Monday, June 30, 2008

Working with Papaw

Daniel went on a high adventure trip with some of the older scouts at church from June 12-14. We decided we'd spend the night with Mamaw and Papaw on Friday the 13th. We haven't been able to spend the night up there in a really long time because of school and baseball games/practices.

After dinner my Dad asked the kids if they wanted to help wash the car (my van) This is something that we did all the time growing up. The big bucket of bubbles, the wooly wash mitt, the hose with the spray gun, the drying shammy . . . oh the memories. We actually used to wash the car quite a bit in Iowa and Oklahoma but since we moved here we haven't washed the cars at home. We have a very steep driveway and it would be nearly impossible. So either we go to a drive -thru or we go extended periods of time with a dirty car, which was the case here. Ainsley and Piper have never had the "car wash" experience.

The kids loved it. I was worried that they were going to get my Dad soaked, which I knew he somehow would NOT find funny. They all worked hard though and kept the soaking to a minimum.

Did you notice that you didn't see any pictures of MacGregor working? I think that's because he was having to much fun "playing like a boy" with the hose. What do you think?

After the car wash, we spent some time playing with a butterfly (see post), we also got to see some baby mocking birds that had hatched earlier in the day. They were so tiny and cute. Then we spent some time playing baseball in the back yard. Chase and I were hitting the ball to each other while each of used our own bat. I would throw it up and crack it out to him with the bat and then he would return it by doing the same thing with his bat. I had a wooden bat and Chase was using an aluminum one. My dad had been working with MacGregor on pitching but when they were finished he walked up to Chase and I and said, "Let me crack one past the trees for Chase" I handed over the bat and my father threw it up and swung. He topped it so it only went 6 or 8 feet. He said, "Well that was a dud, let's try again". This time he threw the ball up and missed completely. I laughed a little because I had expected it to SOAR the first time and again the second time. He felt a little silly but picked up the ball again and gave it another go. Again he missed. He continued to rotate between "duds" and complete misses and each time I laughed harder. I continued laughing until my sides ached!! He was laughing too but after each time he became MORE determined that next time would be the one. He told me, "Now it's a pride thing!" Finally after 10 or 12 attempts - He gave one a ride past the tops of the trees. He was able to send several others out there too. But gosh it was fun getting to that point!! What's up Dad? You gettin old or something? :)

Fun with a Butterfly

After washing the car, Chase spotted a beautiful swallowtail butterfly. It was injured so it couldn't fly very well. Everyone was very excited to see it and Chase led the group to see if they could catch it. It kept bouncing from bush to bush as the kids tried to catch him and then he landed "plop" right on Gregor.

The fact that he landed on someone made everyone want a turn to "hold" the butterfly or at least let the butterfly sit on them. Ainsley wanted repeated turns which didn't exactly sit well with the boys. She was a bit rough in her handling of the butterfly. (We had just arrived home after cutting about 6 inches off of Ainsley's hair. We had let it grow until the dance recital in case she needed to wear it up. She didn't, they wore their hair down. Her hair was stringy and tangled constantly. Not a day went by that she didn't fight me when we brushed her hair. This style is much better for all of us!)

If the boys thought Ainsley was rough - they hadn't seen anything yet. Piper only got one time/one picture with the poor little butterfly!

The butterfly really liked Chase the most, perhaps because he was so gentle. He stayed on Chase and we took tons of pictures. He walked all over him.

We took soooo many pictures trying to get a clear shot of the proboscis, the little curly loop which is the butterfly's tongue.

As the sun set, we got this silhouette shot of the butterfly. The poor guy. He really did put up with a lot. I'm sure he was so relieved when we set him on a bush and walked away.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Broken Leg Update

Here's a quick update.

I was very unimpressed with the orthopedist who came in and sat in his little chair 4 feet away from the baby. He never felt her leg or unwrapped the thick ace bandage to see if there was discoloration or swelling etc... I assume he saw the X-ray that I had handed the nurse. He asked me, "How is she doing with that thing?" pointing to her wrapped leg. I said fine and he said "Great, then we'll just keep that on for 3 weeks" He said it should be easier on her than setting a hard cast and then having to cut it off with a saw.

