Thursday, September 30, 2010

Classic Moms

Last night was the first FTF meeting of our new Classic Moms Book Club.

The "locals": me, S, Grace, Kit, J, and C.

Photo courtesy of Papa Bear (which is why we're all laughing).

Because I had nothing better to do with all of my free (not) time (snort), I decided to see if there were enough homeschooling moms in my own little Circle (which, by the way, extends as far as Australia and New Zealand...go figure) who would be interested in reading classic book together and discussing them, that I started a Yahoo Group (with my intrepid partner-in-crime, S) for said purpose. Wonder of wonders, a bunch of lovely, smart, savy, brilliant ladies signed up, and we got a great start on the on-line portion of our discussions.

I borrowed our format from Melody. For our first month (September), we stuck with one classic. Hencenforth, we will have two classics each month, discuss one or the other or both or neither as each is inclined or able. Post comments, observations, questions or criticism on a chapter-by-chapter basis as each progresses through the book, and everyone joins in on the discussion.

Our first book was Emma by Jane Austen, and we managed to wrangle up some interesting conversations on this tried-and-true classic between those who've read it several times, those who've read it and don't quite remember the details, and those who are reading it for the first time. What an awesome blend of perspectives it turned up!

Then, several of those who are "local" showed up at the Bear Residence for a face-to-face discussion and viewing of one of the several film versions of the book. It was pretty much agreed that my A&E version was not really up to snuff, but S's version was too long (4 hours) to watch in one evening sitting. So, we opted for the A&E version, and have planned a "follow up" viewing on Tuesday (generally Park Day) for S's favored extended version. I can't wait!

BTW, a big, huge THANK YOU to the hubbies who showed up (and Papa Bear who stuck around) to wrangle all of the children (there was at least a peck of them....children, not hubbies) while the ladies chatted and viewed and discussed. And, an extra special THANK YOU to Uncle E for 1) trying to RUSH Papa Bear off for the evening, and 2) rolling with it and taking all the Bears to dinner. It was incredibly awesome to see you again!

And also BTW, the Classic Moms is only one of three book clubs our family participates in. There's the Kids' Book Club which has been reading, meeting and discussing for a couple of years now. And the more recently formed Jr. Book Club for the younger set of kids (that's T-Bear reading aloud to the group).

Up next for the Classic Moms Book Club: Frankenstein and The Legend of Sleepy Hallow. (Oh, BTW, we are reading unabridged versions). Can't wait for the discussions to begin!

So, if you love reading great books and lively discussions as much as we do, come join us!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

U/ME Day - Brother Bear's Birthday by Papa Bear

We woke with our hearts pounding – with the kind of excitement typically reserved for Xmas morning, we both rose this morning with you eagerly ready and me quietly reserved to watch you pass through one the greatest milestones any young man can. Today you’ve just turned 11. Today we’re going to the shooting range. Today, you’re going to learn how to shoot. Today we start with a semi-automatic pistol – a .380 (thank you Mister J).

You and I have been talking about this adventure for months now. We’ve spent hours talking about each aspect of the experience; from how to take the proper precautions to keep you and those around you safe, to techniques necessary to ensure you score well.

I couldn’t tell which of us was more excited and nervous . . . but we managed to contain our enthusiasm as we entered the shop. With safety, loading, handling lessons all behind us, it was time to demonstrate. You watch me shoot first before you take your turn. Got it? Ready???

Okay now, target up and in position (15 yards) . . . load the clip into the gun like I showed you; that’s it, now feel the weight. Remember right hand for control and left for stability. Okay, now release the slide latch – do you have your site alignment & site picture? Remember aim center mass? Okay then, release the safety and ONLY when you’re ready I want you to feel the weight of double action -- gently pull the trigger . . . steady now Son – that’s it . . . now breath and squeeze . . .

