Saturday, August 30, 2008

Catching Up...

Once again I find myself trying to catch up from the previous week! Work has been crazy-busy with some really difficult issues to help my patients deal with. One that really affected me is a 54 year old with end-stage rectal cancer who is actively dying. When I last saw him about a week and a half ago, he was sitting up and laughing with me about the craziness of life and now I go see him Tuesday and he's hallucinating from the morphine he's on every 4 hours. His wife is barely holding it together emotionally and trying to take complete care of him, including setting up IV hydration! I never fails to amaze how strong the human spirit can be. I know that if any of us were in that position we would do the same. What makes the situation even more difficult is that they have never discussed end-of-life issues like hospice, pain management, going back to the hospital, or resuscitation. Needless to say, after that visit, I was in a funk for the rest of the week that just didn't seem to go away.

I had yesterday (Friday) off because my daycare lady closed for a three-day weekend. Tucker and I met Andrew and his mommy (and of course, Emily) at a playground to play and have lunch. We then went for ice cream at a new place-yummy!
We then got a "sneak peek" at the school. Tucker's school, where Tracy teaches fourth grade, has been under major reconstruction all summer and the teachers have just finally gotten in to do their classrooms on Thursday. So we got a peek at Tracy's new room, the new traffic re-configuration, and most importantly to Tucker, he got to play on the new playscape! Always exciting to be first! The school looks great and Tucker is excited to start on Tuesday (at least that's what he says!) We then dropped off my paperwork for the week at work and stopped to rent "Nim's Island". Tucker had seen it at Angela's and really liked it. It was really cute and of course, I love anything Jodie Foster is in!

Today we did our usual Saturday activities (library and Target). we got Tucker a new lunchbox for school; Spiderman again because the other choices for boys were Hulk, Cars, and Speedracer-none of which he's really into. As usual, there were a million choices for girls including pastel camo which I would have gone for if it was regular camo. When we came home, tucker put in some time in his cons ruction site(the dirt area around his playscape) which is all MUD because it has been raining off and on all day as we deal with the end of Fay (thankfully nothing like what my friend Julie contended with in FL!!!) then of course, it was in to the bath tub with the dirty, muddy boy. He actually ended up taking a shower once we realized he was just sitting muddy water and he hadn't even really begun to clean off! So now he's in his pajamas which he will usually change into anyway once we're done going out for the day.

Now we're watching "Shrek 3"--pretty much a staple in our home. right now it's the scene where Prince Charming is in the bar with all the villains and trying to get them to revolt against Shrek and all that is good. In the background, some one's singing "I've been to paradise" by Charlene. It's from the 80's and I swear I still know every word, including the spoken part: "hey do you know where paradise is? it's a lie, a fantasy recreated by people and places as we liked them to be. But do you know what truth is, it's that little baby you're holding, it's the man that you fought with this morning, the same one that you'll make love with tonight, that's true, that's love" scary is that?! I've added it to my songlist because I can't get it out of my head...

I wanted to post some pictures from Michael's party last Sunday. Before we had cake and presents, Michael tried to join Tucker on his boat which as you can see didn't work out that well!
Here Tucker helps Michael blow out the candle. In case, you're wondering about Michael's fancy hat, my friend Joan gave us the hat after we had Tucker to start a "new tradition" so everyone gets to wear the hat on their birthday (and Tucker usually wears it too!)
And finally, just to show off Michael's age (and mine too!), here he is trying to understand how to use Cassandra's iphone. (We are not the most technologically-savvy people!)
Plans for the rest of the weekend include finding some letterboxes here in Montville-there's actually quite a few (that would be tomorrow-Sunday). And hopefully just relaxing on Monday.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lordy,Lordy! Look Who's Forty!

Today is Michael's 40th birthday! Happy Birthday, sweetie! (We'll celebrate tomorrow at my mom's)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dinosaurs, Letterboxing, & The Civil War

As you can probably guess from the title, we have been VERY busy for the past two days! I took yesterday off for a little extra family time. We spent the afternoon at the dinosaur park in Montville (actually only 5 minutes from our house). It's actually more than just dinosaurs, as they continue to add each year! For those who don't know about it, it's a huge nature park that has trails with life-size dinosaurs in the woods (I think there 15 but don't quote me!). At Christmas time, local groups decorate them to raise money for a local charity. They also have a great playground and last year added a splash pad. For inside activities there have panning for gold, digging for fossils, and mining for gems (these are a little pricey though. We did go to a birthday party last March that was a lot of fun and the kids got to bring home the "gems" they found!) .As many times as we have been there, I had never taken a picture of Monty (the t-rex out front, named such because he's in Montville)) in his summer gear: green sunglasses and a cup of coke! Here Tucker poses with him (notice the big grin, on Tucker, not Monty, although Monty's grin is nice, too!))

