Saturday, May 29, 2010

End of May update

Man, this month has been overwhelmingly busy! The kids have 3 more days of school and have had all kinds of end of the year projects and field trips and activities. Both kids were really upset that they were going to miss Field Day at school for our Chicago trip last week. It was rescheduled due to rain so they had it yesterday. Kaylin also had the Trashin' Fashion show where all the 4th graders make costumes out of trash and then have a fashion show for the school. Kaylin, of course, made a fairy costume.

The neighbors left Wednesday for 2 1/2 months in Poland. I sort of felt obligated to let the kids play with them, even staying up late on school nights. Today was my first weekend day without the neighbor kids and it was quite relaxing! We'll see how the rest of the summer goes. I will probably be thrilled to have them back :)

I'm no longer in the cast at all and my foot is much stronger and better. It's great, but it also means I have to make up all the weeding and other similar gardening I've skipped out on during the past 12 weeks at work. This weekend starts a summer full of keeper chats that are fun and good for the visitors, but they cut a good half hour out of my work time.

We finished our mini-vacation last weekend with a trip to Racine Zoo to visit the zebras I used to work with. A sign at the entrance stated the rhinos would be on exhibit until 2:30 and then the zebras would be on exhibit the rest of the day. We explored the zoo, ate in their restaurant, explored the zoo some more and finally 2:30 came. We watched the rhinos go into their barn and then waited for the zebras. And waited and waited... At 3pm, a keeper and an intern came out to do a public giraffe feeding. I waited another 15 minutes for the keeper to be free to talk. I found out that Brandy, the very old zebra, died a year ago. A bit surprising, but not a total shock due to her advanced age. TJ was still alive and kicking, but where was she? The giraffe keeper radioed the zebra keeper to let her know I was waiting to see "my" zebra. I then watched as the zebra keeper furiously prepped the yard for TJ. It was pretty obvious from all her stomping around and glaring that she had no intention of putting the zebra on display that day and that I was really cutting into her time. Yeah. Tough crap. I was told the "zebras" would be on display or I wouldn't have bothered driving up to Racine. TJ was looking good and it was great to see her. The zoo was really fun and I was glad to have visited.

The zoo's right on the lakefront, so we walked down to the beach before heading out of town. Logan refused to believe Lake Michigan was not an ocean. We had a good time looking for rocks. Logan found the perfect rocks to throw in the water and Kaylin found the perfect rocks to collect. Yesterday I grabbed Kaylin's jacket to wash and found about 15 pounds of rocks in her pockets. I didn't realize she smuggled THAT many home.

By the time I got home from picking up Sadie it was 9:30pm and I had to work Sunday. I have no regrets about our very fun weekend, but it wiped me out to have no down time and a very busy week at work. I was too tired and overstimulated to sleep well all week so spent this weekend relaxing and taking the kids to a Signs of Spring walk at Forest Park Nature Center. Now we're going to play a family baseball game in the front yard and then I'm going to bed to read. Gene and the kids are off the next two days. The last day of school is Thursday. I took Thursday off so will have a three day weekend. Yippee!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Whooooo! I'm out of the cast! I'm still supposed to take it slow and easy for a while, but the cast is history. Supposedly. My foot and leg are doing much better, no longer nearly so weak, but I tried to run at work last week (hurry from point a to point b) and my entire leg nearly gave out. I'm not that strong yet.

We're currently on a sort of anniversary trip to Chicago. Because we bought a brick for the World Series plaza (or whatever it's actually called) we got a great price on game tickets with free parking, free food, and best of all, a parade around the field. The parade was weather-permitting and of course it was raining, but we were lucky and got to do it anyway. It was probably one of the highlights of Gene's life, getting to be out on the field and having his picture snapped in front of the bullpen, in front of the dugout, in front of home plate, making "the catch," touching the grass, etc. It was really cool and really fun. The rain mostly let up and it was just misting throughout most of the game (otherwise it was actually raining.) Our seats were under cover so we didn't mind. The White Sox lost to the Angels, but made a really good comeback so it was an exciting game. We all had a great time.

Before the game, we went to Millenium Park and shopping on Michigan Avenue. Hahaha, well "shopping" for our family anyway. We went to the Lego store, the Hershey store and the Disney store. The least magnificent shoppers on the Magnificent Mile... We found some great Lego deals and got a bucket of assorted Hershey's miniatures for Logan (well, for all of us, but nobody loves it like Logan.) The kids played for a looong time in that fountain with the big faces that spit water. It was a lot of fun and I learned my leg will hold up for a long walk as long as I don't try to run.

