Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The First Trip to the Dentist

Today was my youngest son's first trip to the dentist.  I have always hoped that such an event would go well.  I know that some dentists are not very kid-friendly.  I was happy when I located a pediatric dentist.  Before I left to find the dentist's office, I used mapquest.  Mapquest is my friend.  As I still attempt to get used to this city, I don't know which way is what, and where North and South meet.  So, I put in my address, and the dentist's address, and found that it is within walking distance.

We left at about 1:30 pm to start the walk over because I had clothes in the washer out our community laundry room.  We were going to throw the clothes in the dryer and then continue to the dentist office.  Upon my arrival at the laundry room, I saw that my quarters were still in one of the machines.  I had two loads, and didn't even start one of them.  Thus, my pregnancy brain at work.  So, I started that load of laundry, and we continued on to the dentist. 

I got there in plenty of time to fill out the paperwork.  My son got to play some video games, and look at the saltwater fish, and see a Juvenile Bearded Dragon (aka Lizzie).  They finally called him back.  Of course, I followed.  The dental assistant, Jen, was wonderful.  She explained to him all about the x-rays they were going to take, and how they were going to do it.  He sat there and let her do it without any problems.  Then she brought him to the dental chair.  She showed him all the tools she was going to work with, let him touch them, and explained what they were used for.  She then gave him a list of flavors of toothpaste and he picked bubblegum.  He picked to watch "Gnomeo and Juliet" on the TV in the ceiling and she got to work cleaning his teeth.

She mentioned several times what a good boy he was during it.  He listened to what she wanted him to do, and he would do it, while watching "Gnomeo and Juliet."  After the cleaning, flossing, and flouride treatment, he got to pick what kind of toothbrush he wanted.  He picked Woody from "Toy Story."  It didn't surprise me at all.  We waited for the dentist to come in and when he came in, the dentist was surprised that he was only 3 because of how well he behaved.  He didn't have a cavity, which made me happy, especially after my trip to the dentist on Monday.  He got a coin to put in the toy machine and picked a little ninja toy, and off we went.  We put the clothes in the dryer and came home. 

Today I had the first of my weekly Non-Stress Tests on the baby.   They monitored the little one's heart rate for half an hour.  She wiggled around a lot so the woman had to keep coming in and relocating her.  It was nice to hear her heartbeat.  After the half hour was up, it was determined that everything looked good, and I headed out.  I will return next Wednesday for the next one and an ultrasound. 

This evening my kids, my husband and I, went to a park down by the high school in town.  We walked on the trail and saw ducks, geese, and swans in the water.  We saw both a black swan and a white swan.  It was a nice little walk with a lot of shade, thank goodness!  After the walk, the kids and husband, played on the playground and then it was time to go.  It was getting dark, after 8 pm, and the kids still had to shower.  Finally everyone made it to the van and we headed home. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's 8:00 AM...

These were the first words I heard from my 8 year-old this morning.  I sat up, looked at him, and asked him why he wasn't dressed for school yet.  He looked back at me and said that he had just woke up.  We don't ever sleep this late around here.  If it were a weekend, this would have been a good morning.  Instead, it was a school day.

I was thankful that my son had woke me up.  He is a very responsible little guy.  I can imagine that other children would have taken advantage of their mother being sound asleep.  After his notification, I got up, got my daughter up and then started getting ready for the day.  Today, we would not walk to school.  We would be happy just getting there in the van, on time.  We completed that goal.  I told the little ones that I loved them as they exited.

I had woke up at 5:39 am to make sure that my husband was up and around.  Not to mention the several times during the night to make a run to the bathroom.  Being 32 weeks pregnant tends to make me visit the bathroom more than usual when I should otherwise be sleeping.  I wonder how late I would have slept if I had the chance!

I returned home to where my youngest was still sleeping.  He was there with his Aunt.  He had announced last night that he would not wear a diaper to sleep.  He has been potty trained for months now, but I still put the night-time diaper on him.  There has not been many accidents in the past few weeks, so I decided that I would listen to him.  He had never told me that he would not wear a diaper to sleep, he usually just asks for it when he is ready to go to bed.  So, this morning, I was a little concerned for what may have happened in the past 10 to 11 hours, especially since he had even woke up to have a drink of water in middle of the night.  I was thrilled when I realized that he had made it through the night without any problem. 

With that said, I want to take a moment to give thanks for those that live with me, and let them know I love them...

I am so thankful for my three children and our little girl who will be making her grand entrance in October.  I am blessed to have been given the chance to be their mother.  They make me smile just by seeing them.  They have such wit and wisdom.  They make every day so much brighter.

I am thankful for my husband for the love and support he has always given me. He makes me laugh when it doesn't seem like laughing is possible.  He knows how to put things into perspective.  He is a great father to our children.  He teaches them things that they should know.  He takes time out of his day to make sure to have quality time with them.

I am thankful for my sister, Brenda, for coming out here with us.  I am thankful that the children have had this time with her, that they would have possibly never had, otherwise.  I am blessed to have a sister, a friend, that would change her original plans of where she was moving and come to stay with us.  It has been a wonderful time and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Walk to School, A Trip to the Dentist, and a New Blog Layout

This morning we were all ready with enough time that we could walk to school.  My oldest son got up early and finished up what homework he had left for the week.  My daughter wasn't about ready to get up without a reminder at 8 am, and my youngest was still sound asleep at about 8:15 am.  He started to rouse from his sleep at 8:20 am, which is about the time that I was thinking we should be heading out the door.  I asked the youngest if he wanted to come to school too, and he asked if we were walking.  I asked if they wanted to walk, and everyone affirmed.

I got my youngest into clothes by 8:25 and we headed out the door.  It was a pleasant walk, until we got to the muddy path with a small downward slope.  That wasn't too fun, but we made it.  I slipped a little, but thankfully didn't fall.  We will avoid that way next time.  As we continued down the road, I kept telling the children how much time we had left before they would be late.  We got within a block of the school and they heard the bell.  I guess they didn't realize it was the first bell, because they took off running.  No goodbye, no hug, no kiss... just a sprint toward the school.  I knew at that point that the leisurely walk had ended.  My youngest and I just stood and watched to make sure that they got to the crossing guard and across the street.  My youngest was sad that he didn't get to tell them he loved them.  I told him he could do that after school, and we turned around and walked home.

After we returned, I did a few of things that I set up on the calendar of my phone.  I had to call and rearrange appointments and send a couple e-mails.  I then realized that I should set up dental appointments.  I got one for my youngest for later in the week and one for me for today.  So, at about 2 pm, I headed out the door to see my new dentist and get a good cleaning.  I always love having my teeth cleaned.  After the cleaning, I was informed that I had cavities, I think 4 or 5.  That didn't come as much of a surprise. I always end up with at least one cavity during pregnancy.  The dentist had 30 minutes before his next patient was coming, so we decided that he would do the first side today.  I made the appointment to get the other side done on Thursday.

After leaving the dentist, I headed to the neighborhood market and got groceries for a couple of days at least.  When I got home, I made the Shake N Bake Pork, mashed potatoes, opened a can of mixed vegetables, and a bag of salad.  Supper was ready in about 45 minutes.  We all sat down to dinner and it was eaten in half the time that it took to make it.  We always marvel at how we can prepare supper, for instance on Thanksgiving, where it takes hours upon hours, and we can be finished eating in a fraction of the time. 

We just got back from our evening walk to feed the ducks.  They were over enjoying the sprinklers across the parking lot.  Looked like a good idea, but I decided against joining them in the sprinklers.  The ducklings look like regular ducks, just smaller.  It is amazing how fast they grow.  Soon, we will not be able to tell which are the ducklings and which were the adults.

My sister, Brenda, spent most of her day doing the new layout for my blog.  She got my input on things that I liked, and set about putting it together.  I wanted to thank her for the time she took today to make it look perfect! 

My sister, Susan, is the person that started blogging in our family, then Brenda started blogging.  My daughter enjoyed reading their blogs so much that she asked me to start one.  The first day I started, she was ready to post it after the first paragraph was written.      I have enjoyed blogging from the day that I started.  I want to thank both of them for their words and their encouragement.  Brenda's blog address is: .  Susan's blog address is:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Will it ever cool down?

This is a frequent question, or variable of it, these days.  If it isn't me asking it, it is one of my children.  I guess I should have almost expected this, seeing how we moved to the desert and all, but I don't think that it has been below 90 here since the beginning of July.  We had snow when we woke up the morning of May 30, and if any of you remember, this was Memorial Day.  Who would think that Memorial Day would come with snow, it has never happened to me before, and I am hoping that it will never happen again!  I would like this state to find a happy medium, and settle somewhere in the low to mid 70s during the day for a while.  I certainly don't want to go straight from 90's back to snow.

