Thursday, October 13, 2016

Catching up

People ask me all the time, "What do you DO all day now that you aren't driving for 3 hours?" and I have to say, A LOT.  I finally finished sanding, priming and painting all of the furniture for the girls' rooms. Len and one of our neighbors wrangled all of the pieces up the stairs and into their rooms. Kate's bookcase still needs to have some wallpaper applied to the back and Lucy's desk needs to have the hutch bolted to the top though so, yeah, I'm not done. I've also been trolling the internet hardware stores and all the local stores in vain looking for a hinge that will work on Kate's new desk. It only has one hinge but needs two to work properly. I've been spectacularly unsuccessful.
The battle with the stinkbugs continues and has now expanded to include box elder bugs by the thousands. I finally called a pest control company who used 40 gallons of spray on the exterior of our house plus more inside on all 3 levels. It worked for several days but now they are back and coming down the chimneys. Len tried a natural remedy of garlic spray in the chimneys last night but alas, I killed about 30 more just this morning that came flying out. Looks like I'm about to light some serious fires soon to kill them! In the meantime, they are slowly filling up our septic tank.
I spent some time in their class last week doing a presentation about all things cleft. Lucy told me one night a while back that several of her classmates had been asking her about the scar on her lip and why was her nose was bent. She tried to tell them it was from her cleft but didn't really have the language yet to explain what that meant. I asked her if she wanted me to come and do a short presentation about it with her help and she agreed so the next afternoon we worked on the details. A few years back I had gotten a really great book that explains cleft to kids so I brought that as well as a few show-and-tells including one of Lucy's ear tubes and a palate expander. She also wanted to show everyone her baby pictures so they could see what she looked like before her surgery and why she now has a scar. She was thrilled to be able to show everyone and the class was incredibly receptive to her, asking questions and being impressed with how brave she must have been to have all the surgeries. We touched briefly on adoption since it was obvious from the photos that she didn't live with us and again, the kids were incredible. All in all it was a great experience, especially for Lucy.

Earlier in the month we all participated in the Homecoming Parade. The Chinese Immersion students made a float and passed out fortune cookies. It started to rain right as we finally got going but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits.

 I volunteered earlier in the month to chaperone a class field trip to the Stillman Nature Center.

This is a hole made by a woodpecker to build a nest. What was amazing though, was seeing the nest inside...
The woodpecker keeps building the hole in a dead tree and makes the nest far below the opening at the top so that predators cannot reach in and grab the eggs/babies.
There were quite a few snapping turtles on the log in the water.

These holes are made by the Sapsucker Woodpecker. They are pretty smart! They make a ton of tiny holes in the tree and then fly away. Meanwhile, the sap from the tree oozes out which then attracts insects to it. Then the woodpecker comes back to an insect buffet!
This tree indicates that a male deer has been there. They rub their budding antlers on the trees to remove the "velvet".
This little snapping turtle was on the path, newly hatched, and heading for the water when he was found by one of the kids.
My other activities aren't not quite as informative but keep me out of trouble nonetheless. On Thursday mornings when I am able, I help with a program called "Blessings in a Backpack". It is certainly humbling to see just how many children are in need of this program.

Closer to home, I've volunteered to be the lead for our neighborhood's annual Chili Cook-Off which is this Saturday. It is putting to good use my years of Project Management and it looks to be a fun time as neighbors compete for the title of Best Chili.

When that job is finished I'll be starting a 2 year stint volunteering for our neighborhood Youth Committee. They were the group responsible for all the fun activities you saw this summer like Storytime, the Back to School Bash, and Movie Night. The next event is Halloween which kicks off with a pizza party at the soccer field followed by trick or treating. Guess who already have their outfits?

I had to take the girls back into the city this month for another visit with the orthodontist. Lucy was scheduled to have another fistula repair surgery this-coming Monday but I noticed that one of her permanent teeth was coming through the previous repair so off we went to the dentist. Her actifuse had been working its way back out of her repaired fistula for a few months which her surgeon confirmed in May so we scheduled the surgery. Now it looks like it actually is her tooth so he cancelled the surgery for now.

Throw in a dental cleaning for me that meant another trip to the city since I've not had time to find one here (and a yummy lunch at Ras Dashen, my fav Ethiopian spot near our old home)
mountains of laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and oh yeah, I joined a book club too! We just finished "A Man Called Ove" which I would never have picked up on my own but I ended up really enjoying it. Turns out it is in limited release in the more independent movie theatres as well. Our next book is "Circling the Sun" which I've yet to start.

We had weekend visitors from Houston for Columbus Day weekend. Paivi and her family came in Friday and flew home on Monday. I'll save those pictures for another post!

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