Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June and July doings

I've been away from home for the past 4 weeks. I am at "home" helping my sister. My brother in law has been fighting glioblastoma multiforme (if you scroll to the bottom you'll see the dismal prognosis.) for the past 11 years. For all intents and purposes, he beat it because when he was diagnosed 11 years ago, they gave him mere months to live. He has fought hard and received fabulous treatments. They really don't know what worked or why but obviously something did work. Now however, because the tumor is growing again, he is very much like a man with a traumatic brain injury. He is currently under hospice care.
This is a great picture of my BIL and niece taken the 2nd week I was here.

The past few weeks have been a true test of my mettle. I came here for many reasons. Obviously I came to help my sister, bro in law and niece, but I also came to help my 94 year old grandmother. She is at the point where living alone (in a two story home with laundry in the basement) is no longer a good option. We are trying to find the perfect place for her to live. My grandma is a feisty woman and it isn't easy merging her needs and desires! This task alone could drive a person to drink!

This is honestly the best picture I've seen of her in years!!! She actually smiled!

I came here for a another reason too. I've been too wrapped up in my own emotions and needs lately. I've been to self centered. Here, I've had no time here to worry about myself and and my self indulgent thoughts and behaviors. I don't have time to worry about piddly, unchangeable things. It is all about life, death and living with dignity. There is only time to do the necessities and certainly no time for self indulgence. It has been an emotionally and physically draining few weeks but ones that I wouldn't trade for anything.
I've had the intention to make baked potato bags for all of the volunteers that help my sister. I bought the fabric and borrowed the sewing machine the first week I was here. I still only have 4 made...uhm....two of those 4 are pressed correctly. I will get them finished this week before I leave. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a picture and blog about them. In the meantime....

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Playing with my friends...baking cookies


It started out innocent enough...Cookies, frosting and sprinkles. Fun huh! As you can see, Monkey managed to get one cookie frosted before the tasting and finger licking began.


Now Ms. Kitten got wayyyy further along in the process before she began the finger licking. She is older and although the finger licking is fun, she had more fun with the sprinkles......


Cookie number two........already been licked once....notice her face....




Messy fingers......




Another cookie, more finger licking fun! (reallly she didn't eat frosting as much as lick her fingers)



Look at that face!!!!!


Now Ms. Kitten began to really, really get into the whole process.....


Sprinkles and sprinkles.....


...and sprinkles......


...and sprinkles!!!!!!!!


The cute part was that they helped clean up without being asked. Ms. Kitten rinsed all the dishes for me to put in the dishwasher. Look at the bottom left, you can see Monkey's arm reaching up. She found a sponge and was "cleaning" the sprinkles off of the table.

When I took them home, both girls were asleep before I was a mile down the road. I honestly could have slept myself! This day made me understand the concept of a grandparent. Things I would have never let my kids get away with.....using 3 bottles of sprinkles on 24 cookies.... didn't bother me in the least. But, it also made me realize that sheeeesh! I am soooo glad I had my kids when I did. I don't think I have the ooomph to keep up with them!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Playing with my Friends #2

It has been a long time since I've had little children in my house. This day was a huge reminder that I did the right thing in having my children young. I forgot how much energy it takes to keep up with a two year old for a day!

I picked the girls up. I don't know if they knew that I was coming, but when they saw me, the look on their faces was precious. It was a combination of "What is SHE doing here," and "Oh Lookee who's here." Most times preschoolers get confused when they see teachers outside of school. We are "in the wrong place." We grabbed their things and headed off!

We began the day with breakfast. We did, after all, need to make lists of what we were planning to do during the day. I forgot about restaurants and little ones. The not being tall enough to reach the table and need to kneel on the seats, the allure of the jellies, syrups, sugars, salt and pepper....the whole potty issue.... Naturally we needed to potty as a group. No problem, I potty little ones all the time. HA! I forgot (a reoccurring theme of the day) how alluring potty rooms are! Monkey pottied first while Kitten did the "hurry up" dance. Cover the seat. lift the child, get her hands off the disgusting potty, wash hands. Repeat. BUT Miss Monkey was not reading my mind after we washed hands. She very proudly raced over and threw her paper towel in the toilet, put one hand on the seat, and the other stretched up and over to re-flush. AH! "Please put your towel in the wastebasket." Rewash hands. I turned my head to grab a towel for myself and YIKES!! she was already tossing the towel in the potty and flushing again! Re-re-wash hands. Hold her hand. Dry her hands. GET OUT of the public restroom! The whole time Miss Kitten is calmly watching us. Her face looked like, "Can we PLEASE leave this bathroom already! LOL!! Tummies full, hands relatively germ free, we headed off to the grocery store.

The grocery store was simple. Everyone was contained! Zip we were home.

