Friday, August 31, 2007

Going to Stoneboro!

As soon as Patrick gets back from his call shift, we are heading to the Great Stoneboro Fair! Stoneboro is where my mom grew up and it holds so many special memories for my sisters and me, so I am so excited to get back there with them, as well as our families, to continue making great memories. I know it will be fun - and the weather is supposed to be perfect the whole time. Patrick already knows he has babysitting duties on Saturday night when I go to play BINGO!!! What a great pastime for me! I almost always win something - sometimes even the Jackpot! Keep your finger crossed! I will post pics next week when we get back!

Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So excited!

This will be my first Suppotr Group meeting since we've been back from vacation. We have a huge group coming and we also have a special guest to talk also. The head of the Auxiliary Group for the attendings wives is coming to talk about their group and what they can do to help us. They have funding so they can give us some money to help with special projects, nights out, etc! Things are really heading in a great direction!

This picture is from yesterday's playgroup at the fountain park. When we were leaving Gavin and Nathan holding innocent and cute! Please don't grow up EVER!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Just a reminder that the following NMB posts are just copied from my girlfriend Ashli who was there. She did a great job detailing and I didn't feel like doing it myself again! So these are her thoughts and her words. - I have added side notes when I could!

NMB Day 8

Today was a trip to the Ripley's Aquarium, followed by the pool in the afternoon. The aquarium was pretty cool, but I'm not sure it's quite worth the price of admission. They did have a pirate display that Nathan loved, and the aquarium tunnel was amazing. It was such an interesting perspective to see fish and sharks swimming above you! We also got to see a diver feed a tank full of fish in one of the dive shows and a menagerie of other various marine life. I have to say though that I curse the designer of the building who decided it would be a good idea to have the only exit be through the gift shop. I know what they were trying to accomplish, but really? You want a ton of toddlers pawing through the merchandise?

After naps were done, we headed out to the pool for one last time. Nathan got to the point that he would jump in to Kelly's arms from the side of the pool and even went under the water a few times. (Although he preferred to stay above)

The rest of the evening consisted of packing, drinks and one more game of Gin Rummy...I FINALLY WON! (***side note from Kelly - I was the winner most nights)

NMB Day 7

Today was the marathon beach day. We learned a lot about how not to do the beach with five kids, and it went a lot smoother than the first time. Kelly and I headed over at about 10am with the boys and Cara stayed behind with the girls with the intention of meeting us later at lunchtime and bringing us, well, lunch. It was high tide when we got there, but it was going out so pretty soon it had receeded leaving behind a tide pool that ran the length of the beach and was only about six inches deep. It was perfect for the kids to play in without worrying about a wave catching them and they played for hours in the water and sand.

After lunch the girls joined us and they too had a blast playing, although Hailey devoured sand by the mouthful and Evelyn tried with no luck to eat a shell. At one point in time Nathan had to go potty and decided to drop his swim trunks and try his luck right there in the waves. (Mommy caught him in time) Other than that, We only had two small sunburned spots, one on my back that was obviously where I couldn't reach well, and the other was Nathan's plumbers crack where his swim trunks kept sliding down. If you're going to have a sunburn, that's a pretty funny place to have one...

Needless to say the kids were really tired after 6+ hours at the beach, and Nathan was the only one who stayed awake on the way home, but they all had a great time and went to bed easily that night.

NMB Day 6

How do you simultaneously irritate five kids?

Step 1: Load them all into car seats
Step 2: Take them...SHOPPING!

Yes, that's right, we went outlet shopping. Ian couldn't believe that we would go shopping when there was a beach so close, but being girls we couldn't resist. There was an outlet mall about 10 minutes away from the house, and so we decided that we had to check them out. I got quite a few shirts for Nathan for this fall and a couple of pairs of shoes and even a couple of shirts for myself. I even managed to find one sweatshirt for Carter, who, although is fully stocked for the fall with Nathan and Gavin's hand-me-downs, deserves at least one new thing that is all his. The kids were pretty good, but after a couple of hours they had had enough and we were all hungry, so we headed home.

