Friday, April 18, 2014

It's that time of year again

I always get slightly hysterical a bit stressed at this time of year. American schools finish for the summer at the end of May or beginning of June (yes, I know) so the end-of-year stuff is starting to appear on the schedule.

It's busy for me personally because I have a huge sponsored walk for my school in Ghana in early May, swiftly followed by organizing the world's largest jumble/garage sale at school. (No kidding - it takes two whole days and an army of volunteers to set up, we fill three gyms with "stuff" and the sale goes on for two whole days, at the end of which, I am physically drained.)

This year we also have the Man-Child's graduation, which is an event-filled um, event (several parties, ceremonies, official photos etc) with extended family members flying in and needing beds. The Little Guy is moving into middle school (years 7,8,& 9) so there are mini-graduation things for him too, including a dubbing ceremony 'cause they've been studying the Middle Ages. All very sweet.

And then there's getting the ex-Queenager back from Europe in one piece and with all of her belongings. We are attempting to fly her and grandma over the Atlantic on the same flight using air miles; it'll be a bloody miracle if it happens as they're not starting off in the same country. Oh well...

Meanwhile this week, I organized a bake sale (how American) at school for the Ghana school, and as a bit of PR for the sponsored walk. Guess how much we raised? Go on.


From selling little cakes and cookies (mostly for 50 cents) to school kids most of whose mothers had actually baked and donated the stuff in the first place! Admittedly quite a few parents handed me a $5 or $10 bill and told me to keep the change as a donation, so I didn't actually sell $600 worth of 50 cent items, but still. (That would have been 1200 cakes if I'm not mistaken.)

Anyway - I'm happy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Home again, home again...

So we're back from a fabulous week in St. Croix, which is part of the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. For the past few years, our week off at this time of year has been spent visiting colleges, which is fun, but not exactly relaxing. This year we decided we'd have a proper holiday, especially as it's probably the last time the Man-Child will be forced to come along with us. And, given the horrendous winter we're had, heck are still having, in Chicago, the sun was a-calling.

As is the norm, on family holidays, some things were fab and well, some things went awry. First experience was the flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the island of St. Croix - in an 8-seater plane, no less. For someone who is claustrophobic and hates flying, I did remarkably well. For some reason, if I'm fairly close to the ground/sea I don't get so scared; it's the 38,000 criusing altitude over the Atlantic in the middle of the night that gets me.

Random guy, and pilot. 

Then the Little Guy (10) and the Ball & Chain had a scuba lesson in the pool, in preparation for an open water dive. LG loved it, but was having a lot of trouble keeping his ear pressure stable. (This is crucial if you're going deep underwater.) He is plagued by sinus and stuffy nose problems, caused by allergies, enlarged adenoids, and a deviated septum apparently. Unfortunately, this meant that the pool was about as far as he could go until we got rid of the snot. Given that it hasn't happened over the past ten years, there was little chance of a miraculous recovery in a matter of days, so that was that.

And of course, his goggles were dropped in the sea on the second day! We're not quite sure when he lost his sunglasses! Not quite as bad however, as the poor guy who lost his late uncle's ring in the sea. He'd only had it a week and although lots of people joined in looking for it, it never surfaced while we were there.

On the flip side, we all got to do some cool activities. If they happened in the morning the "we" didn't include the Man-Child, who got up most days just before lunch. (He did warn us that he'd be doing a lot of R&R.) When he got up, he spent a lot of time being a teenager.

Look closely - there's a teenager in there somewhere. 

Dad and small boy went out kayaking a few times - making sure to return as soon as they realized they'd gone off without their life jackets! Gulp! 

And then we all went out on our last day, after which I walked around looking like Rudolph for a while, but we won't talk about that! 

Oh, and I could barely brush my teeth the next day - talk about an arm workout!

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