Thursday, September 29, 2011

Small Successes-September 29th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up...

Major FAIL edition
I know that Small Successes is supposed to list some of my small accomplishments from the past week, but I'm not exactly feeling it today.  Instead, I'm going to list some of the week's failures.  Excuse me while I whine.

1. Last Thursday the plan one of the midwives and I had to strip my membranes, drink castor oil (did this 2Xs) and walk myself into labor didn't go as planed.  Apparently, when there are snowstorms many couples find ways to occupy their time and the maternity floor where I will deliver was jumping.  That meant that when I did go in late Thursday night with contractions 2 1/2 minutes apart for several hours they were in no rush to break my water and hasten the arrival of our little one.  Since my cervix doesn't want to progress past 2 or 3 (depending on which midwife you talk to) I'm pretty much stuck.

2. I have spent the past week resting, making sure I'm eating plenty so I have lots of energy if I ever go into labor and trying just about everything to get this little one to come out.  The stubborn baby has no intentions of coming out despite the fact that I have spent the past week having loads of contractions, many of them pretty regularly spaced, but not painful enough (because my water hasn't broken) for me to head to the hospital.

3. Finally on Thursday night last week I got my bag for the hospital packed.  Because of this I've been down several key items from my wardrobe.  Add this tidbit of information to the fact that I can no longer get food in my mouth without some of it hitting and staining my shirt and you can probably begin to imagine my frustration.

4. My appointment with the earthy crunchy midwife this Tuesday was a catastrophic fail.  She isn't the least bit concerned that I want this baby to arrive by October 1st at the very latest.  In NJ the school cut off date is October 1st.  If the baby is born on October 2nd or after she won't start school until she's 5, almost 6.  I don't buy any of the crap that redshirting a child for school puts that child at an academic advantage.  There are plenty of articles that back up my line of thinking that holding kids back is actually to their detriment.  I don't want my baby to have to spend a year in high school when she's a legal adult.  I'd rather her be in college at that age.  Bryan is telling me that we will find a way around the cut off date if she isn't here by Saturday.

Anyway, back to the appointment.  This midwife is against intervening and breaking the bag of water.  So if I go into labor and she's on call, she won't break my water which means I won't have the baby.  I've never progressed past 3cm on my own.  I'm currently 3, or 2 or a stretchy 2 or a good 2 1/2 depending on who you talk to.  I also have a baby who's "really low, -2 station or -3 station" depending once again on who you talk to.  Mind you all of these assessments were made within less than a week and some of the less promising ones were the more recent assessments.  Can your cervix close up after dilating?  If that's the case then we've taken a step back.

5. In an act of desperation, I tried to once again drink castor oil to see if we could get things moving.  This time I failed horribly.  Not only did I not get it down (it was cut with a 3:1 ratio of concentrate lime juice to the most vile oil on God's green earth) I also lost my breakfast on the kitchen floor.  So much for not throwing up the entire pregnancy.  Sigh.

I think it goes without saying that I'm pretty bummed that the baby hasn't made her appearance yet.  I'm uncomfortable, I'm not sleeping well, and I'm growing increasingly more anxious about having her by the cut off date.  Obviously my pleading prayers begging that I have this baby before October 1st are either not being granted or God's playing with me and is going to make me wait until 11:59PM on October 1st to actually have the baby who I suspect will probably be 15lbs by the time she arrives.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rantings of a Still Pregnant Me

It's official:  I am the most pregnant I've ever been.  I'm now at 38 weeks 1 day so I can't say that all of my babies come at 38 weeks on the nose.  Sigh.

I've reached a point where I tired of being asked when I think I'll have the baby or if I've had the baby yet.  Yes, people actually ask me while they're standing in front of me if I've had the baby yet.  Wouldn't I have a belly that's a little less round if I had already delivered?  If I walk outside and any of the neighbors are out I get questioned.  And the phone?  Well that's ringing off the hook these days with people calling to ask me if I've had the baby or am I in labor yet.  The best, of course, is when people ask me when I think I'm going to have the baby.  At this point, I'm leaning towards never.  I'm fairly certain that she has no intentions of coming out.

