The day has finally arrived! All the Board members filtered in and out all morning to help set up at Moon Valley Country Club. I spent most of my time not on setting up the registration desk. That was as easy as plunking down the crates I had spent stuffing the past couple of days. My main task was to set up the projector and laptop for the slideshow. Unfortunately I had to wait around for the projector to arrive, and I was anxious to see if the portable speaker that we use at home would work in the ballroom. That had to wait until later in the afternoon when the DJs arrived.
From there, I headed to work to get in a couple of hours before running home to shower and change. We had the idea to employ some of the Board member’s husbands to sit on the patio (having a beer) and guard the stuff so that we wouldn’t have to set it up, haul it inside, and then set it back up again. I came out to relieve them, but they weren’t all that anxious to leave! The DJ was late, and he ended up just giving me a microphone for the slideshow.
I wasn’t quite as proud of the actual slideshow this year as last, but I was really pleased with how the pictures of the kids came out. I made a collage for each parent who attended the Auction of their child’s individual and team photos. Some of them cried, especially the other Board members. It was really touching. Candida, the Decor Chair, had blown up black and white versions of the team photos and placed them around the room. I think it really helped everyone realize who we were doing this for: the kids!
The evening went off great. Bryan and I bid on a couple of modest items. I loved the class projects the kids did. Maggie’s Shining Stars did towel sets, and there were four sets up for bid, so I figured I could win at least one of them, but alas, no. Carter’s Buzzing Bees class project was one the kids and I had our hearts set on. It was a kid-sized rocking chair with the kids’ thumbprints drawn to look like bees. So cute! Didn’t get that one, either. Bryan did win a couple of bids. One was a costumed character for a kid’s party and the other was dance lessons.
Bryan wanted to check in on Maggie, and he found out that she wasn’t doing too well at Gramma’s house since she’s been sick. He decided he’d leave early and go pick her up on the way home. It worked out okay, because we had come in separate cars. I had to stay late anyway to help clean up. What a fantastic night! I can’t wait to find out how successful it was!
Bryan couldn’t make lunch today, so in the midst of some errands, we stopped at Pei Wei for some yummy lunch. The kids are always completely intrigued by the statue out front. After rest time, we packed up and headed to the folks’ house for pizza night and the beginning of their weekend sleepover. Bryan was worried about Maggie still not feeling well, but I am focused on getting ready for tomorrow’s Auction, and I know my mom can handle anything!
Early this morning, Bryan came to get me to listen to Maggie’s cough and breathing. It was really hard not to panic. She was having a hard time simply getting a breath in, and her cough sounded like a seal. The kids have had bad coughs before, and of course Carter always has a hard time breathing whenever he gets a cold, but this was something different. She just seemed not to be able to get a proper breath, and the look on her face was a little panic about it. We decided that Bryan would take her to the kids ER at John C. Lincoln. As soon as they left, I got on the computer to see if I could make a diagnosis before the ER doctor. Not having experienced either, I figured it was whooping cough or croup. Turned out to be croup, which I texted to Bryan before he told me the docs there said the same thing. Turns out they get it a lot at this time of year, this time of early morning, same sort of panic in the parents. They gave her a breathing treatment, a popsicle, and home remedies for next time. Turns out croup can be relieved either by steam from the shower or going out into the cold night air, which seem contraindicative. The popsicle helps to cool the throat and reduce the swelling. Both Bryan and Maggie were very tired by the time they got home. I had kept Maggie home yesterday and took her to the doctor in the afternoon, and other than just saying she had a cold, there wasn’t much he could do at the time. I was supposed to sell raffle tickets at school this morning, but had to call off and we stayed home for a sick day. With the Auction just days away, I hope she’s better before the weekend!
Belize and Reef wanted to visit the Hall of Flame Museum near the zoo during their weekend at Gramma’s house, so Carter, Maggie, and I tagged along. The sheer number of fire trucks in their warehouse is impressive, if not the grumpy old man at the front desk who barked the rules at us about not touching the chains and only climbing on the one truck designated for that purpose.
The kids liked going through the galleries, but really perked up when we got to the kids area. I think they could have stayed there the rest of the day, but the adults were getting hungry for lunch. I used all of the quarters in my wallet on the fire truck ride, the kids ran through several emergency scenarios in the pretend house, and everyone dressed up in the firefighter suits to slide down the pole.
