Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Samantha!

Today is Samantha's 12th birthday. Happy Birthday Samantha!

She was born at 1:48am, so her actual birthday has occurred. She was born on a Thursday, after we went to the hospital around 11pm on Wednesday night, in labor. Little did we know that Samantha was breech, having turned AFTER my weekly checkup the week before. I actually challenged the doctor when he told me and he brought in a sonogram machine to confirm it.

So they quickly prepared us for a c-section, a possibility we hadn't really prepared for, and rolled me into the operating room where Samantha was born.

Samantha was born at Fairfax Hospital, the busiest hospital in the area, and at 1:48am was already the 8th child born that day!

Happy Birthday Samantha!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My son, the engineer

We have remarked for a while that we think Michael is going to be an engineer when he grows up. When we ride rides at Disney World, he spends most of the ride looking at the mechanics of the ride. And he loves to build things.

He compalins a lot these days that he's bored, since its been basically too cold to play outside. My threats of finding some cleaning for him to do are usually met with his running off to find something to do.

The other day he found his box of math manipulatives and decided to build something. The result - the teddy bear movie theater, complete with large screen and stadium seating for all teddy bears. Click on the photos for better detail of the bears in the seats - they are color-matched so its tough to see!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Michael is playing in a basketball league in our neighborhood this season. There are a lot of boys and girls that play. They start with 2nd graders having an "instructional" league and they go up through middle- and high-school ages and even host travel teams. Its nice because all of the practices and games are at one of the local elementary schools.

Michael's division is 3rd and 4th graders. Our team has a LOT of 3rd graders. You can really tell the difference in the size of some of the kids.

Michael is a strong defensive player. He's agressive and doesn't hesitate to get his hands into the face of another player or on the ball another player has.

And Mike helps out as assistant coach of the team this season!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tea Party

Emma decided that she wanted to have a tea party today. So she got out her tea set and all of her food and worked on having a tea party. I came into the family room to see her surrounded by food - I guess that's just how it should be for a cook, huh?

Monday, January 12, 2009

For want of a Nor'easter!

We still haven't had any snow this season. Right now, our weather report calls for an "Alberta Clipper" on Thursday. Clipper is a very onomatopoetic word - its sounds fast. Albert Clippers are quick snow storms that drop a little snow and move on.

Not good enough.

I want a good ol Nor'easter. A storm coming up the coast, picking up steam and moisture, with a lot of cold air coming down from the North, colliding right over top of us and dropping a whole lot of snow.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Does the shape affect the taste?

So, my question of the day is this:

Does the shape of the chocolate affect the taste of it?

I ask because I have sitting beside me a couple of wrappers from Hershey's Miniatures Milk Chocolate and Hershey's Kisses. The Hershey's miniature is obviously in a rectangle shape. The Hershey's kisses are obviously "kiss" shaped (is there an official name for it?)

I think they taste different!

So, is it the shape that makes the difference?

Do you think there's an official study to be conducted? I'd be happy to be a taste tester!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Stop the Madness!

Ever since election day, all the talk in the DC area has been about Inauguration Day. How its going to be the biggest ever and all that. Fine, whatever. I don't have any interest.

But, as time has progressed towards Jan 20th, its gotten worse. We keep hearing of more and more road closures on that day. And yesterday they announced that ALL of the bridges from VA to DC would be closed that day. You are UNABLE to drive into DC from VA. Because of that, they are closing I-66 and I-395 to inbound traffic inside the beltway. Why, because they don't want to have to deal with exiting the cars BEFORE they get to the bridges.

So, everyone who actually has to work in the city on Jan 20th (remember, there are a bunch of parties, and balls, and hospitals, and hotels, and other things open on Jan 20th), or anyone who needs to travel anywhere within the 10 mile radius of the beltway has to find another way to get there. So, if I had to travel from my house to Arlington, I couldn't take I-66 and would have to take another way in - with a million of my closest friends also diverted with these ludicrous closures.

Someone who needs to travel from my area into the city actually has to take the beltway over the river into MD and then come into the city - along with a million of their closest friends all having to suffer through the same ridiculous closures.

And keep in mind that they are already saying that Metro is going to have more than hour long delays due to the increased volume.

Most people calling into the local news radio station thought these were ridiculous, except the one man who was celebrating the fact that his boss gave him the day off because there was really no way for him to get to work.

This is all just utterly ridiculous.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Democracy vs. Republic

Many people believe that we live in a Democracy. We don't - we live in a Republic.

I'm OK with that. I actually think a Republic is better than a Democracy. While I think that our Representatives need to spend a little more time voting on the wishes of their constituents, I still think its better than the ACTUAL people weighing in and voting on every issue.

Evidently our school board doesn't feel the same way.

Drawing school boundaries is never an easy process. There are always going to be people unhappy with the decision. There are ALWAYS going to be people that think its OK for everyone except THEIR child!

This past fall, our area of Loudoun County lost its plan for the next, much-needed middle school. Things were going well and they were waylaid by a small group of people from a single neighborhood who didn't want it in their backyard. And then other supposedly well-meaning people who thought proposing alternatives would be a PRODUCTIVE step in this process. Anyway, the Board of Supervisors voted against approving our next middle school.

It's desperately needed. The current middle school is already overcrowded and the current solution is to take any NEW residents in our district and bus them to the next one. That's a HORRIBLE solution for the new people, but definitely appeases the "Not My Child" constituency.

