Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas with Nana and Grandpa

We celebrated Christmas with my parents on the 28th with dinner at Dosey Doe's and opening presents after.  I think my family goal for the new year is to be able to take a family picture simply and as easily as counting to 3 and smiling!  Yes, I know... that is never going to happen with my kids.  Maybe Isaac will be a camera ham.  In terms of gifts, my kids made out like bandits this year.  They received lots of books, puzzles, games and modeling kits which have been great because 2 weeks off from schoolwork gives them a lot of free time!  I have been able to put them to work raking in the back yard though which has been awesome this year.  In order to earn their much coveted privilege of 20 minutes of iPad time, they have to fill up one of those large lawn and leaf paper bags I get at the home depot.  David and Emily work together to do so and there are so many leaves in the back yard that they can be kept busy doing this every day!  It's good exercise too and gets them outside so I say win/win for everyone.  Lia helps me when I rake by picking up the piles but she isn't quite independent or motivated enough to do this every day.  She earns privileges by reading aloud to me from her readers... I desperately want her reading so I don't mind bribing her in this way!  So I guess it is time to sign off for 2013... and get on to the new year.  Hard to believe!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas!!!
Look who's smiling now!  They are excited because we told them they could go home and open one gift before we had our Christmas Eve dinner.  Aren't the poinsettia's beautiful?  I love our church at Christmas time.

Emily sang with the Children's choir tonight and they all got together for a group picture after mass.  Good looking group, aren't they?

And here is our living room, all decorated for Christmas.  This is our first year to purchase a fake tree... but I really think we got a good one and hope it will serve us well for many years.

And yes, we got our lights up outside the house this year too.  I love driving up to our house each night... it makes me smile to see the blinking stars on our little redbud tree all decked out for Christmas.  So yes, there's no place like home for the holidays.

And now off to bed...  I'm thinking there are going to be some kids wanting to open up gifts tomorrow morning!

Family Pictures

 I sent out Christmas cards in 2011, but not in 2012... so I really wanted to get it done this year.  Most of our friends and family know we are expecting our 4th child, but I wanted to announce it on our Christmas cards for the few who may not know yet as it is such joyous news for us.  Normally, we just put pictures of our kids on our Christmas cards, but this year I wanted a picture of our whole family.  Goodness gracious though, it is hard to photograph us!!!!  A kind family at church took a ton of pictures of us after mass on the 2nd Sunday of Advent.  I liked this one... but wasn't completely happy with it so we ended up trying again the next Sunday.  And no, David would not smile... believe me, we tried!
This one, on the 3rd Sunday of Advent ended up being the winner.  Unfortunately, waiting so long to design and order Christmas cards delayed me getting them out in the mail till today, Christmas Eve, but I am pleased they will be received in the days following Christmas.  And as a catholic family, the Christmas season doesn't even begin till Christmas Day and then continues for 12 more days till the Epiphany on January 6th... so really, I'm right on time!

Ice Skating!

On Monday, David and Chris returned from their trip and I was able to take all the kids ice skating.  It was crazy crowded because it was the 2 for the price of 1 day... but they sure had a ball.  I got a few short videos so you can see how they did on the ice.  We only go ice skating once a year... so the kids spent quite a bit of time trying to remember how.  That said, they were doing really well at the end of our 2 hour skate session.

One Starry Night in Bethlehem

Sunday afternoon, we headed out to Crossroads Baptist church for their Christmas story drama and hands on Bethlehem experience for the kids.  What an amazing event for the community.  We really enjoyed our time there.

The girls wanted to sit at the very top of the worship area and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Christmas story come to life on stage.

After the show, the girls were able to experience the sights and sounds of Bethlehem and do a ton of fun crafts.  We registered for the census, paid our taxes, sampled Bethlehem bread, and even weaved a real basket!  Lia was so excited to do everything they had to offer.  Emily was thrilled to go off on her own to experience it all as well.

Lia's making a little tile mosaic here.  The crafts were really impressive for the numbers of kids that turned out for this event.  Did I mention this was a free event.  Score.  :-)

And animals too!  You don't get to see camels very often.  I was told this one was a baby. 

