2009 begins with a lost tooth for Anna. That silly Tooth Fairy forgot to bring change with her and paid way over the odds for it, but I'm sure that in the future she'll have some quarters with her.
A day trip up to Bear Mountain to look at views. And hundreds of Japanese tourists on buses. Poor Jack was coming down with a fever and slept all the way home.
As Anna's birthday approached she wanted to get her hair cut, and since it was so long we were able to donate it to Locks of Love. However, she couldn't quite make herself let it be shorter than shoulder length, but what will she decide when school starts again after the summer holidays?
And then she was Seven! Yay! Please can I have a Barbie Cruise Ship with a disco ball and a dolphin pool and music and really annoying noises? Please? And thank you Auntie Betty for the Hannah Montana CD player! And for a party, let's go to the movies, then out for pizza and ice cream with four of my best friends. And Jack too, I suppose.
One of the projects for First Grade at Fox Run is for everyone to build a robot out of recycled boxes and various bits and pieces of pre-used stuff. Anna put together a fine specimen. With a little help from her Dad.
Meanwhile, Jack's teacher Mrs. Malizia, sent home a note that he had been crying in class and it turned out that he was having a bit of trouble seeing the board. So we took him to see Dr. Castaldi who confirmed that he needs a minor prescription for distance. Costco has a good range of inexpensive glasses, and he picked out a pair purely because they had a sticker of Bart Simpson on them. No matter what we said he would not be convinced that it was only a sticker and not a permanent etching on the glass. So we peeled it off in secret that evening and he's none the worse. He even wore Auntie Jane's silly nose.
And then Jack lost a tooth too. Well, more like had it knocked out when Mummy was brushing his teeth and had forgotten the looseness. Blood!!! And that daft old tooth fairy had to pay up the same as she gave Anna, otherwise there'd be hell to pay. Now we're neck and neck in the tooth stakes. Who's going to lose those two big front ones next? He took his toothlessness on a Kindergarten field trip up to the Beardsley Zoo, and we lucked out since there were hardly any other visitors there so we got to hang out with the Prairie Dogs and go back to school to practice for Field Day....
Sarah Chesler invited us to join her, Miles and Lilly at the Swedish Midsummer Festival at Battery Park in the city. We took a fabulous picnic and flowers to make Midsummer crowns. It was a lovely party until Anna and Lilly wandered off and the next 15 minutes of terror shaved a good few years off our lives. But they came back to us safe and sound, having just been trying to find a playground. The MC had stopped the band and made an announcement over the PA, but it was Sarah who caught site of them on the other side of the park.
Came home late last night to find a red tailed hawk sitting in the driveway. And sitting. And sitting. Maneuvered children around him and left the car. Then watched for a while. Called police for wildlife referral. Sorry, don't know. Called all the places in the phone book. No-one home. Got a towel over him and into a cat carrier. Took him to emergency vet. Sorry, only dogs and cats here. But we can euthanize him for you. No thanks. Called one more place. In New Haven. Keep him in your garage overnight, but we doubt he'll last more than 12 hours without help. Or bring him up here. We'll open up for you. I'm not about to get up in the morning to a dead hawk. So in the wee hours of the morning I'm driving up to New Haven with a hawk in the car. Starving, dehydrated, stressed (the bird, not me. Strike that -- I'm pretty stressed). I'm waiting to hear this morning if he made it or not....
Morning. Apparently there's still life there. I called the rescue house first thing and was told that he's a teenager. No obvious injuries, but assuming he recovers they can then check him out fully. He ate half of a liquidized mouse from a syringe. Mm-hmm.
And the Bees....
Once the weather warmed up enough I donned my beesuit and went to check the hive. I had doubts that they would have survived cos I wasn't sure they had enough stores for the winter, and it was so cold this year. I was right. Pulled off the top cover -- no signs of life. Lifted off the top box and found the girls, all hunched up in a ball, dead. During the winter they form into a ball to retain warmth and they take turns being on the outside. Turns out there was honey left in there, so I'm afraid they froze. While I was rooting around in the frames one lone survivor flew out from the box and started buzzing me. Poor thing. All winter long, protecting the bodies of her dead sisters. Eventually she flew off into the treeline, having given her all in defense of her family. Blech. It's surprising how depressed this made me. After a year of caring for these little guys and hoping I was doing it right, along comes a crappy winter and that's that. After I cleaned out the debris I harvested maybe half a cup of our very own honey. Lot of work and stress for no gain, but then, I'm really doing this for the bees....
Time for a new colony. I decided this time around to try and find a supplier closer to home. Last year's girls came up from Georgia and perhaps a New England apiary would have hardier bees. Closest I could find was up in Mass, so 5 am one Saturday in early May I drove up to get a NUC and start over. A NUC is basically a small hive, with bees and a queen who already know each other and have started drawing four or five frames. When I got home I just put those frames in the center of a box surrounded by new clean frames for them to build up on.
