Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ava's Adventure

I started the "Let's Play Catchup - Ava" post, but had to call a time out.  There's more exciting current things happening in her life: first stitches!

First...you should know that we are in the midst of the snowiest January in NJ history.  We barely make it through 24 hours without a flake falling.  The kids haven't had a full week of school all month.  This week, we managed 5 days...2 of them were 1/2 days!


Top the ridiculous weather off with the fact that Shane was on a business trip Tuesday and Wednesday.  He was in Chicago stressing about how he was going to get home in the midst of yet another storm on Wednesday night.  I, however, was home stressing about what to do with the crazy kids!

To say the kids were bouncing off the walls, would be an understatement. It was snowing...AGAIN.  School had been dismissed early.  They'd blown through all the DVDs they wanted to watch.  Dinner was over.  Dad was on his way home.  I was trying to keep them up so he could see them.

Now the scene has been set...

Sure enough, Little Miss Ava was trying to keep up with her brothers while they were jumping off the play table.


Not really sure what happened, but some how, she hit the entertainment center and came crying to me in the other room.  Being the loving, patient, empathetic mother that I am, I half-heartedly went to pick her up to shush her.  That's when I noticed the blood...dripping from her chin!

My knees went weak.  My stomach flipped.  It was 730p on a snowy night and I was home alone with 5 kids ages 8 and under. "Please Lord, don't let the cut that I'm about to look at be bad.  Please."

No such luck.  I knew the minute I looked at it, that Ava would be going to the ER.  But still, I sent a picture to my pediatric nurse friend, Sue.


She agreed.  That's when I called Shane.  He was still a half hour away.  As soon as he walked in the door, Ava and I headed out.

I should point out here, I had to actually ASK where the ER was.  I've lived in NJ for 13 years, yet still...never been to the ER.

It took us about 25 minutes to go about 7 1/2 miles.  Thankfully, Ava calmed down on the ride (she had started screaming as I was putting her jacket on...thanks to Zoe recounting how "she had stitches once and they really hurt") and she even fell asleep.

Our time at the hospital was rather dull.  Sue and her husband (Rob) met us there to keep us company (and hold my hand).  The numbing gel didn't work and Ava needed Lidocaine...not a fun experience and one that I'd like to forget. Rob is one of Ava's favorite people and having him there really helped her.  Sue is one of my favorite people and having her there while Ava was fighting to get out of the papoose really helped me!

After 4 stitches and a dose of Tylenol, we left for home around 1030p.  7 1/2 miles, remember?  There were at least 4 inches of fresh snow since we got to the hospital, so I knew it was going to be a journey.  I figured the highway was a better bet than the side roads and we headed out. 

We were going about 10-15 miles an hour behind a tractor trailer, and I was fine with that.  Then...we stopped.  Completely.  As in "Park".


After 20 minutes, the plow to my right got off and the car in front of me followed.  So did I! Turns out, there were power lines down across the highway and it was closed about 20 feet in front of us.

We fish-tailed our way through unplowed streets to a parallel street that would bring us home.  Of course, as we pulled up to that street (Franklin Turnpike) our light was red.  Oh boy.  How was I going to make a right onto the road from a dead stop in 5 inches of snow in my minivan? Just as I finished a quick prayer, two plows passed in front of us and cleared a path right as my light turned green.  I gunned it...and followed them within a half mile from my house.

At 1145p, we pulled into the garage.  My whole body was tense.  It felt so good to exhale.  What an adventure.


Ava slept until almost 9a Thursday morning.


And when she woke...she was smiling!  Swollen...but smiling!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let's Play Catchup - Zoe



Zoe had a great summer...turned into QUITE a fish, swimming anywhere and everywhere she was given the opportunity!

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Just like her brother, Zoe had a few nights away from home.  She enjoyed a week in CT with Grammy for Missions Expo at their church


Sunday night, Zoe and I met my parents halfway for the "drop off".  Monday morning, Grammy and Zoe headed to the day camp.  After lunch with Granddad, they embarked on a variety of afternoon activities...including (and this is my personal highlight of their time together) back-to-school shopping!  That's right...I barely had to do ANY.  Grammy and Zoe hit Walmart and even picked up Ty's supplies.  Wednesday, Granddad headed up to camp to meet up with Ty for their adventure.  So,  for the rest of the week, it was just the ladies.  They had a great time.


In August, we headed to Hershey Park as a family.  Yes, even the "babies" (let's just say they didn't enjoy it like we thought they would).  Zoe really loved it (Ty did too).  The last time she was there, she was almost 4.  This time, she was bigger...


...and could go on more rides.  She LOVED the roller coasters!!!


Poor Shane.  He had to ride over and over.  Thankfully, Granddad Christgau was there and got to ride, too.  I rode a few...and we left Grammy to the slow train with the triplets (she was extremely thankful).  While we were there, we ran into a few of the kids' friends, including two sisters a little older than Zoe.  She was psyched to get some time with them on even more "big kid" rides.


