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About TheReader

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  1. Agreeing with everyone else, but also, did the counselor specifically *say* the reasoning was to use the expensive soap as a deterrent? Because my initial though before I read that sentence was "Oh, so it's gentler on her hands since she is washing them all the time...." Which is something I'd do (switch to a very gentle soap), but wouldn't have to be organic. And not as a deterrent, obviously, but as a way of keeping her hands from chafing or drying out or anything from being washed so much.
  2. Ah, if Europe/outside the US is on the list, then Brazil. There's a little town called Paraty that we adore, with beach points, antique town, walking, waterfalls, some of the best food, cute little places to stay.....absolutely adorable. It's a little protected cove/bay and you can rent a boat (with a boat driver) for not too much and they'll take you out on the bay to snorkel, swim, stop on little accessible by boat only beach areas, it's my favorite little stop in Brazil. Other great places in Brazil.....we loved our Amazon trip, although oh my word, it definitely takes hot & humid to a whole new level. Still, worth it. DH & I were just in Italy, in Florence/Milan/Varese and I definitely want to go back and take the kids. DH thinks too many museums for the boys....we'll see. We're planning a Europe trip with them next year, probably hitting somewhere in Italy (DH says Rome, which, sure, yes, but I say Florence again, pretty please....), Paris, and somewhere in Germany. There's tons more we'd like to see, and I'm all for just sticking to exploring one country at a time, but DH and the kids want to hit as many countries as possible. We're reverting to our "everybody pick a thing" on this one, so......we'll see where we end up. Cozumel was amazing; we've been twice on cruises and once we went for a short week and stayed in an all inclusive resort; nothing fancy w/a kids' club or anything, but the rooms were nice, there was a pool, a beach, a great little snack bar (well, bar-bar, but we used it for snack foods), DH & oldest DS were able to go on a scuba trip right from the resort, the restaurant on site was superb, and there's a lot there in Cozumel to go explore if you want to get out and explore. The place we stayed when we went to the Keys was a resort w/a kids' club and's in a middle Key so less pricey than some of the others, but very nice, comfortable, etc. We stayed in one of the little "townhome" cottages with a kitchen and all, and we were literally steps from a pool just for that section, which was almost never occupied, but there was also a large kids area you could use as a family, mini golf, huge pool w/splash zone, another large pool area, food, etc. Tons of stuff. I'll have to look up the name of it.....we didn't do the all inclusive aspect at that place, because we knew we'd be eating everywhere else mostly, but it was nice even w/o that. Oh, we also went to San Diego one year, and that was fabulous, too; we flew to Phoenix (from Houston) then drove as that was a lot cheaper for some reason. TONS to do in San Diego. Tons. So that was super fun. Whatever you decide, enjoy!
  3. In that case, we look for areas that offer a lot of different things. Like the Pensacola trip I mentioned; beach for me, pool for when the boys didn't want sand, fort to explore, boat to ride, aircraft at the navy museum, etc. It can definitely be hard with lots of people in the family, especially if there's a wide age range of kids. St Louis has a lot that's fun -- the zoo, City Museum (which is not a "museum" per se but a giant playscape that is indescribable and incredible fun), all kinds of different museums of varying interests, close to Eckert's Farm (pick-your-own orchard), river cruises, the Arch, botanical gardens, parks, sports stuff, good food, etc. A lot in/around there that's interesting to everyone. Or, we often pick a topic or a food. So, one trip DH is planning is our "Food Tour" where he wants to eat Philly Cheese Steaks in Philadelphia, Boston Baked Beans in Boston (and New England Clam Chowder), try BBQ in both North *and* South Carolina and see what we like better.....stuff like that. Then we'd find stuff to do in/around/between each of those places and make sure there's something for everyone. We never aim for "everyone LOVING it, every single minute" because mostly that's not realistic, but we do aim for "no one so bored they are making the rest of us miserable" and "everyone gets to pick one day" so DH & I will pick the primary destination based on what we want, then we start researching "things to do in....." and reading about these ideas to the boys, and each boy gets to pick a thing. We look at the info a little before making firm plans, just to be sure there are options, but then the specific planning we let them have input and all, and we just keep a balance of it being fun for different ones at different times (and make sure the "down time" activities for the hotel, whether amenities in the hotel itself or stuff we bring from home, are appealing to those who will be most bored with the vacation activities; so, laptop with DVDs to watch, or favorite board games, or a pool, or whatever). Best of luck; I know it's complicated.
