Sunday, September 30, 2012

Amazing Race

We had our Amazing Race 4-5-6 grade youth group activity at church last Sunday.  It was a blast!  The planning committee thought it would take the kids almost 2 hours, but we had smart and fast kids.  They were done in a little over 30 minutes.  Good thing we had prizes and ice cream treats for after the race. 

Brian with his assistant Sarah were in the art room.  The teams got a bandana that was wet and then frozen.  They were only able to use their exponsed skin to warm up the bandana enought that it would unthaw and cover a squared on their table.  Sarah had a blast!!  She thinks they should do this for young kids.

The winners of the race got gift cards to a frozen yogart store in town, but everyone was a winner!  Each kid got a Kit Kat bar with "We are all winners in the Amazing Race" wrapper.

And photos from the day.

We are all getting excited that a new season of the Amazing Race will be starting on TV!! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Piano Tuner

My parents give us the piano I learned on as a child when we lived in our Grafton house.  Since then it has moved to two different houses, but was never tuned.

Both Caroline and Julia are now taking piano lessons and I thought it might be best to finally get it tuned.  I asked the music director at our church for a name of someone.  They have the church piano tuned three times a year and she does hers at home once a year.  She gave me the name of someone she trusted and said was good.

The piano tuner came on Wednesday when I was home with Sarah.  We had a great time watching as he took apart the piano and worked to make it sound good again!  I was able to ask some questions along the way.

How out of tune is the piano?  As much as it can me.  The most a piano can go out of tune is a 1/2 step and that's what your piano is.

How did you learn to tune pianos?  I did an apprenticeship and worked for the company for 10 years before starting my own business.

How many pianos do you tune in a day?  When I worked for the other company we did a school district and sometimes did 5 in a day.  That's hard on your body, hands and arms, as you are pounding on the keys while tightening the strings.

What's the oldest piano you've tuned?  It's a piano collector that lives in the area who has 30 some pianos in his house.  The oldest is from the "Gone With The Wind" movie set.  It's from the 1800's.   (He went on to tell me that the piano really should be kept as a showpiece more than anything because it was hard to get in tune and no matter how much he tried it just didn't sound the best.)

Is tuning pianos a dying trade?  Well not really.  There are still thousands of pianos in the world and they need to be tuned.  I get new customers and then some fall off as their kids don't play anymore. (I asked a sales person at the music store in town-when I was picking up Julia's clarinet-about the pianos they had in the store.  He told me they were all digital and had a casing around them to make them look like a real piano.  He went on to say that they've come a long way in the touch and weight of the keys along with the sound.  However, he said that most performers will always want a real piano and not a keyboard.  The digital sound is still not there yet.)

How many pianos do you have?  Right now I have three.  If someone gives me a free piano I will tune it and fix anything wrong and sell it for just my labor.  There are 20 new postings every day on Craigslist for pianos so there really isn't money to be made on them.

How old is this piano?  Hmm...let me see.  I have a book here.  It's from 1956.

Overall he said the piano was in good condition and he was able to fix a key that has been broken since I was a child.  The sound is amazing!  I was shocked at the difference it made and have actually dusted off some of my old music to try and play.  I have a long way to go to get back to where I was in college, but the kids still were impressed with what I can play.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Caroline's Tooth

As my parents will tell you, my teeth required a lot of work to give me the smile I have today.  I was crossing my fingers the kids would get Brian's genes for having space for all the teeth and that the teeth would come in straight.  Julia starting her braces so early because of her lack of room for all her teeth squashed those dreams.

Julia's conversation with the dentist went like this:  "You don't have to be an orthodontist to know she is going to need some work.  Right there those teeth are together." Me:  "Yes, that looks great!"  Dentist: "No ma'am there is supposed to be room for another tooth to come in there."  Dang.  Strike one.

While Caroline seems to have enough room, she had a permanent molar that didn't erupt the entire way.  We had an orthodontist 2 years ago tell us that he was concerned it was stuck on the jaw bone.  A few years later and opinions from different dentists and orthodontists it was time to make a decision.  At her last ortho appointment Dr. Davies gave us his recommendation.  If it was his daughter he would have the molar removed and let the next one move over.  The hope is that then the wisdom tooth will erupt and it can take the place of the third molar.  Sounds confusing, I know.

