Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Happy, Fat Bee and a Sparkly Fish

This was a good week. I'm still terrified to drive, but I have been putting a lot of space between me and the drivers in front of me, and I've been taking it slow(er) on the roads. I am so relieved when I make it to my final destination safely, and am quite happy to exit my vehicle! My new car is great, so that brings me a tiny bit of joy during my commute.

I did notice two interesting trails through my sunroof, though. And I only took this pic when I was stopped in the car!

After baton on Tuesday night, we took the kids out for dinner, and they got another round of face painting on their arms. This time, we had a sparkly fish and a happy, fat bee! G decided it would be fun to run around pretending to sting people. We'll see if this will help him with his fear of bugs during the summer!

Ava's been doing great in her music class. She's been getting top marks for her recorder playing for the teacher. I love seeing her learning to read music. We have borrowed a trumpet from my co-worker for Ava's foray into 5th grade band next year. She was so excited when I brought it home on Friday - she immediately wanted to play it, but I'm having her hold off for a bit. She's all signed up for lessons this summer, so she'll have some basic knowledge when she starts band in the fall. This should be a fun adventure for her!

G's been progressing really well with potty training. I think he's finally getting it! We're not getting bags and bags of soiled underwear from daycare anymore, and I don't remember the last time I had to bring pull-ups into daycare for him. In fact, G just confirmed for me that he no longer wears pull-ups at daycare because he's a grown-up now. Ha!

Lucky looked so peaceful and snug in her bed the other day...

Thursday night was a super fun night for me. We had a bingo event at work (with treats) at the end of the day, and then I headed out to meet up with a few neighborhood friends for a happy hour. With the March Madness commencement, though, the bar was completely packed and there was no place to park...but my friends were already there. Sad! So, I headed home, and hung out with Scott and fam for a bit. My friends finished up at the bar, picked me up a bottle of liquor on their way home, and then we all went to a house for a great night of girl time. It was so nice to be able to chat, without kids running around, and then know that I didn't have to drive anywhere to get home. I need to make a better effort to have that kind of time with friends more often!

Yesterday we dressed in green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! G was in the "John Deere" variety of green, but Ava was excited to wear some Irish gear. Our little green ninja also wished everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Looks like another nice spring day in's great to see all of the snow melting and hear the birds chirping! Happy Sunday!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Moving Forward

This has been an emotional and trying week. We're still in the middle of insurance trying to sort things out from the accident, but I did get the payoff amount for my car, so we were able to focus on how we were going to proceed financially.

My mom joined me on Wednesday to clean out the rest of the items from my car. We had to cut G's carseat out, as the frame of the car was twisted enough that I couldn't get the latch to release normally. There wasn't too much left in the car to take home, but I did manage to find my travel coffee mug that I use on a daily basis. Not having that available to me was like a daily reminder of what happened. But, it's back at home, and happily in use. I realized yesterday that we had left one item in there, but, all things considered, it'll be okay.

On Saturday, my dad joined me on an expedition to find a new car (Scott worked all day, so my mom babysat the kids.) It wasn't much of an adventure, as I had already gone online and determined the vehicle that I wanted. I just needed to make sure that I liked the exterior color when I saw it in person. It's a newer version of my car that was totaled (BMW 3-series...this one is a 330, though, not a 328) and it has some fancy features that my last car didn't have. From my old car, my extended maintenance, key replacement, and paintless dent repair contracts were prorated back to me, so I was able to apply that $3k towards the down payment for this car. All told, we'll only be paying $60 more/month than we were previously. Not too bad.

As for the one can really describe what it is. It's listed as Platinum Silver by BMW, but it's more of a metallic stone color...definitely NOT silver, ha! In any case, I'm excited to return the rental tomorrow morning, and settle into my new car. It's time to move forward.

Our school district had a snow day on Monday, so the kids stayed home, and I plowed through work at home, as well. I managed to get quite a bit done, but I was super happy to see Scott walk through the door on Monday night so I could get a break from the two hooligans. Tuesday was a slow drive into work, as the flakes were still coming down, rental has Maryland plates, and clearly no one here thinks people from Maryland know how to drive in the snow because they all left a LOT of room around my car. Thanks, Maryland - helped to make my commute in a bit easier!

