Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Nice Surprise

I have had some awesome company over the last week, but because of this I've been off visiting or working on projects and haven't posted. I have many posts to catch up on which I hope to do in the next few days.

Daniel's practice owns an Aesthetic Center which is attached to their main office. They do skin care treatments, facials and massages. Since Daniel isn't hear to rub my back or get the kinks out of my shoulders, I decided I had to find someone who would. I treated myself to a massage last week. It was wonderful and I felt so loose when it was done. But the nicest surprise was when I was checking out, the masseuse informed me that the flowers at the checkout desk were for me. Daniel's office got word I was coming in and sent me flowers to let me know that they were thinking of me and hoping I was doing well. What GOOD people he works with!

Another nice surprise they presented me with was this poster of Daniel. They made these for each office and have them displayed at each check out area. I thought that was very nice and I thought it was a really handsome picture. In fact, today we were in the office again and walked by the checkout counter and Ainsley saw it. She got so excited and said, "There's my Daddy!!!" I have mine propped up in my kitchen so I can look at it often (since that's where I spend most of my time) .

Friday, October 27, 2006


I don't know if anyone outside the Pennsylvania Dutch expanse has ever heard of or tasted whoopie pies, but around here they are as common as chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes. My friend Lorili from Dover called me (she was the one I was going to stay with the weekend before but Ainsley got sick). She was planning a day trip to Lancaster with her husband and wanted to include the kids and I. She had looked up things to do in the area and asked if we'd like to attend a whoopie pie festival. Of course that sounded good (and yummy) to me. Incidently, a whoopie pie is basically devil's food cake in a round mold with thick creamy white icing in the middle followed by another round of devils' food cake. It's sort of looks like a giant cookie. Sometimes they use other types of cakes, like red velvet, or pumpkin. Sometimes they use other fillings which we discovered at the festival. We didn't know we had so many options.

Much to our dismay, we got delayed leaving the house that morning and arrived to the festival about 12-15 minutes late. We were planning on being there early to participate in the "whoopie pie hunt" (like an easter egg hunt). But by the time we had arrived ALL the whoopie pies had been found. They had a whoopie pie relay race and a whoopie pie catapult. The boys really wanted to do the catapult so we waited in a long line and they got to put whoopie pies in a giant sling and whirl them through the air and into a field. (My parents thought that was a great waste of whoopie pies). They had pumpkins in the field every yard or two so you could measure your distance. There was a prize for the farthest flung pie. They were also allowed to fling apples and MacGregor's apple went just past the END of the field. He was very excited. He achieved this feat because Chase held him by the waist and pulled him to the ground before he let go of the sling and the extra weight caused his pies and apples to FLY! I forgot my camera at this event but Lorili is supposed to email me some pictures she took. When she does, I will post those. The event lasted all day but we only stayed for about 2 hours. We are sorry we missed some of the other activites, such as watching the amature whoopie pie eating contest or seeing the largest whoopie ever made (they were trying to beat last year's record of 225 pounds), but there was too much idle time between activities.

We ended up buying some different flavors to try. Sunday afternoon we went to my parents house to share our findings. We had six different pies which I cut into 8 wedges each. Everyone got a wedge of each flavor and the leftovers were split up by those who still had room. The flavors we had were: Raspberry filled, Mint Chocolatechip filled, Peanutbutter filled, Chocolate cream filled, Pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling, and Chocolatechip cookie with vanilla filling. I think the winners were the Pumpkin cake and the chocolate cream filled.

***SSSHHHHH - we sealed 2 with a food saver (which mostly just squished them) and sent them to Daniel in his last package. I have no idea what condition they will arrive in. He might be eating squished pie with a spoon but it will still be a little taste of home.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

An Interesting Find

As I was doing some research as I often do - I came across this article:
Ok - this link doesn't seem to work from here - I don't know why, but if you click the link and go to the search box in the upper right hand side - put in "Docs work hard, Save Lives" and press go. Then click the button that says "all words". You will find the story that way. Sorry this link doesn't seem to go directly to the story.


The article was written back in April of this year but it speaks of the base where Daniel is now. The unit (47th CSH) was the unit that Daniel's group (399th CSH) replaced. Later when Daniel and I were Instant Messaging I shot him the link and he looked it up. He said that was indeed his hospital, infact he had been operating that evening in that very OR shown in the picture. He also said he had met some of the people quoted in the article before they returned to the US. I thought that was very interesting!