. . . aaand,


Nice . . . very nice, indeed. Hey, nice hangin’ on after the first shot! Okay, now three full clips and (1) hour later; with almost all rounds spent with reasonable proximity of vital areas – you’ve done it, my boy. Way to go . . . I’m proud of you! :)

And, of course, there is only ONE WAY to round off this experience . . . we must get you (3) scoops of your favorite mint chocolate chip . . . oh, and sprinkles and; oh yeah, gummy worms too . . .

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Friends

This is me with some of my “just friends”. Not my “mommy friends”. Not my “homeschool friends”. Not my “girlfriends”. Just…my friends.

I haven’t had “just friends” since I’ve had kids. Somehow, once I stopped working “in the real world” and started spending all of my time with little critters that need constant attention, I stopped having friends that were not “attached” to one aspect of my life or another.

First it was other moms who I befriended because…well we had something pretty significant in common. We mostly felt completely isolated from the real world because we had an infant and suddenly lost our “work” friends and “not parents” friends seemingly overnight. And there was always nursing and diapers and poop to discuss, so conversation flowed pretty easily. But often I found myself being “friends” with people who, under other circumstances, I would never have thought to befriend. It was a different kind of “friend” for me.

Then came homeschooling. Here, at least, were people I had more in common with. All of them chose to stay home for the long haul and educate their children themselves rather than send them to school. And, the homeschool group I joined up with was a lovely, eclectic, very open group, both in world view and in educational style. But again, despite this commonality, they were not necessarily people I would have thought to befriend otherwise.

Then came my on-line TJEd friends. And, boy, talk about small band of commonality. Just about the ONLY thing we had in common was our taste for TJEd, we mostly came from very, very different backgrounds and had vastly different world views, but we became friendly anyway.

Most recently, I've added a gaggle of D-Mom friends. Women with whom I have in common one overwhelming thing; we all have one or more children with Type 1 Diabetes. And, we all blog, which is how we found one another.

I read an article recently extolling the virtues of living in a small community where everyone knows everyone else, and you are pretty much forced to learn how to befriend, or at least get along with, people you don’t necessarily like or have anything in common with except that you live in the same small town. The same might be said for schools in which children of the same age and from the same area are all placed together and expected to befriend one another, or at least get along.

I don’t know if I would be able to make a new friend outside of my “categories” any more, and that’s kind of a strange realization. But, more poignant for me is the realization that my current friends are not longer “category” friends. They’re all Just Friends. And that’s how I like them best.

P.S. For those who've never met me in person, I'm the tall old lady...with my cute, young, short friends ;)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tombstone for a Dead Chimpmunk

We had a modest burial today in the front yard. Our cats, Baghira and BooBoo, brought a live chipmunk into the house this afternoon. Just one of their usual, unpleasant offerings. Thankfully this one was alive and in one piece, unlike the last five lizards we have found in the kitchen.

Said chipmunk was rescued by BooBoo (the son, not the cat), who happened to turn six today, and who released said chipmunk in the front yard (after feeding it some pecans) to scamper away and be on his merry way.

Just before dinner, said chipmunk was found on the front walk in a less-than-live state of being. Yep, the cats had found him again, and finished their work. BooBoo (the son, not the cat) got out the shovel and dug a grave, buried the unfortunate chipmunk, and made up a gravemarker using a paving stone and a sharpie marker.

Grave marker under the magnolia tree.

"Here lies a chipmunk that died from my cats."
No, I didn't help with the spelling...he worked it out on his own.

One of the guilt-less culprits.
Life goes on in the Huey household.

Happy birthday, BooBoo.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Numbers and Pumps

T-Bear had is quarterly checkup with Dr. A today, and all seems to be well.

These appointments always make me nervous and edgy, like my performance for the past three months is going to be judged by that one little number. You know the one. The A1c. The one that tells The Boss of your child's Diabetes Team whether or not you've been a good Diabetes Mom for the last three months. Have you been doing your part? Have you been doing your best? What grade are you going to get for all of the time, effort, worry and anxiety you've put into keeping your child alive and well for the last three months? Well, at least that's what it sounds like inside of my head. The voices inside your head may vary in their whisperings.

