Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Little Get-away

So, I am on the 9th floor of the beautiful San Diego Hilton Gas Lamp Quarter. It is a 4 star hotel. The bedding is down, and the mattress is a double pillow top. Basically, comfort is king here. It took us a while to get away from our house today, but we felt the warm embrace of our beautiful hotel as soon as we walked into the lobby. Initially we had planned to spring for a pay-per-view movie upon our arrival, but the comfy room, and beautiful view of the city, changed our minds. We have watched a little TV, and are heading off to dreamland soon. That might sound like a waste of a night away from the kids, but the morning that will follow; sleeping in without any fussing children; will make it worth every penny that was paid. By the way, the vacation is courtesy of my Mom and John. They gave us the funds for Christmas, and are keeping the kids while we’re gone. They obviously remember the days of trying to raise their kids with no family close by. I can’t think of a better Christmas present!!!

I’ll be back in a couple days. I hope your post-Christmas experiences are as nice as ours’. Love and good wishes to all!!!!!

Kwanzaa


It's Kwanzaa time (12/26/07 - 1/1/08). I have limited knowledge on the subject. So, oh wise internets, please enlighten me. Do you celebrate Kwanzaa, or not? Why?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Who'd Have Guessed?

Uncle Bob was at our Christmas Eve family party tonight! We were told in March that he only had nine months to live. He is very different from the Uncle Bob of last Christmas Eve, but he was with us. Does anything else matter?! This has been a year of amazingly difficult medical challenges for lots of our family, but seeing Bob tonight was proof that there is always hope, even in the darkest circumstances. He has achieved major improvements over the last few months, and continues to baffle the doctors. Do we need any other proof for the power of prayer? How can we possibly doubt modern day miracles?

PS If you have not been a regular reader of this blog for the last year, or might have forgotten, please make sure to click on the above links so you can catch up.

May you all take a moment to see the answered prayers and miracles in your lives!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It Really is Feeling Like Christmas

For the past few weeks, we have had major renovations going on in our master bedroom/bath. That meant we had furniture all up and down our hallway, and were sleeping on our mattress in our living room. That was fine for the time being, but my parents were scheduled to come out to visit for Christmas on 12/19. Not only did we need to get our bedroom out of the living room, but we needed a place for them to sleep. Will hustled to get the last of the bedroom painting done on Monday night, and moved our furniture back to our room on Tuesday night. Daniel gave our loft a quick cleaning on Wednesday afternoon. By that evening, we had a nice space for my parents to sleep in. Phew!!

Of course, the master bathroom is still quite a mess. That will probably happen at some point after the holidays. In the mean time, we decided it just might be time to get some Christmas decorations up. The tree had been stalled by the ill placed mattress, and the rest of the decorations were stalled by my inability to handle more chaos while my house was already in such disarray. Fortunately, I got over my phobia yesterday, and my husband brought home a beautiful tree. We spent the evening decorating the tree and putting garland and lights around our banisters and railings. We also hung the stockings, and put a few other random decorations up around the house. The wreath even made it to the front door. We may never go through it, but the postman and UPS guy are sure to enjoy it. I might be biased, but I think it looks great.

The best part of all of this is the smells. When I walk through the living room I smell the subtle, but wonderful, smell of a fresh tree. When I walk into my family room, the smell of "Creamy Nutmeg" candle fills my nostrils. By the way, you can find that candle at Bath and Body Works or The White Barn Candle Company". Yummy!! A little later today, my Mom will be baking with my kids. They will make rolled sugar cookies, pull-apart bread (monkey bread) and a strawberry birthday cake for Baby Jesus, that we will share on Christmas Eve (strawberry with whipped vanilla frosting). Yummmm!!!!

We do still have some shopping to do, but with built in babysitters in town (thanks Mom and John), that shouldn't be a problem. The greatest thing for me this season is that I am actually feeling like celebrating. There have been plenty of years since Jeff died (1/6/00) that I didn't feel very festive. While I still remember, the joy of the season with my family has finally won out. Yeah for family! Yeah for Christmas!! Yeah for holiday fun!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Baby Names

Ok, Y'all. I need anyone and everyone to de-lurk for this one!! Remember when I mentioned that I was going to be an auntie a couple weeks back? Well, my sister and brother-in-law are having a heck of a time coming up with a good "girl" name for their impending arrival. They really had their hearts set on having a boy, as there were already two beautiful girls that were part of the package when they got married. 8^) As you can imagine, they have had a "boy" name picked out for months, but the "girl" name is eluding them. Will you help? They would SOOOOO appreciate it! They do have just a couple ground rules though...

#1 The names can not start with a "K" or and "A". They already have a Kayla and an Alicia

#2 They have eliminated the name "Jordan" from the list.

So people, what do you think? Can you help? It would be so very appreciated.


Thanks!! 8^)


PS My friend Perri reminded me that a last name would be helpful here. Oops!! Their last name is Soliday (said like holiday). So, now you all can figure out what would flow nicely.

Thanks again everyone.