The end of summer meant 3rd grade!  A move to "the other side of the school" and "the upper playground".  I can't believe my baby is so big!


For her 8th birthday party, Zoe opted for a sleepover with the 3K's!


That's right: Karalyn, Kaylyn and Kaylee.  It was quite a tongue-twister!  A bunch of fun was had by all!

Also like Ty, Zoe played soccer (at her mother's insistence).  She did A LOT of running...


...and snacking.


At some point during the summer, Zoe started getting regular phone calls from Kaylee (her cousin).


Listening to them talk about life for hours at a time (okay, more like half hours) was quite humorous.  They'd talk about Webkinz, swimming, you name it!  I have a feeling Zoe's going to be needing the "unlimited" plan if and when she ever gets a cell phone!

Over Thanksgiving, we discovered Zoe's future occupation: TEACHER!  Aunt Roo (a.k.a. Shane's sister Bethany) is a teacher in Baltimore and let Zoe grade a few of her student's tests.  Zoe was a natural!


Zoe ended 2010 with a slam (chuckle chuckle). Probably not a highlight for her, but definitely one for me, was the loss of her door!  Yes, the rule in our house is "You slam it, you lose it!"



By the way, our doors are solid wood and not exactly light. So Zoe, next time you slam your door, could you do it when DAD is home so I don't have to lift and carry that thing!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Let's Play Catchup - Ty

Ty's turn!


Just like Eli, Ty enjoyed the lake this summer.  I'm not really sure how much time he spent in the actual WATER, but he sure worked on his baseball throwing skills with his best bud, Jack.


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On the sad side, his "other" best friend (and neighbor), Sam, moved to Texas.  It was a sad, sad day.  We'll really miss the Steffe's.  I can't wait for my first visit to Texas.  Oh wait...we were talking about Ty...


The definite highlight of the summer was Ty's trip to Northern Frontier with Granddad.


PopPop also went, with Ty's cousin, Noah.  It was three nights in a cabin with a ton of fun in the day...


...slingshots...


...air rifles (?)...


...ropes courses...


...and "rock" climbing.


From the moment he got back, Ty was planning for a return trip in the summer of 2011!

The big surprise of Ty's summer was that Mom and Dad finally caved and got Ty the kids a much coveted Wii.  The timing was perfect.  It rained for 4 days the moment they turned it on.  The next morning, Ty came down from his room all hunched over with his arms hanging low.  He was complaining that his arms were "broken".  I don't think he made the connection.


September brought first grade...ALL DAY...EVERY day!!!

(Note the snake on his backpack...he purposely picked this pack out to freak out his snake-hating Dad!)

It also brought S-O-C-C-E-R!  I'm not sure what Ty liked more, the game or the Gatorade.



Ty's a really low-key kid.  He's a true joy and most days, he's a laugh-a-minute.  He has a bunch of great friends, but if given the choice, he'd choose a play date with Jack at a moment's notice.


Jack's mom always sends me a top quote from their time together.  Here are a few:

"Ty, how did you become such a picky eater?" "I get it from my Dad's side!"
"My mom calls me 'snail' because I have a hard shell" (Oh Ty...I don't think so...)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Let's Play Catchup - Eli

So what have we been up to (since I totally blew off the blog the second half of 2010)?

Let's start with Eli. No particular reason. But the poor kid NEVER goes first.


He had a great time at the lake this summer. He loved the sand and put up with the water.


He turned 3 and missed the majority of his party. While running into the house to go to the bathroom, he missed a step into the back porch and face planted onto a blue-stone step. There was blood everywhere and I was pretty sure he wasn't going to have his 2 front teeth when I opened his mouth. Thankfully, his teeth were fine. A chunk of his gum was missing and he tore his upper lip frenulum (there's your anatomy lesson of the day, enjoy). He was a great patient and never complained. It looked horrendous, but the dentist assured me it'd be fine after a few days. Sure enough...aside from a small scar along his gum line...he's good!


In September, he started preschool two days a week. He had to be football carried into class a few times during the first weeks, but now, he jumps right out of the car and runs right in.


The fall also brought out the clown in Eli. He's a complete ham!


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Aside from the typical 3yo's obsession with trains...


...Eli has become a laundry addict. No. Seriously. He can't get enough. And heaven forbid I tell him that I don't have time to do laundry. We're talking COMPLETE meltdown. He's actually pretty good. The problem is really mine...I can't keep up! Eli collects everyone's hampers, separates lights/darks/whites...

...loads the washer and waits not-so patiently for me to put in the soap, then pushes all necessary buttons...

...when the "wet one" is done, he takes everything out and puts it in the "dry one"...

...even empties my lint catcher thingy...

...pushes the necessary buttons and waits.  Then, when it's done...he empties the dryer...

...and brings it all back to my room!  Now if I could just get him to fold it and put it away!