Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day

Today was the first day of our new junior high co-op, Rivendell. I was up late last night making sure I had everything, and I worried about how I was going to forget something important, since I feel like my brain is so mushy these days. As it turned out, we did forget Nathan's Spanish book and his vocab book, but since Faith took her Bear (what she sleeps with) out of the laundry basket I had everything packed in for the day, I ended up having to run back to the house during the first hour. I got Bear, and the 2 books, so it was just fine! And I didn't forget anything else!

We left the house at 8:45 to get to the church at 9:00. Normally the older boys will start literature/writing at 9:20. Those of us with younger kids will drop the older ones off first, then run the younger ones a mile down the road to the church where our other co-op meets, the one we've done all these years. But the other co-op doesn't start until the day after Labor Day, so all the younger kids were with us the whole day. They played outside in the morning, but it was roasting hot, so they eventually came in and played board games until lunch.

After literature/writing, I start teaching life science at 10:30. We go until 12:30, with the last hour being lab time. This week we covered the first chapter, which everyone had already read and answered questions about, so they were ready for discussion. It was an introduction to science, the scientific method (I got to trot out my old 8th grade science fair project for an example!), worldviews, presuppositions, and how they all relate to life science. We had good discussion! Then we did 2 short labs, one on the potential for inaccuracy of measuring (each boy had to measure my hieght with a yard stick, weigh 5 T of sand, count tree rings in a tree cross-section which I had thanks to Ed L., and measure a piece of yarn with a ruler). All the numbers were different, of course. The second one involved demonstrating the scientific method, and we used 3 different colors of popcorn (which I was able to find, thanks to Amy P.!). The boys made hypotheses about whether the corn color related to the popped corn color, and then popped individual kernals of different colors. The red and purple corn popped up white, but the yellow corn was actually more yellow. Still, if you had a big bowl of yellow popcorn, you would probably think of it was white. Anyhow, kernal color only partially related to popped color. Another interesting thing is that the yellow popcorn popped MUCH fluffier! Now we know why most stores only sell it! No taste difference that we could tell.

We all ate lunch after science, which was a nice break. Normally we would be picking up the younger kids at 12:30, and they would have a little bit of time to run around. At 1:30, the jr. high boys do Spanish, the 5th/6th graders do writing with the same mom who taught the older boys in the morning, and the 3rd/4th graders do writing with Christine. The kids who are little will be with me, and I'll read aloud to them for half an hour or so, so they can have some downtime after the busy morning at co-op. Then at 2:30 the jr. high boys do history with Christine, and all the other kids do memory work with me. That was really fun today, and I think they enjoyed it too! We did some geography, Heb. 11:1-2, the first point of our timeline ("Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Pharaoh Menes, 3100 BC"), the 6 steps of the scientific method, and the first stanza of "The Owl and the Pussycat", complete with motions and much drama. We were done at 4:00, and we cleaned up until 4:30. Then we rushed home so Nathan could grab a protein shake and change into his football gear for practice! he left at 5:30. Whew! We all ate, and now I am so tired--I don't want to get up again tonight!

Everyone had really positive things to say about the day in the car on the way home, so I am encouraged! I think the boys, esp. the jr. high boys, are really going to enjoy discussing things, esp. in history. Today they talked about such things as how the plagues were direct attacks against the Egyptian gods, what things countries need to be stable, like Egypt was for thousands of years, and . . . other things I can't remember, LOL. Too bad Nathan is at practice, or I could ask him! So it was a successful first day, and I am so excited about working with these ladies for a year! We are all definitely on the same page academically, and in other areas as well. And I found the preparation was less stresssful than it was last year for Classical Conversations because I am just more comfortable with and excited about the science material!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Huge News!

Caleb PASSED his milk challenge today!!! How exciting!!

So we got up bright and early, leaving our house at 6:15. We could have left at least 20 minutes later because we got there to Walter Reed by 7:15--there was absolutely no traffic! But you never know-the traffic reports I heard while driving said there had been accidents on the BW Parkway as well 270 that tied things up, so that could have happened on 495 as well. Better early than stuck! Once we parked in the garage, I laid back and closed my eyes for 20 minutes while Caleb chattered on about every single thing that passed through his brain, LOL. Oh well, it was somewhat restful!