All I Want For Christmas

I have to give credit to my friend, Laura, for this. The sentiment is beautiful, and Kelly Clarkson delivers it perfectly!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wow.....Just WOW!!!!!!

CHARGERS WIN IN OVERTIME!!!!!



GO BOLTS!!!!!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

She's Back!!

Thanks to some wonderful neighbors, Honey had a warm, dry place to sleep last night. Unfortunately, thet didn't notice our "Lost Dog" signs until they were on their way home from taking her to the shelter this morning. The wife was actually in tears when she told me that they had taken her to the shelter. She said that if they couldn't find her owner, they were ready to keep her (she is an awfully sweet dog). Their vet told them that taking her to the shelter was the most likely way to get us reunited "since that is usually the first place owners call when looking for their lost pets". I made sure to thank her profusely, and apologized for all the trouble that they had to go through. I was so grateful just to know that Honey was OK. I didn't care where I had to go to get her back.

Honey, on the other hand, was most unhappy about being at the shelter. It was actually a nice place, but Honey was terrified. After we paid the $48 to spring her from jail, a nice lady went out to bring her over to us. After walking up and down the rows of kennels three times, she asked a couple other guys that worked there to help her. By this time, I was getting a tad concerned. All three of the employees walked up and down the rows, and finally asked me to come over to have a look for myself. First they took me to another yellow lab. Definitely not Honey. Hmmmmm... We finally found her in what appeared to be an empty kennel. You see, each kennel has it's own dog house, and Honey was so freaked out by all the unfamiliar noises and surroundings, she was hiding in the dog house. She finally peeped out when she heard my voice. The poor dog could not get to the car fast enough. This was definitely more adventure that she had planned on.

We still don't know how she got out of the yard to begin with, but you can bet that Honey will not be going outside without a leash until we do. We have a new license that I paid for at the shelter, and my parents have pledged to give her an early X-mas present....A Shiny New ID Tag. Yippee!!

Honey

This might sound silly to some of my readers, but I can't help but ask. Please pray that we will find our dog. Her name is Honey, and she has been a part of our family since a few weeks after Jeff died. I didn't know how attached I was to this dog until she went missing tonight. She is a sweet heart, that puts up with all that Grace, and the other kids, can dish out. My wonderful husband has been out looking for her, and posting signs, in hopes of returning her to her rightful home. He is the best!!! Now it is up to prayers, and kind neighbors, to bring her home.






Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I'm Gonna Be an Auntie...

...again! Of course, this time it will be on "my" side of the family. I married into 3 nieces and nephews when I was just 18. There have since been 9 other little ones that joined my late husband's family. When Will and I got married, there were 7 new nieces and nephews to add to our X-mas list. Finally, when my sister Shannon got married last December, we inherited 2 more beautiful little girls into our family. Up to this point though, the only person in my immediate family that actually gave birth (or adopted), was me. However, a few weeks back, my sister Shannon let me in on a little secret. She and Joe are expecting in late April '08. Today, she let me in on another surprise. They are having a GIRL!!! They were kind of hoping for a boy, since they already have 2 girls, but they are still super happy to have had the chance to see their beautiful daughter for the first time. She had just one request; please pray that they can agree on a girl name sometime between now and April. 8^) I see some shopping in my future. Yippee!!!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In Training

So, last night I went into the scary place that is my boys' bedroom. Actually, I only braved it because I knew that it had been cleaned twice over the weekend. You see, I usually just avoid going in there, and in turn avoid screaming at my children while launching their posessions around the room. Seems like a good plan to me.

Anyway, back to the story. My original goal was to pick out an outfit for the following day for Justin. It seemed simple enough. The first hiccup in my plan came when I discovered that none of Justin's laundry had been put away. Apparently, his older brothers found it far too strenuous to include putting the clothes in the drawers when I asked them to take the washed, dried and neatly folded laundry to the appropriate rooms. Silly me. Once I had sorted the clothes, and put them into the appropriate drawers, I discovered the second challenge in my mission. Justin seems to have grown approximately 6 inches since the last time he wore a pair of pants. He was wearing a pair of black jeans, and had one other pair of pants in the drawer that didn't make him look like he was ready for a flood. Since that was the only option left, I decided to look for a shirt that would work.

Long about the time I found a shirt, Justin came wandering into the room. He must have been less than thrilled about the outfit I chose, because he immediately headed over to his dresser to see if he could find something else. Since I already knew that his search would be fruitless, I told him that he was stuck with my choice, and that we need to get to the store to shop for some pants.

"Well Mom, I could just wear what I wore to school today."

"No, son. We can't wear the same thing everyday."

Said with a completely serious expression and tone, "I could if you just washed it."