Bryan's nervous Nelly demeanor has been turned way up.  As if dragging me to the hospital on Thursday night when I didn't think I was having nearly enough pain for the contractions to do anything, he's now sitting on pins and needles waiting for me to go into labor.  He agonized last night over whether or not he should go into the office today.  Then he decided to wake up at 5:45AM, head into the  office and come home early.  So the alarm went off, woke me up and disturbed my much needed/wanted rest.  When I got up at 7AM I discover Bryan standing in the kitchen.  He got nervous about leaving me and decided to work from home instead.  Had I known this I might have been able to sleep in this morning.  I'm beginning to suspect that he will be working from home until the baby is born.

The house I worked hard to clean and put in order over the last couple of weeks has reverted to a mess.  I'm not sure what happened, but no one besides me seems interested in picking up after themselves.  I'm sort of at a point where I'm not willing to go into labor unless this house is clean.

Our new shower which was working nicely early last week began to leak a few days after it was completed.  The drain skipped a thread or something and Bryan had to repair it again.  It seems that the drain and the fittings for this drain are always a problem when it comes to this particular shower.  All Bryan and I want is to have our shower back so we don't have to use the girls' bathroom.

Oh, and the rest I'm craving?  I'm not getting that at all since people won't stop calling me to ask how I am or when I think I'm going to have the baby.  At this rate, I'm not going to have her until I get enough sleep to make it through a middle of the night labor and have a clean house.

Rant over.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Review: I Used to Know That Geography

After having had the opportunity to review Caroline Taggart's I Used to Know That, I simply had to check out I Used to Know That Geography.  Unlike the original I Used to Know That, the geography version focuses only on geography making it a great go to reference book for geographical questions.

Inside this book you'll find all sorts of neat facts that you may or may not have learned in school.  As I paged through this book I learned many things I never knew before, for example, this book explains why the ocean is salty. You would think having lived in a shore community as a child that I would have learned about this in school, but I didn't.

I found the book incredibly interesting and I suspect that teens through adults will think likewise.  This book would be great to have on hand if you have children in school.  While it would be best suited for middle and high school aged students to use on their own this book would also be useful for answering questions that primary students may have when they do units on geography in school.

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by FSB Media in exchange for my honest review.

Strange Questions from L&D

Last night won the prize for the strangest line of questions I've ever had.  I've visited the labor and delivery unit of three different hospitals six times at this point.  With Madeline I was there four times between pre-term labor and the real deal.  Ellie, thankfully, was a one visit baby.

While I was at the hospital the nurse I had assigned to me had to go down a rather long list of questions.  I was asked if I had electric and plumbing which sort of caught me off guard.  I honestly don't know of anyone, except the Amish, who don't have electric.  Then the strangest question came.  The nurse asked for the name of my support person, who happens to be Bryan, and then asked if we were married or just related since we have the same last name.  I couldn't help but ask if they get many incest couples at this hospital, because it seemed like such an odd question.  The nurse proceeded to tell us that we'd be surprised at how many women bring their brother in as their support person.  I don't know about you, but I'm not about to ask either one of my brothers if they'd like to be present at the birth of their new niece.  No thanks.  I'll pass and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't even want to be there unless of course, they're looking for an excuse to gouge out their eyes afterwards.

I can't recall all the questions that were fired at me last night but there were more than a few that made me stop for a second and wonder if maybe I wasn't imagining them.  All I had to do was look at Bryan's expression to know that I wasn't delusional.  My sarcastic nature really wanted to answer some of the questions with off the wall responses, but I figured that wouldn't be a great idea.

Why yes, he is my brother and he's also the baby's father.  He and I are just very close.  Thanks for asking!