On the way out of any venue, Gramma likes to allow the kids to pick out something to buy from the gift shop. There was a great selection of cool firefighter toys, and it always seems like my kids pick out something that is way too expensive. I tried to make some suggestions, but they finally settled on matching paint your own ceramic fire truck banks.
Our day went sour as soon as we attempted to check out with the grumpy old man. He botched adding up the purchases and almost double-charged us. Understandable, yes, since the kids were eager to take their purchases, but the guy does not problem-solve very well! He got so flustered about having to refund some of the purchase back to the card that he ended up throwing forty dollars from his own wallet at me and then yelling at me to get out of the place. Yikes! I had my hackles up about that the entire rest of the day, and had a hard time coming down from the confrontation. Luckily the kids were outside when it happened, so they didn’t have their experience tarnished. We found a Burger King nearby where I tried my best to simmer down.
The other day our neighbor, Michelle, mentioned that her daughter Jezelle was having her birthday party at Great Skate, and that she had Maggie’s invitation in the house (which she never gave me). I was hesitant about bringing Maggie to a seven-year-old birthday party, especially one at Great Skate, because I didn’t think she could keep up with the other girls. I had been to Great Skate as a teacher chaperon several years ago, so it wasn’t the dramatic shock it might have been to realize that the only thing that has changed there is the updated music. Instead of doing the Hokey Pokey at the end of the session, they did the Casper Slide and some other line dance I didn’t know.
Bryan had told Maggie that she had to do a lot of “thumbs up” as she skated. Luckily, they have one new addition with these brilliant walkers for the novices. Maggie was determined to skate around, but she would only do one loop and then sit out. That was okay with me because then I got to zip around the rink a loop or two, a skate around memory lane, as it were. Since the other kids were older, they pretty much ran around by themselves, but I stuck to Maggie like glue. It was pretty crowded, with about 10 other birthday parties going on.
It seemed to go by very quickly, and somehow Maggie came into the knowledge that all the other girls (including the other four-year-old neighbor girl) were going back to Jezelle’s house for a slumber party. As if the one at Great Skate wasn’t enough! I had no thought of Maggie sleeping over, but Michelle said it was okay and Maggie begged and pleaded.
We got her all ready and sent her over, but then I got a text at 11:00 that Maggie was ready to come back. She started right in whining that the girls wouldn’t let her watch the Strawberry Shortcake movie she had picked out. Instead they watched a PG rated true story movie about a surfer girl who loses her arm to a shark attack and then eventually goes back into competitive surfing. Maybe a bit much for Maggie, but a long way from Strawberry Shortcake. She was upset that she wasn’t able to stay the night, but I was thinking it was too soon for a sleepover, especially with the age difference. I never heard how the other four-year-old fared, but her older sister was there, too.
When we went a few weeks ago, the owner at PlayGrounds mentioned that Shadow Rock had a fundraiser coming up, and today was the day. I decided that we try to get there as close to three o’clock as possible and stay until it was time for pizza night. A couple of other Shadow Rockers showed up while we were there, but not many, so I hope more came later in the evening. The kids had a blast again and didn’t want to leave when it was time to go. Maggie had fun playing with the other kids, and Carter had fun antagonizing them and cleaning up, apparently!
Today I had two tasks: get more Auction pictures done and get to both of the kids’ Valentine’s Day parties. We hurriedly finished up the cards yesterday, Maggie taking more care with hers and me doing most of Carter’s.
Luckily, Maggie’s class parties are about mid-morning, and Carter’s are at the end of the school day, so I was easily able to attend both. It was funny, because both classes read the same book about it raining valentines, and both teachers had placed hearts on the ceiling fan to “rain” down on the class. It was a cute effect.
It was a good picture day. I finally got Carter’s class, and retook Carter’s pictures since I didn’t like his expression in the first set. He was clowning around balancing his bat on his shoulder when Miss Carol asked me if he was funny like that at home. Yes. Yes, he is.
