Thursday, July 31, 2008

Therapy Day

We began the morning in a rush....Bob had left me with only 10 minutes to get ready, thinking I had to get up at 7am, when in reality I needed to LEAVE at 7am. Having had a late hockey session the night before, there was no question that I had to take a shower. I have gotten my morning routine down to some very slim numbers, but 10 minutes is simply an impossibility. I also had the baby and two sleepy girls to manage! Guess who was 15 minutes late to therapy AGAIN....

We made it to Maple Grove before the storms hit. In fact, they followed us the whole drive up, scaring the girls with cloud to ground lightening strikes. Once in the northern suburbs, the line stayed a bit to the south, sparing us any major excitement. Meanwhile, Bob had called the rest of the kids at home to wake them up as heavy storms passed through Glencoe marching a path to Waconia. Apparently it was a bad enough storm to make the boys head for safety once again in our basement garage. They have found lots of cool, forgotten toys in that garage over the past few weeks!

There was some excitement in the therapy clinic this early morning.....Dateline NBC was there with a camera crew and reporters. They were doing a story on one of the patients. The normally quiet waiting room was filled with official looking people, bustle, and way too many jokes and laughter for 8:15am. Tubby and I found the last remaining seat in a corner with another woman and her son, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. Tubby soon grew tired of that boring little spot, and spent 30 minutes walking up and down the halls looking for "War-rah!" We found her several times and watched her working hard for a few minutes before Tubby would become too much of a distraction, I would take him out, and he would start his search over again.

After therapy, we stopped at Alison's house for a visit with her and her three boys. It was a quick drive (after an unexpected long stop at Target to get a booster seat for Melissa who slumps way too much in her seat to be safe on long car rides) from the clinic...only a few short minutes into a beautiful tree covered area of Plymouth. The temporary townhouse was beautiful but the company even better. It was great to spend so much time just hanging out chatting and watching the kids was good therapy for ME. The girls had plenty of fun with the boys, and found themselves playing with Legos for the first time. The boys had awesome sets of Legos that were actually organized in boxes instead of the great Lego mess at our house found on every level. The girls found out that it is fun to play with Batman and trains!

We walked to a park not far from their home and spent some time burning off excess energy. The early morning rain had brought with it a cool breeze which helped to ease the growing discomfort of the humidity growing, sun-filled afternoon. My friend was smart with this park plan......once tired from playing, they all had to walk (her boys riding on Big Wheels) about 5 blocks home....UPHILL! By the time we were back in the house, the kids were nice and calm (and quiet), while Alison put together a fabulous healthy lunch for us. The girls loved the salad, and Melissa was excited to learn that she liked cucumbers and sweet bell peppers.
The two Thomases, only 22 hours apart in age, spent some quality time together looking out the window at "duckies" and playing with balls. They were so cute together....two little tiny people walking around(guess who was tiny-er) , saying and doing such similar things. It was almost impossible to tell them apart as they both did their baby "uh-uh-uh" sounds in place of unknown words. Very cute little boys! Thank you so much, Alison and boys for a great visit.....We all had so much fun, and plan on bringing more kids next time!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summer Fun

As the temperatures soared towards 90 degrees each day this week, it may easily have been the warmest week of summer so far. And despite my loathing of the heat, we found ourselves outside in it everyday......for fun.

On the hottest and most humid day, with air so thick that you had to swim through it to move forward, the kids decided to exercise their entrepreneur skills and have a Kool-aid stand. Not JUST a Kool-aid stand, but one that also had slushies available. And homemade gatorade. They wanted to include baked goods too, but I had to draw the line at stopping the mess somewhere (and it was way too hot to turn on the oven).

Jonny shaved the ice, put it into cups, and I packed it into a small cooler with all the ice packs I could find, certain that the ice would melt before they even made it to the bottom of the hill. They loaded the wagon with chairs,umbrellas, and tables, and made their way to a spot by the park, eager to make some cash (for what, I do not know). My final instruction to them was to keep drinking their own products so they would not suffer heat was SOOO hot. Fearing it was much too hot for anyone to pass by, I sent the big kids and their friends down to visit the stand. Turns out I needn't have worried because after two hours, they made over $4 ! Not bad at 25 cents a glass! The most amazing thing was that the remaining shaved ice was still frozen upon their return home. I guess coolers really do work even under the most strenuous conditions. The kids, on the other hand, did not fare as well, as they each came stumbling back up the hill one by one(beginning with the girls), faces as red as lobsters, collapsing on the floor in the comfort of air conditioning. Upon recovery, they all talked about how much fun they had had.

