Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mom 1: Lice 1

Well, we fought the lice all day yesterday and seemingly we tied. M is back at school today, but A is not. M got checked and passed - went back to class, missing only part of the morning news show. With A, though, we kept finding nits. A's hair is finer than M's and the nit comb doesn't do much on it. We spent over an hour in the nurse's office at school removing nits and then the nurse found a live louse. That was the kiss of death.

So, now I'm waiting for a nurse to call me back to find out what more to do. It may be that A is resistant to the medication we used (or that "his" lice are).



The nurse says to do the mayo treatment - so we've been to the store to get full-fat mayo and A is now covered in mayo (and a showercap) for the next 8 hours. Washing all that mayo out is going to be so much fun....

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Monday, February 26, 2007


otherwise known as lice. Arrgh.

When I got home from running errands today, my mom was here with both kids. Yep, both have lice. First time for either one. Guess I jinxed myself when I read about someone else's battles and thought "it's passed us by".

So, both kids have had:

1. a haircut - M's hair is actually short again.
2. a bath/shower (complaints of "but we just took one last night") with non-conditioning shampoo.
3. Permethrin lotion rubbed into their hair/scalp to sit for 10 minutes
4. hair rinsed in the kitchen sink
5. hair combed through with nit combs (at least 3 times - the first time taking at least 45 min)

I've changed all the beds in the house. Run 8 loads of laundry. Still at least 2 more of our bedding to go. Plus our regular laundry still to go. All of the kids laundry is done except what their wore after their shower/bath.

Tomorrow I have to take them to school and hope they pass the nurse's inspection - if not, its back home to do more nit-picking (and re-scheduling M's conference - oh, crud, and A's speech IEP meeting). Either way, the laundry marathon will continue... there's a reason I don't usually wash ALL the bedding (esp all the blankets & quilts) at once.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Photo problems

Something still isn't working right with Blogger and photos. When I try to load photos from (new) Blogger, I can choose my pictures, but the "Upload Image" button is missing from the screen. So, I can't get the pictures on the blog.

Fine, I thought, I'll just send them from Picasa. Seems to work fine from this computer, but when I was looking at it from my other computer (a Mac using Safari if that makes any difference) I couldn't see the photos - just little boxes. Hmmmm... is it a Safari problem or a Blogger problem. My mom says she can't see the photos either, so not just a Safari problem.

Now, for the interesting bit - when I look on Safari, I do get the "Upload image" button. But, my pictures aren't on that computer.

Grrr. I hate having to fiddle with this! I checked the help page and it seems that other people are having photo problems too. I hope they get it all sorted out quickly.

Can anyone else see the pictures on my last post? Or have any helpful thoughts?


Friday, February 23, 2007

Quilting Progress - finally with pictures!

(I finally got pictures that should show up.)

Well, I finally decided on the border for my quilt. After considering at least 4 different ways to do it (and changing my mind close to a dozen times)! I got it all sewn on in the last few days.

And here's a close-up of two cat blocks and the border:

I got it all basted with pins and into the quilting hoop and even got a little bit of quilting started. Then, when I got up to go do something for a few minutes, I came back to find an extra cat in/on my quilt!

The quilting is actually going a bit faster than I had thought it would. Which is definitely good. I have to have the whole thing quilted and then put on the binding and hanging sleeve by April 4th.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is not a lot different from other days around here - we don't fast or even abstain from meat. We did go to church tonight, though, for the first of the Lenten soup and sandwich suppers - and for the imposition of ashes. The kids think that its rather odd to get ashes. M wanted to know why we get them.

I don't always do a Lenten discipline, but this year I decided to work on our finances. I need to do some research on finances, including finding a good savings account for A. We need to look at our IRA's and see if that is still a good place to be saving for retirement. I need to do some paperwork/filing. And of course the taxes (boo hiss!). My goal is to have them all done by Easter (a whole week before the deadline!). Today I started off by rounding up stray checks and getting them deposited.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Mardi Gras!

It's Mardi Gras to me now, but growing up I'm not sure I knew what or when Mardi Gras was. We knew the day before Ash Wednesday as Shrove Tuesday - marked by a pancake dinner at church. Once, when I was about M's age, a friend of my mom's went to Mardi Gras and brought back some beads for me. I thought they were the neatest thing. I'm still not sure I knew much about Mardi Gras.

