Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Thanksgiving Curse Strikes Again

This year marks 4 years and counting.  Every Thanksgiving here in Illinois has had some sickness or incident.  

Our first year, just as we were sitting down to eat dinner, Spencer said he didn't feel well, and then proceeded to throw up on the floor next to our dinner table.  Stomach flu.  So while our dinner grew cold on the table, I cleaned up throw-up from the floor.  And then I tried my best to enjoy dinner.   Spencer didn't eat Thanksgiving dinner until Saturday night.  

Our second year, I was pregnant with Davin.  So I was already dealing with morning sickness.  And then, the day of Thanksgiving, I started spotting, and that weekend I was put on bed rest.  Where I spent the next 2 months.  

Year 3 was probably the easiest--Davin was sick the week leading up to Thanksgiving.  I finally took him into the doctor the night before, around 7 pm, where I found out he had an ear infection.  So not a big deal, but it could've been a close call if I hadn't followed my instincts and taken him in.  We spent that Thanksgiving down in Springfield with Erik, so without the antibiotics, we would have all been miserable.

And then there was this year.  Mea got sick Sunday with a fever.  I took her in to the doctor Monday afternoon because her fever was up over 103 and she had had a cough for over two weeks.  She was put on antibiotics.  I thought we were in the clear.  And then I woke up Tuesday morning feeling awful.  Turned out to be the flu.  Spencer got it yesterday (Wednesday).  Today he battled with a 104 degree fever.  

This flu spoiled all our Thanksgiving plans.  Some of our best friends from New Jersey were going to stop by last night on their way to Iowa, but when hearing about our sickness, they decided to stop by Saturday on their way home, instead.  And today we were going to meet with 2 or 3 other families at the church for a Thanksgiving feast, but decided we were too contagious to attempt that.  Evan went out and bought a turkey for us yesterday, along with some other fixings.  But can I just tell you?  Making Thanksgiving dinner solo with the flu SUCKS.  (NOT a word I use often!)  But I did it--the full Thanksgiving meal, minus the mashed potatoes (because my kids won't eat them!).  And here's proof:
 Spencer even made it to the table (hooray for alternating tylenol and ibuprofen every 3 hours!).

The big question is:  will Davin and Evan get it??  Evan gets flu shots every year.  Davin got one in March, and then proceeded to get the flu within a week of the shot.  So I opted not to get him one this fall.  But if he doesn't get it, then I'm guessing the immunization from March is what helped.  And that the flu shot that Evan got was actually effective this year.

So why don't I get flu shots or make my kids get them?  Because every time, without fail, my kids get the flu within a week of the shot.  Every. Time.  Last year with Davin was yet another test.  So why sentence my kids to the flu every year by giving them the shot, when without the flu shot they only get the flu every 3-4 years?  I'll take the latter.  Go ahead and judge me all you want.

Anyway, we have spent the entire week on the couch in front of the tv.  Pathetic.  But hey, every other day my kids have to earn every minute of electronics with reading or math work, so most weeks go by with my kids watching about only 1-2 hours of tv/computer time per week.  When we're sick with fevers, all electronic rules get dropped.  So does the no-pj's-all-day rule.

Evan bought our Christmas tree on Monday.  We usually wait until the day after Thanksgiving to do that, but we decided we needed some cheering up.  But we kept it bare until today.  Tomorrow we'll deck it out completely.

Despite our illness, we have had some good family time this week, even if a lot of it was spent in front of the tv.  And we have much to be grateful for.  Thanksgiving weekend marks two major milestones in my life:  I met Evan the weekend of Thanksgiving 11 years ago.  And even though I was put on bed rest for Davin the weekend of Thanksgiving, I see that sacrifice as being the reason he survived.  And it was worth every minute in bed.  He has been such a blessing to our family!  We all can't get enough of him.  

Anyway, here's to hoping our Thanksgiving curse ends this year (man! has this been a sucky year in so many ways!).  But at this point, we'll expect something to happen next year; if nothing does, then we'll rejoice all that much more!

