Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Boo Day!

We're SO BUSY today!
Hockey, hockey, hockey.....

Dance class.... costume.

Carving pumpkins....
....into unique Jack-o-lanterns.

Cleaning and cooking for a very special party tomorrow (you don't want pictures of this).
Trunk-N-Treat at church with Grandma ? (while I stay home for above reasons)....

Daddy making our yard into a non-scary Halloween wonderland full of fun inflatables, several fog machines, "Purple People Eater" music, and way cool strobe and theater lighting. It is SERIOUSLY FUN in our yard (and the "mystery shots" for parents add a bit of interest this year).

Trick or Treating around the neighborhood.....
...and eating LOTS of candy before showers and bed.

Good-night, little Boos!

Friday, October 30, 2009


This week has gone by in one very fast blur. The exhaustion of last week, plus a new illness raging through the little ones, and preparation for another party at our house this weekend made for an extremely busy yet slightly unproductive week.

Here's a few highlights of what I can remember:

*Halloween and Christmas Preparation. An odd combination? Yes. Bob took the entire week off to get some work done on setting up his Christmas lights. Being as half of them never came out of the trees from last year, he was already a few steps ahead. He plugged in computer boxes, rewired some cords, and has begun the programming phase already. He has also started steps on the Glencoe Hospital display/light show. He is farther ahead this year than he has ever been, which I think he feels good about, yet there is still so much to do!
Of course, some pumpkin picking was included in this week's preparations.

*My poor little baby is sick. So sick with a bad cold and an icky, choking cough that gags her and causes her to puke up all her milk after eating. At night, her cough gets so bad that it sounds like she is unable to breathe. It is scary. Nothing seems to help, except extrememly cold air. Nebs are useless against this. If we were not medical parents, she would be in the hospital right now.
(Oct 20th at Target, Bethany chooses and plays with her very first real toy!)

During some of her better, more stable daytime hours, Bethany has learned how to play with toys! She is wanting to become independent with her pacifier, and is enjoying the newfound discovery of her own hand movements and grasping ability.

*Visits to Pediatric Specialists in the cities----twice. Melissa's annual visit to the Pediatric Developmentalist went well. She was very pleased with how Melissa is doing, and we will work on a plan for the next summer to keep Melissa's speech from falling so drastically behind again. Also, in talking things over with her, I am now 95% certain that I will be homeschooling Melissa next year rather than send her to that awful middle school.
*The visit to the geneticist was probably our last one unless some strange problem arises. Given the oddness of her chromosomal abnormality, there just is no real way to predict what is going to happen over the course of her life, and what, if even any, health concerns may arise. But for now, things are great, and we will just go with that!
*Lots of hockey scrimmages. Michael's team is up and running this week, and we have had the pleasure to see him play a few times on this season's new team. He has a new number this year, #9. Though disappointed (more like, angered) not to receive his old number for his last year of league play before trying out for the high school team next year, he looks good in his new digs!

*The kids get to meet Alex's girlfriend. Alex and Larkin have been great friends with some similar interests for a few years now. They have just recently declared themselves to be at the next relationship level. The kids went wild over her, and she had plenty of energy to play with them back. It was a silly, laughing, roll and tumble giggle fest. The kids have been asking when she will come back to play with them.

*Crispy broke a tooth. A permanent one. A front, top, smack in the center of his smile tooth. Broke HALF of it off in a diagonal. Doing something stupid. With Jonny. Can't. tell. you. how. mad. it. made. me.

*Halloween parties at school.

~I visited with my Mummy:
~And helped out at the Kindergarten party. My two sick children were not suppose to come with me, but with Bob working outside, I had no choice but to bring them. Thankfully, Bethany was so wiped out that she slept the whole afternoon in her carseat. Tubby was good, as usual, and busied himself with making a village out of wooden cars and blocks. I got to run the Halloween Bingo table. I think it was one of the most sought after tables because of the free skittles we were using! It was nice to get to meet some of the girls that Laura talks about from school on a daily basis.

~We also got to hang out with Melissa in the computer lab for a little while as she played a few games as part of their class celebration.