My two older children play outside often.  They enjoy the time with their friends.  I know that it is good for them to be out there, but I can't imagine that it would be wonderful to be that hot for that long.  I make sure that they know they have to be staying hydrated.  In this sort of heat, it is not good to go long stretches of time without drinking.  I know as a child I was guilty of this though, because who wants to stop playing to take a few gulps of water.  I was never much of a water drinker til I was in my 20s and quite overweight... you know, the O word (obese).  It was at that time I did the protein diet, under a physician's direction, and I had to drink 1 1/2 gallons of water a day or bad things could happen.  Before that, I was big on any pop, but my favorite was Dr Pepper.  I haven't drank pop in 4 years now, not even a root beer float.

The children haven't been to the pool since we got back to town.  I don't think it would be fair to my youngest to have to watch the other children swim when he can't.  He got his stitches out on Friday, but the doctor said that we should wait another 5-7 days for swimming.  He didn't like the removal of the stitches, he took the placement of the stitches much better.  I am guessing that he will be swimming again by the end of the week.  I haven't had him out too much because I worry about him re-injuring his finger.  If he were to fall and try to catch himself with his hand, it could be pretty bad.  I feel bad that he doesn't get to run around much, but he has been over to feed the ducks several times.

I have mentioned in the past that I eat ice cream to cool off.  It is really my only defense these days as I am not going in the pool due to the rash caused by Pemphigoid Gestationis.  It is much better on the Prednisone, but you can still see the marks, and they look like bruises now.  My belly has started getting bad again, but I have decided not to increase the dosage, as suggested by my dermatologist.   It isn't so bad that I would want to add more to my system.  I hope that I can finish off my pregnancy at 40 mg, because this is a high dosage as it is.  We do have central AC, but it doesn't seem to be working too well.  I sweat most of the time.  The apartment complex is going to have someone come and take a look at our AC again.  I am hoping that will help me stay cool again.

What are some suggestions you all have for staying cool on the hot days?  It looks like we will be in the 90s during the day, through Wednesday, and then in the 80s for the remainder of the week.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The First Day of School for the Two Oldest Children

School started for them on Aug 15, but since we were back East, they started on Aug 23, the first day we were back for them start.  My oldest son started 3rd grade and my daughter started 2nd grade.  My sister brought them to school, as I had already been at work for 2 hours by the time school started.  I wished I could have been there for their first day, but sometimes things are not possible.

My daughter is going to write about her first day of school in her own words...

When I got to 2nd grade I saw my BFF had short hair. Now when I got into the classroom I found my desk, got breakfast, then got to work. Some math then the pledge of allegiance it was really fun on Friday. We have Fantastic Friday. We have Root beer floats or Cream soda floats they are both so yummy. And those are my words.

My son doesn't want to write about his first day.  He said that he had a good first day of school.  He got homework, as did his little sister, which probably wouldn't have happened if it were actually the first day of school.  He saw his second grade teacher before school started and she gave him a hug.  He really liked her.  He has had several great teachers in his school career thus far.  They had their class pictures too, which we didn't know about, since it was their first day back.  Hopefully they turned out well! 

The Dreaded Day Comes... Saturday Aug 20, then Sunday, Aug 21, and Monday, Aug 22, 2011

Well, this was the day that I hoped would never come, though it was prolonged so we could stay another day.  The line came in and Roland would get started on the van after his shift was over.

The yard sale started at 9:30 am and went until 12.  We are not much into doing yard sales, so the shorter the better, as far as things are concerned.  My mom, my daughter, Brenda and Susan took care of the yard sale and I stayed with my two sons.  My youngest slept til 10 after the traumatizing night before.  When my oldest got up, I made him some pancakes.  I made chocolate chip pancakes for him and some blueberry pancakes for me. When my youngest woke up, he had some of the pancakes that were already made.

My brothers were in the softball tournament still.  They had games starting at 10 am.  They were on different teams.  We didn't make it until the 1 pm game that Bob was in.  They won that game which was nice to see.  I was making chicken salad for sandwiches when we got the call that he would be starting a game in 10 minutes.  So, we packed up the bread, cheese, chips and chicken salad and headed out the door.  It wasn't far away, thankfully, so we didn't miss much as they were only 5 inning games.  That would be the last softball game of the season that we would see.

Roland called and let us know that he was on his way home and would arrive around 4 pm.  I always get teary-eyed when it is time to say goodbye.  Today was no different.  I had been crying in spurts all day.  If I could possibly stay there, I would have, but my husband wouldn't have appreciated it very much.

We had everything packed by the door, all the laundry was done, except for my youngest son's shirt from the night before that he fell to sleep in.  That got packed to be washed when we got home.  I was with my mom getting last second things together when Roland pulled up.  This was the least excited I was to have him come home, I wouldn't have cared if he had taken a few detours.  I heard later that Bob had said, "I have never been so upset to see Roland get home as I am now."  I thought that was cute :)

We all said goodbye, gave kisses and hugs, and then I ran back in to use the bathroom after the kids and Brenda were in the car.  I guess being almost 31 weeks pregnant would do that to someone.  So, of course, I gave everyone their hugs and kisses again, then jumped in the driver seat.  Brenda took a picture of the family standing outside the van and then we departed.  I drove to the Country Fair at the end of the block with tears in my eyes.  I bought 5 gallons of gasoline, because once we hit Ohio it would be 40 cents a gallon cheaper.  I went in and got a case of water, a 12 pack of Coke, and Nutty Bars.  Brenda realized we didn't have the cord for the cooler, so she called Roland and Susan and they ran it down to us.  That was the final goodbye.

I drove well into Ohio.  At the second gas station we stopped at in Ohio, Brenda jumped in the driver seat and she started.  We called Mom around 9:30 pm to have her start looking for a hotel for us.  We were hoping to be sleeping by Toledo.  As it turned out, the nearest hotel where we could use our points for a free night, was 225 miles away, in Elkhart, IN.  We drove until after midnight, and were very happy to see the hotel.  Then we walked into the room.  It was a sauna, and the A/C didn't work.  We didn't waste any time calling the front desk.  By the time they brought us one fan, we found that there was a dirty towel behind the bathroom door, so we had her take that also.  The fan didn't help much but it was better than having nothing.

I have to admit that the children did amazingly well on this first round of the trip.  We were in the van for over 8 hours and there wasn't much commotion at all.  They kept themselves occupied playing their DS games and talking.  The youngest was in the middle row by himself and the two older were in the back with a space between them.  Once the youngest finally fell to sleep about 11 pm, he would wake up frequently crying.  He doesn't generally do this, and we realized that it is because he doesn't like the dark.  By this time, we were close to the hotel and decided that we would turn on his overhead light next time so it wouldn't be as dark.

I was happy that the children didn't waste much time going back to sleep once we were in the room, even with how hot it was.  I was nervous that they would have had a nap and want to be up for several hours.  We were planning to take off by 8 am Sunday morning. 

Sunday morning rolled around, I got up at a little after 7 am and got ready to head out.  I got everyone else up about 7:30 and had them get ready.  We headed down with all of our stuff and stopped for breakfast on our way out.  They only had 3 tables at the breakfast area, which didn't make life easy, since they were all taken.  I got my youngest a bagel and some eggs.  He ate the hard-boiled egg and then wanted an orange and an apple.  So I grabbed those for him.  I had half a bagel with cream cheese and hard-boiled egg, my children grabbed what they wanted, ate and we headed out.

We headed out at 8:20 am, not too far off schedule.  I almost left a suitcase next to the car, thank goodness Brenda saw it.  The seating arrangements were the same.  I thought the children would fall quickly back to sleep, I was mistaken.  They started getting cranky around 11 am, so I told them that whoever went to sleep would get to have a Dilly Bar from DQ.  You would be surprised how that would encourage them to sleep.  They were all to sleep within minutes, and slept til about 12:30 or 1 pm.  This gave Brenda time to get a nap too.

At about 1:30 we stopped for lunch, which was at McDonalds Drive-thru, and Brenda took over at the wheel.  I ate my food, and then took a nap.  At about 4 pm, we stopped at a DQ and everyone got a Dilly Bar.  This was when I realized that the microbead pillow that was in the backseat had ripped.   You don't know how many beads one of those pillows have until something like this happens.  There were hundreds all over the backseat.  Thankfully the pillow still was full, because if all of those beads had come out, I would have cried.  The pillow was thrown away at the DQ.  Dilly Bars are a bad idea in a hot car.  My daughter had it all over her.  I have not yet figured out how it was down her arms, on her neck, and so forth... perhaps she was really hot and just started rubbing it all over herself.  It took a few wet wipes to get cleaned up.  Wet wipes are a wonderful idea on any trip... I have to remember to buy more to keep in the van.  I can't remember what was for supper that night, but I know it would be something fast food.

