Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day 2!

Well, I'm sure we'll pick up the pace soon, but we finally had Day 2 of school. Today we did Math, Grammar, and Spelling for each of them. I'm slowly adding in the subjects so that we can ease in a little bit and not throw it all at them at once. Tomorrow we'll add in Vocabulary and Handwriting. I'm saving History and Science and Latin for next week!

Friday, August 24, 2007

We finally started school

So, my plans to start school on Monday of this week were nixed by a migraine on Sunday that took most of Monday to recover.

I didn't start on Tuesday because I knew that we wouldn't be able to do anything on Wednesday.

We didn't do anything on Wednesday because we had our psychology appointment for Emma's pump in DC - and anything in DC takes no fewer than 4 hours.

We started school yesterday!! I had piles of books on the table and we went subject by subject and looked through our books for this year. Some are new and some are ones we are finishing up from last year. Its fun to have new books! They each did a little math, practiced their piano and that sounded like enough for the first day.

My plans to do another day of school today were foiled by day FOUR of a pinched nerve in my neck/shoulder. I woke up on Tuesday with a pain in my shoulder, but I've had that before and it usually resolves itself in a day or so. Well, it didn't go away on Wednesday or Thursday, and as a matter of fact, kept getting worse. By this morning, the pain was constant and extreme. So, we didn't do any lessons while I made an appointment with the Doctor.

I had a Doctor's appointment who said that it was probably a muscle spasm that caused the pinched nerve and it would take 3-7 days to clear up (its already been 4). She prescribed a pain killer (since none of the ones I was taking were working) and a muscle relaxer.

I also went and got a deep tissue massage today to work out the muscle. It is much better right now. Between the massage and the muscle relaxant, I'm finally able to turn my head a little (which I couldn't do this morning)

So, ONE day completed, ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY-NINE to go!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Newest resident of Anderby Lane

So I'm sitting at my computer in front of the family room window today and I'm hearing this loud screaching noise. I don't know WHAT it is but it is different than I've heard before.

All of a sudden, a bird flies through my line of vision and lands on the fence next door.

It was an eagle.

This was the source of the loud screaching sound.

Later, I continue to hear the sounds and go looking in the backyard to see that the eagle seems to have taken up residence in the back yard. It seems that there is a nest lodged in the crook of one of the tall trees and the eagle is heading there. I got some video of the eagle singing and then flying on the way to the nest. The lighting is horrible because its backlit but you can clearly see the eagle in the shot and most definitely hear the singing!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Its just soccer for goodness sake!

I agreed to take on a role of commissioner for our area in the local soccer league this season. I have coordinated teams for Samantha's age group for a number of seasons and honestly had just had enough of the parents and their numerous complaints about any number of things - that they made personal since they knew me.

We published the rosters for our fall season this weekend. I have already fielded a number of messages from parents about their unhappiness with the way the teams are formed. I even got a message from a coach who asked for 4 of his former players to be moved onto his team this season. Unbelievable. These kids are 6 years old. Yes, you heard that right - 6 years old! And the parents and coaches are already complaining that they don't get to play with the same players again.

The league has a very well-written policy regarding forming the teams. Its what I used to tell each coordinator in each group how to form the teams. It talks about parity of experience and balancing of kids from other schools, putting specific requests for coaches at the lowest priority - and a coaches request for a number of players with no priority. This is what my coordinators did. The problem is the league doesn't publish this policy for parents - I don't think intentionally, just hadn't been thought to.

The coaches are complaining. One said "we have been together since U5 then U6 and we expected to be together in U7". Well, U5 is 4 freakin years old. These kids need to play with a lot of different kids at this age. This coach even lodged a veiled threat of "I'll be checking out the other rosters to make sure THEIR kids weren't kept together". These coaches and these parents don't get it. Its the ones like this that ruin it for the others - these are the ones that are going to be out on the field assaulting other players when their kids are 14.

We haven't had a consistent commissioner in this area for a number of years - in my 4 seasons of working in Samantha's age group I had 4 different commissioners. With the verbal abuse that you receive in this role, its no wonder.

And if I had to guess - for my mother who is most likely reading this post - this is not at all different than the stuff they had to put up with for the years they helped to MAKE the little league the way it was when we were growing up.