Fast forward to college - junior year our spring break coincided with Mardi Gras and the school organized a trip to Mardi Gras. My roommates and I all went. We got beads, beads and more beads - enough so our necks hurt when we finally untangled all the beads and got them off.

And then I got a job in Louisiana - not in NO, but close enough to visit. We went down to NO several times before kids - and after kids we still went to parades in our town. M vaguely remembers parades - probably some combo of Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day parades. A, however, obviously doesn't remember it at all - though he went to a Mardi Gras parade - at less than a month old!

Both kids have had beads to play with all their lives. They went through stages of loving to put them on and off and on again. Now, though, we have a bin of beads in the basement, but mostly they are ignored. They wore them tonight, but only because I put them on them.

We had a king cake yesterday and today. M thought there should be a prize for getting the baby. No, it doesn't work that way. Traditionally, the person who finds the baby has to bring the next king cake. Since that wasn't viable here, we decided on whoever got the baby has to take out the compost. Well, M got the baby - he wasn't wild about it, but he took out the compost. Then since M got the baby early, he put the baby back in and then D got it. He gets to take out the compost the next time.

We had our pancake dinner at church tonight. Yummy, blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup/sauce.


Monday, February 19, 2007

High Finance

I hadn't paid the kids their allowance since the end of last year, so they were due some serious money. We settled up yesterday. M got almost $30, after taking out money he owed me. Today, he managed to spend almost $14 of it - on Yu-gi-oh cards. He says he wants to save up for an iPod nano - and he calculated how much he would have by his birthday (including counting his "chickens" of money he thinks he will get). He figured he would have enough by then to get a refurbished iPod - but not if he keeps spending his money. M finds it hard to save if the money is there.

A, on the other hand, is a die-hard saver. He finally bought the Nintendo DS he wanted. When it came time to pay me back, we calculated how much he owed me - then subtracted the $60 I borrowed from him last summer, the $50 Target gift card (his prize for selling popcorn) and his allowance - he owed me a grand total of $3.50! Wow. And he still has a bunch of money. I think we need to open up a bank account for him. I wonder if I can find one that actually pays some decent interest (like at least 1%)...

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

an Anchovy in the House?

When it was time for teeth brushing tonight, M declared that he didn't have to brush teeth as he was an anchovy. An anchovy?? Where did that come from? D decided that he was much too large to be an anchovy and was almost tuna-size. I had to test the saltiness - nope, the leg (fin?) wasn't salty - couldn't be an anchovy. The anchovy claimed he had no teeth - ok, fine, go brush those gums. Finally he brushed and climbed into bed. When I went to kiss him goodnight, he had Pounce with him. I had to warn him not to let the cat eat him tonight - cats like anchovies.

Meanwhile, A was being silly too. So I picked him up and carried him back to the bathroom. I used his feet to turn on lightswitches along the way. A thought that was very silly.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Fun with Magnetic Rocks

M and A bought some "magnetic rocks" over Christmas break and have been having fun with them. M says that they sound like rattlesnake eggs when they clink together. M has also gotten them to stick through his finger. A decided to try out earrings:

being dark, its a bit hard to see. They also don't stay on if you move around too much...


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More on math

Well, D did some checking online and I talked to the math dept. chair (who is also a gifted certified teacher) at the middle school. It seems there is an accelerated math track available in the high school - they will compress Math 1, 2,3 and 4 into 3 years. Thus giving students the chance to take calculus their senior year. There is also a slow track which spreads Math 1 out over 2 years (Math 2 is available over 2 years also). I don't understand how the same kid who needs Math 1 spread out over 2 years can handle the same amount of math in 8th grade as the kid who can do 4 years of math in 3!

Well, at least in middle school there are 3 tracks in math, based on ability - gifted, honors, and regular - so each track can move at its own speed. The 2 higher tracks won't cover more topics, but will go into them deeper - or so I've been told.

I've also been told that all 3 tracks will have covered roughly 80% of Algebra I topics by the end of 8th grade. So, that doesn't sound quite as bad as I first thought. But then again, if they've covered 80% of Algebra I before HS, accelerating the maths won't be that big a deal - and for the rest of the kids, HS math will probably go slower.