We started the ABC game around 8:30 pm in the middle of Nebraska.  There aren't many signs so it lasted into Monday.  We got to letter X by Sunday night.  The children fell to sleep during the game when we had to find the X.  We started looking for a hotel that evening a little earlier.  I think it was around 8 pm.  We found one with a vacancy in Ogallala, NE.  We would arrive there a little before midnight.  We had hoped to make it to Sidney, but they didn't have the hotel chain that we needed there.  Sidney would be another hour down the road anyway.  The younger children fell to sleep around 10:30 pm.  Caleb fell to sleep shortly before we got to the hotel.  He was in a deep sleep when I was trying to wake him up to go in.  It took a while to rouse him from his sleep, but he finally got up.  We went into the hotel, and they were back to sleep within minutes.  I set my alarm for 5:30 am, and went to sleep within minutes.

Monday morning came, we had found out upon check-in that the hotel didn't offer a breakfast, although the chain advertises free hot breakfasts.  So, we got up, got the kids ready and to the van.  We drove the hour to Sidney, NE, got breakfast at McDonalds, stopped at Wal-Mart and got some wheat thins and other snacks, bought 5 gallons of gas because it was $3.89 a gallon, then got back on the road.  We hit the road again.  We thought that gas would be cheaper when we crossed into WY.  We were right, it was $3.29/gallon.  I drove most of the day.  We got BK for lunch and that was the last stop we made for food.  We had a gift card for $10, so it came to $3.23 after that.  Pretty good deal for lunch!

We finished the ABC game by the time we got home.  There was a Bar X Road in Wyoming, so we got every letter of the alphabet. We arrived home a little before 4:45 pm.  Keith was off getting groceries for supper and we didn't have a key to get into the house.  We unpacked the van and had it all in front of the door by the time he came home.  He didn't get home for about half an hour and I had to go to the bathroom pretty bad.  I was glad when I finally saw him! 

We had Shake N Bake chicken, potatoes and salad for supper.  It was sooooo good to have regular food again.  I don't know when I will want fast food again. The kids spent a few hours outside playing and I couldn't blame them at all.  They had been cooped up in the van for about 36 hours.  The trip took 51 hours, we spent about 15 hours in the hotels.  The kids were remarkable.  There were moments of unhappiness, but that can be expected.  The moments were very short and far between.  I know I couldn't have been so well behaved as a young child and hardly getting to move.  Neither of us made it home in time for our appointments on Monday and I didn't make it to work.  I would have to start work on Tuesday.  Thank goodness for a wonderful supervisor who understands that life doesn't always go as planned.  The van will need a good vacuuming!

School and work would start Tuesday...  the trip is over and I am thankful for all the memories and the good times.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Delay = More Family Time :) Friday, Aug 19

This morning I woke up and gave my husband a call.  He wasn't awake yet because the alarm didn't go off when it should have.  It still gave him plenty of time to get ready and get out the door.

Mom made some blueberry pancakes and some chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.  I had the blueberry pancakes.  I love the taste of pancakes with freshly picked blueberries.  I love just blueberries, I would eat some every time I passed by them.

I got a phone call around breakfast time from Roland telling me that the part that was supposed to be on the truck was not, and it would be Saturday or Tuesday before it would come in.  I was happy to get another day at home, but it was really cutting things close as I had an appointment in UT at 4 pm and my sister had one at 5 pm.  My dad did a lot of calling around to junkyards and dealers to see if they had the part.  None of them did, but one person told him that the part could be bypassed somehow (he told Dad how, but I can't tell you, because I have no mechanical abilities).   I called Roland and we decided that if the part didn't come in on Saturday, he would do the bypass, so either way I could head out Saturday afternoon.

We had been planning to have a yard sale at some time during the week.  It never happened, so with Saturday open, we ran an ad in the paper after I visited Susan's house to take inventory of what I still had there.  I decided to sell all the Tupperware for $5 per piece.  It would be easier to sell it and get a little extra money for the trip home and to help get things out of Susan's house.  After getting things looked through at Susan's we headed back to Mom's house.  Mom had to run a few errands, when she got home, her, Susan, Brenda and I went to the newspaper and had the ad put in for Saturday morning.  We then went to the grocery store and got chicken for Dad to grill and then headed home.

We brought the children swimming so Grandma could see how well they do.  They swam at the YMCA.  They swim so much better now than they did when we left NY.  Jim and Susan came and watched too. Susan's son went swimming with the kids. Bob showed up when we were planning to leave, so Mom and Jim told him and he left. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the swimming time.  My youngest didn't want to get out of the pool, it was actually a fight.

My brother had my two older children and I meet him at the mall in town.  He bought them each a new pair of shoes for school.  They love their shoes!  We always go to Payless ShoeSource, so they got some shoes that they usually would not have.  It was fun to watch them try the shoes on and run all over the store to make sure they fit and wouldn't cause blisters.  This store doesn't allow for returns once you wear them outside, so we were making sure that wouldn't be necessary.

After the shoe shopping, Jim had a softball game in the next town.  We had been having rain off and on, so I wasn't sure it was going to happen, but it did.  It even rained on the way over to the game, but it wasn't raining when we got there.  He played shortstop and did an excellent job.  His team won that game.  We headed home, and on the way home it started pouring rain.  It didn't let up for quite a while.  Dad was going to grill the chicken, but it was raining to hard, so they just tossed it in the oven.  It had been marinating in barbecue sauce.  It was absolutely delicious.  Mom had made a shrimp salad (shrimp, mayo and macaroni noodles) to go with it.  It was very good.

After dinner we just hung out and talked for awhile.  Around 8:30 pm the children decided to go upstairs and watch television.  Mom went up with them.  About 9 pm, Mom came downstairs to get a nighttime diaper for my youngest, this is the only time he wears diapers.  By the time she got back upstairs, he was apparently covered in blood.  She came downstairs saying to get a bandaid, and people were telling me not to come out.  I knew it was bad.  I am not good with blood, and being pregnant, no one wanting me around there.  He had sliced his finger open with a scoring tool for scrapbooking.  He was seeing how sharp it was.  Apparently it is very sharp.  Blood was everywhere, and he had wiped it on his face, behind his ears, and it was on his feet and his clothes.  I guess Mom was covered in blood too.

On the way to the hospital, my son was telling me, I said "Mom come up here, put it up high, and you didn't come.  I kept saying, Mommy, mommy, come here, and you didn't come."  Those were probably the saddest words I have ever heard.  I didn't hear him say a thing, and I told him if I had heard him, I would have been there.  Mom was only away for less than a minute to get the diaper.  She said when she got up there, he was speaking in a whisper.  She asked him if the bird had bit him, and he said no and showed her what he cut himself on.

We (Susan drove) headed to the hospital around 9:20 pm.  We were there until about 1:30 am.  I am thankful that Susan came too.  It would have been a very long night.  My son fell to sleep about 10:30 pm and was asleep until the doctor came in to do the stitches.  Susan kept me great company and it was wonderful to have that time to just visit with my little sister that I wouldn't have had otherwise.  I miss having my both of my sisters, my three brothers, and my parents around.

The doctor was very impressed with how well he did when he got the stitches in.  The only time he cried was when they gave him the shot of lidocaine to numb it.  He didn't really even cry, but he had tears streaming down his face.  I kept my face a few inches from him and talked to him the whole time, with my hand blocking any peripheral view I may catch a glimpse of.  I don't like stitches and I don't like blood.  He got 6 stitches (I thought they would just glue it shut)  in the his finger and I was told I had to keep it clean, with neosporin, and wrapped in gauze, to be changed twice daily.  The doctor praised him for how well he did and told him he could have a popsicle.  I am not sure it was a good idea that late at night, but nonetheless, he got a popsicle.  Thankfully he only wanted half of the twin stick popsicle. 

We headed home to Mom's.  When I got there, my daughter was awake and and my youngest was awake.  Jim, Bob, Colette  Susan's son and Mom were still awake also, waiting for a report on the little guy.  I gave my husband a call and let him know that our youngest needed 6 stitches, then I convinced all the kids that they should go to bed.  I started out planning to sleep downstairs, but then I brought my youngest up to the guestroom and we slept there, after my daughter fell asleep downstairs.  Everyone had left by the time we headed upstairs and I was more than exhausted. That was not the way that I planned to spend the last evening at home, and I am sure it wasn't his plan either.

Thursday, Aug 18... The Morning Phone Call and an Extended Vacation

Once again, I woke up bright and early and gave my husband a call.  I had woke up a little after 6 am and just laid in bed knowing there wouldn't be anything else to do.  I waited til about 7:30 am and gave my husband a call.  He was up and around.  I still laid there after we hung up, turned on the weather channel, which I hoped would lull me back to sleep.  Finally, I turned off the TV and slept for about 10 minutes, til my phone started ringing.  I rolled over and grabbed it.

It was my brother-in-law, Roland.  For some reason, I thought he would have already been at work, my brain wasn't fully functioning, guess I had went straight into a deep sleep.  He told me a line in my van had rusted through, that he needed a tow truck and that he was in Ellicottville.  This is a good half hour from his work, and I knew that he would never make it time now.  I woke up my parents and called AAA.  Thank goodness for AAA and their towing program, it is well worth the money!  Dad and I jumped in his car and raced, as fast as you can when you don't know that one of the roads was under construction and there is a flag guy, to Ellicottville.