  4. Gosh, so many. For us, beaches. Although that's more "relaxing" vs "fun" (but to me, same thing....). So, Key West/Florida Keys - we stayed at a resort and drove up/down to what we wanted to see and do. Pensacola Beach, another time. That was nice, with the Naval Museum and stuff, besides beaches. Another time we stayed in Sarasota, and zipped over to Legoland for a day. Gobs and gobs of beach trips in Brazil where we just went to a little hotel near a beach and swam, built sand castles, etc. Sometimes we did "tours" where we saw extra stuff; not always. Wherever we go, we eat local restaurants only (no chains), as much "traditional to the region" as possible (ex: Key Lime Pie in the Keys, for ex, and usually seafood at beaches). We don't plan, other than hotel. But we've also had fun on camping trips, near & far, visiting family, (St Louis is all kinds of fun, depending on kid ages/interests), and "food tours" or such. Last year for Spring Break we went to St Louis, because youngest didn't remember our favorite spot there, and then to Memphis for BBQ. (we stayed a few days in Memphis, and saw lots of stuff, but the reason we went was to try the BBQ). We like what I consider "discovery trips" -- go to a place, discover what's cool/fun/interesting about it, and do it. We all greatly enjoyed the 2 cruises we've done, and we're going to Disney this summer (we meant to go in December but life got too crazy so we moved it) and I'm looking forward to that; it'll be the first time for everyone but me, so should be fun. I hope. It's very different from what we've done before. So much of "most fun ever" is going to be so subjective, though....if you asked each of my 3 sons, they'd all answer different things, I think. Or they'd remember different aspects of the same trip(s) as being the most fun part. So, a lot is just....what kinds of activities/places do you & your family like the best and then where can you find that w/in your budget & time frame, and go from there. For instance, "lounging on the beach" is heaven for me........but my boys get bored if we don't throw in some non-beach time. That's why for them Pensacola Beach was a huge hit (we went to a fort, a lighthouse, the naval museum, rented a boat for a day, and, yes, hung out on the beach....) but for me it was nice, and I enjoyed them having fun, but as far as beach trips go, it was awfully busy for my taste, LOL! (don't get me wrong; I enjoyed it, but I've enjoyed others of our trips more). So....find what *your family* likes and ask us "where can we go that has x, y, and z, within x hours of this place, and costs less than abc?" and we can help better.
  5. Not something I've heard of, but DH is only in his 3rd position in 22 years, so maybe other industries or jobs have other guidelines. At DH's current job, if he takes half a day for a doctor counts as half a day leave/vacation/whatever. To count as a sick day, he has to have a doctor's note. If he puts in less than 4 hours, and can't make it up at home, then it's a whole day; if he puts in four hours, it's a half day, if he put in more than maybe 6 hrs he could probably take the remaining 2 w/o it counting. What he does have is the ability to work alternate hours -- so, he can run the kids to class/appointments and not go in to work until 9, as long as he then works until 6 (or makes it up through the week, or at home). Or he can take off at 3 one day if he works late another. Etc. But no, I've never heard of a "touch the desk" policy as someone called it, where just showing up means you don't have to count the time off, at all. I think once/month would be reaching the level of noticeable; anything more would begin to be abusing the policy/practice, for sure.
  6. Based solely on my observations of my son, who also has other LDs, yes, he requires repetition or "overlearning" in all things, especially things that occur regularly but not frequently. For ex, what to do with an empty milk jug (does he put it in the trash, or recycling bin, and does he rinse it or not). Since this is something that happens sometimes, his brain doesn't hang onto the info. Similarly things like telling time, months of the year, days of the week, etc. Whether that's the dyslexia or the other stuff, I don't know.
