Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween from the two officers and their inmate.



The kids picked these costumes out themselves and came up with the idea all on their own. Oliver's policeman costume was backordered until the week of Halloween and it arrived on the 30th, just in the nick of time. He couldn't stand that Chloe had her costume for nearly a month before his arrived. Emma Claire loved her costume and kept the entire thing on all night.

The schools in our area don't allow kids to wear their costumes to school. But, Oliver's school has a hoe down the day of Halloween. The kids can dress as cowboys/cowgirls.

What Oliver wore to school on Halloween for his Hoe Down.
 
We went trick or treating with neighbors in the large neighborhood behind us. 
Chloe got to meet up with some friends and continue trick or treating with the "big kids" after all these little ones had called it quits.
 
We had a large stash of candy at the end of the night, especially when you added the candy I bought to hand out. We had NO trick or treaters at our house. I didn't believe the neighbors that we got no one, they were right. Our houses sit too far back off the road and its a busy street with no sidewalk. No trick or treaters but our own.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rotax Driver of the Month


Chloe was named Rotax.com Driver or the Month for September 2014! We were approached at Pan-America about the honor and when we returned home from NC Chloe was formally contacted by EKartingNews.com.

It's a big honor, and a national spotlight that is usually bestowed on the top racers.

Chloe was chosen for her driving ability, but more so because of the good attitude she brings in the face of adversity and the not so pleasant side of racing and competition. She's a great ambassador for the sport of karting.

We're very proud and it was a great highlight to end the 2014 race season.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Back in the Pool

Swim season is back upon us and instead of karting eating up the weekends it's now weekends smelling chlorine.

Chloe had her first swim meet and did really well. At the start of the swim year, she got bumped up to swim with a more advanced training group. Her time are getting faster and she is just a little shy of qualifying for Junior Olympics in her freestyle and butterfly.

Warm-up.

On the starting block.

In the water.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Saltwater Tank Update

We've had the saltwater aquarium for three months and I am starting to begin to understand what needs to be done to keep it up and running smoothly. The original intention was to have it as a reef aquarium but I haven't felt comfortable enough to start adding corals until now.

I feel like I just got a handle on keeping the water parameters in check so I didn't want to throw in something else and try to keep up with the parameters for keeping corals as well. I also felt like I wasn't getting the best advice from our local saltwater fish store where we bought the tank and who helps me maintain it. In learning about the tank and doing research, I've discovered that they haven't made the best recommendations for some of the critters they've recommended. Case in point, Chloe liked a shrimp in one of the tanks as well as an orange starfish. The owner said, "Mom, let the kids have what they want, you have a big enough tank!" Well, we do have a big enough tank, but I discovered shortly after that the orange starfish was not only expensive, but also really hard to keep--as in only for experts who monitor their water quality hourly and want to target/hand feed animals in their tank. Not I. Also, they cute little shrimp he sold me is NOT a reef-safe shrimp, meaning he eats corals. He's cute, but he's going to have to go.

So, when it came time to start researching corals, I turned to books and research. I don't feel like I can trust my aquarium store to lead me in the right direction all the time and I wanted to come armed with information, not just an open wallet. In researching, I found an online, reputable coral dealer who was having a 40% off sale. I thought it was a great way to add corals, at a discount, to see if I could maintain all the parameters to keep them healthy and make them grow.

So, without further ado, here's the latest additions to the tank--

My overnight shipment of corals.



The tank with the corals placed in. You can see the purple plate coral on the sand bed in the lower left.

The acan coral frag and my damsels.

The is squishy the brittle starfish and pal, Mustache.


A zoanthid coral frag.


This is a green zoanthid coral frag. It has really done well and has new polyps.

A close up of a hermit on the clean up crew.

A snail doing some housecleaning by the glass.

The acan coral frag up close.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Finger Update

Tell me, does that contraption on his hand look like it could just fall off? Well it did...LOTS. Oliver made sure of it.

Oliver is officially splint-free three weeks after breaking two fingers. He still has another 3 weeks of limited activity/use of his right hand and fingers, but I am so relieved for the splint to be gone! It was a tough three weeks of "lost" splints (yea, it just fell right off into the lunchroom trash can) and splints that accidentally just came off while he was sleeping.

