Friday, September 30, 2011

Update on Sloth...

Day three of  Ivy's unwelcomed visit.... she's like fish - starting to stink!
Another near sleepless itchy night!  Now, his lips are swollen, but he can open his eyes!  He also feels like it has gotten into his throat!  I have no idea how!!???  His hands continue to be swollen and he is itchy, in pain, and just plain miserable all over! 

I woke up numerous times last night just to check that he was still breathing!  When he told me it felt like it was in his throat it made me a little panicky!

I can't wait for this to be over and I'm sure Ry wishes for it 100x more!!

Guatemala Friends

In Guatemala when we met - 2007
When we went to Guatemala to meet Lola for the first time, we stayed at a hotel called La Casa Grande.  It was a stately old building with fountains, verandas, and a huge balcony.  It was also one of the primary places for adoptive parents to stay.  In fact, the hotel was filled with parents and their children.  Some were visiting, some were staying with their child until the adoption was finalized, and some were on their way home with their long awaited blessing!

It was a wonderful thing to have so many people there for the same reason.  They knew exactly what you were going through and it was fun to swap stories and play together with the children.

While we were there, we met two other families that were using our same agency and were from our area!  What are the chances!  In fact, two of our little ones came home on the exact same day and all three girls are very close in age.

That trip started what I hope is a life long friendship for us and for the girls.  We have been getting together at least once a year since we met and before the girls even came home!  Last weekend we all got together for our annual get together this year.  The children all bonded in an instant once again and were off and running in two seconds flat!

To see how grown the girls have become and to sit and reminisce about the process we all went through and what it was like to be at La Casa Grande together is such a blessing to me.  Lola loves to hear the stories of when she was a baby and it is fun for her to know that these two other girls share some of her history!

I wanted to share the pictures I have of the three girls over the years together so far!  They are just the most adorable little girls ever!!!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Sleepless Itchy Night and maybe another visit to the ER...

Husband, Sloth, stayed home all day from work.  The meds the doctor gave him at the ER seemed to help the swelling in his face, but the rest of his body began erupting in blisters!  It is a mystery how he has poison ivy all over his body and even between his toes!  If I didn't know better, I would think he went "streaking through the quad" and took a detour through the woods!

When I went to bed at 11, I left him sitting in the dining room with my hair dryer.  We had read that by blowing hot air on the places that itch until it was too hot to stand would help with the itch and pain.  He had some temporary relief.  He has tried it all!  -baking soda, hot showers, antiperspirant, nail polish remover, vitamin C....  Nothing seems to work!

At 2am I thought I was going to have to wake up A to listen for the kids while I drove Ryan to the ER.  He needed a sedative, in my opinion!  He couldn't settle himself down and was in so much misery!

At 5am I told him he only had to make it through two more hours until he could go into the ER or give them a call.  Finally, he was able to sleep!  I felt so bad for him I didn't even nudge him when he started to snore.

Currently, he has called the ER and has had a lengthy conversation.  No new suggestions were given, except for taking more Motrin and drinking coffee (both should help with the inflammation).  He is now trying to catch up on a missed night of sleep.  If it is still as bad tomorrow, he will have to go in again.

I didn't sleep much either and now I have phantom itches all over!  I used to get this when I was teaching and heard a student had lice.  My head itched like crazy until I could have the nurse check it out only to find there was nothing there!  It's the power of suggestion!  Now, I feel itchy and am so paranoid there is oil somewhere in the house everything is getting washed!!

* I couldn't bring myself to post pictures of people with poison ivy on here as they are so awful and Ry won't let me take pictures so if you want an idea of what the rash can look like - go here!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Trip to the ER

There just never seems to be a dull moment in this household!

This morning Ryan got up and dressed like usual, but then announced he was bringing himself to the ER!  Seriously?  He had a cold last week, but that was all gone now.  Why would he need to go to the ER?  If the lights were on in the bedroom, I would have seen exactly why he needed to go!

I am now married to this...
He wouldn't let me take a picture of his face because (sorry honey - I still love you) frankly he looks like Sloth on Goonies! (one of the all time best movies EVER!)  His eyes are almost swollen shut and his face looks a bit misshapen.

So what is the problem?  This little bugger is it!  It is in the woods behind our house:

Poison Ivy!  This stuff has got to be one of the most stubborn little things on this earth!  We can try to dig it up, spray it, and even burn it (don't burn it by the way- it will just be airborne then and you can breath it in) and it will continue to poke it's little green shoots out of the soil!  Ry was trying to spare the children from being exposed to it and cut down some vines around where they were building a fort.  We have been working on clearing paths through the woods so the kids can play and run in there without the worry of becoming a ball of swollen itchiness so there are safe areas!  I guess he forgot to be careful and touched all of his exposed skin including his head after being exposed to the oil of the plant.  Somehow he got it on his chest, belly, and legs as well!  I have never had poison ivy (knock on wood) so I don't know how painful it is, but looking at him (after I giggle and say "Baby, baby ruuuuuttthhhhh" - that's from Goonies in case you didn't catch that) I can tell that he is just miserable!

