Sunday, September 30, 2007

We're still hanging in there

Well, this weekend has gone pretty uneventfully compared to what we were anticipating on Friday. We never heard from the doctor about Mike's blood tests or ultrasound. We're going under the assumption that that is good news. Mike did try to contact the answering service on Saturday morning, but they had no results for that doctor. Jonathan and Madi both spent Friday night with friends. Saturday Madi, Jake and I went to a Pampered Chef Party where I agreed to have a party of my own in November. Then Madi and I hosted our Mother Daughter Book Club. It was a really good meeting. The daughters and mothers all loved the book. I personally really enjoyed it and also thought is was great for Madi because the main character was not like anyone she knows (and someone she herself said she wouldn't want to be friends with). The character grew and learned throughout the book and I think all of the readers did as well. The book was The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Patterson, and I highly recommend it. I think it was the first book Madi has read that has bad words in it (unless you count Junie B Jones and the STUPID smelly bus). Right after the bookclub, we headed to the mall to get our book for next month (Homesick by Jean Fritz), I hope I like it as much as Gilly.

Today was mostly an at home day except for Church. Mike is feeling a lot better. I think we'll all feel even better once he talks to the doctor in the morning and we see what our next step is. I made a lot of mini cupcakes for Jonathan to take to Theatre on Tuesday for his birthday. I also made a round and a square cake that is hopefully going to be made into a "watch cake" for Jake for the bowling party next weekend. We are celebrating both boys' birthdays at the bowling alley on Saturday. I have a Cake's for Kids cookbook and Jake picked the watch (yes like a clock you wear on your wrist). I think I'm going to make a radio cake for Jonathan. At dinner tonight Jake's plate fell to the floor and shattered. It was a total accident (and I didn't even get upset), but it was ironic because more often than not Jake has a plastic plate, but tonight he had a real fiesta-wear one. Then a few minutes ago (while I was blogging), and apple pie was ready to come out of the oven and Madi said she'd do it. No sooner did she say that then..."Mmmmooommmm help".... the pie fell in the oven. Most of it was saved, but I had used all of my patience when Jake broke the plate, so I wasn't as gracious as I could've been. (also I was upset with myself for staying on the computer instead of going to get it out myself). On that note, I will go enjoy what is left of the pie with my family, and sign off for now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Please Pray!

Mike just called from his appointment with the gastroenterologist, it's not looking good. They are sending him for more bloodwork (STAT) and an ultrasound. He might have a blocked bile duct. We need him to be healthy, please keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cowboy day

Jake had cowboy day at preschool today. Doesn't he look great? He had fun too except for his hat getting torn, Madi's stick horse that he borrowed getting ripped, and bumping his cheek trying to get into his seat in the car! Actually he really did have a good time even though those things happened.

My poor husband Mike on the other hand is not having such a fun day. He was diagnosed with an ulcer in July and has been taking medication for it. He was in excrutiating pain when he first got it, but has been symptom-free since about 3 days after he was diagnosed. Well, last Friday night he started having pain from it again (remember a tornado hit here Thursday night), and he has had pain on and off since then. Last night was terrible. He went back to the doctor today and will see a specialist tomorrow. He is of course still working at both his real job and dealing with all of the rental house stuff during all of this. Please keep him in your prayers.

Jonathan and Madi had another fun day at their homeschool camp. Because they are learning about life in the early 1900's at their camp, they have been playing the things kids would play in "the olden days". They've been playing "marbles" all afternoon. (Actually first we made cookies with the Kisses that we have left from our trip to Hershey). Jonathan is more coordinated than I expected on a pogo stick and is apparently the reigning jump rope champ!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thoughts for a Wednesday morning

I love the "village" that we are raising our kids in! I'm pretty sure that nowhere in the world is there another group of families as wonderful as the group that is our support system. I love that we can carpool. I love that on a random day I can leave the park with different kids than I came there with (not because I want to get rid of my kids, but because I love that my kids have great friends, and I love that they have the opportunity to expierence different things at someone else's house). I love that our friends are friends with each other. I love that we are all like-minded in the things that matter most and that there are so many families that I feel comfortable leaving my kids with. I love that we homeschool and have had the opportunity to hand pick all of the people that our kids spend time with and the activites they are involved in. I love that quite a few of the kids Jonathan is inviting to his 12th birthday have been coming to his parties since he was 4 & 5 years old. So often people talk about the good old days (most often when we grew up or when our parents grew up). I too can get nostalgic wanting a "Brady Bunch" or "Leave it to Beaver" type of childhood for my kids that doesn't really exist in today's society. When it gets right down to it though, I think our "village" is doing a great job with what today's society has to offer. Yesterday for example, Madi and Jonathan spent the morning at a homeschool camp put on my a local homeschooling teen (who we've been friends with since she was 5). They swam there, jumped rope, had blueberry muffins, and learned about life in the early 1900's. Then a group of us met at the park to talk, play and have lunch. From there I took Jonathan to his Orthodontist appointment. At the Orthodontist Jake and his buddy TJ played in the awesome playroom that they have for siblings and patients. Madi had gone to a friend's house where she swam and played some more. Then we picked up Madi, dropped Jake at TJ's house, went home to do some Math and AWANA, and peeled potatoes for Jonathan's supper because his braces had gotten tightened. Very soon it was time for their favorite part of the day THEATRE! Mike was home by 5:30 to mow the lawn, and we were all back home to eat supper as a family, do a few chores, a little more math, and watch Dancing with the Stars. Even Marcia Brady didn't have it that good! Thank you to all of you who play a part in creating this great environment for my kids to grow up in!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