Donkey, goats, pigs...

Oh yes, and a Shetland pony ride!  What a fun afternoon.

Bouncin' Bears

Chris and David travelled to North Carolina last Friday night to participate in the Nelli's big family Christmas dinner.  It wasn't possible for us all to go this year, so I promised the girls we would have fun while they were away.  They wanted to go to Bouncin' Bears and I was all for it!  Bouncin' Bears is a big indoor play area with bounce houses, inflatable slides and this huge jumping pillow that my kids absolutely love.  As you can see, the place wasn't very crowded so the girls were able to get all their crazies out and I was perfectly happy to sit at the picnic table and enjoy the free wifi.

And you can bet if I wasn't pregnant, I would have been bouncing with them!

Ornament Decorating Work Shop

Emily's art teacher hosted an ornament decorating workshop at her house and we were so pleased with how well they turned out.  Emily told us Gaby found the ornaments at Hobby Lobby and that they were just plain cardboard ornaments to begin with.  The kids applied primer and then acrylic paint.  I think the metallic paint pen decorations she did at the end are what make them really special.  It will be fun to pull them out each year and hear Emily announce that these are the ornaments that "I" made!  And even better, they aren't breakable!!!

Christmas Tree Farm

This year, we managed to do lots of fun Christmas activities.  I'm glad I'm finally relaxing on Christmas Eve and updating our blog.  :-)  David's cub scout pack hosted a fun night at a local Christmas Tree farm.  We took a hay ride through the Christmas tree fields and under the beautiful stars, to a picnic area all set up with bonfires for cooking hot dogs and smores!  As you can see, we were all bundled up because it was in the low 40's that night!  The kids really enjoyed cooking their hot dogs over the fire and there must be something about being outside and being really  hungry... because those hot dogs were delicious!  We made smores for dessert too.  :-)  Ooey Gooey marshmellows, melted chocolate and graham crackers made everyone very happy that night.

Here is Emily, Lia and our friend Sophia on the hay ride.

And me and my friend, Christina.  I loved her red hat and wool jacket.

And here is my little girl all in pink.  The kids really didn't complain about the cold.  I was okay with it, with the exception of my feet getting cold.  I think I needed to wear wool socks or something!  Chris tells me I would never cut it at the cub scout camp... and he's right if we would have to sleep in cold weather like it was that night.  No thank you.  I'll take my comfy bed and electric blanket on cold nights every time!  :-)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Emily sings a verse or two of O Come, O Come Emmanuel at dinner each night.  My iPad doesn't take good video when it is dark but the idea was to capture her voice and the first lit candle.  We are now in the second week of Advent so two purple candles are lit each night.  It is getting brighter as we get closer and closer to Christmas.  Her comment at the end has something to do with not burning her choir book... it made me chuckle to see it was captured at the end of the video.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ready for Advent

See look... we're getting back on track!  We got our advent wreath out for day 3 of the 1st week of advent, lit the first purple candle, and sang O Come, O Come Emmanuel before dinner.  This tradition has become very important to all of our children and I don't think they could imagine preparing for Christmas without it.  It is still Emily's job to go out and hunt the perfect greenery for our 'wreath'.  She says she's going to add to what you see here but it was fun for her to find some yellow leaves this year and a few pine cones to go along with the traditional greenery.  I'll video her singing tonight... I just wasn't quick enough to get it last night.

"This isn't Asthma..."

We saw David's pediatrician yesterday, which was reassuring, as she has been our doctor for over 8 years now.  After briefly explaining what happened to David last week, she said, "This isn't asthma.  That doesn't make sense."  If David had developed asthma, he would have most likely had an episode years ago and would have continued to have episodes.  Due to how quickly his condition became so serious, she thinks he most likely had a nasty case of viral pneumonia, which looks like an asthma attack on a chest scan.  The fact that he had a bad sinus infection and couldn't breathe well through his nose combined with his seasonal allergies just proved to be too much for his respiratory system all at once, prompting his need for oxygen, breathing treatments and ultimately steroids to heal his lungs and airways.  Ultimately, we will never know exactly what happened, but if this is the case, and we can get his lungs healed completely over the next 4 weeks, his chances of a repeat episode are low.  And that is good news to me!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Normal (almost) and Very Thankful

I am feeling very blessed and thankful this morning to take this picture of my kiddos playing happily together.  They have all seemed to take an interest in chess and have been spouting off all the rules about pawns, knights, kings and queens... I don't know how to play chess so it is very cool they can read directions and learn.  Last night, David and Emily were playing the dice game Farkle till it turned ugly with a loud argument about one of the rules.  It ended with both of them agreeing they would never play with one another again... but it looks like that has already been forgotten.