Following the game, we had no definite plans. Gene was worried about traffic because the last game he and the kids went to, they were stuck in the parking lot for over an hour. That was a Saturday night in the summer. It was also a fireworks night. This was a rainy Thursday during the school year and we pretty much cruised right out of the parking lot and onto the highway. We had discussed surprising the kids with a night at KeyLime Cove waterpark resort, but had only considered it for the following night because duh, the baseball game finished late! However, the traffic was so minimal, we drove out to Gurnee in no time (and honestly didn't pass any exits with marked hotels.) I figured we might as well just go. I'd see if I could get a deal due to the late hour. The deal wasn't as good as I had hoped, but I'm sooo glad we stayed the extra night! We all got to sleep in and then go to the waterpark for a couple hours before lunch. We practically had the place to ourselves! There were no lines for slides, the lazy river was empty, we were the only people in the basketball pool. Gene and I even spent some time in the adults only hot tub and had our own personal lifeguard.

We left and went to Gurnee Mills Mall for lunch and to look around. The kids love playing on the boats and in the tents at Bass Pro Shops. Kaylin wanted some more school uniform skirts identical to the ones I bought her at this mall last year. I found 3 in her size! Otherwise, we're just not big shoppers so we came back to the hotel and played in the arcade, played in the room, went to dinner and then the kids went back to the waterpark for another two hours. Last night it was PACKED so Gene and I opted out. We took turns watching the kids while the other spent time in the room.

Today we're planning to drive up to Racine Zoo to visit my former zebra buddies. I've been meaning to visit them for a year and a half, but the plans always fall through. Today we're going to do it! I am a little worried about getting lost. I copied the MapQuest instructions on how to get there and then get home. The directions home filled an entire page before we even get on an interstate highway. Confusing! I'm sure the kids will swim a while before we go and the drive home is 4 hours in good traffic. I'm kicking myself for not taking Sunday off! Oh well.

Happy 17th anniversary, Gene!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More of the same

Sunday morning I woke up and ran around getting ready for work. It was just about time to leave and I sat down to put on my boot. But it felt ridiculous to put it back on after going the whole weekend with it off! My foot felt fine and I just couldn't put the stupid thing on. I took it with me just in case I needed it, but I really didn't. Monday I didn't work. Tuesday I didn't wear the boot. Wednesday I worked a different "string" that involved different surfaces and I wore the boot part of the day. Thursday I wore it most of the day because I was expecting a large delivery of grain (50# bags of rhino chow) that I knew I couldn't/shouldn't unload without the boot. The delivery never came. It's Friday morning and both of my feet hurt! I started the week thinking I may never wear the thing again and ended the week realizing I will probably have to keep it around a while. AHHHHHHHHH!!! So frustrating...

I used Mother's Day as an excuse to get myself some of the new Playmobil African safari sets. They are COOL! Some of the new animals are water buffalo, gazelles, flamingos, wart hogs, ostriches and hyenas. The base of each set is part of a river and they all connect to form one large river. Obviously, I'll have to buy them all :) I like to build the sets and look at them. Fortunately, the kids actually like to play with them and Kaylin especially has been playing nonstop with the animals.

The kids have had a busy week. With the school year wrapping up, they have a lot more activities and a lot less actual work. They've been spending the car ride home arguing over who had to do the least amount of work during the day and who has the least amount of homework. Kaylin got to go on a field trip to the skating rink for several hours yesterday. Logan is going to the Riverplex today. Kaylin's going to tour Lindbergh (her new middle school) today. I finally got my summer vacation request approved so I will be signing both kids up for camp and swimming lessons and signing Logan up for baseball today. Ugh. There will be two weeks this summer when Logan will have camp daily, baseball Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and swimming lessons Tuesday and Thursday. That's too much activity (for me anyway) but he wants to play ball and needs to learn to swim better.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The beginning of the end (I hope...)