Tucker really enjoyed the rope climbing web this time and kept going up to the top over and over. Even though it was a little on the cool side, he did enjoy the splash pad too! Mostly he had it to himself! And of course, he loved the water table which he enjoys with Daddy here

This time we actually didn't have ice cream (it was almost 5 pm and we were heading home for supper but typically no visit is complete without an ice cream from their ice cream stand!

Before we even went to the dinosaur park we stopped at Michael's and picked up some supplies for letterboxing. We have been talking about doing this for a long time
(For those who may not know, letterboxing is an activity where you search for hidden letterboxes by following clues; the clues are found at or atlas quest. Each box has a logbook that you log into with your personal stamp and trail name and a stamp that you then enter into your own logbook). So we picked out our stamp: a little boy and a blue ink pad as well as a journal (really an artist sketch pad); our trail name is Felix and Friends (our cat;s name is Felix and this is the name Tucker wanted-I thought we should have a cat stamp but...)

So on our way home, we stopped at a cemetery that we drive by ALL the time to attempt to find our first letterbox and we managed to find it! It was neat too because this cemetery is on the die of a hill and from the road it looks really tiny but it actually goes back pretty far! There was actually two in this cemetery so we took care of the stamping and journal ling and we were on our way, pretty proud that we found our first 2!

Today we headed to the library for Tucker's prize for reading books this week (a smile stamper) and attempted to get the free library pass to fort Trumbull where we were headed to for Civil War Days. The free pass was already signed out so we headed out to find yet another letterbox that was located near the pond by the library! These things are everywhere! This one was in memory of a young girl who was a girl scout and was actually the Girl Scout stamp which , being a former girl scout, I thought was cool!

We then headed to Fort Trumbull which is in New London and sits on the mouth of Long Island Sound. I tried to find out some basic info to include here: It was built in 1777 and named after the governor at the time, Jonathan Trumbull. During the American Revolutionary War, it was attacked and captured by British forces under the command of Benedict Arnold (Apparently a local boy, I'm sure you all know his story). During the Civil War it served as an organizational center for the Union troops. This weekend was their Civil War re-enactment. The soldiers were all camping in tents outside of the fort and patrolling the fort. We talked to one of them on top of the fort about his gun. Here the 'changing of the guard' so to speak

The fort is actually a really neat place and is incredible on a nice day, like today.
While we there, we tried to find 2 letterboxes (we're becoming addicted!) We couldn't find the first one after a 1/2 hour (!!!) so we tried to find the second one found it right away and got a cool stamp of a cannon! We are definitely having fun doing this!!!

After all this busy-ness we headed home to clean out our garage and tomorrow, it's the rest of the house. Plus, Michael gets the fun task of trying to fix the front door sill where we have termites and he'll be placing all the bait and stakes. Fun, fun, fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Day out with Daddy

Michael has been on vacation this week and today was the first day that he and Tucker actually did something fun--the other days have been errands, yard work, etc. Their first stop was Stepping Stones Children's Museum in Norwalk. We had gone there a couple of summers ago and Tucker loved this GREAT remote control train that they had but of course, they have since changed the exhibits! But there is still plenty to do---

Here Tucker races a Lego car against other kids, then creates a bubble around himself (he didn't get to do this last time because it was raining when we were there) and finally relaxes with some gorillas! My favorite part of this museum was all the stuff they had with ping pong balls-it really doesn't take much to amuse me, I guess.

They next headed to The Children's Garbage Museum in Stratford

We had tried to go here a couple of years ago but it was closed the day we tried to go. Ever since, Tucker has been talking about going back. (He has always loved garbage trucks and loves to watch the garbage and recycling trucks collect their stuff!) This museum was right up his alley---he was so excited to tell me all about how they separated the plastic and cardboard and how you could see the workers doing this! I love that he gets so excited about things are fun and educational at the same time! You apparently get to go into all the different areas to actually watch them separate the plastics, the cardboard, etc. Here's a bulldozer straightening out the plastics

After you go through the work area, there is a section designed to teach kids about the process through lots of displays. Tucker was really excited about this dinosaur (which I had read was made of 1 ton of garbage!)

I wasn't even there but just from looking at the pictures, it does give you a whole new perspective on how much garbage we, as humans, create. I try to be good about recycling but this has inspired me to want to do more!

Can You Double My Money?

I just had to share this one...First a little background-our house looks like 5 cyclones hit it (talk about "keeping it real"!) and I had told Tucker that if he helped us clean the house completely on Sunday, we would give him $5. So this morning I came upstairs and he was straightening out his trucks (we have enough to open a couple of trucking companies) and I complimented him for doing so. His response? "I thought if did it early you could maybe double my money"!!!!!! (I told him that's not how it works!)

Monday, August 11, 2008

A disclaimer

I just wanted to add that I don't want anyone to think I was making fun of the gentleman carrying the potted plant in the wedding post. It was simply one of those moments when you wished you had a camera and we actually did!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Congratulations, Mark and Kate!