He seems to have begun his "man training" early. He is already trying to avoid shopping. 8^)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Great Debaters


There is a movie that will be coming to a theater near you this upcoming Christmas Day. It is directed and acted by Denzel Washington (two time Oscar Winner). It is produced by Oprah Winfrey. The cast includes, Oscar winner, Forest Whitacker; not to mention the rest of the brilliant actors. This movie is set during a time when the fight for Civil Rights was truly intense (not that it isn't now). It is based on a true story, and appears to be well worth the dollars it costs to see a movie in a theater. The film has not yet been assigned a rating, but Denzel, Forest and Oprah assure us that it is a film for the ENTIRE family. Obviously, I will check into the specifics once the rating is released, but Will and I (at least) will definitely be seeing this movie. If you'd like to view a trailer, feel free to click here. Also, for what it's worth, Oprah had an entire episode dedicated to this movie earlier this week. If you are interested in learning more, please click here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sidebar and Sale

In case you all hadn't noticed, I added a little doo-dad to my sidebar a while back. It is for a store called C28. I don't know if C28 has made it to your neck of the woods just yet, but it is one seriously C-O-O-L store. They sell fierce clothing, jewelry, shoes, stickers, cd's, etc. The best part....they're all Christian themed. Not to mention, they have joined in on the Thanksgiving shopping tradition. They have a SERIOUS sale going on. I just bought...

4 Layering Tanks (juniors)
1 Zip-up Hoodie Sweatshirt (mens)
1 Ca-ute T-shirt (juniors)
2 Pairs of Slip on Flats (womens)

.....for $109.82. That includes tax and $0 shipping. The sale goes on until Monday, 11/26. Don't forget to click the link on my sidebar. Happy Shopping!!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blogger's Bill of Rights

After some rather chaotic happenings here at the 5McCKid blog over the last couple weeks, I have decided to post my version of The Blogger's Bill of Rights. So, here it goes...

1. I have the right to use, or misuse, any word I choose to; or for that matter, make it up out of thin air.

2. I have the right to say something, whether I believe in it or not. This does not condone lying or impersonating an individual. As we are all aware, the children (and friends and family) are reading. However, for entertainment's sake, some things just might need to be included.

3. I have the right to give random facts about myself, such as I'm 5'7", live in So Cal and am Mom to five pretty great kids; but not include any details I see fit to keep to myself. Frankly, it's none of your business if my kids were naughty, or if my husband and I disagreed about something.

4. I hold my right to refuse to use restraint in situations where you show up, on my blog, and say something that doesn't make much sense, close to my heart. Who are you, and why are you wasting your time (as unwelcome as it is) on my blog?

5. I do not need to subject myself, or my readers, to obnoxious and disrespectful comments; even when they are said "In the name of God".

6. I reserve the right to eliminate all "Anonymous" comments. If the thing you have to say is worth saying, surely the act of including your name is trivial at best. Please be proud enough of your statement to sign your name. Otherwise, you will be deleted.

7. I am a dedicated, Christian, stay-at-home Mom. You don't have to agree with all of my thoughts or points of view, but if you publicly question them in a disrespectful manner, you should remove me from your reading list. If you choose to disregard this piece of advice, your comments will be deleted.

8. I believe that if you don’t vote, you need to strongly consider your right to complain. You might disagree with the current/future administration, but where were you when it came time to decide?!

9. I, even if intending to make a list of ten things, might through lack of creativity, end up with only nine and then stop writing. Too Bad!! I do intend, however, to write all of my posts in English. Hopefully that will be fine with all of you.

10. I also reserve the right to intend to stop my list at ten, and then decide later to add to that list as I see fit. Hey, does anyone else have inspiration come to them in the shower/bathroom/while working out, etc.? Some things just MUST be included.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

From July, but SOOOO Beautiful!!

Grace-Ethiopian Dress 2
Slide shows and scrapbooks - Powered by Smilebox


PS Stick around long enough to listen to the lyrics to the song. It is from the movie "The Prince of Egypt", and the words are powerful. Enjoy!

The Latest (Again)

My sweet bloggy friend, Perri, emailed to see how things are going. Long about the time those kinds of emails start coming in, I start cluing in that it's time for an update. So here it goes...

Mostly, we're all doing a lot better. The colds are lingering a bit, but that really just means we are going through extra Kleenex. No one is sick enough to not function normally....PRAISE GOD!!! My ankle is on the mend. I am supposed to start physical therapy this next week. I know that will help a lot because I can really tell that it is weak. Will has a little discomfort from his shingles still, but is feeling pretty good. The liver enlargement isn't gone, but the GI doc said he expected it to take a few months to resolve.

My Mom is doing great. She finished her last Herceptin treatment a month or so ago. She is working on losing some weight so she can get her reconstruction done soon after the Holidays. The surgeon told her that she would be happier with the long term results if she started at a healthier weight. The word is that she's doing a good job so far.

One thing that hasn't made it to blog world yet is that my Step-Dad (Grandpa John) has prostate cancer. They caught it early, but with his family history and the type he has, he has to treat it fairly aggressively. He started radiation therapy and hormone treatments a few days ago, and will have radioactive "seeds" implanted after the new year. So far, he seems to be tolerating the therapies very well, and they are planning to come out to spend Christmas with us. Hopefully that will continue to go well. 8^)

For now, I am doing my best to wrap my brain around the idea of the upcoming holiday season. There's lots to do to prepare for it, but since it is pleasant stuff I am looking forward to it.