After lunch and naps it was off to the pool again, but this time Kelly and I took Nathan and Gavin by themselves and attempted to re-live our teenage years with contests to see who could do the most front flips, handstands, and walking on our hands underwater. (Mostly I just ended up inhaling a lot of water.) Kelly won hands down, but I suspect she has been practicing when no one else is looking... (*** Side note from Kelly - I haven't been practicing - I am just that good!!! Heehee)

NMB Day 5

I have never seen this many reptiles in one place. Alligator Adventure was an amazing reptile zoo just down the street from Kelly's house and probably one of Nathan's favorite activities of the week since he is a reptile nut. There were literally dozens of alligators piled on top of one and other, ranging in size from miniature to Godzilla. Some of them were really terrifying and I was so glad to see that there were multiple barriers between us and them, and also signs everywhere telling parents not to lift their children above the barriers. I seriously wonder how stupid you would have to be...

Anyway, the kids got to see the alligators being fed, live animal shows, and even got to pet some of the animals. There was a gator born without a tail named Bob who Nathan took a liking to, and several pens that housed gators and turtles together. It was at one of those pens where there was a turtle sitting on an alligator's back where Nathan stopped and yelled out, "Watch out Turtle! That alligator might bite!" He was really concerned!

Best idea of the day: The monkey and dog harnesses for Carter and Gavin
Worst idea of the day: Push Pops for toddlers in 90 degree heat (Sorry again guys!)
After that we had our daily lunch and naps and then had a trip to the pool for the afternoon. The kids slept well again that night!

NMB Day 4

All in all, this was a great day. I never thought that I would ever in my life get to hold a monkey or get a photo taken with a tiger, and I was even more shocked that we made it through a meal at a restaurant with so many kids! How cool...
Even though we were in South Carolina, it was still the fourth Saturday of the month, and in our household and Kelly's that can mean only one's building day at Lowes. The second and fourth Saturday are Build and Grow with Lowes days, and kids up to 12 years old can build a project for free. They get an apron on their first day and each project earns them a patch and certificate. Today was a little toolbox! Gavin and Nathan had so much fun and did such a good job on their toolboxes. I also picked up an extra kit to make one for Carter since I could foresee a big issue coming if we didn't have two.

Later in the afternoon we headed over to the boardwalk again for dinner. We ended up eating at Joe's Crab Shack and I'm pretty sure that they had an agenda to get us out of there as quickly as possible since #1-we were put in the back corner by the soda machine, #2-our meals came out in under 10 minutes after ordering them, and #3-the bill quickly followed. Do you think that five kids under the age of four made them nervous? They really didn't have any reason to be though since all of the kids were really good and ate pretty well.

After dinner we headed over to an animal preservation station to look at some animals that they have on display. You can also get your photo taken with some of them, and we opted to get a group photo with a baby white tiger! In the picture Nathan and Gavin are holding it and Nathan is bottle feeding it. It was so amazing! We also got to hold a baby monkey of some sort for individual photos and the kids were really into that. Carter got really mad when they took it away from him though!

NMB Day 3

Hot Hot Hot. That's the only way I can describe the beginning of this day. We started off going to the boardwalk at Barefoot Landing to walk around to all of the shops. It was really cool for the kids to see all of the turtles and fish in the water, and they liked just running around since it wasn't busy at all. After about an hour and a half though it got so insanely hot that we decided to head back home to cool off. After lunch and naps it was off to...

...the beach. Have you ever seen the show "Yes, Dear?" If not, the intro to the show follows two families with small children as they navigate across the street to the beach with a ridiculous amount of crap. That was us today. Seriously.

Picture this: Three moms, five kids, a double stroller, four beach chairs, (like we were going to be sitting, and yes, there are only three adults so I'm not sure why we needed the extra chair) two rolled beach mats, two beach umbrellas, a pack and play, a cooler, at least five bags, somewhere in the range of a dozen beach towels, more shovels and pails than we had kids, beach toys, trucks, a beach ball, and all of the various snacks, sunscreen, cameras, drinks, and other stuff that we thought we needed. If only we had thought to bring a huge inflatable raft or something...

Let me tell you, getting across the street was probably one of the most comical scenes any of the people around us could have witnessed. I'm sure that they thought it was some new reality series or something. Of course once we crossed the street we realized that to get to the beach we had to go up a flight of stairs, over a bridge, and down another flight of stairs on the other side. It took us two trips to get everything over and then, do I have to mention that strollers don't roll on sand? Once we were ready to leave, (and by the way, right after we got everything situated didn't the skies start to turn cloudy as a storm started to roll in?) we had to repeat the process in reverse, but this time with four screaming kids that were incensed that we would have the nerve to rinse the sand off of them and actually leave. (The fifth had miraculously fallen asleep in the kid backpack. Oh yeah, we brought that too.) This was the night that we broke out the rum after the kids went to sleep...

