Apple Picking

Friday, September 25, 2009 No comments
It was a warm 80 degrees yesterday so we took advantage of the weather and we went with our Newcomers' group to a nearby farm to pick apples. After a hayride, we set about to scour the trees for the remaining apples. Most were up very high on the trees. Chloe had fun climbing on the low-lying branches to pick a few Cortlands off the tree.

22 Years Later

Thursday, September 24, 2009 No comments

and I am back at a U2 concert. Who would have thought when I saw them my freshman year of high school in Ft. Worth, Texas that the next time I saw them it would be in Giants Stadium in NJ?

Matt and I enjoyed the concert. It was quite a show.


Monday, September 21, 2009 1 comment
After some convincing, and seeing other kids riding their bicycles without training wheels, the ever-cautious Chloe decided to try her bike on two-wheels. She had a fantastic teacher in Daddy and with a little practice and the installation of a balance bar, she's two-wheelin'.

It took a weekend of practice and one fall to set us back. We were so proud of her when she got back on the bike Sunday night. The sidewalks are too uneven, so we had her practice at the track.


Sunday, September 20, 2009 No comments

We signed Chloe up for an 8 week soccer program for kindergartners through our town. They divide the kids up and play games. There is no organized soccer games for kids Chloe's age, and I think that its a good thing as they have a five-second attention span.

Chloe loved playing the games. We got such a kick out of watching her. She loves soccer, especially the cool soccer cloths she gets to wear. I purchased her size 4 soccer shorts and they were so large I had to pin them to keep them up. She cannot wear anything with an elastic waist, she's too petite. She insisted on wearing them. I thought the giant, white clip I used to keep them up that was sticking out the back of her shorts and the her shoe laces that wouldn't stay tied took away from the cool factor, but she didn't think so.

Back to School Night--Note to Parents: Bring Your Checkbook

Thursday, September 17, 2009 1 comment
I love how schools host a "Back to School Night" and clearly state that you are not to bring your children--for parents only. My parents live 1600 miles away and Matt's live on another continent. So its not like we can drop her off at the grandparents or with the aunt and uncle. We have to hire a babysitter. Finding a babysitter on a back to school night for a school that has 535 kids is next to impossible, especially when other district schools are also having their back to school nights tonight. Chloe's coming and we will have to tag team back to school night. Our dependable and trusted babysitter has been snagged by another school family. AAARRGGHHH! Note to self: stop taking phone calls and giving glowing references for your babysitter--or give a bad one so that she can only work for you and not get snagged away. I recommended her for these jobs, shouldn't I get first dibs? ;)

Now the money that we would have spent on a babysitter can go to the school. We've already been told to bring $30 tonight for the class dues (parties for the year and teacher's gifts)---that's on top of signing up to be the parent-host for a holiday celebration--you make the snack and bring the paper products. The school is also launching its grocery card program, selling school spirit clothing, taking money for the school pictures in two weeks (which you pay for in advance) and launching the gift wrap sales fundraiser tonight too. Oh, and tonight is the last night to pay your $20 dues to join the home and school association.

The Family Heirarchy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2 comments
Chloe informed me this morning that we have a hierarchy in our family. This is exactly how it was relayed to me from Chloe:

"Daddy is the boss of Mommy.
PaPaw is the boss of Mommy.
Mommy & Daddy are the boss of Chloe.
Chloe is the boss of Lizzie and Flash.
Lizzie is the boss of Flash.
Flash is the boss of no one because he is the baby."

"Boss" seems to be the word of the day. She keeps spelling it too. Looks like I am going to have to rework this heirarchy so that I am the boss of everyone.

Ready for this Week to be Over

Friday, September 11, 2009 3 comments
Its literally been one of those weeks so I am going with a bulleted list:

  • My father had a heart attack on Wednesday, 9/9. He was cutting down a tree and started feeling chest pains. He had a good idea what was happening, even though he went inside, got a glass of lemonade and changed clothes! Thankfully, he thought to unlock the front door and called 911. He had complete blockage on the right side of his heart and had two stints. He's recovering nicely and seems to have his spirits back as he has been performing his one-man comedy act on heart attacks for family, friends and all his nurses and doctors. My sister Deanna flew down on Thursday and his helping take care of my father's farm. he should be getting out of the hospital today, which is fabulous news. Now we just need to make sure he takes it easy for the next few weeks.

