Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Alyce has had her first serious illness, pneumonia! Last Thursday we could tell she was coming down with something. Alyce just wasn't her self. By Friday morning she was running a temperature. We kept her home from school that day. She had a classic case of the flu. Aches, watery eyes, fever, and a cough. We thought no big deal. Better this than a stomach bug. Tylenol was controlling the fever so we thought we'd save a dollar or two by skipping the doctor and letting it run its course.

Well Friday bled into Saturday then Sunday and finally Monday morning. With no sign of her fever breaking we knew it was time to go see a doctor. So Alyce, missing yet another day of school was brought into see the doctor. The doc listened to Alyce's lungs and wasn't immediately concerned. She said that if it were only a day or so old she would recommend letting it run its course. But since we were on day 5 she recommended a chest X ray. Mom took Alyce to the the radiologist and Alyce in the back all by herself she stood still for a film to be taken. Upon review Alyce did in fact have pneumonia. Lower left lung pneumonia if the location makes a difference? In any case the doctor prescribed two antibiotics to combat the infection if it were bacterial in nature. The morning after the first dose of medicine Alyce was a new girl. Her fever was mostly gone and her energy returned. Obviously we are keeping up with the course of medicine but so far the results are encouraging.

The improvement came Tuesday morning, however, Alyce had her last day of school for the year the next day. It was kind of a toss up as to whether she should go to school. We came to the conclusion that she shouldn't go to so that she wouldn't have a chance to pick up yet another bug right before Christmas. Alyce very much wanting to go to school to show off her newly lost tooth was itching to go to school. We didn't have it in our heart to tell her we were keeping her from school again. So instead we told her that school was already on Christmas break. It probably wasn't the best thing to do lying to her but in this situation there wasn't much downside to keeping it from her. So Alyce when you go about reading this post years from now understand we just didn't want to upset you.

The Solar System

The picture above is Alyce's rendering of our solar system. She drew this today at the house. In the bottom right hand corner is Earth; see the green and blue? In the middle on the bottom is the sun. The bottom left is Mars. Upper left with the orange center is Saturn. The stars cross the picture. And finally the black circle with a white center in the upper right is the moon. It is partially shaded to show the dark and light side of the moon.

The amount of detail in one picture just floors me. We've been reading a book that talks about the planets and she's watched a few television shows focused on the planets but this is more than I expected.

Oh and Jupiter is supposed to be in there as well but it was too big to fit on the page.

Friday, December 16, 2011

We've Created A Monster

There has been some unintended consequences with the lost tooth. Alyce is now fixated on the tooth fairy! Both last night and tonight Alyce keeps popping her head out of her room when she should be asleep asking all sorts of questions about her teeth and the tooth fairy.

Last night she asked that if she drank water her teeth would grow big like mine. Tonight she wanted to know how the tooth fairy knew that there was a tooth ready for her.  I had a pretty good answer already lined up for the second question. One of Mom's Facebook friends had a run in with her kid where he lost a tooth and didn't tell his parents. The Mom just happened to notice the tooth fairy pillow and was able to sneak in some money. When asked the next day the kid said he wanted to see if the tooth fairy was real; sneaky kid! The story I gave her was that Mom and I sent the tooth fairy a note telling her that she had lost a tooth and she needed to add Alyce to her list of houses she needed to visit. Alyce seemed fine with that response and back to bed she went.

So later tonight Mom sneaks into her room to switch out the tooth for the money and Alyce is still awake! Apparently Alyce is up late worried because she wanted to show her tooth to Grandma Onermark but the tooth fairy was going to take it away. Mom having heard my earlier story, said without missing a beat that she would send the tooth fairy a note asking her if she could wait a few days to come pick up her tooth.

Oh the drama!

Alyce wanted to show my Mom the tooth because my Mom gave Alyce a special present in honor of losing her first tooth. She gave Alyce her very own tooth fairy pillow! It is a cute little pillow that is big enough to not fall behind the bed and has a bunny with a purple skirt on it.