Also today Daniel emailed me this great story -

"Some positive things have happened here in Mosul over the past week or so which give us great hope for the future of Iraq. Apparently there was a group of about 100-130 foreign insurgents that were gathered together and planning some type of assault and this was well known by the population and Iraqi police. The police informed the U.S. military and we were able to detain almost all of the insurgents. Some of the insurgents escaped and later in the week drove a car bomb to the police station and attempted to blow it up. The guard did his job and prohibited the car from entering the grounds but unfortunately he lost his life in the process. He saved many others by his actions though. There was obviously some damage to the building and it thrashed their flag. The Iraqis refused to take it down or get a new one because they wanted the Losers who attacked them to know that they survived and would still be around to protect their country and people."

I'm glad to know that postive things are happening there too. Sometimes it seems as if all we get are the bad things on the news.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

French Country

I am really excited. I have a room in my house just about 100% done. I am not a decorator AT ALL. I don't really have a great eye for those things but when we moved into this house I wanted to do our tiny little powder room in French Country. I wanted yellow walls, white trim and cabinet, and blue and white accents. I immediately painted the walls yellow - and wow, small room - bright yellow! The yellow has since grown on me and doesn't look so bright with the lights out. I got a white cabinet and Daniel and my aunt hung it over the toilet. 2 out of 3! All of that we did before our furniture even arrived. I then bought the rug, toilet seat cover and hand towel in a country blue. Now it was time to search for accessories. I did find a ceramic trash can in the blue and white theme and we already had a "blue bottle" (someone gave us this "blue bottle" as a wedding present, we used to joke about it but it really goes well here). Slowly over the last year or so I have been looking for accents and bought a vase here and a litte dog there etc.... I finally found different shaped and patterned plates in the blue and white. So Voila! I think my bathroom is a success. (except the light fixture - one day that will be upgraded).

*Please note this bathroom is very small so it was hard to get good pictures. Daniel, do you like it?

Monday, October 23, 2006

8 Months Achieved!

I have officially achieved 8 full months of pregnancy which means I only have one more (or one more and a week or so, I've never gone early on my own). I think about how fast the last month went by and know the 24th of November will be here before I know it, but on the other hand my body is really feeling it now and I think how in the world can I do this for another month? My back is aching most of the time, I can't bend over - except that I have to inorder to run my household, and I don't sleep anymore. Each time I bend over to pick up laundry to put in the washer or clean up a toy, I feel this gush of fluid bubbling up from my ribs. It's like there is a giant sponge in there and when I bend over it squeezes the sponge and the fluid rises up. Feels great, Really! I know I'll get through it, I have no choice. There are just so many things I still need to do before the baby comes and as it's drawing closer I seem to be running out of energy and motivation to get those things done. I've been hoping all along that this one would be my "small" baby so that's she'd still be tiny by the time Daniel gets home, but from the way I'm starting to feel (it's getting way crowded in there) I'm not sure she's going to be.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Letter from the Soldier

We received a letter in the mail this week from Daniel with some pictures and some "Iraqi Dinars" (their currency) from the former regime. It's all been replaced now without Saddam's picture. I was given permission to copy parts of the letter for you all to read. The letter was written on October 11, 2006.

I scanned the pictures and money and will put them throughout the post.

He found the "Dinars" at a bizarre in Kuwait. The vendor was selling them off at $1.00 a piece. I thought that was a great souvenir. How many kids in the US have old Iraqi currency? The pink one is 10,000 dinars and the green one is 25. I looked up today's exchage rate and 10,000 dinars is equivalent to $6.80 US dollars. 25 dinars = about 17 cents. (The vendor really made out well with Dan paying a dollar for those 25 dinars since they're only worth 17 cents, kidding really since they aren't worth anything with Saddam's picture).

Daniel's letter:
". . . I have arrived in Mosul and I believe that I have now recovered from the travel portion of my trek. I had a very unique experience on the flight from Kuwait to Iraq. I was able to ride in the cockpit with the pilot, copilot, flight engineer, and navigator. They let me have a headset so I could listen and talk during the entire flight. It was very refreshing to meet the flight crew. We discussed OMS (oral and maxillofacial surgery) and where I was from. We talked a little bit about the Amish and Lancaster County. What a wonderful place to live! We are very fortunate to live how and where we do."

This is Lt. Colonel Hamre. He's a General Surgeon/Trauma.