After the crappy winter, we've had a crappy summer. Rain and cold and damp and cold. I've been keeping a close eye on the hive while trying not to disturb them too much. About a month in I noticed chalkbrood, but I'm sure that was due to the damp conditions. End of July into August we finally got some warmth which took care of the problem. However, there has been hardly any nectar or pollen this season so they were starving -- what was a hive with about 50 pounds of honey at the start of August was down to nothing a few weeks later. I'm writing this mid-September and I've been feeding 2 quarts of syrup twice a week now in hopes of building them back up, and now the chalkbrood is back. (Oct) Time to close them up for the winter. They've been going through 30 pounds of sugar a week in syrup and the frames are full of the resulting honey so I'm pretty sure they have enough food for the winter, and the chalkbrood is gone. Now we wait...
Keeping everyone busy and happy during the summer holidays is not easy. There's only so much time you can spend at the pool or the beach before it all gets a little tired. Knowing jack's love for all things Lego, we signed him up for a one week class at NCC. he was the youngest one there, and tended to get a little frustrated but he did build some cool stuff -- even a trolley car with a motor.
For his Sixth birthday we had to go to the bowling alley. Not necessarily for the bowling, but because he wanted one of the bowling pins that they give you as part of the birthday package. And the bowling did turn out to be fun too -- he almost broke 100!
Before we know it, Sherry's baby will be here. Lisa and I hosted a shower for her out in the garden and she was plied with blankets and onesies and all those good things small people need. And right enough, before we knew it, Baby Christopher arrived on September 25th. Lisa and I were planning to be in the delivery room, but it turned out that only one of us could go in cos it was to be a C-Section. Since I was wearing the bracelet I went in with Sherry and got to watch the whole thing. So cool! I never got to watch my own, and this was absolutely amazing. As soon as he arrived, I texted Lisa out at the nurse's station. Now we have another baby to play with!
A warm and fuzzy moment tonight: Jim sitting at the dining table fixing his laptop; Anna and Jack, fed and bathed sitting together and happily creating little books at the blue table; me forcing spoonfuls of stickiness mixed up from the apples we picked on Monday into pastry to make turnovers, while a big pot of goulash is simmering. All while the freezing wind and rain are howling outside but warmth is radiating from the stove. THIS is the picture I had in mind when we ripped out our old kitchen to create a new living space. It only took 6 years to come to life.... Damn, where's a pearl necklace when you need one?
And my favorite phrase of Jack's right now is "cause of". Instead of "Because", everything is "Cause of". And I'm trying (but not very hard, to be honest cause I love this stage) to correct him, but you can't beat, "I don't have to have a bath cause of I didn't have gym today?" "Can I have dessert cause of I ate my dinner?." "I'm mad cause of Anna had a longer turn!" The longer I think of it, the more I think he's really got it right, and the rest of us are absolutely completely wrong. I shall start slipping it into conversation when no-one is paying attention in a dastardly plot to further corrupt the English language.
Jack has overtaken Anna in the Great Tooth Race. He lost a front tooth a couple of weeks ago, and the second has been getting progressively wobblier. Today was his big First Grade Thanksgiving Spectacular and I had hoped that we could get the tooth out of the way beforehand, but he didn't trust me one litte bit and I couldn't get my hands anywhere near his mouth.
Meanwhile, Jim found Anna in her bedroom with the door closed, yanking on her own front tooth for all it was worth. "It's not fair that Jack has the Tooth Fairy and I don't!"
I was amongst the mass of parents with cameras in hand at the show, and as I focused in on Jack during the Turkey Gobbler song I realized that the second tooth was gone! After he finished lisping his way through the lyrics and we were enjoying a celebratory snack, he told me that he had just pulled it out himself this morning in class, and proudly handed me an envelope with the tiny ivory inside.
So on Wednesday Anna was complaining of a bad headache and tummy ache and we kept her out of school. Mid morning she started throwing up and didn't stop. She was practically unresponsive and when her doctor took a look she was way dehydrated so we needed to get her to an ER for IV fluids. Having a choice in the matter, we naturally chose Auntie Lisa's hospital and off to Norwalk we went. After two bags she started to perk up and it looked like we could leave. Then suddenly things took a very nasty turn for the worse. There was talk of viruses and isolation, and after seven hours in the ER we were put in a room in the Pediatric ward. Because of the dehydration her veins were collapsing and it had taken two people in the ER four attempts to get the iv in. It hurt terribly, but the poor thing had no tears. Up in the ward they tried three more times to get a line in. So she ended up with seven holes in her arms.
By Friday afternoon she was off the iv and drinking on her own and eating dry cereal. The bad nastiness seemed to be over and at the end of the day we were allowed to come home. Her blood levels were low due to the amount she lost, but we're still waiting to get the lab results back so that we'll know what actually happened. I'm hoping for school on Monday...
Until I had the kids, I had only stayed in a hospital once, when I had eye surgery at the age of five. Poor Anna has already stayed for a week with asthma, now for this thing, twice in outpatient surgery for her eye, and once in the ER.
Had a blast with friends in NY when we went to hear Sarah Chesler playing at The Bitter End in the Village. Oh for the days when going into the city was no big deal.
Jack's Nintendo DS from the Big Man was a huge success, as was Anna's American Girl Doll -- Julie the Hippy Chick.