Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cat Grooming 101

The girls have been to school three days this week!! We are on a roll! Ironically, I am going to take them out of school this Friday and next Tuesday for us to travel to Huntsville, AL to visit with friends for the holiday weekend. We have not been to Huntsville in a while, so it should be lots of fun. I can tell that I am losing my touch with Alabama after twelve years of living in other places. When the friends mentioned watching an Alabama football game on Saturday, it was a shock to me to realize that it is indeed football season. I remember when I would count down the weeks until the next season started.
Our project for this week has been cat grooming. Our cat, Conan, is a long haired cat. Recently, he seems to be getting furrier (is that a word?). That means he is shedding more, and he is throwing up more hair balls. His hair was also matted on his chest, and despite our best efforts with scissors, we were unable to get the mats out because Conan totally freaks out when he is held. We decided a double pronged approach was in order. I bought a trimmer and got the vet to give us some drugs to sedate the cat. Last night we sedated him before dinner, and after dinner we got our hands on him for a while. The sedative did not work as well as we would have liked. It took a little fight out of him, but Mike and I still ended up with a few scratches. Anyway, below are some before and after pictures of our first attempt at cat grooming. At least Conan does not know what he looks like.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School, Take II

We are all trying to dry out down here in Florida. The sun was actually shining for a little bit yesterday, interrupted only once with a short rain shower. The kids started back to school today after missing 4 out 5 days last week-there go all the little holidays and inservices scheduled throughout the year. Today was like the first day of school all over again-First Day of School, Take II. The were all unhappy all over again. Nobody wanted to get up this morning after sleeping in again for one more week. Allison said that last week was the best first week of school ever!

Mike is recovering from sleeping in his contacts last week. He took the contacts out the next morning, only to have his eyes get really red, puffy and painful. He had to go the the eye doctor, who said that his eyes were abraded-ugh! He missed two days of work because of the discomfort and the fact that he could not keep his eyes open.

I went to the doctor for my post-op checkup last week. It has now been five weeks since the hysterectomy. The doctor said that I am still supposed to be taking it easy. I feel great and was ready to get back to my normal routine, so I was disappointed that they said three more weeks. When I complained, they said, "We said eight weeks!" I did not want to argue, but I sure never remember them saying it was going to be eight weeks of recovery. It sure makes for slow walks into the school building when I cannot pick Rachel up and carry her to her classroom when we are running late. I am also having a fit to get out and weed my flowerbeds, but that involves all the no-nos of no bending, squatting, straining, etc.......

Leah has a loose tooth! It is not very loose yet, but she is soo excited. She has wanted to have a loose tooth since Allison started losing teeth three years ago. She was so disappointed when some of her kindergarten classmates lost teeth last year. I hate to see it happen, because she will start to look so much more grown up. I am not sure I am ready for that.

Leah is so funny. She loves to fish, kayak, fly airplanes is now asking Mike to take her out in the garage and teach her how to "fix" things. She wants to be just like her Daddy. I guess she is as close to a little boy that Mike will ever get. Yesterday she spent time in the garage helping Mike work on the old trail bike and then she got him to show her how to use a hammer. Unfortunately, she hammers just like me-I can never get a nail to go in straight. She is just six, so there is still hope for her.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Water, Water, Everywhere!

Okay, this is not fun anymore! The pictures above were taken in our neighborhood this afternoon. The kids are out of school again tomorrow because all the roads are flooded, and the rain continues. What a first week of school this has turned out to be! It has now been raining for 36 hours straight. There are reports of up to 24 inches of rain here so far. Fortunately, one of the neighbors invited Allison and Leah over to spend the night. The kids are really starting to get cabin fever, so it is great to get them out of the house. I guess I spoke too soon about the house being water tight. This afternoon I found a leak on the wall in the kitchen. The sheet rock has gotten wet and the baseboard has peeled away from the wall. The wall is damp, but there is no water puddled in the floor. We have no idea where it is coming from. I know some of you up there in Alabama are hoping to get some rain out of this system, but after what it has dumped on us, I don't see how it is going to have any moisture left!

Different Day, Same .........

It continues to rain........ We have gotten about 12-15 inches so far and it is still pouring down. Fortunately, the house still seems to be water tight. Some of the neighbors are having problems with leaks. We also have managed to keep power, which is great! Below is a video of Allison playing around the pond in our backyard. It has gotten very high and the rain doesn't seem to want to let up. Some of the kids in the neighborhood are having fun playing in all the water!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay, Part 2

Here is some video from today. Throughout the day the weather has gotten steadily worse with wind gusts up to about 50mph, and the weatherman is saying the winds will be at their strongest around 4:ooAM tomorrow. We have already gotten tons and tons of rain. It has rained steadily for over 12 hours now, and we have many more hours to go. The kids are out of school again tomorrow. The first week of school is really getting off to a slow start. Fortunately, the power has remained on, thank goodness.