So, number 19 was removed.  Number 18 will move over due to the large space that is now there.  Number 17 is a wisdom tooth and the hope is that it will erupt and not be impacted.  The likely hood is probably good of that happening with the amount of room she will have on that side.  It might not be straight, but that can be fixed with braces.  If it doesn't, then she can have a false tooth put in.  That will be years down the road, but we needed to make the decision now before number 18 started growing over number 19.

On Monday, we had the procedure done in an oral surgeons office.  Dr. Novak did the procedure and he was wonderful.   He talks directly to the child and tells them step by step everything he is doing.

They did give her some laughing gas to try and take the edge off.  It was much less than I had when I had all my different teeth removed.  She was a lot more conscious than I ever remember.  Side story:  I had 8 baby teeth molars removed and my 4 wisdom teeth.  Before I had the first set of 4 done my Dad was joking with me that he could just take a pliers to pull them out.  I get there and they put me in the twilight zone and started the procedure.  Somewhere in the middle of them taking the teeth out, I see the dentist coming at me with a red pipe wrench and start to wiggle and say "no".  I remember the dentist telling the assistant to give me more medication.  And that's all I remember.  So, no we didn't joke with Caroline about having Brian pull her tooth!

Caroline is able to handle most situations better than Julia.  This time, she was scared and didn't want me to leave.  She had her Taggie but was shaking, crying and clutching onto me telling me not to leave.  I stayed for probably 10 minutes but it wasn't going to help.  I told her to close her eyes and I would be right back.  Dr. Novak talked to me in the hall and told me that it is best if parents aren't in the room.  I said "and I don't want to be!"  I reassured him that I knew it was best for everyone for me to be in the waiting room with Brian.  The last thing a parent wants is to see their child in pain. 

About 10 minutes later they came to get us that the procedure was done.  She was being given oxygen and relaxing.  We went into see her and she looked pretty good.  Dr. Novak told us it went well after I left and she was a great patient.  To get the tooth out they used a drill to separate it and they were able to get it out in three pieces.

We went home, she had a chocolate shake from McDonalds (something I remember getting too) and relaxed.  She and I started watching the Amazing Race season 19 on YouTube through our Bluray player.  Another side note:  our church is doing an Amazing Race around the church and the kids didn't know about the show.  So we started watching them and they love it.  After awhile we made cookies and relaxed some more.

The anesthesia wore off around 4:00 and she was able to eat some soft foods.  It started to hurt but we had given her medication through out the afternoon so it was manageable.  She went to bed, slept through the night and was back at school the next day!

I can't wait to see what Sarah's teeth issues will be...

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Volleyball Game

Caroline had her first volleyball game on Sunday.  She needs to work on some of the moves, but had a great time.  Aunt Mara will need to spend a few hours with her. :)


Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Soccer Game

Caroline decided to go back to recreational soccer this year and not be on the academy team.  It really came down to she wasn't having as much fun with all the practices and games.  Being on the rec team also means that Brian can be one of her coaches again.  And now she is able to add volleyball into our already crazy fall schedule!

Saturday was her first game and her team (Eclipse) won.  There is quite a difference in the level of play going from academy to recreational!!  She had a great time.  We were lucky that it was nice fall weather.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dance Class for Sarah

On Wednesday night Sarah had her first dance class.  She is in the Tippy Toes class at Brookfield Dance Academy - the same place Julia goes.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Museum of Science and Industry


It was a long, but very fun day.  The kids can't wait until we go back!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fun at the zoo

On Friday we took the kids to the zoo.  We have the zoo pass, but with how hot the summer was we didn't get to use it that much.  And unfortunately it was 90 degrees when we went, but it was fun and the kids enjoyed seeing the animals. 

And of course you have to do the train ride.

Everyone was hot and tired by the time we left.

And tomorrow (Sunday September 2nd) we are taking them to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.