Mark has been a good friend of ours for many years now. He played darts with Michael for a few years (back before Tucker)and they have stayed friends through the years. He's a really great guy but one of those people that you just never think will settle down! Well, that was until Kate came along! Two years later they bought a house and he proposed in December!

Yesterday was the wedding in Chicopee, MA. We dropped Tucker off at my mom's and picked up Jeff on our way! We arrived at the hotel around 3 (the wedding was at 4) so we changed and went to Denny's (figuring we wouldn't be eating until later.) While we were eating, a guy in a power wheelchair went by which was somewhat amusing considering we're talking a four-lane highway, with strip malls, hotels, etc on both sides. Well about 15 minutes later, one of us glanced out and saw him again with a plant this time! We could not stop laughing and had to take this picture when we drove by him (there wasn't any traffic so I could slow down for Michael to take the picture)

Once we calmed down enough to keep going, we did make it to the ceremony. However, Kate was about to go down the aisle as we pulled in. Needless to say, we didn't make it; she got to the altar just as we came in. It was a beautiful ceremony though. From there we headed over to the reception and actually stayed until 11:45 pm. We're usually in bed around 9:30, 10 at the latest! We had a great time dancing! I hope this doesn't make me sound like a bad mom but it was so much fun to just be the two of us and have fun and laugh! Maybe we need to get out more together! A picture of us and then a picture of Jeff, Mark, and Michael:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The New Truck and Art Projects

As I mentioned we did get Michael's new truck last week. What happened is that we had leased his other truck (definitely will not do again, I don't know know how any one out there feels; it just didn't work for us) and the lease was up this month. We were coming up to the 60,000 mile tune-up, it needed new tires and an alignment so Michael did some research and found out we could get something a little smaller, better on gas (did I mention it was costing $80/week for gas) and basically break even for what we owed, meaning our payments continue at about the same amount. So first, this is the "old" truck (a 2005 Frontier)

Now the new truck, it's a 2008 Frontier, king cab (instead of the Extended Cab of the "old" truck). Smaller engine so it doesn't cost as much in gas and probably more the size we should have gotten to begin with

If you look closely, you can see Tucker in the back of the truck and in the middle picture he shows off his favorite part: the sliding window in the back!

We also did some painting on Sunday. Tucker painted using a feather, making the flames for the torch in honor of the Olympics.

Also I put drops of paint on the paint and had him blow it around with a straw. Of course, being Tucker, he soon had TOO much paint (as you can see)! He loves all the colors and especially likes to mix them. It usually takes a while for his projects to dry because there is so much paint on them!

(I tried to experiment with putting the pictures somewhere other then "center" and can't figure out how to move them without re-doing it all! oh well!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Baseball Reading All-Stars

Tonight we went to a CT Defenders game (Formally the Norwich Navigators), the minor league, I'm not really sure of the term, for the San Francisco Giants. They sponspored a special night for the reading programs at the libraries. If you read 8 books, you got 2 free tickets to the game and you got to participate in a parade around the edge of the field while the team warmed up! Tucker kept saying he didn't want to go in the parade but once we got there, he did! It was actually pretty cool and he said after that he was glad he went! Here are Tucker and I going down to the field (I'm trying to hold the certificate so you can see it but the wind was blowing!)

As we were leaving the field, all the kids got a high-5 from Cutter, the mascot!

We made it through about half the game which wasn't too bad! Here's Tucker showing off his certificate

Saturday, August 2, 2008

We Survived!

We (Tucker and I, that is) are completely exhausted! But we can now say that we have again survived my mother's annual pool party for her co-workers. They are QUITE the bunch, I tell you what! There were about 10 ladies from her office with 9 grandchildren. They ate well and the kids were all water-logged by the end of the evening. Could there be any better party?! I don't think so! Tucker and I slept downstairs (my mother has an air mattress that she puts on the living room floor for Tucker; she usually sleeps on the couch). I ended up on the couch and she went up to her bed! I didn't sleep very well, Tucker took over the mattress (mind you, it's queen-size) and of course, one of her cats, Kristy, decided to take up the rest of the bed. She was more than a LITTLE annoying! This morning we went out to breakfast with my mom and her friends before we headed home.

I mentioned that Tucker finished summer school this week. He's glad to FINALLY be on vacation, for real this time! He did get a progress report and he is making some progress in reading and writing but still confuses some letter sounds. We're thinking of having him screened by the school speech therapist. He has trouble with the sounds of words and drops the first syllable of words, i.e, 'puter' instead of 'computer', 'cation' instead of 'vacation'. He also sometimes doesn't hear a word correctly so it comes out wrong when he repeats it.I have a friend, Monica, who is a speech therapist and she's given me the phone number of her friend who is a speech therapist who specializes in reading disorders. I want to hear whart she has to say. I'm not trying to make myself crazy but I do worry that Tucker isn't reading at the level he should be at this point. We read to him a lot, always have. I just want to try to find whatever help for him that he might need.