Thursday, June 30, 2016

I'm So Done With Bugs

Remember when we went camping and I got some terrible spider bites? And then we went camping again and had these issues with ticks? That was nothing. NOTHING compared to the terrible, horrible thing that happened last week.

NOTE: Please know that I am not letting my emotions run completely away with myself. When I tell you about the terrible-horrible that happened to us, I have not lost perspective. This terrible-horrible was only terrible and horrible among the truly non-terrible and non-horrible things. I am obviously aware that truly terrible and horrible events (e.g., death of a child/parent/spouse, major illness, loss of a house to a fire) happen to people every day. And I realize how fortunate I am that as of now, I am relatively free of these things.

Sunday morning we're all getting ready for church when Rhett tells us that his head is itching. Crap. Because we know what it means. LICE. While I'm fanning myself so as to not faint, Chuck is fingertips deep in Rhett's hair. He's immediately convinced it's lice. Me? Not so sure. Every google image of lice (a google search I don't recommend, along with "blood filled tick"; just a friendly PSA) shows little white things. What we find in Rhett's hair is tiny black things. Still. We're scared enough to keep him home from church that day.

But of course at church I am unable to focus on anything else. I am also unable to stop scratching because I'm just so creeped out. (I'm also infected with one louse, but we didn't know that then.) I remembered a woman who made a career of lice removal and told Chuck that if/when this ever happens to us, we'd call her ASAP. So we did. At our appointment later that day, we found Rhett was a total mess (probably had them for 2-3 weeks) and I had one louse with a couple of nits. Miracle of miracles: Chuck and Ollie were clear. She gave us instructions (and hairnets!) and we went home.

Let me tell you what lice cleansing entails. Laundry. Loads and loads of laundry. Sheets. Comforters. Clothes. Towels. Slipcovers. Not just once, but twice and thrice. So much laundry. Vacuuming. Also, daily combing with a special lice comb. This is not like a plastic pick. No. It's metal with super close teeth, and being combed with it hurts. And having to comb an eight-year-old who cries and whines the entire time is pretty terrible. (Although you'll have to ask Chuck to verify this. I didn't do it.) Then of course there are the psychological disorders you develop. Paranoia ("I'm sure there's just one louse waiting to stage a comeback!"). PTSD ("That was terrible and horrible and terrible-horrible!"). Exhaustion ("If I have to remake that bed one more time, I'm just going to collapse on top and stay there the rest of the day."). Phantom itching ("Why is my head/arm/foot/eyeball itching? Is there a louse there?!"). And finally, dread ("What if we didn't get them all and they come back????"). The last one is the killer. We've been doing the daily combings for eight days and haven't had any lice nor nits for five or six of them. But still. STILL. What if?!

See. Told you. Terrible. Horrible.

But it's over...for now. We had our follow-up appointment earlier this week and Rhett and I were cleared! Hallelujah.

P.S. I have now added "lice killing" to the list of things I'd like to see a politician put on his/her platform (along with cancelling daylight saving time and requiring swim meets to be at most two hours). I'd totally vote for that person.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Swim Team

After only one year of adjusting to pool culture, I've got a new culture to learn. (Does that mean I've joined a new cult? Never noticed the root of the word. Huh.) Swim team is a whole new thing. Now that Rhett can swim a length of freestyle, he can (and did) joined the swim team for our pool. What, exactly, does swim team involve? Let me tell you.

First, practices. Obviously. Starting the day after Memorial Day, Rhett has had daily swim team practice for 30-45 minutes. Now that's it's summer, this isn't such a big deal. But man, it was a lot during the school year. Ollie is even on the pre-team and they practice at the same time, which is super convenient for Chuck. Goal of pre-team is to get the kids to swim the length of the pool so that next summer he'll be ready for "real" swim team.

Second, meets. Oh my. These meets. I had no idea. None. There are two meets: A and B. The stronger swimmers do the A meets Saturday mornings, and the others go to the B meets on Wednesday nights. Although Rhett is just getting this freestyle thing down, we don't have that many 8-and-under boys, so he's been swimming in the A meets. Let me tell you about these meets. They are LONG. And I'm kinda mad at Chuck (who grew up completely immersed in this culture--get it? Immersed?) for not cluing me into this. Warm-ups start at 8 a.m. and the meet starts at 9. The meet has 50 (fifty!) events and then you're done at noon. And because these things are mostly volunteer-run, either Chuck or I (or sometimes both) have to help. The only job we've done so far is timing. That means for all 50 events, we and two others stand at the end of each swim lane timing the swimmers. For three hours. In the sun (sometimes). In the humidity (most times). The events are basically every permutation possible of gender, age group, stroke, and distance. And how many events does Rhett swim? Two. How long does it take him to do this? His total swim time is one minute. In all honesty, the meets are kinda fun. Watching the different swimmers that we're starting to know is fun. Chuck and I think it's good for Rhett to be part of a team and he's enjoying watching (some) of it. But man, I would be so much happier if these things were only two hours long. Thankfully, both meets so far have been at pools with attached playground. Ollie has happily played the entire time!

Third, social events. There are pep rallies every Friday night before meets. These include a practice, a theme, dinner (so yes, I'm having to bring food), cheers, etc. There are team picnics after home Saturday swim meets. There are other team events as well. This is in addition to the other social events that the pool puts on: tween nights, movie nights, blah blah blah. As we're still feeling the effects of May, we're opting out of some. But I can't say that I'll be sorry to miss some of these next month because of our trip.