So what's happening with all of you?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Slight Change of Plans

Originally Will and I had talked about taking advantage of the extra day that we all had off to get the garage cleaned out. That was before we all decided to pass a cold around. In light of all the kleenex, saline spray, Mucinex, hot chocolate, thermometers, etc. that we have been going through this weekend, that was the right call. So, what does the 5McCKid family do on a lazy, sick, blah kind of day? That would depend on which one of us you ask. Tyler (feeling much better in the tummy department, BTW) has been glued to the GameCube controller. Justin and Grace have been fascinated by the SpongeBob Z to A Marathon on Nickelodeon. Justin is a tad disappointed that he has to go to bed before they get to A, as that will be the All New, 1st Evah, Made for TV Movie....Atlantis SquarePantis!!!! We'll fill him in on the fact that we will record it before he goes to sleep. Will and I have taken turns dealing with various kid related maintenance, and I have done a couple loads of laundry. So, that leaves us with Kayla and Daniel. Unfortunately, these are not my two kiddos that typically get along the best. Today, however, was a BIG exception. They spent hours together, in complete peace and harmony, putting together a puzzle. Daniel even photographed it for me so I could put it on the blog. Yippee for feeling sick, blah and/or lazy enough to put away sibling rivalry for a day!!!









Oh, I almost forgot to mention......

The Chargers whooped the Colts yesterday!!!!

Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Done

OK Folks.....the free-for-all is officially over. I will be deleting all "anonymous" comments (past, present and future) that don't include a name in the end. I blog for the purpose of sharing our lives with family and friends, and to spread the occasional entertaining or thought provoking piece. People will need to save their "flaming" for another venue. My blog has always been a kind, family friendly, welcoming place. I have no problem with someone disagreeing with my point of view on any post, but I do take issue with attacks; especially anonymous ones. I will choose to leave the option of using the "anonymous" button in my comments section, but this is simply for the convenience of our friends and family that are not bloggers, or do not have a Google account. Those folks are welcome to leave their thoughts at any time, and will have no issue with including their identity.

While this is MY blog, and I have the right to post whatever I choose on it, I do want to take this opportunity to offer a brief explanation of my thought process behind
the post that has stirred up such controversy. It was intended to be rather lighthearted and un-noteworthy. It included a silly link showing Barrack Obama and Ellen dancing around on her show. I found it funny and entertaining....period. I now see that some might have taken the fact that he happened to be on the Ellen show as me somehow endorsing a pro-homosexual stance. I can honestly say that the thought never crossed my mind. Perhaps this fact has been lost on some of my more inflammatory readers, but I have never mentioned gay marriage or abortion on this blog. That is not because I am without opinion on these issues, but simply because this is not the venue where I wish to discuss those matters..

I started reading blogs about two years ago. During that time, I have read plenty of posts that I disagreed with. In most cases, I just ignored them. As much as we grow to feel like we really "know" other bloggers; in truth, we only know the little bits and pieces that they choose to share with us. If I find that I regularly disagree with a particular blog, I just remove it from my reading list. After all, it is that person's right to say whatever they want on THEIR blog, and my right not to read it if it offends me. On the rare occasion that I have found it necessary to voice my contrary opinion, I have NEVER hidden behind anonymity. If my opinion was important enough to share, it was also worth signing my name to.

For the record, I am more than happy to have you all participate in lively discussion on my blog. I strongly believe that all Americans/Christians have the right to their own opinions, and that is one of the things I appreciate most about the country we live in. However, there are times and places that are more/less appropriate to get on our soapboxes. This particular incident took me by surprise, and I am grateful for my husband (Will), Dad (Tim) and cousin (Julie) for jumping in to defend me. I hope that the same would be true on any of your blogs as well, if you were subject to a similar attack. And for the record, I appreciate my friend Christy's comments too. We might have some different opinions in some areas, but I love her, and her willingness to stand firm in her beliefs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Latest

Tyler definitely has H. Pylori. He is now on our different medications for the next 14 days, and missed school again today due to vomiting. Ugh!! Will had a mild reprieve from Jury Duty today. Basically, the judge and lawyers needed to figure a few things out. To add to the excitement, Kayla is now running a fever (over 101 degrees), and has white spots on her throat. She is not happy that this is going to keep her from enjoying the Halloween festivities, and possibly her Cross Country meet on Friday. Honestly, reason #2 is far more upsetting to her. I can't blame her. She has worked very hard to prepare for this.

So far, I am still going to the Orthopoedic Doctor tomorrow, as planned. I only hope there will be some good news to be heard there.

Awe Inspiring

This was put together by a 15 year old girl named Lizzie Palmer. She has a way of showing things, and evoking feelings, that is being appreciated by many. There are over 18,000,000 hits on her YouTube video so far. If you haven't already seen it, enjoy, but be sure to keep your Kleenex nearby.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happenings....

