A Mom’s 2 Cents: Swine Flu, Houston Schools And My Kids

Bear Flu?

Bear Flu?

This is an ongoing post I plan to update as thoughts run through my brain.

Update:  More schools closed in the area but not in my area.  My daughter has started to cough and sneeze more. I know for sure it is her allergies.

The school had a movie in the gym tonight but I did not want my daughter to cough and everyone start staring.  I am still not worried and nor should you parents.

My son has had a cold for the past two weeks.  My daughter is sneezing and has a runny nose.  Two students in central Houston has been diagnosed with Swine Flu which have been closed.  One student in another area high school has been diagnosed with the flu and that school has been shut down.

A flyer came home in the Tuesday folder from school advising parents to keep the kids at home.  The flyer also advised parents to advise kids to wash hands continually which is weird because I have noticed that the school does not even have the schools wash hands before lunchtime.

I really am not worried about my family. I do wonder about my neighbors who are from and have family in Mexico.  I bet they are so worried about the situation down there in the south.

My husband (the big bad other trucker) called from Illinois and told me not to send the kids to school because he heard of a school district shut down in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  Texas TAKs tests are this week and I think that the area school officials are reluctant to shut down Houston area schools because they place a high value on the state tests.

What are parents to tell their employers in a time of downsizing and layoffs?   I am not working now (involuntarily because I need a job dude) but when I was employed I was reluctant to call my boss about missing work even when I was 4 months pregnant and in the ER the night before.

I am still processing all of this as a parent.  I do think that the biggest fear lives in our minds and in the television set.  Sometimes the news tries to add fuel to our nightmares.  We should be an informed public but what is to believed because we don’t know what everyone is getting out a crisis until it is all over.

Katy ISD Closed Today, April 28th, Due To Overnight Flooding

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On the way to drop the kids off for school I noticed that the only place I saw flooding was Clay Road at Fry where a low place at the intersection was almost impassable.  Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to a deserted school with only a sign that said “School Closed”.  My kids and I did not notice this morning that the buses did not pass by the house.

We had a vicious thunderstorm last evening with high winds and pounding rains for a couple of hours.  I checked the weather because I worried that we were having a mini-hurricane.   The electricity flashed on and off about 12 times.  Each time I breathed a sigh of relief after the power was restored.  I don’t want to go without power for 17 days like we did during  Hurricane Ike last fall.

Today was an important day in Texas schools because this was supposed to be TAKs (state) testing day. Many schools in Houston are either closed or have delayed start times.  After watching several local news stations, looks to me that the delayed start time schools need to close completely due to the usual flooding areas of the city.  One bright side of the plentiful rain is that the drought is now over here.

My kids are in hog heaven because of their unexpected vacation day from school. It only took them 1 hour before they started their daily fighting.

We are very fortunate that I am able to be at home today with my kids. My husband is somewhere on the East coast. I am happy he is not stuck down here in his truck on some freeway. I am thankful that we are together and I am not stuck somewhere cross town in traffic.

We in Texas consider this one of our snow days since everything has come to a dead stop. The flooding is more due to the infrastructure of Houston than with the storm itself. After all Houston was built on a swamp so what can we expect to happen.

One thing that is really yucky is all of the big long cockroaches running around out on the sidewalk after being driven out of the storm drains. Yuck! The roaches were also crowded around our front door trying to piggy back on our backs into the warm house. We checked each others hair and backs after rushing through the front door.

My daughter took a picture of sky during rain storm last night.

My daughter took a picture of sky during rain storm last night.

Katy ISD Last Day of School For Students is June 4th

education Last day of classes for students who attend Katy ISD (according to the Katy ISD. Org website) will be June 4th with early dismissal on that day.

My kids are excited about the summer.  The kids do well in school but I know they also enjoy sleeping-in and staying up late during the summer months.  I am a little sad because this may be the last summer that I might share with kids before heading back into the trenches to work once again.  I am not looking forward to 2 1/2 commutes and hurried days.   We Americans really need to get the emphasis back on families not on jobs as a measure of ones worth to society.

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Visit Hermann Park Before It Gets Too Hot..Free Theatre Performances For Kids

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Hermann Park

Miller Outdoor Theatre

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See that whale on that building?

See that whale on that building?

 A stage..

A stage..

Big oak tree since I have none in my yard.

Big oak tree since I have none in my yard.

