Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just a Cold

Nick's been a little bit under the weather the last few days. He's had a bad runny nose, an occasional cough, and gunk in his eyes. On Thursday he even had a little bloody nose. Plus, he's been extra demanding and whiny. I know that when your kid starts acting like a jerk, they must not be feeling well. So this morning we decided to take him to the doctor's office, just to make sure it wasn't anything serious. You see, Nick once broke his arm and was done crying in just a few minutes. My fear is that one day he'll have pneumonia or something and just act a bit crabby. He's got a pretty good tolerance for pain, apparently.

We had to wait awhile in the waiting room, because I had to go get blood drawn first. Nick loved the fish tank, and he moved all of the little chairs around. Then he kept climbing on all of the tables and chairs. He was rather loud, but not screaming. He was more shouting with joy as he ran around the waiting room. I think he was entertainment for the people there. They kept looking at him and smiling. Nick had an ongoing conversation as he went. "I see fishies! I move chair. Drink tea!"

After we were called in, Nick played with the doctor's spinny chair, pulled out the stirrup from the exam table, took off down the hallway, and finally stood on the scale by himself. Apparently, he is pretty badly congested, but there are no signs of infection and he's breathing just fine. Since he had no fever, the nurse gave him his flu shot while we were there. Nick only cried for a second. Then, he screamed (as if in agony) when it was time to put his shoes on. That's a toddler for you.

There was nothing wrong with Nick other than a bad cold, thank goodness.

Anyhow, he's doing well now. The doctor gave us some eyedrop for the goopy eyes, and recommended saline drops for his nose. Both helped, but man was it hard getting them into him! Hopefully he'll be feeling much better for tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Busy Week

It's been a pretty long week, and I've been so busy with school that I haven't had much time for writing. Between getting lessons ready on Marco Polo and Zheng He and attending umpteen different meetings, I've had to get ready for an observation. It wasn't a bad week, just a really busy one. I'm so ready for it to be Friday.

Nick actually likes being busy. Lately he's been coloring in his Halloween coloring book and squishing Play Doh into everything. Tonight he ate two bowls of my carrot soup, as well as two garlic cheddar biscuits. I think he might be going through a growth spurt--he ate more than I did for dinner tonight. He loved when Greg took him to the park last weekend.

This week, Nick was vibrating with excitement when he heard that his Grandma Toni was back from vacation. He literally jumped up and down when I told him the news. He was one happy camper when she stayed with us this week. Toni said he really did well at the library today. I guess he kept saying, "Lapsit!" (That's the program my mother-in-law takes him to every week.) Look at the pajamas she brought him from Sutter Creek, California. Check out the little boots on the footie part.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle!

Remember last Sunday, when I showed off all of the plants that Melissa from Costa Farms sent me? Well, I promised to show pictures of all the plants in my classroom, and today I shall. There are so many plants in our classroom that when new people come in, I say, "Welcome to the jungle!"

My students love all of the plants, and they're excited when I let them help me water them. I absolutely love the feel of my room, and I think the plants make it feel more welcoming in my room. Also, I feel like the air is better in the room, too. Pardon the mess. I organize with messy piles. I was very excited this year, because this is the first school year ever that I haven't had to move. Yup, that's right. I've been teaching since 2000, and every school year has meant a new classroom for me. Until this year. I got to stay in this amazing space with a great view and three windows! The sunlight makes me happy.   :)

Most of the plants are really easy to care for, and one of my favorites is the plant in the pink pot. It has green leaves with a little bit of pink on them. You may notice, however, that I've killed the mums. Sigh. I don't know what I did wrong. Oh well, I guess one of the plants was bound to die. Hopefully the rest of them will persevere.

My very favorite plant is still the croton, and it looks very healthy. That's the one on the file cabinet. I know it's supposed to get shade, but in this spot the croton gets indirect sun for only an hour or so a day. All of the plants on this shelf are supposed to be shade plants, but some sun sneaks over first thing in the morning. Regardless, it seems to be working.

The peace lilies near the door are just gorgeous, too. I get compliments on them from whoever walks through the door.

Besides the dead mums, I think the hardest plant to take care of has been the fern. It is very pretty and I love it, but it drops leaves like crazy and I can't seem to get the amount of water right. I've been watering it every two or three days, and it still seems dry. I soak it pretty well, too, until water runs out the bottom.

I will keep doing my best to keep the plants alive. Thanks again to Melissa from Costa Farms for the beautiful plants.I can't wait to do my plant units with students in the spring. We'll have so many examples to look at!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Driving With a Buddy

Nick's been really into his car lately. He likes to jump in and drive around the living room. He has one of those cars like Fred Flintstone, where you make it move with your feet.  Sometimes he even gets into his car through the windows. He laughs when he slides out the bottom.