We got into the clinic, and he received his first "dose" of milk, just 10 cc, at 8:15. I brought chocolate milk, thinking that he might like the taste of that better than regular milk, which he has never had. He squirted the first dose in from a syringe, and nothing happened. He got a progressivly larger amount every 15 minutes until he had 5 doses (a total of about 8 ounces). Before each dose the doctor and the resident who was with her would check his vitals, skin, and mucous membranes. Everything kept looking good! Caleb did his schoolwork in between doses, and I talked with the doctor and resident, who stuck around the whole time, or read.

Finally, 15 minutes after the last dose, we went out to the waiting room, where we had to sit for 2 hours to make sure no late reaction developed. The whole time Caleb had been sneezy and snuffly, but he was like that when we started. It's the crazy ragweed! He and Nathan have been having a hard time with it, for Caleb mainly because he's been unable to take his Zyrtec for the past week as he prepared for this challenge. I and the doctor also were a little apprehensive that his sneezing would mask a true reaction, but he never got worse or seemed to sneeze more or anything. Several people had asked me why I didn't move the trial until after ragweed season was over. I figured that if he passed now, then we could truly know that he had outgrown the allergy. Any other time, and I would have wondered. His seasonal allergies have always tended to make him more sensitive to his food allergy triggers, so I didn't want him to pass in, say, November, but then have problems in March with milk when the pollen count started to rise!

Waiting the 2 hours was the hardest thing for Caleb! Once he finished his schoolwork, he was fidgety and not really interested in reading. We had a snack, but I was ready to go home too, LOL. Eventually we were cleared to go, and Caleb was cleared to have milk! We finally got home around 12:30, so it was definitely a long day.

I still am having a hard time grasping his being free to have milk! Dealing with his food allergies has been a way of life since he was 7 months old. I remember coming home crying from his first allergy appointment, where he had tested positive to wheat, eggs, milk, and peanuts--everything they tested him for except soy--and thinking, "No one will marry him!" He never really reacted to wheat, so we added that back in first, at about 18 months. By 3 he had outgrown his egg allergy, and I thought that really made life easier! But when he hadn't outgrown any of the nut allergies or even shown any signs of outgrowing the milk one by 5, I had pretty much assumed they was there for life. I really never dreamed it was possible that he would outgrow the milk allergy! He's 8 1/2!

I think it will be a big adjustment for him too. When you have never at all eaten anything remotely cheesy, and in fact you know that it (used to) make you very sick and wheezy, then . . . it is a little bit hard to want to try these formerly forbidden foods. He was okay with the milk, but I think it was because it was almost like taking medicine--all measured out in a syringe or medicine cup. I offered him an M&M from my trail mix (only almonds, no peanuts!), and he was quite hesitant to try it. Finally, in the car when we were almost home he decided to try it. I asked him why he was so hesitant, and he said, "I'm just really afraid I'll react." I told him that he had already had WAY more milk than was in an M&M, but he was not totally convinced, LOL. He eventually did eat it, but he was not all that impressed. "I like Skittles a lot better." LOL!

Also, he's grown up only eating soy substitutes for things--like soy ice cream and soy yogurt. I am not a huge fan of either (well, especially soy yogurt), but he loves them! It's all he's every known! And they taste NOTHING like stuff made with milk! So I think it will be a challenge for him to get used to eating cheesy/milky stuff, and I wouldn't be surprised if I don't have to separate stuff out for himstill, at least for a little while, as he makes the transition. Actually we really don't eat all that much stuff with dairy in it anymore, so it will be more the odd soup and casserole recipe that I still use. Wow, I will be able to look at cookbooks with a fresh eye! Going out will be where it is the nicest. Not having to worry about where milk is hidden is going to be huge. Like I said, I still can't wrap my mind around it! I'm sure I'll still be saying, "You can't have that, Caleb" just out of habit!

After our big and early morning, I came home and collapsed in bed for a nap! I was so exhausted! I think it will be an early night for Caleb too. He kept waking up in the middle of the night. I remember him coming into our room at 4:00 and me telling him to go back to bed, that I had my alarm set! He was a little anxious for the whole thing to be over and done with!