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 2014

It has been crazy around here.  Crazy!  Too many events happen in October--Mea's birthday, Halloween, Halloween parties, etsy costume orders.  Up until a few days ago, I didn't have a moment's rest.

First off (and I should've posted something about this weeks ago), Mea turned 7!  We had a party for her, with 7 of her friends.  She wanted a Rio 2 theme, with watching the movie being the main event of the party.  Stupidly, I neglected to take any pictures of her friends that came or of the party.  But I did take a picture of the cake:

My etsy shop went well beyond expectations these last two months.  September blew me away with 12 orders, 23 items sold.  I didn't think I'd get much more than that in October.  Wrong.  22 orders, 51 items sold.  Mostly pony costume items--ears, tails, horns, wings.  But I've also sold a number of dresses, a tie, an apron, and a couple of Aloha shirts.  Needless to say, most of my time this month has been spent sewing.  I'm glad the orders have stopped pouring in.  It's kind of nice to be doing something else.  And my housework has been grossly neglected.

Also this month we had a trunk or treat at our church, a pumpkin carving party with friends, and then Halloween itself.  This year Mea decided she wanted to be Elsa (with about 70% of other girls this year).  I had made her costume earlier this year.  And ironically, I have no good picture of it.  But I'm quite happy with her dress.  Not only did I sew it, I also designed the pattern for it.  I've sold a few of the same dresses to friends locally, but I'm not ready to have it go crazy on etsy.  Anyway, here's Mea at the trunk or treat with her other Elsa friends:

Spencer wanted to be a baseball player.  After vacillating for weeks on which baseball player he wanted to be, he decided on Adam Rosales from the Texas Rangers.  Why him?  Spencer is proud of being from Texas, AND Adam Rosales grew up in our current ward.  His parents still live here.  He comes and has brief stays here during off season.  And Evan was his home teacher for a brief time.  Just recently he was here and took a few hours on a Saturday afternoon to play baseball with Spencer.  So Spencer is a huge fan of him right now.  

Luckily Spencer had all the gear to be a baseball player for Halloween, except for the jersey.  I couldn't find any patterns for baseball jerseys, though.  So not only is his shirt homemade, I also made the pattern.  And I'll be the first to admit it isn't perfect.  If I had had the time, I would've made some changes (longer overall, and better sleeves), but I had no time!  So it was design, draft, cut, sew, and just hope that it would work out right.  So considering I wasn't able to test out my pattern before sewing the real thing, I'm quite happy with how it turned out.


(It's wrinkled at the bottom because he had it tucked in). I also painted the lettering on.  (And I wish I had made the TEXAS part bigger).  I used an old sheet, but had to buy the fabric paint, so his costume was just a few bucks to make.  Definitely cheaper than the $50 jersey I found on Amazon.  

Davin was a skunk.  The same skunk costume I made for Spencer 9 years ago, and the same costume Mea used when she was 1.  But because the booger is always on the move these days, all the pictures are blurry.  


 But you get the idea.

We thought the weather was bad on Halloween last year (just rain).  But this year takes the cake.  Right now (Halloween night), it's in the 30's, with windchill in the low 20's.  Rain, sleet, snow mix.  35 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 55 mph.  Not fun!!  But Davin was dying to go outside.  So we layered him and Mea up, and I took them out for about 15 minutes.  (Spencer was off with some friends (and a parent)).
 The picture certainly doesn't show how bad the weather was!

Pumpkin carvings this year:

Mea and her angry bird:
 Spencer's new obsession with the Texas Rangers:
 And I opted to not carve mine this year, and instead enhance it with hardware (on the left):
Mine was the only one that the squirrels left alone.  

One more thing:  Mea got a princess cookbook for her birthday from Grandma and Grandpa.  So Mea made dinner for the first time:  
I helped with the prep, but she did the braiding all by herself.  