Enough said. Rant over.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Old Friends

I had dinner on Saturday night with some old friends. You know the type - you fall out of touch for months or years but fall right back into step when you see each other again.

Lella, Whitney, and I went to Hollins College together. For the most part, we met on the first day. Whitney lived on my hall. Lella has the same birthday I do, which I know because an orientation activity was to line up based on birthdays.

Our lives parted and collided throughout college - through different dorms, trips abroad, and other activities, but we ended up in the same dorm senior year - Starkey. For my part, I loved that dorm and it was a good year.

Whitney lives in Richmond. We had reconnected a few years back at a Creative Memories convention. Lella lives in Boston. We last saw each other at a party celebrating November and December birthdays in 1999 (I was pregnant with Michael). We've shared a few emails from time to time and reconnected through our blogs recently.

Lella decided to come to Richmond from Boston this past weekend. We all agreed to hook up in Fredericksburg (the midpoint between my house and Whitney's) for dinner. I was leaving the house when I got a call - how about we meet in Springfield because they want to shop at an outlet there. Fine by me - its closer.

So, we meet up in Springfield and ended up at Bertucci's for dinner. We sat and talked and ate good food for a long time. It was like we had seen each other often and were just getting together to chat. We talked about old times at school and recent times with kids and friends.

It was good to reconnect - perhaps we won't wait a number of years to do it again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Busy in the Stopper Household

We have been busy the past couple of weeks. I am knee-deep in getting the soccer season started for our region - we finalize our team rosters tomorrow so I'll be happy that's on the down-slope.

Mike put a new "timer" on the computer. It limits how much time a week they can be on the computer, how many hours a day, and how much time in each session during the day. It keeps me from having to police it because it will log them off when their time is up and won't let them back on until their waiting period is over. Of course, last week I asked Mike to increase the time because it was just TOO HOT to do anything outside.

The kids have been exploring the art closet since their computer time is limited. They have been running around with walkie-talkies saying "Roger That" and making designs with the spin-art machine and they made finger paint masterpieces.

We are starting our new school year next week. That will give us a couple of weeks to get into the groove before all the activities start up again. I finally sat down yesterday and planned out about 4 weeks of Samantha's lessons. I hope tomorrow or Friday to do the same for Michael's and for their shared subjects. I don't want to do any more because I'm sure once we get into activities, I'll find certain days that are harder to fit all the subjects in than others and I'll want to plan accordingly.

I think we all look forward to getting a little bit of the structure back.

Emma's pump process is continuing - we have our appointment with the child psychologist next week and the pump company is processing the paperwork. Thankfully we haven't had any lows the last few nights - it doesn't mean we aren't getting up but it makes it easier if we aren't having to give her juice and wait to make sure it worked.

Molly Maid is coming next week to do a "whole house clean". It really needs it. When I was scheduling the cleaning, the woman said that I will want to have as much picked up as possible because "we don't want them spending their time picking up" (we pay by the hour). I was tempted to say "hey, can I pay for them to do that too?" But, slowly but surely the stuff is getting organized and straighted so that we can find a few flat surfaces and floors for a good cleaning.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Independence Day - Long Overdue

(This post is a bit overdue while I waited for an internet friend to do some magic by combining two photos into one)

We typically spend Independence Day at Smith Mountain Lake. Some years both of my other siblings are present and other years there are none. This year my oldest brother, who has returned after 15 years in Guatemala, was there.

Our family tradition, started years ago, is to wear Flag Shirts from Old Navy. They don't "necessarily" have to be the current year (and aren't always) but we always have our flag shirt. If anything, it guarantees that we are color coordinated for my scrapbooks.

The family photos on the steps of the deck seem to be developing into a family tradition as well. When you get multiple families together, you just don't want to miss the opportunity to get one!

This year, we had the neighbor take several. And as always with kids, you can't seem to get them all to smile at the same time. But with the introduction of technology, now you can fix that. I had my friend take the face of my daughter and my oldest brother from one photo, and put it on their heads in the other photo, where most of the other people were better. And the final result is above.

We had a nice relaxing weekend. It was our first trip out of town with Emma and her diabetes. The packing is a bit more extensive (definitely) and she was a bit all over the place with her readings, probably because of the change in schedule. But we had a nice weekend (and headed back the following weekend to visit my sister who arrived the next week)