So that's it. She still gets around by crawling and dragging her leg behind her. She still can pull herself up on things and balance with the cast. After the 2nd days she didn't complain about pain at all so now we just wait. We'll be going back a week from Thurs to get it checked before we leave on vacation. Please pray with us that she will have healed rapidly and won't have to wear the cast on vacation!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Best Joke EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back in April my mom and I were shopping in a fabric store. We found the funniest fabric and both looked at each other and started giggling. I don't know who had the idea first but we were both on board right away. We HAD to make a baby blanket with this for my sister who was having her first boy (she has 2 girls already). Boys love fireman, right?

Anyway - we decided it had to be a surprise. Shortly thereafter we found out that a friend of my sister's was throwing her a baby shower .... so our stage was set.

My mom told Brielle that she was sooo sad she couldn't be at her shower (which was true) so would she please have someone film her opening the gift from us. She told Brielle that we had made some receiving blankets... nothing fancy (which was true also).

It ended up just perfect. We did Dalmatian flannel on the back (to match the doggies on the front of course). We folded it flannel side out and put it on top so when she opened it that is what she saw. Then she pulled it out exposing the other side to her audience - they gasped and laughed and it took Brielle a minute to understand why.

Anyway - it's funniest from her perspective...

Check it out. It really was the best joke ever - she had no clue and I can't wait to see that video!

Oh - and it wasn't a total waste either. To quilt it - I free motioned stitched around each man, dog, truck, building and hydrant. I had never done that before and although I'm still not a great machine quilter (I get bunches on the back, it's really hard for me to keep all three layers tight) - I am glad I got some experience doing free motion.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

4 times in 9 months!!!!!!

Chase will be 11 next week. In 11 years I have visited the ER only 1 time with my 3 oldest children. When Chase was 3 he fell off his bed during the night and kept complaining in the morning. We thought his collarbone was broken. I honestly can't remember if it was or not because they don't cast collarbones.

As of last night, Piper has now been to the ER four times in 9 months. Our latest trip? A broken leg! Yes - that's right a spiral fracture of the left tibia.

So here's the run down: Sept 2007 - McCall Idaho - upper airway obstruction (croup like)

December 2007 - Lancaster General - deep 2nd degree burns on hands

February 2008 - Heart of Lancaster - upper airway obstruction - this time she was admitted and spent 2 days in the hospital and came home on a nebulizer

June 2008 - Heart of Lancaster - broken leg

Not to mention that she spent her first 6 days of life in the nursery at the "Heart", where she was born, under bili - lights. She has spent more time in a hospital in 19 months than I have my entire life!

Yesterday started out as a great day. The kids and I picked 13 pounds of strawberries. We are making jam with my mom tomorrow. We came home and packed a lunch and headed out to the park. On Mondays we meet friends from Ainsley's preschool to play at the park. It's worked out well since many of her friends have older brothers so the boys don't mind going either. Piper fell asleep in the car on the way there so she actually slept the whole first hour. When she got up she followed the kids around and played on the playground equipment. It's pretty safe equipment for all ages.

We were packing up and I said to the boys - I'm going to load up the car, you guys go get the baby. MacGregor and Piper had been in a little tunnel. Piper came out of the tunnel onto a platform. She sat down on the platform and went down the slide where MacGregor was waiting for her. The slide was tiny, maybe four feet. It was made of hard plastic. I saw all of this going on out of the corner of my eye while I was packing up. Then I turn and see MacGregor carrying a crying Piper to me. He said, "Mommy, I think she broke her leg, her foot got caught when she was coming down the slide and I heard a crack." Well - he's 8. I didn't really think her leg had broken. I held her and tried to put her on the ground but her legs just turned to jelly. She wouldn't put any weight on it.

She continued to cry, not a screaming bloody murder cry, just a sustained cry while she leaned her head on my shoulder. That's not really like her. She usually gets over things and wants down. I knew she wasn't tired because she had only gotten up 45 minutes before.

