Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Turning 42 and a school tour

Today was my 42nd birthday. It was a really good day – totally NOT what I expected, from what went down yesterday. Yesterday being a TOTALLY sucky day in which I was told nothing would be happening today. There’d be no birthday lunch, no cake or ice cream or presents or anything. Not until later. That got me kinda sad. But you know what? They really pulled a fast one on me, because all of that stuff DID happen today after all. I was so happy and really grateful.

But my family and friends on Facebook made me feel extra special, too. Oh, and Peter Bowerman, who emailed me to wish me a happy birthday. (I’ve known Peter for years and even now, after over 10 years, he still remembers my birthday! He rocks!) I got so many birthday wishes on Facebook and I still need to finish replying to them All! I am so grateful for all of them. And I think those family and friends are pretty awesome people for taking the time to do that for me.

I posted a bunch of pics from my B-day on Facebook today. And while I was doing that, I had to stop and think, Gee, I’m recording my birthday on Facebook. Wow. I certainly didn't do that kinda thing when I was a kid. Heck, there was no Facebook when I was a kid. There wasn’t even any Internet! Kids today have pics and videos of their birthday on Facebook, unlike kids from my generation. It is pretty interesting. I also thought about how, of my two children, my son is the only one who has been on the Internet through pictures, videos, blog posts, etc., since the day he was born!

Well, aside from my birthday, we had two other things going on. One was Jesse’s baseball practice, but we didn’t go because Jesse has been dealing with bad stomach pains lately. He has missed school because of it. I am really starting to be concerned. We recently started him on a new medicine for his allergies but even though there were no side effects the last time he took this medicine (I think 2 years ago?), I am beginning to wonder if that is different now. I’m really curious if his stomach pain is because of the medicine. Maybe the dose is too strong, or something. I will have to call the doctor about that.

We also went to 8th Grade Night at the high school Jennifer will be going to in the fall. She got to check out the classes, meet teachers, check out activities and clubs at the school as well as tour the school. I am very excited about my daughter starting her first year of high school, though she dreads it. I told her getting a high school diploma is a really big deal. That didn’t make her feel any better about going to high school. She’s nervous about it.

We went on a tour of the school and I enjoyed checking out the school. Especially the LIBRARY! I thought the library was AWESOME! I wanted to stay in that room filled with books. Forever.

Here are pics I took from the tour:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Eugene IHS Celebration

Last week, I got an email notice about the Eugene IHS Celebration, which we attended today. To me personally, IHS means “Indio High School,” a school I was a homebound student for during my last years of high school and which my high school diploma is from. (I attended 3 different high schools and the Indio school was the only one I was a student at but never actually “there.” The other two schools -- Monta Vista High School and South Hills High School -- were the high schools I was present at. I was on the home study program for Indio High and that’s where I graduated from.) However, for Jennifer, “IHS” stands for “International High School.” IHS is an alternative school of international studies located at 3 host schools here in Eugene: Sheldon High School, Churchill High School and South Eugene High School. When we were going through School Choice a few months ago, I selected South Eugene High School as Jennifer’s #1 choice. Unfortunately, South Eugene High School does not accept out-of-district students. (We live in the Churchill District.) I didn’t know this and I did not know that a school could elect to not accept out-of-district students. Jennifer had her heart set on going to South, so of course she was very upset to learn she was not placed at that school. (So much for school “Choice”!) However, she is happy that at least she can attend the IHS program. At least there is that!

So, yeah, I got the email to attend this celebration. I forwarded it to Jennifer and asked her if she wanted to go. She said yes. So we made plans to attend.

However, I don’t think I was the right person to do that planning. First I got the location wrong. It was at the OAKWAY CENTER, not GATEWAY. D’oh! Then I got the time wrong. I had told Jennifer today that it starts at 6:30, but she kept saying she thought it started at 5:30. When I handed her the phone with the email open for her to read herself after we had gotten lost, she confirmed that it DID start at 5:30, not 6:30. GAH! How could I get that wrong?? I apologized to her profusely as I turned around and drove back to the Oakway Center.

