Friday, August 28, 2009

Reason 10,001 why I don't believe...

Reason 10,001 why I don't believe in coincidence:

I just returned from a trip to Arizona with my mother and grandmother. My grandmother's youngest daughter, my mother's only sister, my aunt is dying of cancer. She has fought long and hard for several years now and her battle is coming to an end.

Her lung cancer spread to the brain a while ago. She was able to fly across the country to a specialized cancer center for treatment which bought her quite a bit of time. Time to spend with her daughter and her grandchildren. Time to spend with her son and future daughter-in-law. She is hoping to hang on long enough to meet a new little grand baby boy that is due in November. The time is so precious.

Grandma spent time with her daughter at the hospice center on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday this week before we had to fly home on Wednesday morning. How hard it must have been for her to say goodbye, or farewell, whatever the case may be! I could see it on her face and I could feel it in the little hand squeezes that she gave me that day.

On the flight from Arizona to Denver grandma and mom sat across the aisle from me and Ruby, mom on the aisle and grandma in the middle seat. (Four generations of women in one row!) In the window seat next to grandma was a woman that we did not know. Anyone who sits next to grandma better be ready to strike up a conversation!

So here is the thing, the woman in the window seat turned out to be a nurse in Tucson. Grandma asked her at which hospital she worked. She didn't work at any hospital but was a hospice nurse. Just the mention of hospice was enough to bring tears to grandma's eyes. But how precious it was for her to find out that the woman was a nurse at the very same hospice where she left her daughter the evening before! Grandma was assured that it was the very best facility in the whole city and that her daughter would be well cared for.

Thank you God for the little bit of comfort you gave to my mother and grandma in the middle of their sadness. I believe that you care deeply for us all and are actively at work in our lives. You have also known the sorrow of the loss of your son, Jesus, so you know exactly what we need. Thank you for making a way for us to be reunited in heaven. Amen.


I don't have as many photos as I thought. Here is Ralph eating pot roast. I've nearly given up trying to figure out what he will decide to eat but he pigged out on this!

My three little piggies all ready for the first day of school! They were all set to walk but it was storming that morning. 

Here is Leroy's little pre-school bus! I can't believe he is going to school. I intended to have one more year at home with him all day. He is all business in the morning these days.

Ralph again...getting ready to dig into a bowl of yummy pot roast! He's losing that baby face, isn't he?

Leroy waiting for the bus. Yeah, it's raining again today.

We were shopping for school shoes for Chipper and Thomas when we found this size 18 shoe. I swear to you that it was as big as Ruby!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My view.

Jealous much? You've GOT TO click on the picture to see the whole thing, my colums are too narrow!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vaca...sort of.

I really wanted to take a retreat before Ruby was born. You know, just a few relaxing days away from the craziness of my life. Not that I don't LOVE the craziness, but everyone needs to recharge from time to time. Try as I might, it didn't happen.

I was having a little pity party about it last week. The first week of school was difficult as I kiss most of my slave labor good-bye every morning! I just need to get into a new routine to get along well without them.

I found out last week that my aunt in Arizona is not doing well. She's been battling cancer in different forms for the past few years. Now it is back with a vengeance. She's already had as much radiation as her body can handle so further treatment may not be possible.

Ruby and I are in Arizona right now with my mother and grandmother. Mom and grandma wanted to visit with her while she was still lucid. I wanted to see her and my cousins, too. So, in a roundabout way, I'm getting a little retreat!

We rented a little 2 bedroom/2 bath golf casita for less than a hotel room. (Off season bargain!)Ruby and I have our own bedroom. We woke up at 5:30am (7:30 at home) but went back to sleep until almost 10:00am! (Mom and grandma left without us this morning.) Then I gave her a bath. It was sooo quiet.

Mom took me shopping and out to lunch before taking me to see my aunt. I think Ruby and I are just going to chill out at the casita tonight and maybe all day tomorrow, too. I wish I had my camera. The mountains are stunning, and the monsoons are rolling in this afternoon.

