating this month. Experimenting was out of the question.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
A house! And I have the reams of papers to prove it. Sure was a headache though. Loan folks kept asking for (IMO irrelevant) last minute stuff, and we had to delay closing because they were late getting the papers to the lawyer. ::head desk::

What were this month's disappointments?
The news about Luke possibly needing a second set of tubes was a real blow. We've spend the last 12-18 months trying to avoid it, and yet here we are. It's not a done deal yet, but I'd be surprised if we're not booked for surgery for early 2010 (yikes, did I really just put that year down?!! less than 2 months away).

What were my accomplishments this month?
Only one of my 101 Things got done this month (so many other things to do!), but that's actually one more than I thought would happen. I was convinced when the month started that there would be zero.

88. Remove/replace front bushes.
DH was a dear and did this one for me one morning. In fact, it was the same morning that Luke and I were nearly killed by someone running a red light. It is also when he found the horseshoe buried in the ground under the bushes. Coincidence?

Project 365 is going well. Only two months left, and I have to say, as fun and interesting as it has been, with things as crazy as they are, it feels like a chore some days. I'm actually glad it will be over soon, though I'm sure I'll miss it some next year. I do think that I will take photos more frequently than I used to going forward (though not every single day), thanks to the experience.

My proudest accomplishment, though, is having this year's CD calendar as done as I can make it. I have all of the pages through December constructed, and I have photos inserted through September. All I have to do is pop in the photos for the remaining months, and I am good to go. I'm just astounded I'm ahead of the game on *something* in this world.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

I would say that turning 5 was quite the accomplishment. There was more than one day I wasn't certain he would make it. (World's best parenting advice that used to be funny but is now simply truth: it's okay to *want* to kill them, just don't actually do it.) He was given the "all clear" from his doctor at his 5 year check up: 45.5 inches, 50.3 pounds, big feet LOL, and perfectly healthy. Kind-of makes me wonder how the ENT could be saying "will likely need tubes again plus adenoid removal" only 3 weeks later, doesn't it? He also came down with his first ever round pink eye within days of going to the doctor, which has equal chance of having come from the doctor's office or school (I'm sure it was on a communal toy or book). Giving him drops for a week was torture.

We all survived a trip to the outlet mall to get him long sleeved shirts. Shopping with a pre-schooler for the pre-schooler is just never fun, but he did pretty well. He also helped me in the kitchen for the first time by assisting with Chocolate Chip Cookies. And, we carved his first pumpkin (not a lot of help there, but he still thought it was a blast!).

Anything else noteworthy to record?
Tigger also got a clean bill of health from her doctor. Her check-up was clean, and her liver values came back completely normal. She is not on any medication, and she has even gained back most of her weight (oops). The vet would like her to lose one pound, but it is not worth tinkering with her food! LOL

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Currently feeling: in need of a break, but there's just no time!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

When one house closes

It's done! We now officially own two homes! Um, yay? LOL That was never the plan, but there was just too much to do with closing only 30 days after finalizing the contract on the new house to get the current house on the market in the same 30 days. Had we known not having our current house listed would have caused the underwriters so much heartburn, we never would have waited! But no one said, "you know, the loan people will freak out if you don't have your current house listed yet." (If they had, we would have listed it.) No, they waited until just a couple of days before closing to let us know they were skittish. We'll put the current house on the market before Thanksgiving (and we sent them something that said so, in writing, *twice*).

The mortgage people were a pain for a large portion of the last two weeks. Once it left the hands of the local guy and went up to the "official" people at corporate, things went downhill. They were not the most organized with the paperwork, which amazes me since they pretty much handle paperwork for a living. I know our agent faxed them a copy of our contract 3 different times, including the day before closing. We had to re-fax some papers the day before, and sign and re-fax something (that they explicitly told me that very afternoon we did NOT need to resign) at 8:30 PM the night before closing.

Closing was supposed to be at 1 PM at the lawyer's office. They promised to have us the amount we needed for the cashier's check sometime in the 9-10 AM time frame the following morning, and they assured us the papers would be to the lawyer in plenty of time. At 10:45, we still didn't have the papers to the lawyer (for our 1 PM appointment!), nor did they have the final amount we needed, but they gave us an estimate. We ended up padding that number by an additional 10% or so, since they won't take cash or a personal check for the difference if you are short. And *then* they caused our actual closing appointment to be delayed by 2 hours because they could not get the papers to the lawyer in time to review it before our scheduled appointment (hint: 15 minutes is not enough time to review that volume of legal paperwork!!). They wanted to move it out to 4 PM, but that was unacceptable since we had to pick up Luke at school. We have not been happy with the loan people at all, and they will not get a good review from us on the survey they said was coming. I won't mention the name here, but you can contact me if you need/want to know. We were just very annoyed, to say the least.

