Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back to 'normal'

My parents left this morning :( ...it was an unpleasant way to start the day, but we did manage to fill the rest of the day with good things! I know I have a lot of blogging to catch up on, but for now I'll just post a quick recap of today.
After my parents left, we went to piano lessons, then to the library...
When we got home, I washed the van and David scrubbed out the pool. After we filled it up, the kids played in it for quite a while until the rain started. It seems kind of crazy that we're just getting it out now, during our last week of summer vacation, but this is also the first week of summer vacation that we're all healthy! Besides, the kids will continue to enjoy it in the afternoons for the next month or so, even after we start school. We stopped at Target on the way home today; we participated in a medical study this past year related to Abigail's CP, and at its conclusion, they gave us a Target gift card as a thank-you gift. Each of the kids picked out a new toy (Bruce's and my portion went to mundane household needs...boring but necessary!). David got a Lego police helicopter kit and went right to work on it as soon as we came inside.
I started a couple of painting jobs (more on that in another post) while they played. Now I'm tending to chores and the kids are both sprawled out reading library books. The rain is coming and going, the house is peacefully silent and smells like fresh-baked bread...a nice ending to any day, and especially to one that started out with an unpleasant event. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Google 8...just for fun!

This is one of those memes I saw on another blog...I skipped the tagging part because I thought it looked like fun. :) Likewise, I'm not going to tag anybody, but you're welcome to do it if you'd like! Instructions: Search for your answers using Google images and post one from the first page of results.
1. Age at my next birthday:
2. Place where I was born: (Community General Hospital, Syracuse, NY)
3. Favorite place:
4. Favorite objects: (hugs...maybe this is a stretch as far as "objects" go, but...!)
5. Favorite food:
(Deer heart...I spared you the picture of an actual deer heart!)
6. Favorite colors:
(my favorite changes constantly...it could be any color on any given day, but never crayon-yellow) 7. Nickname:(Marsupalami)
8. Place I'd like to travel to:(English countryside)

A *giveaway* celebrating my mom's blog-iversary!

My mom is doing a giveaway to celebrate her 2 year blog-iversary -- stop over to her blog anytime Mon-Thurs this week to leave a comment and be entered in her giveaway!

Fun family day

I've blogged before about our trips to the Center for Puppetry Arts, and how much we enjoy it...well, recently I won (from a drawing at the blog YaYaKids, thank you!) a "Family Fun Pack" of four tickets to their show, "The Emperor's New Clothes." We went on Saturday, and it was wonderful! It was a one-man show, very well done (as is typical of the Center), and on a side note, the puppeteer explained the moral of the story prior to the show (tell the truth no matter what!) and very gracefully handled the unclothed Emperor (who was a pig -- thereby removing any issues!).Afterwards, Bruce treated us to lunch at Olive Garden...we had a great day together! By the time we got home, Abigail was coughing like crazy, and I realized that I was definitely coming down with the cold she's had. She and I spent yesterday holed up at home feeling nasty, and today I am trying to pretend I feel great...after all, my parents arrive today and this is our annual week to spend at the pool, enjoying the summer sunshine and relaxing days...so I can't be sick! :/ Abigail goes today for her follow-up chest x-ray to make sure the pneumonia is gone. Considering that her cough is back, I'm glad we're checking it again.
In other random moments from this weekend, I canned some more pickled okra...
...and here is David, in quite the conglomeration of outfits!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Positive peer pressure!

Spurred on by her brother's accomplishment yesterday, Abigail knuckled down and finished her first chapter book today!!! Hooray for kids who love to read!