I got in the car and called Daniel who told me to go to his office nearby and have Dr. Heise look at it to see if we should take her to the ER. Daniel was at a different office (across town) that day. Dr. Heise told me he didn't see anything obvious so I should take her home and see if she calms down. If she was still protective of it in the morning then call the Dr. So we took her home. She did calm down and seemed fine while sitting on the couch or in her high chair. But when she got bored she'd try to get down and then start crying and want to be held. She's very frustrated that she can't get around. We thought it was her foot but later I had her in the bathtub and was squeezing her foot and she seemed fine with it. I told Daniel I thought it might be in her leg because it only bothers her when she puts weight on it. So he started squeezing her shin and that did NOT go over well.

We decided to call the pediatrian and see if we should take her to the ER last night for an X-ray or wait until the morning. He said, we should go ahead and get the X-ray. So Daniel took her in. After looking at the X-ray Daniel said, "that looks broken", pointing to the crack on the X-ray and I don't know if it was the X-ray tech or the ER doc said, "No, that may be just a nutrient canal. Let's get the Radiologist to read it." So Daniel waited another hour with the baby to find out that indeed it was a spiral fracture, which is cause when the bone twists. As she came down the slide her rubber shoe got stuck but momentum carried her body forward causing her leg to get twisted behind her. The bones are not displaced at all. Nothing is swollen. The bone looks perfectly straight on the X-ray - it just has this little black line running vertically (but diagonal) through it.

Last night they just put a splint on it and wrapped it in an ace bandage. Today I have to take her to an orthopedist. I'm really not looking forward to a baby in a cast, especially on vacation! M told me that they make water-proof casts. I'm definitely going to inquire about that. Wish us luck.

And poor MacGregor who feels so bad, like it was his fault because he was standing there. I told him that many times while I've been there her legs have gotten stuck. Rubber shoes and slides don't mix.

Here she is - trying to walk but not wanting to put any pressure on the foot.

I'll give an update and a new picture after our visit today.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Baseball season finished last week. I love watching my boys play baseball. I love being outside in the spring - most days. But it really does take a toll on our family. I remember my dad saying that his father didn't make it to most games because he was working. He and his brother walked to the ball fields. Dan tells me that his parents didn't make all his games - and if he had a parent there it was only one. He had a large family and sports schedules definitely disrupt the family. I have fond memories of evenings spent at the ball fields watching my brothers but I don't know how many of the total games I actually went to. It's hard to get the whole family to these games but we do it. I only missed one game and Dan only missed about 4 games out of 16 . I think Piper and Ainsley made them all.

There were many days when the boys got off the school bus at 4pm. Then I'm yelling at them to find their uniforms and get dressed. They are exhausted from school and just want to crash and have a snack. Then we're eating dinner at 4:30 so we can get in the car by 5:05 so we can fight rush hour traffic and get to the field by 5:30 for warm ups and 6 pm game. Whew... . We'd get home sometime after 8pm and then it was time for showers and homework and music practicing. The kids were completely worn out and we parents weren't far behind them. I'm tired just typing it out!!

I do love baseball - the kids love playing too but I've told them that one team sport a year is all the family can take. Chase wants to play lacrosse and basketball. MacGregor wants to play flag football. I said you have to choose one. The others you can play in the back yard with friends. It's hard cuz they have friends that play everything but either their friends parents are super human or they don't have little ones to entertain during all these games and perhaps their friends don't have cub scouts at church and take piano and trombone lessons which require practice time. I can only take one season a year at this pace.

This is the little one we have to keep busy and safe for 2 and half hours several times a week. Here she is fascinated by the clover. She was picking each piece very carefully.

Then she gleefully gave them to Daniel.

Her favorite thing though was to play with the big kids. I didn't mind that one bit either. Then I could actually keep my eyes on the game.

We heard there was a little ghost that haunted the ball fields. Every once in a while we caught a glimpse. I even managed to catch it on film one day.
Doesn't she look like a little ghost or little angel floating above the field?