I'm so glad October is over.  Maybe November will give me some much-needed rest.......  Here's to hoping, anyway.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

September 2014

September has been all about settling into the routine of the school year.  I can already tell it's going to be a busy one, especially for Spencer.  He has after school sports (a school program that's free for 4th and 5th graders) on Tuesday and Thursday, swim lessons on Wednesday, baseball practice on Thursdays and Fridays, and a baseball game on Saturday.  Spencer is also taking saxophone lessons through the school, during school hours.  He is one busy guy!  But it's been great for him.  

Mea is busy making new friends.  She is also taking swimming lessons on Wednesdays with Spencer.  And she has been planning her birthday party all month long (it's not for two weeks still).  

After school each day I walk Davin over to the school playground and let him roam free.  His is a daredevil!  But he's not at the stage that I just let him be--I have to hover (not fun!).  But it will be cold before we know it, so I have to let him have this time to explore, exercise, and be free.  

On one of the hotter days this month I decided to get the sprinklers out and let Davin try them out.  Mea saw him and joined in:


Spencer at his baseball game (he's #5):
 Batting:


Eh-eh came up for a weekend with his rollerblades.  We borrowed a bike trailer from a friend for Davin and went for family bike ride to a park nearby.


Spencer and his friend, J, "practicing" their instruments:


Aside from the 10 mice (and counting) we have caught in our garage, and the 12 etsy orders I had, it has been a busy but uneventful month.  On to October...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of School 2014-2015

School started on the 20th, but we've just been too busy around here to post the 1st day of school pics.  And my kids aren't very cooperative with these particular pictures.  At this point, they just want to get to school.  

 Mea lost both of her front teeth in the last few weeks, evidence here:
 (Don't ask me what is up with Davin's outfit--not sure what's going on.)

Spencer is now in 4th grade, and Mea is in 1st!  And I know I've said it a million times, but I absolutely love living across the street from the school!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Blog Cabin 2014, Day 32--The Long Trip Home

So long, cabin.  Until next time, whenever that may be.  Last glance as we were driving away in the boat:
 Last time watching my dad and Spencer wet down their hair with lake water in the parking lot (not a great picture here--it looks like my dad is getting mad at Spencer--I assure you, he wasn't):
 3 hour drive in the squishy car to the airport.  Next time I'm bringing less stuff and taking the train.  Who cares if we only have two pairs of clothes to alternate?

At the gate we were surprised to find this new addition:
 It's a play area for the kids.   Right at the gate.  So I didn't have to sit and listen to my kids ask 300 times in the hour we were waiting, "When are we getting on the plane?"

Davin, oh Davin, what happened to you in the last month?  The trip to Finland was hard, yes, but you at least stayed happy on my lap, even if you didn't stay still.  The trip home?  Where did your opinions and persistence come from??  You're not even 15 months old yet.  We can't be starting the terrible 2's yet!  But it seems you are!!

At least I had Erik with me this time.  And he discovered a game that, somehow, passed more time than anything else.  Davin refused to eat a cracker, so we stuffed it partially into the seat pocket in front of us to get it out of our hands.  But Davin didn't even like to see it, so he made a little squawk and shoved it further down.  Because he gave such a big reaction to something we weren't expecting, Erik reached in and put it back so that part of it was exposed.  Once again, he squawked and shoved it down.  So Erik made a game out of it, saying "Davin, where's the cracker?"  Squawk, shove down, then repeat.  I can't believe how long he played this game:
Somehow the 9 hours passed.  He only took about a 45 minute nap a few hours into the flight, and then, after hours of trying to get him to sleep for the night, he finally fell asleep for the last half hour of the flight.  What a booger.  

First impressions of being back in the US after being gone for a month?
--Where do all these people come from?  Why are there so many?
--Who came up with the new passport control set-up?  It took longer than it did before, even though it's supposed to be shorter.  Lines, lines, lines.  
--Wow, I forgot how nice indoor plumbing is.  And how soft the toilet paper is.
--Seriously--there are way too many people.  
--Why is everyone so loud?
--Where are all the trees?
--I wish I had a lake instead of street in front of my house.  Then I could swim in it instead of having to drive to a crowded pool.  And then I wouldn't have to feel like my neighbors are watching my every move.  
--I wanna go back.  