Thankfully it won't last more than three weeks, (here I giggle again because he will have to meet with clients looking like Sloth) which is good, because right now he has a face only a mother could love - I guess a wife too.... - Oh and he is in pain and itchy, can't forget that part!  Is it terrible that I can't stop giggling??????

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Creepy Crawlie Pets!

I knew having children would bring on challenges.  I just didn't know all of the different kinds of challenges they would bring.
Digging for Worms

Lately, one of my challenges is keeping my home free of creepy crawlies!  Tyce is obsessed with them!  Grasshoppers, worms, ants - they are all his beloved pets!  He carries them around, names them, and has people pet them!

The other day he walked around inside with a grasshopper perched on his arm like it was a bird.  He named it Dylan and played with it until its leg broke off.  This didn't really phase Tyce as he thinks dead things are fun pets too!

Hi "pet" frog
Looking at the snakes at the zoo - so so exciting!!!

Tyce held a bearded dragon at the Pet Expo

A Snake!!
I do have to draw the line at some of the creepy crawlies however!  Snakes are the line!  Tyce adores them and would cuddle them in his bed, but Mom gets the hibi jibis!  I even go as far as checking my bed before getting into it at night after a snake has been found.  You never know if a particular pet gets smuggled through our doors!  I'm just anticipating the day I walk into a room and find a "pet" coiled in the middle!  That will be the day I have to put my house up for sale!

Don't you think getting a cute dog will cure Tyce of his "pet" obsession?  So far I can't convince Ry, but he's not the one finding grasshoppers in the sink, caterpillars in the washing machine, and worms in his shoes!
Sooo Excited at the zoo!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday night Fun or Horror???

Friday night high school football games have taken on an entirely new feeling of fun or maybe its horror!

In high school I remember spending a lot of time getting prettied up to spend hours in the wind and cold on the bleachers at the games.  It was the biggest social event for me at the time and I looked forward to it each week we had a home game!  For the life of me I can't remember exactly what we did at the games and why they were as fun as they were!  I do remember we watched a little bit of the action on the field, but most of our attention was geared toward the action in the stands.

Now Friday night football games are a bit different.  There is still the socializing and some watching of the game, but now I find myself doing all of this from inside the consession stand!

It was a different kind of fun.  Ry and I were in charge of coffee and suppling beverages.  I can't even count how many Mountain Dews we went through!  One young man had 7 of them!  He was living proof that that kind of beverage does affect your body.  The poor boy couldn't even walk in a straight line in a normal way!  For every step there was a kind of hop, jiggle, or kick!  He didn't look comfortable in his own skin!!  Poor Thing!

To be honest it was depressing to see the football players run by.  They looked SO young!  I still remember when I was in eight grade and they all looked SO old!  I was scared of them!  How did that happen??

Then at one point Ry turned to me and said, "Isn't this fun!"  Oh the horror- because I was having fun!  What has happened to us?  This is what we do on a Friday night for fun?  Stand in a concession booth sniffing hot dog grease and handing out coffee?  Again - the horror!  What happened to that time we had?  Youth is totally wasted on the young and I think I finally felt a brief momment of what it must feel like to realize you are old!  Thank goodness it only lasted a second!!  Good Grief!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Summer Road Trip - Sleepy Bear Dunes - Where's the potty?

Grand Traverse Bay
On our last day of our weekend adventure we stopped at Sleepy Bear Dunes. 

The drive over was a nice one, passing many farms and beautiful homes.  Grand Traverse Bay was picture perfect and Glen Lake was a color blue I wasn't used to seeing reflected in Michigan lakes.

Glen Lake
Our first stop was the Dune Climb.  The sun was bright, but not too hot that the sand would burn our toes.  The dune was big, but appeared doable as we stood at the base looking up at it.  Jackson and A took off on a run through the sand.  Lola and I went up at a slower pace, hand in hand.  Ryan sat with a sleepy Tyce at the bottom.  He didn't stay drowsy for long and was soon coaxing his father up the dune.

Once we reached the top, the view was breathtaking!  On one side we had a sparkling Glen Lake. 
We were surrounded on our other three sides by dunes!  We continued to climb dune after dune.  We hiked up, hiked down, hiked up, and hiked up again.  The kids were excited to jump off the small cliffs and roll in the sand.  When we reached our third dune however, things weren't so hunky dorey.

