Monday, May 31, 2010

What's another trip to the ER anyway

It's a holiday weekend and we had not been to the ER yet this week so why not make another visit to complete our 3 week streak.

We went for a family bike ride last night when Isabel took a spill on her bike right in front of my bike. If her fall wasn't bad enough then I added insult to injury by running over her arm while she was sprawled on the pavement.

She screamed and cried for a good 30 minutes until we were off the trail and in the car....and then she screamed some more. The only time she wasn't screaming was when Al started a movie in the car for her....then she just moaned and whimpered. So as you may have guessed, we headed to the ER. We're working on thier frequent visitor promotion---More visits, less stitches.

After having x-rays we discovered her arm was not broken. WAHOOO!!!! She is badly bruised and extremely sore and the whimpering continues. I knew there was a problem when she wouldn't bend her arm to put her thumb in her mouth (Isabel is a SERIOUS thumb sucker). She can't move it to get dressed, open doors, lift herself onto a's very sad. Especially when she says every 5 minutes, "Too bad mommy rolled over my arm. Too bad we didn't stay home instead of riding bikes." She's not meaning to make me feel guilty but man, I do feel bad!

I'm waiting for Social Services to give us a call, I'm sure we've triggered someone's interest with all our ER visits.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Phew...Moses Maze. Check

I'm glad to have last week DONE! Saturday was a fun and exciting day, but exhausting.

We were up and out early Saturday morning to get down to the church to set up the Moses Maze. Our quarterly primary activity theme was "Scripture Heroes" and I chose Moses. We used The Idea Door as inspiration for the event and then each member of the primary presidency took a hero and created an activity. My maze was fairly complicated to set up so I arrived early to find the building was locked and the basketball players who are normally there every Saturday morning were not there this Saturday morning. While the kids and I waited outside the building a couple of teenagers came by and started playing tag with my kids. They seemed really nice and I was happy to have the kids occupied while I made some last minute notes for Moses (my father-in-law agreed to throw on some robes, carry a staff and say, "Let my people go").

When the doors were finally open, I started grabbing bags and heading inside the gym to set up. Those teenagers didn't hesitate for a second, they grabbed bags and started carrying to. I began directing my family how to be helpful and those teenagers jumped right in, too. The girl was age 16 and named Kayla and her brother was 13 and even though he told me his name, I completely forgot it in the chaos. They are from Richmond and their parents were next door at the temple and the kids didn't have anything to do for 4 hours so they were happy to have a church building to go into.

I started setting up by taping our burning bush to the wall, Connor and Lillee helped me paint it. At the burning bush, Moses is told to remove his shoes for he is standing on holy ground so all the kids take off their shoes and then were commanded to go to Pharaoh. I set up the table where Pharaoh was to rest for the day (he was a picture on an easel). After we visit with Pharaoh, we walk a few feet to begin the hall of plagues, Moses says, "Bring forth hail" and Kayla who is hiding behind a movable board, standing on a chair, with a bucket of mini marshmallows starts tossing them at the kids. After recovering from being pelted with marshmallows, Moses calls for the locusts which are really gummy bears that have been sandwiched between saran wrap on the floor (Kayla put this together! I handed her a roll of saran wrap and a huge bag of gummy bears and she made it happen). The kids walked across the locusts feeling them squish under their toes.

We move on to a table where Moses turned water to blood (food coloring, of course). Then we moved onto the plague of darkness. I meant to make blindfolds, but ran out of time so I took a large piece of fleece from my fabric bucket and a pair of scissors with me to the church. I handed these to Kayla and she made blindfolds...she was amazing! I didn't have to explain, make a sample blindfold....nothing! She took the tools and made it happen. Once the kids were blindfolded, they held onto a rope and Moses led them through a maze.

We went back to Pharaoh where he told us (the Israelites) to get out, he'd had enough. So the happy Israelites headed out of Egypt right into the Red Sea (a king sized blue bed sheet that Kayla and I held onto, rippling it to simulate water while Moses spoke). I split the kids into Israelites and Egyptians and lifted the sheet for the Israelites to go through. Once the Egyptians came through we pulled the sheet (water) down on them.

I asked the Israelites if they were now a happy people since they were free and the Egyptians who were following them were gone. Of course, they were not happy...they were starving in the wilderness. So I made manna bread (sprouted wheat bread) and broke it into small pieces for the kids to try. I was surprised at how many kids actually liked is just sprouted wheat, nothing else! No salt, sugar, honey, nothing!

After having their manna bread I asked if they had everything they needed to survive the wilderness. Well, we needed one more thing. Moses slipped off behind the overflow curtain, a.k.a. Mt. Sinai, and came back with the ten commandments. I was impressed with my cardboard ten commandments. I painted in multiple layers to get a marbled rock effect and then painted the commandments using Hebrew (well, my Hebrew wasn't great and it was hard to do with a paint brush, but the one Jewish man that happened to be on hand at the Mormon church on a Saturday morning said it was passable Hebrew and if I took them to a synagogue no one would have a problem translating them....I felt accomplished).