Overall, we are all so much better. Will still has an achy side (including enlarged liver and spleen), but the doctor does not seem to be terribly concerned. Basically, it is likely that the shingles virus just overwhelmed his system, and everything will return to normal soon. I see the orthopedic doctor on Wednesday for a check-up on my ankle. It would be a huge relief to hear that I don't need to wear the boot anymore, but I can tell that I still have a way to go before the word "cured" might be applied. There is just too much swelling, discoloration, weakness and achy-ness left for me to be convinced that all is well. Hopefully, the doctor will be a little more optimistic than I am. Kayla, Daniel, Justin and Grace seem to be feeling quite well. Unfortunately, Tyler never did overcome the vomiting thing from last week. The doctor ended up ordering some blood work, which revealed a positive result for H. Pylori. We are going to the GI specialist tomorrow morning. This would explain the nausea and vomiting, but does not give us a good answer for the dizziness, vertigo, faintness, blurred vision, etc. The pediatrician is consulting with Tyler's psychiatrist to find out if any of his meds could cause these symptoms. It is unlikely, considering Tyler has taken the same meds for years, or at least many months, but we'll see. I only hope they figure it out soon. I am growing rather weary, and I'm sure Tyler is too, of seeing my son feel crappy everyday.

On the fire front, we are doing OK so far. There is still one fire (out of 35) that is a small threat to our community. It's not so much that it is likely to burn us down, but the smoke is overpowering. The entire school district closed on Thursday and Friday. Even though the kids were able to return to class today, they were still unable to participate in any outdoor activities. The district hopes to left those restrictions by Wednesday. I guess we'll see, huh?

Will has been on Jury Duty since this past Thursday. It's kind of nice that he gets to sleep in a little (usually hist first class starts at 7:10am), but he also gets home quite a bit later than usual. Of course, he does get paid for Jury Duty. I guess this is what most families deal with when the parents work 9am-5pm. We are truly spoiled!! He expects to serve throughout the week. Hopefully, things will be wrapped up by Friday.

So, that pretty much covers things for our family for the past, and next, few days. If anything comes up that is especially exciting, I'll be sure to let you know.

Until then....

~Blaine

My Short Journey Into Politics



...and after seeing him on the Ellen Degeneres Show today, I can testify to the fact that he can dance a little bit too. Go Barack!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh...Good Gravy!!!

I just got a call from the school nurse at the Middle School my big kids go to. It seems Tyler has some kind of stomach bug going on. At least that's what I hope it is. He is also experiencing dizziness and feels faint. I put a call in to the doctor. Now he gets to hang out with a bowl while I wait for the phone to ring. Too much fun!!

A World Aflame

I was just catching a quick news update on my way back from taking my big kids to school (about 8:00 am). In case you haven't heard, much of Southern California is on fire today. A number of homes have been burned, thousands of people have been evacuated, and there have been multiple injuries and two deaths. So far the fires are to the North, South and West of us. While we are praying for them to be put out ASAP, we are praying even harder that our area stays fire free. Just like most of So Cal, we live in a high risk area. We experienced evacuation and fire damage at our old house four years ago. It was very scary, and we have no desire to repeat the experience.

Anyway, back to the newscast I was listening to. The reporter dutifully covered the latest statistics on each of the fires. She told us that SEVEN counties in California have been declared disaster areas so far. She then moved on to traffic. Traffic on a Monday in Southern California can be rather dicey under the best of circumstances. Throw in some Santa Ana winds, and a whole lot of smoke, and things get downright ugly. After reporting at least 6 different accidents along one 50 mile stretch of freeway, and covering the freeways that were closed due to fire, she moved on to the weather report.

The reporter, with her lovely English accent, told us that we are in for EXTREMELY low humidity, increased winds and soaring temperatures for the next two days. In fact, we will be under a "Red Flag Warning" for at least the next two days. For those of you that aren't familiar with that term, it is sort of like the Department of Homeland Security changing the "level" to RED. In terms of fire danger, it doesn't get any worse than that. Next, however, came my favorite part. It was time for the newscaster to talk about our current, local conditions. Here is the report, word for word.

"It is 68 degrees in the town just North of us, and 62 degrees in 5McCKidTown. Winds are gusting up to 80 mph, and there are (and I quote) hazy, sunny, debris laden, sandy skies."

Even the professional, stiff upper lip, English lady could not help but comment, "Now that's a new one!!"