Once we finally got to closing around 3:15 PM (the lawyer's 2 PM appointment ran over), everything went great. I think we were done in about 40 minutes, which still gave us enough time to pick up Luke. Not the best day, but it's all done, and we have the key to prove it!

Currently feeling: like we have one house too many

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ENT Update: More talk of more tubes

Big sigh. Luke had another ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) appointment today. Once again, we hoped this would be the last visit, and once again, we were told he has fluid on his ears that is (or is about to be) infected and is clearly causing a hearing problem this time around (something I noticed a few weeks ago, but I wasn't sure if it was really a hearing issue or an "I'm 5 years old and I'm not listening" problem). We've been doing this for over a year by now. If we were just going to have to do a second set of tubes (grommets), I would have rather done it a year ago and been done with it rather than to keep putting it off until it will now interfere with school. I know it's just Pre-K, but still, we could have done it over the summer or something. And I know they were trying to avoid another surgery for him, but if it was looking so much like they would have to do it, I would just rather have it done and be done with it than to have dragged it out for another year-plus.

And it's not just a second set of tubes. Oh no, it couldn't possibly be that easy. In cases where the problem is chronic fluid on the ears leading to hearing difficulties, they "almost always" (her words) take out the adenoids as well. Putting in tubes? The thought doesn't phase me. Taking a knife and hacking away bits of my kid, particularly inside his head? I have to admit to being a wee bit phased. They won't be taking his tonsils (absolutely no history of tonsillitis or strep throat), and she insists that adenoid removal is "less than 10% of the recovery of a tonsillectomy," but I still don't like it. But if it means we can finally be done with this nonsense, then I'm all for it.

It is possible we'll go back for a recheck in 3 weeks (after yet another round of antibiotics and antihistamine nasal spray). They will also do a full hearing screening. If everything comes back clear (no fluid on the ears and a normal hearing screen), then it is possible they will again put it off, but you know what? I'd really rather not, if that's where they think we'll end up anyway. I'm really just ready to be done with it. We'll know more in a few weeks.

Currently feeling: frustrated

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Batty for Jackolanterns

We carved our first jackolantern with Luke this year. I don't think DH and I have carved one since before he was born, maybe even not since we moved into this house. I didn't even really intend to do it this year, but when his school asked us to buy pumpkins to bring in for their fall festival, it seemed silly not to go ahead and buy one for ourselves. I also didn't want to carve it too early and risk a catastrophe, so we waited until the weekend before Halloween to cut in.

Luke had no idea what to expect!

"Eww! How you get that out?" Well, my dear, you scrape. We did buy one of the pumpkin carving kits, and in the past the scrapers have worked really well. This one had a serrated edge on it, though, and I didn't like it at all. We used a very thin-edged large spoon instead, and it worked brilliantly.

I actually thought I would end up doing the pumpkin, but DH insisted he should do it while I cooked dinner. Um, okay. I don't think I've ever seen DH do anything "crafty" in my life, and I know he's never used one of the carving kits. But he really wanted to do it, so I let him. Other than a little of the initial internal scraping, the only other thing I did was apply the pattern.

I do not recall where I got this pattern from. It was a link I found on Twitter earlier in the week. I liked that it was a very effective silhouette but still very very simple. Plus Luke has been really into bats lately, so I thought it would be perfect. The most complex part was the pupil of the eyes, and I knew that if that proved to be too intricate that making the eyes perfectly round would be just fine. So DH set to work.

Here he is popping out the first piece.

And here it is all finished. The only other thing I did was clean up some of the strings inside once DH was done, since his arm was tired. Otherwise, DH did it all. Luke thought it was "so cool!" LOL

It really does look fabulous. Great job, honey! I think *you* get to do all the pumpkin carving from now on.

Currently feeling: ready for fright night

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chef Luke: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today, Luke helped me cook for the first time. He's been on a chocolate chip cookie kick of late (don't know where he got that from or why, since he's never wanted to try them before), so I thought it might be fun to actually make some with him.