After the Israelites had a way to feed themselves and law to guide them then Moses sent them to the land of milk and honey....a table with vanilla ice cream (milk) and Honeycombs cereal (honey). While munching their milk and honey, we played Name That Plague. My amazing friend, Kathy, had all the plagues in jars from her days of teaching seminary.

By the time we reached the land of milk and honey, Kayla had all the ice cream scooped for the kids. by the time they had finished eating she had the hail cleaned up and ready to throw again. She dumped the bloody water and had fresh food coloring ready to go, she stacked all the blindfolds and the rope for the darkness, had the sheet folded and ready to be water again and the ice cream bucket back in the freezer. She was amazing!

I wasn't sure how I was going to do all of these things by myself, but I had yet another opportunity to see how Heavenly father always provides. Kayla was an angel sent to me this day! She was self-motivated, happy to help and a pleasure to be around. I kept telling her how wonderful she was and how grateful I was and she would smile and shrug it off as nothing, but it was HUGE. I could not have made it through one group of kids without her, much less 5 groups of kids (yes, we repeated the maze 5 times!!!). You see, Kayla and her brother weren't suppose to be there. Their parents had arranged for their older brother to pick them up and keep them for the day but plans fell through at the last minute so they got up at 6am on Saturday morning to drive 2 hours to Washington DC so their parents could go to the temple. And since they had gotten up so early, they threw on jeans and t-shirts and Kayla was not comfortable going to the temple visitor's center for the day in jeans and a t-shirt so they roamed around until they found the church building and stumbled onto my family stranded outside as I was thinking, "This is not a good start to the day." I was so was a truly awesome day!

I'll tell you about my bee adventure on Saturday in the next post.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sailing on the Sultana

This is the Sultana, an almost exact replica of a British schooner that patrolled the North American coast just prior to the American Revolution. We sailed on her today. The weather was perfect for sailing! It was hot on the pavement, but once we were on the water there was a cool breeze. We were never hot, nor was truly perfect!

This is Captain Tonya giving the kids a life jacket demonstration. Connor is the little guy in the middle with the big hat.

Eager kids, looking forward to helping out.

This is Captain Tonya preparing the main sail to be hoisted.

This is a working ship so they put the able-bodied workers to work.

The kids brought up the main sail.

This is the top sail, the kids set all the sails on the schooner.

This is below deck. The crew (4 women and 2 men) actually live on the boat, in these quarters except in winter. They work with one another all day then spend their nights together. I spoke with one of them about living and working together and she said that they don't know anyone when they go in to a port so they even hang out together when they're on land and off duty. In this picture you can see some of the games and medical equipment used during the time of the boat's operation.

Connor was a willing participant. He was a crew member of the Sultana, working for the British King as a tax collector. He got a cut on board, the medic would wrap his hand and hope for no infection. Unfortunately, infection set in and now Connor's hand must be amputated. Here we see the tourniquet used to reduce blood flow and the saw for getting through the bone. you can see Connor's excitement :)

The kids were able to steer the boat using the tiller, under Captain Tonya's supervision, of course!

They learned some navigational skills, including reading charts.
This is a lead for measuring depth of water.
Yep, you just toss it over the side and let it sink. Pull it in and measure between the weighted end and the dry part of the rope. See that little swivel gun beside Connor? They fired one of those, too. No pictures though because the sound was so loud we had to cover our ears.
What a fun day we had on the water in Annapolis. Sultana sails from several ports in the area and you learn about the ecosystem of each area. I can see us taking several Sultana trips in the coming years.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I have 2 seconds, want to see my girls???

Life is CRAZY!!!!

I have so many things happening all at once and I'm trying to keep my head above water, this week.

We found out that my bees were finally coming so I was trying to do some last minute preparations and mental get myself ready for them.

We're babysitting a guinea pig for some friends who are out of the country, just one more thing to add to our own personal zoo. While cleaning the guinea pig's cage on Wednesday, Chase fell down the stairs and split his head open. Al freaked out, I told him to calm down and then I took the baby upstairs so I could see the damage. Then I freaked out. Not like Al though...I started hearing a buzzing noise in my ears and my vision was getting dim...I had to call Jane to hold onto Chase so I didn't pass out.

Al had just gotten out of the shower so and I was still in my robe so we both rushed around getting dressed because we knew he was going to need stitches. In the meantime, while Chase was sitting on the counter and Jane was holding him, he stops crying, looks around, sees an apple and starts eating it. The bleeding has stopped and he's hanging out, wondering what all the fuss is about.

I was afraid to put him in his carseat since the split was on the back of his head. I didn't want it to open up from movement. So I strapped him in the front seat with me. We made it two blocks and there were 2 sheriff cars. Al pulled over to announce we needed to get to the hospital quick, hoping the sheriff would give us an escort. Instead the sheriff said he couldn't let us go, we needed to sit and wait for an ambulance. WHAT!?!?! Al was not happy hearing that. but we enforcement was telling us he wouldn't let us go and we do try to live life by the rules.