Any down time has been spent holding a very uncomfortable little baby of mine. However, I did get my floors washed on her first day of illness when she was just starting to get sick but was still able to breathe....she decided to sleep all day long. Now I am left with ONE more day to prepare for Sunday's gathering. Will I make it? Um...looks unlikely.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Party Fit for a Princess....or Five

Sundays are ironically the busiest days of our weeks. Jonny has early morning musical rehearsal at church, followed by us meeting him at church for church. We have an early lunch at home, watch the Vikings win a game, then it is back to church with Melissa, Crispy, and Laura for their musical rehearsals. At that point, the two oldest boys are also heading out the door to another church where they attend youth group for the evening hours. There are usually two separate hockey practices or games inserted somewhere into this already overbooked timeline.
Today we did something very special during our few open afternoon hours.....we attended a princess party! Twin cousins Aryel and Caitlyn turned five today, and my girls have been so excited about this event for a few weeks. Laura immediately settled on a Cinderella costume, and looked lovely in her powder blue dress. Melissa was dressed as Glenda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz, with a sparkling princess crown on her head. Though no princess outfit for the littlest one, she was wearing a cute pink tee with "Princess League" across the front.
We were met at the door by Princess Ariel and Cinderella (wearing her pink gown). The twins looked adorable, as they always do with their bright blue eyes and bouncy blonde hair. Erin had decorated the house with princess decor at every turn, and had made two separate, gorgeous cakes for the girls.

The food was great, and it was so nice to spend time as a family again, two days in a row. Living 45 minutes away, it is harder than one would think to get the time to get together, especially now that all of the kids are at an age where they are busy in activities. The kids had so much fun playing with all of the new-to-them toys at their cousins' house.
Making crafts is always a treat at these birthday parties. This year was pinwheel wands for the girls,

.....and hanging Halloween spiders for the boys.
The girls were so cute as they opened their excited about each and every gift!
Erin had also made gift bags for the kids, as she does each year. Candy, glowsticks, stickers, and the best of all, putty! Even the twins' great-grandma was getting into the putty fun! The kids were all laughing so hard and making such silly noises with the was so hard for me to pull them away to go to JAM and Jelly's at church. We were all having such a great time.....even those boys of mine!
We had a bit of excitement on the way home from church that evening in the dark. The kids were going through their goody bags in the truck, and both Crispy and Laura reported that their glow sticks were leaking. Melissa's had exploded on her all white dress when we were at Steve and Erin's house, so it appeared that we just had a bad batch of sticks. Just then, Melissa calls out, "Oh no! TUBBY!" I turn quickly to look back at my crying son who is GLOWING in the dark! He had apparently bit the bracelet which had expolded all over his face and was drooling down his front. Not one to be prone to panic, I panicked. Yep, I lost my composure as we were driving 60MPH on a highway road with no shoulders to pull off on, thinking my son was now being poisoned to his else do those things glow??? Using a half-filled bottle of water left over from the party, I splashed water behind me at Tubby as I drove another two miles before we could pull off the road. I tried all three ways of getting a hold of Bob. He didn't answer any of them until several minutes later. My mom was a bit easier, and between she and Erin, they were able to come up with some info leading us all to relax a bit that this nuclear-looking liquid was indeed non-toxic. *big sigh of relief*

With the exception of the glow stick incident, this has been a really, really nice day!!!

Just a Few More

This has been such a nice weekend in light of past recent events. Spending the day yesterday with family in the fresh air at the apple orchard was just what we needed to rejuvinate and refresh...if felt kind of like pushing the "reset" button and starting back on normal ground again.

Here are just a few more pics from yesterday that were too cute to pass up:
Safe on the Trail with a Steady Hand to Hold
Pretty Fall Colors in the Background
The Singing Trio (Crispy's arm is in the bottom right corner)--these guys figured out the corn maze right away, and went through it a few times singing songs from Veggietales all the while. The rest of us struggled to find our way through just once, and considered ourselves lucky when we heard the singers pass by, and could follow on their footsteps when lost. It then became known to other lost families not in our party to search out the singers when confused on the trail!
Chillin' with Grandpa
My Babies
My Girls!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Real Birthday Party

Jonny is 12 today. It is so hard to believe how quickly the years continue to fly by. My once little happy-smiling, blue eyes sparkling, never tantruming, hand holding, nukkie loving, easy-going, bald-headed, sweetie of a baby boy is now a charming, talented, responsible, caring, loving tween. Seriously....where does all that time go?
Jonny's day started out ordinary enough: he spent the morning helping his younger siblings get breakfast, then watching various collections of them throughout the morning as daddy worked on light projects outdoors and I taxied certain kiddos here and there and everywhere to activities of a variety of sorts.