For the end of season party we had a "parents" vs the "kids" game. It was really fun. Both moms and dads played and I was surprised at how well many of the moms did. I had to watch Piper so I didn't play the field, which is just as well - throwing a ball really isn't my thing. When it was time to get up - they asked me if I wanted a turn at bat - the other parents would watch the baby. At first I sort of refused - I really didn't want to embarrass myself but on the other hand some of the other parents had struck out so I wouldn't be the only one. So I was debating. Daniel got up to bat - the dad's had to bat on the non-dominant side. Daniel had to bat right handed against Chase. Well Chase struck his old Dad out. Very Surprising - especially for Daniel.

So I decided to give it a whirl. If Dan struck out then I didn't have to feel too bad right? There was a new pitcher put in - Tim. He warmed up and then I stepped into the box. He hit me on the first pitch, only on the shoe. They told me to take my base - but I wanted to HIT the ball so I asked if I could stay in. You'd think that the fear of embarassment would have been enough to send me running to the base - Get to get on base without looking like a fool - who wouldn't do that? But the pride in me kept me in the box. I wanted to have a chance to prove I could do it. CRAZY! So they called that a ball and then I got 2 more balls and swung at 2 really bad pitches. The kids coach was coaching me in the box - sad! So now it was a full count 3 balls 2 strikes - here comes the last pitch. I swung. I made contact. I ran! I didn't look back. I made it to the base and had to look up to see if I got there in time. I did! I did! Dan said I ran like a cheetah! How sweet of him. Then I wasn't sure if I should steal and my heart was pumping on base waiting to run. I wanted to make sure I did it right. I made it to second but then I got thrown out at third when the dad up to bat bunted it directly toward 3rd. What I realized is that it's a lot of pressure in there. It's a lot easier to coach the kids from the side - we say don't reach, we say don't swing at the high ones, we say "swing" that was a good one. It's alot harder being in that box and making that decision. Even their head coach felt this pressure. He totally wasn't aware of where his team was. He was on second and didn't think he had to run. The batter hit the ball and he hung out on second until the first base runner got almost there. The kids tagged third and the Coach was out!! The assistant coaches were laughing and yelling "Fundamentals Coach - Fundamentals" which was the mantra of the season. I also realized how out of shape I was because one time at bat gave me a sore knee and sore abs. For days every time I sneezed my abs were sore and I thought - that's from swinging a bat a few times? I need to get out more!

I think the parents ended up winning by 1 point. After the game we ate pizza and the coaches gave out the game balls to each of the kids. They each received a game ball in which they had an outstanding performance. Chase recieved a ball against the Red Sox when he struck out 4 players. MacGregor received a game ball where he slid into home and scored a run right under their catcher. I think that was really thoughtful of the coaches. It was a great season and I was so lucky to have the boys on the same team. We won't be so lucky next year when Chase has to move up. (That will really add a kink in our schedule!) The event ended in a "rockin thunderstorm" and everyone grabbed all the gear and ran to their cars. A few of the dads, including Daniel, got pretty wet as they were the last to gather trash and supplies.
GO TWINS!!! What A Year!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Day With the Kids

My days are very full. I often feel as though I am rushing. I often feel as though I am nagging my kids and just saying do this, do that, get on your shoes, get in the car, set the table, clear the dishes, hurry hurry. I have alot to fit in - making meals, doing dishes, planning my Sunday lessons, grocery shopping, laundry, bills, giving baths, changing diapers, cleaning the house (and yes - that's the one I neglect most often). And sometimes I try to cram my stuff in too - watch a show, sew a project, read an article.

So every once in awhile - I try to take a day for the kids - I don't do house work, I don't do anything for me. I focus 100% on them. Today was one of those days.

We woke up and didn't have any milk - yet I didn't go to the store. We used evaporated milk -( 2 parts water, one part canned milk.) The kids don't mind it at all on their oatmeal. The boys and I eat it on cereal and Piper doesn't mind drinking it in her sippy. (It tastes exactly like the milk they drink in Spain.)

