Tuesday, January 31, 2006

sick bay

Welcome to the house of sickness - or at least it seems that way. M woke up this morning with a nasty cough, saying "I need to go to the doctor". Talking made him cough and coughing made him feel like he couldn't breathe, so clearly school was OUT. I spent 20 min or so on the phone, trying to hit that magic moment when the dr's office opens and once I got through (amazingly quickly, actually) waiting to talk to an actual person to make an apt. Got an apt for 11 - of course, by then, he didn't seem quite so sick, but off we went. Dr. B says he has a sinus infection, which is causing drainage and causing occasional tummy aches, sore throat and cough. So, off to CVS we go - where M has to decide whether chewables or liquid is the lesser of 2 evils. After asking what flavor they are (the pharmacist has no idea), he chooses chewables. We get the cough syrup and nasal spray also and we're all set. Or so it seems - getting the meds in M is not so easy. The cough syrup and chewables aren't too bad, but the saline mist is difficult to say the least. And of course, its the thing that the dr says will help the most and that we should use "as often as possible - every hour or two". We got 3 doses in today, in 8 hours, but not easily.

Then when A got home from school, he says he has a tummy ache. He snuggled with me for a bit, but soon moved to the sofa where he ended up napping for almost 2 hours. When either of the kids naps voluntarily, I know they are sick. By dinner time, M seems to be feeling pretty good. A has perked up some with his nap, but just has jello for dinner.

Tonight was the Pack meeting for Scouts. I really needed to go to give out awards to the Tigers, so D got to stay home with A. We decided that M was well enough to go, esp since this would probably be a short meeting, without any running around. It was a short meeting and M did fine - he didn't even ask to go play outside (partly he knew I wouldn't let him and partly I think he was tired and ready to come home).

So, I'm not sure who's going to school tomorrow. M should be ok - the dr cleared him to return. Late this afternoon, I would have said no for A, but he was mighty perky at bedtime - a long nap can do that for you. I guess I'll just have to see in the morning.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Field Trip Day

Today was A's big field trip with Challenge. We went to the Children's Museum downtown (where I went with M's Challenge class 2 years ago - deja vu). It's still a challenge to keep up with 3 active little boys. I lost count of the number of times I "lost" one kid - but luckily, he (which he kept changing) always turned up within a few minutes. M had a wonderful time playing there, especially with the balls. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so no pics. One mom was nice enough to take a picture when A got a chance to greet Arthur - when she emails me the photo, I'll try to post it.

While A and I were at the museum, M was home with my mom - sick. She was wonderful to sit with him at home, so after the field trip, I went to the library for her and grocery store for both of us. M seems a good bit better this evening, so maybe he can go back to school tomorrow - he's hoping to because Tue is his Challenge day.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Magnetix are still a big hit

We got A a new set of Magnetix - these include some "bendy" pieces, which are a big hit. This kit also had wheels and axels for one car, which A has built here (and since several other ways). I had fun playing with the other pieces while he was building too!
 Posted by Picasa

A Turns 7!

Here's the birthday boy on his actual birthday - waiting for homemade pizza. A had requested we go out to a new Italian restaurant for his birthday, but they are closed on Sunday, so we said Monday. It was a good thing that we weren't planning on going tonight, though, as M was not feeling well. When M doesn't want to eat pizza or chocolate cake, we KNOW he is sick. Hopefully it is a passing bug...
 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A's birthday party

Finally the time arrived for A's party and the first guest was A's best friend from last year's class. A and J have lots of fun together - and obviously they both like Scooby Doo. We try to get them together occasionally because J moved last year and is still nearby, but no longer at the same school.

Then once a few more kids arrived, they played Hullabaloo. It's a bit like twister, where you are supposed to stand on different shapes/colors/items. Like 'hop on over to a musical instrument'.

Then sometimes it will tell them to 'put your elbow on a food', followed by 'put your nose on a triangle' and this tends to lead to big pile-ups. This reminded me a lot of "ubangees" that D's college did - and very appropriately as they would often ubangee people on their birthdays. (OTOH, my college just tended to try to throw people into the fountain - takes a bit more effort to get to the fountain, though.)