Another evening we found ourselves going to the Minnetonka Regional Park beach with some friends. The evening was warm, but quite comfortable under the large area of shade provided by the beach umbrellas, and the water was a sandy bottomed bath. Melissa and Crispy enjoyed practicing their swimming skills in a lake, and Laura was getting comfortable blowing bubbles in the water. Tubby continues to have no fear, and would walk straight in over his head if we didn't stop him. Falling face first several times into the water does not slow him down in the least....I help him get up, he sputters a bit, and then keeps right on going, barely missing a step. He is going to give me a heart attack up at the cabin in a few weeks!

Between the water, building sand castles, and eating snacks, the kids, both little and big, were plenty occupied. I appreciated the thin evening crowd, as I could not imagine trying to keep track of all those little people in the massive crowds of mid-day. And when the beach closed, we went over to the gigantic park where the kids could run freely, with only about 6 other kids around. The kids got some good unexpected exercise (goodness knows that I would never venture to a beach on my own initiative), and I got to have some adult contact which seems to be a rare thing this busy summer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Good Things Happen in Twos

What have we been up to since the last blog entry? Way too much, I guess! Hmmm....and I thought July was suppose to be our low-key summer month?!

Two more weeks of Swimming Lessons:

Crispy finally did it......he jumped off of the diving board! When asked how it was, he stated it wasn't even scary. Imagine that! He was not able to convince his sister to jump. She was so very close everyday, bouncing on the end of the board. I just wanted to run up behind her and tap her in. Oh well, perhaps next session. Swimming lessons has been so good for all of the kids, and it has been especially helpful for the girls. I think I will sign them up year round beginning this fall, to help increase their core muscle strength. That is some pretty good therapy for only about $5 per $300 and a one hour drive!

Two Kids Baling Hay:
Jonny and Crispy won the prize and got to stay at Grandma ? and Lyle's farm for a weekend. They were so excited to stay at the farm, and have been looking forward to it for months. They earned their keep by helping bale hay in 90+ degree temps. Being the good boys that they are, they worked hard, without complaining, and even earned an invitation back to help again! I know I have asked this before, but if they are such hard workers, why can't they clean up their rooms? They had a blast and are already looking forward to going again sometime soon......and now that Grandma will be giving up her Waconia apartment at the end of August and moving full time down to the farm, there will be plenty of dates to choose from!

Two Summer Storms:

In all the years we have lived here, we have only gone down to our basement garage twice seeking shelter from severe weather, and both of those times were in the first summer. A few weeks ago, we were sent to our basement two times, just days apart!

The first storm hit us quickly, with 70 MPH winds and hail right after we had finished lunch. Alex was still sleeping, but we woke him from his slumber and hurried to the garage.....this was certainly not a drill. When we emerged, the neighborhood was littered with recyclables and garbage (or course it was garbage day that day), front yards to back. I spent 90 minutes picking up our cul-de-sac and marvelling at the extent things were thrown. Most of the lighter items on our porch were found in the neighbor's back yard, having been stopped by the tall weedy grass leading to the wetlands. I also found about 1/4 of the other neighbor's roof in our front and back yards. Our house and truck were speckled and covered with leaves and plant matter, like some new trendy style of paint. The hail still remained in piles at the end of my clean-up spree. Pretty much everyone in our neighborhood experienced some damage to their homes, and you can now see contractors signs in almost every yard. We will most likely be donning one of those in our yard too, as our cedar shake siding took quite a beating. Also, our deck stairs....funny, they just blew right off the house, and must of landed in the lake...there is no sign of steps anywhere! (haha)
The second storm occured the next evening, and while we experienced only a small burst of rain shower, the sirens went off this time. The clouds covering our house was so was like in the movie Independence Day as they rolled overhead. The storm brewed as it went along, and did produce some tornadoes in other areas.

