Saturday, April 19, 2014

Around here and the Jordan Knight selfie story

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Anna was blowing bubbles in the house and Emily didn't want any in her room.  That sign cracked me up.

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No need to schedule my kids anymore.  They can do it themselves.

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A few days ago, Allie and I were scrolling through my FB feed looking at Turks & Caicos pictures family members had posted.  My sister-in-law had updated her profile picture to a selfie on the beach.  There were some joking comments regarding the fact that she had taken a selfie as she's not one to do so.  We continued scrolling and came across a picture of Jordan Knight with a #selfie hashtag.  Here's the conversation that followed:

Allie:  "Who is that?"
Me:  "Jordan Knight?"
Allie:  "Do you know him?"
Me:  "Well. . . yeah."
Allie:  "Is he famous?"
Me:  "He's kind of like Justin Bieber." (They know who JB is from classmates.)
Allie:  "Oh.  Okay.  So he goes around putting selfies on the internet?"
Me:  "Um. . .yeah, I guess you could say that."
Allie:  "Why would he do that?"

It's called marketing.  Or selling your soul to the devil.

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Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Deadbeat Parents Award

The girls each have a folder that they use to transport homework, announcements and other paperwork between their classroom and home.  Most of the time, Grammy is the one who empties those folders as she's the one here in the afternoons.  A few weeks ago, there were three foldouts with notes stapled to the top regarding a book fair (opportunity to purchase books) at school stacked on the corner of the kitchen counter.  When you have three kids in three different classrooms, they attend the book fair on three different days and those days were noted on the paperwork sent home from school but what was not noted on the paperwork was the teacher.  So we knew the days but not the corresponding kid.  Looking back, the easy solution would have been to send in envelopes of money with all three kids on Monday.  Over the weekend, Rich emailed two of the teachers to ask about the days and of course, the emails bounced back undeliverable.  Another easy solution would have been to email some of the parents we know but by that point, I was engrossed with birthday stuff, packing, laundry and I was feeling sicker by the minute.  We all (the adults, anyway) completely forgot about the book fair and it should be noted that the book fair is a HUGE deal to my first graders.

Allie came home from school that Monday with a book from the book fair.  How were you able to buy a book?  She told us that she, along with two other students in her class, had been given a $5 award for something related to math.  The book she had picked out at the fair had cost $6 so her teacher had given her an extra dollar.  Because there was no certificate or anything to go along with the award, I assumed that her teacher had given her some money because we had forgotten to.  The next morning before school began, Rich met with Anna's teacher for a parent/teacher conference.  Afterwards, he slipped into Allie's classroom and left an envelope with $6 in it, to repay and thank Allie's teacher.  She came up to Grammy a short while later as they waited for the school doors to open and handed Grammy the envelope.  Apparently, Allie did win some math award for effort and most improved math scores.  I'm still suspicious though...

Having the girls in different classrooms has given us exposure to many teachers these past almost four years.  It can't be a random that they've all been wonderful.  My dad was a high school chemistry teacher and as a kid, I didn't really appreciate what he did.  Teachers are helping to build the future and yet I feel like they aren't valued (or paid) for what their worth.  Compare what some executives bring home to a teacher's salary.  It's an interesting society we live in...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

{TCI} Pre-trip stuff (after the trip)

After Rich and I spent two nights in the Berkshires last March as a little getaway, I came up with the idea that maybe, just maybe, in 2014, we could vacation somewhere tropical for our 10 year anniversary, which technically is in the fall but because that's hurricane season, the spring would be better.  Especially seeing as, every year, winter loves to hang around for much too long. (Hello! We had snow and ice on the ground this morning.)  All I wanted was two full days to just sit on a beach and read a book.  That's it.  I even had the book picked out and ready to go.

It was one of those "wish list" conversations that you have once or twice and then reality sets in so you kind of give up and stop talking about it.  Six months later, in the early fall, we were at a family party when Rich's sister told us that her daughter was planning a destination wedding in Turks & Caicos for April and that everyone was invited.  They were still finalizing the date and location but that's all we needed to brush the dust from the wish list vacation.  The wedding made it easy as we didn't have to hem and haw over where to go, when to go or even where to stay.

