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About Rockhopper

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    Hive Mind Worker Bee

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  1. I want to say thanks again to each of you who responded earlier -- your help was ... well, helpful! 🙂 We have a place! We're going to be in Kensington (near Wheaton) just east of Rock Creek Park. Dh's commute will be about 4 miles by bike, and nearly all of it in the park/dedicated bike path. If there's bad weather, there's a bus stop a half-mile from the house with an 18 minute trip to work. Very, very workable -- and we'll only need one car! It's a single-family home. A Cape Cod!! (I was pretty resigned to having to go to a split-level, which I -and I promise I don't mean to offend anyone who has one or loves them!- hate.) Four actual bedrooms (one small, which works out just fine for us). Family room with fireplace in the basement, as well as an office room with a door and a closet. Storage room in the basement also, which helps with the lack of a garage. Nice backyard with a playset for youngest and trees along the fenceline; neighbors behind are on a cul-de-sac separated by the trees. A tree fort may be in our future! And about a block and a half away from Rock Creek Park. Also only a mile from the library, and a farmer's market, and some shopping. Four miles to Trader Joe's, and 2.5 miles to the nearest Metro stop for trips downtown. A really nicely updated kitchen! Yay! I have looked at so many horrifically bad updates on houses over the last few months. I would've loved gas, but I can live - once again - with a glass top stove. Full baths on each level, and the adult son/guest room is even on the main floor -- an added blessing for when our aging parents visit! So many, many pros and not too many cons. 🙂 Major downsizing is in order, as the square footage is a pretty substantial decrease from our cookie-cutter Texas McMansion, but I'm totally okay with that. We've been here less than 3 years, and some of the stuff we accumulated was stuff we knew wouldn't move with us from the beginning. We stayed nearly in the budget we were hoping for, and enough below our housing allowance to account, hopefully, for most utilities. I think selling a car and dropping the insurance on it will help too, plus dh can qualify for a mass transit subsidy/reimbursement for bus fares, so I think we'll find it works out okay money-wise. We are excited -- and the kids are getting there. I'm looking forward to field trip Thursdays!
  2. Around here, only ds is really into strategy games. Dh enjoys them, but not like ds. I don't care for them at all, and middle dd is *very* resistant to board games in general because she always "feels stupid." I like games like Scrabble, but I'm the only one who does. Dh, ds and I all find fast-paced games like Dutch Blitz, but again dd doesn't, and youngest dd can't keep up at all. With all that, it's next to impossible to find a game we all like. And yet I persist! I got Bob Ross Happy Little Accidents specifically for middle dd, the artist. And it was a surprisingly good game that really was nearly a hit all the way around. Each player draws squiggles on 3 pieces of paper. All the pieces of paper are put into the center face down, and then each player randomly picks one. The host takes a game card, calls for a number between one and six, and reads the corresponding word. It might be an adjective, noun or verb -- you name it. The host turns over the timer and everyone has 30 seconds to try to turn the squiggle in front of them into something representative of the word. Because of the squiggle starts and the very short time, the pressure is completely off of everyone, especially the non-artistic types, to really produce "art" - although artistic dd did manage! The results are hilarious. After times up, everyone goes around and explains/argues how their drawings interpret the theme. So funny! Laugh out loud, tears rolling funny. You're supposed to play three rounds, then each player picks their personal favorite and everyone votes on it. With squirrels. That part got a little fuzzy to me. Rule-oriented ds liked it but the rest of us are considering some sort of family modification to end the game. Nonetheless, the whole drawing on the squiggles thing made it worthwhile.
  3. My youngest keeps telling me about Mary Anning, the paleontologist. She was born in 1799. I don't know of any biographies but it might be worth looking.
  4. I know you said online only, but if you could go to a Costco you should find a wide variety of shells, parkas, lightweight down jackets, etc., and then you'd be able to touch, feel, try... My Costco has a full complement of coats right now, and I'm in South Texas. Of course, I've seen folks here wear full-on parkas with scarves and hats when it gets below 60...
  5. I have been upgrading my sad, sad scissor situation this season (and alliterating, lol!) and the review I read while looking for general purpose scissors recommended the Oxo Good Grips Multi-purpose Kitchen and Herbs shears. I have loved the ones that came with the Victorinox knife set my brother gave us years ago, but they're about to give up the ghost, and I will probably grab the Oxos as a replacement.
