Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunday Special - March 29th

No kids this Special. They are tucked warmly into their beds. (and they better stay there and be quiet and go to sleep!!)

Jessica and I went to the Young Women General Broadcast tonight. We've had rain off and on for the last two days. (Coincidentally - the same two days that Matt and his scouts have been camping. My newly organized and cleaned laundry got clobbered with wet, campfire smelling stuff about 10 seconds after they walked in the door. **sigh**) While we were at the church the rain turned to this stuff:

Check out the size of some of those snowflakes! Heavy, heavy wet snow - the kind that makes a mucky mess and sprays up when you drive through it - just like hitting a puddle. Only, instead of putting up a spray of water, it's like getting hit with a heavy wall of slush.

Just hours earlier, I took pictures of this:

Those are my Bleeding Hearts - they've been enjoying the bit of rain and sunny, mild temps this week and came out in colorful profusion. Hope they like slushy snow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Adam's 4th Birthday

A picture paints a thousand words . . . .

I think Sadie drew herself sad because her birthday isn't until next month. She drew their ages on their crowns.

Time for Cake

The kids make fun of my cake decorating attempts. Those chocolate brick things are supposed to be the trash blocks that Wall*E makes. (I will take any opportunity to add more chocolate if I can!) The kids called them "Wall*E poop". They also posed the cake toppers. To me it looks like Eve is pointing to the bricks and saying "Did you make this mess?" and Wall*E is saying "Who me? I didn't do it!"

The light green trim looked better before the kids started poking their fingers into it. I tried to fix it. It didn't fix so well.

Nathan really enjoys cake. And ice cream.


Happy 4th Birthday Adam!!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday Special - March 22nd

With the weather starting to turn warmer, we started gearing up to put in our garden for the year. This year we are growing corn, beets, spinach, carrots, onions, broccoli, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes (roma & grape included), green beans, peas, eggplant, yellow and zucchini squash and of course, watermelon. (I may have forgotten an item or two - oh, yeah - radishes! and sunflowers!) Our gardening efforts in years past have been hampered by extremely wet seasons and the clay that runs rampant in our back yard, but we are determined this year. We staked out a different part of the yard with good sun and good drainage. The kids are excited and looking forward to seeing everything growing. I am hoping to be able to use my big ol' canner this year for something other than making mashed potatoes in at Thanksgiving.

Some preliminary garden pictures:

Jessica telling Adam the different seeds we started.

Garrett and Matt putting in the onion starts.

Sadie's job was dandelion eradication. She was very good at it.

She also made a worm farm. (or at least that was what she told me this was.)

Hoping to have some growing veggies pictures to come soon!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sunday Special - March 15th

Did you know Rolla boasts the third largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the state of Missouri? You didn't? Don't feel bad, neither did I, until this year! The local university has been holding St. Patrick's Day celebrations for 101 years! This is big stuff around here. The high school marching band participated in the parade and so I dropped Trent off and took Sadie and Garrett to watch the parade.

This is Sadie before the parade. She ran into some friends. I got a big kick out of seeing them all together - they would recognize someone and yell and scream and wave. Then they would hug and stand all together chatting excitedly.

Here are some pictures from the parade. The parade was really quite good and lasted over an hour and a half!

No St. Patrick's Day Parade would be complete without a Bagpipe Band.

Or St. Patrick himself!

This band was really neat - not one single instrument! They just had drum sticks and used buckets, a bike rack, shopping cart and trash cans to make music.

There were many bands - from the big to the small. Sadie and I really liked this guy's hat and sang along to the music.

I wasn't sure what to make of these at first. There were a lot of guys carrying what basically were long tree stumps throughout the parade and also these painted ones. After we came home, I looked up on the local website (yes, they take it that seriously around here!) and these are cudgels. Part of the celebrations involve a cudgel carry - basically, they carry these big stumps on their shoulders and race each other. Some of them were HUGE!

The girls here are carrying shillelaghs. This is also part of the university's celebrations. The students whittle their own shillelaghs and they have a snake driving activity.

I have a soft spot for fire trucks (Happy Birthday Ben!!)

I also have a soft spot for the Air Force too. (Shout out to Josh!)

No Marine Corps. (Sorry dad!)

Though, despite all the funny cars, the clowns, St. Patrick, the awesome bands and so many other neat and fun floats - what we really came to see was this:

Unfortunately, I was on the opposite side from Trent. He really is in there! See if you can spot him. He's directly center of the picture and in the row behind; you can see his profile between the kid with the xylophone and the kid with the sax. The only other picture I got of him was the back of his hat - they moved by us pretty quickly.

Sadie, Garrett and I really enjoyed the parade. The weather was perfect and I got some pretty good pictures of it all. These are just a tiny portion of all I took.

Last but not least - since most of my pictures from the parade of him were of the back of his head, here is a picture of Garrett displaying some of his parade spoils.

(As a post script, Jessi has her first "real" babysitting job tonight! She was totally excited; I am a bit melancholic **sniff**)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to Make Indoor Snow Angels


One 12 year old wanting instant potatoes
One busy 2 year old who is into everything
One crazy precocious and inventive 5 year old
One box Instant Potato Flakes

I leave the rest to your imagination . . . though, I will say, plan on seriously needing a vacuum cleaner afterward.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Special - March 8th

Today's Sunday Special provided to you by Trent. He didn't drop the camera this time, though my recently purchased camera batteries were completely dead when I tried to use it.


