Thursday, September 28, 2006

Really big birds

I am a fan of big birds. I've been newly entranced with the ravens that live at our elementary school. I'll try to get some photos of them soon. But, I would love to see THESE beautiful (and ugly) creatures!

Tom Merigan is a local photographer and birder. He took these amazing shots and I think that more people should see the results of this amaing conservation effort! He recommends seeing the slide show.

More information on the Condors in Big Sur. I particularly enjoy the very last thing on the page -- well worth scrolling to the bottom. :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Picking up the new motorhome

We picked it up today. It was hard to wait while Greg went in and paid the man and went through the whole thing in excrutiating detail! :) Somehow we managed though!

It's ours!

The kids rode in the double front seat on the way home. We stopped at KFC and got a bucket of chicken and went to a local park to eat in the motorhome. Greg's parents drove us over and had dinner with us. What a celebration!

After the kids were in bed, Greg and I went out and just sat and talked out in the motorhome in the driveway! HURRAY!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Snapshot in my mind

As a parent, I have often longed for a camera in my brain. There are just too many times when grabbing a camera would destroy the moment but you long to record the moment for ever. I suppose if I were a talented artist, I could "download" the image from my brain for posterity but I'm not.

Friday night, we had a big day. Picked the kids up from school, drove over to Scotts Valley to deposit a check and run a couple of errands, came home and fed them junk food (Lunchables -- blech!), and then ran down to town again to sign them up for this session of soccer club. So, the evening was a weird one. We put the kids to bed -- as we often do -- with a sense of relief that we'll get a touch of quiet, peaceful, couple time. We curled up on the couch to watch something adult on TiVO -- oh, don't think it was something racy -- just something not approved for the under 8 crowd! :)

When I got up to put on jammies and make us popcorn at one point, I had to call Greg to see something. He was tired but came willingly.

The kids had made an elaborate block fort between Gage's bed and the Lego table. Ruthie had brought her pillows and blankie and was sleeping in it on the floor. We looked at each other and decided "What the heck". Greg got her a quilt and covered her up and we left them there. Impromptu sleepover. :)

I have this beautiful image in my mind of both of my children sleeping near each other in a wooden block fort they created -- so happy with each other that they wanted to be near each other and keep that good feeling going.

I think that is my answer to all the people who looked at the hugely pregnant me with my arms full of 18 mos old Ruth and shook their heads disbelievingly and said, "Well, you'll have your hands full." Yes, I did have my hands full, no doubt about it, but my kids are friends with each other and play together beautifully. And, that gives me a little extra joy in my heart.

Kids playing football with the neighbors

Sunday, September 24, 2006

End of an era

End of an era
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
No longer toddlers. It's time to say good-bye to the play structure we bought when they were 4 and 2. Hard to believe it just stopped being fun for them. We'll be replacing it with a trampoline.

Here's the listing on Craig's List:

Time flies when the kids are growing up and having fun!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Ode to My New Shoes, a FIB poem

My new shoes!
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
new shoes
deep dark pink
fun, funky style
They fit perfectly
into my life and on my feet

(ps. Thanks, Susan, for letting me know these shoes existed! :) )

Friday, September 22, 2006

Cute Kid Comment of the Day

Gage Shrugs
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
It's a good thing he's so cute. This morning as I'm dragging my tired butt around the kitchen making seconds on toast for my darling son, I asked my darling daughter to take their vitamins to the table. Gage pipes up with, "Wow, Mom. It's like you have servants!"

Uh yea. That's what it's like alright. Parenting -- it's like having servants.

Only really, really different.

If I weren't feeling so lousy this morning I'd probably have hurt myself laughing! Kids!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ahhhh! Now it makes sense!

Well, I felt tired, lost, and non-productive all day yesterday despite getting lots of work done on my schoolwork and for my job at BCE. I subbed in the afternoon and then came home and slept for more than an hour. Got up and made lasagna and then collapsed in an exhausted heap and realized that I was running a fever! Suddenly it all clicks into place. I'm sick -- no wonder I feel awful!

So, I'm taking the day off and going to get as much rest as I can today. Hopefully I'll shake this thing off and be back to normal!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Not sure what is going on

with me and the blogging thing.

I just know that it's not happening. Is it the start of school and changing my routine? Is it a general dissatisfaction with my life caused by school and work (or lack thereof), is my blogging career (ha!) over? What is going on with me?

Can't say. I do know that this is one of those times in my life when lots of things feel like they are on hold. My job is totally on hold and is stressing me out. We are refinancing our house which is stressful and makes us feel like we're on hold until it's resolved. This whole school year feels on hold to me -- I won't finish my credential until early December and but then the rest of the school year I'll be working part-time and I don't know it just feels wrong somehow. Everyone tells me to enjoy it but . . . to be honest, I'm not enjoying it.

