Sunday, September 30, 2007

No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!

Just yesterday Natalie stood on the footboard and announced, "Look at me, I'm a monkey" as she dove onto the bed. I've warned her many times and even taught her the familiar song about monkeys on a bed. Well today, she fell off and bonked her head.

We had just come home from church, the girls finished a quick lunch and headed up to their room to listen to their High School Musical 2 CD. Moments later I heard Natalie's "hurt" cry followed closely by Alyssa screaming, "Mommy, come right now!"

I ran upstairs and found Natalie standing there with blood streaming down her face. I knew in an instant that this was a bad wound and could tell that it came from the footboard of the bed. I don't handle bloody wounds well and while I couldn't bring myself to get a close look, a brief glance was all that was needed to know that medical attention was necessary. Jon was still at church but, thankfully, my Sister-in-law Maureen was here so I grabbed a paper towel from under the bathroom sink, applied pressure and called for her. I frantically began shouting out my needs; a binkie, ice, a blanket, a phone call to Jon. In a matter of minutes, the big kids were pawned off on Camille and Maureen was driving us to the ER. I tried several times to reach Jon and we eventually decided to just drive by the church on the way to the hospital. He was able to cancel his remaining appointments and accompany us to the hospital.

The wound was a deep, gaping wound and the bone visible. Fortunately, we were able to get in quickly and Natalie did amazingly well. She was given a topical anesthetic before they injected the Lidocaine. The topical did a pretty good job numbing the injury and she waited peacefully. The injection was the most difficult part.

Here is her head before being stitched.

I hate seeing my kids suffer!

Taking pictures of Dad helped pass the time.

When it came time for the stitching, Natalie was more brave than any of us! Dad nearly passed out, went white and clammy, and had to sit. I couldn't watch either so I just held her hands and talked to her while keeping my head turned. I only managed a few brief glances. The doctor was patient with her queasy parents but mumbled, "I may need to get someone in here to help me."

He didn't need help, he had Natty for a patient! She just carefully watched the c-shaped needle go round and round and hardly flinched. The doctor spoke quietly to her as he sewed eight stitches into her forehead.

I am really struggling with the reality that my beautiful, brown-eyed baby is going to have a big scar in such a visible location. I am grateful that she is o.k. and I hope it has taught all of the monkeys living in this house that there is a reason mom frequently reminds them not to jump on the bed!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Real Deal

Alyssa couldn't wait for her first real meet. She said she wasn't nervous, just really excited.

We had to get up early on Saturday morning so that we would arrive at the gym, which was 45 minutes away, by 8:30 a.m. We also didn't want to be the only parents not showing our support of the team by wearing the team colors, so we put aside all belief that blue is the only appropriate color to be worn on a Saturday during football season and managed to dress ourselves in RED!

Caleb and Natalie were real troopers, Jon did his share of moaning and complaining, Alyssa had the time of her life and I thought it was just plain fun. It's definitely a long day but it really was a thrill for me to watch our little girl out there.

There were nine girls in Alyssa's age division and she placed fourth. She was blissfully unaware of any of her scores and later asked, "Mom, did I get any deductions?" She honestly did not see a single score. She thought it was truly amazing that her ribbon was her favorite color, pink! I'm glad that at this young age she is able to enjoy her favorite sport without any pressure of the competition.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mock Meet

Alyssa's gymnastics team had a mock meet to prepare for her first official meet next weekend. It was her first time in front of judges and she did very well! She came in first place all-around in her age division (6/7). Vault proved to be her strongest event but she did a pretty decent floor routine, too!

Here she is all dressed in her gear. The girls line up in height order to do their march-in so Alyssa, being the shortest, led the group.

She fell off the beam a couple of times but she did a good job remembering the routine. She'll get more steady as she learns to master her nerves.

Here is the floor routine:

Thursday, September 6, 2007

School Days

I admit to getting a little emotional as I left Caleb in his fourth grade class. Starting a new school year can be challenging for him but he seemed more calm and confident when he entered the room yesterday morning. He didn't even want me to walk him to school, insisting he knew where to go and what to do.