Quick Takes Volume 15

After nearly a week of frantically cleaning the house in preparation for the baby's arrival, I have successfully worn myself out.
I have come to the conclusion that our elementary school likes to target children who attended private schools previously for basic skills instruction.  Earlier this week we got a letter telling us that Ellie needed BSI for math and language arts.  I don't think they liked it very much when I wrote them a letter and explained to them why my child who attended a school with an accelerated math program and stronger reading program does not and will not be placed in their BSI classes.  After speaking with the one BSI instructor my blood was at it's boiling point.  Sorry, but my kid can read well, and she not only did over 5 months of 1st grade math in kindergarten last year, but she has also been working her way through Seton's 1st grade math book since early June with absolutely no problems.  It's stuff like this that drives me insane and makes me wish we had gone through with homeschooling for this year.
My hands and feet are swollen and puffy.  Of course, convincing people of this hasn't been easy.  Bryan can see that my feet look swollen, but nurses and midwives look at my feet and tell me they don't look swollen at all compared to other pregnant women.  Sorry that I'm not as swollen as they are, but I'm also don't look as pregnant as they do either.
On Monday I went and saw a hand specialist about the mutant mystery lump that developed on my right thumb.  The lump has been causing me joint pain.  The doctor figured it was either a cyst or a benign lump.  He took a crack at trying to aspirate the lump banking on it being a cyst.  At first it seemed like the aspiration was a success but after the first day the lump has gotten bigger.  Not sure if it's just a lump that's now swollen or if it's a cyst that has decided to grow more.  Either way, my Quasimoto thumb is being stubborn.
Madeline is going to learn how to play the flute at school.  I'm very happy that she's picking up an instrument that I loved playing when I was her age.  The flute I learned on isn't exactly well tuned, and I wasn't comfortable handing my nice silver plated flute over to her.  I found her a very affordable silver plated flute that not only got here in two days, but also plays very nicely.  She's very excited to have a flute of her own.  I hope that she sticks with it.  We had her pay for half of it with some of her birthday money to ensure that she doesn't just abandon it.
I'd say Bryan is pretty anxious about me going into labor.  Last night he was getting very concerned that I was having contractions every 2 1/2 minutes.  I was fairly certain that they weren't doing anything, but he wasn't comfortable with how close and consistent they were.   So we wound up at the hospital last night for a couple of hours.  While there, I barely progressed and was given the option to go home which I happily took.  He was so hopeful that we'd have the baby yesterday after the midwife stripped my membranes at my appointment.  I had told him going into the appointment that I was doubtful that it would work.  It just didn't have the feeling that yesterday was the day.
I'm trying to spend the day simply relaxing on the couch with my laptop.  Since I seldom just sit still during the day this is not the easiest thing for me to do.  I am at least getting some things accomplished.  I've written three book reviews (one has yet to be posted), and I've updated the blog's FB page.  And, of course, I've managed to do a little blogging.

Book Review: I Used to Know That

Nerds such as myself will delight in Caroline Taggart's I Used to Know That.  The hard cover book (also available in an e-book) is packed with lots of information you probably learned in school but have forgotten along the way.

This book is yet another from the Reader's Digest reference series.  I'd say that while this book is geared to the adult reader, it would be a great reference book for older middle school students and high schoolers as well.  The book covers a wide range of topic such as English, literature, math, science, history, geography and general studies.  I found some of the sections rather engaging, particularly the history portion.  The math section made my head hurt.  Looking at much of what is in that section reminded me of what I used to know but have mercifully forgotten.  Proof that ignorance can be bliss.

This would certainly be a fun book to have sitting on your bookshelf.  You could read it simply to see what you have or haven't forgotten over the years.

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by FSB Media in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: I Wish I Knew That

I'm always looking to pour as much knowledge into my children as I possibly can, so I jumped at the opportunity to check out yet another book from the Readers Digest series of juvenile reference books.  This time I had the pleasure of reading I Wish I Knew That Cool Stuff You Need to Know.

