Sunday, February 26, 2012

Drama Queen

It’s been a rough week for ol’ Ellie.  I’d love to say that she is taking it all in stride, but she has a flare for the dramatics, so “in stride” isn’t quite how she rolls.

On Tuesday Ellie told me that Riley scratched her face.  I did not catch her in the act, but Riley has some aggression issues so it is entirely possible that this happened.  However, at the time I had broken up nearly a dozen fights already that morning and I waved it off without investigation and told them something along the lines of “don’t talk to each other…don’t even look at each other…just go play in your rooms”.  Only later did I see the evidence of three small gouges on Ellie’s face.  Oops.

On Wednesday, I picked up Ellie from preschool and her teacher told me she thought she maybe had pink eye.  But since Ellie told her all about the scratches near her eyes that maybe it was just an irritated eye, or something to do with Ellie’s cold.  After nap her eye was crusty so I called the Dr. for some drugs and told Ellie not to touch her face and if she did she immediately needed to wash her hands.  Ellie spent the next two days acting like a leprosy victim.  “Don’t sit next to me Austin, you’ll get my germs!”  “Riley, I played with that toy earlier, you shouldn’t touch it.” And when it came time to put the drops in her eye (4 times a day….really?  Can’t the pharmacology experts come up with a better system than this?) it was a 5 minute process just to get her lying down so I could pry open her eyes to administer the drop.  Despite her OCD tendencies with hand washing she got pink eye in the other eye and missed school on Friday.

Friday evening we all settled in to watch a movie.  Because of her diligent hand washing, Ellie had very dry and cracked hands.  I put some special lotion on them and she watched the whole movie sitting like this:

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So, we have the pink eye cleared up.  Her hands are healing nicely, but she has developed a cough and she is fairly certain that a spoonful of honey every hour is the key to her health.

A shot of something every hour might be the key to my sanity….but it isn’t honey.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Precious

The wait is over!  Ellie finally got to bring home Precious from preschool for the week.  Precious is the preschool pet, of sorts.  Really, he’s the best kind of pet.  He doesn’t need food, doesn’t poop, smell, or make any noise.  He is a stuffed gorilla.

Each week a different preschool student gets to take home Precious for a whole week.  The child is suppose to take Precious everywhere with them and take pictures and then record, in Precious’ diary, what they did on their week together.

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Ellie was beyond excited to finally get her week with Precious!  I like to think of him as the magical monkey.  I am pretty sure I could have used him to get her to do amazing things.  Like eat dinner.

The first thing Ellie did was to introduce Precious to Nala, Riley’s monkey.  They were immediate friends!

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The girls spent the whole afternoon playing with Precious.  They even all got dressed up as Princesses.  Precious was Sleeping Beauty.

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Precious also ate almost every meal with Captain Crazy Hair.  This made me a little nervous when we had waffles in the morning because I was concerned Precious would end up a sticky mess.  He stayed in his booster seat like a good little monkey and we didn’t have any problems.

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We also took Precious to the Mall of America to see Llama Llama Red Pajama.  Which, to be honest, I thought was sort of lame, so we ditched the show and bought a ticket for some rides.  Precious’ favorite ride was Diego’s Adventure Bus.  His least favorite ride was Ghost Blasters.  My judgment was off and it scared him very much!

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On Thursday, Precious went to Ellie and Riley’s dance recital.  He even got dressed in a tutu for the show!  He was very impressed with their performance.

On Saturday, Precious had a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa Smith’s.  My guess is that he stayed up too late and ate lots of yummy treats there!

Ellie thoroughly enjoyed her time with Precious and hopes to be reconnected with him again next year when Riley is lucky enough to have her turn for a week.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It’s gone!

Austin finally lost a tooth.  Quite literally.  We have no idea where it is.

His two bottom teeth have been just the tiniest bit lose for at least 5 months.  They never seemed to get any more loose.  I started to get concerned when I saw his two permanent teeth coming up behind them…quite a ways behind them.

It really started to bother Austin’s eating because he would constantly get food stuck between the two rows of teeth.  But we are finally half over with the problem!  Yesterday morning he rushed through all his morning rituals so he could play his video game before school.  He was downstairs playing and I was upstairs getting the girls ready and he yelled “Mom! I lost my tooth!” so I went downstairs eager to see his grin and this is what I got:

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Doesn’t really look that different.  So I requested a close up.