So, by some miracle that I can neither fathom nor find logic in, T-Bear's A1c today was a solid 7.0. That, my friends, is a beautiful number for a kid T-Bear's age. Yeah, it could be a little lower, and I'm hoping it will be in December when we go back. But, considering all of the crazy highs we had while pumping, plus all the crazy (and often uncorrected) highs we had while traveling on our Tour of America, I'm pretty much stunned more damage was not done. Frankly, I'm bowled over. Incredibly grateful, but also bowled over. I didn't completely screw up the last three months! Yeeehaaa, cowgirl!

Our appointment today was also confirming in another way, which I deeply appreciated. I half expected to have to explain in detail why we are no longer pumping.

Yes, we are now, officially, pumpless. Not that we don't have the pump, because we do, because we can't return it (plus all the Pods that were automatically shipped to us while we were gone). But T-Bear had decided the he will IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS NOT be pumping anytime in the near future. Or his life time, whichever comes first. 'Cause he was THAT frustrated with the entire process for the whole two months we gave it a shot. And that sucker was really expensive for our insurance company (who I love, by the way, for unquestioningly paying for T-Bear's care with the massive premiums we and Hubby's employer pay each month). So I was half expecting I'd have to explain our decision to Dr. A.

At any rate, being accustomed to annual visits to doctors and pediatricians who only glance casually at your file as they wander into the exam room, I was not really expecting Dr. A to be fully briefed on the trials we had endured over the past four months, and the reasons why we chucked the pump. But, being the extraordinarily fabulous person that he is, he was absolutely, completely and in all ways fully aware of the circumstances, and fully supportive of our choice not to pump. Go figure. He even went so far as to say, "Pumping does not work for everyone." (gasp!) Awesome! 'Cause, you know, I'd just about figured that out on my own, and now Dr. A is sitting there telling me the same thing. Go, Dr. A!

Pumping just did not work out for T-Bear. That's it. End of story. I know it works great for lots and lots of folks, and it's a blessing for them. But, it just did not work for us.

Maybe we'll try again in a few years. Maybe not. But, for right now we've got way better control over his BG (and his health) on injections than we did on the pump. And, I don't have to get up two or three times in the middle of the night every night to check his BG, because I know he's going to be stable overnight. MDI's are working for us, and we're sticking with 'em for as long as T-Bear and Dr. A say it's working.

And, I may as well take this opportunity to say that Dr. A and our Diabetes Team are the most spectacular, fabulous, wonderful, extraordinary human beings on the entire planet, because without each one of you, our precious T-Bear would be lost to us. Every single on of you, from Dr. A, to the CDE's who call me with corrections, to the intake nurses (especially E who took care of us today!), to the gals who make our appointments and the ladies in the front all ROCK! Unquestioningly, spectacularly, ROCK!

"That's all I've got to say about that..."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tubin' the Hooch in Helen

Yesterday we went tubing down the Chattahoochee River with some of our homeschooling friends. We usually meet at the park on Tuesday afternoons, but opted for something a little different this week. Papa Bear was able to join us, and this was the first time the Bears had been tubing.

The gang.

We met up in Helen at the water park, and hopped on a bus that took us to the drop-in point upstream. Riding the bus was very excited for the Cubs, since they don't do that very often.

The bus.

We opted for the “long” run, which took about three hours from drop-in to exit point, and everyone rode in hot pink tubes. There were “open” tubes for the bigger folks, and “closed” tubes with bottoms for the littler folks. The river was running pleasantly slowly, with just enough quick spots for a little mild excitement. I opted not to take my camera along, since it’s not water-proof, but stay tuned to KitMama’s Pensieve for possible pix in the near future.

By the time we reached the end of our ride, the kids were turning blue and ready to get out, but had had a great time. We all invaded the Troll Tavern for some dinner, where the serving staff was very patient and friendly, and the food was tasty.

Thunder Bear eagerly awaiting his chicken strips and fries.

Brother Bear and his hat.

Then, down the hill toward home. It was straight to bed for our tired Cubs. As he drifted off to sleep, BooBoo summed up the day perfectly, “I just love Helen.”