The rest of the week was just a blur. I had a happy hour on Friday, and that helped take my mind off of the recent events. My neck is clicking a bit, and my back is still sore, so I need to get into the doctor for a follow-up.

My friends and family have proven to be a pretty great support's heartening to see all of the people who care, and want to make sure that I am doing okay. We put so much time into caring for our kids that it seems that we often overlook the care for ourselves. This incident has driven the desire to create a better balance in my life. Scott and I are just as important as our kids!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Focus on the Road

Things truly can change in the blink of an eye...and sometimes that blink feels like it take minutes from start to finish.

Tuesday morning was a beautiful morning, sunny and warm in Minnesota. After I dropped the kids off at daycare and school, I headed into my normal commute into work. I was pleasantly surprised at how freely traffic was flowing...until it wasn't. I was about 3 minutes away from work, when traffic came to a sudden stop on the interstate. I stopped, and automatically checked the rear view mirror to make sure the car behind me was going to, as well. The SUV was about 4 car lengths behind, so I assumed it wouldn't be an issue. I checked again just a moment later, and saw the grill of the car 2 feet away from my car, and not slowing down. I shut my eyes and screamed "NO!"

And then I got hit. My car was pushed into the vehicle in front of me, and then I bounced back and hit the rear vehicle. I was a little pinball being tossed around between the two other vehicles. It then stopped and I opened my eyes. The first thing I saw was a man in a black truck, 1 lane over, looking at me, giving me a thumbs up to make sure I was ok. I nodded my head and he moved on. The next thing I noticed was that there was a MNDoT plow truck about 100 feet behind me, and he had put his plow down to block traffic so no one could get into our lane. Bless him.


There was minimal damage to the front end of the air bag did not deploy, which is exactly right. This was clearly a rear collision from my standpoint.

My amazing car called BMW Emergency Services, and transmitted my exact location, along with the status of my car. A very kind woman at BMW asked me questions, and called State Patrol to come to the scene. She stayed on the line with me until State Patrol arrived.

It took about an hour to get all of the details exchanged, tow trucks on scene, etc. In an accident, the BMW cuts power to the car, so there's not a chance for sparks to create a fire...but it uses an alternate source to allow communications to happen (like calling BMW, and connecting to the Bluetooth on my phone.) AMAZING. With this, though, it means I couldn't put my car into neutral to be pushed out of the scene (my car wouldn't start) so the State Patrol had to push my vehicle out, with the car in park. The trooper's vehicle was struggling to do so...both cars were shaking with the effort.

My tow truck driver encouraged me to get checked out, and when Scott came to pick me up at the tow yard, we cleaned out my car, and headed right to Urgent Care. I passed their tests and was told I'd be very sore and stiff for the next days. I have been finding weird bruising as the days have passed, but they are starting to turn green, so I know it's healing.

Scott and I went out to lunch, went to pick up new car seats for Ava and G, and then attempted to track down a rental car for me. We found one close to home, and close to where my car currently is. My car has been determined to be a total loss, so we need to add car shopping to the list of things that we don't have time for. I'm very saddened by this, as I hadn't even had the car for a year, and I loved it. It was my perfect car, and it took me months to find it. Now I don't have that luxury...but at least I know exactly what type of car I'll be buying next. As my friend said, "BMW for the win."

The vehicle in front me had minimal damage to their vehicle, and they were able to drive away. The vehicle behind me was totaled, and was towed away. ALL of the people involved were able to walk away, so I consider that a blessing.

The driver who hit me told State Patrol that she blacked out. My plea to everyone is that if you feel like you can't drive safely, whether it's because you're under the influence, or because you have a medical condition, DO NOT get behind the wheel. When you're in the car, keep your hands off of your texting, no searching online, nothing. Another friend of mine puts her phone in the backseat, so she doesn't have access to it. Most cars have the ability to use hands free-calling, so if a call comes in, you're able to take it safely. I pray that this will be a life lesson for the driver who hit me...