My daughter had an appointment in the Med Center.  Afterward, we hit the cafeteria in the basement of Texas Children’s Hospital for some lunch.  She picked a chef salad ($4.45) and some strawberry swirl cheesecake ($2$$).  I picked beef tips over rice with green beans and a big old piece of cornbread.  My dessert of choice:  pecan pie.  The restaurant has everything:  pizza, salad bar, one meat/two veg plates, hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches and tons of desserts.  It helps if you have already paid for parking and just happen to be in one of the medical facilities in TMC.  I learned about this place when in the hospital about 10 years ago.  My husband and I ate at the Bertner cafeteria moments before we went by NICU to take our daughter home.  It was our last meal as a couple (of complete innocent lambs being led to the parent slaughter).  To be honest we have never really had any kind of couple meal time in 10 years.

We headed to Herman Park with our grub on that humid day last week.  After enjoying our lunch in the park, we headed up that big hill and strolled around the  Miller Outdoor amphitheater.  What a great day for mommy and beautiful daughter time.  I wish that moment lasted longer.   Time with my kids rushes by me to darn fast.

Here is a link to the directions, times, free performances and happenings at the park:  http://www.hermannpark.org/index.html and http://www.milleroutdoortheatre.com/default.asp?id=177

There is also a new red train at the park.  The train looks a lot safer than that old one I used to climb on with my babies.  Hurry, before it gets to hot and humid.

My New Summer Bonnet…Just Call Me Laura Ingalls

p4240060p4240061Here is my new bonnet.  I sewed the bonnet because I needed something to wear this summer when the cats and I go berry pickin’.  I feel so Laura Ingalls-lishy.  The bonnet is really nice because my husband is able to hear me even when I am outside wearing a bluetooth.  Another good point, the bonnet is prettier and lighter (in terms of material) than that red ball cap I wear everyday.  I stuck it on the wig head for a photo because I was looking tore-up (not my best).  I found this site on the internet where one can buy bonnets.  This place seems for people who like uppity bonnets versus my berry pickin’ farmer’s wife bonnet above.  These bonnets are fancy:  http://www.victorianbonnets.com/.

Next, a website that features Amish/Mennonite,Quaker bonnets.  I bet the folks at this site would sell a flashy almost provocative bonnet like the one I have:  http://quakerjane.com/spirit.friends/plain_dress-bonnets.html

Here is a website which features not only Laura Ingall’s style bonnets but aprons, dust caps and dresses according to the style of the times:  http://walnutgrove.org/store/page5.html  Fittingly the site is called Walnut Grove.

That is all for now.  I plan to make a smaller bonnet for my daughter and another bonnet for me in a different color.

It Is 78 Degrees In Houston Today….The Heat And Humdity Attack

p4130005When the temps start to rise, I get very sluggish.  Much like a snail.

Birthday Party Planning Step One: Cakes or Cupcakes and Moonwalks

SpongeBob Cupcake Cake

Sponge Bob Cupcake Cake

Step OneDetermine the number of kids at the party. Order the cake based on that number.  Remember to add a few extra numbers for little sisters and brothers. No kid likes to see other kids chowing down on something sweet without being included.  I would come up with a number.

Let’s say you expect 10 kids for the party add extras for the parents/siblings.  In this case I would order 24 cupcakes for the party.

I purchased this cupcake cake at Kroger’s for $19.99 (Wal-Mart had the same designs as Kroger’s).  I think cupcake cakes are the best darn invention since straws.  At my son’s party, all I had to do was hand each child a over frosted cupcake.  No knives or bowls of water needed.

I do think that I would have gotten a better deal at Sam’s Club for a cupcake cake (around 14 bucks) but Sam’s Club designs are limited.  Yes, I can make a mean cake but do I want to be stressed out?  Yep, I would have saved close to $16 but I think my time is more valuable than the bucks required  for that store bought cake.

What do you prefer cupcakes or cakes or one of those big ole cookies?

My son told me that the best things about his party were the moonwalk, his friends attending and that fabulous pinata I purchased from a  Latin mercado/meat market/taco stand store on North Fry Road (which I will tell the location as soon as I drive that way because they had unique pinatas plus they were cheaper than WallyMart).

Of course, let me mention the 4-in1 combo moonwalk again because it totally rocked.  The delivery people dropped it off at 10:30 a.m. and returned to pick it up around 7:00 p.m. which was the right amount of time because all the kids were too pooped to jump anymore.

Chance at Lonestar Moonwalks and Party Supply was really helpful on the phone.  Mention you saw their moonwalk on this blog and you get a discount.

Lonestar Moonwalks

Lonestar Moonwalks

Here are a couple of more pics of the party:

Inside Moonwalk-Obstacle Course

Inside Moonwalk-Obstacle Course

Hit that Spongy

Hit that Spongy

Check out my Twitter if you would like to add more ideas.