We need sugar (packing the brown sugar):

And may as well go ahead and chop the nuts:

Mix the wet ingredients well:

Add the flour:

Stir in the good stuff (nuts and chips):

Place on the cookie sheet:

Wait impatiently for them to cool:

Of course, as is usual with Luke and things like this, he has not the slightest interest in actually eating them, despite the fact that he has begged for one almost daily (and even gotten them on a couple of occasions) for the last two weeks straight. Now that we made some just for him and have them at home for him to more or less consume at will, he doesn't want one. Typical!

And a special thank you to DH for taking the pictures. I took a few, but he obviously took most of them (since I'm in them, though largely cropped out). All in all, both Luke and DH did very well with the whole experience.

Currently feeling: in need of milk

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saved by Reflexes (and God)

I came quite close to death this morning, or at least very serious injury. Probably missed it my mere inches, in fact. As I was taking Luke to school this morning, a mini van ran the stop light of a cross street as I was entering the intersection. I promise you, my light was green! Normally, I look both ways even after a green light to make sure everyone has stopped. I don't consciously remember doing that this time, but I do it so routinely, I'm not sure. Either I didn't look, or I didn't see the van at first. There were two lanes of traffic in each direction of the cross street, and the road curves right there, so it is possible the van was screened by the line of cars closest to me. Regardless, the van came flying through the intersection at full speed after I had already entered the intersection.

Beyond that, I am still unclear on exactly what happened. I had stomped on the breaks and come to a complete stop before I had even consciously registered the threat. defines the word "reflex" as "an automatic and often inborn response to a stimulus that involves a nerve impulse passing inward from a receptor to a nerve center and thence outward to an effector (as a muscle or gland) without reaching the level of consciousness." Often inborn, but not necessarily so. All I know is that it was well after I had pounded the pedal and stopped before my conscious mind registered what was happening. In my brain, it went something like this:

(Stomp, stop; actions assumed but no actual recall) Consciously register "Did I see something out of the corner of my eye?" Watch van go whizzing past, swerving into the oncoming lanes to avoid me (thank goodness there was no one coming), glance up at light to make sure it is in fact green, watch van continue on down the road to my right. Glance in rear view mirror to check status of driver behind me. Decide that, based on his appearance, he did not hit me (if he had only tapped me from behind, I'm not sure I would have known it at the time). Continue on through intersection to daycare.

I actually do not even remember stepping on the brake. I remember my light turning green and me moving forward. I have a very vague recollection of some sort of flicker of movement in my peripheral vision to my far left. I have a very distinct memory of the sounds made in the car as all the junk in the seats and floorboards shifted forward, but I don't remember physically stepping on the break or actually coming to a stop. The next thing I remember is being at a stop and watching the van fly past.

Luke was perfectly fine. He was actually completely unfazed, besides scolding me for "making a mess." One of those distinct sounds I heard was apparently his breakfast bowl hitting the floor and scattering Pop-Tart crusts everywhere. We were less than 1/2 a mile from daycare when the incident occurred. By the time we got there, I was shaking pretty badly. I dropped Luke off, got back in the car, took a few deep breaths, and took a *different* route home so I didn't have to face that same intersection again so soon. Other than a little soreness in my lower right leg, I thought I was okay.

By the time I got home, I was shaking even worse, and I was in tears. It just came on gradually as I drove, and I was in full blown bawling mode by the time I pulled in at the house. DH works from home on Fridays, so he was there to hold me and listen. I also realized that my right leg was really really hurting! I had stomped on the brake pedal so hard that my entire leg hurt from hip to ankle. I'm sure it didn't help that this was the same hip I hurt about 18 months ago. Over the course of the day, more things started to hurt: my right elbow, 3 outer fingers on my right hand, my shoulders, and my neck. I've been in very minor accidents before, and these are all the same things that hurt. I guess I just didn't expect it (other than my leg, which I understand) when we didn't actually get hit. Advil is my friend!

Don't get me wrong, I am very very grateful that we missed each other! I feel so very very lucky. I of course realized at the time that the accident would have been quite bad. It was only later that I consciously realized that the impact point on my car would have been the front driver's side, either the wheel well or the door. As in, MY door! It would have been very very bad for me, and I don't know how bad for Luke (he sits behind the passenger seat). I'm still a little baffled about how we managed to avoid colliding, but I'm not complaining either. Makes me think twice about skipping evening prayers, that's for sure. Everyone be safe out there!

Currently feeling: way too close for comfort

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy (Late) 6th Blogoversary to Me

I just wanted to say thank you to the folks who dropped by and left me a "happy blogoversary" comment on whatever post was showing at the time they stopped in. Obviously, I completely missed it! Just so so busy lately. Hard to believe it has been six years already. I've certainly enjoyed it! Hope you have, too. Looking forward to many more years to come.