The hard cover book is chock full of fun facts and "cool stuff" that your middle school aged kid should know.  The book covers the subjects of literature, history, music, grammar, geography, math, science and classics.  It's the type of book that your child could read to learn a little something about which they may only know very little or nothing at all.

A middle schooler could easily read this book and find plenty of information to impress his or her teacher if the subject should surface in class.  An adult could find this book equally informative.  Perhaps you're not very well versed in art.  This book will give you a very brief overview of the art world.

My only criticism of this book is the area which highlights a select few U.S. Presidents.  This area has a decidedly liberal slant.  A sizable section is dedicated to our current President, something which I think should not be added until his term as president has ended.  The only modern Republican president featured in Richard Nixon, and the short blurb focuses only on the Watergate scandal leaving young readers to think that there was nothing else notable about this president.  I was actually quite surprised that neither Reagan or G.W. Bush were included in the book.

Overall, I think this is a useful reference book to have on your middle schooler's bookshelf.  He or she is bound to learn a few things from this book and be entertained along the way.

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by FSB Media in exchange for my honest review.

No Baby Yet!

We went to the hospital last night but I didn't make any real progress while I was there.  In the two hours I was there I only dilated to 3cm (up from a "really stretchy 2").   Since I had been up since before 7am I opted to go home rather than stay at the hospital and wait and see if anything would happen.  So Bryan and I spent a little over two and a half hours over at the hospital last night.

Bryan is rather disappointed that the baby didn't make her entrance.  I'm hoping our next trip to the hospital will be far more productive.

After spending two hours there I've decided that this time around I'm probably going to labor in my own clothes.  The gowns at this hospital leave much to be desired.  I think I'd rather ruin something of my own than wear their gown.

Since my parents came up last night to stay with the kids, they got to do a trial run at getting them ready for school.  I'd say it went well.  Madeline made it to the bus on time and my mom and dad dropped Ellie off at school.

I'm planning to spend today relaxing.  I'd like to see if I can get my swollen hands and feet to feel better.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quick Update

I just got off the phone with the midwife on call.  I'll be heading to the hospital in an hour and a half.  I've been having contractions that are 2 1/2 minutes apart for the past hour and a half so it's possible that I'll have the baby sometime in the near future.


I just got back from my appointment with my midwife.  Apparently, I'm no more dilated now than I was two weeks ago.  So I'm a very stretchy 2cm and 60% effaced.  She stripped my membranes with hopes that it will put me into labor.  At this point we're just waiting to see if anything happens.

I'm hopeful that I'll start having contractions soon like I did with my other two after having my membranes stripped.  Timing is quite good for me to have a baby today.  That would leave only one school day of my parents having to look after them and I should be home before school starts on Monday.  I'm hoping things will get moving and fall into place.  Any prayers you can spare would be appreciated.  I'd be really happy if I could be holding our new baby girl in my arms sometime before the end of today.

Small Successes-September 22nd


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. The house is clean and dusted.  The laundry is also done.

2. My first class with my new kindergarten religious ed students went well.  This is my biggest kindergarten class since teaching VBS where I had 28 children this age.  Instead of the typical class of 8 like I have had the past couple of years, this year I have 17 children in my class.  I like having a full class, but I need to rethink some of my craft ideas or pull in an extra pair of hands when I do certain crafts.  I'm very excited about this year.

3. I managed to write one of the book reviews that I was hoping to get done before today.  One out of many isn't too bad, right?

4. I finally made a birth plan and actually brought it to my midwife last Friday.  I've been meaning to do that for a while.

