Friday, February 29, 2008
I had arranged to pick them up at Sydney Airport (no problemo!). Then, when I got to the terminal I had a panic attack -- what if they don't look like I remember or they don't remember what I look like. Its been almost a year and a half since I had last seen them. Time ticked by, people kept arriving and no Carrolls. UGH! I was starting to get mad at myself for not telling them I would have a sign or something. Then, finally, I see a smiling face that totally reminds me of Shannon. Which was exactly what I was looking for. She is a spitting image of her mom, so that is what I was scanning the exiting crowd for.
They made it in smoothly. Brought them back to our house for a quick cat nap (less than an hour!) after their over 24 hour journey from Canada. Then off for a quick trip to Circular Quay and a bite to eat at a cafe just outside of the opera house. It was raining on and off, but while we ate we saw sunshine, got rained on and then sunshine again. Made it back to pick the kids up from school. You should have seen how excited the kids were (almost as if it was THEIR grandparents, not their friends') They had even made a welcome card and drawings to welcome them to Sydney. Very sweet.
Had a nice dinner together, visited and then off to bed for the jet-lagged travellers.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The office girl looked at her and said they need a doctors note before they can send it to the manager to get approval to postpone her lessons. My goodness -- you would think a CAST on your arm would be an excuse enough not to have to swim. Its not like I could put the cast on her just for the heck of it. And, hmmm.... its not like they are waterproof -- so that would make ME think she can't swim. DUH!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Got to class and of course I got Emmalee's group. He wouldn't let children not get their parents... She and two other kids were in her reading group. Since I haven't seen the others in the class, I don't know where she stands in comparison (yes, I know I am not supposed to compare, but get real!) but the two in her group truly were reading at her level, so I guess Jim & I shouldn't be too worried about her reading for year 2 yet. Still thinking about a tutor in the very near future. Reading at home is definitely a chore with her just guessing words based on the first letter of the word and not really trying. (or at least I don't think she is trying -- only guessing)
After 20 minutes of reading groups, we were called into the classroom. The other mom (Rachel's mom, Sue ) and I didn't know if we were to stay -- yes we were according to Mr. Court. The kids had to get out a composition book and start writing. Emmalee sat there with her book and comp book, but no pencil. What a space cadet!?!?!?! We evidently were there as adults to help make sure the kids were writing the date and title of the book they read correctly in their comp books. BUT NO ONE TOLD US THAT!!! We just had to guess.
After school today I picked up Emmalee and she told us her arm was hurting badly. Something about having to play tennis (sport for Monday) because the teacher (tennis/sport) told her to. I will have to go in tomorrow and discuss that with Mr. Court because she didn't take a racket and with a broken wrist, shouldn't be playing tennis at all!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
You should have seen the people. It was packed everywhere. Either it was just a beautiful night for a picnic or people had not much else to do... both sides of the harbour were packed with people...the water was packed with boats...and Andrew counted 15 helicopters flying through the air. Amazing the numbers that turned out.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
We have our fingers crossed that they will say the break isn't bad and she will be done with the casting/plaster and not have to have it done again after the clinic. Otherwise, sounds like it will be 4-6 weeks of it -- which is prime swimming season. UGH!
P.S. Now Emmalee is channelling Gramma Sandi with the left wrist all casted up. And she agrees that the sling is a real pain. She already doesn't want to wear it during the day.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
1. Her family -- mom, dad and Andrew at the Reptile Park in the Central Coast two weeks ago. 2. Her best friend, Brianna -- from July 2007 in Brianna's front yard 3. Her American Girl Dolls -- photos from the July 2007 trip to the American Girl store with Brianna and her family. Included is the photo from the lunch we shared with the 'girls' 4. Meadowview School -- photo of the first school she went to (for Kindergarten and 1st Grade) in Grayslake 5. Andrew & the 4th of July -- photo of the two of them before the 4th of July fireworks at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois this past US summer.
Unfortunately Andrew was up at 5.30am. Not so good for me -- after spending the past couple of nights next to Jim with a fever and chills and stuff. Jim's fever broke sometime around 1.30am -- but still, lying next to a cold clammy body wasn't that suitable to sleep. Anyway, Andrew came in at 5.30 and wanted to snuggle. UGH! After 40 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to snuggle him back to sleep, I sent him off to play Webkinz. Knew that would get him out of bed, and out of bed it did!