So, the schools have decided to redraw the district lines to stop the "cherry picking" of kids that's happening now. And their process seems quite ludicrous. They aren't drawing up multiple proposals of how to redraw the districts and asking for input - they are just asking for input. Blank slate, here's a map, give your input.

Who decided that letting the selfish, all-about-me neighbors propose our school boundaries is a good idea? The school administration definitely has a set of objectives that have to be met with any plan (transportation, class size, demographic, etc) but I'm trying to figure out how they think that going into a community that is so completely divided by the ugliness of our previous school fight is going to result in reasonable suggestions.

Personally, they would never consider my idea. They should take the newest elementary school in our area and turn it into a 6th grade school (or maybe a 5th and 6th grade school) and get the 6th graders out of the middle school. It would require no new infrastructure and the transporation impacts would be limited because it would keep the kids in the neighborhood. But I'll propose it just like all the other crazies that are going to propose plans that only benefit their kids and their friends.

And why do I care about any of this? While I homeschool now, my children will be going to public high school (unless we win the lottery to send them to private school) because our county doesn't accept homeschool class credits towards high school graduation requirements. These boundaries start to affect me next year as I'll be enrolling Samantha in Algebra through the school system so that she can have the math credit, and right now I don't know what middle school she'll be attending.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Where is winter?

So far this winter, we've had a couple of bouts of cold, and other bouts of precipitation, but not at the same time.

The couple of times its been cold enough, we've had a little bit of ice or sleet.

I'd like a good, old-fashioned snow storm.

I don't even like to really play outside in it so much anymore. But I do like the look of it, and the coziness of the ground and trees covered in snow.

Just a little please.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I'm tired of being tired

I posted that this morning on the Children With Diabetes message board and it rings true.

Until about mid-November, we had pretty good numbers for Emma. A few random lows and highs but we treated them and moved on. And then November struck. And for no reason, her numbers have been going crazy.

She's been running high during the day. To the point that we are questioning her insulin, her pump sites, her tubing, her rates, everything. Corrections with insulin don't always work but sometimes they work too well.

But then there are the lows. We don't like lows. A single low is more dangerous than an entire day of running high. And for the past few days, Emma's been getting them overnight. And its not a single low that we give her juice and she's back to normal. Its a low, followed by juice and more low. Followed by more juice and another low. For the past two nights, it been from midnight to about 4am and then she goes high and wakes up in the 200s.

I finally got the 200 tamed this morning but we are getting tired of getting up all night. We are both going to bed later because we are testing a lot around 10pm to midnight. And then we are having to set alarms - every hour - to catch the lows. I gave Emma a huge drink of juice overnight (2-3x what she needed) with the expectation that she would finally be in range and set my alarm for 90 minutes - no luck.

So tonight I will change all of her overnight rates, expect her to go high in response and then we'll fight this rubber-band swinging of highs and lows again!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year - Lesson Planning

Well, I finally, after 2 weeks of staring at the books, sat down tonight and put together the lesson plans for the week. All of the kids assignments have been checked and ready for them to move on. I even have the history reading written down on their individual assignment sheets instead of just pulling it out of my Instructor Guide when we sit down.

Now if I could just find the book Samantha is supposed to be reading.

I actually expect that I'll find it either in Samantha or Michael's room. Its a mystery book about Rome, so there's a good chance that Michael has already pulled it to read.

I have a great activity book that is a companion to our main history books. It includes some suggested additional reading for each chapter. So, I sat down tonight to run queries on the library web site to see which of the books they have. Only to find they are doing catalog maintenance. This is, unfortunately, not the first time I've run into this. I don't know why they think 9pm is a good time to do maintenance - I'm sure I'm not the only one searching for books online at that time.

I also picked some Science activities to do this week - this is still my subject that challenges me but I've gotten some new magnets and copper wire and we're gonna play with magnets this week!

So, I'm hoping we get back into the new year with a great school day tomorrow. Back to getting up early and getting Emma fed, lunch packed and off to preschool, and then lessons with the other two!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Hey Hey! Wait a Minute Mr Postman!

Many argue the tradition of the "annual Christmas card" is going by the wayside. Certainly, the proportion of "photo cards" to "non-photo cards" has changed over the year - with more than 75% of my cards this year being photo cards. I love to see the photos of everyone's kids and how they've grown, especially since this is probably the only time I have seen them since LAST Christmas.

I have a spreadsheet where I keep all my addresses (my electronic address book) and I pull it out each year to address my Christmas cards. Its the only place I have any addresses, so in the unlikely event I receive a "Change of Address" card (which hasn't happened in years), I make the change there.

A sad part of Christmas is the slow trickle of returned Christmas cards each year with a "Return to Sender" sticker from the post office. Most of these are a "No Longer Forwarding" sticker which means they moved well over a year ago.

How hard is it for someone to pull out their Christmas card list when they move and send a quick note that their address has changed. The sad part? I think every one that I received this year was family! I had already removed 2 family members whose addresses aren't current and now I have at least 3 more to add to the list. I guess I'll be spending a part of this new year communicating with other family members trying to fill in the blanks and get my info current.

So my Public Service Announcement for the day: If you move, at least let your family (and yes, that includes aunts and cousins and anyone you get a Christmas card from each year) know your new address