I am also thankful for my sweet neighbor Betty who came over to watch the girls a few days ago when Lia was in bed resting with a minor cold and I needed to run to the hospital.  She taught Emily the basics of knitting!  The timing was so perfect because Emily, who knows a basic crochet, had been studying this knitting book but was unable to follow the diagrams for getting started... and along came Betty with her knitting bag that day and was willing to give her a little lesson.  She is very proud of her work right here as you can see. 
Chris found our little Lia playing the board game Sorry with another neighbor Nancy, who came to help another day as we traded shifts at the hospital.  Another set of neighbors, Larry and Stacy made us delicious banana bread and apple cinnamon bread which we devoured this morning as our breakfast supplies were running low and nothing tastes better than homemade bread.  David's grandparents and his Godparents came to visit him in the hospital. and lovingly listened to him describe in great detail his hospital stay, what he ate each day, what all the medical equipment was for and what he liked and didn't like about this whole ordeal.  David also received a care package from his Aunt Stacey and Uncle Te-Te, prompting the response of, "I didn't know people got gifts when they are in the hospital!"  So, "Why yes David, people send gifts to you in the hospital to lift your spirits and to let you know that you are loved and being prayed for!"  We received holy communion on Sunday by one of the kind ladies from St. Anthony's who is part of their hospital ministry.  While David is still preparing to receive his first communion, we were able to pray over him and he looked very proud to know all his prayers and he was able to witness our catholic faith in action, which is a beautiful thing.  I was also glad to receive communion as I would be unable to attend church that day as I cared for him.  It is wonderful to be blessed in this way, with kind neighbors, a loving church community and family who love us so much.   I know my kids notice all these things, really, the don't miss much... and all these offerings reinforce, in a very real way, all that we strive to teach them about their faith and how to treat others....the way you would like to be treated yourself.  So even though this last week was hard, we know God has been with us the whole time and is using this experience for good.

And... we are all hoping that our next visit to the hospital, will be a more joyous one:  namely that it will be the hospital visit to welcome David's little brother Isaac to the world next March.
St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday afternoon... We are home!

I wanted to post quickly and let everyone know that David was discharged from the hospital after lunch today and we are all very happy to be at home.  I have quite a regiment of nebulizer treatments, antibiotics, probiotics, and allergy meds to keep track of for the next few weeks but it is all worth it to have David out of the hospital.  And thank goodness, for sleep tonight that (hopefully) won't be interrupted.  :-)  Good Night.  I'll post some more later once we settle in.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday, Day 5 in the hospital - More Progress!

David is currently off his oxygen, out of bed and sitting in his rocking chair.  We plan to get up and walk a little today and see how he does with a little activity.  The doctor said if he does okay off the oxygen tonight, we can discharge tomorrow so let's be hopeful for that!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday night progress!

Hallelujah, good news at last!  I just got a call from Chris that David was able to maintain his oxygen levels on the nasal cannula at a lower oxygen flow rate (level 2), which means his passageways are opening up.  He also mentioned that David has been able to blow out a lot of junk from his nose which is further indication that all of the mucous must be finally loosening up.  I'm not sure if it is the antibiotics kicking in, or the menthol treatment, or the steroids or a combination of it all but we'll take it!  Hopefully tomorrow, we will be able to begin the process to wean him from oxygen and hopefully his recovery will pick up speed from this point so we can get our boy home.  Great news to end the day.  :-)

Friday, David's 4th day in the hospital...