"I haven't seen much of Mosul because we're here at war and I have a job to do but what I have seen of it looks ok. I stay a the FOB (forward operating base) and will probably never leave its protective fence and shields. I feel very safe. We get a nickname because we never leave the FOB: "FOBBITS". We sleep in 8' by 16' boxes that have basic amenities (bed & closet). We actually get to use flush toilets and hot showers - they're down the road aways so if you "gotta go", you gotta go down the street a bit. The little huts where we live are called CHU's. I don't know why but that's what they're called."

This is CPT Spires and LTC Hamre. Capt. Spires was Daniel's roommate in El Paso, TX. He is a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist) from Ohio. Incidently, Ainsley thinks he is the doctor who delivered her. She has been watching her birth video alot lately. He does look similar, I think it's the dark glasses.

"We will take over the hospital tomorrow (Thurs, Oct 12th) and hopefully these Doc's from the 47th CSH (combat support hospital) can go (on Friday) to Kuwait to catch a flight to CRC (El Paso) on Sunday. They're totally ready to go - most of them have been here for 6 months - but many 1 year. I know that I'd be ready."

"My health is great - I'm feeling strong both physically, mentally & spiritually. I think I am about 10 lbs lighter now than I when I left PA. I'm not sure though. I've been eating wisely and excercising - (funny how those two things seem to control weight so well) My roommate is Capt. Mike Apostle, an ER doc who finished his residency in June. He's a very nice man. He and his wife and dog will be moving to CO in January or so when he has completed his mobilization. He's an avid runner so we signed up for the Diamondback 10 mile fun run this Saturday. I hope I do well." (On a side note, Lady speaking here, that Fri night he got paged at 3 am. He was done with his patient by 4:30 and went over to the gym thinking that the race started at 5am because of the heat. Well it didn't start until 7am and he was too worn out to stay up til that time and then run 10 miles. So he missed that race)

Daniel gets teased by the other soldiers that this is his "killer" face or that he looks like a medieval warrior.

Pumpkins Carved!!

Our enlisted help finally made it Friday night. We fed them dinner and in return we got the rest of our pumpkins carved. Thanks Mamaw and Papaw!

Ainsley had a great time scooping out her guts (her pumpkins guts that is). She didn't want any help.

Chase and Papaw also got to scoop some guts. I helped where needed. Papaw did all the detailed work. I did my own pumpkin and helped on eyes and noses where I could. Papaw did all the mouths and scars.

So here's our final result - Can you tell whose is whose?

Ok - here's the answer. Chase's, Ainsley's, Mine is the green one, and MacGregor's is on the right. After the kids' very detailed pumpkins, I wanted to do mine as simple as possible so I went for the alien or ghost look. Here's how they glow. We had to put more than one candle in the big ones to get a good glow.

After we got them all cut and glowing, we took them out on the front porch and lined them up. We also lit Daniel's and the baby's. The baby's is pretty wilted and Daniel's is polkadotted inside from mold, but from the outside they still look ok. I don't know if they will make it Halloween though.

The whole family!

And here is what people will see as they drive by the house:

It was fun but I'm kinda glad to be done with pumpkins for a while. Now I'm trying to figure out what our next family project can be. We all decorated paper pumpkins for Daniel to hang on his wall in his "Chu". We sent them in a package a little over a week ago with a roll of masking tape. He got the package today and said that they are hanging up and brighten his room.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


There are a few miscellaneous pictures I wanted to display. I didn't really have a well written post for them so I am just going to group them here for Daniel and all of you to see. This first one is just a pretty sunset one of the kids pointed out to me as we were eating dinner the other night. Ofcourse by the time I went and got the camera and got it turned on, the sunset had changed and wasn't quite as impressive. It's still pretty though.

These next two pictures are of the boys and their "big ole honkin pumpkins". Woodine had asked how big theirs were since the one Chase was holding in a previous picture (Daniel's) was pretty good size. Daniel asked me the same question - so here are the boys, each with the pumpkin they picked out for themselves. Just trying to hold them up for the picture was a chore. They kept slipping or getting too heavy and I was afraid the boys would drop them and the pumpkins would break open all over my porch. Luckily we escaped that fate and they will be carved up tomorrow night. It's gonna be one LARGE face on these pumpkins! :)

These last pictures are for Daniel to see Ainsley's current projects from school.

"Finger painting"

"Autumn Leaf" painted with pinecones

"Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate"


"Glittery spider on silvery painted web"

Chase made this pendant out of clay. Then he painted, glazed, and fired it. It's now on a string he can wear around his neck.

I really had a hard time getting this all lined up right - hope you can follow it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mosul, Iraq

Greetings from Mosul! I am now in FOB Diamondback and enjoying my cozy accommodations. We've had a lot of buisiness since we started taking over the Hospital last week. Our base has been mortared at least three times since we arrived the most recent attack was at 2:30 this morning. Generally we are awakened by the PA speaker's voice saying "Bunkers, Bunkers, Bunkers" and then everyone scurries to the bunkers and waits until an "All Clear" is issued.

In the picture to the left you can see our Chu's (what we call our apartments or rooms). The concrete structure in the middle of the picture is a bunker where we huddle together in the early morning hours as needed. All joking aside I feel very safe and protected. As Fred Chairsell (my senior partner at Constoga OMS) instructed me, I am keeping my head down. I have have the oprotunity to help a few patients here but I have come to see that my resources are very limited. I don't have access to modern plating systems so much of the treatment I can render is not state of the art...but the important thing is that I can make a difference even without contemporary plating systems.

Please feel free to send me a letter and e-mail if you have the time. I miss everyone greatly...only another 60 days or so till I'm back in the US. Thank you for all your prayers and help with my family. I love y'all!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Daddy's Pumpkin

We picked out our pumpkins on Saturday but the thought of helping carve all three kids pumpkins at once by myself was a bit intimidating. So I enlisted some family help but they can't come until next Friday. I told the kids we would carve one pumpkin Sunday night. We decided to do Daniel's.

We collaborated on the design. Each person did a drawing of what they wanted to see and then we choose to do MacGregor's eyes, Chase's nose and scar, and I designed the mouth. I thought it was a great blend!

Of course their favorite part of all was putting the candle inside and turning off all the lights. Even this morning - Ainsley was asking to see the picture of the glowing pumpkin and she wanted me to make the "Who-who-who-who-Ha-ha-ha-ha" voice. (that's the sound of the deep scary haunted house voice) I made this scary sound when we turned out the lights and she thinks it's kinda fun.

So Daddy- How'd we do? Did we make you proud? Is this how you would have done it?

Tonight for HomeEvening activity the kids wanted to carve another pumpkin. We decided to do the baby's tiny pumpkin. ( I seem to be able to do it if it's only one per night) Chase made the comment, "Sure doesn't take long to carve a small pumpkin." Here's the result - Do you think the baby would like it?

I hope you all don't get sick of seeing more pumpkins because I have a feeling each of the kids are going to want to show their dad their creations. SO - More pumpkins to come!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pumpkin Patch

Saturday we just kind of lazed around. The boys spent quite a bit of time outside playing football with the neighborhood kids. Ainsley watched movies and played inside. She was still running a low grade fever most of the day and complained of a sore throat but was acting much more like herself.

Around dinner time we headed out to an Amish farm where Chase heard that they have tons of pumpkins for only $1.00 a piece. I thought that was hard to believe but we drove over there (it's only about a mile from our house) and he was right.
Tons of Pumpkins -

I know it's hard to see but all those tiny orange dots behind Ainsley are pumpkins.

Now we didn't have to walk out to the field and pick our own. They had plenty to choose from next to their green house. I figured we'd each pick our own and go home with 4. But the kids insisted we get one for Daddy and the baby. So I dug some more money out of my purse and we went home with 6. Ainsley picked one just perfect for her size (seen here) but the boys picked the biggest honkin pumpkins there. I told them fine - if they carry them.

*You can tell Ainsley's doesn't feel great from these pictures. She's not her normal chipper self.

Here are the pumpkins the kids finally decided on for Daniel and the baby. The one Chase is holding is Daniel's and it's small by comparison to the ones the boys picked for themselves.

After the pumpkin patch I took the kids to get pizza. MacGregor said the pizza place reminded him of Daddy. Daniel had taken him there last year for lunch - just the two of them. He remembered where they sat and what they ate. After pizza, we headed over to our local sports store, "Sports Authority", by Chase's request. He had brought his own money and wanted to buy some more sports cards for his collection album. He settled on Eagles football cards.

After buying football cards, we headed to the grocery store for a few essential items to get thru the weekend, ie. milk and ice cream. We headed home for ice cream cones and showers and then got everyone to bed. I had decided that Ainsley really shouldn't go to church for fear she would pickup something else in her weakend state. So I called a ride for the boys.

Ainsley has seemed to feel much better today and I was told the boys were very well behaved (just what a mother wants to hear!).

A Little Off

Ok - so Daniel called tonight - twice in two days! I Love It! He said I was mostly accurate in my write up but the trailers shown in the picture are actually much bigger than his. He said theirs are quite small and they don't have bathrooms. He said there are 2 houses with toilets (5 in each) and 2 houses with showers (5 in each). Everyone shares and it's quite cramped but it's better than Kuwait where they used outhouses.

They have a small church group that he met with today. 8 people attended - one was an investigator. They watched the morning session of Saturday General Conference. He said he took about 10 pages of notes and it was really good. He was also asked to speak next week.

He said things have slowed down considerably at the hospital in the last couple days. He discharged his cheek patient today. He was a Kurdish Security Officer. Although, he told him to come back for a follow up in 3 days - but the patient wanted to wait 11 days (til after Ramadan). Daniel told him "no" - he really needed to see him in 3 days for a treatment only he could give. He said it's kind of difficult working entirely thru interpreters.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Trial by Fire

Well it seems as if Daniel has not had time to post this week. I thought I would fill in the highlights before I forget them and he can correct me if I get it wrong.

He arrived in Mosul about midnight on Monday night. He said he was able to ride in the cockpit with the pilot, copilot, and engineer. They took a C-130 transport plane. He said it was AWESOME! He got to bed about 2am. He described his living quarters as a little tiny trailer for 2. I think this is what they may look like. If I am wrong - I hope Daniel will correct me. The following is a description I found for these types of "living quarters": . . . mobile white-walled trailers, to be used as soldiers' living quarters, were laid out in rows, in a manner resembling a large trailer park. Each soldier would have 80 square feet of living space. Rooms inside the trailers were to be approximately 4m2 large, oufitted with a small window, equipped with two beds, a table and lamp, a closet, and be air-conditioned. Between the two rooms, within each trailer, soldiers would share a shower, sink and toilet. His roommate is an ER doctor. I can't remember his rank but his last name is Apostle.

I received a call from Daniel Tuesday night telling me when he had arrived and that he had seen the hospital. It is no longer a tent but a "hard structure". He said for the next couple of days he would be getting shown around to learn the ropes because the unit they were replacing would be leaving by the weekend. He said the base they are on has a thick concrete wall all the way around so they can not receive any direct fire. That was comforting.

Thursday morning he called. He said they had done a mass casualty drill that morning with 26 patients. (Casualty can mean wounded not just dead like I had previously thought) Here they practice assessing each patient and deciding which should be operated on and which are beyond saving etc... I asked if that's a really hard decision to make - he said yes. I can't imagine being the one to decide if you recieve traeatment right away or not. He said his title during mass casualty is "trauma team leader". He is in charge of assessing the patients, stablizing them and getting them to where they need to be - operating room etc... I asked him if that was a little intimidating - he said it was challenging. Otherwise - his schedule is going to be a 24 hour on call type of thing. Pretty flexible when his services are not needed, but if they have a facial wound or mass casualty then he gets beeped and reports to the hospital. He said currently they only had 7 patients in the whole hospital (mostly gunshot wounds and injuries from explosions). He said on the whole it was pretty quiet.

I asked if he felt safe. He said yes. He was told though that have mortar attacks on the base roughly 5-6 times a month, but that they have underground bunkers for raids.

He said the base store is actually better than the one in Kuwait. They have a large gym with equipment for spinning, pilates, free weights and a full basketball court. The gym is inside a giant tent. The food is still good and he said if you wanted you could sit around and eat all day and they have lots of desserts. But he said he's trying to be disciplined and eat right and exercise. Daniel is happy he doesn't have to wait in long lines for the phones anymore(and we were able to talk nearly an hour that morning). This base has about 5,000 troops vs the base in Kuwait had about 20,000. He is able to use the computers but he said they are so slow that often he can't even post a comment on the blogs let alone upload his pictures. I am going to try to send an empty disc for him to put his pictures on and then I can upload some of them from here.


I got a call from him Thursday afternoon too. He wanted to tell me that they had just had their first "Trial by Fire". The base had been attacked by a mortar bomb and 17 patients had come in to the hospital at once, 15 of them our soldiers from the base. WELL - this worried me. I was thinking he was safe if he was on the base but apparently not. He said he had been in the hospital at the time of the attack, which is a "safe zone" for mortars. His roommate however was in their trailer and had to run out and get in a bunker. I asked him if they wear their protective gear in the hospital, he said no, but he wore it to walk to the phones to call me. He said no one had died from the attack but they had to take several patients to the OR to remove shrapnel from their abdomens and they would be sent to Germany the following day. He did not do any surgeries this time because he said they had way to many surgeons because the former unit hadn't left yet. He cleaned and dressed some abrasive wounds and treated a solider that had been close to the attack and had ear, eye and head aches. He said this soldier should be nominated for a bronze star because he saw a female soldier go down and ran to her, picked her up and got her to a bunker. Then proceeded to administer first aid to her from the kits they keep in the bunker. After the all clear, he got her to a truck that took her to the hospital. She was one they had to get to surgery right way from shrapnel wounds to the belly. They even brought in two insurgents with gun shot wounds.

SO - I was a little worried! Then I didn't hear from him for 48 more hours, no comments on the blog, no emails, no phone calls. I even checked his military email to see if he had checked the emails I sent and they hadn't been looked at yet. But he called this morning. He said they have been really busy. He was told that this particular hospital has never been this busy. These new injuries took place off base however. He said they had several IED (improvised explosive device) and RPG (rocket propelled granade) injuries as well as small arms fire. They even had one US soldier and one Iraqi soldier die. He said when a US soldier dies that they cut communications at the base for at least 24 hours. That's why he couldn't use the computers or phone for so long. They do this so that the military can contact the family before the any news of his passing would get out otherwise. Daniel also performed his first surgery on a soldier who's cheek was ripped open. He took him to the OR and got him patched up. He said the increased attacks are likely related to it being Ramadan. He also said something interesting - the two insurgents there in the hospital have apologized. Daniel said one speaks English. The doctor treating him said, "we're still a little mad about the whole mortar attack thing." Then one of the insurgents said he never knew Americans were so nice. I don't know if they were being sincere or not but perhaps they have been indoctrinated that we are horrible people and then are surprised to find out that our doctors will care for them just the same as if they were they were American. And that we aren't the horrible people they thought.

Daniel received our first package in the mail. It was just tastykakes. It took 8 days to arrive (not to bad). He said even the chocolate was intact and not melted and he has a small fridge in his room to keep them cool. He shared them with other soldiers and I think everyone enjoyed them.

Well, I know this was a long post but perhaps it gives you a better understanding of what he's going through now. Please continue to pray for his safety!

Traveling Stalled

We finished out the school week well, it was a busy one though. On Tuesday I hosted playgroup at my house, got Ainsley to school, drove over to MacGregor's class to volunteer for an hour and a half, picked up Ainsley, drove half way to Reading to meet my mom (Ainsley drop off, she spent the night because of my plans on Wednesday), got back to the house before the boys got off the bus and then shuttled Chase to and from Cub Scouts.

On Wednesday I was able to chaperone MacGregor's fieldtrip to the Manheim Farm Show (that's why my mom kept Ainsley). My morning was a bit thrown off becuase I thought I had 30 minutes from the time the boys got on the bus until I had to leave to pick up another parent and meet at the school for the trip. But Chase missed the bus and I had to really rush getting ready so I could get him to school on time and I forgot my maternity belt I use when I am walking for extended periods. I came home pretty sore.

Thursday, I had door duty at Ainsley's school. They keep the doors locked during school hours except for pick up and drop off times (because of all the school violence lately). So I manned the door, locking and unlocking it when the different levels of pre-shool arrived and picked up.

Friday morning MacGregor had "clubs" at 8 am. (They use a lottery system to get into the clubs and Chase didn't get in his choice this time) MacGregor is taking the "mileage club" which means he walks and runs the track with other kids every Friday morning (in October). So I got Mac to school by 8, then back home to get Chase on the bus by 8:30. Ainsley and I spent Friday morning running errands and picking up some things for a package we are getting together for Daniel. The boys had early dismissal (1:30) on Friday. A mother of a friend of Chase's called to see if Chase and MacGregor could come and play after school. So I dropped them off at about 2:40 and she brought them home around 5:30. While they were gone I put on a movie for Ainsley and I layed down for a while (until the phone rang of course). The boys got home and we ate a quick dinner and headed over to the school for PTO Bingo night, or "mingo" as Ainsley says.