Friday, October 19, 2007

God's Plan

So, I'm home today with just Grace and Justin. In some ways, it is a sweet reminder of what would have been "if only". You see, Justin is the only baby that Will and I had together, and we adopted Grace a year and a half ago. I had the chance to spend a few months with my little ones after Daniel returned to public school last December, but for some reason I was struck with a surprising notion today. The elementary schools in our district had a "Staff Development Day", which meant my Middle Schoolers still had to face the school day. But Justin got to hang out with Grace and I. As I was enjoying their silly play together, and sometimes nipping a screaming fit in the bud, I realized that this is what our family would have been if Will and I had never been married, had children and been widowed before "us". What a different life that would have been. However, I can't imagine my life going any other way than it did, and I know Will feels the same. Those three big kids are treasures in our hearts, and bless our family everyday. In truth, Will and I wouldn't be the spouses or parents we are now, without those experiences. This family did not come together without pain, but we are abundantly blessed for working our way through it. I'm so glad God had a plan that was so much bigger than we could fathom, imagine or guess.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Quick Update (well maybe not so much)

All of the kids have been back in school for a week now. So far, there are no signs of chicken pox on Tyler or Grace. (I did knock on wood while typing this) Tyler gave us a brief scare, but it turned out to be some 24 hour stomach bug. That is so much better than what he could have faced. Everyone that came down with "the plague" had nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever for days. Not to mention the pox from head to toe with almost unbearable itching. I wish I had know in advance that this was coming; I would have bought stock in Benadryl and Caladryl!! Kayla was the true over-achiever though. She had pox down her throat, all over her scalp, on the palms of her hands, on her eyeball and a couple other places that shall remain unmentioned for privacy sake. After a full week of continuing to get new sores, the doctor finally called in some anti-viral medication for her. It truly worked miracles. She was a whole new person within 24 hours.

We're still waiting to hear back from the doctor about Will's ultrasound. He had it done on Saturday, and it takes 3-5 business days to get the report. You can bet I'll be in the phone to the doctor's office tomorrow. This waiting thing is getting rather old. On that note, I came home to a message from my orthopedic doctor's office yesterday. For some unknown reason, they need to push my follow up appointment back by a week. In the mean time, I get to wear my clunky boot for a while longer. At least I don't have any special occasions coming up. Something tells me that this boot would not make any kind of fashion statement that I might be trying for. 8^) Oh, I just remembered that I need to make a follow-up appointment with my oncologist about my breast MRI too. I need to get on that ASAP so I can mark that wait off "the list".

We're hosting a pool party for my younger sister's birthday on Saturday. My brother is bringing his girlfriend, and this is the first time I will get to meet her in person. I'm excited!! This is the first girlfriend he has ever brought over (maybe the first he has ever had). He is a pretty major computer geek, so it is WAY fun to see and hear him being all goofy and lovey. I am SOOOOO happy for them! It will be nice to have the whole family together too. It just doesn't happen often enough these days.

Well, other than the Middle School drama that comes with having a child in 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade, that is about it for us this week. My kindergartner, Justin, is L-O-V-I-N-G Kindergarten. His teacher is as sweet as can be. In fact, Kayla even went in with Justin on a day off (just for the Middle Schools) recently, and volunteered for 3 1/2 hours. I spent MANY hours in my older kids' kindergarten classrooms, so it totally made my day to see her "pay it forward" like that. I guess middle school kids might not be so bad after all. 8^)

I guess I haven't mentioned Grace in this post, and since she's the only one I left out, that just doesn't seem right. Overall, she is doing great. She is growing like crazy, and talks more and more everyday. Someday we might actually understand more of what she is trying to say. In the mean time, SHE is quite certain of the message she is trying to get across. She was rather sad to see all of her older siblings head off to school this year, but has since become quite content with dominating my mornings. Oh, how I love to pick Justin up at lunch time each day. Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy hanging out with Grace, but Justin is still close enough to being her peer to appreciate most of her 2 year old goofiness.

So, there you have it; our life in a nutshell. I hope all is well with you and yours.

Possibly My New Crack (w/ small edit)

You'll need a few minutes. Go to this link, and then watch one, after another, after another, etc. I swear I almost peed my pants from laughing so hard. I will be going back often. Enjoy!!

They Said What?

Edit: No people!! I did not do crack, or any other drug for that matter, before this post. Puh-lease!!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I've Been Tagged!!

I have been tagged by Valerie (my LONG TIME friend), so here it goes:

4 Things About Me:

Jobs I've had:
1. Payless Drugstore Cashier
2. Citicorp Credit Card Telephone Customer Service Representative
3. Telemarketer (hated EVERY moment)
4. Mom

Places I have lived: (Where haven't I lived?)
1. Skokie, IL
2. Littleton, CO
3. San Bernardino, CA
4. Winchester, CA

Food I love:
1. Chicago Style Pizza
2. Chinese Food
3. Fettuccine Alfredo
4. Godiva Champagne Truffles

Websites I visit:
1. Bloglines
2. People
3. My Family.com
4. TMZ (My guilty pleasure!!)

Places I'd rather be:
1. Alaska (only in the summer)
2. Ethiopia (to learn more about Grace's culture)
3. France, Switzerland, etc. (just so I can practice my French)
4. Australia, New Zealand (what can I say? I want to see the world.)