Today was definetly a happier day for David, in terms of his spirits, but we are facing a 24 hr challenge to get his nasal passages clear.  When we saw the doctor this afternoon, she was not pleased with the fact that David has to wear his nose and mouth mask to receive oxygen as she would have expected him to be on the nasal cannula by now at a level of 3 (the highest).  The nose and mouth mask is really only to be used in emergency situations and is very drying to the nasal cavities.  Up till this point, David would only wear the nasal cannula to eat and would have to put the nose/mouth mask on to prevent his oxygen levels from falling below 90 and setting off alarms.  You see, his nasal passages are just so clogged that he cannot even get any air up one side of his nose.  If he's not receiving the full benefit from his breathing treatments, his progress will be hindered.  The doctor told me to get David menthol cough drops and have him take them every 4 hours in hopes of clearing up his passages that way.  If they are still clogged tomorrow, she is going to order an Ear Nose Throat  (ENT) specialist to clear the passages by whatever method they choose... (Vacume suction, irrigation?). That doesn't sound pleasant so I am hoping they clear with the menthol!

On a happy note, my Mom and Dad were able to visit him at the hospital and he perked up considerably telling his Nana and Grandpa all about his hospital experience in great detail.  He ate well at all 3 meals, and was able to blow out some pretty nasty black boogers from his nose after his first menthol cough drop and some saline spray.  In the late afternoon and evening he was able to breathe with the nasal cannula at level 3 and maintain oxygen levels at 93-94 which is awesome.  I was  also able to pick up some travel sized games (at a great Black Friday price, no less) when I went to Walgreens for the cough drops for David.  We spent the early part of the evening playing Connect 4, Battleship and Checkers and I enjoyed that time with my son very much.

So right now, Chris is pulling his all night shift and I'll get another update when I take over in the morning.  Let's hope those nasal passageways clear up so we can make some real progress tomorrow!

I'll update again tomorrow.  Thank you again to all who are thinking and praying for him.  We really just want to get him well and back home.  A funny aside though, David said he could stay at the hospital for another week because he is enjoying the food so much.  I will say it is very nice to order whatever you like and have it just appear in 45 min... But no we are not staying one minute longer than we have to!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 3 at the hospital, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving and it also marks our 3rd full day at St. Luke's as David tries to heal from his "asthma attack and bad sinus infection.  Chris continues to take the night shift and I stay at the hospital during the day so that David always has one of his parents with him at all times.  I am very thankful for the doctors and nurses who work around the clock here to care for him, and even more grateful knowing they are here for us on this holiday when most everyone else is celebrating with their own families.

David continues on a slow path to recovery and can now wear the nose cannula and keep up his oxygen levels for short periods of time.  The doctors have said that his upper lungs sound good and appear to be clear but his lower lungs are still inflamed and clogged with "junk" and/or possibly infected.  The antibiotics he is taking to clear up his sinus infection are the same meds needed for an infection in his lungs so he should be covered for both issues.  Today, he still needs to be receiving oxygen at all times.  The doctor told me today that we can experiment with weaning him off the oxygen tomorrow and see how he does.  Once the weaning process begins, our goal will be to make it through the night off the oxygen, and without incident.  Once that occurs, we can go home,  I asked her, very tentatively, when she thought this might happen.  She thinks he can accomplish these goals in 2-3 days and would absolutely expect he would be home by Monday at the latest.  These expectations help me to put it all into perspective and it feels less like we are are just going to be here indefinitely.

David's spirits are good though it does get a bit boring being in bed all day.  I got the kids a Looney Toons DVD collection to surprise them with and watch on the way to Dallas.  Since that trip didn't happen, we are enjoying it in the hospital.  It is nice to hear David chuckling over the same cartoons I used to watch as a kid.  I am envious that he gets to experience them without all the commercials I was subjected to watching on live TV... How times have changed.  We took a walk around the pediatric floor again and while Chris is here, David gets to watch a lot of football with Dad.  He cracks me up calling all the plays now... "That's a scoop score... That's a pick six.... This game has everything,"  It's really funny how much he acts and talks like his Daddy but I guess that's what boys do.

So the good news, is that David continues to improve and that we have a discharge date in sight.  He continues to receive excellent care and we are all hanging in there.  Thanks for checking in on us and Happy Thanksgiving.