The reason I am having all this time to type out this long post is that Bob took all 7 kids to Nathan's football practice, and I am alone in the house! Yes, he is a saint. I love the sound of silence. But instead of screwing around on the computer, I should be doing something productive . . .

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quick Update

I'm stealing the idea from my friend Beverly and doing a quick "Seven on Sunday" update.

1. Nathan's bites are almost all gone, for all who have been asking! We'll just write this episode off as another one of his crazy skin reactions, and I'm glad we didn't bother taking him in!

2. Caleb and Jonathan are back home! I wrote a long, informative blog post about their time in Ohio and drive back with the L's in my mind last night before falling to sleep, but we'll see if that ever actually get's translated to real live typing, LOL. My brain is just so darn mushy lately, and I can't remember anything!

3. I gave all the kids haircuts last night. Nathan has needed one for a long time, as his cowlick in the back had become quicky spiky. With football every night, however, I never could fit one in. I seized the day yesterday! I gave the girls cuts as well, but that was a bridge too far, LOL. I was too tired! I told them that in the future I will have to have haircut night for boys and a different night for girls. I am still not very satisfied with Anna's hair. Grrr.

4. We had a wonderful day today! Suzanne, a good friend from way back (she and her husband actually met when they were both living with my family in our big old house in Ohio back in 1987!), was in MD visiting her family with 5 of her 7 kids. They drove down from MD to go to church with us, and then we all headed over to the L's house (also friends of Lee and Suzanne from way back!) for lunch and visiting. It was so fun to catch up!

5. We're starting back to school tomorrow. I've gotten the school books organized, so hopefully everything will go smoothly! Our jr. high co-op (Rivendell)starts next Tuesday, and our other co-op, for the younger kids, starts back up after Labor Day, so we have a week to ease back into things. I've finished my first 2 lessons for life science (in Rivendell), and I want to finish the next 2 as well. That 3rd and 4th week of Rivendell are when I am teaching chemistry in the other co-op to the 5th and 6th graders, so I need to finish getting those lessons together. I'll be glad when September is over!

6. Caleb has his milk challenge Wednesday morning at 8:00. He is off his antihistimines this week, since last Wednesday, actually, and he is really starting to suffer! He is also very allergic to ragweed, which is in its prime right now. His eyes are getting all itchy and puffy, and there's not a thing we can do except put cold compresses on them! Poor Nathan is also really suffering this year. He has been a snuffly, sneezy mess for the past 2 weeks. I am thinking I might make an appointment for him this week so he can at least get his own allergy med prescriptions.

7. Hmmm, what else. Faith is developing keen interest in shoes, like her big sister Anna. She is always trying on their shoes (and anyone elses!). She is wearing a size 4, but I got down the size 5 pair of pink crocs (knock-offs of course, LOL) the other girls wore. She LOVES them! They're a little big, but she thinks she is hot stuff in them! She wants them on all the time!

Well, that's an update on us. Now Bob and I are going to take a quick walk before it gets too dark!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nathan's Bites

**Update below**

Nathan and Luke went to a birthday party Saturday afternoon, and they had a tremendously fun time. They ran around outside and had a huge water gun fight, then they ate dinner and watched a Star Wars video.

Sunday afternoon Nathan mentioned that he must have gotten bit by something, as he had this spot on his belly that was red and itchy. It had these black marks in the middle, which made out pastor's wife ask if he had written on himself with pen.

In this picture above, he has scratched off the black parts, so they are just redder and more bloody. They were definite puncture marks, though.

We had him put antibiotic ointment on the bites, as well as anti-itch cream. Sometimes Nathan would put ice on it, and he has also been taking Benedryl. Here's what it looks like today.

This is actually a bit of an improvement, in that the skin around the original bite area had been really quite hard, but it is softer again. As to why there is now a spreading rash--who knows?! We're thinking about taking him in to the doctor, but I just don't know that they would be able to do anything other than what we've been doing. It's not infected or anything, and it's not making him feel sick or anything. Just itchy! This is where having a doctor nearby might be nice, LOL, as opposed to 40 minutes away on the Beltway. You definitely can't accuse us of leaping off to the doctor's office at every little twinge!