Andrew played and ran after school, so I would say he is on the mend. Jim stayed at work until 5ish. Then came home (so he did do a short day). The meltdowns began as soon as Jim got home and showers were suggested (insisted upon) for the kids. After an easy dinner of pasta, corn and lamb sausages, we hustled them off to bed.
Now all that is left in the house is the tap tap tapping of laptop keys while I blog and Jim works. So much for coming home and taking it easy!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
But, two weeks ago his ears started itching. On and off. Called the ENT, but then Andrew said he was better, so I chalked it up to allergies and stuff in the air. Then Jim brings home his man cold and I think he has shared it with the kids. Snuffles abounded on Sunday night.
Took Andrew to the Dr. on Monday with Jim because Andrew had a lump on the right back of his head. Kinda pea sized/shaped. The Dr. said it is an occiptal lymph node and then pointed to one on the back of his right ear. So, Dr. Ratner expected to find infection on the right side of his head. No such luck... But she found goo in his left ear. So, off to Dr. Taplin for a new round of ear check-ups.
Dr. Taplin checked him out, said not to be worried about the lymph nodes -- they should drain on their own. If they don't he will remove the node on the back of the head by incision -- just what Andrew would want.
For the meantime, we were sent away with a 2 week appointment, hydrogen peroxide drops to clean the goo, Ciproxin drops to clear the ear infection and 10 days of Augmenten. UGH!
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
We spent this afternoon at the Australian Reptile Park. The weather was good --- sun held out for us. We got to see crocodiles, alligators, snakes, spiders and more. All those things I absolutely cannot stand and make my skin crawl. But I survived for the sake of my family...
Thank goodness for the cute, fuzzy kangaroos -- they were so 'drugged' (or that is what Jim & I thought) that they let us pet them, post for photos and generally hang out with them.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
I was reading a blog and came across a link to see where my political affiliations lie..
Select a Candidate Questionnaire
With this easy quiz, I was able to answer some of the top political questions and see how my answers fit with what the candidates have been selling. The candidate I matched up with was not surprising, yet some of the things he/she stood for/didn't stand for surprised me.
Then there was the other test that is supposedly a derivative of the Minnesota questionnaire.
I was matched with a different candidate -- but the questions were slightly different and there were less questions to answer.
The results could be surprising...
This year we made it to the classrooms on time -- and at the right place. Nothing like a seasoned parent to figure things out and not walk in 10 minutes late like we did last year. Jim took Mr. Court's talk and I headed off to Mrs. Wilscek's for Andrew's talk. I figured it would be good for Jim to see a bit of Mr. Court, since I have had more previous knowlege of him via Sophie & Emma.
Andrew's teacher is very nice. She just finished her studies in Gifted Students (they don't seem to call it masters here) and she explained that all the children were chosen to be in the 1/2 classroom for their abilities, be it math, reading, social or independent workers. Hopefully this will keep Andrew engaged. Plus, she has a liking for animals, so they have 3 fish, 3 mice and 1 stick insect living in the classroom right now. That is a great way to keep him wanting to go back to school.
Jim said Mr. Court gave his talk and used the Smart Board quite a bit. Almost too much he thought. Jim thinks that 2C should be a good fit for Emmalee since Mr. Court himself is a bit messy ("mess is a sign of creativity!"), he encourages reading and art and he is a fun type of teacher. The first two pieces of work we have seen her bring home have been written in wonderful handwriting, so if this is what it takes, then I am glad!
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Shoal Bay is 220km Northish of Sydney. We headed out around 10.30ish for the 2 ½ hour drive. Stopped off around noon for lunch. First place we could stop at was a Caltex road stop that had a Mackers (McD’s). Jim and I decided to skip the McD’s food and get a sandwich at the cafe next door. UGH. Should have stuck with McD’s. Ours were mediocre at best. Oh well. Piled back in the car after Jim filled up the car with petrol – just barely missing the next downpour of the day.
Drove the rest of the way in rain to start and then heading into sunshine. Arrived at Shoal Bay just before 1.30.
Suited up and wandered down to the pool. A nice heated outdoor pool with a splash zone for the kids and sand. Very family friendly. Water wasn’t heated enough for my tastes, so I went and wandered over to the beach across the way. But not before I headed to the AquaSpa to see if I could book a treatment as Jim proposed. BUT – they were totally booked until 3pm on Sunday. Oh well.