Currently feeling: where does the time go?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not-So-Pretty in Pink

For his 5th birthday, apparently Luke decided to contract pink eye for the first time ever. Joy. What is it with him and illnesses for his birthday? He got his first ear infection for his 2nd birthday, and now pink eye for his 5th. Not sure if he got it at school or the doctor's office (either is equally likely, I think), but it showed up bright and early Saturday morning. Thank goodness we had his birthday party last weekend!!

We did not feel comfortable waiting until the pediatrician's office opened on Monday for him to be seen, so we went back to the Minute Clinic that treated his ear infection back in February. I did not know that pink eye could be either bacterial or viral. Since there really isn't much you can do to treat the viral kind (besides wait for it to pass), he would have been considered contagious for much longer with the viral version. Thankfully, the viral test came back negative, so we are treating it as bacterial conjunctivitis. They called in the prescription antibiotic drops to our pharmacy, and we were all set.

That is, until we actually tried to administer the drops. He fussed about it on principle for several minutes, and then once I finally got the first drop in, he started *screaming.* I don't ever remember the drops hurting like that, but he insisted they did. And that was just one drop in one eye. He was supposed to have 2 drops in *each* eye. Yeah, that was fun. And we're supposed to do this every 4 hours for a week?! I thought it might get better once the inflammation started going away, but it's been a day and a half now, and he's still screaming just as much, if not more. We finally had to literally hold him down and do them before bed tonight. And I'm going to have to go to school every day and give them to him there at lunch time. It's going to be a very long week.

Currently feeling: hating pink eye!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Luke's 5 Year Stats

Yes, Luke is now officially 5 years old, as of yesterday in fact. We gave him a small gift, ate his choice of meals for dinner (Pizza Hut delivered to the house) and finally played the Scooby-Doo Ring Toss game I bought for his party but never got to. Mostly just a quiet evening at home.

Today, we had his 5 year well visit at the pediatrician. He's done with immunizations and boosters until he hits age 12, but they do prick his finger, which he hates about as much as I do. Nothing much to report, really. She said he looks and sounds great (and he has really big feet! LOL).

Official stats:
* Height: 45.5 in (1.15 m), 90th percentile, up 2.5 in (6.3 cm) from age 4
* Weight: 50.3 lb (22.8 kg, 3.6 stone), 95th percentile up 7.3 lb (3.3 kg) from age 4

Still a big one! LOL

Currently feeling: just fine for age 5

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Clean Bill of Health

That's right! Tigger has been officially cleared of her liver problems. The vet checked her out yesterday and said that she looks fantastic (though she would like her to lose a pound; she'd back up to 12). Everything looks, feels, and sounds perfect, and they called this afternoon to say that her liver values are perfectly normal. Yay, yay, yay!!! She does want to see her every 6 months from now on, instead of just once a year, just to be sure we catch anything starting back up in time, but I think we can manage that. Just so happy to have a healthy kitty again!!

Currently feeling: purr-fectly happy

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Luke's 5th Birthday Party

Due to some family conflicts, we decided to have Luke's birthday party the weekend before his birthday this year. Between work craziness and buying the house, I didn't feel like I had done enough to prepare, and I was stressing big time over the whole thing. We ended up with a total of 14 people at the party and for dinner afterwards, ranging in age from 76 years to 18 months, and I think it went fantastically well, even if I do say so myself! Not a whole lot of commentary to give, so I'll just share a few pictures with minimal babbling.

The decorations:

The cake, done by Mom again this year, and fabulous as always:

Opening presents:

Blowing out candles:

And a birthday first! Here is Luke actually *eating* a piece of his birthday cake for the very first time. Only took him 5 years! LOL (Yes, seriously, he has never eaten a piece of his own cake before, not even his first birthday party (where he threw it off his high chair tray and cried about the icing on his fingers). He just started eating cake in the last 6-8 months.)

I know there are some group shots floating around with many of the party attendees in them, but I didn't download them before everyone left, so these are about all I have.

BIL, SIL, and our niece stayed at our house with us. We hadn't seen them since Luke's birthday party last year. I think everyone was overwhelmed with the very exciting day on Saturday, so everyone, including the kids, looked about like this Sunday morning (after breakfast for 10 folks):

But it really went very very well, and I think (hope) everyone had as wonderful a time as they said they did.

Currently feeling: well partied