Two Extra Kids:

Answering the call of a friend of Jonny's, we found ourselves with two extra kids (boys ages 3 and 10) during our busiest week in July~during the week of Vacation Bible School. As their parents searched out a new job and home two states away, their boys blended easily into our family and took the chaos of each day in stride. Mornings were filled with appointments and therapies of one sort or another, and evenings of VBS began at 4:30pm with dinner at church for volunteers and their families. Of course, in my case, that also included 2 extra boys and one neighbor girl. I am pretty sure that I was getting the best meal bargain this week under the "family meal flat rate".......$30 to feed 9 of us for four days was a great deal indeed!

Two Days in the Water:

One perfect summer afternoon was spent with friends at their "Private Beach" spot on Lake Waconia. As the kids spent hours floating on noodles and inner tubes, splashing, and making sand creations, surrounded by docks, in safety from passing boaters, us moms sat back and did NOTHING. It was so great to watch them having such a good time, and even better that they are all old enough to entertain themselves for hours and hours on end.

One HOT day in the middle of our busy week (with the 2 extra boys), was spent with friends in the backyard, playing on the waterslide and slip and slide. Between Mary and I, we had 13 kids running around in their little suits. My neighbor called and commented that it looked like a carnival in our backyard with all those little kids running around......and I suppose it did! To Mary and I, it felt so easy, as they all just played and played together. We could have sat out there all day just gabbing and watching the kids. Even lunch had gone without a hitch....feeding 4-6 kids at a time, everyone was happy, had a place to sit, and had their fill of food and drink. After the kid meals of chicken fries and fresh berries, Mary and I enjoyed a more gourmet meal of pesto linguine made from fresh basil...yum! We had to cut our visit short, as we had an exciting evening of VBS to get to.

Two Nights of Hockey:

All I can say is Wahoo! It had been too long, and I was so happy to skate again. We skated another co-ed game....this time at Level 1-2, which landed us smack in the middle of the mix. Even though I got a 5 inch bruise on my thigh (my own doing from climbing over the boards onto the bench), and "head injury" when I fell backwards, catching myself with the back of my head (good golly, that hurts so much more than you think it will with a helmet on), we had the most fun hockey night to date. We can't wait to play again!

The following night, we attended a clinic that we thought was the appropriate level for us. Instead, we struggled through drills that all the other women who had been skating league for four years were flying through. Ugh....when are we going to get this right? We are definitely switching to a lower level clinic next week!

Two More Milestones:

Tubby is now a professional walker. He insists on walking at all times, and is even beginning to experiment with running. It is so funny to see him walk because he is so short....he looks too miniature to be upright! But upright he remains, and if he falls, he immediately gets back up again, no matter where he is. This has also greatly improved his hockey and golf swings! He is verging on dangerous as he swings those things around with both hands.

Tubby is also eating with silverware. It is as though his sixteen month birthday last week just pushed him straight out of babyhood. Good for him, but sad for me. He does best with a fork, and is quite good at stabbing his food and bringing it to his mouth. It all makes sense, since he is so good with sticks and targets of any size.

Two Tantrums at VBS:

Ok, these things were not so good. VBS was fantastic.....the kids had a great time, and it was really nice that were we able to share this excitement with extra kids and friends at our house. Laura has had great difficulty separating from Crispy and myself all month, so I was unsure how VBS would go for her. The first night, she made it through with her 4-year old class, nervous, but having 2-1/2 hours of fun while I was downstairs helping run crafts, and Alex outside helping with games. The second night, Laura began a screaming/crying fit, that was louder than the rest of the 700-800 kids combined in the sanctuary. Even shuttling her into the childcare room with Tubby and Grandma ? provided no solace to little Miss Stubborn. I finally had to grab her and keep her in my room where we were making at least she had something fun to play with.