Sigh. I'm just feeling lost and adrift, I guess. Hopefully focus will come soon. Maybe I'll have to force focus and contentment. Yea, that'll work.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Life . . . it sure does get in the way!

So, our changed routine is hard to get used to. Our summer was simpler, somehow and we're all having adjustment issues.

My day yesterday . . .

Starting at 6am, I got up, made my two mochas, and did my early morning computer thing (reading blogs, etc.). At 7, I woke the kids up and got dressed myself. Then breakfast and finding lunch money. We rolled out of here at 8am on the dot which was great except that halfway to school, I realized I'd forgotten my 2nd mocha on the counter. Sigh. We parked in a decent spot (hurrah!) and started our day. Kiss the kids and go to the office. I started as the Math Coordinator yesterday and didn't really have a clear idea of what that would entail from day one. Hmmmm. Ups and downs with that but I did spend some time observing in Math classes for the 4th-5th graders. Had a lunchtime meeting with the staff about Math support but nothing was really resolved. Had a just past lunchtime meeting with my principal about Math support and left feeling more confused than ever. We were not on the same page. Came home and thought about the page she was on and made up a spreadsheet showing what I think she's talking about there -- not sure how it will work but at least I'm trying to figure it out. Went back to school at 2:30 and picked up kids. Came home and got some more work done. Made the kids dinner at 5:30 and went to the Parent Club meeting at school (trip number 3 to the school that day!). Managed to NOT volunteer for anything, thank goodness! Dealt appropriately with a couple who decided to complain publically that they couldn't get something off the school's website (that I do as a volunteer effort). I told them that if they'd let me know I would have fixed it but I hadn't had any complaints about it. Came home and checked with both of my old, tired computers -- no problems. Made a zip file of the file in question and emailed it to them, cc'ing the principal. (CYA is important!) Watched TV with Greg instead of doing the dishes, laying out clothes, etc. Read in bed from 10:30 to 11. Wheeeee!

Today, I get to go to the DMV and renew my license which was due in March but I didn't get a notice and didn't realize it had expired until a month ago when I wrote a check for the first time in about a bazillion years! Oh joy. Don't you wish you had my life?

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Changing Rythyms

A summer of more relaxed schedules and then a week of school followed by three days of relaxed schedule again. Is it any wonder that my mind (and body, for that matter) are rebelling slightly at the thought of getting up early (WHY is that alarm going off???), making breakfast and lunches, rousting and riding kids, and all the stuff that a school day entails?

Yesterday was a total play hooky day. Greg and I did very little that could be legitimately called productive. I did load the dishwasher and I did move a single load of laundry through and I kept three to four children fed all day (which is not an easy task these days -- they are growing and hungry!). But, mostly, I sort of mentally hibernated in front of my computer.

When you work in front of a computer, it is a convenient place to hide out on those "I just don't wanna do anything" days (you did insert the mental whine in that didn't you? If not, go back and do it now). I remember when I worked in an office with a door that closed and all that good stuff, I used that hide in plain sight method to great effect. You could research things on the internet for hours and appear to be working productively. Standing up and stretching periodically while saying, "Phew! I can't believe how much I'm getting done!" really adds to the illusion that you are the most productive person on the planet.

I don't think Greg and I really thought we were fooling anyone -- except maybe the kids. The whole "Mom's working" thing can create some space that is important for work-at-home parents.

But, today, the game is over. I have to really get to work today. I am not student teaching this week (at least not much anyway). I am planning and organizing and meeting and . . . yes . . . researching. My schoolwork has to get organized and calendared and moved forward and my new job as Math Coordinator starts next Monday and that needs to be figured out too. So, summer is over. The mornings are getting cooler. It's dark now when I get up at 6am. And, I have to get to work.

Heavy sigh! Summer is a wonderful time of year!

Monday, September 4, 2006

Allergen Report

Well, I'm taking twice my daily dose of Claritin-D and putting the little allergen factory out on the porch to "enjoy the fresh air" everyday. I only needed my rescue inhaler once yesterday -- and it was more preventative than anything. Ruth thinks its all going great but we'll have to have a painful talk about how Mom can't live this way. She'll be sad but perhaps we'll find a different piggie that works for us.

The other side of things is that Checkers is a perfect pet for Ruthie. This piggie is tolerant to the nth degree. Ruthie carries her around, talks to her, cuddles her, sings to her, and curled up in a chair and read her 6 books yesterday afternoon. The piggie is unflappable.

