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10 posts from October 2007

October 30, 2007

Baking the nuts

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Rather than baking the seeds, as Kelsey insisted every seed inside this extremely precious (read: pricey) pumpkin was actually a nut.  They only say these cute things so many times before they grow up and start to correct your grammar/pronunciation (oh, wait, she already does that in Icelandic)/style of dress....

Given that it is almost Halloween and grasker (pumpkins) are actually available here for the low, low price of 1,000,000 ISK/kilogram, I opted to get one.  It's a not-so-cheap thrill here in Iceland, but well worth it for the hours of fun of digging the guts, nuts, out of the now-mutilated gourd. 

Img_0218We actually didn't have to carve the poor girl, as she had already been decorated by  someone south of this border.  The message regarding care for the pumpkin was in both English and Spanish; a treat for me to understand the words in two languages, not just try to eke out the meaning in a third, much harder language.  Well, in all honesty, even my baby Icelandic could have gotten me through that one.

Img_0224Since we have the traditional carving kit (from Pottery Barn Kids, purveyor of all family traditions), we (I) attacked the pumpkin with gusto.  There is now a cheerful, painted face on one side and a ghoulish, bat-filled graveyard on the other.

Now, off to bake those seeds nuts (just doesn't have the same zing, eh, S.?)!

October 29, 2007

It's that time again

Friday morning as I drove to work, I realized it was not swirling, rough rain I have come to expect but snow pouring from the sky.  The flurries came fast and furious as I parked while it was still quite dark outside.

The snow did not accumulate but was a cheerful reminder that winter is making its way here.  The mountains have had snow for some time, but the flurries were a first for the city and the suburbs.  More snow arrived yesterday morning, enough to actually coat the driveway.

And today?  Snowballs!  Snow walls!  Snow men!  All were created at recess today.  Not many are still standing, due to the common fear that the artwork might be man (kid?) handled by others during the next recess.

Cait and Kels did not have enough time with the fluffy stuff at recess today;  Cait spent almost an hour outside making one-handed snowballs and enjoying the inch or so while it lasts....the forecast for tomorrow:

rain...as we are in "Ice"land, after all.

October 28, 2007

The Fairly Fairy Birthday

Img_0177Due to many reasons, a summer birthday notwithstanding, Caitlin's celebration was a tad late this year.  Sort of a 9 and 1/6 party, as opposed to straight nine.  On the other hand, perhaps the extra time helped her adjust to the requirements of being so much older:  the maturity, the responsibility...ha!

Whilst Caitlin came up with the fairy idea on her own, the party supplies and creations were handled by her godmother, Auntie (Dr.) Shannon.  Shannon can make and do almost anything.  Shannon is the person you call when your dress falls apart or just a tiny button pops off your shirt...."We could mail that to Shannon and SHE could fix it!" 

Now, I can sew the occasional button and have even been known to repair a split pair of pants once in a while.  However, the party planning is often more fun when A. there is a plethora of lesser expensive goods available, and, more importantly B.  the adult helping you is just so darn creative.  Caitlin helped with designs and ideas but Shannon put them into action and more importantly, into the mail.

We did delay the party in part due to new students arriving at the school and to adjust to the new school year.  Rather than rush into it, we gave the prospective invitees a few weeks to settle back into their routines and then found a date that was not occupied by sports or family activities.

Caitlin, Kelsey, and 13 friends played fairy games, painted wands, watched a magic show, and pirouetted happily in their headdresses for over two hours.  The party ended with the "cupcake bar", an extensive offering of cupcakes and toppings.  Many of the treats were several types of the ever popular and tasty Icelandic nammi.   

And, yes, this write-up is quite overdue...I had planned on jotting down a note or two the next day.  Unfortunately, that was a far more exciting day in a different way and thus, pushed this into the background for a bit.  Much appreciation again to Caitlin for having the idea and creating her own games for the party and to Shannon for her ideas that helped it come to life!