  • We signed Flash up for puppy obedience classes. When the instructor asked if we had any concerns or issues we would like to work on with Flash my response was, "He's a puppy!" In the meantime, he's losing his puppy teeth and getting his adult teeth and is chewing on everything. I caught him chewing on the coffee table and dining room chair yesterday. This was after he got into and chewed up all of Chloe's Pi*xo's. They were all over the floor and even stuck to his teeth!

  • On Thursday, Lizzie, the English Setter had her teeth cleaned. She had lots of plaque and every vet we have ever seen has urged us to have them cleaned. She did great and got to go home early. She only had to stay one night at the vets. Flash was a little lost without her, but just having him at home gave Chloe a chance to bond with Flash. She played with him a lot and doesn't scream for me when he comes anywhere near her or her stuff. Of course, just as I typed this, she came running to me to ask me to put Flash outside. She claims, "he came up and tooted right {her} face!" Is it mean of me just to laugh?
  • I got asked to serve another year on the New*comers Board. This makes my third year on the Board. The by-laws states that you are only allowed to serve two but the executive board voted to make a stipulation so I could fill a vacated position. I was excited at first and now I am wondering what I was thinking!!??

  • People in our village have seriously lost their minds. People have been fighting over whether the village should make our swimming pond into a legitimate cement pool or not. The village council had a meeting where the two opposing sides could present their sides. The police were "on call" because many believed it would be hard to maintain civility thanks to some of the insane accusations and name-calling people have been doing on our community blog. I never cease to be amazed at how terrible and rude people can be to each other when they hide behind the "anonymous" comments. Seriously, some of the accusations are grounds for slander and libel suits. The whole incivility in our town has paralleled the nation-wide debate and accusations over health care reform. I saw this the other day and really thought it summed up my thoughts.

  • Chloe is completely spent from school this week. I had a difficult time trying to get her to sit down and do her homework (tracing the letter B) for kindergarten yesterday. She rushed through it and just wanted to get it done. Once she finished it she wanted to play but fell asleep for two hours. We've also had a tough time getting her to go to bed and to stay in her bed. She finds any excuse to come out of her room and keeps telling us her room gives her nightmares. I asked her this morning to tell me about the nightmares and she told me "I don't remember them. I just know I don't have them in your bed."

  • Today marks 4 months and 2 weeks waiting for our referral from Ethiopia. Another family with our agency that sent their dossier to Ethiopia a week before us left today to go and get their son. They received their referral in July. Other families they are traveling with waited 7 months for their referrals, but they requested and were referred two children. Another family we know that is with our same agency waited two weeks for the referral of their infant son. And, another family, whose blog I read and is with another agency sent their dossier to Ethiopia in June. They got their referral yesterday. While I am very happy for these families, it just makes you wonder when will we get our referral?! Seriously, when? I am trying to keep myself from sending an email to our agency asking if our file has been lost or something. I know full well their response---the current wait is 4-6 months and these families are the exception, not the rule.

Finger Lakes Getaway

Monday, September 07, 2009 1 comment

Thanks to the Labor Day holiday we got a three day weekend away in the lovely Finger Lakes of NY. We've had our RV for two years now and we all agree that this was the best camping we've been on since we bought our RV and we are planning on returning next summer for a week long stay.

We chose the Finger Lakes for the Labor Day weekend because its a longer drive than most of our camping excursions. As soon as Chloe got out of school on Friday and we got the car loaded we headed out. We still got to the campsite after dark so Friday was a wash. On Saturday, we made the most of our day by waking up early and visiting the sight Matt wanted to see first---Watkins Glen Inter*national Raceway. A Ferr*ari Club had rented out the raceway so it was closed to the public but we were told we could return on Sunday to drive the course. We then headed to the town of Watkins Glen, walked the town and did a little shopping and got some information before we made the round to a couple of wineries.

There are numerous wineries on the lakes so we took the easy way out and visited the wineries that won top honors at the recent NY state wine competition. After driving up the western shore of Seneca Lake and visiting a winery that took top honors for its Reisling, we drove over to Cayuga Lake to visit another award-winning winery. We then stopped at cidery before heading to dinner. We made a quick run through with only 3 stops but somehow managed to buy 2 1/2 cases of cider and wine.