The next night, she PROMISED to be good if I left her in the childcare room with our 3 year old guest. She PROMISED! She immediately began her tantrum as we walked into the room. Naughty, naughty. This time, I called Daddy to pick her up, as I was not willing to let her think she was getting rewarded in any way by staying with me again. She was forced to sleep alone in her own bed that night and miss out on the massive slumber party (did I mention that in addition to the extra 2 boys, the neighbor girl was staying with us too?)....I hope she learned a lesson.

My dilemna for the last night was solved by Tubby coming down with a fever of 103 degrees overnight. Bob had to work late, so I had to stay home with the baby and miss the last night of VBS. The kids were so excited when they came four days, they had collected more than $6000 for Feed My Starving Children. How awesome is that?! I kept Laura and the 3 year old at home with me, and we spent a few hours at the park and had a picnic while everyone else was gone. You know what Laura did when Grandma left with all the others? She dared to have a mini tantrum, claiming she would be good at VBS! Really?!? Does she really think we are all that gullible?!?

Two Awesome Riding Sessions:

Melissa is getting so strong on her horse! She now is riding completely independently, with and without other riders in the arena. She looks so happy and confident on her is so great to see. Unfortunately, we had to miss the charity Polo event this past Saturday. It sounds like it was perfect, and an experience in a different world, as bidders were spending up to $8000 individually during the auction portion. What a great fundraiser for an incredible group of people at Freedom Farm.

Today, Melissa got to ride her horse outside again, and even give him a bath with a spray hose at the end of her session. She was also excited to show off her knowledge to her good friend who accompanied us today.....I am not certain, but I think that the neighbor girl may just be living with us permanently. It is interesting that the two girls, while so different in so many ways, also have such similar interests, that they almost seem lost without each other

Two Very Long Drives:

Michael went away to his first hockey camp for one week. He had a great time, playing hockey for 6-7 hours everyday. He called us every night to check in and tell us good-night. He also REALLY wanted us both to be there for his final game to show us what he had learned. So, being the good parents that we are, we drove 2-1/2 hours to Winona, and 2-1/2 hours back on Saturday to watch him play. Good thing, too, because he scored the first goal of the game! I missed it as I bought treats for my hungry baby, but Daddy saw the whole thing, which was apparently a pretty cool goal. It was nice to see how much the kids had improved, and how much stronger they had become. Now we have to figure out how to keep up this conditioning until tryouts in September! It was nice to pick up Michael (and his friend)and bring him home.....we all had missed him. Tubby finally has a name for sounds something like "Glub-glub". Kinda cute!

Two Dates....That's Right, TWO DATES with My Husband!

We never get the chance to go out. But this weekend, we managed to escape not once, but twice! Saturday night, we went to dinner and a comedy show with our friends next door. The food was REALLY good, and the show was hysterical! I was laughing so hard, that I was crying through half of the headliner's show. We must be at the perfect age for this performer....we was our contemporary, also with a teenager at home, and similar views on life situations. Some of the younger crowd had blank faces for part of the show, but our corner of the room was ready to throw up (in a good way) from all the belly laughs after a full meal.

Between dinner and the show, we had a bit of excitement in the ladies' room. As we waited in the ever present restroom line, the woman behind me complained of not feeling well, and wanting to throw up (in a bad way). Several seconds later, she fainted against her friend, with what looked like a little seizure upon her recovery, and Bob was called to the scene. We learned she was 14 weeks pregnant, and kept her calm as friends called family members and we waited for the ambulance. Poor Bob....between that event and getting paged from the hospital 3 times, I wonder if he even felt like he was getting a night off?

Sunday, we had the pleasure of playing golf with our great friends Chris and Alison. It was so much fun to get to see them for the first time since they have moved back to the cities. We look forward to more dates like this! Though it was so wonderful to spend time with them, I am not yet convinced about golf being a "fun" sport. It is hard to have fun when you keep missing the ball, and 98% of your shots are totally crappy. Throw in the blazing sun and thick humidity, and almost 5 hours wandering around, looking for golf balls, where is the fun in that? Hockey for a few hours.....that is a good time! HUGE thank you to Grandma ? and Lyle who helped to make this weekend possible.....they got mega doses of grandchildren this weekend, and even got a few extra today! This picture was taken by Alison and her new camera.....she takes amazing pictures!