This has not affected Nathan's ability to play football this week (first week of contact!) or to watch marathon hours of "Lord of the Rings", which we are borrowing from the L's to watch while Caleb and Jonathan are not home. So I would have to say his quality of life has not been suffering too much, LOL. As a side note, does it seem like Nathan is the only one who these sorts of things happen to? Does anyone else remember Nathan's amazing technicolor Christmas rash back in December 2007? What is up with that boy and mysterious skin rections?!

**Update** We did not take him today, but I would say that his belly is finally looking a bit better. It's not as red and swollen. The rash spread all the way around his right side, but I don't think it is spreading any more. I think the bumps of the rash are becoming a bit more separated, as opposed to one big red blotch! Tonight we stayed up late and watched "The Blindside", and again, his belly rash did not hinder his enjoyment, LOL.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Nathan has finished up his first week of football practice. He is tired and sore, but he is really enjoying it! Just to recap, this year would be the last year Nathan is eligible to play in our county league. He's wanted to play for years, so we finally decided he could try it this year. After talking extensively to another mom (and dad) in our co-op whose kids are all incredibly gifted in sports and who have played in this league many years, I felt like we knew a little bit of what to expect. I also started praying for whoever would be Nathan's coach.

The league had their draft on July 31, while we were out of town. I was very anxious the whole next week, since we never heard anything on our cells. I figured we would have a ton of messages on our answering machine (which we who are not very technologically astute could not access), and I knew from talking with Christine (whose oldest 2 boys are also playing for the first time this year) that they were having team meetings and equipment distributions. I hate feeling behind and out of the loop, so this was worrying to me--more to me than to Nathan, LOL.

When we got home Sunday night, we did indeed have several messages on our machine from the coach's wife. I immediately called her to explain, and she was so very nice. I told Nathan that if his coach was half as nice as she was, we'd be in great shape! I was a little concerned, however, because Nathan had been drafted by an "expansion team"--so all the players were new. For the other teams, if a player had been on a team the year before and was still in the right age range, than he would just stay on that same team. Also, their team name was a college football team name, as opposed to a pro team, like all the other teams in the entire league (3 age divisions)! So that was a bit odd. I told Nathan they very likely could never win a game, but hopefully he'd have a fun team and really learn a lot and have a good experience.

Nathan was able to pick up his equipment the next day before the first practice, so we really didn't miss anything. Another answer to prayer, at least for the McC's, was that although Nathan and Isaac weren't on the same team, they were practicing at the same middle school (the only 2 teams!), so Bob has been able to take and bring home Isaac, so Craig only has to worry about getting Caleb to and from practices. We were glad to be able to help!

Nathan and Bob both came home from the first practice raving about how amazingly well-organized this coach was. Nathan received 2 practice t-shirts, one dark and one light, as well as a huge (2 1/2 gallon) water jug with a big handle on it. They actually use this in practice as a sort of kettle bell, swinging it around and in front and so on. Of course, the more they drink, the lighter it is, so that is a good incentive to keep hydrated in all the heat! The coach also handed out playbooks for them to study, and often the assistant coaches will put new plays in there. The head coach is also very encouraging and just seems to be a really great guy.

Back in the beginning of June, this other mom and I had been talking about football, and she told me about this really outstanding coach that her youngest son had a few years ago. The coach took a few years off, but she had heard a rumor that the coach might be coming back this year and coaching in the division for oldest kids. The mom was trying to decide if they were going to put their kids in this league or possibly a different one, but she said if she could guarantee that he son would get this coach, she would definitely choose this league. Well--that turned out to be the coach Nathan got! So I really feel like God answered that prayer for a good coach. Nathan is definitely learning a ton already, and he really is enjoying it. We'll see what the season holds, but I think it will be a good experience. Actually, we'll see what next week holds--the first week of contact practice, LOL. That should be an experience!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Potentially Exciting News on the Allergy Front