I have so much work to do this month at Shadow Rock for the Auction that I tasked Marjorie to come and watch Carter today and last Wednesday so that I could work while Maggie was at school. Last week I began my pictures project while this week I wanted to start the thank you cards for the donations. However, the pictures project was taking forever, and since we aren’t at school on Monday and Friday, there are two classes that I can only do on Wednesday. Someone joked that we should start taking pictures in the Fall and not during cold and flu season. The individual pictures are easy because if a student is absent, I can just get their picture on another day. The class pictures are proving very difficult. I have a couple of classes that have one student absent one day and then another one gone the next. I’ve been taking the picture every day just to give me more choices when it comes down to which student will have to be missing! I haven’t even bothered with getting a second picture of Maggie’s class. The Shining Stars have had at least three missing each day I’ve tried, and the first day there was only one. Anyway, after school, Maggie, Shiny, and I went to Macayo’s for lunch on the way home.
The Shining Stars have a mascot who goes home with a Star for a week. It was finally Maggie’s turn to take care of Shiny. Right away, I knew it was going to be an eventful week with Shiny. Maggie is determined that he/she will be going with us everywhere, and the proof in that was that Shiny ate egg salad sandwiches with us for lunch. Then he/she came with us to dance class. Unfortunately, Shiny liked dance class so much that he/she decided to stay. We didn’t realize it until we were halfway home, but since I had a meeting in the evening, I wanted to get the kids home to eat dinner. I assured Maggie that I would pick up Shiny on my way to my meeting. He/she was in the very same spot where we left him/her, like a good little Star!
(By the way, the reason I’m using he/she is because Maggie hasn’t settled on a gender for Shiny, sometimes saying “he” sometimes “she”!)
Maggie and I left this morning to go to work and then head to a birthday party at the Triple P (Peter Piper Pizza). When we got home, Bryan decided to take the kids to the park to give me a little break.
We dropped the kids off at Grandma’s house and headed out to Cave Creek for a party at Yolande and Paul’s other house. I was stunned at how unique and stunning this house was. Three (or four?) stories set into the hillside so that you enter on one level, but there are more levels exposed at the back of the house for beautiful views from a wraparound balcony/patio. Turns out they’ve been renting this house out to a man with lots of money to spend on decor, because the inside looks like something out of a movie or a museum. (Guess he spent too much, though, because he had to move out.) Just so many nooks and crannies to this house, I was really impressed. It wouldn’t be easy to live there, though, with a family and young children, as Yolande and Paul did when their kids were little. Too many places for them to hide and get into trouble! There was way more food than I was hungry for, and Bryan and I aren’t used to staying out past eight o’clock these days, so while we were one of the first to arrive, we ended up being some of the first to leave as well. Maybe next time we can stay awake longer!
Magge has been waiting for this for months: Mommy Night at school. Carter had his parents’ nights back in the fall, so Maggie has been anxiously awaiting her turn. She helped me pick out an outfit and she wore her Easter dress again. When we arrived, we headed out to the patio for some pictures and conversation. Then it was inside for the main event: painting a ceramic dish for a keepsake. We had some cookies and punch and then it was already time to go! In the meantime, since Maggie’s class has been talking about cowboys, she had all the gear and made me up, complete with hat, vest, boots, and bandana.
This morning, I started a new project for the upcoming Preschool Auction. The theme is Take Me Out To The Ballgame, so we decided to take class and individual pictures of the kids to use for a slideshow and decor for the Auction at the end of the month. Getting pictures of all 113 kids, plus 9 group shots might prove to be a little harder than I originally thought!
I went to check on Maggie as I usually do at rest time. I think she would have given up her naps altogether if I hadn’t implemented the idea of “Quiet Hour” in which I put Carter down for a nap (and sometimes myself) and Maggie is relegated to her room for some quiet activity on her own. Sometimes she fights it and fights it, saying she’s not tired, and then falls asleep in the last 10 minutes. Those are the days when I go to check on her to either see if she’s asleep or tell her the hour is up. Today I panicked just a little when I couldn’t find her. She wasn’t on the top bunk, and her bed was too piled high with stuff for her to be there. I finally peeked under the pile and found she had pulled her couch over herself like a tent. Silly girl!
I have been cringing all of this postseason, waiting for the 49ers to lose. Well, it hasn’t happened yet, so today they’re in the Super Bowl! I had to work the book sale this morning at Shadow Rock, so Maggie and I left early to go to church and then to work and then to the Super Bowl party at Maria’s house. I was hoping Maggie would choose her red dress to help Daddy root for his team, but she decided to go with the Easter dress we got at Costco the other day. I think she was just itching for a “party” to wear it to since I wouldn’t let her wear it to school and such.