You might notice that Nick brought a little friend along for the ride. Lately he's become rather attached to Elmo. Sometimes, in the mornings, Nick even shares his yogurt with Elmo.

This morning Nick kept trying to put shoes on Elmo. First he tried his sneakers, but they wouldn't stay on. Then he tried my shoes. Elmo fit inside one of them, and Nick thought that was hilarious. "Shoe on Elmo!" he said, laughing uproariously.

I love weekend mornings. I slept a good eleven hours and went downstairs to get a cup of coffee after 8 a.m. Nick shouted, "Mommy!" and wrapped his arms around my legs. There was no hurry to do anything or be anywhere. Now don't get me wrong, there are stressors. Nick dumped Greg's entire cup of coffee over, drew with sidewalk chalk on the hardwood floors, and chucked a bunch of his toys down the stairs. But relaxing with my family on a rainy Saturday morning is just where I want to be.  :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Moon! My Hand! Moon!

On Saturday, we went to Sycamore for a birthday party. One of the highlights of the party was a face painter. Well, Nick was not cool with the idea of getting his face painted, but we knew he'd love getting a moon painted on. The artist asked if she could paint on his hand, and Nick gave permission.

He knew right away what she was painting. Lately, Nick has been fascinated with the moon. I think he didn't ever see it in the summertime, because he never went to bed after dark. Now that the days are shorter, he sees it each night before bed and says hello and goodbye to it. Nick likes to color the moon and he looks for it during the daytime, too. So he kept saying, "Moon! My Hand!" (As he gets closer to two, Nick uses the words my and mine more often. Typical.) Here he is showing off his moon.

As you can expect, it didn't last long, because he kept touching it. But that's okay. It was fun while it lasted. Plus, cake makes everything better.   : )

Would you believe that while he got a bunch on his face and hands, Nick didn't get one bite of cake on his shirt? He ate it all! Then he stole some of mine.

By the time we got home, Nick woke up from his car nap and was mad that his moon was gone. "Where moon? Want moon!" We colored one later, on paper, and he was satisfied.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What on Earth is in those boxes?

A little over a week ago, my mother-in-law greeted me at the door after work with a question: "What on Earth is in those boxes?" Apparently, two humongous boxes had been delivered during the day.

My mother-in-law is used to strange boxes being delivered during the day, because I order lots of stuff from ebay. But she'd never seen boxes this big. I was really, really excited, and Nick was very curious.

So what was in the boxes? Let me show you.

These are just some of the plants I was sent. I had recently been contacted by a lady (also named Melissa) who works for Costa Farms. She had read my blog and heard I was looking for plants for school. She asked me if I'd like to try some plants for my classroom. I said sure, because you can never have too many plants in a classroom. I thought she might send me two or three nice plants. Instead, she sent me 25! Nick really loved touching all the leaves and saying, "Plants!"

This was one of my favorite plants. It is simply beautiful, and I'm desperately hoping I can keep it alive. It's a croton, but I like to call it a crouton.

See the bonsai tree? That was Greg's favorite, and we decided to keep that one at home. There's also a neat bamboo plant and some really healthy looking succlents. I love them all. I'm wondering which ones I'll kill first, and hoping that it isn't too many of them. I'm pretty attached. I was very impressed at how healthy all of the plants were. Not one showed any signs of over or under watering, even after being shipped from Miami!

I totally adore the pink peace lilies (2nd from the left). I also liked how many of these plants are pretty tolerant and enjoy shade. Melissa from Costa Farms really paid attention to what I told her about the lighting in my classroom. The only thing I had trouble with was that most of the plants came with no instructions about how much light or how much water each plant needed. I called my mom on the webcam and she gave me general instructions for each one. (I tried to remember, but forgot some of the details.) We kept some of the plants at home, so I'm hoping the cats don't eat them. Sebastian, especially, likes to munch on green things.

Then, at school, I used the internet to try to figure out the names and conditions. Hopefully I've put plants in their correct locations.

I'll post again next week and show pictures of how the plants in my classroom fared, at least thus far. Now, when new people visit my room, I can say, "Welcome to the jungle!" because the whole room is green with healthy plants. I happen to think the room smells nicer, too. Certainly nicer than the scent of 5th graders.  ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Trip to Iowa: Part Five

It's Alive! It's Huge!

For the last part of my Iowa trip, I got the grand tour of my friend Gardenmom's gigantic garden. Nick and I were both awed by the size of this garden. I cannot imagine the amount of produce she got from a garden this size. Wow. All the plants look so healthy, too--even in October. I didn't even realize that this much stuff would be alive this late in the season. Greg demolished all of our growing things about two weeks ago--said the season was over and we might as well accept it.

In fact, I think poor Nick was worried that it was going to swallow him right up. I do believe that this garden is at least twenty times the size of mine. The height of these plants makes Nick look downright tiny.