5. Not that I had any control over it, but I tested negative for group b strep.  This means I don't have to rush to the hospital to get hooked up to an IV for antibiotics when I'm in labor.  This also means I shouldn't meet too much resistance from the pediatrician when I request to go home 24 hours after the baby's birth.  At least, I hope this is the case.  Based on conversations with the midwives, I should be able to get out of there quickly since there's no group b strep involved.  I'm praying they're right.  I don't want to spend a minute more in the hospital than I have to.

6. I finally ordered a baby book for the baby and thanks to Amazon's prime shipping it arrived a day or two ago.  That's a good thing considering that it's possible that I'll have the baby sometime today or tomorrow depending on whether or not stripping my membranes sends me into labor at my appointment today.

7. I have a list of things I need to pack for the hospital.  In no way does this indicate that I have actually packed a bag.  I do have some things I'm going to pack sitting in the bassinet, but I don't have anything packed.  I did buy some cute new pj pants to wear while I'm held hostage staying in the hospital.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: Why am I Here?

Matthew Kelly's Why am I Here? is a sweet children's book that answers a big question in a simple yet profound way.  The story's main character is a young boy named Max.  In the story, Max wants to know why he is here.  It's a question just about all of us have asked at one point in time or another.  The answer Max gets is that he is here to become the best version of himself.

Throughout the story we see how Max works hard to become the best version of Max that he can be.  Children who are read this story will see that sometimes things that we do things that aren't the best versions of ourselves and we should try not to do those things.  Children will also learn that we're not here to try to be someone other than ourselves.

Overall, it's a very nice story with a message that will resonate with young children.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company.  You can learn more about Why am I Here? by visiting The Catholic Company.  They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Small Successes-September 15th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I cleaned the van this week.  I dusted the interior, vacuumed the carpet, shampooed the floor mats and washed the windows.  I even washed the exterior.  I'm sure this qualifies as one of the strangest ways to nest.  I simply couldn't bear the thought of installing the baby's car seat in a dirty van.  Now I just need to figure out when I should install the car seat.  I'll be 37 weeks along on Sunday and the midwife told me last Friday that she doesn't think I'll make it to 38 weeks based on the fact that I was already dilated and thinning out.

2. I took the pile of things we set aside to donate to Good Will this week.  I also found a new home for several bags of outgrown clothing.  I'm very happy that I could find someone who could use the clothes.

3. I spent part of this morning removing clothes that either don't fit Madeline anymore or aren't seasonally appropriate from her closet.  This freed up a lot of space in her closet and will hopefully lead to her being a bit more organized.

4. I'm almost ready for my first religious ed class of the new year.  I got the folders, crafts and coloring pages for my students ready to go for our first class.  I just need to print out my welcome letter to the parents and do a few more things, like update the class blog, and I'll be all set.  This year I have 15 children in my class.  It's the biggest kindergarten class that I've had so far, not counting the massive kindergarten VBS class I taught last year.  I'm looking forward to getting started.

5. I haven't blogged much this week, but Madeline turned 10 years old on Monday.  It's so hard to believe she's in the double digits now.  We had a party for her at the craft store on Saturday night with her friends.  They made beaded bracelets and had a good time.  Then on Sunday my parents and brothers came over and had pizza and cake with us.  On Monday, we took Madeline out to the Olive Garden for dinner.  She was thrilled when she discovered that the pumpkin cheesecake was back on the menu.  Apparently the cheesecake was the reason she wanted to go there for her birthday dinner.

6. On Saturday I survived sitting out in 97 degree heat for Madeline's 12:30 soccer game.  The weather forecast said it wasn't supposed to get above 78, but that was obviously wrong.  Amazingly, the temperature by our house a mere twenty minutes away was 10 degrees cooler than the town where her game was held.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Small Successes-September 8th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. Today is the first day of school.  Madeline was up bright and early and the middle school bus whisked her away at 7:37AM.  Then shortly afterwards it was time to take Ellie to the elementary school for her first day of first grade.  It's so hard to believe that I have a fifth grader and a first grader.  Here's hoping they have a great first day of school.

