Science: An Update

So you might remember that back in February, the boys began their participation in a vaccine trial for the Moderna COVID vaccine for 12-17 year olds.

And then, remember how last month, Pfizer beat Moderna to market for that age group? Meanwhile all of their friends were getting vaccinated, but we were being patient. We were told the study would be getting unblinded (which means we’d find out who got the vaccine and who got the placebo) at the end of May, at which time whoever wasn’t vaccinated the first time would get it.

But then the sponsors of the Moderna study decided, nah, they were going to wait until the fall to unblind the study, which meant the boys would be starting school possibly unvaccinated.

Well, we got a call last week from one of the lovely nurses working at the clinic giving us the option of unblinding, but whoever wasn’t vaccinated would have to leave the study. (And I’d march them right to CVS to get Pfizer.)

Not ideal (I mean, what about science, but also, what about a kid or two being mad that they weren’t going to make all the money that the other(s) would get? Because if they were vaccinated, they could stay in the study.

We got an appointment today for their unblinding. Our theory after the first shot was that Oliver and Linus got the vaccine, and Miles did not, because Oliver and Linus were fatigued and feverish afterwards and Miles was fine. But then that theory kind of blew up when, after the second shot, only Miles was fatigued. So I really had no idea going into it.

{In the study, 2/3 of participants got the vaccine, 1/3 got the placebo. So it was natural to assume our three would fall into those proportions.}

In the appointment today (boy I really am dragging this out, huh?) they had to have physicals and blood draws and COVID tests (the usual) and I had to fill out the consent forms since the study had changed (re: the unblinding) and blah blah blah finally after about an hour, the doctor was able to go get the results.

I was sitting in my usual chair in the exam room when I heard the doctor say as he walked down the hall towards us, “I can’t believe it. They all got it.”

He walked in the room and confirmed it. And then this was me:

The doctor was as shocked as any of us, he said he’s never seen anything like it.

So yeah, the boys have all been fully vaccinated since mid-April!

Bring on summer soccer! And yay science!!!

Last day of seventh grade

Today is the last day of seventh grade. Hard to believe we all (and by “all” I mean “the whole world”) got through this year. Let’s just hope next year looks more like, say, fifth grade. The last normal school year.

LOM

Based on their first day pic from August, I’d say they have grown a little bit.

OML

If nothing else, their hair certainly has!

Some notable things about seventh grade:

  • They were in the same class for the first time since PreK-3.
  • Okay maybe aside from, you know, pandemic, that’s the biggest thing.

And on to eighth!

May so far

It’s been an eventful month. Maybe too eventful.

Went to Virginia to visit Kiki. That was good eventful. Being on an airplane was weird. We baked a lot, including croissants. PS buying good croissants is much easier. Just do that. But it was fun.

Oh wait, but the night before I left, I had to take Oliver to get stitches. Well, a stitch, really. (He lost a fight with his desk.)

When I got back, I got the house cleaned professionally for the first time and IT IS STILL CLEAN.

Then a tornado skipped through our neighborhood last week, and we lost power for a while. Spent the day with the boys at Starbucks and Target.

I did a dumb thing and booked a (non-refundable) hotel room in a half-asleep haze, not even thinking about the fact that hotels don’t let you check in until 3pm. The power came back on at 2.

The boys and I went to our suite and hung out for two hours. I took the soaps and shampoos yet I still don’t feel like I got my money’s worth. Ah well. An expensive lesson.

Fortunately, we didn’t have any damage from the storm, at least not physically.

And then on Sunday, Linus was having a tough time with this asthma, which ultimately resulted in an ER visit followed by overnight admission.

I’m ready for the rest of the month to be boring, thanks.

Here’s a bunch of pics. You’re welcome.

Yard renovation complete!

A month ago, I contacted a local landscaper to talk about getting our yard looking nice. Because it looked terrible.

The lemon tree had died, and was now just a scrubby bunch of spiky shoots. There was no grass, only weeds and dirt. There were soccer balls everywhere, and a big ugly shed, and a few bushes we planted a few years ago when we put in the patio. There was also a chunk of sidewalk from when a house used to be in our yard. (Well, I mean, it wasn’t our yard then, but there used to be a house between ours and our neighbor’s, but it was torn down at some point and now we have side yards.)