On the way to Ellicottville, I called Roland back to hear the details again because in my half-awake state I didn't comprehend everything.  That is when I heard the whole story.  He pulled the van into a KwikFill Gas Station.  It was smoking like nobody's business.  The clerk called the fire department immediately, as he had parked right over one of the gas caps where the truck puts the gasoline in.  The clerk didn't want to take any chances that the van was on fire and would blow up the whole town.  So, by the time he was on the phone with me, a police officer and a couple other emergency vehicles had shown up.  He assured them that it was a coolant problem and it was only overheating.  I think that helped put everyone at ease.  He then went in and bought something to drink and eat, and told the clerk that he wouldn't park a burning vehicle at gas station.  We all know what kinds of problems that would have caused!

By the time I got to Ellicottville, the van was on the flatbed, and getting tied down.  I showed the man my AAA card and then headed back home.  On the way home, Mom called and asked us to get the potatoes, and eggs from the store, and the boys from Susan's house.  Dad dropped me off and went on his way to get these things.  We had a delicious brunch, around 11:30 am, with the sausage from Wednesday, boiled, then fried potatoes, eggs and toast.  It was well worth the wait!

I got another call from Roland, telling me that the line was only available through the dealer and wouldn't be in until Friday.  We were given one more day with the family, as we were planning to leave Friday at 8 am to get home by Sunday afternoon.  The bad part was knowing that there would be one more cost for the van.  I am just thankful that it happened when Roland had it, rather than when I was headed back West and would know no one that could do the work, and have to pay for the extra hotel nights and food until it could be finished.

After brunch, we went blueberry picking again.  This time Brenda came, and got a lot of pictures.  We got two quarts of blueberries, knowing that Friday morning would be a blueberry pancake day.  We had all been wanting some blueberry pancakes.  Nothing like getting them fresh from the blueberry bush!  It was a horribly, hot and humid day.  We got 2 quarts of blueberries and called it good.  We were sweating like crazy.

Upon our return home, it was time to start making cakes.  We were celebrating Roland's birthday that evening.  We made a white cake (which turned out to be coconut) with rainbow chip frosting and a lemon cake with chocolate frosting.  We made some cookies, both sugar and walnut chocolate chip, they didn't last long enough for the party and got some ice cream.  Between the making of cookies and the party, we hung out in the swings in Mom's backyard.  They have the most beautiful flower gardens that we enjoy looking at while we swing.

Grandma's goulash (which is a recipe of my father's mother) was made for supper that night.  We had several different kinds of sauce to choose from.  Everyone enjoyed it, and we had a lot of macaroni noodles left over.  When Roland got home around 8 pm, he had his supper, then we had the party.  I ate a piece of lemon cake and a small piece of the white cake (which turned out to be coconut) and ice cream.  My youngest only had ice cream, my two oldest each had a piece of cake with ice cream.  My youngest helped to scoop ice cream for everyone, and did a great job.  I was impressed.  We had almost a whole cake left if we had combined them.  I think we had all filled up on goulash!

My oldest son went over to his Aunt Susan's house for a sleepover with his cousin and my daughter went over to her Aunt Bre's house for a sleepover with her cousins after the party.  I stayed up with my youngest for about another hour and watched some games on TV with my Mom and brothers, then called it a night. 

Wednesday, Aug 17...Where has the time gone?

The morning started the same, I woke up and gave my husband a call.  I like to make sure that the morning is going well and that he is up and around.  He insists that I don't have to, but I feel better knowing what is going on.

This would be the day that I would get the rest of the food that I have been hoping to eat while I was here.  This includes the best doughnuts in town, the best cookie in town (the Monster Cookie), and ice cream from the Twist and Shake.  I thought that if I was going to do this to my stomach, I should give it a day to recuperate before hitting the road.  I headed off to the store and got the doughnuts and the cookie.  I ate the cookie on the way home.  When I got home, I had my doughnut with a glass of milk.  As the children woke up, they got their doughnuts as well.  I think this was one of the few days that Grandma didn't have to make pancakes for breakfast.

After lunch, Jim, Colette, Chris, Bob, Brenda, Susan, my nephew and my nieces, my youngest son, and I went to the Twist and Shake.  I got a small tin roof sundae w/ reese's pieces.  The sundaes have shrunk tremendously since last year, much to my dismay.  The baby sized ice cream cone increased, it was huge.  My son made it very clear that he didn't want any sprinkles or nuts on his cone.  It made one of the other patrons laugh.  My son couldn't even it enough to get to the cone.  By the time he was finished trying, I had decided that the small sundae was big enough for me.  I threw away the rest of his cone.   While we were at the Twist N Shake, my oldest two children were enjoying some time with their friends from our previous apartment complex.

It was a beautiful day outside and we spent some time out on the swings in my parents' backyard, enjoying conversation.  Dad heated up the grill and grilled some Johnsonville 3 Cheese Chicken Italian Sausage.  It was absolutely delicious.  I had it with mayo, onions and cheese on a hotdog bun.   I sure miss grilled food in the summertime!  There was enough left over that we planned to have it for breakfast w/ eggs and potatoes the next morning.

After supper, we all went outside to watch the bats, which my children refer to as "bat birds."  It doesn't make a lot of sense that bats could be both something that you play baseball or softball with, as well as something that flies around at dusk making high-pitched sounds.  It has always been a pastime of ours to watch them.  That night one flew under the branches of the trees and got closer than we had ever been to them before.  There had been mosquitoes hovering overhead, but I think it took care of those quickly.  I have to admit that it was too close for comfort at that moment.  After that, it stayed its distance.  We spent a while out back talking before it got too dark and we decided to go in.  We watched some ballgames and then called it a night.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A trip to Buffalo, Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011

We woke up this morning and got ready for the trip out of town.  We had breakfast and lunch at home, then headed to Buffalo.  Mom had a doctor's appointment for her foot at 2:15 PM, so we left at 12:40.  Mom, the children, Susan, her son, and I all rode up there in the van.  Mom told the doctor that we were heading the zoo afterward, so they got her in quickly.  We were headed to the zoo within 30 minutes. 

My children have always loved the Buffalo Zoo.  As soon as you walk in, you see the elephants.  We got pictures in front of the elephants, then headed over to the sea lions.  My youngest loved the "dolphins."  They would swim back and forth.  My daughter explained that dolphins are blue and sea lions are black.  He was still convinced that they are dolphins.  All three of them kept running back and forth to see them swim.  It was his favorite exhibit at the zoo.  We walked over and saw the otters next.  They were more active than I had ever seen them before.  I lifted my youngest up to see them.  He enjoyed watching them swim and play together.   We then proceeded to the Lorikeet exhibit, where we were just in time to feed them.  The children were apprehensive about holding the little paper cup for the lorikeets to eat out of, so I helped them.  Once they saw that it would be safe, they wanted to do it themselves.  We were in the exhibit for quite a while as there were several people trying to feed them.  Finally all they food was gone, only after one of the birds stole the cup from Caleb.  It proceeded to dump the food out, so I think it would have been better off not being so grabby :).

While we were in with the Lorikeets, Jim, Colette, Bob, Bre, my three youngest nieces, Chris, and Keller showed up at the zoo.   Mom, Susan and her son went to get them into the zoo.  By the time the birds were fed, we went to the elephant exhibit and found everyone there. We had about 25 minutes left to spend at the zoo, so we did a very fast tour.  We saw the sea lions and otters again, then went to the rain forest exhibit and swung by the bears on our way out.  We had to meet Dad and Brenda at the Old Country Buffet, or we would have spent more time in the zoo.

Off to the Old Country Buffet we all went.  We met Dad and Brenda a little late, but we got there nonetheless.  Thankfully we had gotten coupons where two children eat free with a paying adult, so all the children were free, except my 12 yr-old nephew.  I had an interesting, and gross, problem at the Old Country Buffet.  None of the food, or toppings, were labeled.  They had stuffed baked potatoes, and next to it, something that looked like sour cream.  I am a lover of baked potatoes, so I grabbed that, put on the "sour cream," headed to the salad bar and added some mushrooms and black olives and back to the table I went.  When I bit into the baked potato, I knew instantly that it wasn't sour cream.  I chewed a few times to try to figure out what it was... it was horseradish sauce.  As much as I love baked potatoes, I hate horseradish.  I don't eat cocktail sauce, I don't put horseradish sauce on roast beef sandwiches, it makes me sick.  I ran directly to the bathroom and spit it out.  I then ate some desserts to try to wash the taste out of my mouth, all that accomplished was consuming way too many calories and not wanting to see food for a while.

My children sat with their cousin at the table next to me.  They totally enjoyed the time together.  You could tell that it was as if they were eating all by themselves, even though all the parents were very close by.  After everyone was done eating, it was time to head to the Bison ballgame.  We all loaded into separate cars, and went to the stadium.  The lines were long but worth the wait.  Once we got in the stadium, we found the seats and watched the ballgame.  Out came the peanuts and sunflower seeds, which made all the children, and many adults happy.  I couldn't eat another thing after trying to wash that taste out of my mouth.  Roland showed up after work, while we were still waiting in line, so we all went in together.  Dad made it on the Jumbo Tron twice.  It was really cute to see him up there.  Bob made it on once.   

