Monday, August 31, 2009

State Fair and Wedding Weekend

Last Tuesday, yeah, a week ago, we went to the California State Fair. It was the first time ever that we had gone on a weekday. I think it turned out well.

Right when we arrived we found a guy selling discount tickets. He purchases a bunch of pre-sale tickets for $10 and general admission is $12 for adults. On Tuesdays, kids are free! So we got in for $20 instead of $24. But the savings didn't stop there.

We made our way to the midway and stood in line to buy ride tickets. Since it's kids day, ALL rides were $1 each! They are normally $3-$4 per ride, per person. As we were standing in line to buy tickets a lady came up to us and gave us $20 in ride tickets. She was on her way out and you can't get refunds, so she just gave them to us! That pretty much lasted us the whole night. I mean, we could have bought more tickets, but there were other things to see and do.

The twins loved all the rides. Poor Abby got so discouraged though. For a lot of the kiddie rides you have to be 42" tall. She's only 39" tall. On some of them she could ride with an adult, but on others, there was strict enforcement and she couldn't ride at all. Poor thing! We eventually found the rides for all the short kids and she had a blast!

I will post State Fair pictures later. My computer is not sharing with the desktop at the moment...

On Thursday we left for Sea Ranch. We went to a gorgeous wedding and had lots of fun and little sleep. I should really stop traveling so much because I never sleep well when I travel. Not to mention I didn't bring my oxygen with me because the concentrator didn't fit in the car and I didn't feel like renting a smaller one so I woke up each morning with co2 headaches from suffocating all night long. I can tell when I'm de-satting when I sleep because I have very vivid nightmares where I'm being chased and attacked by very bad people. It's very exhausting. Guess I can't get away with traveling without o2 anymore!

I think the biggest difference with this particular trip was the fact that we didn't bring our camera so we have NO PICTURES to share. No I'm not kidding. We totally forgot to bring our camera. Boo hoo. It was a little liberating though. When you have a camera, you feel responsible to document the whole trip. I felt like I was on a real vacation with nothing to do because we had no pictures to take. It was weird. I kinda never want to do it again.

The bride and groom did have a photo booth though so we had a couple pics taken in that booth. I'll upload those scanned pics when my computer cooperates one of these days as well. For now you'll just have to picture all 4 of us crammed into a photo booth making faces at you.

Paul fixed my iPhoto. As promised... the pictures!





















Friday, August 21, 2009

Wish List

Last night was back to school night at the twins' elementary school. The principal went over general information for a half hour. Mostly about the Parent-Teacher Association and how much they fundraise to support the school. Did you know the PTA at Carroll Elementary sponsors a magazine subscription to "Time Kids" or "National Geographic" for EVERY SINGLE STUDENT? The Carroll PTA pays for that. They also give every single teacher $100 cash to buy supplies for their classrooms. Due to statewide school budget cuts, this petty cash is becoming a necessity. The PTA also creates a scholarship fund to pay for students that can't afford field trip costs. They also collect those Box Tops for Education. Please clip all your box tops for me and I'll gladly turn them in to Tom and Abby's school. This PTA seems to have their act together over there raising over $20,000 a year.

So now I need your help. The first fundraiser of the year is the Entertainment book. Paul and I bought one last year and we LOVE it! No matter what city or state you live in, you can buy your own local entertainment book to benefit the Telford Twins' school! The cost of the book is $40 and half of that goes to the school! So I'm asking you (begging you now) to please buy one from us if you're planning to buy one anyway! Leave a comment with your email address if you'd like to buy one of these coupon books from us.

After the principal's message we went to Tom and Abby's classroom to hear what his teacher had to say about curriculum for the year. She said she is 99% sure all the students in her class will be reading by June! That's very exciting. I think the only thing I learned in kindergarten was coloring.

She also explained that due to budget cuts she's created a voluntary wish list of things we can donate to Tom and Abby's classroom. The number one thing on her list is:

COPY PAPER!

The school gave each teacher a half box of paper for the entire year. That's only 5 reams, or 2,500 sheets. This is about 3 pages per student per day. Think about all the projects, worksheets, and notes to home she has to do for the kids and do the math. It doesn't add up. Paul and I have already decided to purchase a couple cases of paper for her and if you're feeling generous so can you! I found a great deal on OfficeMax.com today where they have a case of copy paper (10 reams, already double her supply) for only $28.

