Saturday, November 29, 2008

Where's the last place you would like to spend your birthday?

Well, I can probably think of worse, but my youngest kiddo gets to spend the entire afternoon of her birthday in the doctor's office this week as our entire family gets in depth eye exams from two different specialists for our participation in a genetic study with the National Institute of Health.

Lucky for her she just needs a few pictures since she recently had a full exam, but that will still require "eye drops" which she is so good about getting, but is already dreading. I don't know what's worse - not telling her that she will be getting the drops and dealing with her anger when she finds out or trying to prepare her ahead of time and dealing with a week of her telling me that she doesn't want to go and get the drops.

While I'm very excited about the possibilities of some answers from our participation in the study, I hate putting her through another day at the doctor's office even if it is just for eye drops and a few pictures. The blood draw "event" we went through a few weeks ago was very traumatizing. She's old enough now that I try to explain that the doctor's don't know why her eyes aren't like ours, that they don't yet know how to fix them and that the scientists need our blood and pictures to try and figure out how to make them better - not only for her, but also to help other kids who can't see as well as she does. And the preschooler reply that I get? "I like my eyes just fine mom. They don't need fixed!" And in a way she's right.

Add to mix the fact that I think our oldest now needs glasses (for simple nearsightedness), this week's day at the doctor should be barrels of fun!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gmail Themes, Yay!

Google is rolling out themes for Gmail. Finally, I'll be able to tell my mailboxes apart! The kids are gonna love theming their e-mail, especially the ones that change based on the time of day. Hopefully that will get them using e-mail more often! We're patiently waiting for the themes capability in our Google Apps accounts...

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to get rid of gnats (aka fruit flies)

So in my daughter's hurry to finish up her chore of cleaning out her lunch box and putting it away after school, she neglected to remove the banana peel before shoving her lunch bag all the way to the back of the cupboard. As if that wasn't bad enough, she decided to go on a record run of buying lunch at school so it was left there for at least a couple of weeks. Amazingly, we didn't notice a smell, but couldn't figure out where all of the pesky gnats were coming from.

In the midst of our gnat-battle, I just-so-happened to open the door for the cupboard in which her lunch bag was stowed and found a noticeably large concentration of gnats. So, of course, I opened the lunch bag right then and there and ran screaming to the garage where I promptly deposited the entire thing in the garbage can. (I'm still shuddering at the thought of the discovery.)

But now...we have more gnats. I unleashed the Great Gnat Army when I (brilliantly) opened the lunch bag in. the. house.

I set a couple empty margarine tubs around the kitchen with a 1/4 - 1/2 inch of vinegar in them. Then (this is the key), lined the rim of the tub with vegetable oil. You might want to set the tubs on a plate or a coaster to prevent the oil from making a mess on your counter tops. The easiest way to line the rim of the tub with oil? We always keep some oil in a squeeze bottle for mess free cooking (and now gnat fighting). The gnats are attracted to the vinegar and get stuck in the oil. I clean the tubs out once or twice a day and refill until the gnats are gone. Our gnat army has been reduced to just a few gallant soldiers in about 36 hours. Much better than bombing the house with pesky chemicals.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Second grade politics

I love the fact that my 2nd grader knows exactly who is running for president their vice presidential running mates. Especially since we don't talk politics at home, or watch network TV that often for her to be exposed to the political ads. Which is why her political advice cracks me up.

Since the beginning of the race, she would inform me at least once a week to be sure to vote for Hillary. "We need a woman as the president, mom." (Very matter-of-factly.) She wasn't quite sure who to advise me to vote for once Hillary was no longer a candidate. It was a trying few weeks. "I don't know, mom. We really needed Hillary."

Then, she decided that Obama was the best choice. "An African American man, mom. He needs to be president because it will make history."

Then for a few days after McCain announced Palin as his running mate. "Mom! You have to vote for Palin...I..I..mean, McCain! You have to! A woman!". Almost every day she would ask me, "Mom, you're voting for McCain, right? Puh-lease? Puh-lease?"