  6. I'm so glad this was a helpful suggestion! They were such a wonderful find for us -- and I'm really surprised and impressed by the amount of solid science in them. I did a little inward giggle of delight when my dd asked me how to pronounce " a-g-a-r" and started telling me about how they were testing for bacteria!
  7. This looks great and I just ordered it - thanks! (I found it easier to find new copies on eBay).
  8. science, dragons, magic, unicorns and tabby cats or even some of those 🙂 and who's maybe around 7 or 8 or 9 and ESPECIALLY if she's needing a push into chapter books, speed click to your Amazon tab, or run to your nearest bookstore, and get her some Zoey and Sassafras books! They are SO good. My young lady loves them, and read through them faster than the Dragon Master books (which is saying something) and was very sad when she got to the end of the 6th book and found out there's not (yet) a 7th.
  9. I guess the reason that this still concerns me is that in the months prior to my ds's diagnosis, and with increasing frequency in the 4-6 weeks beforehand, everything happened in bouts. Because sometimes his body could keep up the insulin production, and other times it couldn't. So he'd have days/meals where he'd eat like *crazy* but most of the time, he ate normally. He had times when he had sudden, uncharacteristic meltdowns/moodiness/tiredness (coming in abruptly from play, grumpy, laying down, resting for an hour or two and then back to himself) and days when he was just fine. He'd have times when he was thirstier than normal, or even frantically thirsty, but then they'd go away. So I'd definitely still encourage ruling it out, especially since you've already got "see the doctor" on the table. PERSONAL STORY ALERT: Although looking back we could see subtle hints going back 6 months, in a single week my ds's symptoms went from concerning to alarming. The day I called to get him an appointment, the appointment line wanted to give me an appointment two weeks out. I still wasn't thinking type 1 but I was so unsettled that I insisted on a same day. Because we caught it early (by Type 1 standards), he was only in the hospital 36 hours. He wasn't in DKA. He didn't already have any permanent damage to his eyes. That's not how it usually goes. It can get bad so quickly, and often even doctors miss it.
  10. Weight loss, thirst, hunger, sleep disturbances -- you need to rule out Type 1 immediately. Honestly it seems a bit unlikely because at his age his age I really think you'd be seeing urination issues also, but it is SO easy to check and SO dangerous to ignore.
  11. My 8 yo is Lego obsessed. She loves the Lego Friends sets, and the Elves sets. She especially is always looking for sets that have animals she doesn't already have. She also likes sets with Technic pieces (a lot of the Elves and Friends sets will have these) for making working mechanisms -- winches, hinges, that sort of thing. She does have the advantage of being able to raid big brother's stash for Technic pieces when she has to, but she really prefers the brick colors of the "girl" Lego sets. And by that, I mean, not just pinks and purples, but because there tend to be lots of trees/tree houses/gardens/houses, there are more browns and greens and whites too. Today she re-purposed pieces into a working crane with an adjustable arm and a winch, as well as a rotating driver's cabin. I'm pretty sure they were all originally Friends pieces, so don't worry about being limited by them! There are plenty of base plates, plain bricks and fun specialty pieces to do lots of interesting builds! (It's perfectly okay to end up with multiples of Lego Mini-Dolls. My dd likes to be able to change out outfits, but what she really loves to do is completely remake the dolls. She paints their hair, paints new clothing, makes and bakes on new hair using Sculpey clay, etc...)
  12. I have a pair of Reef flip-flops for my "indoor" flip-flops. I love them because they have good cushion and arch support and come in lots of cute styles. (To be honest, because we frequently move, I still have a pair of warmish real slippers from colder climate locations and I break them out a few days a year here, but if I didn't have them already, it really wouldn't be worth it to get them. I'd just add a pair of socks to the flip flops.)
  13. IF you can see your PCM in the next few days, I'd give him/her one more chance to do the right thing -- lay it out: sudden onset stuttering, vision disturbances, and the lesions he's unconcerned about. If he doesn't work right then to get you a neurology referral (preferable would be to CALL neurology directly -- my dh's PCM did something similar for him earlier this year and he was seen within the hour), then go to the ombudsman, and then go out the building and back in to the ER. This really doesn't sound like anything to futz around with! You're at an MTF? Is it a major medical center? If you're in driving distance of Madigan, Reed or BAAMC, I'd go to the ER there instead of a smaller MTF.
  14. I have the red and black one. It's fabulous. My favorite mop ever. I love being able to use whatever solution I want, and to pull a dirty pad off and throw it in the washer and put a new one on. And did you know you can even get a dust mop pad for it? I would spray paint it and have a good mop.
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