boys and girls

Here's a funny thing about boys and 9 year old girl is playing with matchbox cars right now while her 4 year old brother is is dancing and singing to the Highschool Musical CD!

Saturday morning

Does life ever slow down? Mike was up all night with his ulcer bothering him again. That is, after a full day at work and an evening boarding up the blown out windows at the rental house. Now after no sleep he is back over there (with Jonathan) nailing a tarp on the roof. Obviously the stress of the last few days is contributing to the ulcer problem (not to mention that he's been apparently drinking coffee at work and we had spaghetti & sausage for supper last night--when he finally came home from the rental house because more storms were blowing in!). So my question do we slow down? Even when we try, circumstances beyond our control force us to keep going 100mph! Calgon take us away!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Baby W, Aunt J, and all the cousins

Baby W is almost a week old already. Finally, here's a picture!

"swab" Jonathan steering the boat


Sorry, you'll have to tilt your head, I've tried four times to rotate this and it works, but when I put it on here it is sideways again. This is the best I could do...maybe I'm having trouble because I ate too much chocolate!

Zoo America in Hershey, PA

Jake loved feeding the ducks! We spend about $1 on corn to feed them, and then a man who works at the concession stand brought us some expired hot dog rolls to feed the ducks with...we spent a lot of time there!

our home away from home

Jake playing at the timeshare


Jake bought an umbrella with money Meme and Grampa Carlie had given him for the trip.

Flamingos at the North Carolina Zoo

more Linville Falls

Linville Falls

Jake couldn't make the long hike up, but Jonathan and Madi did!


fun with the Ms and the Hs!

Madi on the sailboat

She loved it as long as it wasn't tipping!


On the sailboat looking at the lighthouse that marks the midway point between Connecticut and New York in Long Island Sound.

Pies in the Freezer and Pillows in the Pantry (TORNADO)

Well I thought after attending a 19 hour labor and then driving 20+ hours home that perhaps the rest of this week would be a little more uneventful...I was wrong! Yesterday morning I got up at 6:30 am to drive with Jonathan and Madi to pick up my mother (Meme) in Ormond Beach and then pick up my aunt Dotty Kay in Altamonte. We did that, then went to Walmart for supplies for lunch and pie baking, then home to eat. Jake got dropped off from preschool and Mike came home and we all ate "make your own grinders" (grinders is the Connecticut word for subs). Then while the apple pie baking marathon got underway, I went to get a mammogram (to all you ladies reading should get one too!). I came home to 5 apple pies in my freezer. (for those of you that understand the analogy 5 pies= mammogram, just like chocolate cake=birth). By this time it was about 4pm and time to head to downtown Mount Dora for the kids to perform at the Mount Dora Cool street fest. Just as the time approached for the kids to perform huge clouds rolled in and the torrential rains came. Eventually the kids sang some songs acapella while standing under the awning of a building with lightning striking in the background (we have video of this). Due to the weather the rest of the performances were cancelled. Meme, Dotty Kay, Jonathan, Madi, Jake, Mike and I headed to a nearby Mexican restaurant to eat and wait out the rain. At about 8pm Madi came with me to bring Meme and Dotty Kay back to Altamonte while Mike and the boys headed home. The storm had subsided (more like the calm before the storm). On the ride back to Eustis the lightning was becoming more and more frequent. By the time we were almost home it was light driving with a stobe light, it was basically flashflashflashflashflash if you get the picture. My eyes were so bugged out by the time we got home, I had a headache and just wanted to sleep (as Jake would say "not gonna happen"). Meme called me just as I was pulling on to our street to let me know of a tornado warning in Lake County. Once in the house Mike and I (and Madi) put the news on. At that point a tornado was near Lady Lake (about 30 minutes north of us where the terrible devistation took place in February). Eventually we shut off the TV and attempted some sleep. About 15 minutes later the lightning, thunder, rain, wind...was getting worse and we put the TV back on. They were talking about a possible tornado near Mount Dora. We managed to get the kids all downstairs into the pantry-- Madi huddled in the corner praying and Jonathan face down asleep on a pile of pillows (in the pantry). I held Jake (still mostly asleep) and tried to get something on the radio with the broken antenna (because the TV satellite had gone out.) Finally the worst seemed to be passed us and the TV came back on. At this point Madi and I were in the recliner, Jake on the couch, Jonathan still asleep in the pantry and Mike upstairs looking out our bedroom window at the remnants of a funnel cloud (the lightning was still lighting the sky every few seconds). A Lake County Sheriff on his cell phone is talking to the news crew, "there seems to be significant damage at the 1200 block of Monterey near Lakeview in Eustis, " we hear on the news. Well this is less than 2 miles from our house and we own a rental house at 1205 Monterey. Thankfully the tennant was unharmed. A tree fell on her car, windows were blown out, the house across the street is essentially gone. The last I heard on the news at least 50 houses were damaged and 20 completely destroyed. Miraculously there was only one minor injury and no fatalities. God had his hands in Eustis last night.