After a quick game of pin the wand on Harry Potter, we headed outside for the "string game". Earlier in the morning, D and M had strung up the backyard with yarn (made it look a bit like a spider web - they decided it must be Aragog's web from HP) leading to treasures. Each child got a TP tube with one end of yarn attached. They then had to wind up the yarn, weaving in amongst the trees and other yarn to find their treasure (joke books, which seemed to be a big hit among the 6-8 yo set). Here's M helping 2 kids untangle their yarns. M was a bit disappointed that he didn't get to follow the yarn - but he helped make it (and we needed him to help kids wind theirs up).

A is concentrating on winding up his yarn.

More fun with yarn

After the cake and presents, the kids went back outside to play. They wanted to string up their own yard to follow - and the cat thought that this was great fun! They both attacked the yarn and chased it around the yard.

But then, I saw A climbing a tree to string yarn around. And I caught several kids climbing on top of the swing set to make it more difficult. I really didn't want any broken arms here (one child arrived with a cast - NOT the result of a party injury!)

Here, you can see that they have wound most of the yarn just in and around the swing set - making for quite a spider's web. M is pretending to be caught in it.

Once I saw exactly how tangled it was, I had them start untangling it. Then my mom worked on it some and finally after all the kids had gone home, I tackled the last of it. I thought I was going to have to cut it off, but it did finally untangle - though in many more pieces than the original 8. I'm not sure if the cats or the kids broke the yarn. Either way, it was definitely a hit - but if I do it again, I will remove the yarn at the end of the game.

Pin the Wand on Harry Potter

I sketched the barest outline of Harry Potter, then got M to draw the outines in darker and add details. He decided it needed background as well. There's a quidditch field on the left and a troll on the right and more. I think it all looks quite nice!
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

early flowers

I know that crocuses are supposed to bloom early, but this seems a little too early to me. My paper-whites have started blooming too - last week, actually. They are very pretty, but a bit unseasonal, it seems.

The pansies are still looking good, but here come those daffodil leaves. Unfortunately when they start coming up this early, it often means that the ground isn't cold enough and therefore the bulbs won't last as long. I'll probably need to plant more bulbs next fall. It's not that its hard - its just getting around to doing it.

The Lighthouse at Alexandria

Before it went to its great reward, I thought I'd get a photo of the lighthouse that M built for his Wonders of the World class last semester. It was quite a project, especially since various sources had different interpretations of how it really looked. M and D even wired up a Christmas light to "light" the tower. But it has served its function and so out it went.

 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Glasses, Scouts and more

M and I went to the eye dr today and got a new prescription for him. And M picked out a pair of frames very similar to his current ones, except that "the bridge is bigger" in M's words. We should be able to pick them up next week, so I will try to get a photo. Last year the dr said that M was to only wear his glasses for school or movies. M has been saying that he doesn't see as well without the glasses, so we talked to the eye dr about this (different dr than last year). He said that the hope was that if he doesn't wear the glasses all the time, that his eyes won't get worse quite as quickly. He also said, though, that M should be wearing them to watch TV and could wear them other times as he wished, but not for reading, computer work or playing outside. So, tonight M elected to wear his glasses to Scouts.

Ahhh, Scouts. Did you know how long it takes a 6 yo to polish the axle for a pinewood derby car? No... well, I can tell you that it takes almost 10 min per axle. And since these axles are nails (not rods), there are actually 4 axles to polish. So, most of the Tigers meeting tonight was very noisy as we spent most of the hour polishing axles. Many thanks to my co-leader who brought in the 2 drills and supplies. We now have 4 (though I could only locate 3 when I showed them to D) mostly polished axles. And I have supplies and theoretical knowledge of how to polish axles so D and M can polish them for M's car.

Then after Scouts, we came home and M still had to give his book report a practice run. Doesn't sound too hard....but...from across the room, I couldn't see his figure (on poster board). He had colored the background, but not the figure, so he had to color it in. Then I reread the rubric and see that he has to have the name and author on the front. Oops, better add those. Then when he practiced it, he couldn't read his notes, so he had to rewrite them (and put them on the back of the posterboard this time, not on a piece of paper to be dropped). It all took a while - and meanwhile A was ready for bed, but had not actually climbed into bed. He was sitting on the floor reading. It was 9:20 by the time I finally got them both in the bed and lights out. I predict tired kids tomorrow, esp A as he was "too tired to eat" this morning. We're definitely going for an early night tomorrow.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Photo of M?