Two Driving Lessons:

Alex has his permit! He has now had two chances practicing driving a real automobile. Daddy took him out for his first lesson last week, and I took him out for a spin tonight. I was surprised that he was nervous but I was not....isn't it the teenager who is suppose to have the notion of being indestructible? We worked on turns and braking. I kept telling him to "drive faster"....probably the only time in his driving lifetime that I will be telling my son that! He was really getting it after a while. Being that it was late at night (10 pm), I told him to drive out of the middle school parking lot to give the real street and roundabout a try. Wouldn't you know, another car came up to the roundabout as we were driving through it, forcing my son to now drive with someone else on the road! He was SOO nervous! We made our way out of the roundabout, but the car followed us, headlights bright behind us. As I was suggesting Alex to pull over, the car (obviously manned by another teenager) whipped around us and beelined to our otherwise empty parking lot. Poor Alex! What a way to throw him into driving on the road! We continued to practice around a back lot until the teenagers drove away, giving us free reign once again of our quiet practice grounds. I think Alex is doing great, and will be a fine, conscientious driver someday!

Just for Fun:

The fire hydrant up the street was opened one day last week.....the kids took full advantage of playing in the lake in our cul-de-sac.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Blue Ribbon Days

Oh my....what a looooooonnnngggggg day it has been. We began our day by getting up at 6:20am in order to leave the house by 7am. Why would we be doing such a thing during the summer? The girls both restarted therapy last week(Melissa OT and Laura PT), and we were lucky winners of the 8am time slot in Maple Grove....that's a 60 minute drive. Seems even longer when you are in a truck full of non-morning people.

We were 15 minutes late again this week, just as we had been last week, even though we left 15 minutes earlier and tried a different route away from morning rush hour traffic. Hopefully we will find the magic road next week...I don't think that I could possibly leave any earlier than we are already. The girls both did great this morning. Laura has been very cooperative with her sessions and has been very willing to try new things. Her therapy will most likely be short term (through the summer) with an exercise program for her to work on at home after that. Her therapist has apparently made the mistake of thinking that Laura must be cooperative at home also. HA!

Melissa is also working hard, but things are just so much more difficult for her. Even when she is seeming stronger, she is still so weak. It is so hard to watch her not be able to do things that she knows she should be able to do. Persistence has always been one of her strengths, so she continues to work at it, and comes back to try things that once before may have seemed impossible. Good, good girl.

When the girls were done, we quickly exited the building to our truck as we had 40 minutes to make it to swimming lessons back in Waconia. Given the length of the drive, the math just wasn't working in our favor. But without traffic, slow delivery trucks, and making 75% of the stoplights, the kids were only 10 minutes late after walking in and slipping out of their clothes. Not bad! The kids had had their first lesson yesterday, and apparently all of our practicing since lessons ended two weeks ago has paid off and was noticed.....the instructors asked us to move Melissa and Crispy up a level! Wow! Didn't see that one coming! They both enjoyed the move to the next class, and the chance to learn some new things, like beginning rhythmic breathing. When it came time to jump off the diving board, they both chickened out again. Arg! Just jump, already! I am very proud of them for taking on this new challenge. They are so excited about these two weeks of lessons.

This also comes after Melissa's great ride yesterday.....she rode alone for the whole hour in the arena without needing any help, and without her side walker anywhere near her! She was completely independent, and maintained proper control of her horse all the while. It was fantastic to watch. Having only one other rider in the arena had made this week easier for her to focus, and gave her a huge boost yesterday. My hope is that she can carry over this confidence of skills to next week when there will again be a full house of 3-4 riders.

We had a short break after lessons in which to eat a very quick, wholesome lunch of Spaghettios. I think that one of the hardest parts of having everyone home during the summer is making lunch for so I have two meals a day to plan! I still am not quite into that routine. After lunch, we got to enjoy the beautiful afternoon in the dentist's office. The scheduler had been kind enough to schedule all the kids together/back to back. Guess how long we were there? Three hours. Tubby learned a new trick while we were there....screeching at the top of his lungs, and thinking it was funny. He made sure to practice it often during that 3 hour period. So charming is he. Thanks, Tubs. Once again, they all walked away without a single cavity. So, either the kids are doing a much better job brushing than it seems possible in 15 seconds or less, or we've got some powerfully good toothpaste at home!