Caleb had an allergy appointment on July 27 where he had a skin test, as well as a blood RAST test. Although he was still very sensitive to the tree nuts (esp. walnuts) and peanuts, he hardly reacted at all to the milk. So we were waiting for the results of his bloodwork. The doctor called, and his levels have dropped from Jan. 08, when he was last tested! His milk RAST score was 1.27 back then, and only 0.54 in July! Since it has dropped and is fairly low (lower than <.35 would be best, though) and since he hardly reacted to the skin test, we are going to do a milk challenge! That's where we bring in a serving of milk to the clinic, he drinks a tiny amount, he is observed, he drinks some more 15 minutes later, he is observed, he drinks some more . . . you get the picture. After he drinks 5 doses of milk (providing he hasn't reacted to any of them), then he is watched for another 2 hours just to make sure he doesn't react later. If not . . . then he passes, and he is considered to have outgrown his allergy!
Now I know he still has a really good chance of reacting--about 50/50 with that RAST score, the doctor said. Frankly, I can't really wrap my mind around the possibility of Caleb not being allergic to milk. That has driven my cooking for 8 years now! With him gone this week, we are having a real "Dairy Fest", making all the recipes I used to make but haven't made in years. I can't imagine being able to cook whatever I want and not having to worry about adapting recipes for him, or taking stuff out, or whatever. If he has outgrown the allergy, he probably still won't like cheese and milk, LOL. Oh well. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, if we need to.
The more immediate bridge to cross is: how on earth are we going to get to Walter Reed at 8:00 in the morning on Aug. 25?!?! That just seems like an absolute impossibility! Caleb and I will have to leave by 6:00, I think.
So the possibility is there for exciting news. Actually, it is exciting to realize that Caleb's milk allergy has decreased enough that we are even trying this! I'm not sure how his other numbers compare to his previous test, but I don't think they are getting much lower. For the record, this time his walnut number was 10.3, his pecan number was 8.79, and his peanut number was 6.37. That pretty much matches the size of the wheals for his skin test too, as far as comparing the 3 allergies. I'll let you know what happens! Pray for no accidents or bad weather on the morning of Aug. 25!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How I'm feeling

I've had several people ask how I am feeling, and the answer is . . . just fine! I really don't have many first trimester maladies. I've been somewhat nauseous in other pregnancies (Grace's is the one I think of first), but I haven't even had that this time. Every so often my stomach might turn at a smell or something, but that's about it. It makes me VERY glad that I am not mummifying any chickens this year, however. Talk about your bad, stomach-turning smells . . .

What made me suspect pregnancy was having to get up and pee in the middle of the night, and that is continuing. Last night I had some weird dreams, and TWICE I woke up having to pee and I didn't know where I was! I would say the disorientation is more a function of traveling too much this summer, though, LOL. Any other symptoms, like breast tenderness, were easily explained away by me (I had just nursed Faith for the last time July 27, so I assumed that was the reason I was a little sore, even though she was only nursing once a day in the mornings).

I would say the most annoying thing for me is the feeling that my brain is just not quite there. In fact, I did a TERRIBLE job packing for our last trip to Ohio. We travel a lot, and packing is pretty second nature to me. I can't think of the last time I have forgotten some normal item! But this time, for example, I forgot to get a church dress for Faith, even though I got ones for Anna and Grace, and I forgot Jonathan's flip flops, even though I got everyone elses. Not big deals, but just annoying and highly uncharacteristic! I was thankful that Amy's son Jacob is the same size as Jonathan and could lend him flip flops, since Jonathan is staying out there for 2 more weeks and is planning on doing more swimming! It's so nice to have friends to cover for you when you are being ditzy!

I've been a little more tired too. Each evening I have planned on getting stuff done after the girls go down . . and it hasn't happened yet, LOL. I poop out and go to bed. Oh well. Who needs a clean, organized house before starting back to school? Wait--that would actually be very nice. Ah well, it hasn't happened any other year. Why should this one be the first?!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Highways and Byways

We're back home in VA! We spent one last night at Amy's house and left from there, bright and early Sunday morning. It was so wonderful to spend so much time with Amy this trip! We never ran out of things to talk about either . . . I actually was blessed by being able to spend time with several good friends this trip, like Beverly and Anja, as well as the international wives, and of course, my Aunt Claire! I'm so glad it worked out that she came while we were out in Ohio!