I tried to get a photo of M, but he wasn't cooperating. All I could get was this...

and then I caught him here trying to get away

and finally he retreated behind his book, which he has almost finished now (only 2 days after starting it). He says its a great book.

A and a cat

I've had a request for more pictures, so here's A taking a bath. P is looking longingly at the water, but its not quite high enough for her to take a drink. She comes running whenever we run water, and will try to nudge her way into the bathroom.

 Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2006

Math class and then some

Today was my 3rd time teaching math to a subset of M's class. I'm enjoying it, but it does keep me on my toes to make sure I have enough stuff to keep them busy. It's actually working out well to spend about 30 minutes covering what the teacher does in an hour, then the other 30 min to do something new. Today's lesson was geometry - we covered lines, line segments, rays, angles (acute, obtuse, right). Some catch on quicker than others - but I have to watch it as when I asked some basic definitions they all seemed to know it, but when I drew the example from the book and asked them to pick out say, 2 different lines, they were having some trouble. Hopefully it was all making sense by then and will be reinforced by homework (next week, I suppose).

After that, we did some logic puzzles. I had them do (this one below), which seemed pretty easy for them.

Four children were born in different countries. Find out who was born in which country from the clues given.

............ France... United Kingdom... USA... Argentina

1. Ann was not born in Europe.
2. Deb's native language is not English.
3. Ben is not from the Americas.
4. Cal is not from the Northern Hemisphere (the Northern Hemisphere is the area north of the equator).

So then I gave them this one from Squiglys Playhouse. M thought it was pretty easy and finished it quickly and correctly, but several kids had a good bit of trouble with it - like not noticing that no one was wearing a purple shirt (and thus one kid was wearing no shirt??)

I think I will try A out on the easy one and see if he can do it. I showed my mom the easy one (she volunteers with M's class in the same room after me) and she got it fairly quickly after I showed her how the grid worked. I will see if M wants to try a harder one - where you need to determine more different things.

After finishing up with M's class, I thought I'd go see what A's class had on their wall. They had some very cute snowmen. I ran into his teacher and realized that his class was still in the classroom, so I volunteered to help them work on their snowman books. I will probably add this to my Friday schedule, as I want to do something in A's class as well, but I thought they were busy at 9.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Readers Read

Well, I've discovered the downside to M's voracious reading - he started reading one of my books. I was hunting for my book after dinner and couldn't figure out where I put it. I finally asked M if he'd seen it and he said 'oh this book?' - he was trying to read it and play on the computer at the same time. We're both reading the The Dragon Jousters series by Mercedes Lackey. So, anyway, I read while he played on the computer, then I let him read in bed, but when his light went out at 9, I retrieved the book (and wouldn't let him take it to school - mean mom that I am!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

M's visit to the orthodontist

Well, I picked M up from school early (I can't always get the after-school appointments) and we went and had ice cream first rather than our usual afterwards. Then on to the appointment. He got his lower appliance out - he says it hurt a lot to take it out - luckily for him, one side was already loose. And he got new stiffer wires on his braces. The ortho says that when phase I is complete, he will have a fixed retainer (like what dad has) to keep his teeth from shifting. YEAH! No hunting through trash cans for a retainer (or buying new ones) - not that I had that sort of retainer, but I had many friends who had to do the trash can hunt at school.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Crinkly Ball

And what pray tell is a crinkly ball, you might ask. It is otherwise known as a mylar ball (and until you know that, its mighty hard to look for them online). This is the cats favorite toy of all time. Here is a rare look at a cat sitting still with a crinkly ball in sight - normally they are chasing the thing all over the house and getting it stuck. I know we've given the cats at least 5 of these things, but we never know where more than 2 are at once.

 Posted by Picasa

My new job?


Not a great photo - but when you see the cats looking under the stove or some other piece of furniture like that, it is the cue for me to get out the 'crinkly ball retreiver' (otherwise known as a straightened out coat hanger) to fish the crinkly ball out of hiding. Posted by Picasa

Lost Tooth


A lost his first tooth this morning at breakfast. It hadn't even been all that wiggly until about a week ago - I had really thought that he might make it to 7 with all his baby teeth intact. It was just barely wiggly back in Nov when we went to the dentist - at that time, I told him I thought it might last til his birthday (end of Jan) and the hygenist thought it might take til Valentine's Day (otherwise known as Shadow's birthday in our house). But now its gone and waiting for A to fall asleep so the tooth fairy can come visit.