This girl takes her politics seriously! She was even doing a voting day count down at home. "Four more days, mom. Only FOUR. MORE. DAYS. You are voting for McCain, right? Puh-lease?"

(Seriously, we hardly ever talk politics at home. She loves this election stuff!)

Then, two days ago, she says, "Mom, I changed my mind. You have to vote for Obama." What!?! I said. Why the change? "Well, my friend and I were talking on the playground. And he said that McCain is a rich man. And if he gets president, he is going to take all of our money. I don't want him to take all of our money, mom. You HAVE to vote for Obama!"

My response: "What! Now you're talking politics on the playground!?! This is SECOND grade!"

I pretty much left it at that. Because, you know, we don't talk politics in our house!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Why, mommy?

"Why do I have to take my backpack to school mommy? I don't USE it!"

Most preschoolers just want to sport their backpack because it has their favorite character on it. Or because its fun to carry. Or to sneak a favorite dragon or unicorn in to play with on the long bus ride home. Not mine. Everything is black and white and all about practicality.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

See why I stress out!?!

I mentioned last week that I was getting anxious for my youngest's eye doctor appointment today. She was an angel, very patient with the doctor, sat still and followed directions for the exams. She didn't even cry when her eyes were dilated! She knows the drill. Overall we had a good report, but as I suspected, she needs new lenses again. We've already had two sets in the last year - this will be her third increase in 12 months. But, like I said, overall the report was good. Phew! So we grabbed some ice cream, took off to home and I felt a big weight lifted from my shoulders when we walked through the door.

Until (seriously) 10 minutes later when she comes to me crying that...can you guess?...her glasses broke!!! So now I have a peanut wailing on the floor that she can't see. "What am I going to do Mama!?!" Um, maybe (please!?!) take your glasses off before you wrestle with your sister next time? Like you were suppose to do last winter when you took a face dive into the kitchen tile floor (was able to fix them that time.). Or when you decided it would be fun to slide down the stairs head first? (which led to the purchase of the current frames). So I fished out her spare pair of glasses from the TBall bag (which are now 4 prescriptions behind) and will be making the trip to order her lenses tomorrow instead of Monday like I had hoped. Oh, and add on a new set of frames too. Because we definitely need a spare pair on hand...just in case. Maybe it was meant to be...I didn't like her current frames seemed like they loosened up and wouldn't stay on her face every time she sneezed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Its still over a week away, but being that this is the longest we have gone between visits, my anxiety is already starting to build.

No, these aren't visits from my in-laws. Or from the furnace repair man. I wish! These are visits to my youngest's ophthalmologist. You see, she was born with a rare eye disorder called bilateral asymmetric uveal coloboma. She has an iris coloboma in one eye and chorio-retinal colobomas in both eyes.

She's a very lucky kid (no joke - she once won a $6,500 playhouse!). So I just said she has this rare eye disorder and then I said she is lucky!?! Many kids that are born with uveal colobomas have wide array of birth defects which has been named CHARGE syndrome. Thankfully, she does not have CHARGE. Many kids with uveal colobomas have very little or no vision. Thankfully, she has adequate vision. She is truly blessed. The little peanut with the thick glasses even kicked some butt in TBall this year. Never judge a book by its cover!

So why the anxiety? There are still some unknowns. She has two cataracts that we have been monitoring. Fortunately they have not grown. What will school be like for her? Will she be able to drive? Could her children inherit this disorder? Will her children be blessed with adequate vision? I'm usually a "take 'em as they come" kind of person, but leading up to her doctor appointments I get myself a bit worked up. I just want to know.

Hopefully next week will come and go and I will wonder again why I stressed over the appointment. I really don't want answers to some of these questions right now - what if they're not the answers I hope to hear? And I definitely don't want more questions!

But, yes, we really do want answers. Even just some insight. We have decided to work with the wonderful people at the National Eye Institute, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and participate in their research study for families with uveal colobomas. While this means we'll all have to go through a thorough eye exam and a blood draw, hopefully we can help answer some of our questions and be a part of finding those answers for other families that struggle with this disorder much more than we do.