Friday, January 16, 2009

Rachel has a pet!

Yes, it's true. Last week at church (now, I'm still not sure what sort of spiritual meaning this has, but anyway...) the kids in the 5-year-old class made worm houses. So each kid came home with 2 worms of their very own. I cringed when I saw this, not sure what life would be like with a 2-year-old and a big container of dirt, but I was a good sport and went along with it. My idea of donating the worms to the garden at Rachel's school was a non-starter, so it seems were stuck with these guys for a while.

But it's been fun. Our earthy friends seem to have found a spot in the middle of our dining room table, as the kids love to observe them during meals. The container is clear plastic so we can see them periodically, and once in a while they come to the surface. They say a child needs to hear a word 500 times before they can use it, but not in this case. Fiona took one look at Rachel's new pets and said "MERM!" She's a big fan, and keeps up with them the most. Rachel enjoys renaming them every few days, first "Earth" and "Worm" and then we've moved on to things like "Squirmy" and "Wormy" and other such appropriate monikers. In general I'd say the worms are working out better than our friends' hermit crabs. Santa brought our friend Kenzie a hermit crab for Christmas, which barely survived the new year.

Perhaps it was the hunk it took out of Rachel that poisoned it, or perhaps it was an overdose of love, but it died. And so did the poor guy that succeeded it. My heart goes out to Kenzie though, cuz she is sad about her hermit crabs. Anyway, I wasn't sorry to see the first one go, after the vicious attack it laid on on my daughter. We were at the Hales' for New Year's Eve, and the girls were holding the crab. Rachel had it in her hand and all of a sudden she started SCREAMING at the top of her lungs. We rushed to her, and thank god for Aileen's level head. While I was laughing my head off (OK, this is not my proudest moment, so it's amazing I am confessing it here for all to read, but for some reason when I saw that little crab clinging to my kid's hand with all its might, it just struck me funny. Really funny.), so while I was trying to paste on a straight and sympathetic face and tend to my daughter, Aileen was doing the right thing. She rushed Rachel to the bathroom and put her hand (with crab firmly attached) under running water. This caused the crab to let go, revealing a pretty small but deep dent in Rachel's little hand. We washed and bandaged it, and Rachel milked it for all the sympathy she could for a week.

Aileen has rescued me from these situations before, times when I was busy laughing my head off over some minor injury or transgression. Like, for instance, the time when Rachel was three and she peed and pooped in the shed and then blamed it on our dog. When we discovered the mess, and Rachel very earnestly pointed the finger at Tulo, I began laughing so hard I had to go inside the house while Aileen had Rachel help "clean up" and talked to her about why we don't poop in sheds and blame it on the family dog. Thank goodness for true friends!

OK, so it's time for me to sign off and get Rachel from school. We have a 4-day weekend ahead, since both MLK Day and Inauguration day are government holidays. My sister and her friend are coming to celebrate the inauguration with us. And celebrate we will! Oh, Happy, Happy Day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

May lightning strike me...

I found an apostrophe error in my most recent post...
Ugh, it'll haunt me forever.

Forgive me, everyone!

Hello again!

Happy New Year to all! We are back in the beltway after our holiday adventures, Rachel is back in school, and Fiona has graduated to the 2-year-old playgroup. I think my last post was after Halloween (I hope there are still a few readers out there - add a comment, or send me a message so that I know you're still reading), so I'll just give a quick recap of our activities since then. November was a blur, lots of days off school and not a lot of real excitement. We had a truly lovely Thanksgiving with our friends Bill and Patti and their kids. For those who don't know, Patti and I have been friends since kindergarten. She and Bill live in Delaware, have 3 kids who are tweens and teens, and they invited us to share Thanksgiving with them. Patti could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two, and the meal, the table, her kids (and my kids too, believe it or not!!) were just perfect. It was a really beautiful day, and we are so grateful for their friendship and the invitation.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we rushed Fiona off to the ER for a suspected broken thumb (an almost tragic toilet seat accident...) where she must have picked up the virus that hit her hard, right on her birthday. Poor little thing, she was soooo sick. High, high fever was the most worrisome symptom, and it lasted for 6 days. In the meantime, we had a nice visit from my sister and her friend Amy (and their 2 dogs, Jackson and Beebles). We gave Beth the virus, and then, once Fiona was feeling better, Rachel came down with it. Unfortunately, Rachel ALSO got the stomach virus going around at school at the same time. And then, after the fifth day of a really high fever (and by high, I mean 104 - 105) and 2 trips to the Dr., I called them again and they had me take her to the ER. After a NINE HOUR visit with the fine staff of the Fairfax ER, we learned that she also had a urinary tract infection that was prolonging and elevating her fever. And indeed, within 6 hours of the mega-dose of antibiotics they gave her, she was feeling much better.

Ten consecutive days of illness (poor kids, and also, lets hear it - poor mom!) meant that Rachel didn't get to have her birthday party, or really much of a celebration at all, but she was really OK with it all. We were planning to have a "Pajama party" with everything but the sleeping. All her party guests were really looking forward to it, but we had to postpone once, and then finally cancel.

The week after they recovered, we left for Michigan. We had good driving conditions, but when we got to Manistee there was TONS of snow. It was so exciting! Of course, the good people of Manistee were much less excited about it than we were, because the white stuff had been dumping down on them since opening day of deer season (Nov. 15). In fact, by the time the holiday break rolled around, they had had FIVE snow days. FIVE! That's a record, I'm sure, and you know they don't call off school for just anything up there. We got some pictures of the kids in snow piles and things like that, which I will post on my next entry, along with a complete description of our holidays. It'll be very exciting, including an account of a vicious hermit crab attack, so stay tuned! Probably sometime later this week or early next. Ah, it's great to be back in the saddle again! Cheers!