We finally arrived at the event and got our IHS stickers. (Here’s a pic of mine.) Then we started walking around and checking it out. There were a lot of people attending this event. They had booths set up and I took some time to check them out: Gift basket silent auction, info about a foreign exchange program to Chile and information about the IHS student government. There were kids playing chess, a circle of students blowing bubbles, a student vs. teacher Jeopardy! game, and a table where they were selling IHS shirts, sweatshirts and hats. There was also a band playing. According to the flyer about the event, if someone bought food from the participating restaurants, a portion of the purchase would go to funding next year’s student government and IHS events. There was also a display of henna art but I didn’t explore that.

There was also an “advice wall” where students shared advice to incoming students. Jen and I took time reading it. I read messages like “Join IHS stu gov!” and “Don’t be afraid to try new things/step out of comfort zone” and “Take a break from time to time.” I noticed Jen laughing at one message she read and when I read it, too, I had to chuckle: “Just give up and watch Netflix.”

It was a nice event to attend. Jennifer was disappointed she didn’t get to meet any teachers but I told her I think it was more of a student thing rather than a meet-and-greet with teachers. (She’ll be doing that on Wednesday!) At least she got to hang with a couple of friends at her current school and check out some of the things she’ll learn more about with IHS student government after she starts high school.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Dragon in distress

Today was my last day of pet-sitting for my daughter. She came home from her field trip today. I am glad she is home but a little sad she’s taking over the care of her animals now.

But today, something kinda crazy happened in the case of her Bearded Dragon, Spike.

Last night, after I had fed Spike, I noticed he was in one part of the tank and not really moving so much. Yeah, I know that sometimes they don’t move around too much, but with the position he was in, I thought he might be stuck.

Here is a picture of it:

So I decided to hang out in Jen’s room for a while to see if he would move from his spot. Jesse and I were in there reading for 20 minutes and Spike didn’t move. He was breathing and he didn’t “look” like he was in pain or anything. So in the end, I decided maybe he was just relaxing in that one spot.

We went to bed, and I figured that Spike might move during the night while we slept. (He IS nocturnal, after all.)

But when I woke up the next morning, Spike was still there in that same spot!

“Spike! Spike! Are you okay?” I cried out, getting on my knees as I turned on his heat lamp and examined him.

He seemed to be okay. But I was starting to feel concerned that he hadn’t moved at all and that he had spent the night in that one spot!

Finally, I got an idea. I figured I should put some frozen peas (his favorite food) into the tank to see if he would move to go eat them. (Food is a good motivator.) It was time for his breakfast, anyway, and that’s what he eats for breakfast!

So I put some frozen peas on his food dish, as well as in other areas of the tank.

And pretty soon, Spike moved from his spot to go eat the frozen peas.

He was MOVING! Yay!

I watched him as he moved. He didn’t seem hurt or seem to have an injury anywhere. He seemed to be okay. He was happily eating his peas and he seemed fine.

Kinda strange that he had stayed in that particular spot for hours. But then again, he is currently shedding, so maybe that was just part of the process. Or maybe he was meditating, or something. Who knows!

Here are more pictures taken of Spike shortly after that one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Field Trip Day

Today was Field Trip Day in our house! That’s because both kids were going on field trips today. However, Jesse’s field trip is just for today. Jennifer will not return from her field trip until Friday.

For some time now, we have been preparing for today. We have been in communication with Jennifer’s school about the fee, supplies needed, days and times, as well as what the rules are. With Jesse, it was a matter of making sure he had the right clothes to wear, his allergy medicines on hand and the decision made about his lunch. (At first, he was going to get a lunch from school, then he told me that he wanted to take a lunch.)

Both field trips required us to pay a fee. The more expensive one was Jennifer’s. I am glad we were able to make the payment for her trip in two installments, but I had to keep in touch with her school about the deadlines for making the payments.