This was Laura's first visit to the dentist. She was not so happy to go, a bit neutral by the time we got there, enthusiatically anticipating while in the waiting room, and hyper excited when she was all done. She proudly displayed her gleaming white teeth, and eagerly took out each dental item in her bag, so excited to go home to "foss, brush two times" and use her new SpongeBob toothpaste. She is so set to be a model teeth caretaker. She has been so good with her earring care, making sure that she cleanses her ears every night before she goes to bed~if she feels sleepy, she will do this before cuddling with a blanket on the couch, just in case she falls asleep. And if she forgets, she will awaken in the middle of the night, to "do her earrings". Here is a picture on the 4th of July.....she was on the driveway doing her ear care while the rest of us were watching Daddy's fireworks display and smashing Pop-Its on the ground. Such a responsible girl! She now seems to have this same sense of commitment to her teeth!

We had to eat dinner in the truck, on the way to Jonny's baseball game. We broke down and ordered pizza since I had spent all of my dinner prep time in the dental waiting room. I must say, I have been so proud of had been a whole MONTH since we last ordered pizza. The last time was on Melissa's birthday party (which I forgot to even blog about, so I will have to squeeze in a short blurb about that!) We had also gone more than three weeks without fast food. The absence of both things had really made us all feel good. Cool part was that we did actually lose our cravings for those things. Michael and I also tried going without Cherry Coke. But after 18 days, we still could hardly stand it, the cravings never went away, and we REALLY WANTED IT. So, before I left them alone with Daddy for the big parade weekend last week, I broke down and bought them some pop. Now we have had Cherry Coke again in the mornings. What a relief!

Jonny's game was great to watch. His team played so well together, as though everything finally had fallen into place for each member. They played like a well oiled machine, with each part doing it's proper job. It was so much fun to watch, and the boys were having a fabulous time, knowing they were doing what they had spent the last few months practicing over and over again. Tubby was the only one not impressed.....he whined the whole time. In fact, since he has started walking, he has been constantly crabby and whiny. I thought kids were suppose to get happier once they reached big milestones! He forgot to read that part in his little baby manual.

I let him whine another 30 minutes once home tonight, just so I could make a few paths through my house. It is amazing how quickly my kids destroy the place when there are no adults around all day long to stop them. I guess the fear of our house burning down has already been lost to them.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hero in Our Midst

Our calm and quiet Sunday ended with some excitement. The baby and I were outside in the front yard, watering the water poor plants, sweating in the still hot and humid air, while the little kids were inside getting ready for bed after enjoying an extended 9pm bedtime. No one else was outside in the cul-de-sac, as all of our neighbors were still away at their cabins, and the houses across the street were quiet as the little kids who lived there had been put to bed long ago. Besides the random noises made by my baby as he played on the porch, it was wonderfully quiet, with only the occasional pop of fireworks as they were lit by the teenage boys at the top of the hill.

Suddenly, as I was minding my own business, dumping out the kiddie pool (a.k.a. mosquito breeding haven), the teenage boys up the road came screeching down the hill in their "cool" black little car. They recklessly parked in front of our house and went running through our neighbor's yard. Here I am, annoyed as all heck, thinking,"By golly, you would have run over one of my kids if they had been out here with me" and wondering if they were trying to break into our neighbor's house while they were away. Dummy I am, did not even notice that only 30 feet away from me, my neighbor's boat was on fire!

Finding no one at home, one boy quickly called 911 from his cell phone as the other ran around the side of the house looking for a hose. I ran inside with, "The neighbor's boat is on fire! Can you please help?" My husband, thinking I was just overreacting, ran outside behind me, along with a trail of little Zajacs. Seeing 10 foot high flames where only 2 foot flames had been just moments before, things did not look good. Bob grabbed a hose from the other side of the house, and he and the teenage boy set to work battling the blaze as we waited for what seemed like an eternity for the fire fighters to arrive.