Tropical Storm Fay

Well, here we sit...........the girls are home from school because of the "weather." It is supposed to be very rainy and windy, 30-40mph winds. In my opinion, not nearly bad enough to miss the second day of school! The weather right now is light rain and a little breezy. Not bad at all, but I know the stronger winds are yet to come. I almost hope it gets worse to justify having the kids home from school. The neighbor has hurricane shutters on his house, and he has them all closed. Kind of funny looking out the window at the 5-10mph winds and light rain and seeing the neighbors sealed up in their hurricane proof home.

Today is Allison birthday. She thinks it is pretty neat to be out of school on her birthday. She is the big 1-0. She got birthday money from both grandpas, yesterday, that is burning a hole in her pocket. She wants to go to Target today to spend it. I guess I will monitor the weather, and if it looks like it is not going to be raining too hard after lunch, we will go to Target. Hey, you may not be able to go to school, but you can always go to Target!!! Neither snow, sleet, or dark of night, etc. will keep us from our shopping trips to Target.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back To School

Well, today was the day! The girls started back to school-they may have a weather day tomorrow due to Tropical Storm Fay, but they were back today! Nobody was terribly excited about it, but they went without much complaint. I took the girls to school this morning to show them to their rooms and to help them carry all the bags of school supplies they had to take. Later this week, they will start taking the bus. Leah walked into her first grade classroom like a big girl. When Allison was in first grade, it was a different story. I had to pry her vise-like fingers off my ankles and run! Allison is now old enough that she gives me no complaints, thank goodness. She says that the teacher she has this year is nice, so she was not too nervous about going this morning.
Rachel just goes along with whatever.........that is until the teacher opened the door to the classroom and told her to come in. She realized it was not her old teacher and she did not want to go in. Once in the room, she decided it was okay, and she headed right for the baby dolls. The teacher quickly herded her back over to her "cubbie" and was trying to get her to put her stuff away when Rachel said, "Go, Go." She sat down in the floor when the teacher tried to encourage her to put her things away. At that point I decided to leave, because Rachel was watching me to see if I was going to come in and save her. I peeked in the door just seconds later, and she was over the little pouting spell and heading to the table to eat her breakfast. She was all smiles when I went to pick her up at noon. They said she had a good day-and that she went potty at school! That is a first. I had not even told them she was doing it sometimes at home and she never went to the potty at school last year. I guess it is getting time to push her and get this potty training completed!!! I cannot wait to get rid of every diaper in my house-I have been changing diapers for the last ten years.
This afternoon was interesting. In the past, our neighborhood had one bus for the girls' elementary school that made two stops. This year they have decided that we need two. The annoying thing about that is they seemed to have randomly put the kids on the two buses. Allison and Leah got put on the bus that stops in the front of the neighborhood. Several of the other kids in the neighborhood were in the same predicament. All of the moms were on the phone with the school today to get the kids moved to the bus that stops closest to our homes. The school told me that the girls would get put on the appropriate bus this afternoon. Of course, after walking to the closest bus stop, a mom calls me and tells me that my girls were on the wrong bus and have gotten off at the front of the neighborhood. I guess we will all get it straight by week's end. At least they were in the right neighborhood!!
The big girls seemed to have had a great day. They both think their teachers are "funny and nice." Leah is excited because she will get to have baby chicks in her classroom in the spring-she is going to be disappointed when she finds out how far away spring is. Allison has come thru the door acting like a teenager. She is dying to have someone over, and has run up the stairs to talk on the phone. I try to deny that she is growing up, and a lot of times she really does not act her age, but sometimes she surprises me with how grown up she seems.
I apologize for the lack of paragraphs in this post, but no matter how hard I tried I could not get the silly thing to come out right!!!! It would look right in the rough draft, but once posted, everyting ran together. Who knows?

Third Annual Smiley Riley Beach Bash

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Old Family Photos

Busy Week

Pictures from this week................Rachel enjoys her spaghetti, and Allison celebrates her 10th birthday.

What a busy week! The first part of the week was spent in Tampa with my sister. she was battling kidney stones and having to make multiple trips to the doctor and hospital. The girls and I went over Sunday and stayed until Wednesday.

We left Tampa Wednesday afternoon as my sister's mother-in-law came in to take over the second shift. We arrived in Melbourne about 6:00pm and had two hours to get to two schools to get the girls registered for school. I managed to get that done with about 30 mins to spare. Thursday we got up and got Rachel to her endocrinologist appointment. She goes every six months for check ups. He says everything looks good-Rachel has grown one inch and has gained three pounds in the last six months. She is now a whopping 27 pounds at almost five years of age. We got orders for blood work to check her thyroid levels, and if all is well, we won't have to see the doctor again until February.

Yesterday, Rachel had her monthly appointment with her physical therapist. I kept this therapist on from Rachel's Early Steps program. She is really good, I really trust her judgement, and I like having a second opinion to the physical therapist that Rachel sees twice a week at school. As soon as I could get two weeks worth of laundry up and going, I had to go to the grocery store. I had not been in almost two weeks and we totally out of food. I had to borrow milk from the neighbor the night before just to get through. After I got home from the store, Allison's friend came over for a sleepover. Allison will turn ten Tuesday, so this was her birthday celebration. We had cake and the girls had a night swim, which they think is super cool. Allison got a Ripstick for her birthday-probably aptly named since each kid I know with one has done a pretty good job of ripping the skin off their knees and elbows. I hope she does not break her arm on hers like the neighbor across the street did-just two weeks after her birthday!

