Sep 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Gabriel!

Gabriel celebrated his 4th birthday on the 24th. I can't believe he is already 4 years old. We talked to Gabriel about planning his special day . . . and we thought we had an understanding of what he wanted. It turns out our "plan your day" birthday didn't work as well with Gabe as it did with Eli. Eli knew a few weeks before his birthday exactly what he wanted to do on his birthday. Gabriel changed his mind numerous times prior to the big day and continually throughout the day! It is very hard to meet the expectations of a 4 year old when they are constantly changing.
In the end, Gabriel woke up and after much discussion picked his breakfast, headed off to school where we had ice cream sundaes with his class after lunch, then came home and played the Wii with me (using controller number 1 - a big deal). After after picking up Eli from school we met the Swanson at the bowling alley. Gabriel bowled first, had some cake, and then spent some time in the arcade. Unfortunately, the arcade didn't have many kid-friendly games, but he made the best of it. Once we were done at the bowling alley we were off to dinner and shopping at ToysRus. The dinner decision was so stressful. He wavered back and forth between pasta and chips and salsa, with Eli chiming in about pizza. After 30 minutes of discussion we ended up at Baja Fresh.
I think he had a good day. Throughout the day he had phone calls from aunties, and grandparents and simply enjoyed the fact that it was "his" day.

Sep 29, 2008

Catching Up

I think this is the longest time between posts since I started blogging about a year ago. The cause of this lapse in posting is 50% due to my lack of motivation to write and 50% due to being busy.
Last week was Dental Nightmare week. I learned that waiting 4 years between dental visits is not a good call. I knew I needed to get in for a cleaning but kept putting that off, but when I started having really bad jaw pain I figured I should get that problem taken care of before I lost the capability to eat. A friend who has the same insurance as I do recommended her dentist, and I finally made my first appointment. After numerous x-rays and a lot of poking at my gums and calling out all the problems with each individual tooth, I was finally ready for a sit-down with the dentist. She showed me x-rays and talked to me about my problems, which seemed relatively minor considering how long it had been since I went to the dentist. Then, I met with Susan, the bad news lady. She prepared my "treatment plan" which is a list of everything that needs to be done and told me my cost share for all those services was $1500. Hmm, the exact amount that we could get if we sold our car. It sure sounds like $1500 would get a lot of dental work taken care of, but really it is just for two fillings and a nightguard. Did I mention that I have dental insurance.
Since my mom worked as a dental assistant for a number of years and is currently a hot-shot claims denier at Delta Dental, I immediately called her whining about the cost and the procedures. To make a very long story short, mom talked to me about options, empowered me with knowledge and confirmed my rights as a patient to actually decide what I wanted done to my teeth. Now I am looking at a bill around $5oo instead.
In a nutshell: Monday was my consult with the dentist followed by a Dr. appointment to try and get my medical insurance to cover part of the TMJ issue. Tuesday I nearly died as the hygienist scraped 4 years of junk off my teeth, sandblasted my face, and made me drool all over the place during the fluoride treatment. Later that day I had jaw x-rays. Wednesday I dropped my glasses by the mailbox and someone ran them over - not dental related but hey it's my blog. And finally, Thursday I confronted my dentist about how much money she was trying to steal from my babies' mouths. Whew. It was a rough week. Today, the dentist called to go over a revised treatment plan, let me know those TMJ x-rays that the Dr. took won't work, and set up an appointment to start sucking my savings account dry. Yeah.
On a lighter note, this past weekend our family headed down to Virginia beach to enjoy the last of the sunshine and warmth before Fall kicks in, and to spend some time as a family before Matt leaves for Rucker. We had a great weekend. I'll be posting the photos to my shutterfly page soon! It was so beautiful. We played in the sand and waves, watched dolphins swim by, and had a personal behind the scenes tour of the Virgina Aquarium. At the aquarium, we went to the shark tank and the giant sea turtle tank to learn about the animals and how the aquarium works. The sea turtles were so amazing. We were worried that the weather was going to keep us in our hotel room, but it was nice an warm when we arrived on Saturday and Sunday morning at 9am we were on the beach in swimsuits and playing in the water. That is fabulous for the end of September!
I recieved a very special gift this week. A friend of mine surprised me with a water color painting of my boys. She covertly retrieved a picture Matt took of the boys playing on the beach when we were in Spain last March, and has been working on this painting for me. I can't really put into words how special this painting is to me. First, it is so special that she painted something for me and second, the image that she chose is just perfect. We had such a great time in Spain, we love the beach, and this painting captures all of that. The last thing that was so cool about the gift is that it completely caught me off guard. I never would have guessed that she would paint something for me. Needless to say, I cried.
As Matt's bags are being packed (by me of course - he never packs for himself), I am hoping that this time we are apart goes by fast, but not too fast. Over the next two months Matt will have the chance to spend time with his buddy Tom who will be in Rucker with him, and I'm looking forward to enjoying some fall activities here with the boys.

Sep 11, 2008

September 11th.

Today, the nation remembers the attacks of September 11th, 2001. 2,974 innocent people were killed at the hands of terrorists. While those lives and our sense of security were lost on that day and deserve the memorials, I can't go through this day without taking a moment to remember another group of people.
Over 4700 United States soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and over 30,000 more have been wounded, since September 11th. There are no flags raised and lowered today in their honor, no speeches, or presidential visits. However, the fact remains that they died in a foreign land because of what happened here on September 11.