The beach is just beautiful. The sand is almost like powder – one of the softest feeling beaches I have walked on in Australia. Very peaceful. A few boats, a couple of swimmers and just soft rolling waves.
Made it back to the pool to pick up the family just in time for the wind to kick up and then a shower started after we got to the room. Strange, strange weather.
Took a quick lie down (no naps – Andrew was too keyed up) and then went for an early dinner since all we heard all afternoon (even after microwave popcorn and other snacks). Ate at the mermaid cafe. Seemed to be just like a typical Sydney Hotel – good tasting pub food. Ordered a spicy prawn pizza for myself and the large adult serving of spaghetti Bolognese for the kids.
Didn’t actually think they would finish it when we saw the size of the serving. Split it in two for Emmalee & Andrew. And they DEMOLISHED IT!!!!!
Dropped Jim off at 6.05 and headed back to the room for the end of the evening – just the three of us. Wonder what time Jim will make it back...
Friday, February 8, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Chicago and Dubuque are absolutely getting dumped on by snow, ice, slush and cold weather. From the sounds of it, Grayslake has gotten 60+ inches of snow this winter season. Which is over 1.5 meters of snow for the decimal system that I am supposed to be learning but not having great time with the conversion factor.
Here on the other hand, its supposed to be summer. Which means scorching hot weather. Which means more of the drought that has been plaguing Australia. Hmmm... global warming has hit here too. One place said that we have had 17 days of rain in January (which I think might be a bit low, but I didn't keep track myself so I just don't know) and so far in February we have had rain 6 of 7 days this month.
Not sure what is going on, but it sure isn't typical anywhere!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Andrew has been appearing to enjoy reading comics in the books he has run across, so I thought he would probably like this one. Especially with the stuffed tiger, while Andrew is still very attached to his own stuffed animals.
So, I gave Andrew the book to read today at bedtime to try to read until he falls asleep. I walked past the room a few times and hear chuckling or snickering. I thought I may be onto something.
Last time I checked, 45 minutes after I read him a story I found him passed out on his bed with the book tucked under his arm.
The next morning he was singing the praises of Calvin & Hobbes. To the extent that he was reading the strips out loud as the characters. In fact, for news this week, he has chosen to bring in the treasury so he can talk about a few of his favorite strips!
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
(6 more weeks of Northern Hemisphere Winter!)
All we know is that it is Summer Time here (even if it is raining now as I type) and we don't have to deal with a groundhog or his silly little prognostications down here. They leave that sort of thing to, oh wait... we don't have winter here. He he he he he he he he
Friday, February 1, 2008
We were talking to Emmalee about her cousins Alex and Joe. Something came up about switching places with Joe, who is in 1st grade.
She said, 'Sure! That would be great.'
I reminded her that Joe is younger and in just starting 1st grade, so if she switched with him, she would be having to repeat 1st grade for the 3rd time (part in Illinois before we moved, a year here, and then repeat there -- if we are being technical in this imaginary talk!)
She perked up and looked really excited, which we were amazed about so we asked 'Why?'
She replied, 'That'd be OK because I would already knowed everything!'
So, once the supply list came out, I was informed that we HAD TO go to Smiggle to get colorful, scented rubbers (erasers here in Australia -- put the jaws back up on your face), 5 portfolios and pencil cases.
We already have the colored pencils, markers and other standard 'school supplies' that the kids plan to write with. Jim ended coming home early to meet them at school and we made a trip to the mall to visit Smiggle. It was like walking into the promised land. The kids eyes glazed over as we got closer. Jim on the other hand was less than impressed. Especially when he saw the prices they are able to charge us poor parents who are drawn into the competition web where our children just HAVE TO have what everyone else in school has.
While we were there at least a couple of their classmates popped in to get pencil cases and more. And that was just in the 15 minutes we were in there before Jim's head exploded and we convinced Emmalee not to spend all her savings on rubbers. She had a huge list written out of all the different ones she wanted to purchase and spend her money on. Cute, but expensive. Andrew on the other hand, he had his list. Picked out his two rubbers. Made his purchases and then was ready to go. No hurrying along. He thought it out and made his decisions.
So, if you want to invest in a money making prospect in Australia... Smiggle it is!!!