God bless,

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Steps forward...

So at 7pm on Wednesday night, David's spirits are most definitely higher.  He is able to eat his dinner peacefully with the nasal cannula on and his oxygen levels at 93-94 and holding steady.  This is huge as he ordered pasta again and is quite hungry!  We were able to take a little walk around the pediatric floor and get out of his room... Granted we had to drag the O2 tank and IV with us but it was still nice to just take a little walk.  Tomorrow, once the antibiotics provide some relief for his sinus infection, he will likely be able to put the face mask away and maybe we will have some hope to ween off the oxygen.  Time will tell but we are hopeful.  Chris should be here to take over for the night soon and I'll head home to my house where currently, we have no power!  Can you believe it.  The transformer blew earlier this afternoon and we are part of a pretty large outage.  Entergy said they would get the power back on at 6pm... Then 7pm...  I hope they get their act together because it is currently in the 30's and may drop into the 20's tonight.  The girls and I may have to all sleep together  in the same bed for warmth!

Set backs...

Chris and I switched out at the hospital today about 1:00.  Unfortunately, David has a nasty sinus infection which is hindering his ability to breath through his nose.  In consequence, he can't use the nasal cannula (the little nose tubes) to receive his oxygen since he can only get deep breaths through his mouth.  When he tried to eat lunch using the cannula the oxygen alarm kept going off as he dropped under 90.  The nurse is okay with the alarms going off when he eats as long as he hangs out around 88.  But David, unfortunately is very frustrated and upset that he can't even eat without alarms going off.  The nurse agreed to mute the alarm while he eats as long as he promises to put his mask on if he feels short of breath.  He was okay with that and is currently eating.  Chris said last night when they woke him up out of a pretty deep sleep he was kind of shaking and muttering on about how he's just not getting better.  I feel so bad for him because he's just a kid and being in the hospital is certainly no fun for him and the not knowing when he'll go home is especially hard to take.

So... On the positive, he received his antibiotic just now for his sinus infection and hopefully it will help him feel remarkably better in 24 hrs.  In the meantime, I am going to do my best to cheer him up.  They have movies and video games here by the plenty so we may have to check some of that out today.

Thank you for checking in and keep up the prayers.

David in the hospital...

I haven't had time to properly reflect and document the events of the last 48 hours but did so this morning in journal like form.  The outpouring of prayers and concern for David's condition has been overwhelming and such a blessing and comfort to us.  I have not been able to respond personally to everyone, though I would if I could.  Here is my recap and lengthy commentary:

Quite simply, David had been suffering from a cold over the weekend and had a nasty cough for a few days but seemed to be doing fine with no fever and healthy appetite.  We hypothesize (so scientific sounding, but a guess none-the-less)  that he experienced a severe asthma attack on Monday afternoon though he has never had asthma like symptoms before. We don't really know what triggered it or if it will happen again though we have some theories based on his allergies and the fact he has been a little under the weather the past few days.  

Monday afternoon, after resting in bed all morning I found David breathing fast with an accelerated heartbeat.   I took him to an urgent care center where they tested him for various things and immediately started him on oxygen and steroid breathing treatments.  He didn't have the flu but his white blood cell count was high and a chest scan indicated a lot of inflammation of him lungs looking suspiciously like a severe asthma attack.  In fact the doctor was almost dumb-founded when I told him David did not suffer from asthma at that point.  Given how serious his episode was, they knew he needed to be transferred to the hospital for around-the-clock care.  His heart rate was very high, and about 130-140 at the time. He was transferred by ambulance (no sirens though) to the hospital on Monday around 5:00pm.  At St. Luke's in the emergency center, he was assessed and given higher dosage breathing treatments and watched very carefully.  After being seen my the doctor and treated, Chris was told if he didn't show signs of improvement in 3-4 hours, he would go to Texas Children's downtown.  By this time, Chris had taken over at the hospital and I was at home with the girls.  The breathing treatments increased his heart rate over 150 (which is normal we were told) but scary to see.  David was putting all his energy into breathing and was breathing down from his gut at a very fast and furious pace.  He showed slight improvements over the next few hours and they allowed him to stay at St. Luke's, admitting him to Pediatrics around 2am on Tuesday morning.  This was a rough night for Chris as he watched his Dad suffer only a few months ago from his heart attack.  And it was very rough for me, knowing how serious the situation was and not being at his side.  My last update from Chris that night was around 2am to let me know they had received a room and that David was doing better. Though I only slept fitfully, I knew no news was good news and that likely they were both resting. I was correct. One of my sweet neighbors, who happens to be an early riser, answered my plea for help on Tuesday morning to come to the house and watch my sleeping kiddos so I could go to the hospital and relieve Chris around 7:30am. I was very happy to see David looking much more peaceful and not struggling so hard to breathe. His heart rate had dropped to the 120s and he was receiving breathing treatments every 4 hours along with all the other things he would need through IV like potassium and magnesium.

