Winter Wonderland

January 29, 2010

We’re in the midst of our first “real” snow of the season. I’m enjoying the view out our kitchen window, since we are snug and warm inside.

We were incredulous that school was not cancelled this morning and D’Arcy ended up driving the boys to school as we were both worried about them taking the bus. They catch it at 7:15 am on the corner. It’s still dark at that time on a good day, and visibility was not great this morning. Not to mention that the first time we saw a plow was at 8:34!!

All three boys did get to school safely, only to have it cancelled mid-morning. I can’t imagine what a nightmare that must have been for the staff, since they have nearly 600 children to find a safe place for before they can allow them to get sent home. Lucky for us, Auntie Kay was working in the library, so she brought Evan & Alex home with her.

The high-school kids were already in the middle of writing their exam when school was cancelled, so D’Arcy’s school will be dismissed at 1:00.

When I looked out our window at 5:00 this morning, I was sure that school would be cancelled. Someone at the school board made a bad call today and I hope that all students, teachers & staff manage to make it home safely.

The wind is supposed to pick up later and it’s still snowing heavily.  The kids have asked to go out and build a snowman this afternoon, so we’ll see how long we last outside.  The driveway needs to be shoveled again for the third time anyway…

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Eye Clinic Graduate!

January 28, 2010

We got some unexpected, but much welcomed news at Alex’s eye appointment at the IWK Eye Care Clinic on Tuesday – he no longer has to go there anymore!

EVER.*

(*Unless something happens to his eyes, or his right one starts to turn again.)

From now on, he will be seen once a year by a local ophthalmologist.  (The same ophthalmologist that Sarah sees.)

Alex first got his glasses when he was 3.5, after we noticed his eye start to turn. Thinking he had a “lazy” eye, we took him to the eye doctor to find that he was legally blind in his right eye. His vision was 20/400. (And here we just thought he was clumsy!) He had strabismus which led to amblyopia.

Over the years, we patched, dropped, argued, bribed & begged. We had sticker charts, bought webkinz and occasionally sat on him to get him to wear the patch. D’Arcy wore a patch to the school fun-fair one year, so that Alex would feel less self-conscious and couldn’t believe how difficult it was to get around and how many people asked rude questions. The Atropine changed Alex’s personality and sometimes gave him nightmares. When he started school, his vision was so bad he qualified for special education funding; he had special paper with black lines, and pictures to color that had been glue-gunned so that he could feel where the edges were he was supposed to be colouring. We had to buy a sippy cup because he couldn’t find his dishes on the table and would knock things over. I got a call from the school on his very first day because he couldn’t tell where the playground ended and the pavement started so fell and got scraped up. He was allowed to sit as close to the tv or computer as he wanted for years.

I can not even hazard a guess at how many sets of frames & lenses we went through in that time period; we had to replace his lenses the very first day he had glasses because he tripped and fell flat on his face, scratching them up…

He was never a “text-book” case, and the orthoptists actually presented his case in their classes on different occasions. His stronger eye was so dominant that at one point, it was “seeing” through the atropine for him. In essence, his brain would rather decipher the blurred image than use his weak eye!

Now that it’s over, those trials & frustrations seem like a lifetime ago. He has gone from being legally blind to being capable of  20/40 vision (he sits between 20/50 & 20/60) which means he should be able to drive. He does not have 3D vision (depth perception), yet manages to curl & play golf! He is colour blind, but so are lots of people.  His turn has gone from being greater than 30 degrees to one degree when they manipulate it!  In other words, it’s imperceptible to the naked eye!

I’m going to miss our monthly “date”, Alex & Mommy to the IWK, but I’m sure we’ll be able to come up with a better use of our time!

Alex, age 3

Alex's first day with glasses (and chicken pox)!

Alex, age 5 - eye turning more

Age 6

Age 7

5.5 years of patching and drops...

A jealous brother who wanted glasses of his own...

The night before surgery, April 7th, 2008

Recovering from Surgery

A week later...