The beautiful boat was burning so fast, the fire so hot, and literally only 2 feet from the garage wall. I called our neighbors with the news......luckily, they were on their way home, and only 10 minutes away. Bob said it had gotten so hot, that he thought they would have to just give up and let it go. But he also knew that if they stopped, the house would surely go next. So they pressed on, and I stood by, so afraid that something horrible, like the gas tank exploding, was going to befall on my helping husband.

Bob and the boy had the boat in a mostly smoldering position when the fire trucks(all 5) finally arrived. That's when I finally could think clearly enough to grab my camera. Our neighbors pulled in a few minutes later.....what a way to end a 10 day vacation. Bob went in and took a neb, but seemed to be fine. Jonny hovered on the porch, afraid to go to bed. Melissa thought the whole scene was "cool". In hindsight, I never want my husband to fight a burning blaze again. Our neighbors thanked us, and offered to do the same for us some day. Goodness, I hope it won't come to that!

We have a renewed sense of urgency to clean up our house, get rid of all the clutter, and make things more safe. The kids are on board with this plan, and we are going to start cleaning tomorrow with renewed fervor.

Interesting point: fireworks were found next to the boat. I'm not connecting any dots here, but it does make one wonder what exactly caused this little accident.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Getting it Together

Tubby had a fever overnight that lasted throughout most of today. It now makes sense why he was constantly whining all day yesterday despite anything we would try to do to cheer him up. Because of his ill being, Bob and I took turns driving to our golf lessons this morning in Chaska. I got the better deal, because by the time it was my turn for a lesson and hand off the baby to Daddy to take back home, he was full of watery poop, and his congenitally clogged tear duct was draining blood tinged goop. A Daddy's got to experience what it's like to be a Mommy in order to fully appreciate this job of ours!

My golf lesson went well.....I hesitate to say it, but I think that I may finally be getting the hang of it. While still a long way from even being able to play well, I CAN see improvement and even see a glimmer of this being an attainable skill....even for uncoordinated me! I "graduated" to a lower tee today, and moved on to a new club: the hybrid. It's size messed with my head a bit, and given my fear of flying, the instructor's reference to pretending to brush the plane's wheels on the ground without disrupting the passengers inside did not bode well for me. Sadly, not only did I disturb them all, but I killed many a planeful of passengers this morning. Frustrating, a bit.

On the way home, I stopped into the local tire shop, and was thankful they had had some cancellations today. This allowed my tires to be removed and replaced BEFORE we all died on the highway. Whew! What a relief. I can't believe what a difference the new tires make. The ride feels wonderful! I spent the 80 minutes waiting for my truck by shopping hardware stores (the only thing close by). I was not prepared to leave when the call came that my truck was finished. Who knew how much fun it would be to browse!

Best part of the day? Alex came home from Seattle! He had been sending us pictures throughout his trip by retaining remote access to his bedroom computer. I will try to post a slideshow here, but I have no idea if it will work or not. He had a good trip, saw some great things, and did a lot of stuff. Oh, and his ears did not hurt so little boy has grown up!

Click here for Slideshow:

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

We celebrated today by driving (my still bare tires) into the cities for a BBQ at Grandma and Grandpa's. Last year was the first since we had moved that we did not have a super big bash at our house.....the kids and I had stolen Grandma ? and chased Alex and the Marching Band into Colorado. And honestly, neither Bob nor I miss it.....though fun, those parties were so much work, and both of us are too tired these days to even imagine such an undertaking again. So, we were quite satisfied to spend the day somewhere else today.

The kids got to play with their twin cousins for a bit....all the girls seemed quite shy with one another. Perhaps a clue that we need to all be getting together more? The day was beautiful, warm, and sunny, verging on hot,but not quite there, thus making for a lovely day. The kids played in the sprinkler, and played soccer and kiddie croquet in the yard. We had great all-American food, and some good red, white, and blue treats. And lots of sitting around, just enjoying the day. It was really relaxing.

