Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome, thanks, and an announcement:

Welcome: to everyone visiting from Smockity Frocks. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Thanks: to MyFriendConnie for featuring me on her
blog. It was an honor and fun to participate in her interview series.

An announcement: If you are wondering what in the world the above statements are talking about, then I need to tell you that Connie at Smockity Frocks asked me 10 questions about life with a transplant recipient and is posting them (and my answers) ;) on her blog. If you are interested you can go
here to read them, and then be sure and stay and visit Mrs. Smockity for a while! :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

From the garden

I haven't posted about the garden lately, so I thought I would update, if for no other reason than my own documentation and comparison this time next year!

The garden looks good in a lot of ways, but the heat is really taking its toll. We have had almost 2 weeks now of 95-100 degree days.

Most of the corn is well over 6 feet tall, and most of the stalks are growing 2 ears each!
The squash and zucchini are covered in blossoms, but the squash gets about as big as my thumb and then shrivels. At least that is what happened to the first two to get that big. We'll see what happens to all of these:
The zucchini isn't producing as many veggies, but the few that are there are faring better than the squash. (As in: they aren't dying before getting big enough to eat!)

The cucumber vines are also loaded with blossoms, but I think it is too hot for them to produce any cucumbers. :(

The cantaloupe plants look healthy enough, so we'll see what happens next, and the bell peppers look like they are growing ok. They are a little bigger than golf balls now, so I hope they will continue on and get decently big.

The corn is definitely the healthiest looking thing right now. We picked our first ears yesterday!
We also picked two zucchini.
And then there are my favorites so far, the tomatoes.

First, there were two:
Then there were four, and then 6, and now I have 20 little tomatoes of varying ripeness just waiting to be eaten. I am picking them very early to keep them away from the birds, from which we have only had a little bit of trouble so far.

So, with our little beginning of a harvest we were able to have a fun celebratory supper tonight:

Grilled chicken, corn on the cob, sauteed zucchini, and ice cold tomatoes! We also had a blessed relief from the intense heat today, making it bearable for the grill-master to get outside and do his thing! And of course, for me to circle the garden a couple of times just to check on things. ;)

This post is linking to The Peterson Clan for a garden update.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Something's gotta give....

... and it has obviously been the blog!

See... it's like this:

This past Saturday our family threw a retirement party for my dad in our backyard, with a little thing called a Shrimp Boil (oh yum!) for 15 people.
This involved much planning and decorating and planning and sweating, but it was definitely worth it.
And then the very next day was Father's day, which was filled with activities and gifts all its own. And was so busy I forgot to take a picture of the Father of My Children with his children. Oops.

And THEN.... Monday we launched right into Vacation Bible School.

And it has been tons of fun.

But leaves us all very tired. You have experienced this, yes?

Even the youngest among us have to stop for a cool drink of water every now and then.
Anyway, long story short we are all well and all still around, and I still plan on blogging about Kindergarten Part II, and our garden, and just good ol' everyday life.

But not 'till next week. ;)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What is it...

about cutting your meal into little pieces and cooking it on a stick that is so fun?

And so delicious!?

I forgot to take an 'after' picture. We were too busy eating. :)

P.S. - I highly recommend marinating chicken in the following, whether for shish kabobs or not

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. onion, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (fresh is best)
2 Tb. white wine vinegar
2 Tb soy sauce
2 Tb lemon juice
2 tsp. olive oil

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My point exactly!

Remember a couple of days ago when I said checking the forecast had become boring all of a sudden?

Here is what I saw today on my morning internet rounds:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This is why we love digital cameras!

With both boys looking so nice in their new Sunday shirts from Grandma, we decided to take a couple of pictures right quick after we got home from church.

"Right quick."


Here are the pictures we took, in the order we took them.

First thing up, Alan didn't look to happy. Even though he was. And he definitely wasn't looking at the camera. However, not too bad of Dale:

Try again. Got a perfect smile from Alan, but something seems to have happened to Dale's neck!!

Number 3. We've rearranged, into a one-boy-in-front-of-the-other type pose. Not because of any creative photography on our part. More like "catch 'em while they are still in sight" because our subject were in no way still. This is probably the origin of all those cute benches and wagons and things in professional photos. Those things came about because of necessity. Just good luck keeping your subject seated. Only a shade easier than keeping them standing in the same place. Next time we'll try that!
Anyway, number 3. Not too bad, but Dale's over-enthusiastic smile has his eyes a little squinchy. Oh, and Alan's arms are mysteriously missing:

Oh my. This can't be good. How did things go so bad so quickly!?!

With the watch-turned-weapon back in the pocket (I don't think this is how Aunt Kristin intended her gift to be used!), we go for number 5.