The Bisons won the ball game in the bottom of the 7th.  If the Mud Hens catcher could have held on to the ball at home, the guy that scored the winning run would have been out.  I never thought that it would even be a close game at home.  There were fireworks after the game, which we sat through.  It was really loud because we were so close to where they were letting them off.  My children enjoyed watching them a lot. 

The day in Buffalo had come to an end.  Who knows, if and when, we will ever return to Buffalo.  It was a fun day.  I headed home with Brenda, my children, Jim and Colette.  I drove and followed Dad, Mom, Bob and Susan.  Dad was driving.  By the time we got home, we were ready for bed.  It was somewhere around midnight.

Highlights from Sunday and Monday, Aug 14 and Aug 15

Sunday started quite early for us, Church starts at 9:30 am, which is 7:30 our time.  We got up and got going about 8:45.  Thankfully the children all knew what they were going to be wearing, because we only packed one thing for church each.  This was a big day for my 12 yr-old nephew.  He was getting the Aaronic Priesthood and would be made a Deacon.  We didn't know he would be getting his priesthood until we arrived in Cleveland.  I am so glad we could be there for the occasion.  My dad did the ordination.

After church, Dad made some burgers and we had chips and dip with it.  I hadn't had a good burger in a long time, since I am not good at cooking them.  Italian sausage was also made, but by the time those were ready to be eaten, we all had eaten our fill of burgers.

Bob was bringing the kids to see the Smurfs, but the movie was packed.  He had even packed up snack bags full of fruit for all of them.  They headed out to the movie, but there wasn't enough room for them all to sit together, so he gave me a call and we met at the playground across from the ballpark.  The kids played for at least an hour and a half, and we caught glimpses of the ball game.  Once again, it was time to see about another movie.  Bob loaded all the children into the van, then headed off.  I went to the ballpark and watched games.  My mom and sisters showed up to watch with me, then my brother came, then my dad, then Roland came, then we picked up Colette for the Championship game, then Bob showed up again with the children.  We all watched the final game of the City Cup together.  Granny's (aka Muccis/CCLodge) ended up beating Behan Trucking for the championship.  After the game, we went home and ate the Italian sausage. 

Monday rolled around and we had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.  Dad, Jim, Colette, Bob and I went to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  I thought it would be pretty uninteresting, but it wasn't as bad as I thought.  I think it took a long time to get to the action though.  Mom watched the children while we were gone.  After the movie, Dad and I went to Wal-Mart and grabbed some Kraft American Cheese Singles as we all decided we would head to a Bison's game on Tuesday, and this would make it buy one ticket, get one free.  We bought a lot of cheese, so we thought we would have grilled cheese or grilled cheese and bologna sandwiches with tomato soup.  I can't eat bologna while I'm pregnant, so I had tuna.  That night, everyone came over and I made a bunch of sandwiches, a total of 30.  There were 1 1/2 left.  I found out that my sister-in-law had never had tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches.  She liked it.  It is definitely worth a try!

We had a busy day planned for Tuesday so we just took it easy on Monday night.  Movies were rented and the children and others watched Alpha and Omega.  After the movie was over, it was time for bed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saturday, Aug 13, 2011

The morning began with a softball game, which would be followed by many more.  The game started at 10 am.  My sister-in-law, Colette, was playing, my brother, Jim,  was coaching.  This would be the beginning of many ball games for the day.  When we weren't at her games, we were at my brothers' games.  The first game started at 10 am, I think we were at the ball field from 10 am to 9:30 or 10 pm without many breaks. 

My brothers' (Jim, Bob, and bro-in-law Roland, many of the other teammates are like brothers) team, Hammond Furniture (went on to lose their game that was at 11:15, then win their next game which started at 3 pm, then lose the next game which was right after that.  They did well, but they had a hard bunch of guys to play against.  The teams they lost to got 4th place, I believe (Allen's Liquor) and 2nd place (Behan Trucking), out of 20 teams.  They beat State King and a team that I can't remember, they were a pick-up team. 

My sister-in-law's team went on to win the tournament in the women's division.  The only game they lost was in the Championship game.  They were in the winner's bracket, so they got to play again and the won.  Colette hit amazingly, and in my opinion, turned the game around for the team.  She hit a triple and a double in the final championship game.  I think she must have had the biggest cheering section on the team.  I was so happy to be able to be there to see how well she did!  

My children, my sisters, my mom and I were also blessed to be able to go to a birthday party for a little one that turned 1 a few days before.  It was wonderful to see Meg, her little one and Neila.  They might as well be family, because we love them as they were.  We didn't get to spend much time as the day was busy, but I was so thankful to be able to see them.  My children consider her little one a cousin, since I've always told them that Meg is like my little sister.

The children had a good time playing with their cousins at the ballgames.  I wish that we could be together all the time.  I am hoping that we are all together again very soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Friday, Aug 12, 2011

After a short night's sleep, morning came and it was wonderful to wake up in Western NY!  I woke up to give my husband a call and make sure he was up and around.  Then I heard someone at the door and went downstairs to see my beautiful nieces and their mom.  My two older children had slept over at their Aunt and Uncles house, so I kissed all my nieces, gave their mom a hug, then woke up my youngest so he could see his cousins.   We then headed over to see the two older children.  It was wonderful to see all the children together again.  I had missed them so much!

We went back to my parents' house, where my mom made her famous chocolate chip pancakes.  The children have always had those when they slept over at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  They were as delicious as I can remember them.  My oldest niece in NY had a whole plate full, I was quite impressed!

After breakfast, everyone headed off for a while.  My children had to get bathed.  When lunchtime rolled around, we ordered subs from a favorite grocery store in the area.  They make 16 inch subs for close to $7 each, and they are delicious.  It was something we had looked forward to having, and we didn't have to wait long.  Everyone came over for lunch.

After lunch, we (my nieces, Bre, Chris, my children, Bob and I) went to the blueberry patch, where we picked 4 quarts of blueberries (yummy) and then to the park about a mile up the road.  The playground was always a favorite, as they have something for all ages.  It was about 4:30 pm and time to head back to Grandma and Grandpa's house and get ready for some softball.

My brothers' team had a game at 7 pm.  Colette's team had a game at 5:45 pm.  Both teams won, it was a good start to City Cup weekend.  After the games were over, we had supper.  It was Grandpa's Spaghetti with his secret sauce.  What a treat!  Then my daughter, 2 of my nieces, Bob and I walked to the corner store and got ice cream with a lot of yummy toppings.  That was dessert, each of the children got to pick a flavor.  We ended up with Perrys Birthday Bash, Cherry Panda Paws, Banana Split, and Tropical Sherbet.  I was surprised that my dad liked the Birthday Bash, because he generally doesn't eat anything blue!

It was pretty late at night before we all went to sleep, but it was a wonderful day!  I so enjoyed every moment at home, therefore, I am updating what happened, because I didn't want to take time away from the family to sit down and write what was going on.  I wanted to enjoy every moment of it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Trip Home

We left to come home early on Aug 11, 2011, to visit/surprise my family.  The only person that knew about the trip was my Mom, and I guess my brother-in-law figured it out, since he was needing to work on my van.  The day began at 5:30 am for the children, 4:11 am for me.

My children didn't even know we were headed home until Wednesday night, Aug 10, 2011.  They were excited to know they would soon be seeing their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Our first flight was scheduled for take-off at 7:50 am, it took off pretty close to that time.  I was sitting with my oldest and my youngest son for this trip, I was in the middle.  My youngest son was asking when we were going to "blast off."  I told him to look out the window and tell me when we "blast-off."  When the plane started picking up speed all three of the children were looking out the window, waiting for that special moment when we were no longer on the ground.

The flights had in-flight television from DirecTV.  It was free until about 10 minutes after we were in the air.  Once we found SpongeBob SquarePants, the youngest got a big smile.  This was while people were still boarding the plane.  His smile brought smiles to faces of others that were boarding the plane.  It was really nice!

My oldest two enjoyed looking out the window, seeing that we were in the clouds.  They liked the idea of getting free pop.  They don't get to drink pop very often, so it was a special treat.  We packed a lot of snacks, along with their DS games and the laptop that would be used as a DVD player.   We hit some turbulence about an hour into the flight.  I saw my childrens' faces light right up.  My youngest exclaimed, "Let's do it again!"  Which made me laugh.  The flight attendant appreciated his enthusiasm also.  The older two exclaimed that it was like an amusement park ride.  If only most of the adults could find the joy in the turbulence!  We know that we should probably brace for more!  About 2 1/2 hours later, we landed in Houston TX at around 11 am local time.