So today I sat one on one with Chase and Ainsley while they worked on workbook pages. I read loads of books to Ainsley and did some sight word flash cards. I played in the back yard and salvaged all my tulip bulbs from a flower pot I got for Mother's Day. I let the girls help me separate the bulbs and bag them. I helped MacGregor repot his little cucumber plant he raised in school. I sang with Piper. We took a walk, blew bubbles and pet the neighbor's puppies. The girls got a bubble bath and their toe nails painted. Then we ate ice cream together and snuggled on the couch under a blanket watching Wonder Pets.

I really love my children and I like spending time with them but I know they don't always get the quality I'd like to give them when life is rushing by. It was really nice to just focus on the kids and push everything else aside. I know it can't be done every day but I hope a day like today reenergizes the kids like it does me.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama

This is my new favorite children's book. We picked it up from the library this week and Chase read it to all of us in the car. Everyone loved the rhyming and the story and each child couldn't wait for a turn to see the pictures. I like the message too. Check it out - it's worth it!

Recitals come and gone

I am so behind on posting. I am trying to catch up though.

May 28th the boys had their first piano recital. It was very laid back and comfortable. There were 10 children and one adult (my VT Penny who has just begun piano - her youngest child is 22. I am so proud of her) that each played one song. Most were beginners. The boys have officially been playing 1 year now. Although we did take 6 weeks off - the whole month of May and first two weeks of June - because baseball didn't allow for us to practice often and many game days coincided with piano lessons. Our teacher was awesome for being so flexible. Her thing is that she really wants the kids to enjoy it - if they are too over scheduled and hate practicing because they don't have any time for anything else - then they'll start to hate it so she said it's better to take a break. So we did.

They did keep practicing their recital songs through out May and both did a very nice job on their songs. Chase played "The Entertainer" and MacGregor "You're a Grand Ole Flag". MacGregor had his piece memorized but when he arrived and all the other kids used their music - he decided he'd use his too.

We did video but the battery ran out after MacGregor but before Chase. So we had Chase do another run through after the recital while everyone was having refreshments so we could get a video. I think he actually did better during the real recital. I still don't know how to do videos on here but someday I will and then you could hear their pieces too.

Ainsley had her dance recital too. It was a long program but her class did as good of a job as 3-6yr olds can do. They looked adorable too. Ainsley was really testing me though because with the lights out they brought out the whole class and put them on their little tape markers. There are 12 girls in her class. I knew she was 3rd from the left so I knew it was her that was lying down on stage and running over to the other little girls and circling them and laying down again. All of this going on with the lights out and you could just see this little shadow dancing all around while the other 11 shadows stood absolutely still in a perfect line. It took all my self control not to start yelling and running up there to discipline her. Luckily when the lights came on she smiled and got right back to her spot and danced her whole routine. So Miss Ainsley - are these the things you do when you think no one is watching? You bet I'll be keeping my eye on you!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Daniel has always loved shants. In fact he was wearing them when I met him on our first date (blind date). They were ones his mother made him for Christmas. Flannel... blue and orange plaid... calf length. I was a little confused by them but he told me that they were shants and that his mother made them and well ... that cleared it up....hmmmm. In fact on that first date at the ice cream place some people at another table were looking at us. Daniel got up and walked over to their table and modeled his shants explaining to them the same thing he had said to me.

He then graduated to some real ghetto/rapper shants. They were cranberry denim and at least two of me could fit in each leg. And Yes - he did wear these quite a bit. He'd wear them when we went roller skating and surprisingly he didn't really look out of place. He fit right in with the guys with the fat wheels and fat laces that do all kinds of tricky steps while leaning back in a sitting position.

We've had a vacation from Shants for quite a few years but when at TJ Max this past week searching for something to wear to the annual charity golf event - how could he pass them up? The tempation was too great. We've now graduated to "GOLF SHANTS". He was so excited he asked me if I wanted to see his new clothes... (he NEVER does that) at 12:30 AM!!! So he got dressed in this here outfit. Yes - I was a little surprised at the ensemble. I smiled and asked him what color was that shirt? Hot Pink? He laughed a little and said, "NO, Hot PRED" But it was an authentic Tiger Woods brand so it had to be ok. I told him the shants reminded me of koolats (how do you spell that word?) . He wasn't sure what that was - but I'm sure all my 80s girlfriends remember them. I asked him if he was afraid anyone would make fun of him and he said he couldn't wait to hear what people had to say.