So although kids were invited and a few of the girls' younger cousins were in attendance, Rich and I went alone.  It was a tough call and, in the end, the decision was mainly driven by selfish needs.  One cannot sit on a beach and read a book when accompanied by three first graders.  Plus, it would have cost thousands of dollars more to bring them and I did feel a bit apprehensive over the thought of traveling with young kids to a slightly underdeveloped foreign location.  I love my kids so very much but sometimes I need a break.  I'm not going to pretend to be a superhero.  And yes, it would be remiss of me to leave out how extremely lucky we are to have a grammy who loves our kids and so graciously helps out.

We stayed at The Sands at Grace Bay as this is where the wedding was held and where most of the guests stayed.  Our first inclination was to book a courtyard room because it was the least expensive.  (We did receive a small discount because we were part of a group.)  However, I discovered through my research on TripAdvisor that these rooms are very dark and only have a small window instead of a balcony/patio.  No thank you.  We booked a garden view studio, which meant that we were going to be on the first floor and although being on the second or third floor would have given us more privacy, I didn't think it was worth paying for an ocean view, not to be confused with ocean front.

I briefly debated over whether or not to bring my camera only because I didn't want to have to worry about it.  Turks & Caicos is one of the safest islands you can visit but there is still plenty of petty crime against tourists.  I knew I couldn't leave the camera in my beach chair while I went for a swim in the ocean but I can't do that here either.  It didn't take me long to decide that I had to bring it.  I would have been so mad at myself otherwise.  I didn't bring anything extra with me though - no Speedlight and no lens options.  I went with my "walk-around" lens (the 35mm) and that was it.  

I have so much to say about this trip.  It was so beautiful on that island that in a way, I feel like it was a once in a lifetime vacation.  (I hope not!)  I think I'll do a detailed trip report, with many, many photos, spread out over the next few weeks with my regular, or irregular, posts.  Thank goodness for the holiday this week. My work week has officially ended!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Back. Sick. Sunburnt.

Rich and I went away last week for four nights without any kids.  It was amazing, but it's good to be back.  We missed our little nuggets.  I was sick for many days prior to leaving, which is what happens when moms care for little ones who aren't feeling well, and even took a sick day from work.  Unfortunately, Anna also took a sick day so my sick day didn't really turn out to be the sick day I wanted/needed it to be.  I was slightly concerned with her shunt after she complained that her forehead hurt.  Thank goodness it was just a head cold.  I now most likely have a sinus infection (I've never actually been diagnosed with one but Rich is convinced that's what it is) but I'm too stubborn to go to the doctor because it's a guarantee the antibiotics will tear up my stomach.  I'll pick what I believe is the lessor of two evils.  It'd be nice to have my voice back though.  I swear I was doing better but that plane air on the flights home did me in.  

So as you can imagine, I took a slew of photos, which I plan to share over the upcoming week or two.  And to think I almost didn't bring my camera.

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Grace Bay Beach
Turks & Caicos

Friday, April 11, 2014

What's In - A First Grade Gift Guide

Well, according to my three first graders, anyway.  Here are some of the presents they asked for and/or received for their birthday.

Barbies - Let me start by stating that I am not anti-Barbie.  I'm actually not pro-Barbie either.  In my opinion, it's just a freaking doll that my kids like to play with, most likely because of the size.  They like to create families with dads (whether that be Ken, Prince Charming, or the Beast), moms (Barbie), and kids (Stacy and Chelsea.)  I played with Barbie dolls when I was little and I turned out just fine.

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A bit of a side track here.  The girls came across the styrofoam packing from my sewing machine in the recycling bin in the garage.  Someone brought it inside and turned it into a Barbie house.

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Books - Emily was actually disappointed that her friends didn't gift her with books.  In addition to reading on their own, I still read to the girls for 15-20 minutes each night.  We read chapter books now and they've really enjoyed books from the Ramona series.

Beanie Boos - Don't know why, but my kids love these things.

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Arts and Crafts - We always welcome new markers, glitter glue and other craft supplies.  This weaving loom was quite the hit.

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School Kit - Apparently, Emily's BFF has one and the girls have been asking for one of their own since they came across it at her house.  They love playing school with their dolls and stuffed animals.  A local store that sells them told Grammy that they can't keep them on the shelf so Grammy ended up making her own.  Think of things like grade book, hall passes, etc.

Movies - Frozen and Pirate Fairy (need I say more?)