Upon landing, we had to walk swiftly to the next gate for our flight to DC.  This would be another 3 hour flight.  We had no time to stop and eat.  Thankfully we had stocked up on the snacks.  Snacks on the plane are anything but cheap!  We had hoped to grab a burger between flights.  We got to the next flight in just about enough time to start boarding the plane.  On we go.  This flight I was sitting by my daughter and my youngest son (they sat next to each other), my oldest was sitting with his Aunt, a row behind us.  We decided to purchase the in-flight television, as this was going to be another 3 hour trip.  It helped the trip go quicker.  My two children that were sitting next to me took a little catnap about an hour before the plane landed.

We arrived in Washington, DC, with a 30 minute layover.  Thankfully, the next gate we had to get to was right next door.  It was a quick commute over to there.  The plane was small and full.  We had the first row, as there were 4 seats across, and then one seat on the next row.  My oldest got about a half-hour nap at the beginning of this flight.  It took 50 minutes, and we were in Cleveland. 

It was wonderful to get off that plane and know that there were no more connections, we would finally see Mom and Susan, and head back to Western NY.  We all gave each other hugs and kisses upon finally seeing each other after several months.  Then we jumped in the van, found a McDonalds (which is a story, in and of itself), and headed home.   The trip home was about 3 1/2 hours, there were lots of laughs, between hearing people try to count to 10 in Japanese and other stories we shared about the last few months.  We found out when we pulled into town that my brothers won the Championship game for their bracket in the league.  We arrived here at about 11 pm.

We hid in Mom's house, in the bathroom, and surprised people as they came in.  We shared many hugs and kisses.  It is wonderful to be home!  We stayed up for a couple more hours, catching up, and enjoying the company of those we love, then headed to bed. 

Oh, and yes, we did win a $100 discount on rent at the pool party on Wednesday.  I will write more when I get on this computer again, tomorrow or Tuesday, but I am enjoying every minute with my family.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pool Party with Free Food

Today was the long anticipated pool party, well it is still going on, but I am not there anymore.  The children got to swim for 45 minutes.  It was all my nerves could take.  Imagine an apartment complex sized swimming pool, full of swimming pool toys, and people.  Then imagine me trying to watch 3 children in that pool.  It wasn't fun for me.  It was actually about as much stress as a 29 week pregnant woman can take. 

After the pool time was over, there was dinner.  Pizza, salad, watermelon (yuck), cookies and Italian ice.  It was good pizza.  I had pepperoni pizza with salad, then some Italian ice and a cookie.  My children had pizza, some had watermelon, all had Italian ice, and one ate salad.  It was a good time.  They are doing raffles to give away cash (who couldn't use that), a discount on rent (good as cash to me), and other prizes.  We have to be present to win.  It continues until 7 pm.  It is a hot day.  Brenda is doing the first 30 minute shift alone, 5:30 to 6, I will take the 6 to 6:30 and Keith can finish it up with the 6:30 to 7.  Hopefully we win something!  

I need to get the swimsuits and towels hung out to dry so they are ready the next time they are going to be used.  Hopefully I will be blogging about winning a prize tomorrow :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Corn Dogs and French Fries

Last night I made a big announcement.  I announced that we would be having Pace's Corn Dogs for supper tonight.  I had a coupon for Pace's Corn Dogs for 50 cents each, and I could buy 10 at the price.  The children were excited, as was myself and my sister.  I don't know if I could really say my husband was excited, but he would eat them too.

Tonight on the way home from work, I pulled the coupon out of my purse, and told my husband which exit to get off on.  We pulled in and I placed our order.  I added a large French fries, just for good measure.    We love French fries.  We waited several minutes before it was our turn at the drive-thru window.  This is a pretty popular restaurant in the area. It was finally our turn, we made payment and received the food.  I held the food on my lap all the way home.  The smell permeated car, I was excited to get home!

Upon walking through the door, I was greeted by my two youngest children.  They remembered what I told them I was bringing for dinner.  My youngest isn't a fan of the corn dog, per se.  He loves the Hot Dog on a Stick... which means I eat the corn breading that is hiding the treasure for him.  He also loves just the stick.  This nifty dinner goes from something you eat, to something you can play with.  He loves the stick!

My daughter ran outside and got her brother and soon we were all at the table, or at least close to the table.  Our dining room table is a card table.  It works for us.  I passed out the French fries, because the children wanted their own.  The mustard was on the table and we ate.  My corn dog needs to have mustard on it.  It is how I can always remember eating them.  It is was a nice dinner, I didn't have to warm up the house, and everyone enjoyed it. 

Sometimes as a mom, it is nice to have something simple, which isn't very expensive, and which everyone will enjoy.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I love to swim, I have been swimming since I was toddler.  Growing up in Houston, TX, until I was nine, I don't know that someone could survive that heat without swimming.  My parents would bring myself and my siblings to the pool regularly.  They would swim around with us and just keep an eye on us as it was a public pool, and I can remember it being quite crowded.

I wish that I had done this with my children.  I was always scared that they might "think" they could swim, jump into any given body of water, and not be able to swim.  I have regretted not getting them into, and leaving them in swimming lessons.  It seemed that whenever we would start lessons, they would get sick...the dreaded runny nose and cough.

There is a pool in our complex and my sister and my husband have taken the time to bring the children to the pool.  I would love to be in the pool, but with my Pemphigoid Gestationis, I can't bring myself to get into a swimsuit.  You can tell that there is something wrong with my skin, although it isn't contagious, no one else knows that by looking at me.

My children are learning to swim.  We bought the children swim wings to get them started.  My youngest sank, my oldest couldn't go forward, and my daughter got herself going with them.  The swim wings gave my daughter all the confidence in the world.  After a week or so, she took those swim wings off, and she can swim pretty well on her own.  She puts her face in the water and everything.

My oldest son had no desire to go back into the water for a while after kicking and splashing and just going backward, or nowhere at all.  I decided to buy 2 swim noodles, one green one (my oldest son's favorite color) and one pink one.  The noodles have made it to the pool twice.  The kids aren't interested.  I bought him a kickboard, and it wasn't big enough.  He put the swim wings back on this past week.  When my husband was in the pool, my son had more confidence.  He seems to be getting the hang of it.  It may not happen as quickly as it did for his sister, but I am glad that it is happening. 

When he was a couple years younger, he was taking swim lessons.  His sister ran over to him, and told him he was going to drown.  I may never forget the sheer terror in his eyes as he came over to me crying, shivering, telling me he was going to drown.  He never wanted to go in the water again.  He is finally giving it another try!

My youngest is the proud owner of a training suit.  It is basically a life vest that keeps him above water.  He loves to jump into the water, go underwater, and pop right back up.  He comes up with his eyes closed really tight.  He swims all around the pool with this.  He knows that without it, he could not swim.  He knows that he isn't allowed to go in the pool without the training suit.  I am just glad that he has a healthy respect for the water, that he knows that he can't go in it without his mommy, his daddy or his aunt.

I look forward to being able to go swimming again, but until then, I will enjoy watching my children master the art of swimming.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fever, runny nose, and cough

It seems to happen on occasion.  One child greets me in middle of the night stating, "Mommy, I can't sleep."  It is 2 am Saturday morning, and I know that when I checked a few hours ago, he was fast asleep.  It takes a few seconds to gain any composure so that I can start to think.

It is my 8 year-old making the statement.  He rarely, if ever, gets sick.  I know that it isn't a good thing.  I feel his head, he is hot.  I get up to take his temperature, the thermometer is gone.  I feel his belly, that is hot too.  For some reason, I have always checked both.  I go back to the medicine cabinet and grab out the children's acetaminophen.  After reading the label, I see that he gets 2 tsp.  I grab a medicine measuring cup thing, and measure it out.  He drinks it like a little trooper.  After about an hour, he is sounds asleep.  Me, not so lucky.  I see 3 and 4 am roll around.  I stop looking at the clock.  His fever is gone for now. 

In the morning, about 8:30 am, I tell my husband that our son is sick, and I am heading to Wal-Mart for a new thermometer and ibuprofen.  Off I go, with those two things in mind.  I get there, and I end up buying a lot more.  I get popsicles and fudgesicles as I know those are nice to have when there is a fever.  I get some soup, macaroni and cheese and peas.  He loves to have macaroni and cheese w/ tuna and peas.  That is what will be for supper.  I make my purchase and head home.

I promptly give the ibuprofen as the fever has returned.  It is 100 degrees.  During the course of the day, he gets one more dose of ibuprofen and a couple more doses of acetaminophen.  By evening, he is well, no sign of a fever and he is back to his old self.  We even go feed the ducks and go on a walk.  He takes time to play on a playground.  Thank goodness, everyone is well!

Now it is Sunday.  We were all at church.  I look over at my 3 year-old.  Nose is running, he is trying to suck it back up.  Yes, 3 year-old children, at least my children at that age, seem to find some great pleasure in trying to suck it back in.  I have my husband bring him out of the chapel, to the bathroom, to blow his nose.  He doesn't have a fever.  Chalk it up to whatever is in the air this time of the year.  He throws in a cough every now and then.  I don't know if he has a little tickle in his throat or what is going on.