Another hurdle we had to get through for today was the list of supplies needed for Jen’s trip. We have had some financial problems lately, but we managed to get what we could for her supplies.  Here again, we bought what she needed when the money was available, and we had to cut back on some things so that we could buy her the other stuff she needed. We also had to buy things when we could and not just in one shopping trip. We were able to get her everything she needed in the end and I’m glad we were able to get that taken care of.

Jennifer started getting ready for her trip earlier in the week. She started packing early and I also made sure she left me instructions on how to care for her animals while she is gone. (I went over the instructions before she left in case I had questions.)

Finally, I had to figure out how we were going to get both kids to school at the times they needed to be there. Jennifer had to be at her school an hour and 45 minutes earlier than normal. The problem is, my two kids go to two different schools. I’m usually the one who gets up in the morning, gets the kids up, feeds them, gets them dressed and drives them both to school at the different times they need to leave. But with the time change, I was going to have to call in reinforcements. That’s where my husband came in. Halfway through Jesse’s morning routine, he took over, because I had to leave with Jennifer. (Jesse had to eat his breakfast, brush teeth, take medicine, get his stuff together, etc., while I was gone.) At first I was nervous something might happen and it wouldn’t work out or that we would not get certain things done in time, but we pulled it off. It went over well and both of the kids were on time at the schools that they needed to be there.

After Jesse came home from his field trip, he said he had fun. He said he had liked it. I hope to get the same report from Jennifer when she returns on Friday. It’ll be hard she’ll be so far away for two and a half days, but I’m glad we can stay in touch via text messaging and I know this will be a great experience for her. I know that she really needs to do this thing with her friends. It’s a good chance for her to share such an amazing time of togetherness with her friends and it’ll be memories that will last them long after they all graduate next month.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I'm a baseball mom again!

I loved being a baseball mom in the past. It was so exciting to watch Jennifer first take up T-ball at age 5 then move through the groups as she repeated one year after another of baseball. She had a lot of fun and she enjoyed the sport. Even though some bad things happened, she still liked playing baseball.

That love of baseball never left her even after she stopped playing. She still had her heart in the game and her face would light up when watching movies like The Sandlot and Rookie of the Year. (One of these days, I’ll get her to watch A League of Their Own.)

Unfortunately for me, however, I stopped being a baseball mom after Jennifer stopped playing. I could no longer identify myself as a “baseball mom” but I also still loved the game. I often grew wistful seeing pins about Little League baseball that I pinned to my Baseball love board.

For some time, Jesse was not interested in playing baseball. Soccer was his sport. I was fine with that. Fine with being a soccer mom. Then he lost interest in soccer and went into gymnastics.

Recently, however, he told me he wanted to play baseball. That just came to me right out of the blue! And, unfortunately, it came at a bad time too: A couple of days after the deadline to sign him up for baseball. Still, I told him I would look into it and see if he could still play.

So I contacted Kidsports to see if there was any extra room for him on the team. There was! Yay! (They actually ended up adding two kids to the team in all.) I was so glad there was room for him and started the process of signing him up. I had to pay a late fee, but that was okay. At least he’ll get to play baseball!

So I told Jesse the good news and he got excited. We both went to the Kidsports office to complete the registration process.

Today was his first day of baseball practice. He loved it! He told me “baseball is awesome” and that he had a good time. He is pretty sore from practice but his father said he’ll get used to that in time.

The thing that happened at practice, though, is that the ball hit Jesse in the face a few times. It was NOT a hard hit. It was just when the ball rolled right up out of his mitt and bonked him in the face.