The boys were thirsty.  I had on Lola's Barbie backpack which had water and a beach towel in it as I was trying to think ahead.  Obviously, I couldn't plan for every scenario that may present itself and that was the case this time!

Lola had to go to the bathroom. Surprise surprise!  We had just gone maybe fifteen minutes before, but when you are four and you have to go, you HAVE to GO!

I looked around us and all we could see was a sea of sand!  Flat open sand...  There was no where to hide a child peeing!  It was a Saturday so there were a lot of people around too!

We continued to forge our way through the sand hoping that at any moment we would spot an area of concealment!  When it was announced that it was "poopie" that was on its way, panic set in for Mommy and Daddy!  Now what?  There has to be some law against this!  Lola was beginning to become desperate.  Our only option was to high tail it off the trail over to some sparse beach grass and a small, short tree.

We sent the boys on ahead and huddled around Lola.  We made it just in time!  I felt like I was on Survivor as I instructed Ry that beach grass was not in fact the best suitable substitute for toilet paper!  Relief set in for everyone and we quickly left our spot off the trail and traveled over more dunes.

My goal was to make it far enough to see Lake Michigan.  After going up each dune I expected to see the glittering waters of the Lake each time, but it took many more dunes then I anticipated to see the Lake!  Jackson wanted to go all of the way to the Lake when we finally saw it and the Manitou Islands, but when I pointed out how little all of the people on the trail ahead of us appeared he conceded to heading back.

He and A took off on a run.  It warmed my heart to see the two boys interacting so much and having so much fun!  As they ran down the dunes you could hear their laughter carried by the wind.  The climb down was obviously much easier then the climb up and everyone made it down in one piece with a smile on their face!
Up the first dune

Here come Dad and Tyce

Looking east at Glen Lake

Heading back down the dunes

Finally!  Lake Michigan!!

Mom and Dad after the climb!

After emptying an entire sand dune out of the children's clothes, we climbed back in the car and zipped down the street to Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.  This is a seven mile long road that winds its way through the dunes.  At the beginning of this one way road you get a guide that tells you all about the vegetation, different sights, and the dunes.

I loved all there was to see!  How Blessed we are to live in such a gorgeous state!  We even saw a doe and a fawn as we drove through the quiet woods.

After exploring the the Scenic Drive, we headed back to the expressway in the direction of home.  We again took many potty breaks and had one close call with you know who!

As it became dark, we stopped in Cadillac for dinner.  Ry picked out the establishment which ended up being Da Dawg House.  The outside didn't look all the appetizing to me, but the inside was decorated very fun and the food and service were good!  It was a fun place to stop and end our trip before pulling into our driveway and tucking everyone in!

It was such a fun adventure that we agreed we should do another weekend trip!  Now to find a free weekend!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer Road Trip! Stopping for the Night - Great Wolf Lodge

Our last stop of the day was Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI.  We have been there a few times and the kids love it every single time we go!  There are locations all in many different states!
It has so many things to do inside of the Lodge that there really is no reason to ever leave!  You can go in their indoor water park, go to the spa, the arcade, play with the wands and wizards on a quest, go mini golfing, go to the kid's room where they have toys, a computer, and crafts, and they even supply different events and activities for kids to do!

The kids were itching to get in the water so we checked into our room and headed to the indoor water park and outdoor pool.  The water park is attached to the hotel which means we don't have to wear shoes or bring extra things with us and it's easy to go back to the room to get things we forgot or to take a little break.

Jackson and A ran off together to go down the slides and Ry and I stuck with the two little ones while they splashed in the shallow area and played with fountains.  The big hit with the boys was the giant bucket that dumps 1,000 gallons of water on you if you dare stand in it's path!  One word of warning about that - it has been known to knock over small children and to take off swim suits!  Hang on tight to your valuables!  There is something for everyone at the water park and we were occupied for about two hours before the kids started to get hungry.

Up to the room, dried and dressed, we headed to Pizza Hut down the road.  The kids gobbled up the pizza so quickly I felt like I blinked and it was gone!  A short drive back to the hotel and now the tricky part - getting everyone into bed and to sleep!

We got a loft room for the first time.  We needed enough beds so that A could have his own bed. The room was very clean except for one thing.  The shower curtain stunk!  It smelled like an old wet towel that had been sitting around for months!  Since the bathroom is right by the door to enter the room, that was my first impression.  Not a good one!  We had to keep the door shut to the bathroom while we were in the room!  The only other thing I didn't like about the room was that there was a skylight.  You would think that that would be a cool aspect, but for a child who wakes up and thinks it's morning when the street light shines through the window it is a very early alarm clock after a difficult night's sleep!

