Wednesday, July 30, 2014

the 'buzz' at home

Last week, while Ray was gone, the girls and I noticed a few new house guests.

Bees. Or wasps. Someday I'll learn to tell the difference.

We found that we were catching about one a day. Usually, it would be found flying up near the kitchen table. They were never aggressive, so I'd simply catch them between a glass and a plate, walk outside and let it go.

Why not kill it? Well, for one, I've never been good at killing things.

Second, and more importantly, I'm potentially deathly allergic. I don't know. I've never actually been stung. But in college I went into anaphylactic shock and passed out from a still-unknown allergen. I then went through a whole bunch of tests that showed I was allergic to a whole bunch of pollens, dusts, and VERY allergic to bees. I was given an epipen and sent on my way. I swell up pretty good after horse and deer fly bites, so I tend to just avoid bees whenever possible. And wasps.

So I've been catching and releasing them outside, trying not to piss off the non-aggressive bees/wasps.

Well, this past weekend, Ray commented on the number of bees too. So we figured it was time to find their hive. Or nest. Whatever.

There was nothing obviously hanging from the house, so he bent down to look under the porch and was bombarded.

In an effort to see from the other side, he went down to the basement...

Not a minute later, I heard him yelp a bit, slam the door and come trucking on up the staircase.

"Well, I found the hive."

Great! Let's go kill it! (And, as always, as in "we" I mean you, my dear.)

No, no, it's in the basement.

Yeah, so there is one room in the house I tend to avoid. I'll clean and go through most rooms daily, but the "workroom" -- an unfinished workshop/storage area -- is dedicated to Ray's use. I very rarely go in there.

And since Ray is out of town, that means the hive/nest has been growing for who knows how long...

It's at least the size of a basketball.

So ... longer story shorter, we had pest control out on Monday who sprayed both the outside access point and the hive itself. He taped up and blocked off the door so in theory the bees would stay in their place and die in the workroom. He warned us that the bees would be "very angry" for 6 to 8 hours.

Oh, and he said it was a yellow jacket's nest, so that's wasps I guess. And he was shocked that, considering its size, no one noticed it before now.

On the side of safety -- and sanity -- we packed up and the girls and I spent the first part of the week at my Dad's. Which was quite fun.

I had a friend come check the hive for "activity" (as in any signs of life) last night and they seem to be dead. We haven't seen any more upstairs or anywhere even outside.

But I still have the willies. Blech. and can't wait til this weekend, when the nest/hive/gross thing will be finally evacuated from the premises.

Here's hoping for a quieter rest of the week...
- Bethany

Thursday, July 17, 2014

(old) videos...

While cleaning the garage recently I happened upon a DVD.

It's a collection of videos from Winter 2012-13. At that time I was taking a class designed to teach strategies to help parents work with their children so they could improve their communication. I want to say it was a 12-week class. We met for a couple hours each Tuesday.

We took videos of us interacting with our kiddos throughout, to observe us putting the strategies in action. There were several video sessions along the way. And I remember celebrating at the end, when we could visually see how far all of our kids came in that time.

I also remember getting the videos at the conclusion of the course. And thinking I should post them here. I didn't, for a variety of reasons. Mainly, it just so happened to be the roughest time in our journey with Millie: her tests, her diagnosis, more tests, then the seizures... It was an incredibly difficult time.

But I just happened to stumble on them today. I just watched them, for the very first time since then. It's awesome to see how far she came during those few months -- and how far she's come since. She's amazing.

When we started the class, Millie was completely non-verbal. She wasn't signing much then either. To say communication was a challenge would be an understatement, to say the least.

Blogger doesn't seem to like videos, so I might have to do this in a few posts. But I do want to share them.

This is the very first video, taken toward the end of 2012. Millie was roughly 18 months old. 

This is roughly the halfway point, maybe mid-January?

And this is from the end, in mid-February.

We're so proud of her, our little Angel Girl.
- Bethany 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I've been quiet on here lately. It's a mix of not wanting to overshare, not having all that much to say, and not knowing what people want to hear about.

But I'm still here. And things are going relatively well. Summer is always our hard season, as Ray heads out of town for work five or six days a week. For example, this past weekend, he came home about 7 p.m. Saturday and left again at 5 a.m. Monday. It's hard. And yet it's what we knew we were signing up for, so I don't want to whine about it (too much anyway...). These three or four months are crucial for, you know, paying for our lives, so we both love and loathe the hours simultaneously. 

The girls are doing really well. Their day care center does a lot of activities for the older students (Lola's age) in the summer, so she's on the go and getting all sorts of fun new experiences. Which I love. And Millie is still thriving in her class, learning more ways to communicate with her peers and teachers, while having loads of fun throughout the day, particularly when she gets to play outside in the incredibly large sand box. Nothing makes Millie as happy as she is with a pail full of sand. Or rock.

Me, I'm hanging in there. I've got our schedules down to a science, even if it means the house isn't swept or scrubbed nearly as often as it should be. At least the kids are (relatively) clean and they have lunches packed each day. Never mind that Millie still refuses to eat any of hers. Daily.

I'm trying to keep things on track while also making sure we still have time for play and fun. And yet also working in time for Lola to keep up with her reading and math. And making edible foods instead of shoving Lunchables at them both every day. Or pancakes. I've gotten really good at pancake 
dinners. And frozen French toast stick breakfasts. I kid, I kid... (But, no, not really: We also visit Taco Bell at least twice a week.)

I do take Tuesday nights to myself, when I have a sitter come over so I can play on a local tennis league. That's a really nice outlet, a nice chunk of "me" time that helps propel me through the rest of the week. 

That's certainly not to say we don't have fun! The girls and I have loads of fun together, exploring new places, playing outside, chasing each other around the house, just playing Barbies and Frozen on the floor in their bedroom. I love having so much one-on-two time with the girls, seeing them change every day, hearing about their days, tucking them in each and every night. We've gotten closer.

Still, you can hear the cheering on Friday or Saturday evenings, when we get that text from Ray that says he's on his way. It's priceless to watch the girls -- and the dog -- rush the doors when they hear his truck pull in. And they throw themselves into his arms, and pile onto his lap, refusing to move for at least an hour, giggling and talking and babbling and laughing all at once.

This is summer.



Guess who is 6?!

I can hardly believe it.

We celebrated with Ray on Sunday, as he took the girls to a movie and, later, she opened her presents and we had cake at home. It was a mellow birthday, yes, but special for her. Lots of family time, which she adores.

Yesterday, with Ray back out of town, I took the day off so we could have a girls day. We first went to the library for a music show, which was a bit too exuberant for my introverted 6-year-old, so we ended up borrowing a few books and just heading home. 

While Millie napped, the birthday girl and I spent the next three hours doing "big kid" activities, making crafts and beaded jewelry, whatever Lola wanted to do. 

Her big outing for the day was going to the salon, where both she and Millie had mini manis and Lola had her hair curled and pinned atop her head. I have a ton of pictures I'll have to go through soon. But she looked so grown up, and she loved every moment of it.

More than once, I caught myself looking at this girl, this child is so beyond her preschool years. She got a bad rep as a baby -- the needy, challenging infant that grew to be the stubborn, spirited toddler -- and while I still see those personality traits in her, we've come to treasure them (most days). Her energies, sure, they can be trying at times, but we love her enthusiasm, her zest.

Happy birthday, Baby Girl. We're so proud of you. And we love you tons.