2. I got all the school supplies for Madeline and Ellie labeled with their names over the past few days.  What sounds like a rather simple thing is really a bit of a pain in the rear process.

3. After much forgetfulness, I finally remembered to buy pocket folders for my religious ed students.  I can't tell you how many times I looked at the pocket folders in Target over the past two months and wondered why I thought I needed them.  Then it hit me on Monday night that I needed them for my class.  Of course, by then it was a bit of a fiasco finding them since most of the school supply aisles in our local stores are bare.

So there you go, I spent the past week preparing for school to start and the kids are now officially in school.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Have Any Nursing Bra Suggestions?

It's come to my attention that while I'm very prepared for this baby, that I have forgotten about some important things like nursing bras and camisoles.  I've got plenty of nursing pads and lanolin along with a pump.  So in that area I'm good.  Pretty much I'm prepared to nurse this baby but I'm totally lacking in the apparel department for myself.  I see this as a bit of a problem.

Today I finally started my search for nursing bras and camisoles.  When I was nursing the girls I had these great underwire bras that snapped in the center and didn't have padded cups.  I've searched many websites today and haven't found a bra like it.  I also visited Target, which is where I had brought some of these bras ages ago and they have nothing even remotely close to it.  Searching online has simply given me a huge headache.  After reading countless reviews I'm feeling like I'm about to begin an impossible search for a comfortable nursing bra.

I think I'm also starting this search a little late.  I'm due in under five weeks and will likely have the baby sometime in the next three.  Quite honestly, I don't feel like wandering the mall with a baby who likes prodding my bladder constantly.  I was at the mall yesterday and after just a few minutes there I was ready to scream.  I simply do not have the patience for mall shopping.

If you have any nursing bras or camisoles that you can recommend, please help me out and give me some suggestions.  I know in the past I used camisoles from Motherhood.  I'll be checking them out when I reluctantly visit the mall.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wholly Mary and Grammar Giveaway Winners

I apologize for taking so long to pick and announce the winners of the two giveaways that ended this week.  Focusing on what I'm doing hasn't been my strong suit this week.  I'm more like a cat who's easily distracted by a piece of string or a shiny object these days.  Anyway, enough about my total inability to plug numbers into a random number generator and then announce the winner's name.

Congratulations to Joy and Beth.  Joy, you have won the Wholly Mary Giveaway and Beth, you won the Grammar Giveaway!  Please email me at with your mailing address so I can get your prize sent out to you!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Quick Takes Volume 14