In true Oliver style, he got upset when he was told he didn't have to wear the splint anymore and got all teary-eyed and said, "But I'll miss it."

WHAT?!

The kid doesn't like change, even if it's for the better.

He's also declared that he is now a left-handed writer, which we actually suspected all along and he does write better with. (Note: after a week of no splint on his right hand, he decided he wants to go back to writing with his right hand. He really is a better writer with his left-hand and he has always interchanged crayons and pencils between hands. I'm going with his ambidextrous and letting him choose.)

Pan-American Race



Chloe had two major races nearly back to back. The last NE Regional race of the season was held in NJ and then days later we were in North Carolina at the Rotax Pan-American Challenge. It was a lot of back and forth and a lot of traveling.
On the grid at NJMP for the start of the final in the last NE Rotax regional.
Podium for Sunday's race at NJMP.

Oliver filling in--he knows the drill.

Being silly with fellow NE karters.

Chloe competed in the Rotax Pan-American Challenge in Mooresville, NC. This race is a international race comprised of Rotax racers from South, Central and North America. In other words, some of the best drivers in the world.

The professional photographer that took photos of the event really liked taking photos of Chloe. He said her colors really popped and made for great pics.
We were excited that two other Micro driver's would be joining Chloe as fellow teammates. Having three Micro drivers out on track all working together is a big boost--that's triple the data that can be used for race day.

But, as they say about the best laid plans....

The Wednesday and Thursday practice went very well. Chloe was the fastest racer on track the Friday morning of qualifying. In the qualifying session, though, the team plan unraveled and Chloe was not able to set a good time in the draft.  It was fully expected that 5th was the worst she would qualify but, she qualified a disappointing 11th which was not great, but not terrible.
When you qualify mid-pack things can happen, especially at a international race where there is a lot on the line and racers are more determined and aggressive. Saturday and Sunday simply did not go well. Out of the three heat races, the pre-final and the final, Chloe was taken out crashes caused by other drivers twice. She also had a bad fuel pump which ended her race early in one of the heats. With the bad luck, it was very hard just to make progress with tuning and setup. It was just a really tough couple of days and Chloe ended up placing 21st when a top 10 finish was the expectation going into the weekend.

One of the driver's from the NE region, Ugo (Ollie's pal) did win the Pan-American race and that was a highlight. It was also a great final Micro race, we just wish Chloe had been in the chase.

Despite the disappointments and bad luck, we did have a good time when we weren't on the race track. PaPaw and Aunt Deanna came to the race and it was good to see them. It was also at Pan-America that Chloe got some big news which we will share later, after we can reveal it.

Oliver and Dillon plan to race scooters together during some play time.

Lining up for the scooter race. Caleb & Chloe are serving as officials.

PaPaw and Emma Claire go for a walk.

Silly Emma plays with a cup/hat.

Chris instructs team OVRP.

Waiting to race.

On grid for the final.

The 2014 Pan Am competitors.

Dillon and Emma Claire play.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Broken Fingers

At gymnastics Oliver over-extended his fingers during a somersault. He was upset but calm and asked for ice. Emma Claire and I are in another building at gymnastics for a Mommy & Me gym class which gets out 15 minutes before Oliver's does. Once I walked back into the main gym where Oliver was and he saw me, he lost it and started crying. His coach came and told me what happened and that Oliver had been calm and ok until he saw me. He told me he thought Oliver had over-extended his fingers and that they would be sore.
 
Oliver wanted to leave gymnastics and calmed down once we were in the car. He only got upset for a few minutes so I didn't think he really hurt his fingers seriously. We went home and then took Chloe for swimming. Oliver didn't really complain except that he needed help with his seatbelt. He even told me he could start to bend his fingers (of course he didn't tell me that he couldn't bend two of the fingers at all). But, as the night went on, Oliver became grouchier upset at little things. I gave Oliver some Motrin and he told me he didn't want any more ice because it was cold. It wasn't until many hours later, after Oliver had gone to bed for the night, that I thought he may have broken his fingers. He kept waking up after falling asleep in pain. His fingers were now really swollen. Despite his protests, I told Oliver that we were going to the ER.
 