  7. re: the heat....just drink lots of water. Dress in light, loose clothing. Wear sunscreen and/or hats. Drink lots of water. Indoors, the A/C will be freezing, so while it sounds counter-intuitive, bring a light sweater; none of the places connect the dots that folks are dressed not to die in the heat, so will freeze in the A/C. The earlier in the summer you can come, the less stifling the heat.....if July is it, you'll survive, it's just not pleasant. If you could do late May/early June, it will be low 90s vs high 90s, which really makes a pretty big difference. If July is it, then, well, drink lots of water.
  8. This is unfair and I'd say untrue. The water is dark/brown, but it's mud from the Mississippi. The air.....especially at the fine. Maybe in Pasadena it's not so great, but, meh. It's certainly not unsafe by any stretch. Crystal clear like Florida? No. Unsafe?? Not in the least. OP, yes, the water is warm, and no, it's not the prettiest, but it is safe, fun, enjoyable, and perfectly fine to visit. If you prefer a more crystal clear aspect, you could do the "beach" (pool) at Moody Gardens; they have brought in sand, etc. and it's lovely. Pricey, but lovely (but lots and lots and lots to do there). If you don't mind the warm waters of the gulf, and the "not beautiful blue water and white sands" aspect, it's a perfectly fine beach. Especially at sunset.
  9. Just chiming in to say my son is in the exact same boat (transferred in, in the spring no less, as a junior, direct into his major, Elec. Eng., at our states flagship school). It's kicking his behind, honestly. Everything I've read from a parent's group on FB for his school is that, 1, *everyone* uses tutors for *everything.* As in, there are gobs of outside tutoring services, and they sell blocks of time/group sessions for the main classes -- kids go and buy the time/session for their full schedule the minute they have registered, before even the first day of class. Because they just know they'll need it. 2, over and over and over I'm reading of panicked "I'm failing out..." posts at midterm......and they pass with a C or above at the end, due to the curve. So far only one of DS's classes has given what the curve will be; after the first test, it was stated it would be a 12 point bracket instead of 10 point, so A = 100 to 88; B = 87 to 75; C = 74 to 62; D = 61 to 49; F = 48 and below. (this was for his Physics for Engineers class). None of the rest have said what the curve might be, and I'm not sure if they've said the class averages on the tests or not. He's working closely with one professor, who I have to believe would let him know if he was doing so badly as to need to Q-drop, but who just keeps saying "keep coming to see me." So, while he has done horrible on the test(s) so far, I'm holding out hope that the prof knows the curve will work in his favor and he'll be okay. He's finally agreed to meet with the TA for another class, when the TA reached out to him (I am beyond thankful for that....), and again, I have to assume if there was NO hope, surely they'd be mentioning that, ya know? Anyway, prayers for your boy; it's hard, for sure. Mine is the same way, not wanting to ask for help, etc. Hopefully they both start listening to us and doing what needs doing.
  10. Was also going to recommend the Planned Parenthood stuff. It's really good. There was something else my son used when he did online public school (while we were in Brazil, but through the US)....let me try and remember what it was. It gave info not only on contraceptives, but on real-world consequences of an unplanned pregnancy, with a focus on what rights (none) the father has, paying child support, parenting decisions from birth to age 18, etc. which got through to him in a way a lecture from mom just can't. ETA: Well, it seems the thing thru the health dept was/is only available thru a school, but this link at the Planned Parenthood website has a wealth of info; lots of links to explore.
  11. One more thing, realize that Houston Space Center is not really in "Houston" but Clear Lake, closer to Galveston. When you look into hotels and such, be sure you google map it; if you're flying in, you'd want Hobby vs. IAH; if you're driving, their both (Nasa & Galveston) down I-45 South.