Yesterday, Tuesday, he was on oxygen all day through the nose prongs but had to switch to a nose/face mask because the poor kid was all stuffed up due to allergies or his minor cold... The nurses gave him saline treatments, helped him blow his nose and ultimately gave him Flonase which helped a little but finally just wanting to sleep without hearing all the alarms go off every time his oxygen fell below 90, they just gave him the nose/face mask. My sweet boy was just simply worn out and got some good rest... Or as good as you can get in a hospital where you are checked on constantly. So Tuesday was good in the sense that David (with no scary drama) received a full day of treatments and we were told his lungs were definitely on the mend and improving.  It is sobering though that he cannot be off his oxygen for long periods of time and that his heart rate still fluctuates between 120-135 due to the steroid treatments.   I simply don't know how long the healing will take or when they will be able to wean him off the oxygen or ultimately when he will be able to come home. One positive note was that David finally ate a meal on Tuesday night after refusing breakfast and lunch. I knew he would eat when he felt better... So I ordered him pasta with marinara sauce. When it came at 6:00 he said he didn't want it... But by 7:00 he asked if there was any left.. Yes, he suspected I ate it... Don't laugh!  He didn't eat his turkey, mashed potato and gravy lunch but I sure did! And it was delicious and I'm not apologizing.  A pregnant woman does not leave a beautiful meal like that untouched.   Hospital life is not all bad!  Anyway, David attacked his pasta and ate more than half of a very big serving along with his fruit and apple juice. A very good sign in my book!

Chris and I did our "shift change" at the hospital last night about 7pm when the nursed did theirs... When our day nurse introduced the night nurse, I introduced my husband.  (Kind of funny.)   I took the girls to Chili's for dinner and simply enjoyed the fact they are healthy... It is hard to remember to do that simple thing when all is normal and routine in your life. We hit the grocery store to replenish and it dawned on me that I should get a ham for Thanksgiving since we cancelled our trip to visit family in Dallas. I don't know if David will be with us at home, but tradition calls for a special meal and I didn't feel like we shouldn't acknowledge that.  Besides, David loves ham and will love the leftovers!  As for today, Wednesday, I have not checked I with Chris yet, but I pray David will continue to do well and improve and ultimately come home.  I'll update later today.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lia's Baby Book

Emily and David both have beautiful baby books.  I made Emily's book after her first birthday and got inspired to make David's baby book when I was pregnant with Lia.  They *love* their baby books and love to get them out occasionally to see them.  I reference their baptism pictures when we discuss the sacraments and they are cherished very  much.  Lia is now almost six years old and has been asking why I haven't made hers yet.  Her requests that I make her baby book have gotten quite a bit more insistent over the past two years and especially now that we are awaiting baby Isaac's birth.  And guess what?  Those pregnancy hormones are amazing and I have been working on Lia's baby book all week with much dedication and the added inspiration of a 40% off everything coupon expiring tomorrow.  ;-)  And voila, here it is!  I can't wait to give it to her.  Try this link if the baby book doesn't appear below:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Police Station Tour

While I'm updating our blog, I'll post this picture of David visiting our local police station with his and another cub scout den.  And yes, all the kids passed their blood/alcohol test.  ;-)

 David's trying out the riot gear in this photo!