I'll also write out her whole wish list for those curious about what other supplies she needs.

Seasonal Stickers (each student gets a sticker at the end of the day for being a good listener)
Glue Sticks
Disposable Camera or film
Paper Napkins
Baby wipes
Gallon Ziploc Bags
Large paper plate
Small paper plates
Waterless antibacterial hand soap (I'm assuming this is Purell)
Clorox (or Lysol) cleaning wipes
Kleenex

If you have a stash lying around and I'm going to see you anytime in the next 9 months, think of us! We'll gladly take any of this type of stuff off your hands and donate it to Tom and Abby's class.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Cavities That Weren't...

On Tuesday before the twins' second day of Kindergarten I took them for a 6 month checkup at the dentist. All was well with Tom, aside from the fact that he had to lay on top of my in the chair, and he insisted on not having the fluoride foam treatment. I told the hygienist to "brush his teeth again" and I winked at her, so she took the foam and put it on the spinny toothbrush and "brushed" his teeth with it instead of using the Q-tip. He didn't know the difference!

Abby's checkup did not go so well. The dentist looked in her mouth and found two cavities. First he found one on her bottom back molar, touching her cheek. Then he says, "There's usually a mirror image on the other side." Sure enough he said there was a second cavity in the mirror image groove on the other side of her mouth. He showed me the groove but I couldn't see anything, but what do I know, I'm not a dentist.

I ended up scheduling her for her fillings on Monday morning. I'm so glad I waited! They wanted to do them right away that day, but I needed to leave to get them to school on time. After I got home I started thinking about what Jenn had said to me. She was surprised to find that she needed dental work done after her first visit to this dentist, as well as her husband. (I had referred them earlier this year because he was so patient and gentle!) Something just didn't sit right with me and I thought I should get a second opinion for Abby. I mulled this over for quite some time because I felt like I was going behind the dentists back, or calling them a liar or something.

I just know that there are different interpretations and diagnosis levels at different dentists. Now, i didn't just want to hear that she was cavity free, I wanted a confirmation that filling her baby teeth was the right thing to do. I mean this could possibly be a traumatic event for a 4 year old.

I ended up deciding to fork out the extra cash for a second dental exam at a different office across town. I went last night to pick up Abby's xrays. That was fun to walk into the office with my head hanging begging for xrays to take to someone else. I felt like they were staring at me and wondering why I didn't trust their doctor!

This new dentist was very sweet and friendly. Abby was so brave and did such a good job while they probed around in her mouth. I could see right away the confusion on the dentist's face though. She couldn't find the cavity. She checked both sides and told me she found nothing. She didn't even say Abby's grooves in her teeth were particularly deep. She did say her teeth were particularly clean and crowded though. (watch out braces, here we come)

Since we were there for a second opinion the dentist brought out this additional special equipment to detect tooth decay under the enamel. From what I could tell it's an infrared type device that detects soft tissue (tooth decay) beneath the surface of the tooth. Both of Abby's back teeth came up empty, no decay! They even tested the front spot that has a tiny yellow spot on it, suggesting weak enamel and nothing was found there as well.

I'm pretty confident we are doing the right thing by switching dentists. I'm so glad I didn't have to put her through unnecessary fillings. I had to call the old dentist this morning and cancel our cleanings for next year, as I have already scheduled them with the new dentist! I'm looking forward to going there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kindergarten Day 2

I picked the twins up from school and they were bursting at the seams to tell me all about their day. Mostly they repeated the same thing over and over. They got to go to the library and Tom wanted to switch books with Abby, but Abby insisted that Ms. Whitt did not tell them they could switch books, so she kept her books about animals' eyes and he kept "Where the Wild Things Are," much to his dismay.

On the bike ride home Abby started telling me about a girl in her class. She says, "She lives in Elk Grove too! And she wants to know if she can come over to our house and play sometime. Can she come over and play?" I asked Abby what her name was and she says, "Well I don't know her name, but she was wearing a blue shirt. A blue shirt with pom poms on it. When I get home I'll draw a picture of her so you know what she looks like. I don't know what color her skin is, so I'll just draw whatever I like. Can she come over and play?" Sure, honey.