Sep 9, 2008

School, The Gym, and Dinner.

School.
Eli started school last Tuesday and Gabriel started school today. Eli's year didn't start off very well. Last year he was so excited to go to Kindergarten that he barely waved goodbye as he leaped out of the van. Every day he would greet all the teachers with a big hug and was known on campus for being such a sweet, happy guy.
This year, he cried all the way to school and looked so sad when I dropped him off that I cried all the way home. The teachers all stopped him along his route to the classroom perplexed at this little sad face. What is different this year? Two things. First, he realized that summer is way more fun than school, and decided school shouldn't start until it is cold outside. And second, Mary or any of his other really good friends are not in his class. By the end of the week he was doing better, but still not embracing the idea that this would be a fun year. On the way to school each day he talks about how he wants to just stay home and play, and yet when we are at home, he complains that he is bored because there is "nothing to do".
And in a complete role reversa - Gabriel loved his first day of school today! Last year, he enjoyed being at school but was never very excited to get out of his jammies. Today, he was beaming as we walked to his class! He explained to me that I needed to leave because only Gabe could be at this school. He is looking forward to music class, art projects, puzzles and his new friends. I think this year is going to be great for Gabriel. His teacher stresses learning through fun and according to Gabe "Ms Nancy is the nicest grill ever"!
The Gym.
After taking the entire summer off from eating healthy and working out I returned to the gym yesterday. Words cannot express how much my body aches right now. I took a body pump class and seriously though I was going to pass out after 5 minutes of squats. Today I headed back for a 5 mile walk/run and I am pretty sure my body hates me. If I ever stop working out again for such a long time, I'm just not going to go back to the gym. It hurts too bad.
As I was running along on the treadmill today I was bored, and started looking around the gym. I was suddenly struck by how many "working aged" people were in the gym at 10am. 100 people that look like they probably do have a job, were just at the gym working out, mid morning. I wonder what kind of job these people have? When I worked, I was always required to be at work in the hours of 10am-11pm. When I go back to work, I want a job that allows me to take a mid-morning break to go work out it totally beats working out before or after work.
Dinner.
I hate making dinner. Not so much because I don't like grocery shopping for, planning, prepping, and cooking the meal, but more because I don't like feeding people. Last night I made enchiladas. Gabe said he liked the tortilla but not the chicken, Eli said it was too spicy, and Matt said he didn't like the seasoning on the chicken. Fabulous. Tonight I made meatloaf and asparagus. The boys don't like the meatloaf, Eli gagged down the veggies quickly chasing them with about a gallon of water, Matt poured Thousand Island Dressing on his meatloaf, and Gabe stole the show by actually throwing up the veggies.
Seriously people, I don't especially like asparagus either, but I don't care. I just eat it. After all, the purpose of eating is sustaining life right? My kitchen isn't Paris or Florance. It isn't supposed to be a "dining experience" it is just supposed to put enough food in your gut to make it to breakfast.

Sep 6, 2008

Why not?

As tropical storm Hanna blew through our area today, the boys were playing upstairs and I was cleaning the kitchen. Just as I was finishing up in the kitchen, the boys came downstairs and asked if they could play in the rain. Why not?
I sent them outside in their jammies and bare feet to dance in the rain. They had so much fun dancing, stomping in the puddles, splashing the water that had collected on the table, and drinking the rain.
When they were done playing they came back inside, changed into clean jammies and went on with their day. After making their own pizza for dinner tonight, they will settle in for a movie and popcorn upstairs.

Sep 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Eli!

September 1st, 2008 Eli turned 6! Matt and I cannot believe we have a 6 year old son. Where did all the time go?
To celebrate Eli's day, we allowed him to choose all of the activities for the day. After brainstorming and a few discussions Eli came up with his ultimate day.
We started the morning with happy-face pancakes. The chocolate chip pancake had banana eyes, whip creme hair, a strawberry nose and a bacon mouth. These details were very important. Next on the agenda was miniature golf. We took Eli to a jungle themed golf course where we were joined by our good friends, the Swansons. We played miniature golf amongst headhunters, crocodiles, monkeys, water spitting frogs, and other fun jungle themed elements. After golf, we headed over to the batting cages so that Eli could try and hit a few balls.
His choice for lunch was KFC. Although that seems easy enough, I didn't do adequate research prior to the adventure, and we ended up driving around for about 30 minutes looking for one. He enjoyed his popcorn chicken and then we headed over to Toys R Us to go shopping. He was armed with some of his birthday money and after roaming through the store, twice, he ended up with a new Wii game and an emergency vehicle station.
We returned home to play with his new toys and then went up to the pool for one last swim before it closed for the year. He wanted to swim the lanes so bad, and while that is usually reserved for adults, Matt took him over to the lane and he swam the ENTIRE length of the pool! Matt and I think it is about 50 meters. We are so proud of him, and he was really proud of himself too. The Swansons came over for BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs, some Wii fun, a few more presents and cake.
The whole day was really about Eli. While we did put a stop to abuse of his brother, for the most part we let him do what he wanted. He was so happy with his special day!
We are so blessed that Eli has such a sweet heart, and although at times we can't believe he does some of the things he does, he is such a great little boy and we love him so very much
.