Later, while I was cooking dinner, Jesse told me he couldn’t believe that he got hit in the face with a baseball. (That actually happened to me too when I was a kid!) He went on and on about it. Finally, I told him, “You want to talk about getting hit in the face with a baseball, you go talk to your sister. She got the double whammy.” I told him about how Jen once got hit in the face with a baseball so hard, she had blood on her shirt. Later, I showed him the blog post I wrote about it, as well as the pictures of the bloody shirt. After he saw all that, he said, “I’m glad that didn’t happen to me.”

Well, we still love baseball. And so far, that particular horror story has not scared him off from playing on a baseball team. He’ll be heading off to baseball practice again next week and hopefully by then he can figure out a way to catch the ball without it hitting him anywhere.

Here are some pictures I took of Jesse at practice:

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

My Mother’s Day got off to a bad start. Yesterday, I’d been dealing with allergies really bad. Sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, stuffy nose. I stupidly did not take any medicine for it, figuring I would tough it out. Well, I ended up paying the price for that kind of thinking when I woke up at 3:30 a.m., sneezing my head off. My eyes were watery and itchy again, too. I finally got out of bed at 4 and took Benadryl. That helped a lot and I was able to go back to sleep. But when I woke up this morning, at 10, my eyes were bad again. They were REALLY bad. They were itchy and watery. I ended up rubbing them so bad that it got to a point where I could barely open my eyes. I was angry and frustrated because I had woken up with ideas for things to write in one of my current books, but I couldn’t write it. I couldn’t even see! So my husband gave me eye drops and I lied down to rest for a while, hoping they would work. Meanwhile, I also prayed for relief. I really didn’t want to spend Mother’s Day being blind! (No offense to the blind moms out there.) Finally, after a while, I was able to open my eyes again and they were cleared up. I was able to see clearly again! Yay!

I was so glad that I would be able to enjoy Mother’s Day after all.

I had these gifts waiting for me on the table. They were from my husband.

Jesse made me a pancake for breakfast and Jennifer cooked me an egg. (I had told the kids that I don’t like eating breakfast in bed. I’d rather eat it at the table. Sometimes I also eat at the kitchen counter.)

Then I got their gifts. Jesse gave me his gifts first. It was a vanilla scented candle and a sweet “box filled with love” that he had made at school. I will always cherish this!!

After I got out of the shower, Jennifer had her gift for me spread out on the bed. Two novels, a picture frame, bird figurine, a candle, chocolates and a homemade card. It was quite a spread! A close-up of her card is pictured at top. Here is a pic of her gifts on my bed.

I was very happy with all of my gifts. Also today, we went to IHOP for lunch (what we do for every Mother’s Day) then we did a bit of shopping, got Blizzards from Dairy Queen, then I came home to watch the movie Elizabethtown, one of my favorite movies. I also enjoyed a piece of carrot cake.

And of course there were lots of love, hugs and joy shared today with my kids.

It’s been a great Mother’s Day and I’m so blessed to have two wonderful, thoughtful, beautiful and amazing kids in my life. I am so grateful for my kids! They mean the world to me. My kids always have and always will come first in my life. I would do anything to make them happy. I love them to the moon and back! I am so grateful for them and grateful to my husband for them. Most of all, I am grateful to be spending Mother’s Day with my children.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Lost and then found

Earlier this week, I discovered that Jesse’s jacket was missing. Later on, he had a second jacket missing! I was NOT happy he’d forgotten or lost two of his jackets and I let him know as much. I told him he was going to have to wear his heavy coat if it was cold or if we had rain. (Believe me, we have had a lot of both this week!)

Meanwhile, I knew I had to do something about those lost coats. Ordinarily, when Jesse loses a clothing item at the school or on the bus, it ends up in Lost & Found at the school. (I have made MANY trips to Lost & Found at the school because of both kids forgetting or losing things there. However, a jacket Jesse forgot at the school one time ended up in the library, so I started including the library in my search for lost clothes.) So I made a trip to the school’s Lost & Found to look for the jackets.

Now, before I continue, I must say that the school has A LOT of clothing in Lost & Found. They have so much that, including the area of a room set aside for it, they also have two other tables nearby with clothes on them. Then there’s the two more tables in another room containing more piles of clothes.