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Still isn’t completely obvious because that other one has already grown in so much.  Oh well….he lost it.  He has no idea where it is.  I said that it was probably lost down the drain when he was brushing his teeth.  This really bummed him out because he really wanted to see it.  Like a good Mama Bear I took apart the drain in search of the tooth.  But, aside from some yucky pipes, I didn’t find anything.  I assured him the tooth fairy would still come.  He could just write a letter explaining his diligent brushing techniques.  He forgot to write his letter….and the tooth fairy forgot to show up.  We’ll try again tonight.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Big Reveal!

I’m a little embarrassed to show you before pictures of our mudroom.  Now that the problem has been fixed, it’s odd to think we dealt with the “before” mess for as long as we did.  And, the pictures don’t even touch on how truly messy it was because I didn’t think to take the pictures until I had already cleared out the majority of the coats and some of the shoes.  But, without further delay, here was what our mudroom looked like:

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Again…missing almost all the coats.

Below is a fairly representative sample of the shelf.  Let’s see, I can pick out sunscreen, bug spray, winter accessories, a first aid kit, a computer game, a cowboy hat, and a few umbrellas….among other things. 

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And the shoes.  They were everywhere.  Who knew little kids (and big kids) required so much footwear!  And that bench was useless.  Typically you couldn’t even see it because there were coats hanging over it.  And it was just a catchall for every thing so there was never any room to actually sit on it.

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Rob and I have had grand visions for the mudroom for quite some time.  Last spring he sketched up some plans for what he wanted to build and, during the summer, had even started to work out some basic framework.  As tends to happen when he travels, I got antsy and decided I needed to move things along.  I called my dad and asked him the best way to remove trim.  That’s the above picture.  But, I had such fun removing the trim that I also went ahead and removed that useless bench in the corner too.  Probably my favorite part of the whole process was gutting that little corner right down to the studs.  This picture was taken at the beginning of September.

The plan had always been that I would handle the tiling.  Only, cement board is actually made out of cement….who knew?  And being so, it is quite heavy.  So, I believe Rob and my dad ripped up the current linoleum floor and then Rob and I spent a day (actually, it was our 11th anniversary) laying down the cement board.

The following weekend Rob took the kids to Iowa for the weekend and I stayed behind and tiled the floor:

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That’s pre-grout, but apparently is the only picture I took of the tiling process.

From this point on I really had nothing to do.  I helped pick out the paint color, even helped paint, but from here on out I was a cheer leader.  And another set of muscles the numerous times Rob needed things moved around in his shop.  Rob spent a lot of long nights in his shop/garage working on the built-ins but I have to say, seeing the finished product it was all well worth it!

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Presenting our new, and highly improved, mudroom:

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I can’t really offer many details on how it was all done.  I know that the bench top is Cherry wood and the finish on it is as smooth as silk!  Each kid has a locker to put their belongings in as well as a cubby above their locker to someday house other items (cellphones, schoolwork, who knows…). 

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The upper cupboards are pretty empty right now…but there’s no reason they couldn’t hide sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kits, computer games, cowboy hats, and umbrellas…

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The bottom shoe area has been more than enough room, so far, for us and our apparent shoe obsession.  The shelves in the shoe area are on slides so you can access the shoes in the back easily.  The drawers have those “easy close” things on them so the kids cannot slam them.

Also, a whole new closet was added.  This closet juts out into our garage (but doesn’t hinder the parking of either Rob’s car or my van in it’s spot).  It’s the only part of the mudroom that isn’t completely finished.  The idea is to build some sort of shelves in there where we can have a charging station for all our cellphones and gadgets.  Also to house my dust buster!

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It’s been done now for a few weeks and it’s working awesome!  The kids are doing a great job of taking responsibility for their various articles of clothing and putting them where they belong.  It’s nice to be able to walk in from the garage without tripping over anything.  Plus, with the addition of the new closet to house my vacuum and mop I can actually offer my guests the front closet for their coats.  I haven’t….but I could!

Anyway, to put it mildly, I’m ecstatic with the results and with what Rob can accomplish.  Probably 50% of our neighborhood has the same mudroom and I bet they’d all benefit from a similar system but now that I know what he’s capable of, my list of projects for Rob has grown and he will be unavailable to help for the unforeseeable future!