Another group picture from Chris's phone: 

Lia's First UT game

David and Emily have taken turns in the past going to the Texas football games with Dad.  This year, for the OSU game, he asked the kids who wanted to go with him.  David and Emily had a diving skills meet and didn't want to miss it and Lia surprised all of us when she said she would like to go with Daddy to the game.  Always before, she would say she didn't want to go or say she would rather stay with Mommy so last weekend she got to go to her first big UT football game.

Chris said she did great and really enjoyed watching the game and especially when the video screen displayed the message 'Get Loud!' to encourage the fans to cheer.

And a beautiful sunset to end Lia's special day with Dad!

Green Belt Testing

Here are the videos I took during David's green belt test as he performed his patterns.  He was in a group of 3 other boys testing for their green belts.  They are all performing the same pattern but you will see they are doing it at their own pace rather than together.  Anyway... it will give you an idea of what it is all about.  Tae Kwon Do was a mystery to me until David started his classes so it is always fun to learn about new arts!

David gets his green belt!

Last Wednesday night, David tested and was awarded his green belt in Tae Kwon Do.  As he progresses through the different belt levels, I have noticed how difficult his patterns have become and how serious he has been as he worked to master them.  Chris and I couldn't be prouder of him!  He started as a white belt, earned his yellow belt and now his green.  Because the patterns are so difficult to master, the kids can earn a stripe between each belt to discern they are at the half way point.  So when David tested, he was wearing a yellow belt with a green stripe.  He says he wants to go all the way to his junior black belt so he will have to achieve blue, red and then several stages as a black belt candidate to get there.  Stay tuned!

David is receiving his green belt here as he holds his old yellow belt in his left hand.

Shaking hands with Master Scott.

And all the new green belts accepting applause from the class!

To earn his green belt, he had to memorize 2 patterns and spar (fight) in front of his instructors.  Here is David in the white helmet sparring with a junior black belt.  (no pressure)

And here is a fuzzy picture of David kicking said junior black belt.  I have to admit I don't like watching him spar especially when he gets paired up with a girl.  He has to wear a helmet to protect his head, a tooth guard for his teeth and in tournaments, the boys even wear a protective cup.


Saturday, November 16, 2013


Lia has been very busy this school year learning the monumental skill called reading.  I have mentioned before that we struggled so much through our first book that I was left looking for something that would be a better fit for my little girl and I am still so happy and grateful we found 'All About Reading'.  (Thank you Blair!)
We spend a lot of time at our huge magnetic board manipulating letters and sounds to make words but I love that this program also includes phonetic readers, fun games and worksheets too.  Yesterday's lessons had Lia cooking sunny-side up eggs in the frying pan and reading the words on the bottom of each egg as she flipped them.  If she could read the egg, she got to put it on her plate.  Yes, the stove is off!

Generally, Lia doesn't like to do things in the ordinary way... so her eggs were colored with blue and purple yolks and rainbow whites... but that is part of her charm.  ;-)

And you phonetic readers out there can celebrate that we made it through all the basic one letter phonograms last week and have moved on to 'qu' and the two sounds of 'th'.  This is huge for us as we practice for a short time every day and slowly this idea of blending sounds is starting to gel in her brain.  I know we will get there.  Patience is key... but it is also a blessing to find activities that make the practice fun.

Lia's Little Mermaid Dance

And here's her Little Mermaid dance!
(She's right in the middle with the long ponytail.)

Lia's Ready for the Show!

Lia continued with ballet this fall at the YMCA.  She's still in the 3-6 year old class and continues to enjoy it.  I love that the instructors are all high school teens who just really seem to enjoy the little girls and love to teach.  We attended class on Wednesdays and Fridays so Lia got lots of dancing in this year.  Last year, her end of class recital was an informal affair for the parents in her ballet studio.  This year, however, she got to perform her dance on stage in a real youth theatre production of The Little Mermaid.  It was a really fun experience and we enjoyed getting to see the show as well!  Here she is the night of her performance.  Does she look just a little bit excited?  She's got a little bit of make-up on too... adding to the big smiles.
This is a picture from the dress rehearsal on Thursday.
With her classmates... (who also proudly announced they were wearing make-up)