That's pretty much it. They are eating "lunch" now, at 3PM since they hardly touched their snack at school. Their snack which I take so much time to prepare and make sure they have tons of food to choose from, and they didn't eat hardly any of it! Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

First Day of Kindergarten

On the first day of school, I tried and tried to get great photos of the twins. Abby was doing funky movements with her arms, like twisting them up in the backpack straps and Tom, well, he didn't want to be in front of the camera at all. I bribed them with a rice crispy treat reward and I think I got a couple decent shots. Nothing spectacular. And why oh why, when I say "cheese" does Abby make these ridiculous faces? She has such a beautiful smile when it's natural but she has this most hilarious cheese face when it's forced. In the past, I've told her to use her "laughing face" because it general turns out great in a photo when she giggles on queue, however today she was holding her belly and bobbing forwards and backwards like Santa Clause whenever I told her to laugh.







The bike ride to school was uneventful. We got there in plenty of time and had to wait for the school gates to open. All the parents had to stay with their children for the first half hour or so and do some ice breaker activities. I'll tell you, I was sweating by the time it was done because I had to run back and forth between Tom and Abby's tables in between each activity to get it all done. We had to do things like find their cubby, write their name, trace their hand, wash their hands (poor Abby is so tiny she cannot reach the soap dispenser) and introduce themselves to a classmate and the teacher.







After school the twins came home pretty tired and hungry. They had snack time at school, but Abby's fig newtons got crushed in her lunchbox and in her words, "they made a big mess mom, I couldn't eat them!" And she was right. Fig newton exploded all over the lunch box. She ate half a frozen mini pizza, some cantaloupe and promptly passed out on the couch for an hour while Wall-E was blaring in the background.



I knew there was a second set of twins in their class and I asked Tom if he noticed any other twins. He said no. Then I proceeded to tell Paul about the other twin girls and how mean it was of their parents to dress them EXACTLY the same. Then Tom pipes up and says, "Oh yeah! There were these two girls there and they had the same dress on and they looked the same! I think they might be twins." They most definitely are twins! I'm not sure if they are identical, but they sure are very VERY similar looking! I can't tell them apart yet.

They already came home with homework. Tons of paperwork for me to fill out. It took me about 2 hours to sift through it, read it and fill out all I needed to fill out. I joined the PTA, I volunteered to be a Room Mom for the twins' classroom and I joined the school's MOMS club, which is Mothers Of Marvelous Students. Paul also joined the DOGS club which is Dads of Great Students.

So far the twins homework consists of decorating a shoe box and memorizing a list of sight words (like "the" "and" "of" etc) There are 10 words to memorize and by the end of the year they have to have at least 50 memorized but up to 200! Once they've mastered the set of 10 at home, they are tested in school and they move onto the next set. I made flash cards and we went over them after story time last night. I bet it won't be long until they have all 200 memorized! They are so ready to read.

One thing I didn't count on, while making plans to walk the 2/10 of a mile to/from school everyday was the heat. I kinda forgot how hot it gets when you're walking around the block at 2:30 in the afternoon. I was drenched in sweat when I came home! It's not worth the parking lot circus to drive, so we'll just put up with the heat until it goes away. I'm sure in a few months I'll be complaining about the rain!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kindergarten Letter

Dear Tom and Abby,

You're still sleeping on this morning, Monday, August 17, 2009. Although you know what is going to happen, I'm not quite sure you grasp the gravity of the situation. You're going to start Kindergarten today and your life as you know it will be changed forever. My life, as I know it will be changed forever.

I no longer have 5 days a week while Daddy is at work to entertain you. Sure, Kindergarten is only a half day (10:49AM - 2:20PM) but let's face it, these morning's will fly by since you've been staying up later (almost 9PM) on a regular basis and sleeping in later (almost 9AM) also on a regular basis. Daddy gets home around 4:30 every weekday, so we'll have only 2 hours together, alone, in the afternoon, to hang out and probably do homework.

Yes, your life is changing. You are becoming a student, whether you like it or not. I'm oddly looking forward to having some time to myself while you're away learning, but I'm also going to miss you. You are my world. Preschool may have prepped you for this day, but Kindergarten is a bit longer as well as far more frequent than Preschool was. (5 days a week!)