By Popular Demand

A photo taken by the proud father-to-be on the first day of my 25th week....

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October 26, 2007

Speaking of Kelsey

You can see pictures of her here and there with an older shot of Caitlin nearby. The shots of Kelsey are from their first IPC presentation of the year.  The kindergarten has studied bugs, to include ladybugs and caterpillars, while the older grades focused on dinosaurs.  Books that Caitlin lent to the class for their studies are still coming home; her fascination with dinosaurs has not waned at all.  Now if only they would find a fossil here before our time is up!

As far as her arm is concerned, she is doing much better.  Last week's x-ray was perfect, followed by a slightly imperfect, yet acceptable view this week.  The dislocation is within the allowable range and she does not have to go back to the hospital for another three weeks.  She is still relegated to indoor recess, but finds many ways to occupy her time, either with drawing or reading (shocking to everyone, I know).

Not much other news...the wee one is quite active lately, but still not very apparent.  Had another friend shocked the other day to find out I was almost six months along..."But you are so skinny, how could that be?!"...

Ah, bless you, friend! 

And for those of you worried about my liver issues...all my blood tests have been shockingly normal.  The ob-gyn is happy to do frequent testing, but I am 25 weeks on Sunday and not a hint of cholestasis either by way of test results or massive all-over uncontrollable itching.  Still going with the diet theory as the primary reason.   As I hear of more folks who have altered their eating habits to successfully stave off or lessen the effects (organic diets/low fat/hormone-free meats), I have to consider as the most likely possibility.

Given it is the only similarity between my lifestyle here and in Caracas, it is hard to find reasoning elsewhere! 

October 25, 2007

Kelsey-isms

She has had quite the run lately:

  • "You're the best mommy in the whole, wide world!  Why don't you make us blueberry pancakes for breakfast?" (to me, of course)
  • To Caitlin:  "I like you, too!  You are my best friend!" 
  • In a knowing voice, "Stupid is the "(you-know)" word" (apparently, we still have some f/s letter confusion)...at least she really doesn't know what it means? 

October 18, 2007

Quality Control

Due to a recent influx of "Halloween candy" (thank you, thank you, thank you, Shannon!), Caitlin and I were forced to 'taste-test' a few types of the treats.  It is a difficult task, but someone has to do it.

The random sample was, as we expected, just fine to be shared with friends.  However, due to said sampling, certain parties now have even more of a hankering for the following:  Milk Duds, 100 Grand, and the mini-crunch bars.  Should any of those go 'on special' any time soon, well, we would be more than thrilled to take on another shipment...if anyone really wanted to send, of course!

Oh, and while we have yet to taste the olives, many thanks to Dad and G for the shipment.  Kelsey and I are quite excited as our supplies were getting low!

October 15, 2007

Pobrecita Katla D.

Yes, it was one of those days today.  Starts off blissfully normal and ends with your head still spinning from the 12 hours spent in the ER/hospital room/OR/recovery/hospital room and finally, home.

I had just arrived at school this morning and settled in.  Lunch was stowed in the fridge, had my lessons plans ready to go and paused to grab a few more tissues as my biggest concern (at the moment) was the ever present congestion issues of pregnancy.  A moment later Berta and I heard what we thought was either wailing or laughter.  She commented on how one could never tell and we should just take a quick peek to make sure it wasn't one of hers (meaning an ISI student).  I didn't pause to think it might be one of mine.

However, as we rounded the corner, the wailing grew louder and as I saw Kelsey running off, Caitlin was screaming and being led in the other direction. "It hurts!" reverberated through the open second floor and the way she was holding her arm so closely to her body, I thought it had to be her stomach.  I couldn't fathom what might have happened during recess to cause her so much sudden anguish.

Until I made it to the other side and saw her arm and realized that arms don't bend like that in the middle.  One does not have to be a doctor to see this type of injury and not mentally place the arm in a cast and a sling and just wish that it could be done instantaneously without the waiting and more intense pain you know will follow.