Before: (this is embarrassing)

Anyway, they ripped up the sidewalk chunk, removed the lemon scraggle, leveled the yard (including the unsightly mound in the corner that was made up of the dirt we excavated for the patio), squared off the patio, cleared out the weeds, planted plants, mulched, put gravel and sand down, moved the shed, and finally placed artificial turf down.

Seventeen years ago, when we bought our house, we planted a tiny tree and had a pretty nice grass lawn. Since then, the tree grew 20+ feet, we got a dog and three kids, and bamboo grew up from the neighbor’s yard. So it’s nice and shady, but not exactly conducive to grass growing. Hence the artificial turf.

LOOK AT THE GLORIOUS AFTERS!

The boys like it too. 😀

Oh, I have to do one of these fun sliders:

1 year since I joined a cult

I am a pandemic cliche. Not just the puzzles I put together, the shows I binged, or the sourdough I started and baked with. No, it was the purchase I received one year ago today:

Yeah, I laughed at the commercial just like everyone else did. I took a spinning class once and hated it. But I guess I have enough friends that raved about it, so I reasoned that I could always return it if I hated it.

But I didn’t. I loved it immediately.

And all of the aches and pains that I’d gotten from four years of Orangetheory went away. The tendinitis in my ankle, the knee pain, the back pain, the shoulder tendinitis. I used to love running on the treadmill. That was my favorite part of OTF. But until I stopped, I didn’t know how much it was hurting me.

So what have I done over the past year?

668 rides totalling 9 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes

45 live rides

1 shout out from Tunde on my birthday

Longest ride was 75 minutes, 35 seconds during a work call (I have a tray for my laptop)

I could go further into my stats, like which instructor I took the most classes from, but that’s boring if you don’t have a Peloton so I won’t.

Anyway, I’m not going to talk about things like the number of calories I’ve burned or inches lost or anything like that because that’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because now I have really amazing leg muscles and it’s good for my cardiovascular health. I do need to get better about taking advantage of all of the other classes especially upper body strength training and stretching. Maybe that will be my goal for the next 365 days.

Look at the cute view I have! (I mean the dog!)

13 and a third

The thirteen year + four month picture happened to fall on Easter Sunday, when we were at Grandee and Larry’s.

My sister and her family were in town so these weren’t the only pics they had to stand still for!

March 11

Right around now, everyone is talking about “the last normal day.”

March 11, 2020 was the last normal day for us.

I took the boys to soccer practice that evening, and I used the time while they were practicing to go buy some hand sanitizer because I’d heard that might be a good idea.

By the time I’d driven to five stores with no luck, I knew something was up.

I went back to soccer practice to wait for the boys to finish. While I was waiting, I got a message from school that due to possible exposure, there would be no school for the next week or so.

Oliver and I were due to have our “day out” that Friday. Still waiting to do that.

And here we are, March 11, 2021 and I got my vaccine! It’s possible that everyone in my house is at least partially vaccinated now (though of course we don’t know with the boys, but it’s possible.)

Now for the obligatory post-shot selfie from my car:

13 and a quarter

It’s that time again! Time to do math!

That’s right, the boys are 13 years and 3 months old.

Can you guess their favorite teams?!?!?

So that is…159 months old! 13 and one quarter. The other day Miles told me something horrifying. “We will be 15 next year.”

That is technically true, in 2022 they will be 15. But that was very cruel of him to point out.

In other news, look at Linus’s haircut! He desperately needed it.

Science! (or, a 2 in 3 chance)

On Friday, the boys might have gotten the COVID vaccine. Or maybe not.

A few weeks ago, my sister texted me about a Moderna vaccine trial for adolescents, and one of the clinic sites was here! (And she works for Johnson & Johnson, tsk tsk.) So I filled out a form and blah blah boring paperwork stuff, and the upshot is, I let the boys skip school on Friday so they could spend all day in a clinic in Metairie maybe getting the vaccine.

I sound all blase about it, but it was actually really cool. The thought that they were 3 of 3000 adolescents in the country participating in this trial so that the vaccine can be approved for all teenagers is pretty dang exciting!

(The fact that they are identical triplets was not a factor in them getting into the trial. But it did get us as many ooohs and aaahs as it did when they were babies, which now I realize I kind of miss.)