A bit of hockey here for Michael in the wee hours of the morning, followed directly with hockey for Crispy in the same place:

Michael is going to be a star this year.....he's really got it all pulled together nicely. While none of us in this family hold much of a true competetive edge, our drive to strive to do our best seems to run deep in all of us. It has been a pleasure to watch Michael do just that in such a sport as hockey where tempers and physical violence can (unfortunately) escalate very quickly. Michael has always handled himself with class and dignity on the ice, and really turned into the kind of leader that can evoke the positives out of others on his team. (Now, if we could just get him to transfer that over to the family setting.....)

Crispy is simply excited about hockey this year. Just like Michael, he lacks arrogance and pushiness to shove through the aggressive bands of boys, but he is giving it his all this year. He remains focused and attentive during practice, stiving to execute each drill correctly vs. skating sloppily along just to be one of the first ones done. He is also aware of his progress this year, and is rightly proud of his accomplishments, no matter how big or small. Go, Crispy!

Laura had a little bit of dance there:

Admitting on the way to class that tapping is rather difficult, she surprised us both today by getting through a few of the tapping exercises with success! Her low muscle tone provides such a challenge to her in coordination as it is, so to manage some specific movements while lifting up some rather heavy tap shoes on her feet is quite an accomplishment. I was unaware that tap was part of this program, and might not have signed her up had I known. But I think it will be good for her eventually, as she can perhaps improve on some of those legs muscles that are a bit wimpy and perhaps yet a bit underdeveloped.

After a morning of watching three of my children and feeling proud of each of them, it was time to head home and spend the rest of the day considering the many amazing qualities of son #3.

*RESPONSIBILITY: Jonny is certainly my "go-to" guy for any childcare-watching need. I leave him with the kids at least once a day, usually without warning, and often for unspecified time spans. Narry a complaint from Jonathan, and usually things go very well (Of course at times, siblings will be siblings, and disagreements are inevitable). He will play with the little ones for hours on end, and is a fair and respectful referee for play when all the neighborhood boys are included. He will make lunches and dinners if required, and puts the kids to bed automatically at bedtime if he remains the one in charge during the evening hours. I always say that every household needs to have a "Jonny".

*FRIENDSHIP: Jonny is known at school as a very good friend. He is honest and true, and loyal to the core. His best friends remain kids he has befriended since his first years of school...and most of them are kind and sweet, too. He has struggled to befriend "difficult" kids whose behavior was out of control, but who clearly could use a positive friend. Only when the relationship gets clearly negative and out of hand does he give up.

*FUN: Jonny has a fun-filled spirit, willing to try new things and give life a go at it. Spending his birthday at an apple orchard was a perfect way to celebrate his day as we enjoyed the beauty and fresh autumn air of the out of doors. Revelling in nature and the beauty of God's bountiful creation all around us, I think that we all enjoyed every muddy moment.

*FAMILY: Though he enjoys his friends and appreciates them all, Jonny is a family guy at heart. Given a choice, he will always choose us over his friends. So today, we combined all of his favorite people into one big gathering! Best friends, relatives and family, all together......the way Jonny prefers to have things.
*FAITH: For a twelve year old boy, Jonny has such a sweet heart for Jesus. He is aware of the beautiful gift of eternity he has been given and is thankful for every good thing in his life. He is also strong enough to realize the good gifts which can be found in the bad. Thanking me every night for making him something as simple as dinner, I know he is thanking God for every good in his world.
(Jonny's requested end of the day dinner at Biaggi's with Grandma and Grandpa)

*LOVE: As a baby, Jonny held our fingers tightly as we rocked him to sleep in his car seat(which he slept in for his first year of life due to so many ear infections and terrible gastro reflux....this was the only way for him to sleep comfortably). Perhaps too big for hand-holding now, a good-night hug from my sweet boy is always welcomed at the end of my very long days.

Happy Birthday, Jonathan! We love you so very much, and are ridiculously proud of you!!!