Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Days of Dragons

The Dragon Boat races have returned to Oshkosh, and this is the first year we ventured out to witness them. Held on the Fox River in Oshkosh, alongside the Leach Ampitheater, the Dragon Boats carry a crew of 20 paddling to the beat of a drum. Three or four boats race at a time, and over 50 boats participated this year. It was quite a sight. Teams were very colorful in their presentations, wearing clown wigs, cow hats, face paint, and lots of team spirit. Various Oshkosh organizations sponsored the teams, and a walk through Athlete's Village gave spectators a glimpse into community supporters.

I took Jarod and Maria to see the Dragon Boats this year, and in addition to the races, many stands were created to offer face painting, children's tattoo's, a fun house, and book sales. Another one held a guy bearing a 30 foot boa constrictor. We avoided that tent COMPLETELY. Snakes are instruments of the devil.

After getting their tattoos, and after bouncing in the fun house, we wandered to the riverside banks and took a seat to watch the action. The kids cheered loudly for the teams we saw racing, and had lots of questions. After two hours, the kids had had their fill and the high noon sun and heat called us home to enjoy a little lunch.

Meanwhile, Natty and Chris journeyed to Menards for a new toilet seat, and to Festival Foods for groceries. She digs the car carts and was happily "racing" through the aisles with Daddy.

Saturday night brought swimming at an Appleton hotel with Steve and Virginia, and family, as they are in town for Virginia's half marathon run today. As I type this, she should be within 2-3 miles of finishing, and we're very proud of her. We splashed in the pool of the Country Inn and Suites, and Steve took all of the kids to play video games. Valorie has a special talent for winning animals out of those claw machines, and Maria walked away with one of them, thanks to Val.

Today my work takes precedent for me as I work to finish freelance assignments and prep for school. We're taking the kids to Washington School's 50th birthday party this afternoon, and we're cleaning up the house.

I'll be posting pictures here, or on facebook, eventually, of the races and of my adventures during spirit week for North's homecoming. For the last few years our team has won the faculty spirit contests (judged by our ability to dress up for the dress up days), and we intend to continue the tradition. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, it's back to family time. Be well, friends.

Friday, September 12, 2008


It's always good to know the kids in great health, and yesterday was no exception! Chris and I took the kids for their well-child checkups with the pediatrician, and it was defeinitely an adventure. Natalie kept trying to climb up on the table, rip off the paper and then jump off the table, wearing only cupcake underwear and a hospital gown tied loosely around her neck. Maria was stealing juiceboxes from Mom's purse, and Jarod was trying to use as much of the doctors equipment as he could without getting into trouble. I'm so grateful Chris met me there!!!

But all are in good health. Jarod and Natalie are way off the charts in height. Nat is, in particular, since the doctor said she's the size she should be when she's 6. Seeing as she just turned 4, she tends to tower over her peers and have people wondering why she isn't in 1st grade.

This time we updated Matty's meds (she's on a bit higher dosage), and we started Jarod as well. While his normal home and school behavior is pretty good, he still has a lot of anxiety, and his reactions to things he dislikes can be extreme. We're using a low dosage so that we can help his anxieties calm while maintaining the good behavior and personality he has the rest of the time. We're also hoping it will slow doan some of his stimming that he has been engaging in so much.

It all ended with Maria getting a shot. Though she had her vaccinations earlier in August, the office was out of the chickenpox vaccine which is required for school. So she had to go back and get it when we went for the appointment. She was NOT pleased by any means and screamed bloody murder. She was stoked, though, when she realized she got Strawberry Shortcake stickers and pencils out of the deal.

Hmmm....maybe I need to get a shot too....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Around the corner

Autumn is peeking at us from behind the curtain. I've been noticing the chill in the night air, the sniffles in the kids' noses, the desire to bring sweatshirts and jeans to the front of my wardrobe. I love fall, and though it also means the start of the new school year and busy times, I'm filled with excitement for the promise of beautiful days and fun family times each year.

Our weekend was a nice one. Mom and Dad (thankfully!) took the kids overnight, and Chris and I were able to get so much done. We took four boxes of books to the library, 7 bags of clothes and items to the Goodwill store, and five bags of garbage. We can finally use our storage room in a meaningful way again! It took almost 6 hours, but we've reclaimed the room. After a lovely evening at the Melting Pot and a very quiet night of uninterrupted sleep, we had breakfast and picked the kids up, heading to Sam's for some staples around the house. Though the trip costs mucho dinero, it's great to be well-supplied for the next two months on many items! I went in to work today to catch up for the week, and then headed back home where we bathed the kids and prepped things for the week. Time passed quickly, but we can sleep well knowing we got a lot done!

Be well, friends! Hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Starting School

The school year is off with a bang as four of five family members trot back to class. Jarod began second grade at Traeger Elementary in Oshkosh. He has a wonderful teacher and a great assistant, and he is spending his entire day in the regular room! He has received very positive comments from his teachers so far, and he is already doing homework, counting by 2's, 5's and 10's to 100, or reading for fifteen minutes per day.

Maria's first words when she got home from school were, "Mom, kindergarten rocked!" And she meant it, too. She loved coloring, recess, gym class, and making friends. She enjoys her teacher, and she talks mostly about her boy classmates. Tomorrow she has to wear red clothes to school because the class is studying different colors each day--tomorrow is red.

Natalie also transitioned well to school. We made a picture schedule for her so she could see how her day would progress, and it helped alleviate some of her anxiety. She had her hair cut the other night, and she looks like a little elf, if I do say so myself. It also minimizes Maria's hack job on her bangs from a month ago!

My return to school has gone well, though it's not just my own classes as a teacher, but as a student. The first two days of school I also had my first two days of grad class. My students at school amuse me (though I think they see me as totally insane), and my grad classes will be challenging--and a lot of work! I'm trying not to freak out too much, and take it a week at a time. Most devastating, of course, was realizing my grad class interferes with my ability to watch Project Runway Wednesday nights! A travesty! :):)

Chris has been awesome this week. He's been super productive, has gotten the kids off to school and such, just taking it all in stride. Friday we're planning to take the kids swimming at the Y and have a bonfire that evening. My folks are taking the kids overnight this weekend so Chris and I can have alone time and clean the entire basement. It's romantic among the dust bunnies!

Time to get to bed. Chat soon!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

I want to invent some sort of super-mom tool that keeps my kids from recreating the same messes day in and day out. I'm depressed that I find myself on the last day of summer vacation, cleaning my house. Again. I know I'm not alone in this, but I'd like to be doing something more fun with the family.

The summer was a good one for the Falk family, though bursting with business. Chris took vacation so I could take a trip to Vegas (I'll post photos soon) with my Mom and sisters-in-law to celebrate my Mom's 60th. We then went up North and visited Chris's family which was a good time also. His family saved fireworks from the 4th since we couldn't make it, and we still had a good show with smores on the side. Can't beat that!

I took a full load of grad classes this summer toward my degree, and thank goodness I have a great husband because he has been incredibly supportive and helpful. The kids took swimming lessons and played every day with friends in the neighborhood.

Jarod and Maria taught themselves to ride two wheeler bikes, and Maria lost her first two teeth. Natalie made nice gains this summer as well, learning more about compliance and boundaries, which wa so helpful. She also spent most of her summer in a swimsuit since she prefers to be naked--at least we could get her to keep her "wimsuit" on most of the time!

A few bonfires with friends and visits with family made it a great summer. I wish I could see you all more often. We miss you!