Since my Mom had left that afternoon and Matt was still in India, the three kids and I headed to the ER at the local hospital. We arrived around 8:45 p.m. to a packed ER where we waited and waited to see a physican and have an X-Ray. Around midnight Oliver finally had an X-Ray on his hand and it was determined that he had one broken finger and one possible fracture on another finger. His hand was splinted and we were told to see a pediatric orthopedist within 24 hours because Oliver's finger was fractured in his growth plate.
 
We got out of the ER at 1:15 a.m. I had three very tired children.

Waiting to have the X-Ray in the ER. Oliver was grouchy, upset and hurting before we got to the ER but once we got to a room to be seen, he turned on his Oliver charm like nothing was wrong at all. When the attending physician asked Oliver how he felt he said, "I'm happy!".

The kids managed to get up and go to school the next day despite their late, late night. I also got Oliver in to see a orthopedist that afternoon. After more X-Rays, she determined that Oliver had broken two fingers and would have to be in a splint on his fingers and hand for 3 weeks.

Oliver went to school in his new hand and finger splint the next day with no complaints. It wasn't until Thursday night that it hit him that his fingers and hand would be relatively useless for three weeks. Three weeks without full use of your hand to a five year old might as well be an eternity. Oliver was so upset and refused to sleep that night. Luckily Matt arrived home from India during the midnight negotiations with Oliver and was able to calm him down and convince him to go to sleep.

It was Friday afternoon when I got the call from the school nurse that Oliver accidentally lost his hand and finger splint in the lunchroom. Oliver "claims" his splint just fell off when he was throwing his food away. The very nice janitor, Bob, searched the trash can but couldn't find the splint. Since there was just a few hours left in the school day, the nurse made a makeshift splint for Oliver's fingers.

It wasn't until Oliver got off the bus that afternoon that I saw the makeshift splint and only one of his broken fingers splinted. He had her splint his index and middle finger when it is his middle and ring finger that are broken. When I asked him why he let her splint the wrong finger he told me he didn't think it mattered. He also declared his fingers were all better. Ha.

Much to Oliver's dismay, I had gotten a resupply of his splint and tape after the nurse's phone call. I re-splinted his broken fingers and made sure that it couldn't accidentally fall off. So far, so good. Almost one week down and three more to go.
My latest concoction to keep the splint on his fingers.

Friday, October 03, 2014

What a Week(s)

Over the last two weeks we've had our fair share of bad luck. It started before our trip to Quebec. The plan was that my parents would fly in and go with us to Canada. But, my father got shingles and the plan changed. We went to Canada without my parents and didn't have the best of luck on the track.
 
The day after we got back from our race trip to Canada, Matt went to India for a week and a half on business where he got really ill and a doctor had to be called.  Luckily some meds helped him feel better but he also got his iPhone stolen while out shopping for rugs.
 
With my dad on the mend, my mom decided to come and see the kids who had a four-day weekend. We enjoyed some fall colors and some warm weather. Having my mom come was a positive, but during her stay my sunroof on my car decided to refuse to close and had to go into the shop for repair. Several hundreds of dollars and nearly 7 days later my car was fixed. 
BeBe got to see Oliver play soccer and score two goals.
While Chloe and Oliver were in school, BeBe, Emma and I checked out the Hudson Valley farm-market scene.
 


The kids wanted to play a trick on Matt and send him this photo of them with the loaner car with a caption that read: "Mom bought a new car while you were out of the country."
The kids favorite activity, eating out at a local restaurant that has a sand pit for kids. I chaired a fundraiser for Chloe's school which donated a percentage of the night's dinner bill to her elementary.


My mom stayed a week and just a few hours after she left, Oliver broke two fingers doing a somersault at gymnastics. Lets just say that our trip to the ER wasn't pleasant and Oliver hasn't enjoyed having two finger restricted (more on that in another post).

Matt came back from India for a few days before heading out for another business trip in Florida. I'm hoping things will calm down a bit so I can get some laundry done and we can start prepping for two big trips/kart races we have this month.






 
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