We had to be at White Sulphur Springs between 3:30 and 4:00 to drop Luke off for his week at Camp Caleb. We didn't even take the Turnpike, choosing instead Rt. 31, which was a beautiful drive. We still made it to WSS by 2:30, so we hung out at the playground for awhile. We did find out that no one there found Nathan's swimsuit and towel, which he left draped over a rafter of his cabin. Grrr. But I digress. Luke was nervous, mainly because he realized while still at Grandma and Grandpa's house that he had left his Bible here in VA. I told him that was easily remedied, but he said that if he left that, what else might he have left? I totally and completely understand that thought, since that is exactly how I think! He was glad to be dropped off and to have the whole thing actually start.

As we started down towards home, Bob already knew there was bad construction on I-70, and he knew right where to pop off the highway and take another road to avoid it! And then as we got into MD on I-70, it always clogs up, which is the most depressing thing ever! We're always tired by that time, and seeing lines of brakes lights out in the middle of nowhere just brings to the fore all we don't like about Northern VA and makes us want to turn back around and head west! So the last several trips we have experimented with getting off I-70 at various points before Hagerstown and taking small back roads. For us, there's really no downside. I'm sure it is farther, distance-wise, but it is visually so much more appealing to drive on back roads through cute towns and farmland. Plus, if we keep moving, Faith stays asleep, LOL. Bob and I have always enjoyed looking at old houses, as well as old buildings in towns. There are a bunch of neat towns in western MD, like Boonsboro and Middletown! I don't think the kids appreciate the unique buildings as much as we do, but then again, they're not driving either, LOL.

I never thought I'd be the kind of person who would prefer to get off the highway and drive on small roads because I've always been a "get there as soon as possible" kind of person. I guess I've mellowed in my advanced maternal age, LOL.

So now we're back home, and it's very quiet! We actually left Caleb and Jonathan back at my parents' house for 2 weeks of "Grandma/Grandpa Camp". They were tremendously excited by the prospect of having Grandma and Grandpa to themselves for awhile, as well as Aunt Claire, who is there for a few more days! Many fun things have been planned . . . And of course we dropped Luke off at Camp Caleb, so until Friday, it's just Nathan and the 3 girls here with us! Wow! Nathan said he felt like an only child, LOL. He is the only boy, and the only "older kid", so he's got a point! He started football practice tonight, though, so he will have plenty to take his mind off his loneliness! I have a long to-do list I am hoping to accomplish with no school and not as many kids around. We'll see how successful I am. Faith is teething her eye teeth, so she has been a real bear the past week. I need a camp to send crabby teething 18 month olds to, LOL.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Great Get-Away

I am feeling so refreshed right now! Amy came by yesterday and picked me up, and we drove down to Cincinnati for a moms' get-away! First we stopped by Hobby Lobby, a wonderful store that is not close to us here or back in VA. I got a few stickers, plus some new toys to replenish my stash of gifts for kids who have birthday parties.

After wandering around in there for awhile (and how nice was it to not feel hurried, like you had to get back and take care of someone?!), we decided it was time to look for something to eat. We looked at choices on Amy's GPS, but nothing really inspired us. We were by a mall, but we were expecting more "nice" restaurants, along the lines of a Cheesecake Factory or something. There really wasn't too much--in fact, there were a LOT of empty shops and buildings. You could definitely tell the economy was down.

So we drove around a little but still didn't find anything, so we decided to drive to the hotel and check in. At the counter, we asked the girl checking us in (who was a very nice, but very ditsy girl), if the hotel had a list of local restaurants we could have.

"Local, as in just in Fairfield?" the girl asked. Umm, no, just restaurants around here! We don't care if they are chains or not! So she proceeded to haul this huge binder out onto the counter and start flipping through it. It had pages of mapquest directions to various attractions, like Kings Island, but evidently there was no list of restaurants. I ask about Mexican restaurants, since Amy and I had agreed that might be nice, and she brightened immediately. "Oh yes, Acapulcos is right around the corner, and they have margaritas the size of fish bowls!" Amy commented later that anything would probably taste fine after that much margarita, LOL. So the girl said she would print out mapquest directions for us. After much confusion, struggle, and help from the other check-in lady, the girl presented us proudly with a paper of directions. Amy and I took it and walked to the elevator. There we noticed that the address said "Lawrenceburg, IN". ??? And the total mileage was 34 miles away! LOL! Good thing we didn't just blindly start out following the directions!