NMB Day 2

Today began with a trip to Wal-Mart. Seeing as we had only enough stuff to scrape by on breakfast, we decided that we needed some groceries. After all, the bottle of Malibu we brought wouldn't hold the kids off for long. So, after breakfast we loaded up all five kids and headed off to Wally World.

I have to say, the kids were pretty good. At first. After a couple of hours though, it was getting close to lunch time and the cheese and cookies weren't doing it for them anymore. Therefore, the entire time we were ringing up our purchases we had no fewer than three screaming kids at all times. Our receipt, by the way, ended up being over a foot and a half long.

After we finished up there we headed home, unpacked, and got the kids fed and ready for naps. Carter and Hailey were both pretty upset at being in pack and plays in new rooms, so Hailey screamed herself to sleep and I rocked Carter after trying the "let him cry it out" method. He screamed for over a half an hour and then fell asleep on my shoulder immediately after I picked him up.

In the afternoon we headed over to the pool for the first time. The kids had a great time playing in the water and we wore them out enough to come home, eat dinner, and head off to the playground before coming home for baths and bed. It was nice to have a low key day after our long car trip the day before, and the pool and playground wore the kids out so that they all went down without a hitch. (Side note from Kelly - Gavin learned to swim on his own with his floaties!!!)

Myrtle Beach - Intro Day 1

So 2 days after we got back from Italy, the kids and I packed up and headed to North Myrtle Beach for a 3 week vacay! Our friends (Ashli (and her two kids Nathan and Carter) and Cara (and her daughter Hailey) caravaned with us as they were coming down for a week also! It took a little over 13 hours to get there but was pretty good as far as I was concerned. Since I am very late in posting this - I am going to cheat and copy my friend Ashli's blog as she detailed each day they were down and spent with us very well! And some of her quips about her sons are too funny you have to read them too!


The car trip went fairly smoothly, we only ran into traffic once due to an accident and by the grace of God we made it through before they closed down the road and started to divert traffic off the highway. The only snafus? I found out that Nathan gets carsick in the third row. Luckily this was brought to my attention when we stopped at a rest stop so we were able to give him some Benadryl to calm his stomach, (i.e. we missed the puking stage) Also, Carter and Hailey decided to have a screaming match. Back and forth. For the last hour or so of the trip. Oh well.
(***Side note from Kelly - I was lucky because my kids are great in the car - not one peep! - But it was funny to call the other car and hear screaming!!!)

The most interesting experience of the whole car trip had to be the restaurant Kelly picked for our dinner. Since the last 100 miles or so of our trip were on back roads there weren't exactly a lot of things to choose from, and with the kids getting hungry she pulled off to a restaurant called Lizzie's. It didn't look too bad from the outside, but inside was another story. We thought at one point that we were all going to come out with some sort of food borne illness, but luckily we all made it past in one piece. The kids wanted to play out in the parking dust bowl, and had some of the magnetic Thomas Trains with them which quickly picked up what had to have been some sort of metal ore in the dirt, and I have never seen them all so dirty. They had fun though. The ironic part was that about three miles down the road we ran into a town with several fast food places. Oh well, win some lose some.

After we got to Kelly's house around 9 something, I watched the kids and Kelly and Cara unloaded the cars, then we got the kids into baths and bed. There was a great soaking tub in the master and luckily for us it was big enough for all of them. We all turned in pretty early that night!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Italy - Last 2 days

We spent the last two days in Rome. Well, actually we didn't get in until late at night, and we just went to the Piazza Navona center, got our sketches drawn (even though they don't look like us) and had dinner. The only problem was Patrick was really sick at this point and could barely make it through dinner. We finally got back and just crashed. He felt a bit better on Saturday morning so we went to the Vatican. Lesson #1. Cover your shoulders in the Vatican.

We waited in line through security and made it all the way up to go in, when a rude man points to me and says "Prego". At first I thought he called me fat. Then I realized he was kicking us out because all of my shoulders were not covered. I had a sleeveless top with cropped pants - a nice looking outfit - but the sleeves weren't covering enough of the shoulder area. So we rushed to a local vendor, bought a cheesy ROMA shirt and went back. It was gorgeous, breathtaking, inspiring, etc. We walked to the top (which is a HIKE) and enjoyed the views of the city.

Then back to the hotel, to the airport and back home. The flight was great again and I could not wait to get back to the US and see my kids!!! One week is a long time away! As soon as we got back, I woke Gavin up and hugged him for 5 minutes. Then I went and watched Evelyn sleep - and snatched her up too!!! I missed my little guys!!!