The rest of the evening was all about Chloe. We went swimming at the campsite and then Chloe got to spend her first night sleeping outside in a tent. She was so excited! She and Daddy camped out all night while I spent the evening in the RV with the two dogs.

On Sunday, we went back to the raceway to drive the course. For a $25 fee, you get to do 3 laps on the course in your own car. Before we went out on the course we got to watch the Ferr*ari's race around the course. Chloe didn't care for the noise and was convinced that the top of the bleachers was quieter than any other part of the grandstands.

Chloe watching the Ferr*ari's race and covering her ears.

When the Ferra*ari's broke for lunch, we got to line up and do our 3 laps. There was about 15 cars total and you line up and follow the pace car around. After the first two laps you get to stop at the stop/start line and take photos before completing your last lap. Matt did the first two laps and I did the final lap. We were driving the blunderbus Navigator but it was still fun. Chloe enjoyed it so much that she fell asleep.

Mommy & Chloe at the start/finish line with our race SUV in the background.

After the raceway we let Chloe choose the rest of the day's activities. Chloe had been wanting to see the waterfall in the state park at Watkins Glen but after reading that there are over 800 steps to see the waterfall we decided to visit another waterfall that was a little more child-friendly. I just knew if we attempted the 2.5 hour round-trip hike to the falls that Matt would bear the brunt by carrying Chloe on his shoulders (in fact, Chloe used that as an argument why we SHOULD hike to see the falls, that she "could ride on Daddy's shoulders and wouldn't get tired.")

The lady in the camp store recommended we visit the falls at Robert *Treman State* Park. The falls are by the parking lot and you can swim below the falls. Chloe thought it sounded like a great idea so we made our way to the park. It wasn't until we arrived and paid our park entry fee that we found out the water temperature was 55 degrees.

Before our swim, Matt and Chloe by the waterfall.

We had second thoughts about swimming, but Chloe kept urging us to swim. We changed into our swimsuits and Matt and I decided the only way to go into the water was to take the plunge off the high dive board. Matt determined that I had to go first since I tend to opt out of swimming when the water temperature doesn't meet my liking. So, I took my place in line and did and running jump off the board into the frigid waters. It was cold. Seriously cold. Matt went next off the board. When Matt says water is cold, it's cold. He will swim in temperatures I wouldn't stick my big toe in. Chloe was still eager to swim despite seeing her parents come shivering and laughing hysterically from the hypothermia that was setting in. She did a jump off a nearby walkway and promptly popped up to the top screaming, "I want out!! Its cold!!" She scurried up the rock wall, unsuccessfully trying to claw her way out where she was rescued out of the cold water by Matt. We covered her in a towel and when she warmed up enough her first words were, "I want to go back and swim at the campsite!" Matt and I couldn't leave until we had taken another plunge off the diving board. At least the second time we knew what to expect so the shock to the system was less.

People swimming at the waterfall. The diving board is in the background.

We spent the rest of Sunday swimming at the campsite and then relaxing around the campfire. It was a great getaway. We look forward to next year when we can spend a little more time in the area and Matt can bring his Por*sche to the raceway with the club and let it rip for real.

Flash-i-versary #2

Sunday, September 06, 2009 No comments
Flash at 4 months old.

Two months with Flash as a part of the family. He's growing by leaps and bounds. We can no longer pick him up and carry him, he's too big for that. He's in the gangly puppy stage, where he long-legged and lean. We purchased him a special feeding bowl to slow his frenetic eating down a bit---not sure if it's working as he still slurps his food up in no time flat and at each of his three feedings a day he acts as if he has not seen food in weeks.

When he's not trying to wrestle with Lizzie, he can be found doing one of his other favorite activities: chasing and making Chloe scream, picking unripe tomatoes, trying to chew your hand off, or digging a hole in the yard. He's a beautiful boy, but he's all puppy right now.

On Thursday, I walked Flash to Chloe's elementary to pick her up from class. He was quite the hit with the elementary crowd, until he decided to do a poo on the lawn of the school. Do I need to describe the children's reactions then? Needless to say, I don't think Flash will be a welcome sight at the elementary school again!