Things are really beginning to go squirrelly. While posing and focusing, Alan sticks his finger in his nose. When I mention this to him, his response is just to grab for his nose all-together. (I suppose he didn't want it to end up in his pocket?!) And then there is Dale's "smile".

Finally, miraculously, number 6 turns out to be an acceptable photo. Yay! We can go in and have lunch now!

But the "mom" perfectionism inside of me wasn't satisfied with that bit-lip smile of Alan's. Apparently the "mom" perfectionism inside
my mom knew we could do better too. Photo-shop whiz that she is, she took the best of the above smiles and poses and cut and pasted and resized and blended until she came up with this:
Ha! All while we were inside in the air conditioning! It definitely pays to have a handy photo-shopper around!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I just remembered...

... that just about this time every year it becomes very boring to check the weather.

Usually I am a weather watcher. Checking in often on the ever-changing forecast: is it going to rain? will there be storms? is it going to freeze? are the days finally getting warmer? are the days finally getting cooler?

And then, all of a sudden... every. day. is. the. same.


I guess weather-checking is one thing I can remove from my daily list for a while!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I would never have thought of myself as an ambulance chaser...

.... but that is just what I found myself doing last night!

Backing up to the beginning...

Alan woke up throwing up at 8:00 yesterday morning.

He didn't have a fever, but he could NOT keep any amount of fluids down, even a tiny sip. We knew dehydration could become an issue pretty quickly, so we checked in with Dallas (Alan's transplant team) and headed to our local hospital to get labs and be seen by a pediatrician.

Labs at 12:30 (after which Alan never threw up again and was able to keep down his gatorade and even a couple of potato chips... not the best sick-kid food but hey... they were on hand and he wanted some!).

Saw pedi around 2pm. Pedi talked to Dallas, and because some of the lab results clearly showed dehydration that appeared to have come on rather quickly, Dallas wanted Alan. The plan was for him to have a bag of IV fluids locally and then be transferred (by ambulance) to Dallas. We were shocked!

Admission to the local ER went great, including his IV stick. Alan has always been tricky to get an iv started on, and especially when he is dehydrated. Sometimes it can take multiple attempts and many, many tears. However, his nurse yesterday afternoon got it in ONE easy stick. But get this... (God is so awesome).. we found out later in the afternoon, our ER nurse is only part time in the ER... usually she is a flight nurse!!! Ha! No wonder it was such an easy stick! :) See... I told you God is awesome! :)

My mom hurried home from work to our house and packed an overnight bag for Greg. We decided Greg would ride with Alan in the ambulance to Dallas (mainly because I got carsick last time!) and since I am not comfortable driving to Dallas by myself (2 1/2 hours) I would come home. (Pretty much useless, aren't I??) ;)

Later in the afternoon we found out that we would NOT be going to Dallas, but that Alan was going to be admitted to the local hospital for overnight IV fluids and observation. What a relief!

And that is where he spent the night. Greg stayed with him, since he already had a bag, and Mom gave me a ride home and we left a vehicle at the hospital for Greg and Alan to come home in when Alan is released today.

This is a first for us, and so far it is a great experience to have our kiddo in the hospital just 30 minutes down the road instead of 2 1/2 hours!!

Oh, and the ambulance "chasing" came in because the local hospital is divided into two "campuses". The pediatrics division is across town from the ER we spent the afternoon in, so Alan was transferred by ambulance from one hospital to the other (just a 5-10 minute drive) and Mom and I followed to be sure to know what entrance to go in and things like that since by that time it was well after-hours.

Alan is doing much better today (in our opinion he's "just fine") and should get to come home this afternoon. We have learned that everyone is always extra-cautious even with normal childhood bugs like this one when it involves a transplant kid, and we are just fine with that!

P.S. - Right now, Dale and Alan are visiting on the phone, Dale here at home and Alan with his feet propped up in front of the tv in his hospital bed. I can just imagine what Alan is saying, because I am certainly loving Dale's end of the conversation!! :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Looking back on kindergarten, Part I

Unlike families who switch from public school to home and have big adjustments to make, homeschooling is something our family has gradually waded into over the past few years, and I am thankful for that. I think it has made things easier on us in a lot of ways.Although I have some things planned for Dale this summer, I consider us officially done with kindergarten. Mostly for my own benefit I want to look back (in writing) over this school year and see where we started, what we did, and where we ended up. But I thought I'd put it on the blog too, in case anyone else was interested? ....anyone?

First, I believe some of the main purposes of kindergarten are to prepare kids for the elementary years ahead of them. In public school this is going to mean (among other things) getting kids well on the road to reading, learning to follow directions given to the group, learning how to stand in line, learning to recognize numbers and colors and other important things 5 & 6 year olds need to recognize, learning to raise their hand and stand in line at the appropriate times.... and on and on.
Our kindergarten had similar goals, but instead of Dale learning to ask permission to go to the restroom or find his place in line, we were "finding our groove" of working together as teacher and student. In some ways it wasn't much different from what we have been doing the previous 4 years of his life, but there were new things to get used to.