Yep, it’s that bad. But I never realized just HOW bad until I went searching again today.

On my second trip to Lost & Found (I always allow for a couple of days in between visits in case clothing turns up somewhere it wasn’t seen before), I found what I thought was one of Jesse’s jackets. It was really similar to his but not exactly the same. Still, I thought it was his! (I know, I know; I really MUST put his initials on all of his jackets!) So I took it thinking it was his.

But later in the day, Jesse took a better look at it and told me it wasn’t his jacket. His doesn’t have a white interior and the back of the jacket had more blue whereas his was more red. (It’s red and blue in the back.) My suspicions confirmed, I decided to take it back to the school’s Lost & Found. But before I did that, it struck me that I should check in with the Boys & Girls Club too. (I had already checked the Lost & Found at the gymnastics academy that Jesse goes to once a week and I figured if he had left it at the piano instructor’s house, she would have let me know by now.)

So first I went to the Boys & Girls Club to ask if they had a Lost & Found. They most certainly did! And before I knew it, a giant trash bag filled with clothes, a backpack, caps and a pair of shoes was placed on the table. It was a big bag of stuff! But it didn’t stop there. They also brought out a crate filled with more clothes. I went through both of them. It was worth it: I found one of Jesse’s jackets. Hooray! And, yes, it was the right one. I automatically knew it was his when I saw it. It was DEFINITELY his! (And I mentally kicked myself for taking the wrong one. But they were so similar! Ugh!)

After that was done, I drove to the school to return the wrong jacket. I also went through two of the four tables to look for the other jacket. No luck. I was about to go where the official Lost & Found was located when I turned to see the janitor walk towards the cafeteria, which is what I was in front of. We usually make small talk whenever I see him and we did so then. I shared with him my difficulty in finding that one other jacket and the many visits I have made to Lost & Found. He told me there was one other area where “lost and found” clothing was kept and took me to that spot. There on the floor sat five ginormous trash bags filled with clothes. And a jacket thrown over one of them for good measure.

My eyes widened. “This is all lost and found?” I asked in surprise, indicating the bags.

He nodded.

I could not believe it. That was a lot of stuff to go through!

I told him I would go ahead and search through the bags. Before he left, he smiled and wished me luck. 

I stood there, staring at the bags. Then I sighed, shook my head and thought, Let’s do this.

I opened and searched through all five of those big bags. It was quite a job! As I searched, I was wondering how lost or forgotten clothing could get to be so bad. Weren’t there other parents coming here to look for a lost jacket or a lost sweatshirt?

Well, my search of those bags was in vain. The jacket was not in there, either. I couldn’t believe it! Where the heck did that other jacket go??

I finished my search of the official Lost & Found and came out of that empty-handed, too. As I left, I thanked the janitor for his help.

Later in the day, after the kids were home, I decided to turn the house upside down to look for that other jacket. It didn’t just disappear! First I searched the van, looking under seats and everything. No jacket. I knew it wasn’t in the coat closet, because I’d already cleaned out the coat closet earlier in the week, looking for the jacket in there. But as I was headed for Jesse’s bedroom, thinking maybe I’ll look on his closet floor or under his bed, the door to the linen closet caught my eye. I stared at it, wondering if I should search it. I thought, Bhere’s nothing but shoes, blankets, sheets, towels and pillows in there.

Still, something encouraged me to open that door. So I did.

And there on the floor was the other missing jacket! It had been Right There all along! Good grief!!! (And, yes, I did let out a scream of frustration, along with a good slap to my forehead.)

Well, I was glad that I had finally found both of Jesse’s missing jackets. It’s a good thing he has another jacket to wear again, too, because when I picked him up from school today, he informed me that he’d forgotten his jacket at school, and when we went there, he couldn’t find it.

Looks like I’ll need to pay another visit to the school’s Lost & Found.