Tuesday, September 13, 2011

the school year begins

Tuesday afternoon was Jason's preschool "breeze-thru". Even though he won't be starting until he turns three, he was still invited to go. He screamed and cried in the car because he didn't want to go in. He eventually reluctantly went in, although I had to carry him and he had to carry "eye" (blanket). He basically refused to talk to people but found a cube-like chair he wanted to sit in. He eventually found a play kitchen that interested him, and a large therapy ball up high in a storage area. So by the time he left he was in better spirits. We found his name on the bulletin board outside of school, although he was disturbed that his frog name tag was "too I" (too high).

We spent the afternoon organizing school supplies. Always fun to sharpen a million pencils and label them. Although the boys DID think it was fun.

That night, since it was STILL raining, we head off to Chick-fil-A for kids night. Figured we'd fit in one last time before routines of school and hopefully some better eating!

Wednesday had FINALLY come, Tyler's first day of school (although only a half-day). Tyler was excited to get on his way. Of course it had to rain so we had to drive, but I walked him in to see him off on his way for the beginning of second grade!

For the record, after crying about "breeze-thru", Jason did quite a bit whining about WANTING to go to school when Ty left for his first day!

He came home and had had a great day! And we were happy to be right back in routines with karate that night. Hopefully it'll be a good year!

summer vacation comes to an end

The first day of September started off with a trip to the GI for Jason. For the first time ever I had to drive into Philly myself (yes, it's true). I had done the drive to CHOP with my dad enough times though so I felt fairly confident I could get there. Jason packed his little backpack of toys and we were off. Not until after he clearly told me that he was NOT interested in going after over-hearing that he had an "appointment". He walked around whining "ock er urt" (doctors hurt). Poor baby has clearly been to too many specialists.

We survived the drive there without issue. Jason was not pleased about being there, and everyone knew that. Luckily once the doctor came in he was fairly cooperative. The doctor did an exam (including a rectal exam...again, my poor baby). He then ordered bloodwork and a ton of stool samples. They want to see if there are any signs of anything that would indicate any inflammatory diseases or bacteria/infection. Depending on the results of these we will need to do an endoscopy or possibly just allergy testing to see if he's allergic to something he's eating. The fun never ends. We did the blood tests right there cause I wanted to get it over with. Jason was not pleased, to say the least.

I survived the drive home from Philly as well, after just getting lost briefly. I love my GPS. As you can see, Jason was worn out from all the crying at the doctor's. Poor thing.

The next day Jason's new phrase, not surprisingly, was "I mad". It's actually too funny as he puts his hand on his hip, stomps, or gets a big attitude. Hard not to laugh.

That afternoon Beth invited Tyler over to host a lemonade and cookie sale with Mackenzie. Jason and I were their first customers and then we were off to have my blood drawn (Jason screamed the whole time in fear that it was his turn next). Then Jason was so upset that we went back to buy another cookie. LOL. Tyler and Mackenzie each made over $3.00. Awesome summer job for a 7-year-old!

The next day Tyler had his friend Luke over for a playdate. We started off with a trip to Bob Meyer.

On Sunday night my parents were still away for Labor Day weekend (my most uneventful Labor Day weekend EVER) so we joined my grandparents at Golden Corral for dinner.

With yet MORE rain Tyler and I had plenty of time to finally finish that darn 501 piece puzzle. Tons of fun. Yep.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

August comes to an end...and Sesame Place

On Tuesday, after Jason's OT and ST sessions, Tyler got to open some birthday presents that were dropped off from my aunt and cousin. Very exciting.

I've been slowly making progress up in the garage, sorting through my/boys contents of our home that got shipped here after Al and I separated. Came across a few boxes of toys that I let the boys unpack. It's like Christmas in August!

That evening we went to Chick-fil-A for family kids night (yes, I go there way too often), even home in time for Ty's karate!

On Wednesday we finally got a chance to cash in on our free military passes to Sesame Place. We picked up Melinda and Scarlett (who have season passes) around 9:45 and were parked and in the park pretty early. The older kids got to go on a few water rides, while Jason just splashed around. They at their packed lunches and more water play before we made our way to more (non-water) rides. I even, surprisingly, got BOTH boys up in the huge climbing nets (Jason never ceases to amaze me).Eventually we got some ice cream before a couple more rides and then to see the new parade. Both boys absolutely loved the parade! A great day with gorgeous weather!

Bob called me on the way home from Sesame Place and met up with us at the house to deliver Tyler's birthday present. He gave him a DVD/VCR player to replace the one that we had been using on loan (and no longer have). Quite awesome cause it lets him be able to have "movie night" in his room again with his brother. Currently he doesn't have cable in there so his TV has been unusable.

