Monday, August 31, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes--August

8/1--While Whit and Andrew were cleaning the bathroom this morning she said, "Dad, I know why you give us chores."
Drew: Why?
Whit: "To teach us responsibility!"
And I thought it was just because I was lazy and wanted help cleaning the house.

Can you tell the responsible kids from the mannequins?

8/5--We were swimming with our friends at their pool today. Brandon was carrying Whit around. He said, "Whit, you feel so light in the water because of the buoyancy. Buoyancy rocks!"

We heart buoyancy!

8/7--Whit named her toes today.

Their names are:
Baby, Toddler, Kid, Teenager, Adult

8/9--We have some generic disinfecting wipes in my bathroom called "Sani-cloths". Brandon came walking out this morning holding the can and singing in a Christmasy tune, "Sani-cloth is coming to town." It cracked me up.

You better not pout.
I'm telling you why.

8/10--Whitney had her kindergarten screening at school this afternoon. In the middle of the reading-based questions, Whit randomly told the teacher, "I saw a baby ape."
Teacher: Was it cute?
W: Yea. I wish you could come to my house.
T: Do you have a pet ape at your house?
W: No! I have a picture. It was in the zoo.

8/14--This was the face Whit was making at B in the middle of Safety Town graduation in front of hundreds of parents:

8/14--When I came down the stairs today in this outfit
Brandon told me I looked like a DJ.
I think that's a huge compliment, right?

8/20--Just finished watching "The Neverending Story" with B and W. At the end, the main character gets wishes, so we started talking about what we'd do if we were in his spot.
Brandon would wish for
1. A "give and taker". It's a machine that has been appearing in his dreams lately. You put in $10 and get whatever you want.
2. A billion water parks put together to make a super long ride.

3. All the money in the world.

Whitney would wish for
1. A "spender." It's a machine that you can point at any toy you want in the store. It will go pick up the toy and pay for it and you get to keep it. (You think she's easily influenced by big bro?)
2. A really really really really fast horse. (She might've thrown a couple more "really"s in there.)
3. To meet the empress. (The heroine at the end of Neverending Story.)

8/24--While waiting for a Dr's appt, Whit told me, "I know why it's called a gumball. Because there's gum inside that colored ball. There are gumballs in Africa, too. It's a pea inside wheat and they chew it." Hmm...really?

African gumball, anyone?

8/24--After Family Home Evening tonight, we were sitting around the table eating our treats. We decided to tell a story around the table, each person adding a sentence as we went along. The kids were really good at it! It was about a fish and B added some moray eels. When it was Whit's turn she said, "And then the gourmet eels went away." In some places, they probably are gourmet.

Bonus Caroline pics:

The wind blowing through her blond hair.


She's cute even when she's sad.

We love to hear her play the piano.

And especially love her hugs.
(They are not given out freely!)

She loves to drink cold water and chew ice.

On a walk with her daddio.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Obligatory back-to-school post

Like many other 5-18 yr old children, mine started setting alarms, packing lunches, and donning new clothes this week.

Back to school time!

B is an old pro at elementary school now.
Starting 3rd grade.
It's the first time he'll get A-B-C grades.
(Instead of Outstanding, Satisfactory, etc.)
He's the type who is highly motivated
by feedback, so he's excited about that.
Best part of the first day: Getting four "Behavior Bucks."
Worst part: "I didn't really have any bad parts."
(Is this MY son talking???)

Miss Whitney headed off to kindergarten!

She was SO ready to go and had no hesitations.
Best part: Making new friends, Julia and Ellie.
Also making a self-portrait and a
sculpture of a mammoth in art class.
Worst part: "My chest hurt at play time.
Maybe I've been taking too much footsteps."

It's weird to have her gone ALL DAY LONG, but
I'm loving the one-on-one time with Care Bear!
We play with toys, dance, eat, go up and down stairs.

We even went to her first story time especially for her.

(She obviously needs some help
figuring out how to use books.)

She doesn't seem to miss B & W
much throughout the day.
But she sure gets excited when they come
running home from the bus!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We know we can't dance...

But that sure doesn't stop us from trying! We had our second (and final?) "We know we can't dance" party this weekend. It didn't go as I had expected(we were the only couple that danced!), but we still had a really good time.

Care Bear didn't do a solo at the party, but at Gigi's request, here's a *little* clip of her dancing. I had to put two clips back to back and it's still pretty short. Guess we need to work on her endurance. Or else she's camera shy.

Whit, on the other hand, is anything but shy. Here she is shaking her groove thing at the party.

B didn't want to dance at the party, but here's a sample of what he can do.

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for....our interpretive dance of Twilight. I think this will be most funny for those who were at the party and could actually see it in real time. The video doesn't do it justice. I should've had it recorded in a higher resolution. (Thanks to Jeremy for being our cameraman.)

Here's a summary: Bella moves to Forks; Edward walks into the cafeteria; sitting in science class together; Edward goes hunting; he takes Bella to the meadow; we play baseball; we fight an imaginary James; we go to prom.