There were two beds and a pull-out on the main floor - the two beds being separated by a partial wall.  We had a balcony and a fireplace!  In the loft, A had his own bed and half bathroom.  It was quite the set up! 

I didn't get much sleep unfortunately!  Tyce climbed into bed with me while Ryan got to share a bed with Lola who was out in no time and very still!  Tyce is a talker and always talks a bit to his toys before he goes to sleep.  When he is in his own room that is fine, but when there are 6 people trying to sleep it gets annoying really fast!

It took awhile but he finally did zonk out as did I.  I just had the pleasure of waking up all night long and peeling a child off of my head, taking the feet off of my face, or moving Tyce so he wasn't kicking me!  In the morning I was on the very edge of the bed about to fall off and Tyce was sprawled out sideways!

In the morning it was off to play MagiQuest!  The three younger kids all had wands and went on missions to find different treasures and help out creatures.  They loved running from place to place and waving their wands around to see what things would move or talk!

When their tummys started rumbling we ventured to Camp Critter Bar and Grille.  On the day of check-out we were given a coupon for it on the back of our bill.  They have a great breakfast buffet which we thoroughly took advantage of!

After our fill of breakfast Ry and kids played more MagiQuest while A and I packed the room.  Then it was time for more water park fun!  We could have stayed and played until 9pm!  As a guest of the hotel you can get into the water park at 1 on your check in day and can stay in the water park until 9pm!  When we were water logged we showered and dried off in the lockers, loaded into the car, and were on our way to our next destination!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Summer Road Trip! Next Stop: Kilwins Candy Factory!

If you know me even a little, you know that I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas!  I love love love chocolate and in fact my mouth is watering at this moment just thinking about it!  Obviously, when someone like me sees a place with a Chocolate Tour sign, everyone has to pile out of the car and into the factory in a hurry!

Our next road trip stop was just minutes from Petoskey State Park.  The Kilwins candy factory was conveniently along my route so it was our next stop! (who knows how that happened!)

The store is filled with candy, fudge, ice cream, and chocolaty goodness!  We waited maybe five minutes to go on the tour which runs every half hour.  It was our group of six and two other poor souls that were thrown into our group by default.  We saw how they put flavors inside of chocolates, the making of fudge, and the coating of some orange slices.  The chocolate smell was so wonderful I just wanted to set up camp there!  The tour was short and sweet.  All of the children were interested and attentive!  At the end of the tour we received a chocolaty turtle and a sample of our choice of fudge.  The children were allowed to purchase on sweet item, which is a rare treat in our house.  They were so excited!!  Everyone loved this little stop on our journey!
We had to dress up for the tour!

The treats that were picked out!  Check out that case behind them!!  Yum Yum!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Summer Road Trip! Next Stop Petoskey State Park!

After our "ding dong ditch" trip to Chillermania, we enjoyed a short scenic ride to Petoskey, Michigan.  We saw vineyards, fields of hops, and fields of sunflowers along the way.  Not to mention a plethora of lakes, small towns, and beautiful homes.  I would have loved to stop and taken a stroll through some of the towns and in Petoskey especially, but the natives are just not at the age to appreciate such things, so it was off to Petoskey State Park for our next stop!

Petoskey State Park, located on the north end of Little Traverse Bay, is situated on 303 scenic acres and offers a beautiful sandy beach on the bay. The park has two separate modern campgrounds. Tannery Creek offers 98 campsites, and Dunes offers 70 campsites.

We drove right in because the booths were not being maned.  I'm not sure if it is the time of year or that it wasn't a weekend, but I think you usually have to pay to get into the park.  We drove down a smooth paved road that was densely wooded on both sides.  We parked right up next to the sand and by a large bath house.  The beach was clean and gorgeous!  The color of the water was unlike any I have seen in Michigan!  The children were so excited to run in the sand and to the lake that they all went in while wearing their clothes!  I didn't have the heart to stop the excitement or maybe I was already down by the water with them....

The little ones played in the sand and of course Tyce found this friendly guy who he threw rocks at:

I explained to Jackson what Petoskey Stones were and we went on the hunt.  This is a great beach to scour for fossils, rocks, sand glass, and coral.  We found so many treasures!  I was glad I thought ahead to bring buckets!
The green piece is sand glass
A Petoskey Stone
Some of the beach is splashed with smooth stones - perfect place to find treasures!

Jackson found two Petoskey Stones and was thrilled!  After our rock hunt we decided to jump off of some of the dunes at the beach!

Fall is on its way!!