This morning we are just hanging out and trying to take it easy. Mike has been working incredibly long hours this week so he is worn out. Nevertheless, he has things he has to get done. The pool chlorinator broke a few weeks ago, so we have been having to add chlorine to the pool regularly. Hopefully, this weekend he can get the wheels turning to get a new chlorinator installed.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

She is Independent Too!

Rachel has a new skill. Twice in the last 24 hours she has proceeded to take off all of her clothes, tee-tee in her little potty, empty her little potty in the toilet ,and flush the toilet. She gets "caught" when I hear the sound of the potty flushing and quickly determine that it was not Allison or Leah. When I arrive in the bathroom, Rachel, standing there in the nude, holds up her her swimsuit and says, "Swim?" She LOVES to swim!! So this morning found the girls in the pool at 9:30am and me life guarding in my jammies, because Rachel had such initiative to get ready to go swimming all by herself. I cannot turn down those pleading eyes?

Friday, August 8, 2008

She is Mine

I had the weirdest experience yesterday. I was sitting at the pool watching Rachel swim. Well, actually, by this time she was just hanging out around the pool. The sun was starting to set, and she was watching her shadow as she moved her hands around. As I sat there looking at her, all of a sudden I couldn't see Rachel. I saw a little girl with Down Syndrome. When I look at her I usually think, "Wow, you really don't see the Down Syndrome characteristics." I am actually surprised when people seem to figure it out on their own. But suddenly, I saw this little face that looked every bit "Downs" as all the other little ones I see. I suddenly felt like the wind had been knocked out of me as I thought, "that little girl with Down Syndrome is mine." Just as soon as this surreal feeling appeared, it was gone, and my beautiful little Rachel was standing there again, playing in the sun.

I guess I see the Down Syndrome everyday, but more importantly I see "Rachel." My goofy, little Rachel that is now saying, "Mommy......are you?" A few years ago, I met a mom with a child with Down Syndrome. I went up to her because I saw her child and wanted to say hello. She introduces her child and tells me the child has Down Syndrome. I was thinking that I could not believe she thought she had to tell was so obvious! I guess Rachel is obvious too, but the funny thing is that I REALLY don't see it. I see how much she looks like Leah sometimes and how her hair is the same color as mine. I guess the old saying, "You can't judge a book by its cover" never rang more true. The word syndrome denotes that Rachel is like all the other children with Down Syndrome, and in some ways she is. But more importantly she is her own, unique, little self. And, she is mine!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Girls of Summer

As the final weeks of summer are winding down, the girls are trying to enjoy their last carefree days around the pool. Although you can still swim in October here, it is just not the same!

This week has been pretty laid back. On Tuesday, Allison and Leah got haircuts. They just got trims, so no pictures to show. Once the big girls are in school, I will get Rachel's hair cut. She gets out of school at noon. That allows me to have alone time with her until the girls get home at 2:3opm, so we can run in and out of the salon quickly. I used to take all the girls at once, but after being in the salon for about two hours everybody (including me) is extremely grouchy. So, we have now moved to plan B, and it seems to work much better. Believe it or not, I used to get my hair cut at the same time as the girls........really bad idea. Since Rachel started school, I have had the privilege of going alone! I had forgotten what that was like!!

Yesterday, we all went shopping for school clothes. I knew this was not a good idea, but Allison and Leah are getting too big for me to pick out clothes for them, and poor Rachel just has to go along for the ride. We started our trip out with Rachel in a stroller. She is never very happy to be put in the stroller, but it is impossible to shop with her on foot. Even with her in a stroller, she manages to take a few pieces of clothing off the shelves. I call myself paying attention to where I park the stroller, but it never fails that she is within reach of something. Once in the dressing rooms-the one and only one that is big enough for the stroller-Rachel gets grouchy because she wants out of the stroller. She gets bored with the water bottle and the cell phone quickly, so it is not long before she is wailing and the big girls are yelling at her to hush. In the midst of this I am trying to add up the prices of the clothing we have picked out to get an idea of how much we have spent so far-so I don't pass out when the cashier rings up the total. Are we having fun yet? Apparently, yes, because we continue on to the next store. At this point I have decided it would be easier to have Rachel walk..........yes, I did say it was impossible to get her through a store on foot. I must have been delirious from the dressing room episode. Once in the store Rachel was on a tear. The second I let go of her hand to look at clothing on the rack, she was gone.......gone to grab clothing off the rack or pat some unsuspecting woman on the butt. Once in the dressing room she and I battle for control of the door. The big girls just love it when they are changing clothes and Rachel opens the door to the whole world. Anyway, we all survived-probably thanks to the Prozac I take!! The girls also have a few new clothes for school. I still need to buy school supplies, but I am thinking that I will plan that trip the the Super Walmart at 11:00pm when the crowds are minimal, and I will go ALONE.