So we were there for about 5 hours. After filling out paperwork, we were put in an exam room where the boys had a brief exam (heart and lungs) and a COVID test. They were taught to use a diary app where they’ll track any symptoms or side effects, and then blood was drawn. Linus went first and it took two nurses and a cool light and a bottle of water and four sticks for them to finally get four teaspoons of blood from him. The other two were a lot easier, but I was so proud of how well Linus handled it all. (I probably wouldn’t have.)

After the blood draw, they got a shot! Who knows what it was…the vaccine? Saline? In the whole trial, 2/3 of the participants get the vaccine so odds would say 2 of them got it, but who knows.

The trial will last 13 months, and we’ll have to go back to the clinic a ffew more times. I’m pretty pleased that yesterday they did the “homework” without any prompting from me.

In a few months (they couldn’t give an exact timeframe) the (forgive me for using incorrect terminology) study will be unmasked and the kids will be given a second set of shots. We won’t ever(?) know if they got the vaccine in the first set and saline in the second set or vice versa, but at least we can be assured by the end of it they will be fully vaccinated. So despite the fact that they’re getting compensated quite handsomely (I told them they had to buy me lots of presents) the real reward is that they will be vaccinated sooner rather than later.

(And who knows when I will be…George has already had his first shot so I’ll probably be the last in the family to get it.)

So, here we are, two days later. Do I have any theories about who may have gotten the vaccine? I do. I think it will be more obvious after the second shot, when side effects are supposedly more pronounced, but I suspect Linus and Oliver got it and Miles didn’t. That’s based on the fatigue they felt yesterday and the irritation at Linus’s injection site.

Maybe we’ll know in a month, maybe not. Either way, YAY SCIENCE!

The making of the Moiras

When I was trying to figure out how to make my Moira costume, I couldn’t find any tutorials or any blog posts of people describing how they made theirs. I suspect mostly it was “find a white-ish sheet and go from there.” But no, Pam is not going to go that route. I think we know her better than that…

A while back, I bought several yards of off-white stretch crepe from Joann’s. (I think it’s what I linked to, I dunno. It was way cheaper than that but it might have been 60% off or something. Maybe it was this.) It was 60″ wide so I knew that it would be long enough (I’m 5’10”.) It was nice and opaque, and if Mardi Gras was going to be cold, it would be somewhat warm. (I was able to wear black joggers underneath and you couldn’t tell because yes it was friggin cold.)

I studied the costume very closely. I watched the episode and paused it and looked for as many photos on Instagram as possible. I knew it had a seam down the middle and it looked like some kind of welted openings for the sleeves. (Who knows if I am even using that terminology right?) But once I sewed up the middle and portions of the top, I was very happy with how it looked and draped, so I just went with it.

I really should be a pattern drafter. Look at that amazingness.

I did have to hem it a bit, which I did by just haphazardly chopping off a few inches. I mean, who’d notice?

Then I figured out where the gold chain went, and hand sewed that on.

The hat was a real pain in the ass, I’ll tell you. I had borrowed some accessories from my friend Marie, and in the end, after a mishap with a weird fabric tube and a cheap blonde wig, I just borrowed the hair tube bit from her Halloween costume and made a new hat.

(I had to laugh because she said “well, it was too big for my head so it kept slipping down” but it barely perched on my giant noggin.)

I traced the miter shape on posterboard, modge podged some of the dress fabric onto it, and then hot glued on the accessories. Once two of those were done, I glued them onto the hair tube. Or whatever you want to call it. Hair wreath? Bane of my existence?

Also I made a mask with some leftover pieces and gold thread.

The necklace was fun to figure out. I used leftover bits from the hat jewels and got a pendant and chains and findings from the craft stores, and combined them to try to mimic the shape of the real Moira’s necklace. I mean, better than nothing.

The final result:

Uncanny, I know.

I promise (?) this is the last post I’ll make about Mardi Gras 2021 but it was just such a fun experience that I’m not quite ready for it to end. I’m having major crafting withdrawal. What next?!?

(Oh, I guess I could write about how I sewed Jenn’s dress for her too, but it was a lot of draping, sewing, velcro, and an old strapless bra. Really proud of how that came out too. It would have been nice if the shower curtain had been shiny, but that probably would have been harder to sew.)

Lovely Jenn!