Because I haven't had children in the house in so long, we are not childproofed. I frantically sped through the house the day before finding all the contraband! Oh boy, my sewing room is like a mine field for little kids! Pins,(many on the floor), needles,rotary cutters, scissors....ooeeee! Get things up high! Medicine...YIKES! I no longer get child proof caps. Under the cabinet in the kitchen. OMGoodness! My purse alone is a scary object in the hands of a child let alone an entire un-childproofed house! MRS H.(that's me) BE ON ALERT!

I did put my design wall to good use. We used it as an enormous flannel board and arranged flannel board story pieces all over it. This proved to be a fabulous activity and they did it again and again.

We played inside.

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We played outside.

SSPX0067 SSPX0071

At one point while they played, I began to pull weeds. Ms. Kitten decided to help. Hey, cheap labor!!

Ms. Monkey managed to rearrange my house the way only a two year old can. It took us 15 mins. to find the remotes, I found pillows all over the house, coasters decorated all the rooms any furiture light enough to carry was moved. It was so amusing to try to figure out where she put things.

We also baked cookies. Tomorrow.....

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Playing with my Friends #1

Are these the cutest little faces you've ever seen or what!!!(well except for the two girls that share my last name that is!)


I have worked in schools for many years. These are the first children that absolutely took my heart! Now I love all of my students but these two..these two ....well, I fell in love with them. Monkey, on the left, is 2. She cracked me up all year long. If I sat on the floor, plop! There she would be, sitting on my lap. If I would start to read a story, before you knew it there she was in my lap!

This is how she spent a good portion of time in my class.

Once, during one of our Shabbat assemblies, I was standing next to her group. They were sitting on the floor. I watched her scootch her little butt closer and closer until I looked down and she was sitting on my foot! She stayed their during the entire assembly! Another time at Shabbat, she stood up, picked up her backpack, walked over to me, took my hand and just stood there during the assembly. No words. Just standing and holding my hand!

For a good portion of the year, she either had baby hair (fine and flyaway) or a fancy haircut courtesy of her big sister! But whatever it was, her hair was all over the place every time she came to my room. I would ask her, "Monkey, who did your hair today!?" Her response? "Daddy!" The funny part is whenever her hair looked smooth and I asked if her daddy did her hair she would firmly shake her head no! I knew I was in trouble with this child when I realized that I allowed her to point and go "uh. uh" instead of using words.

Monkeys older sister, Kitten, 4,(on the right) was equally adept at winning my heart. Oh my gosh! Early in the school year I knew I was in deep, deep trouble with this child. Cute doesn't begin to describe her....Kitten too would sit next to me. However, Kitten would copy my movements. If I flipped my hair, she flipped her hair. If I crossed my legs, she crossed her legs. If I leaned back, she leaned back. She wasn't playing the copycat game, she was honestly just doing whatever I did.

Luckily, I got a daily dose of Kitten and Monkey. Their classes came to my room on opposite days so I had a "fix" from one or the other each day. Now Monkey and Kittens parents are awesome, hard working people. Dad is a police officer and mom is currently, I believe, a paramedic. If I am correct, she is working towards being a halo flight nurse. Dad is the officer that took me on my first ride-along. I talked about him here and here and here. To make a long story short on why, I offered to watch the girls one day a week over the summer. (HA! Mom and Dad thought I was being nice and that they were getting the deal. Actually, they were doing me the favor by allowing me to have a weekly "play date" with Kitten and Monkey.)

Because of unforeseen circumstances, I will be gone most of the summer. So, this week may be the only time I could have a play date with Kitten and Monkey. Depending on how the summer goes, I may get home in time to have more play dates but for now, our first play date was on Wednesday. I don't know who was more tired at the end of the day, them or me, but I call play date #1 a complete success! More pics and story tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I have a job for life.

A number of years ago I made kippot for my Hebrew School kids. (A kippah-singular- is the "cap' Jewish men wear). That year I had all boys in my class. They loved them. One boy in particular wore his.....and wore it and wore it and wore it! Now you have to understand that I made the kippot from matzah fabric (you have to scroll down to the bottom to see the ones I made) for the holiday of Passover. I never meant for them to be worn at any other time ....b..u...t....Noone told that to Hudson. For the last four years he has proudly worn his matzo kippah every time he goes to synagogue. (his mom had had me make a few for their household so I'm sure he hasn't had to wear the same one over and over and over) For his Bar Mitzvah, I told him I'd make him a kippah out of any fabric he liked. He chose hockey fabric.
I really think I have a job for life with this kid. He enjoys wearing the homemade kippot and I enjoy making them for him!

For some reason, this one came out a little bit cone head! Naturally I had waited to the last minute to make them so I chose not to remake it. I figure 13 year old boys are a bit coneheaded to begin with so it shouldn't be tooooo, tooooo bad!

This one looks much better!

He was very impressed, as was his mother, with the monogramming. It took 10 minutes with my machine! I may rarely use the bells and whistles on my machine but they are sure nice to have when you need them!


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