Caleb came home with a note from his teacher telling us that he had an excellent first day. I'm so proud of him and the hurdles he's overcome in his young life. He continues to grow and find ways to be successful in environments that are challenging for him.

We celebrated the first day of school and Jon's birthday with dinner at Red Robin and a vanilla bean cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory!

Alyssa's first day was today. She had an orientation for first graders yesterday and was so anxious to go for a full day. Our house is now a lot quieter with the two big kids gone all day!

Here is Caleb walking with his friend Harrison.

My grown-up first grader!

Alyssa and Linsey walked to and from school today. Both of the kids are anxious to walk without me following them. I'll follow for a few more days and then let them go. I love the excitement of a new school year, to see them grow up, but I also can't help the little lump in my throat as these years pass so quickly.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

35 and Alive!

Jon is a big tease and mercilessly taunts us, particularly in those areas in which he can evoke the strongest reactions.

Sam's Club is selling a very large, inflatable haunted house which is extremely frightening to Natalie. As soon as she expressed her fear, Jon began teasing her, attempting multiple times to drive the cart into the house. As a result, she has developed an intense fear of Sam's Club. He asks her every day if she wants to go to Sam's just to hear her adamantly declare that she is scared of the house. The other day I needed to go for groceries and she protested going in, was shaking and clutching her arms into her chest. I used the free cookies as a bribe to get her in the store and she kept her eyes closed as she nibbled it. Thanks a lot, Dad, it will take some time to overcome this one!

My greatest fear has always been that something would happen to Jon, that I'd be a young widow. Jon knows this and has been using it to torment me for the past 11 years. He began stating that he was going to die at age 34. Every birthday and often in between he would remind me of how much time he had left. He enjoyed the thrill of making me cringe each time he mentioned the countdown. Mean, don't you think?

The joke stops here. Today he is 35 and still alive! I admit to being relieved that he's lost the power with this particular play. I'm sure he'll find a replacement to satisfy his need to tease, but for now, I'll just enjoy that he is alive and well!

Happy 35th Birthday, Baby! We love you!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Cougar Cousins

We were so excited to have Jen, Christopher and their family come for the Labor Day weekend. Caleb considers time with cousins a special treat and suggested making some welcome signs to greet them at the door. I offered my stamps for the project, the perfectionist in me had a difficult time not intervening, but I resisted the urge and let his efforts go unassisted. He was proud of the finished product!

They arrived at bedtime on Friday. The kids played for a short time and then settled down for the night.

Saturday morning came earlier than usual. The boys were up and at 'em at 6:30! What's more exciting than the first Cougar game of the year? Being able to watch it with cousins. The Childers came prepared, knowing that game days at our house mean that we don our Cougar blue. I was so impressed that every member of their family had appropriate game-day clothes. Caleb referred to the group as Cougar Cousins. Soon after breakfast, Jon posted our "Y" flag as the Cougar faithful watched. Let football season begin!

We decided to walk the kids to McDonalds for lunch before the start of the game. They formed a single file line and Caleb led the cheers all along the half-mile journey. I'm sure we were quite the spectacle. I, a true blue, die-hard fan, was even growing a bit embarassed by the boisterous parade of cougar cousins.

We stopped at the park on the way home and Caleb led a few more cheers atop this tower.

Cute Cougar cousins. Natalie, Alyssa, Caleb, Owen, Ansel and Jonas.

The Cougars did not disappoint in their season opener. There's just no better way to spend a Saturday. After the victory, I picked up a couple of babysitters and we enjoyed a fabulous, child-free dinner at Cheesecake Factory. What a great day!

The kids treated us to play on Sunday evening. It was something about some knights, a king and queen, (hard for us to figure out the story since it was virtually dialogue-free) and they had fun making swords for their props. We ended the day with a High School Musical movie night, which included a demo of Caleb's dance moves!

Curtain call!

Monday brought more fun with Mini golf, batting cages and pizza. We're so glad they could come to visit, it was a great way to officially end the summer. School starts tomorrow!