Blog Cabin 2014, Day 31--Last Full Day

Our last day in Finland is always bittersweet.  I love it and I hate it.  For many reasons.  

This particular day I hated even more for different reasons.  It was HOT.  And muggy.  And perfectly still.  Even at the beginning of the day.  

We had our Last Day Pancakes in the grilli, but I couldn't even stay in the grilli because I was too hot.  (The grilli is basically a covered, walled pavilion with a cookstove.  No windows).  Here's Davin eating his pancake (and second breakfast):
 Immediately after breakfast, Davin and Mea went for a swim:

 I kayaked around the island and came home with a bright red face.  So I swam to cool off.

Usually on the last day we like to start sauna early and just do it all day long.  But there was no way we were going in the sauna when it was that hot already outside.  So we just swam and swam and swam.

Finally I made myself get working on the roof of the playhouse.  It wasn't what I was hoping to do on my last day, but I had to.  About halfway into my trip I realized I wouldn't finish the playhouse again this year, but my goal was to make it so that it was at least water-resistant so it wouldn't have to be covered in a tarp.  So all four exterior walls have a coat of paint (they will need more next time I come).  The windows are in (almost--my dad will finish putting the last one in).  The door is on (after a lot of drama with the hinges).  And so all that was left was the roof.  We got one side on:

 And then realized that there was one more spot on the back that needed more plywood.  And my dad needed to leave to take Jeremy into town to catch his train to the airport.  So even the roof will have to be finished by my dad after I'm gone.  Talk about playhouse fail.  Lesson learned:  never try to build a playhouse out of scrap wood!!

Here's a shot of the door.  The handle is a piece of wood my mom found.  Fits in perfectly with all the other door handles around here.
Then we just chilled on the porch, trying to keep cool:

 Man it was hot.

Speaking of heat, I developed a "laptop rash" this year, but not from a laptop.  It's from the sauna.  I don't have a great picture of it, but can you see the color irregularities, the mottled-looking skin?  That's my sauna rash.  Too much prolonged exposure to heat.  Andrea gets them, too.  Hers went away last year.  Let's hope mine does.  (What's funny is that if I had gotten this from a laptop, I'd be mad at myself, but from the sauna--oh well!  Worth it!!!)
 It finally cooled off just enough to do the sauna in the evening.  Thank goodness.  Can't go my last day without the sauna.  And loads of yogurt.  And a makkara.

Random picture of some of the heather we have around here:
 And we were blessed, once again, with a beautiful sunset:

Blog Cabin 2014, Day 30--Last Trip to LPR

I promised my kids earlier in our trip that they'd be able to go to town one more time to play at Kid City Park and to get more Prisma candy for the plane ride home.  I didn't want to do it the day before we left because I wanted 1 full day at the island before departing.  Erik and Jeremy tagged along with us to do their shopping of goods to take home.  

It was Mea's turn to drive the boat:
 While in town we decided to stop in at the Hiekka Linna--Lappeenranta's annual sandcastle display.  Every year they have a theme and then a bunch of sandcastle sculptures.  This year's theme was something to do with music.  We weren't impressed with the theme, but here are some of the more spectacular sculptures:


 Also at the same place are some little playhouses that the kids can go in and explore.  They were kind of lame this year--they were all small and the same layout.  In years past there have been towers, trains, and multi-level ones.  So it was kind of a let-down to see this year's:
 The next stop was Kid City Park for the second time this year.  It was crowded and hot, so the kids were done pretty quickly:
 Then off to Prisma for candy and groceries.  We made it back to the cabin in record time because it was just so hot in town.  Soon after we jumped in the lake to cool off.  Erik and Jeremy humored Spencer with some water football:
 Jeremy smoked a pike for dinner.  It looks burnt, but it's just the skin that we don't eat.  Inside was tasty and perfect:
 More swimming.  Davin actually allowed me to take him all the way in to the water instead of just wading.  He's really a wuss when it comes to water.  (That must come from Evan).  He was really excited to kick his legs around under the water:
 Sunset, day 30 (not very spectacular):