I learned a lot this past year about how both Dale and I "operate". I know that I do best when I have specific plans made well in advance. I now know that I like to have detailed records of what we did to look back on. I know Dale loves math and science, but gets frustrated with handwriting. These bits of information will be very valuable to me as we get ready and head into first grade.

I didn't believe much formal 'schooling' was needed for Dale this year. Five is still so young, and I believe a 5 year old should spend the majority of his time playing. At the same time, I was eager to jump into homeschooling and to give Dale a kindergarten experience. We found a nice balance, doing just enough school work to gain the experience of 'school' before more structured lessons this fall.We spent the majority of our school time reading books. Fiction, non fiction, chapter books, picture books, some that I read, and some that Dale read, and some we read together. We also did some math, and some science, some arts and crafts, some nature study, practiced handwriting, learned some phonics, and various other things. But more on that in my next post, Looking Back... Part II. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What do you call....

.... one of these?
All my life, I've called them "lightnin' bugs."

I asked Greg, and all
his life, he's called them "lightnin' bugs."

But this boy?

More often than not he calls them "Fireflies."

And where did this difference in terminology come from?

Turns out the answer is one we hear quite often to a variety of questions....

"I read it in a book."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dale learned the coolest thing today....

For our drive home today I gave each of the boys a large lollipop (we call them 'suckers' in our corner of the world).

We don't eat a huge amount of candy, so it was a treat.  

I do have to admit I spent several miles in the middle wondering if that treat had been a big mistake.  

What if the candy came off the stick and got lodged in somebody's throat!?  

For a while I eyed the shoulders, figuring I had plenty of room to pull over and stop in a hurry.  I even looked back at the pickup truck in my rear-view mirror.  Would he stop to help?  Would he know how to do the Heimlich?  

My brain takes these scary little paths sometimes.  Is that just me??  

Anyway, whether I foolishly ignored the risk of back-seat choking, or wisely ignored my worrisome mommy self, I let the boys continue on with their suckers.

After a good long while, Dale piped up from the backseat:

"Wow!  My sucker has
chocolate in it!  It has a tootsie roll in it!"

*Pause for another taste of newly discovered chocolate*

"Huh!  So
THAT'S why they call it a Tootsie Roll Pop!!! I thought they called it that just for fun!"

Don't you love discovering the world through they eyes of a kid?  :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hi-ho, hi-ho, to Daddy's Work We Go!

The boys and I made a trip this week to have lunch with Daddy at work.

I am ashamed to say that it was the first time I have been in his office... and he has worked there 10 months! (Dale and Grandma saw it once in the fall.)

However... I have to remind myself how far this school year has brought us. When it began at the beginning of August, Alan was severely immunosuppressed and not allowed to be around people much at all.

In the middle of August Alan was hospitalized and released with a PICC line and awaiting surgery, so we stayed close to home.

In September we all went back to Dallas for that surgery.

So, yes, there was the entire winter and spring we could have gone to see where Daddy worked, but the important thing is we have been there now.

It makes me so proud to see Daddy showing his boys all around... for them to see what he does and where he goes every day. So even though there are only a couple of days of school left, it is definitely better late than never!

I am also so very thankful that Alan's health is so normal now. We are at a point we are pretty much free to go and do as we please (with a few exceptions).

I also have to admit that I am very glad this school year is almost over. As much as we love seeing where Daddy works, we love having him home even more!

Do your kiddos get to see where "Daddy" works very often?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Heads up!

For all of you that like freebies
For all of you that like ice cream:

FREE Root Beer Floats
at Sonic
Wednesday, June 3
8:00 - midnight

Don't say I didn't tell you!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Starting June off in a big way!

Today was a big day in our library-loving household, a sort of 'double-whammy', if you will.

Not only was today the start of the annual summer reading program, it will also go down in history as the day Dale got his first all-his-very-own library  card:

What a treat and a privilege to have Mimi issue his card and check out his first 3 books!

And whaddya know.... there is Dale's name all official and in print on his receipt!

The Summer Reading Program theme this year is "It's a Zoo in Here!", complete with animals everywhere, themed posters, a display of zoo books, and even a library zoo of stuffed animals among the books (you can see the 'zoo' behind the boys, below).
This year Alan gets to participate too, in the "Read to Me" program.  Great timing, since he really has been getting into books lately.  There was a time I wondered if he would ever be content to sit in my lap and read a book, but praise the Lord, we've made it!  His current favorite is Green Eggs and Ham, and we've gotten to the point he can recite a lot of it while I read.  

And speaking of ham.... he may not be green, but do you think you can guess who my little Ham is?