While Daddy and Grandpa visited the driving range, the rest of us travelled over to the neighborhood park which featured a new sprinkler park on one end. It felt like something out of the urban kid-friendly set of Sesame Street......big, colorful sprinklers and buckets, with water conservatively activated by the push of a button. Loads of fun on a summer's day, and certainly something unique for us. Melissa, Crispy, and Laura had visited this park last weekend while staying with Grandma & Grandpa, and they were excited to share it with their older siblings and cousins.

After some apple pie, we drove back home to catch the fireworks in our own city. Following a quick change of clothes, and anti-mosquito coverings, Daddy had just enough time to blow off the few fireworks the kids had picked out months ago. We all may have been content enough with the cul-de-sac show, but we felt it necessary to still attend the city display. When the show began, we were disappointed to discover that we could not see very well from our hand picked spot on the hill. I guess our biggest hint should have been the large vacancy on the hill? Oh well, we were able to see the top halves of most of the fireworks, and enough of the big ones to leave feeling happy to be celebrating freedom in our nation. Thank you, Grandma & Grandpa, for hosting today's party!

FYI Tip: Burt's Bees Natural Insect Repellent has done a fantastic job in mild bug areas such as keeping away gnats at the baseball fields and ants along parade routes. It was not so successful against the blood sucking beasts that attacked us mercilessly in the deep dark of night on a grassy hill!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hot Summer Day

Bright and early this morning, I found myself driving Alex and our teenage guest to the high school as they readied to board a flight to Seattle for a 5 day trip. This was not his first trip away, but something about sending him on the plane felt a bit more uncomfortable. Alex was worried about his ears hurting terribly as they had six years ago when we flew to Miami. He has dreaded planes ever since. I was worried about the plane in general, as I am not fond of the lack of control one has when somehow suspended in the air in tons of metal that nature had surely intended to remain on the ground.

Tubby and I hung out in the parking lot for as long as possible. We had been among the first to arrive, waited while the bomb/drug sniffing dogs went through everyone's luggage and carry-ons, and 45 minutes later, the kids boarded the buses for the airport. We waved good-bye to Alex, already missing him before we got out of the parking lot. How am I ever going to make it through him leaving for college in a few years?

It was so HOT today, already 90 degrees by noon. Against my own desires, I helped the kids set up the waterslide in the back yard, which also gave me the afternoon job of waterpark supervisor. Loving the heat (not), I had an exhausting day just sitting there in the shade. The kids, on the other hand, had a blast climbing up and down the inflatable thing and splashing in the water below. The steamy weather did not dissuade them at all from running around the yard, making up new games. One of the favorites for the boys is setting up the Crazy Daisy sprinkler that flips and flaps all over the place erratically spraying water on everything within it's reaching perimeter. The boys like to make up ways to sneak up on the Daisy and overtake it. Today, they emptied large clear boxes from the garage which worked quite well for them to maneuver strategically, protected behind their see-through shields. It is always funny to see them combat a $10 sprinkler that often beats them at their own game.

Our backyard bliss ended abruptly as Laura fell victim to attack by lawn chair. Poor girl had been minding her own business, taking a break from the sun, lying on the ground in the shade, when all of a sudden, the wind came up from out of nowhere(as it is known to do on our point) and blew over a nearby chair, the sharp corner of the wooden arm rest causing a bleeding gash only half an inch from the corner of Laura's left eye. It was deep enough in the thin skinned area to bleed for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. When Daddy arrived home six hours later with some Dermabond, the small bleed finally stopped on it's own, and Laura avoided a painful $800 stitch at the local ER.
While Michael kept tabs at home on the injured, Crispy, Tubby, and I subjected ourselves to more heat exposure at the sunny, shadeless, baseball field where Jonny played tonight. The baby was a constant crank, not enjoying the hot weather. Big brother Crispy came to the rescue, pushing Tubby in the stroller along the sandy field, back and forth, until his own cheeks were bright red from exhaustion and he could do it no longer. Grandma Pam surprised us with a visit at the field, and she also took her turn attempting to appease the young lad, but to no avail. Jonny made a good hit, a close miss, and an almost really great catch. He sure is enjoying this...but tonight it was almost tortuous watching them all on that hot dusty field. We all just needed to get inside with some good A/C. I do not understand why no one else will take me up on my idea to move to Alaska. Seriously, let's go.