  12. Because of the heat? Or because of the anniversary? I don't imagine the anniversary month will be any busier than any other time, really. And as far as the heat goes, the stuff in Space Center Houston is mostly indoors (although the Rocket Park, which is free, is outdoors/in a building that may or may not have A/C, I don't remember....)(but definitely go see that part, it's incredible). The beach will be crazy hot and probably crazy crowded. Less so during the week than a weekend. We always like State Park, but it's more prone to having seaweed vs the other public beaches and pay beaches clean up better. Then Surfside is less crowded, but you have to wait on the ferry, so..... Stewart beach, I think, is the main "lots of amenities, clean, etc." beach but also pretty crowded. I'll let someone else with more knowledge on all of that weigh in; we haven't been over to Galveston in a while now that we live over closer to Freeport and such. (well, and, honestly? When we really need a beach trip, we make a vacation out of it and go to Florida.....) Be aware the water at Galveston is warm and looks brown/dark due to the mud coming in from the Mississippi. It's not a really pretty beach or anything. Serves its purpose, sand, waves, etc., but..... July will be insanely hot, though. Humid-hot, like, "oh my word, we need gills to breathe this air" humid. And hot like "I think my skin is melting off" hot (if you aren't used to it). High 90s, low 100s. But humid, so the "feels like" will feel 5-10 degrees hotter than the real temp. And also keep an eye on the weather in case of tropical storms/hurricanes (usually September is our busy hurricane month, historically, so should be okay, but......). Other than all's a great place to visit, LOL!
  13. We haven't put clothes on our dogs yet, for real (we have put stuff on them just goofing off, for a laugh). I do think our one dog would benefit from cold-weather stuff, but DH disagrees. As the dogs are inside dogs, and outside only when they want to be, his theory is (and honestly, he's right) they can come in whenever they want -- they are never left outside w/o a way in; if we're not home, they are either left inside, or left inside with the dog door open so they can enter/exit as they wish.
  14. I think it's clearly too late to change plans at this point, that wouldn't be fair to the boy (and wouldn't that mean your son then wouldn't get to participate, either?). I would simply email him & probably ask, at this point, for contact info for his mom/dad and email parent-to-parent. I'd ask the boy, and his parent(s), what is needed for helping him manage his diabetes, what foods you need to be careful of, is he able to manage it on his own or does he need support, etc. Explain you don't have experience with diabetes, and just want to know what will be required of you as his "mom" for the week, if anything. I'd also ask about any symptoms to watch for that would indicate a more serious problem, and let them know of your transportation situation should he need medical care; I'd explain exactly how you normally would seek care for yourself (I mean, you don't have a car, but you must have some way to reach the doctor/hospital if needed, right?) so they know he's coming to a place where medical care is x minutes away. Hopefully he's independent in managing it, and it won't be a major concern while he's there. I'd imagine you'd only need to provide appropriate foods, and that as a teen, he's able to self-moderate what he eats/doesn't eat, etc. Hopefully.
  15. so, out of respect for your wishes on the poll, I only voted in 1-6 once, marking that we expect them to get a bachelor's degree. Both DH & I have that at a minimum (DH also has his Masters). In reality, I also marked "puppies are cute" because I don't have the same expectation for my youngest; he has severe dyslexia and other LDs, although is functioning on grade level for the first time, and won't enter high school for another year. So, right now, and for the past few years, I've been trying to get DH to open up to the possibility of not college for him. Over the next five years, as he continues to make gains, that expectation may shift. And, well,'s more DH's expectation than my own, but the older boys have bought into it and are in college/college bound, so at this point, yes, it's my expectation too. I had quiet conversations with both boys over the years, and out loud conversations with DH over the years, letting them all know that yes, sure, college is a wonderful goal but other things are good too, so that if any of the boys had felt college wasn't for them....I think they would have felt safe speaking up and I would have supported them/advocated for their chosen path with DH. I know that DH feels it much more strongly than me, and he is coming from a place where in his world/career circles, the degree is a necessity. Period. I hope that between the two of us we presented a balanced view of things for the boys...... Bottom line: I expect each of them to be able to support themselves and any family they have in the future. In whatever way works best for each of them. (DH strongly prefers it be with a college degree)
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