I hope to perform it again sometime before we forget it and get a better recording.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

B's tooth-pullin' contraption

This video is from a few months ago, but I finally figured out that for some reason I have to post them on YouTube instead of directly uploading through my blog to make them work.

Brandon had a loose tooth that just wouldn't come out. Here's how we solved the problem. (Sorry it starts off sideways. I was being an airhead.)

My favorite part was that he didn't even realize it had worked!

He's at that stage where those teeth just keep falling out. Maybe he'll come up with another method for the next one.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our new sacrament meeting tradition

Ahhhh...made it through another Sunday. Sometimes that feels like a huge accomplishment.

Andrew is still not back to 100%. He had a "minor" surgery on Friday to have his kidney stone removed. You never know how minor it will actually be. He had complications in recovery and had me downright scared for a couple of hours there. Everything is OK now, but he is just still really worn out and uncomfortable. Dang. Here the surgeon had me thinking we could be running laps by today if we wanted.

Anyway, I wanted to share something we've been working on with our older kids to improve reverence at church. It has been going pretty well. I got the idea from an article in The Friend magazine a few months back.

I got each of them a notebook from the dollar store
and challenged them to listen to the talks at church.
They need to write something down that they hear
from each speaker.

Whit's are real basic.
She listens for a word and
draws a picture.
This one is the temple.

Sometimes she'll also sound out the word.

And then sometimes she gets distracted
and starts drawing swirlies and pictures of the EXIT signs.
She's a five-year-old girl.

Brandon goes a little more in-depth.
He's supposed to write what the
talk was about or something that he learned.
That takes some listening!
I am so impressed with him.
I'm so distracted with Caroline that I
think he might hear more than me!

My favorite so far has been the second #2 on
this page, "a movie creator and fathers."
Toni, he was paying attention to your talk!

As a reward for their efforts, they earn Big Kid Time to spend with us after we put Caroline to bed. We usually play a board game. Our favorites lately have been Apples to Apples Junior, Cinderella's Enchanted Slipper and

Settlers of Cataan.
It's so fun that Brandon is old enough
to understand and enjoy this game now.
And he's good!
(Whit is just kind of along for the ride on
the weeks we play it, though. She likes
rolling the dice for Andrew and me.)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Our anniversary getaway

**Andrew update**He's feeling OK. Most of his pain is being relieved by meds, but he still gets uncomfortable sometimes. He is finally able to keep fluids down and even ate a small dinner tonight. The ER doc said that for stones of his size (4 mm), 80% of them pass within 72 hours. That would be by 7 am tomorrow morning. So far that hasn't happened. He'll make an appt with a specialist for the end of the week and will need some sort of assistance if it hasn't passed by then. And now on to a much happier post than last one....

We had a VERY special treat for our anniversary this year. (Which is actually back in June, but it worked out to celebrate at the end of July...we'll take what we can get.) My saintly mother agreed to watch our kids for three days and two nights while we got away to the mountains. Yes, friends, this was after spending five LONG days in the car with us. She is amazing! And to top it off, we forgot to leave her a set of keys to the van, so they didn't get to leave the house the whole time we were gone. (We're so lame!)

We left after church on Sunday and enjoyed a quiet, relaxing drive to Asheville. It was a stark contrast to the drives I had been through over the past month. We had great talks about retirement, Andrew's book ideas, parenting...the three hours flew by.
We stayed Sunday night at our cousins' home, even though they were away on vacation. (Thanks Destinee and Ryan!) On Monday morning, we drove to the Biltmore, touted as America's largest home.

It was the Vanderbilt's mansion built in 1895.
The setting is GORGEOUS. I could see why someone with an endless supply of money would want to settle here. They didn't allow any pictures inside the home, but it was as lavish and extravagant as you could imagine. Very fun to tour, especially with Andrew. You can read his review here. Only he could have me belly laughing uncontrollably in the middle of the library. And he even agreed to talk in a British accent with me for a couple of hours on a challenge from Shelley.

We spent a couple of hours in the house with plenty of sitting breaks for Andrew's back. Walking is OK, but standing is still hard on him. Then we toured the gardens. We tried to take exotic nature photos.


Stargazer lily

My eye

We were really confused about how this
rose was the 2010 winner.
It's still 2009, right?

We both LOVED touring their little farm.
We have gotten really into gardening this year and
were envisioning our next home with acreage so we
could live off the fruits of our labors.

On Monday night, we stayed at a GREAT little
bed and breakfast called the Bent Creek Lodge.
It was fantastic.
I would highly recommend it.

We went on a little hike in the woods behind it,
watched a movie on Andrew's laptop,
and played a couple of super close games of pool.
(Darn you, 13 ball! You hexed me!)

After a scrumptious breakfast Tues morning,
we headed to the NC Arboretum to enjoy more hiking
and further attempts at nature photography.

How did we do?