Build and Grow: Coal Car

Last Saturday morning the family took a trip to Lowe's to take part in what I guess can now be called a tradition. We went to build some Christmas trains. Throughout the year on Saturday mornings Lowe's puts on these Build and Grow classes. It's a simple project for kids requiring the use of a hammer and some nails. All of the pieces are pre-drilled, go together easily, with easy to follow instructions. The best part is that these little projects are free! While I appreciate the good gesture from Lowe's I know they want to build brand loyalty plus if you can get people in a store chances are they'll buy something. So far we have yet to let them down. Every time we've gone to one of these we buy something.

The project last week was the middle "coal car" car of the train. We kind of forgot about the caboose the week before and by the time we tried to register the only store with openings was 30 miles away. Alyce had built a caboose the year before so it wasn't a huge loss to miss that one. Once we got to the store and found where they were doing the builds we got our project pack, aprons, hammers, and safety goggles. They let the kids keep the aprons and goggles too.  Alyce was wearing both items. Luke, didn't want much to do with them.  He was too small for the goggles. That being said he really did need a pair as he kept encroaching on me and the hammer. I almost conked him in the head twice.

Mom helped Alyce and the two of them did a good job. Alyce hammered in a nail until the easy part was over then Mom would finish off each nail. Alyce also helped reading the directions and finding the piece for the next step. Luke on the other hand lost interest after the first few nails. He tried to use the hammer but his swings were pretty wild and only hit the nail a small percentage of the time. After that he moved on to playing on and around the boxes nearby.

When both cars were made it was time for the Christmas stickers. Both Alyce and Luke were very much into that. Alyce did all of the stickers herself with Mom helping with the alignment. For Luke I had to pull off the stickers and get them started. Once started he'd finish them off by pressing the stickers down.

When finished they pushed the cars all over the place having a great time. When we got home we took the new cars and added them to the existing train. They fit perfectly and behold we have a really big train! We are going back to Lowe's a week later to make the engine. Luke needs to start his own train rather than freeloading off of Alyce's.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Alyce Lost Her First Tooth

Tonight something amazing happened! Alyce lost her first tooth! I was working on getting Luke ready for bed when Alyce walks into his room saying "my tooth fell out". I was like "what?" and she opens her mouth and sure enough there is a hole where one of her middle lower teeth used to be. I asked her where her tooth was and she said she couldn't find it. I go into the bathroom and between the two of us we look all over the floor and I just happen to run my hand across it. As small as it is it was pure luck I found it. I was just happy she didn't swallow it.

For the rest of the night until she went to bed I fawned all over Alyce and the new hole in her smile. She kept messing with it too. She kept sticking her tongue through the hole.

As we both calmed down I talked to Alyce about taking good care of her teeth. I told her now that she lost a baby tooth a big tooth would come in and that it was the only tooth she'd get there. And if she wanted to keep it forever she needed to make sure to brush good. She seemed very keen to do just that. Judging by the health of the tooth she lost we don't have much to be worried about. The tooth is in perfect shape without any sign of plaque or tartar.

Following the public service announcement about proper tooth care I told Alyce all about the Tooth Fairy. Alyce knew about the Tooth Fairy and knew that she was supposed to put her tooth under her pillow. However when I told her that the Fairy takes the tooth and leaves money Alyce says "I'll get some money?" At that point she was keen on getting that tooth under her pillow. I convinced her to wait until tomorrow night so Mom could see the tooth when she got home from dance class.

Once Alyce was in bed I took a few minutes to see if a 5 year old is supposed to be losing their teeth yet. As per the Mayo Clinic kids are supposed to start loosing their teeth around age 6 with girls starting earlier than boys. I think everything is ok but I have a feeling that Mom might be calling the dentist just to double check.

Here comes Christmas with Alyce missing one of her front teeth. We'll have some great pictures!

Monday, December 12, 2011

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Tonight I shared with the kids a Christmas classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. We watched the show created in 1966 based on the book of the same name. There was a remake a few years ago but I like the old classic better. I couldn't find this version of the show on broadcast TV so instead I found it on YouTube.

I grabbed both kids, put them on my knees, and pressed play. They were enthralled. Alyce and Luke laughed at all the funny parts and were a bit concerned as the Grinch was stealing Christmas. When it was all over they seemed pleased that the Grinch was with the Whos. Alyce said that her favorite part was at the end when the Grinch was having dinner with the Whos.

Having watched the show as an adult the theme shines through; that you don't need presents or decorations to have Christmas as long as you have each other. A pretty good theme even if it took me 33 years to figure it out.

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