She did escape while playing with Ruthie though. They were on the rug in the family room and Checkers looked at the dark opening under the TV hutch and ran. Hilarious. We finally got her out with no one traumatized. Of course, Ruthie is trying to "train" her not to go under there again. We watch a lot of Dog Whisperer in the house and Ruthie was using his techniques on the guinea pig. :)

So that's the news here from Allergy Central!

Saturday, September 2, 2006

The little visiting allergen factory

Kids and Checkers
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Do you see the happy little faces? Do you see the sweet, mellow critter? Do you see the mom with the blood shot eyes, sniffling nose, allergy meds in one hand, asthma inhalers in the other?



Today was an unusual day for me. My husband is a musician. He's in two bands -- Mind Furniture and Metaphor. Metaphor is currently recording a CD. For one of their songs, they needed a choir to sing. So, Greg asked me to come join them as they needed more women.

I love to sing. That said, I don't have a fantastic voice and I have very, very little training. So, my confidence isn't real high. I'm sure I can sing well in a choir with some strong singers around me and Greg assured me that would be the case. No solos for me, thank you!

So, we had a rehearsal on Wednesday night and the other women singers are strong and confident so that was nice. I felt okay after the rehearsal but still quite worried about the whole thing. The other two women were quite good singers -- trained and experienced. I felt out of place, for sure!

Today was the actual recording. The process was fascinating. We did not have enough voices for the large choir effect that they wanted so we did multiple takes of the voices we had and then they are played together and . . . voila! . . . instant choir. It's amazing how well it works. I sang the Alto/Tenor line which was interesting and well in my range. There was also a soprano line -- I was intended to sing on it but that wasn't an option. When they were singing it, we joked that dolphins were calling back to them -- it was SO high! I'm a true alto and can't sing high soprano at all! There was also a bass line and Greg sang that one.

We listened to a rough mix tonight. It sounds great. Very full and choir-y. In retrospect, the day was great. But, I found it very nerve-wracking. Greg was more relaxed . . . "they can always do another take, don't worry about it!" I kept worrying that someone would say, "Oh my God, we can't fake it anymore -- that woman can't sing and we can't fix that noise with the technology!" Needless to say, that didn't happen. I felt way more confident once we were done. I'm really glad Greg talked me into doing it.

Friday, September 1, 2006

What I learned today . . .

So, yesterday I was helping out in kindergarten again -- what fun it is, really. Kindergarteners are so great! But, a 2nd grade teacher wasn't feeling well so they called on my to sub for her. No problem.

I found my kids at lunch to let them know what to do and where to meet me after school since I wouldn't be at their classrooms waiting. Ruthie was holding their classroom pet, Checkers the guinea pig. She is madly in love with Checkers and her teacher lets the kids take Checkers out before school and at all the recesses. Ruthie is usually the first one asking about it. :) We had just told her that we would get her a guinea pig. While I was talking to her, I took a chance to hold the lovely Checkers myself. What a sweetie -- she snuggled in and nibbled on my finger (very gently, it's a guinea pig thing) and then I handed her back to Ruthie. This was about 12:15 or so.

I taught for a little while and then went to lunch. I'm sitting in the staff room about 12:45 and my eyes are getting itchy. It takes a while to register and then I realize that I'm having an allergic reaction and my eyes are probably bright red and starting to swell. Damn. I go to the bathroom and sure enough. So, I head up to the office and ask for any meds. Amazingly, they had allergy eye drops but I had to call Greg for more help. I went in to start teaching the 2nd graders. They are all on the rug listening to me.

"Hey guys, do any of you notice anything funny about me?"
A few puzzled stares -- this could be a trick question -- some "no"s and finally one kid looks at me and says, "Yea, your eyes are all red!"
So, I explained and said that Mr Miller would be bringing me some medicine so that I'd feel better. They were great about it. And that's what happened and it was all good.

Except that on the way home, I had to tell Ruthie.

Let me tell you that making your daughter cry is not a great way to end a day. Poor little thing. She was heartbroken.

We aren't giving up though. We'll have Checkers come home and see if just having her in the house will affect me. If it doesn't, then we'll try going to the store and holding guinea pigs until we find one that I don't react to. But, Ruthie knows that might not work. To be honest, I'm very doubtful. Even with all the meds on board, I ended up getting the initial stages of an asthma attack that evening. I think we need to start looking for a different pet now.

Greg figured it out. He thinks that we'll end up getting our next dog all the sooner because we can't have a guinea pig and Ruthie is so sad about it. I don't know about that but I do know that he can't hold out when both of us are crying like we were this afternoon. It really doesn't feel good to disappoint a wonderful girl like that.