Movies I love:
1. The Notebook
2. Sweet November
3. Corrina, Corrina
4. Return To Me

TV shows I watch:
1. House
2. American Idol
3. Grey's Anatomy
4. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

People I tag:
1. Perri
2. Christy
3. Amanda
4. Julie

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's That Time again


Last year at this time, my blog went pink. It was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, of course. I have hardly had the energy to post recently, let alone worry about what color the posts are. My husband, however, is far more on top of things than I. He showed up from the grocery store tonight with a beautiful, pink bouquet, with a tag that says "Passionately Pink for the Cure....Because Everyone Deserves a Lifetime!!"

As I wait for my own follow-up appointment, and MRI results, please think of all the women you know that have, or might have, breast cancer. I love you all!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Condensed Version

Here are my 20 answers for the (at least) 20 questions I have received from my lovely readers about where I've been. Thanks to all of you for your concern.

1. I severely sprained my ankle in New York.
2. Will went back to work 5 days after we got home from a 22 day vacation, and I was still on crutches.
3. The bigger kids, including Justin, went back to school.
4. Will got shingles.
5. My ankle was still swollen, discolored and painful. A visit to Urgent Care to have it x-rayed again led to the discovery that I was running a fever. Diagnosis...No fracture, UTI.
6. Will's side (right around the bottom of the rib cage on the right) swelled up.
7. We both went in to see our Primary Care Doctor.
8. I still had a fever. I got a new antibiotic, a labwork order, and a referral to the orthopedic doctor.
9. Will got a referral for bloodwork and x-rays.
10. Daniel got chicken pox, even though all of our kids were vaccinated against them. This virus is so rare in kids now, that the doctor examined him outside instead of taking the chance of exposing any other children in the building.
11. All of Will's bloodwork and x-rays came back normal.
12. My bloodwork was perfect, but the UA still showed a UTI. Fortunately I was on the right antibiotic this time.
13. I had a breast MRI to follow up on the inconclusive tests done back in May and June. Still waiting on results.
14. Will had an abdominal CT scan.
15. I had a CT scan on my ankle.
16. The orthopedic doctor told me that all of the care for my ankle up to now was wrong, and put me in a big, heavy immobilizing boot for the next four weeks. We'll re-evaluate then.
17. Will's CT showed a very enlarged liver, with no apparent cause.
18. Justin got chicken pox yesterday.
19. Kayla came down with them today.
20. Tyler went straight into bathroom to vomit when he got home from school today. That's how all the other kids started their bouts with chicken pox. It looks like he might have one spot. I guess we'll know more in the morning.

Of course, at the rate we're going, we might find out all kinds of things in the morning. Ugh!! If you happen to be the praying kind, we sure would appreciate being included. Thanks.

In honor of the chaos that has been our lives, here's a great You Tube clip I got in my email today. I only wish I knew this guy personally so he could customize a song for us....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What the F%#@?!?!?!?!

I apologize to my more sensitive, conservative, conventional, delicate, touchy, guarded, traditional, demure, cautious, disciplined, reserved, innocent and unjaded readers. The title of this post is brash, and rather rude. Those that know me in real life know that I would NEVER actually drop the "F Bomb", and rarely even refer to it. I assure you all, once you read this post, you will understand why this title is 100% appropriate.

During our cross-country RV adventure, I severely sprained my ankle. At least, that was the diagnosis of the hick town ER folk about an hour and a half outside New York City. Keep in mind though, this is the same hospital that did not have have one pair of crutches for people from 5'2" - 5'10". In case you were wondering, that is the height range for the majority of people in America. After splinting my ankle, and ordering me to bear ZERO weight, they sent me back to the campground in a taxi, with a cane. Huh?!?! We got to spend the entire next day going from one medical supply store to another. We finally scored the crutches at the 3rd store. Unfortunately, they could not figure out how to bill them to our insurance. Grrr!!!

Once we made it home, some of the swelling and discoloration seemed to subside. As the time arrived for Will to go back to work, I realized that I needed to be able to drive a car. That's pretty tough in a splint. So we went out in search of a REALLY GOOD brace for my ankle. Our local Sport Chalet had just what I was looking for. It had laces, straps, elastic and velcro. What more could I ask for? Well, that was great for a few days. I could drive the car, and handle the longer walk to the potty and laundry room (it was about 3 steps to the potty in the RV). Unfortunately, the swelling, discoloration, throbbing, weakness, etc., did not subside over the past 2 weeks since we got home.

Now for a quick segue. A few days ago, Will told me that he was having an odd tingly, painful, burning sensation on his stomach. The next day, he told me that the weird feeling had spread to his back. The following day, he told me that it was in a larger area on his stomach and back, and was now traveling down his leg. What?! Well, a few months ago, Will's Dad had shingles, and the symptoms were sounding awfully familiar. I turned to my old friend "Google", and we were both even more convinced that Will, was in fact, dealing with shingles. Not only did every site confirm our suspicions, but they also resoundingly recommended that he get in to see the doctor ASAP. Dang it!

Since we acquired our new knowledge on Friday night, that left us with one reasonable optional for immediate medical care; Urgent Care. Ugh!! Since my ankle has still been an issue, Will thought we should go into the Urgent Care together. That was not my favorite plan with 5 kids in tow, but I had to admit that it did make sense. Fortunately, the Urgent Care was not slammed, and we had a fairly short wait. Our self-diagnosis of Will's shingles was immediately confirmed. Of course, the doctor had the benefit of seeing the rash that had suddenly appeared. He handed will two prescriptions and sent him on his way.