I have to admit that I'm enjoying watching Rhett. He usually likes to do only things that he's good at, or where he's expected to be just as good as everyone else (e.g., a tennis class for beginners). So this really is big for him! The first meet he was asked to join a four-person relay and he really did not do it. But he did. And I was so proud of him and I think he was proud of him. It's good for him. And really, it's the pool. How bad can it be?!

It looks like he's at the bottom, but actually he was 5th of 11. Not bad for his first meet!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Q: Why Do I Volunteer at Rhett's School?

A: Because the thank you letters are adorable.

These are from career day when I talked about being a statistician and had the kids create a bar chart with their shoes. Then we answered some questions and made some inference.

Saw our socks!! SAW OUR SOCKS!!

Glad my own son likes what I did.

This one. HAHAHA. Those poor parents probably hate me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Second Grade: Check!

And just like that, Rhett's second grade year is done! It better be; I mean, c'mon. It's past the summer solstice already. But end it did. On Monday, I was true to my word and went to his school for a "Last Day Party." Really, it was just games, but that's okay. We started with "Heads Up, Seven Up!" for no other reason than I remembered playing it and so Rhett must know my joys.

Then we moved on to a giant version of "Don't Eat Pete!" This is a game my sister introduced me to, and is well-loved in our house. For some inexplicable reason. The kids could barely keep their hands off the swedish fish, but finally it was done.

Then we finished with Bingo. I had prizes for this one and when he didn't win anything, Ollie was in tears and declared that he HATED the party. Ha. That's Ollie! Then it was nearly time for the kids to get to lunch, so I had them rush to sign the bag. I love how it turned out.

Rhett and his teacher with a photo bomber.

After his last solo bus ride (next time he rides a bus to school, Ollie will be with him!), he got his candygram. He was mad I called him an Air Head. Which clearly he's not, but Five Below only has so much selection.

Everything about the end of the school year was exhausting. Rhett really enjoyed today's party and I enjoy spending time with his classmates, so I guess it's worth it. And now, it's finally SUMMER! (I say that as if it's a good thing.)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I Made Something!

I offered to throw a last-day-of-school party at Rhett's school. I've never done this before, so if you have any advice (like, ahem, how you should have told me that two hours is plenty for a child's birthday party), please send it my way. As I never got around to getting a gift together for Rhett's teacher during teacher appreciation week, I thought I'd do that now. And what cuter gift for a teacher than a notebook tote bag? (Probably a lot of things, but I just couldn't think of them.) And if I'm going to be at the school, why not have the kids sign their names in their second-grader handwriting?

Turns out I love this bag. Love it.

Bag tutorial here. Notebook-ing it idea here.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Tuckahoe State Park Triathlon

As mentioned, we picked Tuckahoe and this particular weekend because they had this super cool "triathlon." I think I mentioned that it was a two-mile run (on that fun fitness trail, but no, I didn't stop to do the rings), a ten-mile bike, and then a one-mile paddle. It was so fun! Except when it was boring.

Turns out biking is super boring (for me, obviously). I usually listen to podcasts while running, but I don't do it during races. But man, I could have used something during the bike. I was so bored that I started counting lines in the road. But then they turned to double yellow and I was back to bored. Clearly I just don't bike enough. I know the theory behind race running and I know my pace. But only have done a handful of non-kid bike rides this year, left me very bad at this. Ha. So even though I finished the run in the about 12th place, I stopped counting the number of people who passed me while biking. Clearly I should have kept counting as it would have given me something to do.

But even through that, it was still super fun. Only about 100 people participated and the state park did a great job organizing. I love a well-run race!

Riding away. I had no idea of the boredom to come.

The finish line was in the water. Pretty cool.

My big buddy and me. Next time (you know, after I can psych myself out for handling the ticks) it's Chuck's turn! Or, we wait until the boys are a little older and we enter two doubles teams.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tuckahoe State Park

Another park checked off! This one surprised me. I was expecting just another forest, but it was actually really fun! We ended up fishing, canoeing, hiking, biking, playgrounding, going to an aviary program (where we watched birds of prey eat dead mice), and the regular campfire activities. I also participated in a triathlon, but more on that later.

Sure it was hot and humid, but I survived that with the Scamp. HOWEVER. The one thing I'm not sure I can survive in summer camping? The bugs. I mean, mosquitoes, whatever. But the ticks? I just don't know. We each ended up with at least one on us, my first one found on my forehead (not yet embedded) while I was driving. Seriously. I've been itching everywhere since we got back. It's going to take me some serious psyching myself out before I try this again. Why-oh-why were ticks ever included in the list of things to create?

This was our first trip where we got to try out the PVC railings on the upper bunk. SUCCESS! No middle-of-the-night fallings out.

The boys LOVED the tire playground. Ollie especially loved this swing.

Only Rhett caught a fish. The creatures were experts at getting the worms off the hook without actually snagging themselves.

We had friends join us Saturday and I got to take all three little boys on a canoe ride. I felt pretty awesome.

Before we left Sunday morning, we hiked the fitness trail. Every tenth of a mile there was some exercise to do. Pretty hilarious.

They both were terrified and then in love with the rings.

And I was in love with watching them bike! We called it "mountain biking" just to make them feel tough, but really, it was a nice ride on a needle-covered trail. I totally recommend this park! Just maybe not in tick season.

Only five parks left! (And two to repeat.)