Bob and I grabbed a bite to eat after the boys were in bed (for the record, we aren't a couple anymore, but are still friends). When I came in at night this little guy (a praying mantis) was on our front door.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tyler's monumental birthday week

On Monday we attempted to recover from our crazy weekend that had just passed. While Tyler played with Alex at his house, I got Jason outside for some play time as well.

That afternoon, barely 24 hours since I left the Riversharks stadium from camping, I made the decision to go back. I had 4 kids tickets to go for free, and it was kids eat free night. I had promised Alex to take him back before the summer ended and i wasn't sure when else I'd get the chance. Plus, the weather was gorgeous. So if i were already going to bring the 2 boys and Alex, what was one more? So after picking up Tyler from karate myself and 4 kids (Tyler, Jason, Alex, and Mackenzie) made our way to Camden for the game. It was a gorgeous night and relatively drama-free considering I was on my own with the kids. They ate their free meals, got to watch some of the game, played in the kids area, and bought ice cream to eat while watching the rest of the game. A pretty smooth evening, minus the brief time I was lost on the way home. Thank god for my GPS!

On Tuesday we enjoyed a fairly normal day, except for one small detail. Tyler was on a little playdate at the lake while Jason and I went outside to play on his scooter. We were making our way down the street when suddenly I became very dizzy. This isn't uncommon for me, but the sensation was so intense that it really took me by surprise. Almost immediately Jason got off his scooter and requested to go home, asking me to carry it back home. We then heard my mom yelling outside for us to make sure we were okay. Apparently Virginia had been rocked by an unexpected and intense earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.8. This apparently is quite uncommon along the east coast, with the effects felt all along the coast. My mom was inside when it happened and she said the walls were shaking and the chandelier was rocking. She was petrified. It took me quite a while to realize that the earthquake she felt inside was the same sensation of intense dizziness I had felt outside. Bizarre. I'm guessing Jason felt it too and that's what had freaked him out resulting in his desire to come back home. Meanwhile, at the lake, Tyler felt nothing.

Later that afternoon my mom had to follow me to Maple Shade to drop off my car for Bob to finish the paint job on the damage that had been done earlier in the year. When I was coming back to the car I noticed this baby bird on the sidewalk, presumably shaken out of the tree by the earthquake. Her nest was maybe only 10 feet off the ground, but unfortunately I didn't have access to his shed to get his ladder to help the baby bird back in the nest. I did take a picture and asked him to try to help the bird when he got home.

That evening, for fear that Jason would associate the feeling of the earthquake with the scooter, I made a point of trying to get him back on it. Apparently he was fine with it.

I anxiously awaited news on the bird. Apparently Bob wasn't as concerned as I was, cause when I finally called him I was informed that he hadn't gotten to it yet and he wasn't really sure that I was serious about him helping the little guy out. At this point it was dark and he couldn't even tell me for sure that the bird was still there. Sensing my obvious disappointment (to put it mildly) he realized that he had screwed up. It wasn't long before I received a picture text of the bird in a box of shredded newspaper in his house. Apparently it was too dark for him to get to the nest, so he did the only thing he knew. I did some research and he fed the thing and kept it warm. The next morning he had to shoo the mom away to put the bird (whom he affectionately named "tumbles" back in it's nest. I'm happy to report that mom had apparently accepted the re-entry of the bird and was found to be sitting on the nest later that evening!

That evening Chris came to visit and took Tyler to the little footbridge to go fishing. After a short while Jason and I took a walk to go check on them (and deliver bug spray). When we arrived Tyler was beyond excited to report that he had easily caught 4 fish. I decided to stick around a bit to try to get a picture of him with a fish, and of course brought them bad luck. He eventually got another though!

Wednesday was the big day, Tyler's 7th birthday. I'll admit, normally my dad is the designated pancake maker in the house, even making Ty mickey mouse pancakes. I do it sometimes, but it's not my specialty. However I figured I'd make pancakes for Ty's breakfast, even attempting Mickey shaped ones with chocolate chips. It's not very encouraging when your son asks you what you're doing, you explain, and he responds "I hope they're not disgusting". LOL.

Shortly after breakfast it was time for Tyler to open his presents from me (and a couple from Jason). He seemed to love almost everything, but he was ELATED when he opened his "real camera" (from me and Al). That was a big hit!

For Tyler's birthday we decided to go to Atlantic City (myself, my mom, and the boys). Tyler was thrilled to get the opportunity to use his camera, quickly figuring out that he could attach the case to his belt. So snazzy. LOL. Once geared up, we head into the casino. My mom treated us to the "DinoShore" exhibit at Showboat. In all honesty, it was very overpriced, but Tyler really enjoyed himself. He took pictures of everything, read plaques, and studied details. Jason, on the other hand, was petrified, especially of the moving/growling dinosaur. They did both enjoy digging for fossils before my mom eventually had to take Jason out of the exhibit while Tyler and I enjoyed the rest of it. Afterwards we spent some time on the pier riding a few rides. Tyler was thrilled that he was big enough for some clam shell ride (finally). He swore he loved it, but I thought he looked like he was gonna puke the whole time. I FINALLY got him on the huge ferris wheel. Very cool view from up there. On our way back into the casino Tyler's daddy called to wish him a happy birthday, which made him very happy. Great timing! We enjoyed dinner at the buffet (my mom had 2 free meals) and the server even brought us a candle to stick in a dessert to sing happy birthday!