I think seeing this garden inspired me to make mine much bigger next year. I'll have all winter to work on my husband.  ;)  It would just be less grass for him to mow. Although I don't think I'd want one this big. Nick acted like he was in wonderland. He had this look on his face, as if he were saying, "Very strange place."

After our garden tour, I cleaned out my car, and Nick helped. You would be surprised at the mess one mommy and one toddler can make during a very long car trip. (Or if you know me, maybe you wouldn't be surprised.)

It was a really long drive, but the visit was definitely worth it. I want to make a trip out there again next year sometime, maybe when I can see more things in bloom. Nick loved playing with all the other kids best--he got mad when they had to leave. He was so happy and entertained all weekend. We really did have a great time.   : )

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Trip to Iowa: Part Four

Back to our day at the farm. Here's Nick riding a mini-tractor, with the help of Gardenmom's stepson. I meant to post these pictures on Wednesday, but my open house was this week, as well as a state audit at work, so I'm a little behind. Tonight I'll post the rest of the pumpkin/apple farm pictures. Here's another one of Nick enjoying the ride, and one of Gardenmom's son, who has gotten so big he barely even fit on the tractor! I love the determined look on his face, kind of like, "I am going to make this work, even if I'm too big."

Nick also wanted to use one of the old-fashioned push mowers they had for kids to try. Gardenmom's stepdaughter helped, and Nick got a kick out of trying to push it. He has a toy lawnmower at home that his has a little more success with.

The kids enjoyed running through the tunnel. Nick particularly enjoys being chased.

The above picture was the best one I could get of Nick and I together. Do you notice that he threw his shoe on the floor? Typical.

Tomorrow I'll be showing our tour through Gardenmom's gigantic garden. Nick was duly impressed.  :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Trip to Iowa: Part Three

Do Toddlers Usually Eat Apples Like This?

One of my favorite parts of our Iowa trip was visiting the apple orchard. It was more fun than I'd thought it would be, and Nick loved it. He is a master of pointing out the obvious, so he kept announcing things like, "Tree!" and "Apples!" Nick did help pick a few apples, but mostly he walked around causing trouble, throwing apples that he found on the ground, and begging us to give him more apples. Silly boy easily ate three entire apples. At one point, he figured out that if he dropped an apple and then cried, we'd give him a new one. So then it became a game.

Before recently, I'd never seen little kids eat apples whole like this. Nick prefers them this way. On Monday, in fact, he ate an entire apple, down to the core. Only a tiny piece was left. Ah, well. Apples are good for growing boys.

I was actually quite proud of myself. During the whole apple picking experience, I climbed several trees. I'm not a terribly athletic person, and pulling my body weight up with my arms is quite a feat. In fact, when I was in the corn pool, I floundered like an uncoordinated elephant in, well, a corn pool. But I was decent at climbing trees with the kids. I even managed to get a few apples. I think they taste better when I personally climbed the tree to retrieve them. We tried to help Nick try to climb a tree, but that wasn't too successful.

Nick totally loved having other kids to play with. I think that was his favorite part of the trip. All of the kids were a huge help with Nick, and he got so excited watching them play and trying to copy them. This was a great trip. I didn't get as many apples out of it as Gardenmom did (I believe I bought about twelve), but we have the experience. Plus I have a few nasty scratches on my arm from the tree.

I still have a ton more pictures of our day at the pumpkin/apple farm, and I'll show those tomorrow.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Trip to Iowa: Part Two

Yes, there is such a thing as a corn pool. Observe for yourself:

Nick and I had a really good time on our short trip to Iowa, but we did so much that I'm going to tell you about it in several posts. Let's start with the corn pool.

Prior to my visit to this Iowa pumpkin farm, I had never even heard of a corn pool. In fact, I'd never imagined that such a thing even existed. But it does, and man, is it fun. I got in with Nick, and he was petrified. Something about the unsteady surface freaked him out, and he clung to me and whimpered. Nick has started telling me when he's scared, as in "Mommy, I scared!" For awhile there, he wouldn't even dip a toe in the corn pool. I was patient, but I didn't take him out, figuring he'd like it eventually.

So he watched the other kids (my friend Gardenmom's son, stepson, and stepdaughter) for awhile and then decided he'd like to try the corn himself. It only took a little while before he was enjoying himself thoroughly. Nick likes to throw things, and once he figured out that it was okay to throw the corn, he was in heaven.

You can see Gardenmom's son buried up to his neck in the background. There are lots of fun things to do in a corn pool, as you can see. However, you should be aware that the corn comes with you. Personally, I had piles of corn kernels in my underwear and hay in my hair. When I went to change Nick's diaper a little later, it was filled with little pieces of corn. But it was great fun. All four of the kids had an absolute ball playing with Nick all weekend, and the corn pool was just the start of the adventure. More tomorrow. I'll leave you with this: