Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cowlicks and Teeth

I am visiting my sister in Idaho right now. We just took a few pictures and when I saw them, all I could think was - "Wow - Cowlicks and teeth!" All three of us are showing our cowlicks and teeth. On a side note - there were many people at my sister's church today that thought that I was her or made a comment about how similar we looked. It must be the cowlicks and teeth. And poor Piper got that cowlick too.

Here's a cute picture of Piper and me. I'll post this for Dan so he can remember how cute we are!!! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lil Peanut

Piper had her 9 month check-up at 9 months and 13 days (September 5th). Daniel spoke to a good friend of ours last night (Brad Chiapelli) and his baby boy is 5 days older than Piper. Brad said his little guy is pushing 30 pounds. Our little peanut weighed in a 16 pounds 2 ounces. So light in fact that the doctor wants to do a weight check next month. Her length was 27 inches. I was a little worried when the doctor wanted to do a weight check but then I went home and checked my other kids. Chase was 17-8 at 10 months and Maco weighed in at 21 pounds at 9 months, but little bitty Ainsley only weighed 16-2 and 27 inches - the girls were exactly the same. The boys were at least an inch longer as well. So I am not so worried now. The girls were 25% for height and only 5%-10% for weight.

We have nicked named Piper "The Destroyer". She is into pulling hair, tearing magazines, pulling everything off table tops, throwing things on the floor, ripping earrings and necklaces off their intended bodyparts and just being as riotous and crazy as she can be. We do love her anyway and think she looks great in this hat:

Other than that - no more teeth (only the 2 bottom still), Great at feeding herself (see pictures above) but does get slimy. Crawling as fast as ever - loves getting up the stairs, won't stand on her own - it's a mental thing cuz she can totally do it - therefore no walking yet, just cruising furniture. Loves to stand at the piano, reach up and tickle the ivory. LOVES car keys. Screams when I have to take them away to actually drive the car. Still cute as button with a smile so big it looks like her face is going to divide in two.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Incredible Birthday Weekend

This was Daniel's birthday weekend and what a special one it was. See last year we were doing this, and it was an "Oh so SAD weekend". Last year we had stake conference also but I was not about to leave the airport after saying goodbye to my husband and sending him off to a war zone and then drive straight over to stake conference in a rented facility in a town I'd never driven to by myself and while I was pregnant wrestle 3 kids for 2 hours . What a different experience we had this year. We were able to listen to an apostle of the Lord. Elder David Bednar of the quorum of the 12 apostles came to OUR stake conference here in Harrisburg. He was accompanied by one of our area seventy - Elder Gary Crittenden from Connecticut (Mark and Shana, do you know him?) It's interesting to know that both Elder Bednar and Elder Crittenden served in the same southern Germany mission overlapping one year together.

They were AMAZING speakers! I don't know how we got so lucky. I don't know how they have such stamina either. They gave a 2 hour youth meeting on Sat morning, a 2 hour priesthood leadership meeting Sat afternoon (Daniel attended and said it was fabulous!) and a 2 hour adult session that was OUT OF THIS WORLD on Sat night. Then Sunday they had a 1 hour session with new members and investigators and then a 2 hour general meeting. The general meeting was held in the Hershey Theatre in Hershey, PA, an incredibly beautiful building! It was great too and for the most part the kids were good, besides having to take Ainsley to the bathroom 3 times during the general session.

What I can tell you is this: THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS TRUE! HIS CHURCH HAS BEEN RESTORED HERE ON THE EARTH! THE ATONEMENT IS FOR ALL OF US!! WE MUST APPLY IT!! WE CAN DO IT! There is no doubt of these truths when an apostle bears his witness. Their command of the scriptures was unbelievable and their ability to speak and answer questions using the spirit as their guide was astonishing. I will have to ask Daniel to tell you about a question that was asked in the priesthood session and the absolutely inspired answer given.

I could go on and on. But it was truly an honor to be in their presence and have them speak to us directly as a stake. When my parents arrived for dinner tonight to celebrate Daniel's birthday, the first question out of my father's mouth was, "So are you still on your high?" The answer is YES. I have been chastened. I have been motivated! I have been inspired! I hope the high lasts. (at least General Conference is only 3 weeks away)

After the meeting was over I happened to run into a good family friend, Rachel T and her daughter Annie. She had just moved to Hershey from Provo, to persue graduate work at Penn State Medical School. We invited her to join us for dinner and they decided to come. It's about a half hour drive. Annie had a great time with the kids. Ainsley adores her and we had fun catching up with Rachel. My parents had a good time too - see I grew up with Rachel in Dover, DE and her mom and my mom are best friends (and incidently our mothers had spent 2 days together last week).
Daniel chose to have brisket for his birthday dinner and our whole house still smells like smoked meat but it sure was tasty. We like that southern cookin! We also had baked beans, green jello and homemade potato salad. Here's Piper playing "Happy Birthday" Ok, not really but she was blowing the flute and really making noise on it!
Daniel also spent a great deal of time on the phone, which I think is the best part. Everyone that you love calls you on the same day! He was able to hear from 6 of his 8 siblings and his parents and my aunt and sister!! What a terrific weekend.
----- Oh I forgot to mention that we attended a charitable fund raiser dinner/auction on Friday night for a charity called "Brush Brush Smile" serving low income families in the county. Daniel's practice has given a substantial amount to this charity and Daniel's office manager serves on one of the committees. It was fun to get dressed up and go out. The dinner was excellent. There was also a silent auction table. About 15 minutes before the silent auction table closed I went up to browse it and see if there was anything I was interested in. These types of things are really hard for me because I am such a "tightwad". I have to keep telling myself that everything is WAY overpriced because it's for charity. I have to tell myself that I am basically just writing a check to a charity for a good cause and that I get a little something in return. Daniel followed me up and asked if there was anything I was interested in. I said there was only one thing - a very large engraved silver platter - actually it was pewter. But it was a lot of money and I really didn't think I would get to use it very often, plus where would I store it? You'd have to make a heck of a lot of cookies to use that size platter. Daniel tried to convince me we could put our Thanksgiving turkey on it. After much convincing and with hand shaking I signed on the next line. This was about 2 minutes before the auction closed. I was the third bid for this item and my line read $122. Did I really sign up to buy a platter for over a hundred dollars? No - I was giving $122 to kids for their dental care and I just happen to get to take home a platter. Yes, that was much easier to believe. After I signed, I actually got a little rush! I got that shopping high. I could envision all the Christmas cookies I was going to put on there. I couldn't wait to show it to my mom.
We didn't want to stay much later so we were filling out a card with credit card info so they could just charge us when they were ready instead of us staying until the end of the evening. Daniel asked the woman in charge if we would be able to take the platter with us. She said sure but to just make sure we won it. Well of course we won - we signed right before they took the slips. So we checked - AND WE LOST!! Someone had snuck in and signed the line for $137 without us noticing in the last second!! All that shopping high for nothing. So I gave nothing to charity and I don't go home with a platter. What a bummer!
Don't get me wrong though - it didn't taint the weekend at all! WONDERFUL WEEKEND!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

First Day 2007

Due to the construction going on at the high school we had a really long summer. We got out on June 1st (which was a week earlier than most of the schools around here). We didn't have to make up our 2 snow days and then we didn't go back until after Labor Day. ( a week after most schools started). So our official first day was Tues, Sept. 4th.

The morning went off without a hitch, we were even ready early (even though I was exhausted from our busy weekend.) Both boys needed haircuts and that has since been remedied but as for the first day they were a bit bushy. Chase is a "safety patrol" this year. It is quite an honor to be nominated for this, only a few are chosen from the 4th and 5th graders. He has bus duty and then a "post" on school grounds that he monitors.

Chase was really excited to start school. He really wanted a man teacher and he had a 50% chance of getting one (2 of the 4 fourth grade teachers are men). He got Mr. Kennedy and he is really excited. Some of their early curriculum is learning to play chess (right up Chase's alley) and studying black crickets. Chase had so much fun cricket hunting the other night outside our house. He ended up with 2. As he tried to hand me the big one (because he had dropped the little one and needed to recover him) I grabbed him by the leg. Chase hadn't let go when I pulled on the leg and it came right off. I asked him if they were allowed to study a one legged cricket. He said he thought so. We put the crickets in a bag with some grass. We used a fork to poke some airholes in the bag. As everyone was getting ready for bed I heard the chirping. I said - OH NO! I told Chase he had to put the crickets in his backpack and keep them in his room during the night. He said his classroom is constantly chirping and sometimes it gets hard to concentrate.

MacGregor on the other hand was VERY nervous for the first day. None of his good buddies are in his class this year. Of the 4 2nd grade teachers there were 2 that he really wanted. He got neither. According to MacGregor he got the "strictest" teacher, Mrs. Appleyard. Although when he got off the bus the first day he gave me a shy smile and said that Mrs. Appleyard was one of the nicest teachers. (Since the first day there have been a few instances where I think he has reconsidered using the word nicest.) We'll see how the rest of the year goes. MacGregor is a good kid and shouldn't have any trouble.
Piper was really excited on the first day too. Here's a few photos of how she was feeling.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

No More NECCOs

My grandpa ALWAYS has Necco wafers. Ainsley knows exactly where his secret box is. She gets a mini pacakage of Neccos everytime we visit my grandparents. We went for a visit on Thursday. We dropped by some photos and some homemade chocolate chip cookies for my grandpa's 83rd birthday. Each of the kids got their package of Neccos and dug right in. A minute later Ainsley came running in the kitchen making a horrible face looking for the trash can. Apparently the white ones are too minty and she had to spit hers out. Then she picked out another white one and was going to throw it away. I took it from her and popped it in my mouth. As I was chewing this wafer I noticed some really hard crunchy bits. I thought I must have gotten one that had some granulated sugar that didn't get melted down. Meanwhile it seemed that the chewed candy was sticking in a bunch on my back teeth. The granualted sugar lumps didn't seem to be disolving and my tooth in the back didn't seem to be feeling better. I started feeling like I was choking on these hard granules. I started exploring with my tongue and then realized that my 1st molar (2nd from the back) had a huge hole in it and I was chewing up bits of a filling and tooth. I ran to the bathroom and rinsed my mouth trying to rid myself of all the hard bits. I was having visions of my intestines being cut up by bits of enamel.

Luckily the tooth doesn't hurt. Although I will make an appointment with my dentist this week. I think that may be the tooth that I had my first and only root canal on last winter. They decided they didn't need to do a crown then, oh but I guess they will now!! RATS!!!

My sister had a similar experience last year. She had had a root canal on a tooth. They told her that she would need a crown and to make her appointment for that in the near future. Well, getting a root canal isn't cheap and crowns are even more so she decided to wait a little between the two. (Like a year) Valentines day rolled around and she decided to eat a box of candy hearts. She bit into those tiny little hearts and her tooth crumbled. She ended up swallowing most of her tooth and that made her feel sick to her stomach and like she wanted to gag all day. Oh, by the way - guess who makes candy hearts? NECCO!

So the moral of the story is - If you are an adult with bad teeth, lots of fillings. . . root canals etc...- like my family -
Don't Eat Neccos!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Time Well Spent

So last week at this time I was rubbing shampoo into my dry hair, but luckily I remembered almost everything and we were off to the family cabin. We were so lucky to be able to spend the weekend with Wood, Woodine and Mary P as well as my parents. The weather could not have been better!!

There was boating, fishing, frisbee and catching crayfish. I think 27 crayfish were caught but the kids did return them to the creek so they could be caught again. They also had a lesson on extinction from Uncle Wood. Ainsley enjoyed her trip to "bone island" and wanted to spend all her time there. Daniel found the skull of the beaver that he "removed from the pond" back in July. The teeth were amazingly long and curved. There were fireside chats, BIG fireworks and a yummy outdoor cookout.

On Sunday we decided to walk down to the creek where a very large tree has fallen across. My dad wanted to survey it to see how long it would take to cut it up with a chain saw. We were also trying to empty the house so poor Woodine could get a nap. She looked utterly exhausted and with 11 people staying in that tiny house she didn't get much rest. Daniel stayed behind to fish but the rest of us made the long walk to the creek. The kids love it there. The kids were wandering around the rocks and water when Chase began to SCREAM!!! I didn't realize it at first but my mother called to him and said "What Chase, What's the matter?" He was frozen on the bank of the creek just screaming. My parents seemed to realize that he had been stung and yelled for him to start running from where he was. My Dad grabbed him and started swatting around him and lifting his shirt because he was grabbing his back. Well it ended up that Chase had disturbed a yellow jacket nest that was between some large tree roots along the banks of the creek. We all swatted the air for about 30 seconds and then started running back up the trail. It was our quickest visit to the creek ever. Chase just wailed and wailed and paced as we pulled out the first aid kits and searched for ice packs and anti-sting medicine. He was pretty miserable for about an hour and a half. He got stung on his back (right on his spine), on his wrist and on his face (side burn near the top of his ear). All places without any muscle. He can't swallow pills yet so after several failed attempts at swallowing a Motrin I had him chew it up. We then put on a "3 Stooges" DVD to act as a distraction and he finally felt better. He was really lucky that he didn't swell up like a big balloon, especially on his face. My mother was thinking that he might end up on the first day of school with a face doubled in size. Thankfully not.

A few minutes after getting Chase settled I walked around the corner of the house to see a stranger walking up the drive. He stopped to talk to my Dad. I heard him ask my Dad if he could take his daughter fishing in our pond. I hadn't stopped to listen to the rest. A few minutes later my Dad walks around the house and told us how the conversation unfolded. My dad told him that we don't allow anyone to fish the pond. That they had had problems in the past finding people's garbage around the pond, . . . beer cans, worm containers, fire pits and even fish heads (don't let Daniel hear you say that!) So my Dad told him it was a private pond, incidentally there is a public pond about 2 miles up the road. Also we are afraid if we tell one person, yes - go ahead then they'll be back all the time (when we aren't there)and tell their friends, "oh the owners said I could", so then their friends will come too and then their friends etc...

Well the guy got fierce! He said, "so you're really not going to let me fish?" " well you don't own that road out there! I can fish from the road" (there is a road that curves around very near the pond) " My dad said, no I don't own the road but I do own the pond" Then the guys says, "You don't own that water - that's public water that runs in from the creek. I'm going to fish!! What are you going to do - call the cops on me? Go do whatever the *&$#! you want!" Well now, that wasn't what any of us thought would happen when you say no, that someone couldn't fish on your private property. So as my dad was telling us the story, the guys drives to the part of the road that is closest to the pond and parks his truck. We were all sitting outside the house about 60 or 70 yards from the pond. And we wait. My dad thinks he was waiting for someone to go over to him and continue the confrontation but we just sit. He never gets out of the truck. Then the guys stepped on his brakes and spun his tires for 20 seconds or so (it felt like much longer) spitting rocks and gravel into the pond and then he peeled out spitting dust into the air. Wow too much excitement!! Woodine really missed a lot of adrenaline moments during her nap. We were all a bit worried that someone that psycho might come back in the middle of the night and do something stupid. Luckily we slept safely Sunday night and hope that the house is safe while no one is up there.

On Monday between breakfast and lunch we walked down to a different part of the creek. It's called "Snail City" Ainsley LOVES the fresh water snails that live in the pond. This one part of the creek is loaded with them. The 10 feet just prior to snail city is the deepest part of the creek. It is just one section about 6 feet in length and it goes up to the boys neck. Anyway, a lot of baby bass and minnows get trapped in the deep part because then can't get pass over all the rocks when the creek is so low. The boys smashed a few shells and threw the meat into the deep pit. The tiny fish swarmed to the snail meat. I was amazed to see little fish about half the size of my pinkie swimming around with pink meat in their mouths. We then tried to removed the rocks in the creek between the "fish pit" and "Snail City". We created some actual flow and hope some of these little fish will now end up in the pond! We had loads of fun doing this.

The kids got to swim for about 45 minutes before we had to pack up. The boys floated way out and were even jumping from the rafts and boats into the wild growths of "coontail". It's a pond plant that thrives in warm water. Next year we hope to treat it before it grows hog wild. We reluctantly had to leave early so the kids could get to bed at a decent time for the first day of school.

Our most favorite part of the trip was meeting Mary P of course. She is such a doll!!