That evening we were watching the news and it was becoming apparent that this Hurricane Irene really was supposedly coming our way. On a whim I went on Amazon and found a cheap generator with pretty good reviews and decided to order it. Utilizing my "Amazon Prime" account I was able to pay just $3.99 to have it shipped to us by Friday. The next morning, when we went to show my dad the generator online, it was already backordered...along with every other generator.

On Thursday, after Jason's OT, we were stuck inside with yet more rain. Not good timing with the upcoming hurricane and all it's expected rain. Not including this days storm we already were in the midst of the wettest month EVER on record. Not good! In the afternoon we ran some errands and got some supplies for the hurricane and for Tyler's 3rd and final birthday party! My family hadn't all been able to get together to celebrate earlier, so we had decided to do it tonight in conjunction with a "house warming" party for Jim and Cara's new place. Just a small family gathering, but Tyler had fun playing with his cousins and we all ate yummy food. He got to open his presents from my parents as well as my grandparents and Jim and Cara.

When we got home Tyler got his gift from his Uncle Chris...his own tackle box for when they go fishing. He was very excited!

Friday seemed like a relatively "normal" day, but most of the coast was bracing for Hurricane Irene's arrival. Luckily I was mostly done shopping. Tyler was invited to his friend Luke's house for a playdate, so my brother Chris and myself brought Jason to the library (to stock up on books and movies for our rainy weather) and then to produce junction for fruit (always a good "non-perishable" food). While we were gone the generator arrived! Even got Jason outside for a little playtime on his "oo-a" (scooter). Good things we already had our things as so many other people scrambled for bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, etc. Most places had already run out by then. I was amazed to see how long the line was for gas and how crowded the grocery store parking lot was as I drove past on the way to take Tyler to/from karate!

Saturday was spent inside all day. The rain started quite early, even though the hurrican hadn't even made landfall anywhere near us. Eventually it did make landfall in North Carolina, but the effects were already being felt here.

Saturday night I was happy to get the boys to bed at a decent hour, in their rooms in their own beds WITH power. My parents and myself (along with probably all of the east coast) continued to monitor Irene on the non-stop news coverage. At this point the eye of the storm was back out to sea but we were already seeing very strong wind and tons of rain. We found out we were under a tornado watch and began preparing for a long night.

Once our tornado watch turned into a tornado warning (meaning one in the area had actually been spotted) I brought both sleeping boys into the hallway (the only interior "room" of our house without windows, aside from the bathroom). This is where they spent the rest of the evening. I joined them there often as the winds picked up, which were really quite scary at the time. It was odd though how the winds would die down and the hurricane would seem no more significant than any other regular summer storm, but just as quickly the winds would really pick up. Amazingly we kept power until maybe around midnight, at which point I attempted to sleep in the hallway with them. That didn't go well and Jason kept waking and yelling at me to leave, so I waited out most of the rest of the storm, listening, until things seemed fairly calm and I fell asleep around 4am.

Apparently sometime overnight (once I was able to get information from friends) Hurricane Irene had made landfall in Little Egg Inlet, NJ, I believe as a Catagory 1 storm. This was reportedly the first time a hurricane had made landfall in NJ since 1903. Many areas had flooding and downed trees, but luckily the storm had weakened enough and was just far enough away from us to not cause any significant damage in our immediate area. We were VERY lucky.

The next day the rain and wind continued, but not nearly as bad as overnight. We still had no cell serivce, or obviously power. Eventually the rain slowed down and power returned around 2pm (thankfully). I tried to take the boys outside to see the damage (not to mention that cabin fever had set in...badly), but the wind was too strong and it was blowing sand in our eyes. Later on around dinner time we took off on a bike ride. It was still pretty windy, but tolerable. There was less damage than expected. Lots of branches down and standing water, but nothing horrendous in our area. I was surprised to see how flooded Beach 1 was however. The water was equal with the road/bridge, and i had heard that it had overflowed but since receded to that current level. The life guard stands were far into the water, giving you an idea of how much higher the water was. Looking at the docks it doesn't seem so significant but I had forgotten that the new docks float! I imagine they would have been 2-3 feet under water if they were stationary as they used to be!

In case you're curious, "tumbles" the bird seemed to have survived the hurricane.

So, not many kids can say that they survived an earthquake, tornadoes, and a hurricane all during their birthday week, huh?