The math chair told me that the state had considered an accelerated track in middle school, but rejected it because "then you would be introducing some Algebra II concepts in 8th grade and many kids can't handle that level of abstraction". Well, gee, maybe this new system doesn't work as well as the old one??

Can you tell that this whole math thing is still bothering me? Cause it is. We're checking into some other options, though they're likely to have their own downsides.


Monday, February 12, 2007

A Visit to the Middle School

I finally managed to go to visit our local middle school this morning (after several abortive attempts, me cancelling one apointment and the counselor losing my phone number).

Overall it was very nice. It just opened last fall, so the building is nice and new. I was impressed by how generally quiet it was. Granted it wasn't lunch time - and most of the time there weren't students in the halls, but even when there were students in the halls it was decent.

Some of the things seem a bit odd, like offering French as a 9 week elective to the 6th and 7th graders, but not as a class for 8th grade. No, Spanish is offered as a full year class for 8th grade, but not French. Huh? Makes no sense to me. The counselor said that may change - perhaps they will get another teacher next year.

They also have a drama room and an after school drama club, but no drama class. Again, they are hoping to get a teacher at some point.

I'm more than a little upset about what I heard about math classes, though. It seems that they have changed how math will be taught (I knew that mostly) - they are changing from discrete Algebra and Geometry classes to teaching some of each, in each class. Seems odd to me, but supposedly other states are already doing this and liking it, so OK. But then someone (the state? the school board in our county? I'm not sure which) has decided that everyone will take the same math each year. Meaning, no chance to get ahead a year in math. Grrrrr. Up until this point kids could take Algebra I in 7th, 8th or 9th grade, depending upon scores, grades, teacher recommendations, parents, etc. Now it seems that no one will take the equivalent of Algebra I until 9th grade. What a waste of time! There just isn't that much math between 5th grade and Algebra to learn - at least not for the bright kids. If some of them are currently learning it in 1 year, why should it take everyone 3 years now???

D says that he has heard that it is a state mandate. He says that his school (Magnet school for Science and Technology) is still trying to figure out how to deal with this. Currently all their students must have passed Algebra I in the 8th grade with at least a B. In a few years, that won't be possible, it seems.

I feel like I twiddled my thumbs through much of 6th and 7th grade math and I hated it. Until we got to pre-algebra, which I enjoyed - yes, I'm odd that way. I liked most math - all the way up to (but not including) Vector Calculus.


New and Different Blogger problems

At first the switch to Google Blogger seemed to go smoothly...perhaps too smoothly. Currently I can't get into my account on the Mac, but I can just fine on the PC. However, once on the PC, I can't upload pictures from Blogger. I click on the little picture icon, choose my pictures - that's all fine, but there's no button to upload. The only way I've found to get pictures is to send them one at a time from Picasa. It works, but its not elegant (or fast). Sigh.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Leader of the Pack!

The Pinewood Derby was the morning. We got going bright (or not so bright, I'm not really a morning person) and early. Tigers raced first, then the Wolves (A's group). One of the kids in A's group won 1st place in the Tigers den, the pack, and all Tigers in District and 2nd place in the whole district last year, so we knew there would be some serious competition. Well, something didn't go quite like last year. A took first place in his den this year. Happy A.

Then some more races, then it was time for M's den. Only 2 kids competing, so not much suspense there. M won and both kids will go on to district (top 3 places go to district).

Then the non-Scouts raced. Mostly parents, but a few older siblings. D's car, unfortunately, came in dead last. He is planning on redoing the wheels before district - especially since one of his wheel assemblies cracked on the final run.

After all this, it was time for the Leader of the Pack - the top 3 cars in each den raced against each other to vie for the fastest cars among the Scouts. There were 13 cars racing in a double elimination race. Slowly the slower cars were being eliminated. A had the misfortune to race against some fast cars early on and got eliminated about half-way through (though I think he would have ended up about 5th or 6th overall).

M kept winning. And kept winning. At the last race, they had 2 cars that hadn't lost yet, M's and one other. So they would have to race twice. M won the first race, then he won the second race. Wow! First time he's finished in the top 3 overall in 5 years of racing. M was quite excited, especially since he'll be getting a trophy. Not a participation trophy, but one for actually winning. And his name on a plaque attached to the track.