Ambulance arrived, they strapped Chase into a car seat, put me across the ambulance from him and off we went. But not fast, nor with lights and sirens. We stopped at all the stop lights, just like everyone else. The ambulance attendant apologized that we were held up because of the sheriff insisting we needed an ambulance. He pointed out that there was nothing he could do to help Chase while he was being transported. Oh well, such is life.

Long story short, he got 6 staples in his head, he's perfectly normal, had no clue they're there and fell on his head twice this morning. I think we'll have many ER trips with this kid. Actually, we had the same ER Dr & nurse we had last week. He actually asked if I wanted to go ahead and make my appointment for next week since we had been there on 2 consecutive Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. Please pray with us that next Wednesday our only Dr appt will be to remove the staples!

On top of that, Al is slammed at work (Hallelujah!!!!), Friday we have art class at 10:00 a.m. in Laurel, then Connor and I are off to sail for 3 hours (a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour....) in Annapolis before driving all the way back to Rockville and then shower and get ready for a graduation party at 8:00 p.m. Early Saturday morning, I have to be down at the church building to set up for a primary activity. And did I mention I had to get my bees while all of this is going on?

Needless to say, we cancelled piano again this week and Lillee hasn't picked up her violin ONCE all week.

So here are 2 pictures of my girls...all 5000 of them. They're currently housed in the small box on top of the hive (called a nucleus or nuc for short). This is how I picked them up from the apiary I purchased them from. The nuc contains a queen, 4-5 frames of drawn comb and a lot of worker bees (and hopefully some brood).

I place the nuc on top of my empty hive, open it up and allow the girls to orient themselves to their new area (find nectar and water sources). In a day or two, I'll go back to remove the frames from the nuc, put the frames into the hive and then the bees will follow the queen into the hive (they can smell her).

More to come, stay tuned!

My hive is beside an established hive at my friend Amy's house. The bottom 2 pictures are of Amy's bees. The picture of a honey frame is exciting! This is Amy's first honey frame. The cells with white caps are honey that will age for a couple more months and then it will be ready for extraction. The other picture is a glimpse inside her hive. These pictures were taken by Connor. He took a sting to the face (I didn't have a suit for him) but he was brave and ready to head back into the hive! I was proud of him for wanting to go back after being stung in a sensitive place. He wants me to make him a bee suit, first :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A month? A whole month?

I'm failing in my blogging duties. I'm sure I've said that before.

Have you been wondering what we've been up to? Well, here are a few of the things that have been going on.

Remember our new landscaping logs and my currant bush with a few raspberries in the background?

Here are the raspberries in May with a new trellis.

And here is the champagne currant bush.

Remember my straberry plants? Here's a tiny little flower on one in April

and here is what they look like now:

We had a week of rain and Connor entertained himself with some Lego building. Here is a kitchen he created.

See the details? The faucet over the sink, the hot and cold water tap, even a soap dispenser!

The kids have spent a LOT of time on this. It is so nice to have the kids in the backyard, entertained and not running up and down our busy street. The neighborhood kids come over so I never have to worry where my kids are :)

I caught Connor studying the periodic table late one night. He should have been getting ready for bed, but he was amazed with this new chart.

We spent a few hours at the Celtic Festival in Frederick. The kids had a great time. We saw caber tossing, Irish dancing, bagpipe bands and Lillee even joined one of the dance groups for a traditional dance.

There has been a lot of skateboarding going on. We had visited the skate park a couple of times btu Connor was a little intimidated by the big boys. So Al built this ramp so Connor could practice a bit at home and hopefully be more comfortable at the skate park.

It worked. Here's Connor at the skate park. and Chase like to slide down the half pipes for entertainment.

Then Al decided he needed a skateboard, too. He continues to build equipment for he and Connor to practice on...Al is a little intimidated by the big boys at the skate park, too. OK, I won't joke at his expense. Al has actually been doing really well at getting back into skating for being such an old man (he turned 33 today, I'm cracking on him again). He aches and has trouble getting his body going in the mornings, but he's having a great time with Connor. Al comes home from work, puts on his skate shoes and heads out to skate with Connor until 9:00 or so. Connor got a new board and upgraded to glow-in-the-dark grip tape because it was yellow (his favorite color) and because they spend most nights skating in the dark. They are doing some major boy bonding while skating with one another so I can't complain :)

Life is good...we're staying busy and trying to stay above water :)

Chase had another asthma flare-up this past week that landed him in the hospital for 24 hours. We're battling his asthma with lots of medications and hoping to avoid these flare-ups in the future.

I've lost 38lbs since January and I feel so good. I still have a lot to go, but I'm happy with what I've lost thus far. I do hate all the shopping that goes with weight loss, though. I find I'm constantly cleaning out my closet because things are too big. And for someone who doesn't like to go shopping, buying new pants every month or so is a pain. But I'll try not to complain too much :)

I have a new calling as Primary Secretary and I'm enjoying it. I like knowing what the kids are learning in primary so we can reinforce it at home. And it is definitely helping to build my gospel foundation. I do find myself singing the strangest songs when I wake up on Monday morning, though :)

I forgot to mention, I cut Isabel's hair. And then she cut it:

If I part it just right and put a hair bow in it you can't tell.