That's my hubby. He has a style all his own and people are attracted to him (I know you're thinking because of his utmost sense of style but no..) because of his confident and playful personality. He's not afraid to be himself and he's not afraid of what others think. This is what draws people to him. It's what drew me to him.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Let Down

I've made a lot of blankets but I have given away about 90% of them. I always get so excited to give it to the recipient but then after it goes I always have a let down. I miss it! I miss seeing it around the house. After I finish one I always have it laid out so I can look at it every time I pass it. I always show it to as many people as I can before I give it away (my poor visiting teachers - they've seen so many projects).

And so it went last Thursday when we gave away my NEW favorite. The homeroom moms had collected money for a gift card for MacGregor's teacher, but then a sister of one of MacGregor's classmates died. Mrs. Appleyard had been close to this family and so in Mrs. Appleyard's honor the class donated the gift fund to the grieving family for the foundation where their daughter had gone to summer camp. I don't know for sure but I think this teenage girl died of complications of epilepsy.

MacGregor's teacher had told me that she thought he was pretty special. She has taught many years and said she loves all her students but there are those few that just capture her heart. I wanted to make sure we still did something for this special teacher to let her know that we thought she was great too. Incidentally, MacGregor was scared to death when he found out he had her because she was the "strict" teacher in second grade and quite a bit older than the other teachers in his grade. In the end he loved her and was excited each day to go to school. Can you ask for anything better than that?

I was inspired by the signature quilt that we made for our graduate at church so I came up with my own pattern and decided to make a signature rag quilt for Mrs. Appleyard. I knew I wouldn't have time to quilt it so ragging it was the way to get it done fastest.

First I picked the fabric. I picked 6 coordinating colors. I just love them. They're soft and old fashioned but yet trendy. I sewed each block using two different fabrics on top and bottom and inserted a cream middle. Once all the blocks were done I took them to school. We asked Mrs. Appleyard to leave the room for 10 minutes so she wouldn't know what we were working on and then a homeroom mom helped me get the 25 signatures that I needed. We had 3 extra blocks without signatures so we filled those in with special messages for the teacher
For the 4 corners I just sewed random sized strips from each of the six fabrics together. I quilted a flower in the center of each of these and set them vertically as to contrast the horizonally set name blocks.

In the center I put a picture of the class that I had copied on fabric that goes thru your printer. Then I put a border around this. The only thing that disappointed me was that when I washed the quilt - which I had to do to get the rag effect - the picture did fade quite a bit. I had even bought the more expensive printer sheets and did the whole "color fast treatment". It still looked ok but not as crisp as before I washed it.

Since I used thin cotton for the front I used a middle layer of pink polka dot flannel (to thicken it up and give it more "rag") and bluish gray polka dot flannel for the back. In the bottom corner, we put a letter from MacGregor that he wrote all by himself. We copied it onto one of the printer fabric sheets and sewed to the back.

Isn't that cute? I got in trouble for not correcting his spelling. The day after I sewed it into the quilt he came home from school and asked me why I didn't correct his spelling. I said the letter was from him and I thought it was great just the way it was. He said he had spelled the same word wrong that day in school (probably thought it was right because I didn't correct him the night before) and was told by his teacher that 2nd graders should know how to spell that word. So now he's feeling terrible about giving his teacher this letter with a misspelled word that he should know. Now I feel terrible because he feels bad about his letter. He did give it to her and told her that there were some misspellings and she said, "Well, 2nd graders shouldn't know how to spell everything yet." Now she probably feels terrible for making him feel bad the day before. So we all feel terrible but yet we all feel great because it was an awesome gift. She sent a thank you note home with all the kids on the last day of school saying that she loved it and would always remember them. (I'll try to get a picture of the note and post it on here later).

I'm having my let down because those cute little signatures are no longer laying in piles in my home but I know they will always be cherished and I am happy that I could play a part in that.