Hmmm. I think I'll Ruby and I will take a nap now. I'll be back in a few days.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No time for pictures today.

I've got no time to upload pictures. Personally, I dislike photo-less posts. But, whatever. I guess something is better than nothing, right? Since school started this week 85% of my slave labor has evaporated. Trying to nurse Ruby while keeping Ralph out of trouble is quite the trick!

So school started this week. My traditional first day of school photo session was spoiled by morning thunderstorms. Rose, Jordan, and Thomas started on Monday. Thomas must have been up and dressed by 6:30. Can you tell he was excited?

Leroy started pre-K on Tuesday. His little bus comes to the door at 7:45. Dad walked him on and helped him put on his seat belt. He gets home shortly after noon and tells me each day that he didn't get into trouble! 

Richard and Chipper started on Tuesday also. Richard is taking as many Advanced Placement classes as he can cram into his schedule. Transferring from the Classical School really put him short on graduation credits. Oh, and get this: his world history class curriculum doesn't include anything prior to the Renaissance. Huh? I guess the state history tests don't cover anything earlier. How can you understand world history without studying Greece and Rome at least? At least he studied primary sources in ancient history at CSW.

Chipper has an excellent American history teacher. She claims to be the oldest person in the building, but she is so enthusiastic. History is his favorite subject, so it should be a great learning situation for him. His geometry teacher is interesting. He's never taught geometry before, hasn't seen the book yet, and has an engineering background. Reminds me of myself a couple of years ago. Yeah, can you believe that the math textbooks have not arrived yet?

Wesley passed his Western Civ CLEP test today. I'm so proud of him for taking personal responsibility for learning the material to pass his exams. I've heard several negative comments from well-meaning people about him missing out on the "college experience." These people must not know Wesley very well. He's quite a social person and has a very strong network of friends. He started a local writer's guild to connect with other area writing enthusiasts. He has a strong connection to his family, a (nearly full-time) job that he enjoys and is paying his own way in life. 

I guess he could be racking up student loan debt, sitting in classes taught by unenthusiastic grad students who may not even speak passable English, hanging out in hookah bars or drinking himself into oblivion and cutting classes the next day. And dorm life, don't get me started. It was bad enough 20 years ago, I can only imagine what it's like these days. Much of what I consider the "college experience" is quite negative and no great loss. 

Now, Richard is another story. His mind is set on running cross-country in college so he will perhaps be partaking in the "college experience." I hope he will narrow down his choices soon. It is time to be sending in applications for schools and scholarships. 

Pictures soon, I promise!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hearing aids for Ralphie!

Ralph is getting hearing aids! Isn't that exciting?

Ralph, Ruby, Thomas, Jordan and I made our way to Kansas City Sunday afternoon. This time we stayed out by the speedway. I think we'll be staying there from now on as it is more family friendly than our usual place in Westport.

After we checked in and relaxed for a bit, we had some dinner at Wendy's. By the time we got over to Cabela's to check out the fish and animal displays they were closed! :( A little trip to the Russell Stover outlet and a box of Bloopers made us all feel a little better.

We checked out and left by 8am on Monday to get to Ralph's 9am appointment on time. You won't believe me but we arrived at 8:45, were called back about 5 minutes later, Ralph was seen by the ENT and we were out the door by 9:10. Ralph's hearing aid consultation was not until 1 pm so we put Ralph and Ruby in the blue wagon and walked over to the park. I needed some time to nurse Ruby and decide what to do for 4 hours.

The kids had a great time at the park for about half an hour. Then I decided to go up to the speech department and see if they could bump up our appointment time. It can't hurt to ask, right? Guess what? They took us back almost immediately! Jordan and Thomas stayed with Ruby in the exam room while I went with Ralph to the sound booth. His sound booth testing confirmed the results of his more recent tests.