Remembering the fever from yesterday very well, I grab the ibuprofen.  Better safe than sorry.  I ask him if he wants medicine.  He loves medicine, so I know the answer.  He wants squirt medicine.  Meaning, the medicine that is administered orally and squirts out of a syringe looking thing.  I explain that we don't have that, he will just have to drink it.  Just as happily, he drinks it out of the medicine cup.  He seems to be doing better now.

It is hard to see the children under the weather.   I always feel bad for them.  Especially when they don't know exactly how to explain what is going on.  It is hard to guess what the best plan of action is, but I do what I think will help them the most.  Hopefully by this evening, he will be up to feeding the ducks and going on a little walk.  Oh, and by the way, he has been to sleep by 10:30 the past 2 nights.  The sleep readjustment schedule seems to be working pretty well!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

When I think of home...

Home is truly where the heart is.  I have two places I call home and they are almost 2,000 miles away from each other.  Both places I call home is where my family is.  The apartment I live in is one of these homes.  It is where my husband, three children and sister are.  It is a wonderful place to be.  There is only one thing I would change if I could, this home would be almost 2,000 miles away also.

I miss the place that I left on March 18, 2011.  That is the other home.  That is where almost the rest of my family is, except for a brother, his wife and 4 children.  I affectionately refer to this as home on a regular basis.  When I am sitting in my apartment and I tell my husband that I wish I was home, he knows what I am talking about.  He doesn't look at me like I am crazy and ask where I think I am right now.  He knows that I long for the days in Olean.

I miss the long days sitting in my parents' backyard on the swings and watching the children play.  They have beautiful flower gardens back there that we would sit and swing by.  There were hundreds of hours spent sitting back there, laughing and talking, or just thinking.  I would go out there and just lay down on the swing and think at times.  It was a place of peaceful solitude.  My dad can grill food like no other.  He can make regular meat taste extraordinary.  I would sometimes go in the backyard and swing while he would flip burgers, chicken, steak, Italian sausage or hotdogs.  Regardless of what it was, we all knew we were in for a treat when he asked for the pan to be brought out to put the cooked food on.  My dad also makes the best spaghetti sauce in the world, my kids refer to it as "Grandpa's Secret Sauce."  Whenever I make spaghetti, my daughter says that she wishes we could have "Grandpa's Secret Sauce."  The other thing that gets mentioned frequently is Mom's Fried Pan Stew.  This was passed down from her grandmother, to her father, I do believe.  It is wonderful!

I miss the long evenings of softball.  My father was an amazing softball player and my brothers are now.  My first word was "ball," because Dad played softball during my infant years, well into my 20s.  There was a hiatus for him when we moved up to NY, but he eventually started playing again.  I believe he even played a game or two, competitively, in his 60s.  I would see the lights of a ballpark and I guess I would yell "ball."  That love has never gone away.  My brother was telling me last night how it is weird not having the big cheering section in the outfield during games.  All I could do was agree, I am definitely there in spirit!  I sit here at night and wish I was at a ballpark watching my brothers playing their game.

I miss Sunday football at my parents' house.  Although I haven't actually missed it yet, I know that I am going to.  We moved after football season ended and it hasn't started yet, but I know what will be happening on Sundays even though I won't be there.  There will be a house full of people, sprawled out all over the family room, watching whatever game is on at the time.  It is a time when not only family, but many friends, pile into the house, and enjoy several hours of games.  I would make brownies every Sunday after church and we would have those, along with something that was usually a quick thing to make/eat between getting home from church and football starting.  It was often hotdogs, sausage or sandwiches.  Sometimes we would eat that, then have brownies, then forget to eat the rest of the day, because we were enjoying the time so much.

I miss being able to go to the YMCA with members of my family.  My mom and I would go water walking in the therapy pool, which is a pool that was warmer than the other pool.  We don't really care to be cold.  My sisters would join us when we would go at a time that was convenient for them.  We would generally walk for 30 minutes to an hour.  By the time we finished, we would be sweaty.  It was a good workout.  We joined some Mission Meltdowns, where there would be many members of our family on a team.  It was a fun time.  One time, the whole team was family.  That was a good time.  It was nice to be able to participate as a family.

I guess I can just sum it all up by saying I miss the family, the times together, the laughs, the conversations, the trips, the movies, the times we would go out to eat...

My parents' house is for sale now.  This is the house that I grew up in, I lived in from the time I was 9 until I was 18, then during summers while I was in college.  This is the house that I moved back into after college was over and I lived there until I moved to California, where the love of my life was living at the time.  This is the place that when I moved back to Olean, I would spend many hours with my family, including my husband and children.  This is the place that I call home.  Although I am excited to have them move closer to us, and they are excited to do it, it will be weird to not have that as HOME.  So, if you read this, and are looking for a HOME in Western NY (or know anyone that is)... there is a beautiful place in middle of a small town, about 15000 people, that is waiting for someone to buy it, I hear it went on the market today.  The house has been a place of love and happiness. I believe that a home carries the disposition of the people that have lived in it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Little Night Owl

I have generally been one to be to sleep by 10 pm, if everything goes right.  My older two children are in bed by 8:30, or 9 pm, at the latest on school nights, 10 during the summer.  They are usually asleep between 9 and 10 regardless.

Then there is my youngest fellow.  He has recently started turning into a little night owl.  He was up until midnight a few nights ago, 11 a couple nights ago and 11:30 last night.  Granted, he sleeps til about 9 or 10 am, but that doesn't help me out much.  I can't quite put my finger on the reason that the late nights started. 

Last night, I put "Wonder Pets!" on Netflix as something for him to watch as he fell to sleep.  I don't think he has seen it more than a couple times.  He quickly picked out which pet was whom.  The Duckling is my youngest, he chose.  Then the Turtle is my oldest and my daughter is the Guinea Pig.  The older two children were long asleep before my youngest decided that they are little animals on the show.

It was with great amusement that he would tell me what was going on with the show.  He would turn to me in a high pitched, excited voice, and yell "The Wonder Pets are saving the _______."   It is fun to watch his little eyes and the excitement in them as he watches the little animals save the other animals.  They saved the unicorn, the penguin, the reindeer, the dolphin, and the duckling, before he fell to sleep.  I don't remember which was saved in what order, but the Wonder Pets did save each one. 

A few years ago, when he was just a baby, my brother and his daughter, my children, and myself would hop in my minivan.  Quite frequently, we would start singing the Wonder Pets Theme Song... "What's gonna work? Teamwork!..." that is pretty much all I can remember of the song now, though it seems I will be relearning it quickly.  It brought back those memories though.  My two oldest used to sit in front of the television and watch Wonder Pets also.

My task is set though.  I need to get him back on a good sleep schedule, especially before the baby comes into the world.  I know that the first thing that I will have to do is to make sure that the Wonder Pets are not turned on, or Johnny Test, or probably anything else somewhat exciting to a 3 year-old.  We may go on a later-than-usual walk, but not after nightfall.  We shall see how that works for tonight, as long as their isn't another evening thunder/lightning storm moving in tonight.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Husband, My Protector, My Best Friend

I got married to my best friend on Sept 7, 2001.  It is hard to believe that it has been almost 10 years.  He is my stronghold.  He makes me a better person.  I would not be the person I am today without him. 

He makes me laugh, he is there to wipe my tears (there are a lot more when I am pregnant).  He gives me a back or foot massage when I ask for one.  Another thing that goes along well with pregnancy!  He shares his hopes and dreams with me.  We make plans for our future together.  I look forward to him walking through the door after work.  I try to make sure that I am awake to see him off to work on the days that I am not carpooling in with him.  It is nice to have a morning prayer and a kiss, even if it is before 6 am.  If I am not awake, he lets me sleep, knowing that I must need it.  He cares about my feelings and never wants to see me hurt. 

He tries to protect me from things that he knows would bother me.  He knows me well enough to know what will make me mad or sad.  He asks people to not tell me things if he knows it might cause me concern.  He knows my temper (yes, I have one!).  Sometimes things are better left unsaid, if I don't know them, then it won't hurt me or upset me.  Although, I like to think I know everything (haha, what woman doesn't like to think that), he knows that it is better for me not to know.  I don't call this lying, I would call this protecting.  If something is going to upset someone, why should they know it?!  I mean, if it isn't going to kill them or hurt them not to know...

I couldn't have married a better man.  He loves me, he loves the children, and he loves his Heavenly Father.  He serves others, he is always looking for a chance to help others.  For the past couple of months, he has had a muscle strain that we thought was a hernia.  The doctor informed us that he is very certain that it isn't a hernia, but he isn't to strain himself.  He has to take it easy so he can heal.  This has cut back on his ability to help others.  He always wants to offer to help people move in to, or out of their apartment.  I have to remind him that he has to heal. 