Given how close we were to the hospital, Berta was able to get us there more quickly than a call to 112 could produce a sjukrabil.  I think the admissions process took longer.  It seemed like days, but within 30 minutes she was on a gurney, arm re-wrapped, catheter in and we were headed to x-ray.

There was not one, but two broken bones in her lower left arm.  Due to her new penchant for eating breakfast and snack, and the severity of the break, the setting of the bone had to wait for her stomach to clear so they could take care of it while she was under general anesthesia.

We waited it out in a hospital room in the children's area.  She had to share the room with two other kids, both of whom were teenage boys who looked as though they had extensive ear surgery, oddly enough.  Finally, after refusing more pain meds for the second time, they brought the pre-anesthesia dose of medication.

Fifty-five minutes later she was finally dozing off in the ER.  It was not a peaceful nodding off, as the pain had increased and the sight of the blood pouring out of the catheter when they attached the IV made her even more wan (if this was possible).  She made it through just fine, though, and half an hour later we were watching her sleep in recovery.  As there were no other born in the recovery area, both of us were allowed to sit for over an hour while she woke up.

She woke up around 7 p.m. and while not thrilled, was much more comfortable with the bones properly set and stable.  Four glasses of water, two pieces of toast, several nurse checks, the requisite trip to the "snyrtinger" and one doctor visit later we were finally on our way.

Mercifully, she is sound asleep and will sleep as late as she needs to tomorrow.  And, yes, she will be home for at least two days.  Not only do we have to avoid the potentially bad weather, but the type of break has to be closely monitored.  If all goes well, she will be back in school Thursday, just in time to have another x-ray taken on Friday.  We will be praying that the bone is not "desolate" (dislocated), as she heard in her post-anesthesia fog, but healing as it should be.

Oh, and how this whole incident (and the creation of the second "Caitlin" rule at ISI) even happened?  That will have to wait for another day as even I am now exhausted and probably should get a little sleep, too... 

October 13, 2007

We always find it better to

*promote* people on a *Wednesday*. This was the original title of a posting that you may notice is no longer available.  Apparently, this statement contained entirely too much information and may have led you, careful reader, to know exactly what happened to Peter someone in our house one day last week.

Thankfully, after a series of talks, we can now cautiously report that due to a missive from a certain part of a certain branch of a certain government, a person we know and love has been given a good *grade* and should benefit financially soon.  Since my original posting was a little too fact-filled, I hope this relays our genuine excitement and pride without causing mass hysteria.

So, congrats to Mr. X (or 007 as some have been known to call him),
Love, Jen, Caitlin, Kelsey & "Jr."

October 11, 2007

The news you have been waiting for.....

Kelsey's latest ocular (read: eye patch) therapy is a 100% success!  I didn't say much earlier as we had no idea what to expect.  We worked with one optometrist this summer who got us started on the therapy and then continued with her regular ophthalmologist this fall.  Her eyesight was just not getting any better and we were fearful of what could happen if we weren't more aggressive.

He was understandably somewhat hesitant, but we dove straight in nonetheless.  Since September 6, she has worn an eye patch on her right eye from waking up until going to bed (minus swim class, of course).  She has always had a lot of catching up to do, and without digressing further, no thanks to the lousy geneticist who saw her after birth and utterly screwed with our minds.  Due to his incorrect diagnosis, the surgery for her true (FIXABLE) problem of craniosynostosis was delayed by 13 months, and thus, her eyesight worsened.

The glasses have helped but this maximum dose of ocular therapy has really done its part.  She whizzed through the eye charts today like I have never seen.  With and without the glasses, right eye and left, the improvement was incredible.  The doctor was very impressed and can't wait to see the changes in December when we go back for a follow-up.

And, yes, a future surgery is still a possibility due to the lack of muscle control in her eye, but this is way more than we expected in such a short time.  Go, Kelsey!