Channeling David's energy

We have two particular skills that run on both sides of our families, in various manifestations (well, I mean, we have more than two, but there are two that pertain to this post!) . Those two skills are the ability to work with one's hands, and the ability to read something in a book and then translate it to actuality. Bear with me for a minute! My dad has commented more than once on admiring Bruce's ability to not only read a 'how-to' book, but then to also be able to use his hands to do whatever 'it' is. Bruce's dad is a retired electrical engineer and is very handy with home-fix-it projects. My grandpa is a retired mechanic and can fix or build pretty much anything he gets a mind to. One of my brothers owns his own chimney business and does not only cleaning, but also building, rebuilding, stone work, etc, was a jet mechanic in the Air Force, and likes to tinker with cars (mostly doing things to make them faster and louder!). And I have yet to find something in the house or garage that my dad can't figure out how it works, what's wrong with it, and usually how to fix it...not only that, but when something goes wrong with my car or other machine and I call him, he's really good about being able to explain what I need to do to trouble shoot and/or fix it. For that matter, now that I think about it, both my mom and I are pretty handy around a tool box, too! We both know how to use "guy" tools/machines and are happy to do minor repairs around the house...and we're pretty decent with sewing tools/machines, too! (Random fact: Did you know that on my "someday I'd like to..." list is to take a basic auto mechanics course?!) All that to say, both the 'read it' and the 'do it with your hands' skill-genes run very strong in our families, and we are so very excited to see them emerging in David! Recently he built this bulldozer from a kit. He sat on his own -- in peace and quiet for a very long time, no less -- painted it, and then spread out the instructions and put it all together correctly!Then, unbeknownst to me, he got out his woodworking kit and put this toolbox together without instructions (he couldn't find them) -- and when I exclaimed over how he built it without some kind of example, he just looked at me blankly and said, "But Mommy, I could just tell how the pieces went together." After that, I got out the instructions for him so he could start working on the treasure chest. He got the whole base built (with one mistake, so at least we know he's human :)!), and then asked for his daddy's help on the tricky lid.We are so excited to see our son enjoying this kind of work...we hope and pray that he always uses these abilities for God's glory...it also reminds us to be thankful that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by God! He didn't just make us, He also made us with varying skill sets and abilities, and that is exciting stuff! In other David news, he also finished his first chapter book this week (although the ability has been there for a while, he has needed time to get over the psychological intimidation about reading a 'long book'!). Hooray!And then, just in case you were worried, David is still David. He is still our seven-year-old, all-boy, holding-still-means-wiggling-while-staying-in-the-same-three-foot-area, you-didn't-define-exactly-what-you-meant-by-sitting-in-the-chair, kid! :)

Southern dog!

...even the dog likes okra! No, loves okra. He waits expectantly outside the garden gate while we harvest and then goes crazy when we come out with vegetables in a basket or bag, because he can hardly wait for his treat....and before any of you okra fanatics complain, don't worry...we only give him the ones that are too overgrown for human consumption! :)

A kaleidoscope week

This week has been a jumbled, constantly-shifting week of miscellaneous obligations and fun stuff all put together, pulled apart, and put back together a new way...hence the "kaleidoscope"! I'll spare you all the gory details and just hit the highlights... We had hearing checks Monday; the kids were both basically stable with a few random -- and very welcome! -- improvements. That was especially good news after so much loss progression in recent months. After checks, we went out to dinner with RaDora, which is always fun, and although I had my camera, I forgot to take pictures. Sigh. Tuesday we spent the morning with a friend and then headed to piano lessons and visited the library. Wednesday Abigail was running a fever again, and considering the pneumonia she is still getting over, the pediatrician wanted to check her. He determined that she's picked up another virus, likely due to an immune system already under stress. It's tempting to keep her in seclusion for a couple of weeks until she has time to really and fully recuperate! Yesterday we finally got to stay HOME! The kids were so happy to be able to wear their comfy-clothing of choice -- for David, happiness is shorts with no shirt; for Abigail, pajamas! -- and to play together all morning.I was happy to be able to do the usual housework/laundry and get caught up on paperwork/phone calls, and then I did my last cleaning-uncleaning-recleaning project of the summer...more on that to follow in another post. It was SO good to be at home all day!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Becoming part of a southern tradition