M said he was very happy he got 2 things he wanted - a car that looks good and a car that is fast.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Countdown to Pinewood Derby

We've been busy with the Pinewood Derby the last few days. D has been madly trying to finish up 3 cars, his own plus M and A's cars. My part in all this is usually restricted to painting. I've done bits and pieces of other parts, but it seems like a good father/son activity so I mostly stay out of it. A lot of painting gets done in the after school time, either outside (if its warm enough) or in the garage when D's car is not there.

Tonight was the last chance to really fiddle with the cars and the first chance to run them on the track. At first both kids cars seemed pretty slow. I knew they would be disappointed. M wasn't there (he was at a birthday party), but A was bummed that his car was losing. Then it turned out that D hadn't put the graphite on the wheels and axels yet. Once he put the graphite on, it was like turning on the turbo boost. Whoosh went the cars. M's car was faster than A's, but both were fast and both kids were happy. M was also happy to hear that several people thought his car looked "cool".


D preparing to run both kids cars. A's is on the left, M's on the right.

Close up of both cars. A's on the left again.

D is still working on his car - he was trying something innovative and it didn't quite work - it was too wide for the track, so he is reworking it.

I'm off to bed - the cars have to be checked in before 8:30 tomorrow morning. So I'll be getting up almost as early as on weekday mornings.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Switching to Google Blogger

I finally had to switch - Blogger wouldn't let me defer any longer. So far it seems to be a relatively easy switch. I was a bit worried since I'd heard from other people that all sorts of things got messed up when they switched. Maybe they finally worked all the kinks out in the beta version. Hah.

I'm hoping, though, that I will be able to post pictures and commentary without Blogger freezing Netscape on me. So far, so good - I put 3 pictures up on the previous post - all in one try. Amazing.

It's giving me the ability to label posts, but I'm not sure where/whether anyone else can see the labels (I can see it on the page where I edit posts). I guess I'll learn more about this as I go along....


The cat quilt

The cats must think that this is a quilt for them. They keep trying to help me work on it. Here Pounce is trying to help me lay out the design.

Then once I've gotten most of the blocks put together, Shadow says I must need his help.

Finally a chance to look at it without any kitty help.

I still need to put the side sashing on. Then the roll of fabric down below the quilt is the fabric that I'm planning on using for the border.

I still need to find a way to get one more circle or dot fabric into the top...

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Cool puzzle games

D was playing a game that M was interested in, WarBears.

So then, D told us about a site, that has lots of cool games.

I've been trying out a puzzle game, Click Drag Type, Pretty cool. There are 10 puzzles and is each independent of the others. There are no real instructions - you just have to figure them out. So far I've figured out 1 and 2 and have fiddled with 3 and 4, but haven't solved those.

It looks like there are a lot of cool games to try out.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Finally started my Challenge Quilt

The Challenge this year is to make a quilt with "lots of dots" - as in using 15 different fabrics with dots or circles. We had a fabric exchange back in the fall, where you brought in 20 8" x 8" squares of your fabric and went home with 20 different squares of dotty fabric.

I have been thinking and doodling, but hadn't come up with anything. Until Friday when I was sorting fabric for an auction sale at our quilting meeting. I was at a friend's house, sorting and it came to me - cats. I could do a collage of cats.

First I thought of doing a bunch of different designs, but I decided that simplicity was probably best here. Different fabrics would be enough.

So, here's my first few...

They won't all be with a black fabric for the cat, but I did seem to have several blacks.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Puzzles with a cat

This is what I have to put up with when I try to do a puzzle...

a cat in my puzzle box! When he got up, he had a puzzle piece stuck on his hip.

Well, at least he's not trying to eat the puzzle pieces (he tried that earlier) or push them off the table (I covered the puzzle with a throw overnight to discourage that).

I had to tie my scarf back behind my head or it kept getting in the way too.

I finally got a chance to get my puzzle from Christmas started, now that A's birthday is over. We don't use the dining room table for eating very often - birthdays, Christmas, maybe a few special occasions like Valentine's Day. Otherwise the table is more of a spot for homework.