I've attempted to reread this a few times, but I am dangerously sleep deprived and have no idea if it is making any sense. Suffice it to say if you live far away and are reading this...we are all OK, but it was a long night!

Monday, September 17, 2007

there's no place like HOME!!

Well, we had a great vacation, but it is so wonderful to be home. We got home at 9pm last night. Today we had a lot of running around to do (preschool, homeschool PE, grocery shopping, Theatre...) so in between all of those things we're trying to get caught up with laundry, unloading the car, emails & blogs, etc.

To continue where I left off on Thursday night...Baby W was born, but not until 4:36 am on Saturday morning. It was a long day! He was 8lbs, 12oz and very cute! His sister cousin S got to be there when he was born (and I was too!), the other two cousins had gone back to the hotel with Mike and my kids, but were back at the hospital to see him just after he was born. Jonathan, Madi, and Jake got to come in and see him in the delivery room as well. This was the newest baby Jake's ever seen. So after about 19 hours in the hospital, I got to go back to the hotel and rest for a few hours and then we went back to the hospital to say goodbye and were on the road heading home by lunch. It topped off our very varied vacation nicely!

Baby W was born at the same hospital that Madi was born in, in the room right next door. It brought back a lot of good memories. I know giving birth is hard work, but for me the births of my three where among the best days of my life. Even though Madi was born in a hospital with a male OB, it was an amazing experience, I got to labor in the hot tub, met my first doula, and Mike got to catch Madi when she came out --it was not a medically managed birth at all. Unfortuantely for my only daughter, this was the only birth that we didn't have a working camcorder for so we have no video of Madi before about 4 months old. Thankfully Mike and I have good memories, and we tell family stories all the time. Also, Madi got to see the room she was born in.

In the next few days I plan to work on putting pictures of our trip on here for all to see. In the meantime, I've got more laundry to deal with.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