I'm not sure whether to be impressed with a somewhat nice and artistic shot - or dismayed that he risked dropping another camera falling off the roof.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

(I am posting this here as well as on my Infertility and Loss blog, so those of you who read both will experience a sense of deja vu)

I typically joke when my husband is heading off on a business trip that I am always sick or will get sick and some disaster will ensue. Two Christmases ago it was the car accident that totaled our van and broke my foot. Many years ago, just over 12 - it was ending up in the hospital with a complete placenta previa that was abrupting while my spouse was in Texas. Another trip of his to Texas was when I had the worst asthma attack of my adult years, a 2 year old with RSV and a doctor who only agreed not to hospitalize me provided I found an adult to take care of me and I got my O2 sats above 90 before he sent me home. The month before our youngest was born it was an ice storm that knocked our power out for 36 hours. (Spent the day Matt left at Walmart with 5 kids and at 35 weeks pregnant because they had lights and heat.) Early last year there was the morning he kissed me goodbye before another such trip and said "Bye, love you and oh, the heater isn't coming on . . ." That year the switch telling the furnace the cover was closed was broken - open door, no work. Just this past summer it was the starter motor on my van dying. This weekend with 4.5 inches of icy snowfall, everyone sick to varying degrees and Matt gearing up for a business trip to Kentucky, we discover the heater doesn't seem to be working. The fan just runs and runs and the heat never comes on. I figure, of course, I'm sick, the kids are sick, the furnace isn't working and it must be time for Matt to leave on a business trip again. (He always misses the drama!) He tried replacing the thermostat yesterday morning before he left (the temperature inside the house had dropped to 54 degrees by morning) to no avail. I drove him to the car rental place after dropping the kids off at school. My head was splitting, I somewhat questioned my ability to drive, feeling weak and teary and just wanted to go home to my mommy. Trent had dragged himself off to Seminary Monday morning despite have a miserable weekend as well. He complained of a headache and just seemed to want to sleep non-stop. We all made it to church on Sunday, but he left in the middle of Sacrament meeting and didn't return. We found him in the Seminary room asleep on the floor. After returning home from church, he headed straight to bed. Matt complained he felt even worse than he had during the week and I took a 4 hour nap trying to find relief from my pounding head, queasiness and various aches.

So yesterday, after dropping Matt off at the car rental place and a brief foray to Walmart to procure more cold and flu medications and refill my asthma inhaler, I make the call for a repair man. He shows up and finds the problem with the fan right away - a bad switch. He also discovers our flue pipe is leaking. Yes, leaking, as in Carbon Monoxide leaking. "Did you say y'all have been sick lately?" he asks me. He is able to repair both problems quickly - neither of which is relative to the other. Without the bad switch, the heater would still have come on and we would not have had reason to call a repair man. If replacing the thermostat had solved our problem initially, again, no call to the repair man. No call to the repair man = ? We would not have known about the CO leak. I would have continued to chalk up how awful we all felt to being sick. Everyone is sick right now - our friends, the kids say that half their friends are missing from school. This is cold and flu season. Never in a million years would I have ever entertained the notion this was Carbon Monoxide poisoning - low level to be sure, but still, in addition to being legitimately sick. I also have carbon monoxide alarms on each floor of our home. According to what the repair man told me and also doing some research of my own, these alarms are not particularly reliable. I went out and purchased an alarm that shows the level of CO present in ppm. Even if the alarm doesn't sound, I will at least have a continuous reading of the CO level in our home. Matt called me from the road and said he was feeling a lot better - then I told him about the heater. In true unphased Matt style he said "Oh, it was good you got it fixed then." Also according to my research, it is not uncommon for people experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning to feel better when away from the source of CO. Matt is at work during the week, he felt worse at home on the weekend. I was very interested and concerned to see what condition Trent would be in on his return home from school. His room is right off the closet where the furnace and water heater sit - you access the closet through his bedroom. He came home from school a completely different kid. He was bright eyed and clear - looking and sounding 100% better. I asked him how he felt and he said he felt much improved. By evening, I too noticed that what I had attributed to cold and flu symptoms were much alleviated as well. Wow, just, wow.

The reason I am sharing all this with you is because also in my research I found this article that states accidental carbon monoxide poisoning kills approximately 500 people each year. Most at risk from dying from even low level poisoning are small children, the infirmed and elderly. Poisoning is not restricted to malfunctioning heaters during the winter time; one student died and several others were sickened due to a malfunctioning gas water heater at a Roanake College during the summer. The recent ice storms in Kentucky lead to the deaths of people who had to find other heat sources when they lost their power. Improper ventilation swiftly led to toxic CO levels. In the town where I grew up, this past December, a 22 year old mother died from CO poisoning which also seriously sickened her husband and 2 year old son. They had believed as I had so readily, that they simply had a case of flu. By the time they realized this was more serious than just a case of flu, it was too late.

This article outlines ways you can help prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning. I would add to this list regularly checking your gas appliances to ensure proper function/ventilation as well as installing carbon monoxide detectors that show you the level of CO present. Units can be found reasonably priced and fairly easily where you would also find smoke detectors and fire alarms sold. Our local Walmart had one for less than $30. My only complaint is that it is only battery powered and I would have preferred one that plugged into an electrical outlet with battery back up. A biochemist friend of mine says increasing your iron intake and even exercise if you suspect low level poisoning can help facilitate a quick recovery - anything that increases the oxygen levels in your body. Adding the cost of the CO monitor to the $90 charge for the repair man, I spent less than $120. The cost could have been so much more.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Special March 1st - Bath Night

Saturday night is always bath night. Here are a couple of my bathing beauties all squeaky clean and cute.

Adam playing peek a boo in his hooded towel.

Nathan, whose hair gets really curly after a bath only to be mostly straight by morning.

Still have some sick people here. Mostly colds now at this point and mostly just the older folks. Matt's going to Kentucky this week. I'm almost always sick when he leaves or some other disaster ensues while he is gone. Though right now he is informing me that there might be something wrong with the heater. Of course.