Carter and Daddy arrived at the Super Bowl party at Maria’s house well before us, so we were getting the scoop all afternoon by way of his posts on Facebook. Well, the tension was high by the time Maggie and I arrived, and while it was a good, exciting game, the 49ers just couldn’t pull it out.
We met up with everyone at my mom’s house after Maggie’s dance class to caravan over to the zoo for a day of fun. The photographers met us at the entrance, and the kids hammed it up for their pictures.
They all decided that their paid activity would be to pet the stingrays, so we anted up, hit the restrooms really quick, and then went inside. The stingrays were feeling a bit splashy, and the girls definitely petted more stingrays than the boys, who wouldn’t put their hands in the water.
Mom wanted to avoid the playground with the “stream”, so we headed toward the Children’s Trail and the kids spent most of their time on the spider web playground. I was amazed by Carter’s climbing skills. He looks like a monkey, or a spider, on that web!
I think we could have counted the number of animals we saw today on one hand, but we did have a lot of fun. Mom warned me ahead of time that they were stopping by the gift shop, so the kids and I sped ahead so that we would miss that part of the “Gramma Experience”. You can see the rest of the pictures from today in this set from Flickr.
I can’t believe this picture that Bryan snapped of the kids quietly reading books upstairs at my folks’ house for pizza night. Belize and Reef are over for the weekend, so there were plenty of antics, but leave it to these kids to surprise us with some quiet time, too.
I decided that we needed something fun to do today, and I was worried that the rain was going to continue. That’s when I hit on the idea to finally take the kids to PlayGrounds. It’s an indoor playground that’s run by a friend of the Kontz family who also have a daughter in the Ladybugs class at Shadow Rock. I told the kids that first we would stop by the gym that’s nearby so that I could workout. I found out that the daycare there is open until one o’clock instead of noon like the one on 7th Street. It’s a little further away, and the equipment is all ancient, but it might do in a pinch if we get a late start sometime. The kids had a great time and left me to my reading for the most part. They were really exhausted when it was time to go, but of course they had to put up a fight!
We knew it was going to be a wet one, so we packed the rain gear, complete with the new boots I bought the kids and their umbrellas. Still, they were soaked by the time we arrived at the education building where the activities and breakfast were set up.
Since we were in the second group, the kids had some extra time to play, and this time they both actually sat down to eat as well. Usually I end up packing their breakfast to go for the rest of the day, but we weren’t staying in this wet weather.
Lucky for us, someone couldn’t count or follow directions, so our group was very small. We sloshed our way over to the giraffe barn where the kids got to feed two of the girls some lettuce leaves. Maggie got several turns but Carter was hesitant. He finally let Bryan get him a little closer, but then dropped the leaf at the critical moment.
We made one more stop at the carousel for the kids’ free ride for bringing their zoo cups. It’s very strange to be at the zoo on a day like today when hardly anyone else is there.
The kids were so excited when Marissa came with Reef and Addie in tow. They had a grand time with the addition of Addie to their preschooler antics, which, as you can see from the pictures, included a huge dogpile. What was really hilarious was that they each took turns being the one on the bottom!
We didn’t really plan it that way, but it turned out that the kids ate lunch at Costco. I actually had an ex who admitted that he liked to eat lunch at Costco. I’m not sure if he meant just the cheap pizza at the snack bar or making a meal out of the samples. Sometimes the kids drive me crazy with wanting to try every sample, especially when I’m in a hurry to get what’s on the list and get out of there. Half the time it’s something “gourmet” and they take one look and say, “Ick!” or it doesn’t look gourmet, but tastes weird and they won’t finish it. So we end up with the front seat of the cart full of half-eaten sample cups of various food, spoons falling this way and that, and sticky hands from the finger foods. I always feel guilty, too, taking the sample for them because I have no intention of buying the product. I suppose we have discovered a new product or two from the samples, and that’s what those Costco marketing geniuses are counting on!
After getting a new phone from my old carrier last year, I realized that it wasn’t the phone model that was the problem, it was the carrier. I hated to ditch my company, Working Assets, because they are a nonprofit who supports progressive causes. However, it was getting frustrating to have all the great features of a smartphone and not be able to use them, besides having to find the perfect hotspot of coverage in my own house to make a simple phone call! Plus, hopefully we can save some money each month now that Bryan and I are on the same plan.