When Andrew's back had reached it's walking quota,
we started heading home with a quick detour
at one of our favorite Chuck E. Cheese's.

Andrew won the jackpot on Flamin Finger for the first time.
Yes, we know we are nerds.
And we're completely OK with it!

We came home to find that Gigi and the kids had
not only survived, but even had fun together. Hooray!
Thanks again, Mom, for making this happen.
I wish it was an annual tradition.
Getaways are so revitalizing!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

How to have a really rough day

*Wake up to what seems like a normal day and get kids ready to carpool out to Safety Town for Whitney to attend her summer camp there.

*Before you leave, have your husband announce that he is in severe abdominal pain and doesn't know if he can go to work.

*A few minutes later, he tells you that he needs to go to the doctor.

*Rearrange carpooling. Call three stay-at-home friends to help watch the other two kids. None of them answer.

*Take your oldest and youngest child with you to husband's primary care physician and hang out in the lobby while he is seen.

*The PCP tells your husband to go to the emergency room but gives him nothing to help with his pain which is unbearable. Watch him writhing in the car as you drive.

*Call friends back and finally get a hold of one who agrees to watch the two kids and makes you feel like you're not even ruining any plans for her. (Thank you!!!)

*Take husband to ER. Arrive around 10 am. The doctors and nurses are great and take him back fairly quickly. Watch husband endure pain that is reminiscent of natural child birth. Get a glimpse of how helpless he must have felt as I went through that. Feel like a doulah, "Keep breathing. Here comes another one."

*At 10:51, watch as the nurse administers pain meds through hubby's IV. Pray that this works.

*At 10:54, see husband relax for the first time in four hours. He asks, "What was the name of that drug?" in a way that makes me grateful it is only available by prescription.

*At 11:15, listen to hubby describe the hallucinations he's having: holding keys, seeing me in a curtain, holding hands with me, an employee coming to visit him, laughing at a driver's license of the guy from "My Name Is Earl" with a big afro.

*11:20--hubby asks if he's wearing shoes, "because I can't feel them." Has his last hallucination of Brandon and Whit standing outside throwing cherries at the house.

*Keep hanging out in the ER while hubby gets IV fluids, blood tests are run, and an x-ray taken. Feel grateful that he's able to sleep, you brought a good Harry Potter book along, but wish you had something to eat as your stomach starts growling.

*At 12:50 get a diagnosis from the doc that your hubby has a 4 mm kidney stone on his right side that has made it half way down to his bladder. Ouch! Feel grateful that you're the caregiver and not the patient.

Doomed to never be healthy or pain-free?

*Leave the ER around 1 pm. Pick up prescriptions for hubby, drop him off at home. Pick up kids from friends' homes. Wonder what you would do without such wonderful friends.

*Come home to find that the fridge isn't working. Everything in there is lukewarm. Figure you better call a repair guy now because it's Friday afternoon and you don't want to worry about it over the weekend.

*Have the repair guy show up an hour later, only to say that he can find nothing wrong with the fridge. He vacuums the coils which were really dirty and says, "I hope that was it. Call me if you have more problems. That'll be sixty bucks."

*Wish that you were taking a nap, but can't now because your youngest, who slept soundly through the coil vacuuming just woke up from hers.

*Get a visit from next door neighbor who informs you that there is water leaking down from your house to theirs. Possibly a broken sprinkler system. You have got to be kidding me.

*Come back in the house to find hubby awake and after talking with him realize that while you've been dealing with the household dilemmas, he has been throwing up all afternoon not able to keep anything down. Tell him he better call the ER. They tell him he needs to come back in and get an IV.

*Call yet another angelic friend who agrees to watch all three kids while we run to the ER and get an IV. It's 6:40 pm.

*Hang out in the waiting room of the ER for THREE HOURS. Listen to hubby throw up through the paper thin walls of the restroom. Feel helpless and terrible that his ordeal is just dragging on, but realize things could be worse. A couple comes in around 9:30 and they have their toddler with them.

*Finally accompany him back to a room at 10:15. Heed his encouragement to go out to the van and take a nap. Sleep for two hours in the van and wake up startled, hoping nothing has gone wrong in there.

This is what you look like when you've spent 11
of the last 24 hours in the ER...and you're just there
for moral support! Not a pretty sight, friends.

*Go back to his room to find him with an IV for fluids, pain meds, and anti-nausea meds. Feel relieved that he looks comfortable and has gotten some rest.

*Check out of ER at 2 am. Feel exhausted. Stop at a 24 hour pharmacy to fill anti-nausea rx. Get home close to 3 am. Feel overwhelming gratitude for your friend who has put your kids to bed and slept on your couch for hours.

*Kneel in bed at 3:15 am and offer a prayer of thanks that the doctors found out what was wrong with Drew, were able to relieve his pain, that he didn't need surgery, and that the kids were taken care of while we were away.

*Fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow and hope that the kids sleep in. Tomorrow has GOT to be better, right?