I've been very nervous to drive over the last few days and have been leaving a large gap between me and other cars. Another friend pointed out that you can generally tell when someone has been in an accident, as they drive more slowly and leave larger distances between cars. You can now lump me into that category.

Scott has been absolutely amazing during this entire ordeal. I feel incredibly lucky to have him as my husband.

On a happier note, we did enjoy a fun night out at a local restaurant where the kids got their faces/arms painted.

Last weekend, I had ordered a very special bracelet to showcase my children's DOB. The stone in the middle represents "happiness". It showed up on Thursday...and ended the week on a better note.

Scott and I are in for some long challenges ahead with the car situation, but, at least we're still a family of four. And that's what matters!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hillbillies and Trombones

We have made great progress on the #2 potty training! G is so proud of himself when he, um, deposits his treasures in the correct location...we are all invited to come and take a look. Ava usually declines, but Scott and I take one for the team and cheer for G. And I always walk away thinking, "Thank God that monster thing didn't end up in his underwear!"

It's definitely not perfect, but he's to the point where he realizes that underwear is way more comfy than pull-ups, and he doesn't like it when I am constantly asking him if he needs to go potty. AND (this may seem silly, but it's been a great motivation for him)...if he uses the potty right when he gets up, he can keep his pjs on while we eat breakfast. Today was a success, until he somehow peed on the arm/shoulder of his pjs (how? I have no idea...) but I let him pick out new pjs and he's as happy as can be.

Puppy and Marshall were having fun hanging out in the cup holders...

G is also doing really well with math and sounding out words on random objects around the house. With Ava, I must have been hyper-aware of her learning, because I don't recall being as surprised with her learning math or reading, as I am with G. I am very impressed with the preschool lessons he is getting at daycare.

As for Miss Ava...I took Wednesday morning off of work to read to her 4th grade class. We debated which book I should be reading, and finally she came up with the perfect one. I'm sure it's a great book, but I really should have vetted it better before agreeing to read it to a bunch of kids. I read for about 20 minutes, so we got through 2.5 was a book about a girl whose dad, Scrappy, was in jail for fighting all of the time, and her mom stayed in bed all day (depression? alcoholic? I don't know!) The girl was pulled out of her home and sent to live with her aunt and uncle in a "hillbilly" town in North Carolina. 

About 5 minutes into reading out loud, I stopped reading and asked Ava if the book got any better, and she assured me that it did. And I do believe her, but boy, I was really uncomfortable reading a book like this to kids...and her teacher. My biggest fear was that maybe some of these kids had these issues in their lives and I didn't want anyone to feel bad. I haven't received any calls from the school with complaints from other parents, so maybe it's OK?

In any case, I will be borrowing the book from Ava and finishing it, so I can answer any questions I may get!

Ava has also decided to sign up to be a Health Hero in 5th grade (helping the nurse with certain tasks) AND...we had to make the decision on 5th grade band this weekend. I absolutely want her to participate (Scott also does but I don't think he cares about it quite as much as I do) and she had already decided she wanted to play trombone...just like her mom, and her Grandpa Doug, and her Great-Great-Uncle Paul...she'd be a 4th generation trombonist!

But...I feel very strongly about her NOT playing trombone. Don't get me wrong, it's my favorite instrument, but I also know what a hassle it is to lug around, and how careful you have to be to protect the slide. Ava's not the most coordinated person (she broke our dishwasher last weekend because she wasn't paying attention to where she was walking, she walks into walls, and also trips over nothing while she's standing in one place.) I have serious and real concerns about her ability not to damage the slide.

I brought my trombone out for her yesterday and showed her how to hold it. She was able to produce notes and had a fun time moving the slide up and down, but I had to keep telling her to watch what she was doing. G also had fun, but he tried to put the entire mouthpiece IN his, his fun was short lived, lol.

I think the trombone was heavier than she was expecting, as well, so she ended up selecting trumpet as her first choice, flute as her second, and clarinet as her third. It'll be interesting to see what she ends up playing. The district is doing something new this year where they are offering summer band lessons at a few different elementary schools, so we need to figure out the logistics for that. This is something new and exciting for Ava and I'm hoping that she loves music as much as I did!