We went out to the car and put it in Amy's GPS. The restaurant was literally across the street at the next light! We had a delicious meal--chimichangas for me, and enchiladas for Amy. By this time we were starved!

We went back to the hotel and scrapbooked for awhile. We had decided to go swimming later on, after we lost the natural light. Amy got up to stretch and happened to look out the window. A huge tour bus was pulling up, loaded to the gills with teenagers and luggage! We made the wise decision to swim immediately, before the hordes descended on the pool, LOL. We had a lovely time, finishing up with a few minutes in the hot tub. As soon as we sat down in there, the door flung open, and tons of teenagers came swarming in! The atmosphere was no longer so peaceful and quiet, LOL. As an aside, we were amazed at how many girls had skimpy bikinis on. Really?! On an overnight trip in a hotel with lots of boys?! Where are the fathers for these girls?! Good grief!

Then we scrapbooked, talked, and snacked for awhile more. We never run out of stuff to talk about! One point of conversation was the positive pregnancy test I had taken that morning! Yes, #8 is on the way, probably due around the beginning of April! Another reason for no huge margaritas or long hot tub soaks! We wrapped it up and went to bed around 12:00 and then talked until 1:00. We both slept well--I was surprised at how comfortable the mattress and pillows were! It was a Holiday Inn Express, but they were really nice!

We got up, ate breakfast, scrapped a little more, then headed home. Mom had her group of international wives over this afternoon, and I didn't want to miss visiting with those lovely ladies! So it was such a fun time away, and of course it went way too fast! I am so thankful for a husband who thinks it is important for me to get away without kids to recharge!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

One Last Vacation

We're here in Ohio again for one last week of vacation before getting back into the daily grind of school again! We got up early and left to pick Nathan up at Camp Caleb Friday morning. We were OUT THE DOOR by 8:15--a TOTAL record for our family, LOL. This is especially impressive since we had to be packed for a week in Ohio as well. I don't know if this feat will ever be replicated however--it was not easy!

Nathan had a wonderful time, as usual, at Camp Caleb. I think what I am most impressed about is always the quality of the counselors. Nathan could not decide on his favorite activity, but he finally said it might have been the whole day of Tuesday, when he went on 2 hikes, did some rapelling, and camped out. Unfortunately, he left his swimsuit and towel drying over the rafter in his cabin, so we are hoping we can get that back when we drop Luke off on Sunday. In the meantime, I guess he'll be swimming in his shorts.

We had a picnic lunch up at the pond at White Sulphur Springs before heading west. We had a horrific drive filled with construction once we got into West Virginia, so we didn't get here until after 7:00. It was a long day, but we were listening to Redwall on CD. That is a very long book (9 CDs!) and a very exciting, fast-moving one, so we were all entertained. Well, not Faith so much. But she survived!

The past 2 days we have just hung out and relaxed! The weather was so amazingly pleasant yesterday--mid-70s and not humid--so we went for a walk to the park after dinner. The kids had a ball, and it was so nice not to be dripping with sweat!

We were supposed to pick my dad up at the airport at 11:30 last night. He was getting back from 2 weeks in China where he taught English to some 5th grade kids. Unfortunately his flight from O'Hare was delayed and then eventually cancelled, so he didn't actually get in until this morning. My mom went to get him, so we decided we would try Amy and Jason's church. They weren't there this morning, but we had a great time! Everyone was very friendly, even though they had to bring out another row of chairs for us all to be able to sit together, LOL.

I am REALLY looking forward to this next week! Tomorrow we're going to Amy's house after lunch to play and spend the night! Tuesday morning my Aunt Claire is flying in from Utah for a visit! Wednesday morning, a friend is coming over with her 2 little girls for a play date and to talk! Wednesday evening Amy and I are getting away for a night to scrapbook at a hotel! Thursday afternoon the Mom's group of international wives is coming over, and Friday Mom, Aunt Claire, and I are hoping to have lunch with Amy and her mom! Wow--what a week! I am not going to be ready to come back to the real world, LOL.