Hurricane Irene turned out to be less destructive than originally anticipated, so we're happy that the only real damage we sustained was toppled tomato and basil plants.  We also discovered a wasp nest in one of the play houses during our preparation for the storm.  While shopping for essentials necessary for a weekend stuck at home, I became very aware that we really should make sure we're stocked up on things like batteries.  Since we're going to have a baby in the house very soon I think it would be wise to have a good supply of D and AA batteries for all the toys and baby equipment that will require them.
I've had a headache that won't go away since last Friday or Saturday.  I think it initially was related to the storm, but now I'm thinking it may be seasonal allergies that are to blame.  After a few days of forgetting to call the doctor's office, I remembered this morning and got reassurance that taking Claritin while pregnant is OK.  Too bad ours expired back in December.  Now I need to remember to buy it when I go to the store.
Our search for a car that will fit all three kids in the backseat is over.  On Monday we visited the Subaru dealership and decided that the Outback was a car that would not only work for us, but would make Bryan happy.  The yellow Ford Mustang that has been Bryan's baby for nearly the past six years was traded in.  I think it was a pretty bittersweet moment for Bryan, but he is very happy with his new car.  I'm happy with the car, too.  For the first time in over nine and half years we have a second car that I can actually drive.  Shortly after Madeline was born Bryan's car, which was an automatic, died and he replaced it with a manual.  Since then we've only owned one vehicle which I could drive.  Since Bryan works from home a couple days a week I can add a little variety to my driving experience on those days and take his car.  It's the little things that make me happy.
I think I'm pretty well stocked on 0-3 month sized clothes for the baby for any kind of weather.  Between the new clothes my parents and I brought for the baby and the hand me downs we were given by two other families, I'd say this little one is set.  I was so excited to find a pair of knit pants in a bag of hand me downs that will go perfectly with a onesie that I found on clearance a few months back.
School orientations for both girls went well this week.  It appears that they both have decent teachers.  We're almost prepared for school to start next Thursday.  I have a few more school supplies to pick up and we'll be ready.  I also need to get the girls outfits for their first day of school.  I'm really slacking in that department.
I have fallen into the realm of customer service hell.  I've had to deal with horrible customer service from Summer Infant and in the past week and a half.  Both experiences left me wanting to scream.  Then on Friday, we had to contact another company regarding a bark collar that we got for Oscar that wouldn't function right out of the box.   Today was a little better when I had to contact Avent about an electric steam sterilizer that stopped working after one use.  They were very good about replacing the item.  I'm just annoyed that I'll have to wait another week or two before I can write up my product review of the sterilizer for the Amazon Vine program.  On the bright side, I got it for free.  I think that contributes to me feeling less annoyed by the situation.  I'd like to go one week with no defective products.
Soccer on Saturdays is about to become a reality in our house for the next three months starting tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to December when our Saturdays will be free again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last Day for Grammar Giveaway

Today is your last chance to enter the Grammar Giveaway.  If you'd like to win these books head over to the giveaway post and leave a comment.

Small Successes-September 1st


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I finally sat down and figured out what worksheets and crafts I wanted to use for the first few weeks of my kindergarten religious ed class.  Once I had that completed, I brought them over to the parish office and ran off all of my copies.  I also found out that there are currently fifteen children registered in my class.  In the past I've only ever had eight children in my kindergarten class.  This should be an interesting dynamic.  I'm very excited since I know several of the children already.

2.  I'm assuming that 99.99% of you will think I'm totally crazy, but I managed to get many Christmas presents wrapped this past weekend.  It's not the first time I've started wrapping early, in fact, I've wrapped items as early as June in past years.  Little items I've brought on good sales for the girls, as well as some other gifts I've picked up for others are all nicely wrapped and packed away from the sight of prying eyes.  And so you don't think I'm a total nut, there's a perfectly logical reason for this apparent insanity.  I have the gifts already, I have the wrapping paper thanks to my post-Christmas bargain hunting, and I had the spare time with nothing better to do.  Now that we've hit September, life in our house is not likely to slow down very much until January.

3. Both Madeline and Ellie are now oriented at their new schools.  Yesterday was 5th grade orientation for Madeline at the middle school and new student orientation for Ellie at the elementary school.

We had never been in the middle school, so it was a very useful tour.  The place is HUGE!  We met her homeroom teacher and his co-teacher and saw her other teachers briefly.  They seem like a decent bunch.  Some of them could use a little help with using proper grammar and public speaking, but I think Madeline will be ok in the school.  She even has several kids in her class that she knows.  Even better, I know three of the mothers.  That will make life a little easier if we need to contact someone about homework.

Ellie's tour was really nothing new for us.  Since Madeline had gone to the school for the past four years we were pretty familiar with the place.  I mainly signed up for the orientation to show Ellie her classroom.  We visited Madeline's teacher from last year and then we popped in on Ellie's teacher who is a new hire.  She's very nice and I feel confident that she will have a good year in this teacher's class.  Since the room was already set up, we were able to take a peek at the desks and see who is in the class.  A few of Madeline's friends' younger siblings are in her class as well as a one of her friends from religious ed.  I'm happy that she knows a few kids in the class.

**Today is the last day to enter the Grammar Giveaway.  Visit the giveaway post and leave a comment to enter for a chance to win these books.**

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