Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gettin ready for Christmas!Yeah

We went out to get our tree the weekend before Thanksgiving because we wanted more time this year. Thomas thought the whole things was strange with cutting down trees and getting cold. I'm sure he loved the candy cane.

Jacob wearing his Indiana Jones hat just in case we ran into trouble out searching for a tree.

Sarah, Josh, and Thomas also wanted to get a jump start on getting there tree since they have another baby coming on November 30th. Everyone is getting a jump start.

It didn't take long this year for us to try and find our tree. I'm not sure if it was the rain that was coming down or that it was just the perfect tree for us.

Jacob wanted to show is strength by throwing it in the truck by himself. He did a great job. He is freakishly strong, like his mother.

Rebecca puts the lights on the tree because quite frankly, I wouldn't do a very good job. I would kind of throw them on and be satisfied.

Kids did a great job this year decorating the tree. We still had to educate on not putting 6 ornaments on one branch, but other than that, there were no take downs or wrestling matches for certain ornaments.

There is always one in the group who isn't listening to the story.

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, we had our annual Christmas party with my cousins side of the family. Here is my nephew Dana and His cousins Lars, who goes to Whitworth. They were thrilled to get their pictures taken with Santa Hats on.

This was the best. Seeing all the kids wearing their hats.

The kids had their own projects that my cousin organized. They were sending a care package to a soldier in Iraq so they were making signs and we all brought things to add like cookies, hydrating drinks, candy, DVD's etc. They had a great time doing this. It was a nice idea.

Dana helping Sophia with her card to the soldier. She was telling Dana what to write for her. It was hilarious.

The kids really got into this. Great idea Marcy@

All the adults do a white elephant exchange which is hilarious. This was the gift that my sister, Stacy got.

The ladies talking over a glass of wine.

Of course, Noah and Nolan, hitting the dessert table hard at the party

Stacy got a wine holder with plastic glasses. It was great. It did get taken away from her.

There always seems to be a picture of my brother wearing some hat or ear muffs at the party. This is one that he got. Love the color Mike.

Th whole clan as we played white elephant.

Andrea got a large Fork from the 1970's. It is super ugly--something you can only use for a white elephant gift.

My uncle Ken got a book from the 1970's on how to dress for success. It was hilarious.

Tom working on Christmas Lego's with the kids.

Today, we got our Christmas stuff out and began decorating. The kids love to see all the stuff from the year before. We are trying to decorate early this year since Rebecca goes in for surgery on her foot on December 18th. We need to have everything done by then. We now we get to have a week extra of enjoyment. It has been a fun weekend so far. Have a greatr end to your Thanksgiving weekend.

Advent Conspiracy through our church

Every year our church encourages us to spend less on ourselves at Christmas and more on local community projects or global needs. Our church has adopted some groups and we have done things like paid for a well to be dug in Africa all the way to putting toiletry bags together for the local people who have nothing this time of year. It is a great way to teach your kids about the meaning of Christmas. Last week, the kids took their own money and bought food for the food bank and today, Rebecca and I bought toiletry items, Bibles, granola bars, etc and put bags together that will be passed out to people in the area. It was fun to do.

We separated all of the groups of things and each child was in charge of putting their product in each pile (much better for less fighting). Because our kids are so passionate for competition, they would have seen who could have passed out faster, in turn, smashing the bottles of shampoo or something. It worked out well.

Noah took his job of organizing the shampoo very seriously. He organized by color.

Jonah wanted to be in charge of toothpaste and deodorant, and the soap. I told him we could put a pack together for him with those items since he doesn't love to shower. He gave me the glare. The truth hurts Jonah!

Jacob got in on the action of snapping pictures and did a great job.

And here is the finished products. We decided to pray over the bags and that they help those who really need it this year. I wanted to go out and put 10 bags but had to hold back. Trying to teach the kids that a little bit of help can add up when everyone does a part. Have a Great kick off to the Holiday Season.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A helping hand

We were driving around Silverdale yesterday running some errands and Jacob pointed out a man sitting alongside the road with a sign that said he was homeless and in need of work. Like always, kids encourage you to think differently about situations you can pass by each day without even noticing. Jacob said, "we should go and buy him some hot chocolate since it's raining out. It was a great idea, so we went and bought some hot chocolate and came back. Jacob, Noah, and I got out of the car and went over and talked to him for a minute. He stood up when we came over and Jacob told him that he looked cold and thought he could use some hot chocolate. He thanked Jacob and started drinking right away. We asked him if he had any offers for work today and he said no, but he did point out that one woman had bought him toiletries and he had enough money to stay the night in a hotel and get out of the rain. I told him that we would keep our eyes open for a job and he was very appreciative. It was a great experience and changed my whole focus for the day. We decided that we would keep watching for him and maybe go back again and spend more time talking to him and finding out what his story is. There may be other ways we can help other than just giving money. Sometimes it is just someone who will notice him and take the time to get to know him. We also know enough people, you never know how we may be able to help. It was a great experience. Good idea Jacob.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's amazing what a cup of hot chocolate will do

LeRoy Work Camp for Youth, 2009

Every time I drive in the driveway from work, I all the leaves that are now, all over the ground. I always wonder when I am going to get time to rake them all up and put them in the mulch pile. I sat at the table with the boys after lunch and thought, why am I still trying to do all of this work. I have three boys who have enough energy put together to fuel a small city. So, I said, If you raked all the leaves into piles, you can have some hot chocolate." Before I was finished, the chairs were spinning and they were running about getting coats, gloves, and rakes. I didn't know it would be so easy.