Back in the exam room Ralph had his ear molds taken. We talked a bit about the hearing aids and picked out colors. We also talked about the money. I was pleasantly surprised. I've always been under the impression that hearing aids were prohibitively expensive. They are pricey, but not out of reach. I still have to contact our insurance company to see if they provide any coverage. The hospital has a generous discount program if our insurance won't pay anything.

We will be picking up Ralph's hearing aids next month. And then one month after that he will have another appointment to check them out again. We will not have to pay in full until that 2nd appointment.

I'm so pleased to say that we were done at Children's Mercy by 11am. I left my favorite pillow at the hotel so we headed back there. Now we had time to go to Cabela's since we were done so early at the hospital. YAY! My goal was to wear the kids out before we started for home. The drive always goes much quicker when the little ones are asleep.

Pictures...reverse order again. Grrr.

Getting very, very sleepy

Signing "animals!"

You can't get this close to the action at the zoo!

Party boat!

Friday, August 7, 2009


We have not gone out to eat in. for. ever.

Today we had a little mini-celebration at Talliano's Pizza. My kids all accomplished the goal that they set for our very own Summer reading program! The pizza dinner was the grand prize. 

Thomas read over 2500 pages this summer. Jordan read 300 pages and Rose read 50. Leroy read 25 with some help from the other kids. The rules were that when you read to a little kid the pages count for both of you. What could be sweeter than having your big brother read to you?

Tomorrow we will be cleaning out the garage and laundry room closet. This has to get done because there is a mouse problem in the neighborhood. I was sitting on the front porch the other day when a little gray-blue mouse popped out of a hole next to the steps! Bold little fellow. Go ahead and come in the house. I have some little green pellets waiting for you.

I'm leaving for Kansas City after Sunday church service. I'm hoping that Ralph will sleep much of the way if I drive during nap-time. Ralph has an Monday morning ENT appointment and an afternoon hearing aid consultation. Of course, I'm taking Ruby. I'm taking Thomas to help me. I'm also taking Jordan for kicks. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Night Out

Can you tell he is HOT!

So tonight was our local Night Out event. This always sort of puzzles me. It is a crime awareness event, yet people are asked to leave their homes and meet at the city hall or wherever. All the cops were there along with the firefighters and EMS guys. Perfect time to break into houses if you ask me.

But, I digress.

We went to the city hall because of the moonwalk and the free hot dogs. My grocery budget has exploded over the summer so heck yeah I was gonna score a free meal for the children!

I made sure that all the windows and doors were locked before we left the house. Then we made the short drive over to city hall on this steamy hot evening. Really. Hot. Breathing through a dishrag humid. I felt like sort of a low life because of my mooching attitude, but guess what? We had some fun!

The moonwalk was a barrel shaped thing with monkeys painted on it. Cute! The firemen showed all the kids around their latest fancy firetruck. Thomas really wanted to look in the ambulance, but the EMS guys were standing over by the BBQ grill chatting.

I told him to go and ask them if they were paramedics and then tell them that he would really like to see the inside of that ambulance. Easy, right? He wanted me to go with him. *sigh* I did. But I didn't say much. In fact, I had to go chase Ralph, or something, and ended up walking away from him. Next thing I know Thomas is following them over to the ambulance.

They open it ALL up and the kids go through. They even got to sit up front and play with the siren. Even Rose! They each got to pick out a stuffed animal to keep. By the time we were done there every kid in the place had descended on the ambulance, too!

After that they had a door prize drawing. (Of course, it was a little late starting because they had to wait for all the kids to get done playing with the ambulance.) Between us all we won a camping chair, three restaurant gift certificates and a $100 Target gift card! The kids picked up some beachballs, frisbees, and some flashing do-dads as well.

What a fun evening!

This gurney is rated to 700 lbs and has a hydraulic lift. Here the kids are playing with it...up and down!

This is probably the ambulance Ralph and I rode in on the night he was born!

Rose in the moonwalk. She can jump ALL DAY long!

Ralph and Thomas in the moonwalk. Umm, Ralph's walking now, but not quite ready for this.