I am a little step closer to being truly southern...I have now grown, harvested, pickled, fried, and eaten okra!!! RaDora (who grew up in Arkansas, so she knows about okra) came over to teach me what in the world to do with it. You may remember that she is the reason we planted okra in the garden this year...because she pleaded quite prettily!...but now we're hooked enough that it will be an annual crop!
Harvesting the okra...I told RaDora to stand there and look cute...didn't she do a grand job?!The okra blossom...it is in the same family as the hibiscus and the hollyhock.Part of our first harvest. Okra is a perpetual-harvester, so we will continue to harvest more until either the frost kills the plant or we pull out the plants because we can't take any more! :)Getting everything ready for pickling. The jar on the left is one that RaDora's uncle had made last year...RaDora brought it for us to try so that we knew what we were making (yum)! Only two jars this time -- this round was more about learning the process than about quantity. Both jars sealed...yay! Aren't they pretty? (The red things are roasted red peppers, included for aesthetic value.) We also fried part of the harvest, but I forgot to take a picture of that (whoops). So now I am officially an okra-fan...and I had a fun few hours with a friend, too...all in all, a successful venture!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Quilt-treasures giveaway

I was happy to find this blog with so many lovely quilts to inspire me...and now there's a great giveaway going on with beautiful quilts, quilted items, and quilting supplies up for grabs -- any one of them would be a treasure to win! Here's just one of the lovely items this blogger is giving away...

Day around town

Today we braved piano lessons (Abigail is still nowhere near healthy, but she is improving and really wanted to go to lessons this week!), a doctor's appointment for me which was right down the road from lessons, and then the library. We spent an hour or so lazing around at the library; the kids sprawled out (literally) on the comfy reading chairs and read stacks of books while I wandered around the educational section and got a million great inspirations and ideas for school. (This scene of the kids would have made a really nice picture to go with this post, but I forgot the camera in the car...oh well!) We're all very happy to be home now; Abigail is quite worn out, but she did well considering. She headed straight for the couch with library books in hand. Notice that she has exceeded her socializing limits for the day.David headed straight outside to burn off all the energy he's been storing up during all the sitting-still-time he had today (he hooked up the truck to his bike with bungee cords and is towing it around here)!I finished sewing this outfit for Abigail...it debuted late due to her pneumonia, but even so she was so excited to wear it today and got nice compliments on it!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy birthday...

Happy 70th birthday, Mom/Grandma!!! What an exciting milestone... we thank God for blessing you with seventy years and for blessing our family with you! We love you so very much -- happy birthday!

Monday, July 06, 2009

New week!

Abigail is still pretty low-energy and quiet, but at least she woke up without a fever this morning, which is the first time in over a week...hooray! We just got back from her pneumonia re-check with the pediatrician...he can hear all the crackling but there's no wheezing, so that's good. Her oxygen saturation was better today; thankfully, her ears are still clear, too, and (at least theoretically) they should stay that way now that she's on antibiotics. We were reminded that pneumonia is nasty and doesn't entail a quick recovery, so we just have to be patient and take good care of her in the meantime. She goes for a follow-up chest x-ray in two weeks to make sure her lungs are clear. Here's a picture that has nothing to do with the post, but I haven't posted it yet and wanted to share it. It's my gladiolus that bloomed a couple of weeks ago. Lovely!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy birthday, America!!!

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion, A home and a country should leave us no more! Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved home and the war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust." And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Pneumonia's not so much fun...

Well, the very-short-version summary of the last few days is that Abigail was diagnosed with pneumonia on Thursday afternoon, and she and I spent most of Thursday night at the ER, arriving home a little after 5 a.m. yesterday. After the boost of IV antibiotics/fluids, she is finally starting to improve.
Yesterday David and I ran a lot of errands that have been piling up over the last crazy month (Bruce was home with Abigail). Shopping is never my idea of a fun way to spend a day...and shopping on a day when a lot of people are off work and doing their shopping, too, is enough to make me choke...but we got everything done and it's a relief to have it all crossed off my list! One of the things we bought yesterday was an 18-inch doll for Abigail...she has been asking for an American Girl doll, but (for several reasons) we aren't going to grant that request...however, this lovely doll has a new home and Abigail was so very, very excited to have a new friend, "Amanda"!
In other activities this week, David spent an afternoon re-painting his airplane.
I managed a bit of sewing this week. The plan had been for Abigail to wear this outfit to the 4th of July festivities today, but she obviously won't be attending now. That's okay...as my mom always says, one of the nice things about fabric is that it doesn't rot -- and we can be patriotic the rest of the year, too, so Abigail can wear this another time!Bruce and Abigail are going to lie low today; David and I are heading an hour or so north to enjoy a big to-do on a friend's farm. Happy 4th of July!