A Family Tradition

Thursday, September 03, 2009 3 comments

This adorable yellow dress was given to us by Aunt Ashley. Chloe's cousins, Bryn and Gemma, each wore this dress on her first day of kindergarten. Ashley gave it to us to keep the tradition going. Though we broke tradition a little by wearing it on Chloe's second day of kindergarten (because she HAD to wear the plaid skirt and tie outfit) the sentiment was not. Chloe was quite proud to wear the dress to school today and felt quite the big girl knowing that Bryn and then Gemma, her two BIG girl cousins, had both worn this dress too.
Oh, and just for the record, we were on time today, in fact, we were a little early.

I So Need to Get it Together (or Notes on How I Ruined My Child's First Day of Kindergarten)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 2 comments

It's the big day---Chloe's 1st Day of Kindergarten and through the complete disorganization of her mother I ruined it (well, Matt keeps reassuring me that I only ruined it from my perspective, Chloe had a great day regardless of the actions of her mother).

We had Chloe's backpack packed and her 1st day outfit ready. We woke early and had a good breakfast. We were so excited!! Then the phone rings at 8:45 a.m. It's my neighbor and friend. I pick up, say "hello" and get, "Oh! You're home! I was going to leave you a message. Isn't Chloe supposed to be in school?" I respond, "No, she's in afternoon kindergarten." My friend says, "I know, but her enrichment class starts today doesn't it?" Silence. Does it? "Hmmm, I gotta go."

I rush downstairs look through the myriad of paperwork and there isn't anything there about the first day of enrichment. See, Chloe is in afternoon kindergarten. Kindergarten is half day in our town and we decided to put Chloe in an enrichment class three mornings a week at a private pre-school/school. I had never seen a start date. I had all the papers neatly in a folder, labeled with the school's name sitting on the office desk. Where was the start date? I searched and read all the papers. NOTHING. Then , I remember the letter we got back in June. Where was it? I destroy the office looking for it. Twenty minutes later I find it, behind the 80 ton desk, it had fallen between the desk and the wall and I pry it out using Chloe's drumsticks. There it was, plain as day---the first day of enrichment is the 2nd of September, drop off time is 8:45 a.m. I look at my watch, it's 9 a.m.

I throw some shoes on, get Chloe dressed and brush her hair. We grab her backpack and go. We arrive at 9:15 a.m. I profusely apologize and walk Chloe into class which is already in progress. UGH!

I tell myself, it's just enrichment, no big deal. I call Matt, he assures me that it won't hurt her chances of getting into Harvard. I go home, shower and clean myself up. I get the camera ready for kindergarten in the afternoon. I wonder if Chloe thinks her mom is mentally insane and will forget to pick her up on time.

I do manage to pick Chloe up on time, who is in great spirits, but tells me, "Don't make me late for kindergarten!" as we drive home. No chance of that dear, I say.

We go home, have lunch and Chloe manages to burst a cherry tomato all over her outfit. ALL OVER HER OUTFIT. I proceed to clean the tomato off of her. I look at my watch. Time to go. We make it to school and I see some of the parent's walking to the car. Panic strikes. Where are the kids? I grab Chloe's hand and rush in the kindergarten wing. I see 23 kindergartners sitting in desks coloring. What's going on here I wonder? Didn't it start at 12:45 p.m.? Chloe's kindergarten teacher walks up to me and says, "This must be Chloe! I just want to let you know that you may get a call from the school because I took attendance already and counted Chloe absent. I'll send a note to the office and let them know she was just late." "LATE!?" I yell, surprised. "I thought it started at 12:45 p.m. That's what it says on the website." "No, we started at 12:15 p.m. You must have seen that the rest of the school, grades 1-5, get out at 12:45 p.m." Could I be a bigger loser?

Seriously. I am an organized person. I get my kid to all activities early. I've got it together, EXCEPT today when I seriously lost my mind. Today I was the bat-s*%t crazy mother hell-bent on ruining my child's academic career.

It did all work out in the end. Chloe had a great time in school and is looking forward to tomorrow. We played on the playground after dismissal and she really enjoyed that. We went to Ben & Je&ry's after school as bribery not to disown me as her mother and to drown my sorrows in some Phish Food ice cream.