I've been looking forward to this day for quite some time. I'm oddly excited to send you off to Kindergarten because I want you to keep growing and learning as the little bright people that you are. I'm a little frightened too because someday soon, you're going to figure out that Mom isn't the smartest person on the planet and I will no longer be your entire world. You will have friends and priorities and sleepovers and parties. But that's ok because it's a big world out there and you're going to thrive in it. I promise.

I want you to enjoy being a student. After all, you sure are going to have lots of practice at it! You're only 4 years old now, and we hope to see you graduate college, when you're 22, or 23... or 24, or whatever. Right now you are excited to start Kindergarten and you already seem to adore your teacher, Ms Whitt, whom you met on Saturday for a few minutes at the school's pancake breakfast.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bear Feet

I've had this conversation numerous times, but it's too funny not to mention again. In the car yesterday Tom blurted out, "I know why bare feet are called Bear Feet, because when you take your shoes off you have feet like a bear. Bear's don't wear shoes." I tried and tried to explain the difference between bare and bear by telling him about synonyms of bare, like naked. I told him when you don't have any clothes on, you're all naked, or you're all bare. He then says, "Yes, because bears don't wear clothes, so when we take our clothes off, we are bear."


In other news, look what we bought today!

Two kids...

In a box!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Not So Quiet Time

This is a picture of our spare bedroom after the twins had quiet time. Never mind the mess on the floor. Look way up, up, up in the corner of the blinds. What IS that? And HOW in the world did it get there? I should know better than to ask these kinds of questions.



Turns out it was the Hungry Caterpillar. And we still don't know exactly how he got there. Paul suggests the caterpillar crawled. But maybe Tom really IS Spiderman?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Loads of Sweaty Fun

Last weekend, we went on a hunt. How hot does northern california get? I mean, the real northern, northern california. Ever wondered what it felt like to spend 3 days outdoors in the heat without air conditioning?

First we tried out Dairyville. What? Never heard of it? It has a bustling metropolis with 160 residents. I don't know why you've never been there. We found a bunch of Pezzy fanatics and had a great BBQ two days in a row. The biggest juiciest burgers you've ever tasted and the finest filet mignon. Of course Tom and Abby (and Paul) made a few Pez purchases as well. They had fun shopping and negotiating.




Sadly during Pez Bingo we had to escape to our air conditioned car and drive 2 hours north east to my brother's place. He lives near Big Bend, no, not Oregon. Big Bend, California is the closest town, with it's one school, one post office and one general store, with one 87 octane pump outside too. This town was even smaller than Dairyville, 149 residents.



While we waited for Sean we beat the heat with some popsicles under the large oak tree, our meeting spot. There's no cell phone service up here and Sean doesn't have a telephone, and since we arrived about an hour early, we just had to sit and wait for him to come down the mountain jeep trail so he could lead us up to his place.



The twins had a blast playing with his wolves, yes I'm serious. And I was pleasantly surprised they didn't mind the outhouse. It's basically a tiny tin structure with a plastic patio chair sitting atop a hole in the ground.

They enjoyed the campfire each night and ran so hard the second night they complained for the first time in their lives about sore quads and calf muscles! There was a loud thunder and lightning storm the first night. Abby slept through most of it, but Tom sat there with his ears covered. You should have seen the terror on his face. So he was invited into our bed for the night. Nothing like an elbow to the head or a knee to the back to keep me on my toes all night long. He sure knows how to wiggle!

Not only did the twins have their first s'more's, their first soda their first quad ride and their first outdoor solar heated shower this weekend but the also had their first swim in a river! Who needs baths? They LOVED it! I hadn't planned on swimming so I didn't bring suits or extra sunscreen, so I didn't let them play more than a half hour. We all took a ride in what I like to call The Beast, to get to the hot springs and river.










This trail had some serious 4x4 activity to get down there. It was quite bumpy and if I didn't trust my brother so much there was a point where I thought we might have tipped over.







This rustic living is certainly not for me. I definitely enjoy modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing and electricity. My brother has some solar power and generators so there are a few lights but no fridge or hot water at the sink. Things like that which you may take for granted living in the city. Get this, he boils water on his propane stove to wash dishes. Yeah, crazy, right? I'm glad we went though because it was important to him. It may not be my kind of living but he sure enjoyed showing his place off to us and the twins loved it! Abby didn't want to leave. She had it all worked out, she could stay there and live with Uncle Sean.