The end of wearing my cast, that is. At Monday's doctor appointment I was given permission to start taking the cast off at lunchtime. I'm still not supposed to bend and squat in weird ways with the cast off, but man, it's GREAT to get that thing off! I was hoping to be allowed to weed the lion hill and clean zebra drains with no cast, but I gave those examples specifically and the doc said I should wait until my foot and ankle strength has returned. The first few days were really painful. By the end of the day I felt like a little old lady slowly hobbling to my car. Interestingly, it was my left leg and foot that hurt more. I guess walking weird and overcompensating with my left leg for 10 weeks and then suddenly walking "normally" messed me up. I was also having some back pain earlier in the week. By Thursday I was feeling pretty good. The weakness in my right foot is slowly fading. The doc said he couldn't give me a timeframe or a final day, I just need to use my head and slowly work my way out of the thing without causing myself other injury. He called it cast disease. Oooooh, the agony! Weep for me and my cast disease.

It's now been a full year that plantar fasciitis has basically ruled my life. How stupid! I look at myself and feel like an idiot, but at the same time I really did everything I could do. I stretched, iced, heated, taped, ALWAYS wore my orthotics. I went to the doctor countless times. I will NEVER EVER wear rubber knee boots again EVER! I imagine I'll have to have orthotics and do stretches and wear a night splint for the rest of my life. I'm sure plantar fasciitis will plague me over and over. However, I hope it never gets this bad again!
Kaylin's drama club performance was this week. I have to give kudos to that drama teacher! I honestly don't know how she pulled it off! I've seen the drama club perform at the book fair in March and arts night last week. To put it kindly, they STUNK! Half the kids didn't know the words to the songs and most didn't know the choreography. A week ago, they were painful to watch. Somehow it all came together and the show itself was pretty good! Kaylin was crazy-excited. Not only did Pawpaw and Grandma come, but also UNCLE ANDY!!! The performance was at Richwoods High School and the kids got to use the set from Richwoods' recent musical. Even Logan had a good time. Well, at least a good time climbing all over the set after the show was over.

I guess I should enroll Kaylin in a dance class. I never really gave it any thought, but if she wants to continue in drama she'll likely need some dance. Duh.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day

What happened to April? It flew by! May will probably fly by as well. It's full of all kinds of end of the year events at the kids' school. We also are planning a couple of days in Chicago for a White Sox game. It's a special event for the people who bought World Series bricks. We got cheap tickets, free parking, free food and get to go down on the field for a parade before the game. Gene's VERY excited. Logan and I are VERY excited to go back to the Lego Store on Michigan Avenue. Kaylin's going to be furious about missing her final Field Day at school to go on this trip. I haven't broken that news yet...

A few days ago Kaylin got a letter from Roosevelt (the arts school) that she passed their admission test and had an audition scheduled to secure a place. This was all news to me! I didn't know about any test and the word "audition" freaked me out! This wasn't something I had considered or thought about. Kaylin was freakishly excited. It turned out they took some test in music class and then had a field trip I knew nothing about to the school. I googled information about the school and then wrote an email to her music teacher. The teacher wrote back that the school would be a great fit for Kaylin, no doubt, but that she only knew of one other family from Kaylin's school who sent a child there and it was only for one year because the transportation was such a pain. It turns out this school is about as far from us as possible and they do not provide bus transportation. Yeah. That seals the deal. Assuming they have a latchkey program similar to Kellar's, I would have to drive waaaaay across town during rush hour (yes, I know that's a hyperbolic term for Peoria) and then somehow still manage to pick up Logan at Kellar before 6pm. That "might" be possible if I pulled out of work right at 5, but I'm often there until at least 5:15 or even 5:30. It would be impossible to pick up both kids before 6. If Gene ever had to pick her up it would probably take him at least 45 minutes to drive there from work. Not going to happen. She's bummed and I'm bummed because I think an "arts school" would probably have teachers who aren't dreadfully opposed to doodling, imagination and different ways of seeing things.

Sadie's calming down some (yes, she is!) and has been whining much less. Maybe her extreme whining was because she was uncomfortable from her surgery? I have no idea. My parents and Andy came over last night and she was jumping on them and way too excited in general. Some of that will obviously require time and more exposure to visitors. We'll keep working.

I'm still wearing the cast most of the day at work, but removing it in the late afternoon when I have nothing too strenuous left. The doc wanted me to switch between wearing work boots and tennis shoes at home at night, but I don't really walk enough after work to justify shoe changes. I took it upon myself to change at work. Now I don't have to spend 10 minutes drying the cast with a hair dryer, I just take it off and put on my work boot instead. Then when I get home I change to tennis shoes. My foot is feeling a little better, but is still really weak. I go back to the doc on Monday and assume I'll have at least another week of part days with the cast.