Age 8 - Love those straight eyes!  (Still using atropine though...)

A few months later - Love those straight eyes!

Age nine - newly off the drop!

Our handsome boy, Age 9!

It was a long road for all of us, but especially for Alex.

We couldn’t be happier or more proud of him!

Family Literacy Day

January 27, 2010

Today is Family Literacy Day.  How appropriate that today was also the day that Sarah registered for Primary.

School.

Where did the time go?

When the school had called with the appointment, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and wasn’t sure I was ready to send her to school.  However, she is very ready.  We have registered her for French Immersion which we didn’t do for the boys.  At that time, we would have had to commit to driving them to school each day and running a B&B, I just couldn’t commit to getting them there on time in the mornings.  Now, then program is located at their home school, so the decision was easy.

I waited in the hall, talking to Auntie Kay and Neil (who will be in her class) while Sarah had a visit with Mme. A.  She was a little bit worried that she wouldn’t know everything, but came out smiling.

I had a Tourism Board Meeting in Halifax, so kissed Sarah goodbye and sent her to preschool with Auntie Kay.  (But not before getting a photo of Sarah & Neil in front of the school together!)

I had a great meeting and actually passed D’Arcy & his carpool on the highway on my way home, so arrived just as he did.  When I walked in the door, my father was sitting on the couch in our family room, surrounded by many children.  They were reading a Curious George counting book; my mother had gone to their house to get some of the food for our “Family Literacy Day” Celebration.

I don’t remember which year this tradition started, but we’ve celebrated it for quite a while now.  Our celebration always involves food, family & books.  Does life get better than that?  This year, we had celebrated at our house because we have two rooms of guests and didn’t want to leave them.  The books we received were:

Olivia: “The Big Green Book of Beginner Books”, Dr. Seuss

Sarah:  “The Quilt Makers Gift”, Jeff Brumbeau & Gail de Marcken

Evan:  “The 39 Clues Series – Beyond the Grave”, Jude Watson

Alex:  “A Good Night for Ghosts” (Magic Tree House Series), Mary Pope Osborne

Anne:  “A Week from Sunday”, Dorothy Garlock

D’Arcy:  “Teachers Touch Lives”, Hallmark

Ginna & Beanah (share):  “Selected Stories”, Alice Monroe

We got a few photos of the celebration, and of course, Alex got it all on video(just  in case you’d ever like to listen to me “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet” to my children!)  (One of my favorites as a child!!)

The poster Sarah made

Casual supper

All family events are now being well documented...

Sarah & Beanah

Reading "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet"

Everyone's books were a hit this year!

My favorite kind of gift - a new book!

A family who reads together stays together...

“My Kangaroo is gone!”

January 26, 2010

I’m not sure what it was we ate, but Evan, Olivia & I have each had a mouthful of cankers this week – ouch!  This morning, Olivia woke up, came downstairs and pointed to her mouth, announcing, “My kangaroo is gone!”

No wonder she’s been so cranky this week…

The Laws of Sisterhood

January 24, 2010

Overheard on Friday night when the girls were on their way upstairs for baths & bed:

Olivia:  (In the lead)  I’m going to beat you Sarah!

Sarah: NO OLIVIA!  It’s only a race when I’m in front!

Overscheduled?!

January 20, 2010

In looking at the calendar, it would appear that we have just two (2) weekends between now and the end of school on June 29th that are totally open and unscheduled.

Let’s hope it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun

We’ve been skating almost every day on the rink in the driveway, so the kids are getting lots of fresh air and are exhausted by bed-time.  Last night, Olivia was particularly cranky by the time she got to bed.  I laid down beside her with a book and D’Arcy leaned in to kiss her goodnight before going upstairs to tuck the boys in.  She was in a snit so turned her head away and gave a swat in his direction.  He had already moved his head, so her hand hit my nose.

What was that?” I asked.

She looked at me sheepishly and replied, “A flying saucer?  Sorry…”

Points for creativity.