He is truly my best friend.  I can't say what my life would be like if I had never met him.  I am so glad that I don't have to know!  We beat odds in meeting each other, as I was living in NY and he was living in CA.  It was a chance encounter on  We hit things off immediately, he had served his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission.  That is the mission that I lived in.  I had entered the chat as NYLady.  He said that he served his mission in NY.  I was all ready to tell him that there is more to NY than the city.  I asked him where exactly.  He said  "Jamestown."  That is where it started, he was talking about a city less than 60 miles to the west of me.  We chatted late into the night...and every night there after.  At that is my happily, ever after.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Long Term Goals...

Long Term Goals...  What a big, scary phrase! 

I was talking to my older brother yesterday.  He was back East visiting the family.  He was going to be heading to Buffalo soon to catch his flight back to Washington.  During our conversation, we got on the topic of goals.  Things that we want to accomplish, not really short-term goals, since they are things that we can't do right now, but things that we look forward to doing once we can get the time or we feel like it is in our best interest.

I started running in Feb of 2009.   I started running because I was overweight, well, obese (what a horrible word to hear someone say to you!).   In April 2009, I was diagnosed with hammertoes and had to get surgery on 3 toes to correct it, which consisted of removing bone.  There went my running for about 2 1/2 months.  The furthest I had run before the surgery was a 5K on a treadmill.  In June, when I could start running again, I found a half marathon to sign up for.  I signed up, and started training.  In October, I finished the Warren Co YMCA Super Kwik Half Marathon in 2:33:55.  I was very happy to have finished.  I crossed the finish line with my husband, three children, brother and his wife, sisters, bro-in-law and nephew cheering me on.

I have completed 2 marathons, they were both last fall, and I didn't come in last. Sept 25, 2010, was Akron Roadrunner and then Nov 13, 2011, was the Richmond SunTrust.  When I was in college, at the ripe old age of 19, I took a class where we were essentially asked to make a Bucket List.  I have no idea where the list is now, or very much that was on it, but I do remember that one of them was to finish a marathon without coming in last place.  At that age, I was not even a runner (I was that horrible O word at 19).  I think that I had run a few times here and there, but I always remembered that as being a goal. 

My goal is to complete two more marathons. I want to be able to give a marathon medal to each of my children.  They are essentially the reason that I run, that I lace up my shoes and head out the door.  There are many times when long runs, we are talking 10 miles or more, would  take a couple of hours at least.  It was time away from mommy, but they never complained that I was gone so long.  They understood that it is something that I want to, need to, do.  They saw me cross the finish line at the Richmond Marathon, holding signs and cheering me on.  It brought tears to my eyes, seeing how devoted they were to me and how much joy it brought them to see me following through.

I learned to love running, I believe, because it is a fast way to burn a lot of calories.  Well, only as fast as you can run, which isn't very fast in my case, compared to others. When I am running though, I am running my best.   I know that I will never be at the head of any pack of runners, but someday I may win my age group, if I am 80 and still running, which I hope that I will be.  That will probably be because I am the only one that is 80 and running, but that is okay :) I do it because I enjoy it.  I know that I am helping myself live a healthier lifestyle than I did in the past.  Therefore, I believe, that I will be around longer for my children, and then, hopefully grandchildren, and so forth.

I told my brother, that I hope to be running again in January.  I realize that after this pregnancy, and the c-section I will have at some point in October, I hope no sooner, it will be most likely January before I run again.  I will have to start slow, probably with walking during the couple of months before January to start to rebuild my cardiovascular capabilities.  It is amazing how fast they dwindle.  I am sure I will be elated when I run my first 1/2 mile, then my first mile, and so forth.  It is starting over, but it will be so worth it.  The marathon training probably won't start until the baby is one or two years-old.  I will be doing 5 Ks and 10 Ks until then.  I do know that it will start eventually though.  I think that my children may want to join me for some of the shorter runs.  They seemed to really enjoy running, when we used to do that together. 

What are some health goals you have set and/or accomplished?  What are some ways you have attained these goals, or plan to? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One Eventful Evening

Last evening probably rates as one of the most eventful evenings I have had in a really long time.  We decided at about 4:30 pm that we would head over to see the Ogden Raptors play some baseball, after all, we had free tickets.  Nothing like a free night of entertainment!  The children weren't really into watching a 9 inning ballgame, I don't think they were really into watching a 1 inning ballgame to be honest.  We made it to the end of the 4th, which took 1 1/2 hours.  My husband, sister and I decided that was long enough.  We loaded back into the cars and headed home. 

My husband and oldest son wanted to drive passed the Ogden Temple which is being completely renovated, the whole design will be different when it is finished.  I could see while I was driving that it is completely gutted.  It was a sad sight to me, as this Temple is near to my heart.  Keith and I lived right across the street from it when we got our first apartment.  We would visit it as often as we could, as we didn't have many things that would keep us from going.  I was pregnant with my oldest, so the only restraint for me was morning sickness.  They then went to Costco to fill up the gas tank.

My sister, my two youngest children, and I headed back home, stopping only at Maverik before arriving at the apartment.  We grabbed some snacks and a movie out of the Redbox.   We didn't get to see very much of the movie.  If the eventful evening were to stop here, I would have thought that it was still an eventful evening.  Just getting 3 children to attempt to sit still at a baseball game seems eventful enough to me!  But, the eventful evening continues...

It must be around 10 pm by this time.  I heard a few noises outside our door.  My son unlocks the front door, opens it, shuts it, and we have him relock it.  Within 10 seconds, someone is turning our doorknob from the outside, trying to get into the house, using quite a bit of force.  I went to the door and asked who it was, no answer.  My husband comes over as things were getting more forceful.  I can hear keys jingling.  My husband checks the peephole.  It is no one we recognize.  We were telling him to go away, he doesn't belong here.  He was quite insistent that he does.  We sent the children to a backroom to hide.  We told him if he didn't leave, we were going to call the police.  He finally left, but just to the bottom of our complex stairs. 

I went out onto our balcony and I could see his legs and shoes at the bottom.  I asked the neighbors that are on their balcony just downstairs if that person just got down there.  He had, so this indeed was our visitor.  He wasn't going anywhere.  I had my sister call the police.  I told the downstairs neighbor what had just happened, it is a hard thing to believe, since we live in a peaceful place. The neighbor downstairs got a good look at him. 

When the police arrive, we weren't about to open the door without checking who it was.  My husband gave them a short version of what happened and the downstairs neighbor had agreed to give a description.  They found the "visitor" quickly, talking to and patting a bush.  He was still in the courtyard, which didn't make me feel good about anything.  After several minutes passed, the police officers reappeared on our doorstep to give us an explanation.

The man that was trying to get into our apartment was our neighbor from diagonally across the hallway.  He recently moved in.  He had taken a couple of sleeping pills as prescribed and ended up going for a (sleep)walk.  He was very asleep or disoriented when he was trying to get into our house.  That would explain why we were hearing the sounds of keys and his insistence that he does live here. They turned the person over to his roommate who said he would make sure that he doesn't leave again.   Thankfully, that is all it was.  A person on his medication that was having some of the side effects that we hear about during the commercials.  Also, it is good that he was located and returned to his place of residency before anything happened to him. 

The eventful night finally drew to a close, but there were a few lessons we learned from it.  First of all, it is in our best interest to keep our apartment door locked.  Who knows how it could have ended up if the person were able to just walk in!?  Second of all, it gave the children a good learning opportunity.  They learned that if this ever happens again, never again would be too soon for me, to go to a backroom and hide.  We told them to not come out no matter what, unless it is one of us calling them out.  Third of all, it gave us a reason to go over the 9-1-1 details again, explaining to use the land phone, so the authorities would know where to come, even if the child couldn't remember the address due to stress or any other reason.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Red One, Blue Seven, Green Skip, Yellow Reverse, Wild Blue


We have started playing UNO as a family, or as many people in the family that want to play at the time we grab the cards.  My youngest is 3 1/2, and has been having a hard time grasping the whole color and number thing.  I am not sure if he is colorblind, as that could be a possibility, because my father is colorblind.

Last night, I deal out the cards to my husband, two sons and myself.  We each get 7.  We play traditional UNO, except you have to say the number and color of your card when you put it down.  We all say UNO if we get to one card, except for the youngest.  If he gets to one card, then he just keeps playing.  I don't want to throw anything extra in there yet.

It is a fun time for all of us.  We play several games and it takes a little longer than an hour.  The youngest loves the cards without number, skip, draw 2, reverse and wild.  These are special cards, when he gets to play one of those, he announces that he won.  We keep playing though.  Just having a card without numbers is special, I guess!

He seems to be picking up the colors and numbers.  I think it is a fun way for him to learn these things.  He usually doesn't get to play card games as he likes to wrinkle up the cards, but these cards he just flips over so we can see them and make sure that he is playing correctly.  My oldest son takes advantage of seeing the cards.  He makes sure that if the youngest is down to one card, he does everything in his power to make sure the last card can't be played.  Sometimes it is inevitable, like the last game of the night.  His last card was a wild.  :)

Do any of you have fun ways to teach your children different things?