At dinner tonight we were discussing birthdays (A has gotten 2 birthday invitations for the week before his birthday) and A asked me what is today. When I told Jan 11th, he thought for a moment and said "in 18 days it will be my birthday!" Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Is it really still January?

It sure doesn't feel like Jan weather - it feels more like spring. It's 70 degrees out there now! I've got the door open and fresh air coming in. I know we're still due plenty of cold weather still, though! And M wants to know why it hasn't snowed yet...umm, because we live in GA? We may still get some snow, but not for a few days at least.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Math with M's class

M had been complaining that math was too easy and boring, so I arranged with his teacher to take a group of better students (8 or fewer....I'm not crazy!) and do some math enrichment. So today was my first lesson. They had just been introduced to 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication, so we worked on it for a bit, then I introduced 3 digit by 2 digit. They mostly got it and a couple of the girls were really excited by how it all worked. It's fun to see those lightbulbs turn on in their heads!

Then we still had some time left, so we played 24. You get a card with 4 single digit numbers and you have to use each of them once (and only once) to make 24 - you can use +, -, x, /. So if your numbers were 1, 3, 5, 8 you could do

8+1= 9 -> 15+9=24


8x1=8 -> 3x8=24

I'm going to do this every Friday morning, so I'm keeping my eyes out for interesting math bits to do with 4th graders.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

M's favorite pose


M, a book and a cat - what could be better? He's working on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince here. He's had his nose in a book so much this week that he's hardly had time for anything else (especially anything dull like homework!) Posted by Picasa

A new favorite spot


Here's P in one of her new favorite spots to sit and look regal. Its a good thing that no one uses this computer much anymore (it does still work, but not on much, being older than M!) - that tail would get in the way. But S thinks it great for squirrel watching out the window. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Chess anyone?

It was very interesting tonight at Cub Scouts. A and the Tigers were learning how to play chess. One dad that I had thought said he knew how to play chess turned out not to. And all 5 boys said they knew how to play, though in reality only one knew much - he at least knew the names of all the pieces and how most of them moved. Luckily 2 other dads knew how to play better than I do, so we had one adult per game between kids. It was rather amusing to watch them move right into being captured, but a bit frustrating to keep reminding them that "no, you can't jump over other pieces" and that each piece has a distinct way it moves. Hopefully they will all remember a bit of how to play. D says he will play some more chess with A (they played a few games back in the fall).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

First Day back at School

went fairly well. Everyone was up reasonably cheerfully (even though the weather was rotten!) They didn't even have to rush breakfast or brushing teeth. Then I drove them to the bus stop as it was raining when we checked (though not 5 min later as I backed out of the garage). Oh well. It did start pouring again about 10 min after I got back home.

There was a window of no rain mid-morning that I took advantage of to run to Target and Aldi. I was very glad to get back to the car as it starting pouring 5 min after I finished at Aldi and then off and on all day.

M was distressed to find out this afternoon that WB doesn't seem to be Kids WB in the afternoon any more. He wanted to see Xiolin Showdown, but instead it was something dull and uninteresting to a 9yo.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Can they make it til midnight???

They tried, but ...
Nope - A crashed about 10:30 and M crawled into my lap to snuggle just before 11 and was out within moments.
They slept in some this morning, but its going to be tough on all of us to get back onto school schedule, I'm afraid. Posted by Picasa


Here A is giving MM tips on how to work a Sudoku puzzle. I've gotten hooked on them and like to play at www.websudoku.com Now I've gotten MM hooked too. Posted by Picasa

fun with Christmas presents

Here's A showing off the pyramid he built with new gold Magnetix he got for Christmas. Posted by Picasa

Christmas for the cats

The cats enjoyed their Christmas too. We got them the cubes that P is enjoying here. They also got crinkly balls from A and cat wand (a stick with long piece of fleece attached) from M. They are enjoying all of them and getting good exercise. Posted by Picasa

Christmas Pageant

A is a cow in the Christmas pageant, seen here with a leopard kitty. Meanwhile M carried the world (but wasn't being Atlas). Posted by Picasa

Christmas Cat

S is all ready for Santa! or maybe he's ready to be Santa?? Posted by Picasa