They were all trying to rake in one small area, but on the other hand, that small area didn't know what hit them. The area under the tree, is officially raked. Jonah came running in after 10 minutes and said that they could all go around the neighborhood and charge people for them to rake leaves. I cautiously agreed to the great brain storming that was going on while they were working but said we should still wait and see how this all turns out before we start talking franchise. Jonah agreed even though he had no idea what that meant. Oh, thank heaven for hot chocolate.

Rebecca and I will hire them out to you for any Saturday leading up until Christmas!! Sounds like a win/win for us.

A little late on Halloween pictures

Yeah, I know, it's just a bit late this year-2 weeks overdue, for Halloween pictures, but here they are anyway. The kids took some friends and we went over to Aunt Hannah's church for the day since they had a carnival. The kids had a great time, and it was just enough to tire them out. I think the boys loved this the most. The bouncy house obstacle course.

Jonah and his friend, Sam must have run through this 20 times.
Jacob got into knocking over milk bottles and did quite well. He has freakish aim.
This was the most fun to watch. It was like sumo wrestling, but more fun. It was like they were wearing a donut around their waste.
Who could eat the donuts the fastest.

Jonah and Sam got so violent with this that they knocked each other into the wall.

Aunt Hannah sat down with Jacob and did some crafts. There was also a cake walk and all the kids had a chance to win. Needless to say, we came home with 5 cakes between everyone. Just what we needed the night of Halloween. Like there wasn't already enough sugar.

Taking a little rest before we all shoved back into the car for the drive home.

This was hilarious. They were taking pictures so all the kids went up and they started knocking over part of the display. Rebecca and Hannah were up there putting things back while I snapped pictures.
The motley crew
We came home in time to have dinner and then get out in the neighborhood for trick-or-treating.
It was a fun, exhausting day

Friday, October 30, 2009

Noah's big Adventure

Noah had an adventure yesterday at the Allergist. We had been trying to get him in to the Allergist and were relieved when they called Wednesday to see if we could come in for a cancellation the next day. Our concern was that he seemed to be allergic to something. He was constantly rubbing his eyes, coughing at night and in the morning, sniffing his nose, and itching his throat. They asked if he had any history of asthma. We said no, and we were not really concerned with any tests for asthma since our main concern was his apparent allergies. I was very interested to see what he was so allergic to.

Here is the best 'before' picture of him. He was all jazzed when we got there. He jumped up on the table and took a good look around.

The Medical Assistant took us into another room for all the preliminary tests and vitals. He was interested in the blood pressure machine, but didn't really like the squeezing, which he said made his arm hurt.

This was one of his favorite parts. He got to choose his own mouthpiece, and take it home!

Here he is blowing out 'computer candles.' I was a little surprised that on the 3 tries, he was not able to blow out all the candles on any of them.

Then began the waiting. When we came in, we got lots of funny looks for all of the things we brought. I was told it could take 2 to 2 1/2 hours for the appointment, so I came prepared. We brought Noah's DS (handheld game player) and all of our games, my Ipod, on which I had downloaded some of his favorite PBS shows, his home reading book from school, our reading lesson book, my knitting, and a myriad of snack foods.

Then, it was time to see the doctor. We were very pleased with Dr. Jacobs, who was a new doctor to us. I had read about him online, and was happy to see that his demeanor was icing on the cake of his qualifications. Noah happily shed his shirt, and hopped up on the table for Dr. Jacobs to listen to his chest.

Next came the allergy testing. He was already nervous about this part because we had tried to explain it to him in the most innocuous yet honest way possible. We had told him that he would get little scratches with each of the allergens on his back. What we didn't tell him is that there would be 40 of them. Or that it would hurt like the dickens by the end. Or that he wouldn't be able to touch them, and whatever he was allergic to would make him itch like there's no tomorrow.

Then, the tears began. This was so hard for me and for him.

So sad. Then, he had to lay still for 10 minutes before she could read the results. He calmed down quickly when we read a book that required him to find things on the pages. He loves to read, but it took some convincing at that moment.

A close-up of the results: The far left is the control histamine, which everyone should be allergic to. The next red spot is one kind of dust mites--bigger than the control histamine! Next to that is another kind of dust mites. The far right red spot is cats. That was new news to us, but should not be surprising considering my allergy to cats could hospitalize me if the exposure was long enough.

This is after we wiped off the ink and histamines from his back. Still red and itchy.

Even though I predicted that he would have some allergies, he had nowhere near as many as I had thought. We had already known that he was allergic to dust mites since his pediatrician had done a blood test for that not too long ago. But, I figured he would have more allergies to other things.
Then, came the surprise. Finally, after 3 hours of testing, Dr. Jacobs' diagnosis for Noah? Asthma. I had always thought of asthma as wheezing unpredictably, uncontrollably, and often with exercise. I had no idea that many of the symptoms Noah has been experiencing have been because of asthma. So, he got a baseline chest x-ray (which he thought was very cool), and 5 different medications. We are going to try them for now to see what works well, then have another appointment in 2 months to re-evaulate. So, 2 different inhalers, anti-histamine, nasal spray, and anti-histamine eye drops. $100 in co-pays later, he is already doing a lot better. Very little coughing today. We gutted his bedroom today, got an encasing cover for his mattress (we already had one for his pillow), got rid of all the stuffed animals, and practically boiled all his bedding. We are so thankful to know what has been going on with him for the past 6-8 months. We know this will improve now.