We had a nice time and I wish I had brought my camera because Ainsley actually ended up winning a game. She was the only one in our family - there were alot of people there, a whole gym full. She picked out a polly pockets prize. As the evening moved on she became less interested in playing "mingo" so I opened her polly pockets and figured that would keep her entertained. But she wasn't really entertained and she kept complaining she was cold even though she had a sweater and her coat on. So I felt her forehead and she was warm. She ended up crawling up in my lap and falling asleep, which if any of you know Ainlsey that is unheard of. She's just not that kind of kid. So there I am sitting at a cafeteria table with no back on the seat, with a huge pregnant belly and a 3 year old in my lap. Needless to say my back was killing, but not as bad as when I had to stand up and walk from the gym to my car in the parking lot carrying Ainsley. She opened her eyes about half way to the car so I told her, poor thing, that she had to walk the rest of the way.

So to the traveling part - My doctor says I can't leave town past the 26th of this month. I have been trying to plan weekend trips to keep us busy. I had planned to go to Dover, DE where I grew up this weekend. Next weekend Chase has an activity that he is really looking foward to so I hated to plan anything then. I had been a bit reluctant to fully commit that I was going to Dover. I felt really bad for my friend we were supposed to be staying with because our plans were up in the air. It's just that I feel kinda worn out lately but then Friday afternoon I decided that I was going to do it! This is our last real weekend to get away and I knew I would have fun once I finally packed up and got there. So I called her and told her that we were definitely coming. Then I go to Bingo and Ainsley comes home with a fever. She was up 4 times during the night and was burning up at 5am so NO - we are not going to Dover and I had to call my friend again and say we would not be coming. I felt like such a flake. When Ainsley came down at 5 and was burning up the first thing she said to me was "Batman's in my room!" I was in a fog and am a little anxious anyway about being home alone and I thought for a moment - "Did she say batman or BAD MEN?" A few minutes later she was talking other crazy stuff so I think she was having a bad dream or halucinating from fever. Either way I was glad to know it wasn't bad men in our house.

So we are here for the weekend, our travels have stalled. I hope we can stay busy and not trash the house. We may go get our pumpinks and carve them tonight.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pioneer Woman

I am a pioneer woman! My husband is off on a mission (a dangerous one). I am left here to run the farm. And I am capable!

And it doesn't look half bad!

What you don't see is how covered I am in grass. Our mower is really old and well used and has a tendency to clump the grass especially if it's damp. So my dad tied up the guard which helps a lot with the clumping but all the grass blows out and up in my eyes (hence the safety glasses), mouth and all over my clothes. I end up disrobing in the garage and running to the shower.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Games, Games, Games!!

Over the weekend we had a fun time playing games. I got some great pictures and thought I would display them. I also wanted to tell you about the first game we played. I know all the Hens like games and I think most of you would really like this one. My mom found it last year at a game kiosk in the mall ( I think). It's not a game you can go to any department store and find but perhaps at a specialty game store or online. It's called Snorta. I like it because you can play with up to 12 players, it requires memory, and it makes you look absolutely ridiculous. Basically, each player has an animal (a little figurine). Everyone gets to see your animal and you must make the sound of your animal. Then you hide your animal and again make the sound for all to hear. Each player has a stack of cards face down that they turn over one at a time going around the circle of players. The cards have pictures of all the animals on them. If two players turn over the same animal in front of them - then each of the two players has to make the other person's animal sound. The first person to correctly make the other person's sound wins the match. It is so funny because many times you can't remember what is in their barn, or you say the animal sound from the card you turned over or you say your own. Anyway - it's loud, it's crazy, it's full of odd expressions and odd noises. I was thinking how much fun the Harvey and Pooka clan would have at this game. I tried to get some pictures of people acutally making the sounds but it would go to fast and by the time I snapped the pictures the faces were done. All except Ainsley who I did get making her "croak, croak" sound of her frog. Ainsley also didn't like when the noise level got too high. She gave us all the hint with this face:

We also played Uno Attack. That game is always fun and it's fun to play with little ones for the first time. Ainsley did a great job actually playing the cards. She could match the colors and numbers and didn't need too much help. But the best part was when she had to hit the buttons!

On a side note - I heard from Daniel today. He has safely made it to his base in Mosul, Iraq. He arrived around midnight on Monday. I will give him a few days to post about his journey and new base. It's always better to hear it directly from him but in the event he doesn't get time in the next few days - I will pass on what he told me today.