from Danbury, CT

This vacation has been so fun and we've done so many different things! I'm currently writing this from the business center of the Danbury Holiday Inn, which is in the lobby right next to a very LOUD night club...much different then the camping cabin from a few nights ago! Up in our hotel room Mike is sleeping along with the three kids and three of their cousins (don't tell the hotel...I think it is a fire hazard to have that many people in one room)--not to mention the two weeks of vacation geer that we took out of the car to make room for the cousins (5 suitcases, golf clubs, camping stuff, Christmas presents we've purchased on this trip, TONS of books, and a lot of the $65 worth of candy that we bought in Hershey, PA)'ve never seen a more crowded hotel room. Soo...HERSHEY...we went to Chocolate world on Tuesday and had the best time. Milton Hershey was similar to Walt Disney and really a genius. We loved the 3D movie and the tour and ride. The free samples weren't so bad either. If you are reading this and are lucky enough to be a member of the family watching our guinea pig...your family will directly benefit from our visit to Hershey! (and even if you aren't watching the guinea pig...we'll probably have more to share). We left PA on Thursday morning and headed to CT and the marina where R & G's boat is docked. I was still fighting my cold and wasn't sure how 24 hours on a sailboat was going to be, but it turned out to be the highlight of our trip and one of the best days ever!! Jonathan took to sailing immediately and learned how to lift/adjust the sails, steer the boat, and many other things that I have no idea about. We sailed from CT to Port Jefferson, NY on Long Island and spent the night on the boat. Madi wasn't thrilled with the tilting part of sailing (this morning G asked her "what part of the tilting didn't you like?" and she replied "the I'm about to fall in the water part."), but she loved the rest of the time, especially learning to kayak this morning! She was a natural at it! We all loved the kayaking...I think we'll be looking into getting one (or more) in the near future. Jake even went on with me and was amazingly adept at paddling it! He instinctively knew how to turn and everything! We all hated to leave there, but it was time for the final phase of our trip...preparing for the birth of the new baby cousin! We met Mike's brother, sister & kids at a resaurant for an early surprise bday celebration for his mom, then took the kids back to the hotel with us. The cousins have sooo much fun together. They are continuing to write a book that they have worked on the last three times they've been together over the last year. They pick up right where they left off each time. Tonight in the hotel they got to talking about bad words somehow (keep in mind my kids call "stupid" the S word). They (the five big kids--Jake was already asleep) were talking about how they beep out bad words on American Idol which lead to a comment about someone talking about the word Butt, which lead S to say "but the bad harass, but without the har". Then Madi says "like Uranus " then S says "that's JL's favorite planet, but the other kids at school make fun of her for it, so she had to change it" . Then Madi says "not to Pluto I hope that isn't a real planet anymore it is a dwarf planet"....see everything is educational!!! Before all the cousins go to sleep tomorrow there should be a new W!! I will be sleeping with the phone near the bed and could get a call anytime. Aunt J will be induced sometime tomorrow and I will get to be there!! The hospital will call her sometime between 4:30 am and 5 it will be an interesting day! I guess I should get off the computer now and try to get some sleep...that is if I can squeeze into the very crowded hotel room!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

OK now from Elizabethtown/Hershey,PA

Ahhh, finally a chance to get back online. I am using Mike's work laptop which amazingly can get wireless access from the "KOA Kamping Kabin" that we are staying in right now. Of course, I am having trouble with this computer and already posted an empty blog, but I think I'm on the right track now... Since I last posted we went to the North Carolina Zoo and had a great time. Yesterday we spend the night with friends in Charlotte in their amazing 5000+ square foot home! We had a great time. Also yesterday we drove by our first home (where we lived when Jonathan was born) and spent a torturous TWO HOURS at JIFFY lube waiting to get our oil changed. "Someone" recently wrote some negative comments about northerners in their blog (and while I didn't disagree that many northerners are rude) I couldn't resist this opportunity to comment on the slowness of some southerners...come on it's JIFFY lube...Two hours?! We had a LOONG drive today through Virginia and arrived at the campground just before dark. We unpacked quickly (much easier when you are staying in a cabin as opposed to a tent!), and then Jake and I headed to the playground. He was so funny. He was really concerned that there might be bears around ("I don't like these trees they remind me of woods") and he thought it might be better in the morning when he was pretty sure the bears would be asleep. He then thought an airplane was a spaceship and thought he saw a man by the swing set..all this and he still wanted to play there. I told him he was very brave, especially when he saw a tank (like a heating oil tank) and commented that the ovals on top looked like scarey eyes! He has a very active imagination!! We roasted hot dogs over the fire for supper and now everyone is asleep except for me. I have a cold and can't breathe...what a pain! All day I've been asking myself why I don't appreciate it more when I can breathe! When someday I am able to again..I plan to appreciate it. So if you are reading this and can breathe, please enjoy it for me!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

from Boone, NC

Hello everyone! Well between our computer not working the week before we left for our vacation and the computer not working at the clubhouse of the timeshare, I think someone is trying to tell me something! ( maybe like every generation before, I too can survive without a computer). Jake and Madi are currently playing at the "train table" and I am on the computer at the Boone Library. There is a big 12 minutes left of my session flashing before me so I'll quickly try to update everyone on our trip. We left home on Saturday before 5am and had breakfast at our favorite stop...Cracker Barrel at exit 3 in Georgia. We got to the timeshare before 6pm. On Sunday morning we met the H's at their Church, and after Mass went to their house for a fun afternoon. The Ms' family came too. AH taught Madi two songs on the violin (notes and everything!) and then all three kids slept at the H's (Date night for Mom and Dad!!). On Monday we went with the H's to Linville Caverns and Linville Falls (pictures to come at some point). Tuesday we did a lot of relaxing! Mike and Jonathan are currently playing golf and here therest of us are at the Library. Jonathan and Madi and I have even done schoolwork yesterday morning and today and Jake did some Reading made Easy. I also finished reading the Mysterious Benedict Society. It is amazing what you can do when you aren't on the computer (and not looking at all the things that need to be done at your own house). We are going with the H's to the Zoo tomorrow and don't know when I'll see a computer again! Until then....