My visit was not quite so cut and dry. I thought I was just going in for a x-ray, but life is rarely that simple at our house. While the nurse was asking the standard questions, and taking my vitals, she discovered I was running a fever. I didn't even feel sick. The doctor agreed that my ankle needed to be x-rayed again, but he was for more interested in my mysterious fever. He looked me over thoroughly, and found no outward reason for me to be running a fever. The next step was peeing in a cup on my way down to the x-ray lab. Rather odd protocol for a sprained ankle, don't you think?! Anyway, the x-rays took F-O-R-E-V-E-R. There was one tech to do all the paperwork, answer the phone, and shoot and develop the x-rays. In the mean time, my 5 children were doing their best to not wiggle right out of their chairs. We did finally have one of the big kids walk up and down the hall with Grace.

Finally, the time came for us to head back upstairs to the Urgent Care. Well, some of us went upstairs. Will opted to take Grace, Justin and Kayla out to the car. The doctor had already seen the x-rays by the time we got there, and determined that I did not have a fracture. His only advice at that point was to take some strong pain pills, and follow up with my primary care doctor so she could refer me to the orthopedic doctor. Of course, there was still the matter of the fever to discuss. It turns out that the pee test was exactly what I needed to do. I had a UTI, and left the doctor's office with a prescription for antibiotics. I would have never guessed that I would end up getting no care for my ankle that day, but instead, end up leaving with meds for a completely different condition. So, like I said at the beginning of this post...WTF?

10/9/07

I wrote this way back when, but just realized I never posted it. It's interesting to read how frustrated I was feeling then. Now that we have had a bazillion other things go on, this doesn't seem nearly as bad as it did at the time. Thank goodness I didn't write on the blog for a while. I can only guess what other titles I might have come up with. ((blush))

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Day, Another 'Do


After our hair marathon on Wednesday, I was not up to another long styling stint. I decided to try a Twist-Out today. It only took about 30 minutes to finsh, and the beauty of this style was that it only got better as it started to come loose. It could be considered "organized chaos". That seemed appropriate after my wasted effort a couple days ago.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

First Rows

I know I'm behind on our trip updates, and I promise I'll catch up soon. In the mean time, I'll share a few of the more recent happenings at our house.

My four oldest kids started school on Monday, so that means Grace and I have our mornings together. Yesterday, when I told her it was time to get ready for the day, she walked up to me with her pick and her hand and said, "Pretties."


This is the same child that screams bloody murder and thrashes about on the floor for hair combing. I was not too sure I was up to fighting with her on what was only my 2nd morning without 5 kids in a long time. She insisted however, so I gave her a bath to get things off to a nice start. She sat beautifully as I got her all lotioned and dressed. She did not complain once as I applied her leave-in conditioner and combed out her hair. Her only concern was that she did not have pretties in her hair yet. 8^) After two hours with only a few wiggles, and crampy fingers for me, this is what she looked like...





She was definitely ready for me to be finished messing with her head, but she seemed VERY pleased with the results. Me too. 8^)



PS Unfortunately, even though I only did Grace's hair right before lunch, this is what it looked like by dinner time...




GRRRRRR!!!! Oh well. At least it was good practice.

Who Am I?

If you haven't seen this before, take a few minutes to watch. Courtesy of Casting Crowns, this is what it's all about.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Home at last!

Thank God almighty, we're home at last!!!!!!! (OK, a slight tweak on MLK's famous quote)

We had a wonderful adventure on our journey all over the great US of A (details forthcoming), but we are definitely ready to sleep in our own beds and share more spacious quarters again.

Love,

Blaine, Will & Family

PS BTW, the final tally of our trip was 6,633 miles. Holy Moly!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cooperstown

Cooperstown was so crazy today that we ended up going to the Farmer's Museum instead of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Don't laugh too hard, it was very Cool!  In fact, it was extra exciting because part of the museum was closed for a private party......for Tony Gwynn!!!!!  I was only able to get a couple super blurry pictures of him through the antique glass in the door, but here are a couple other photos from our day.  By the way, we do have numerous parking options scoped out for tomorrow, so we won't be missing out on the important festivities. 8^)

A Little Work a Little Play

Being without an internet connection has caused me to get a little behind on my vacation updates, so I'm going to back track a bit. I'm also going to do things a little out of order. No particular reason really; I just uploaded the pictures of our first night in Northern Illinois first. So here we go....

We were SOOOO glad to get out and about after almost 2000 miles of driving. We had a few chores to take care of, but then we were off to the playground. The kids had a great time running around. Grace mostly just enjoyed putting sand in her hair. The best part of the evening was sunset. Not only was it beautiful, but the kids saw fireflies for the first time ever. It was fun for me to share these little memories from my childhood with the kids.