We don't just go places...we have ADVENTURES!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

Another Zoo Crew Christmas day... Christmas 2008.

We had a lovely, slow day--which included staying in our jammies all day long!! What fun that was! Opened our gifts--many thanks to all!--played games and enjoyed a feast of ham & stuff. After dinner, we watched Prince Caspian together. (Gotta say, of all the sequels we've seen, this was one of the the very best!)

We missed having visitors this year, but enjoyed our quiet day together. Hope you had a great day, too!

Pat n Cats

Patrick and I are enjoying a lovely morning, playing and working together. Am *trying* to teach him to fold towels and he is doing his best to teach me how NOT to fold them.

We took a break to snuggle the kittens (quite enthusiastically!) and Patrick asked me to share this picture with you all. Please note how the kittens don't even want to look at him, LOL! Mostly, I think, because once Patrick's got one on his lap, he doesn't like to let 'em leave. *sigh*

Merry Monday!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

GREAT day!

Today was a terrific day...a nice way to roll into the coming week (especially since I'll be spending it away from my beloved fam!).

We've been getting into the festive Christmas spirit a little late this year. Daddy was gone right after Thanksgiving, so we had our first chance to decorate the tree this weekend. Tree's looking GREAT:

Lights are up outside. Ben was creative director for that project. At his insistance we now have a lighted doe & buck grazing fauxly in the yard. Pics will follow shortly, courtesy of Miss Ashley.

Today we had a wonderful time making snowpeople out of athletic socks. Using Patrick's school project as a model, we created our own versions:

Katie got so into the project, she opted to make another creation...a snowbear:

I think they all kinda look like the kid who made 'em, don't you??

What a fun day!! So now, we're practically ready...no baking done yet, but hey, can't rush things!

Happy Late Birthday, Hubby!!

For your birthday, Katie decided to channel "The Ace of Cakes" and the Food Network's "Cake Challenge" winners...

It was a valiant effort, truly.

How does that line from "Chorus Line" go? "Dance, 10...Looks, 3"
Um, yeah...in this case, Taste, 10...Looks, 3.

Great job, baby girl. And happy birthday, Bill!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Zoo Crew

The biggest turkey of them all?

Or rather, a visit FROM a great big turkey...in the form of Uncle Mike!! YAY! He is in town doing some Army stuff, so he was able to join us for a crazy family Thanksgiving.

We had an adventure trying to brine a frozen turkey (did you know that if you leave your turkey outside to defrost in below freezing temps, not much defrosting happens? duh!). Anyway, the turkey turned out pretty well and I think we'll do the brining thing again. It was my first attempt, and I have to say that I'm sold!

Since we didn't eat 'til about 3, we had to kill some time...kids enjoyed some remote control racing fun with a true expert--who was even able to get a *mostly dead* x-mods car back up and running!
After tummies were full, we watched Kung Fu Panda and enjoyed Uncle Mike's company. Of course, we took a break for pumpkin pie!! We're so thankful he was able to join us!

Silly, Seasonal Patrick!

Merry Christmas!! We did our annual Christmas card photo shoot this weekend and Patrick *really* got into the spirit of the event...
Please note the pink nail polish....that would be what happens when big sister leaves such a tempting toy in Patrick's reach...and he won't let us take it off!!!

Anyway, here he is, signing "Christmas"...
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Additions to the Zoo Crew

In direct response to the impending and probably loss of the undeclared "War on Unwanted Small Furry Creatures", we've added to the Zoo Crew with some wanted small furry creatures. Meet Dakota & Indiana, 10 week old kittens:
Here's a funny....Katie was trying to show us Indy's new trick, climbing in her shirt and out again. Indy decided he liked his spot and promptly fell asleep. Dakota followed, snoozing on Katie's lap:
Here's hoping we have better luck with these babies.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

Happy Birthday, Miracle Boy! It's been 11 years and you continue to amaze us with your intrepid soul and your oddball sense of humor.

We asked what you wanted for your birthday and you said PIZZA, so off we went to Pizza Hut, en masse. And then you ordered breadsticks, hee hee hee.

Some things people might not realize about you, especially when they see your *bonus features* first:
  • Patrick has a weird but good sense of humor.
  • He likes to build things, only to destroy them! (think tinkertoys & legos)
  • Cat 569 will always be his secret code...and if we EVER figure it out, I think we will unlock the mysteries that are the Patrick.
  • Patrick has a sense of style--honed by watching "What Not to Wear" with big sister Katie. He is NOT afraid to share his opinions with others.
  • His favorite foods are all things he can cook successfully by himself: tacquitos, quesadillas, popcorn
  • Patrick has a memory that exceeds an elephant's capability!
  • He does NOT like homework.
Happy birthday, my boy! I'm so very happy those crazy doctors were wrong about you so long ago.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Off Your Butt!!

I hate to duplicate stuff on my blogs, but today is an important day, so please bear with me.

I’m holding on to hope today--the hope that comes from faith in God. And from confidence in my fellow Americans to choose wisely.

I’m praying for the future of my country.

This moment, this choice, is bigger than just one candidate for president. THIS is what makes us unique in all the world… Democracy only works when each and every one of us takes our opinion voicing privilege seriously, thoughtfully and responsibly. But here’s the thing…no matter which side of the fence you are on…don’t complain if you don’t vote.

If you are legally eligible, get your butt to your polling place and cast your ballot. And please, please, PLEASE...

Just say NO!! to socialism.

And may God guide the hands of those that pull the levers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Unka Dave Comes to Visit!

Uncle Dave breezed into town for a brief visit...less than 24 hours...it was GREAT to see him and to give him the tour. ;-) Kids enjoyed playing Raving Rabbids with him on the Wii. And he managed to unseat me as the reigning Burp Champion!
Patrick didn't give him a name yet, but he *did* check out his bald head:
Check out the rest of the pics.

Have a safe trip home, Dave. And come back soon!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Family Vacation

Thanks to everyone who prayed for our annual vacation. Those prayers were answered and Patrick was able to take his vacation with the FABULOUS folks from the ARC. He had a wonderful time hanging out and having some serious one on one time. While he vacationed at the ARC, the rest of us meandered down to Fort Story in Virginia Beach.
You can check out our pics here: Vacationing with the Piggs

We had a wonderful time mini-golfing, go-karting and, of course, visiting the Purple Cow for the annual "Quest for the Purplest Tongue."
A few memorable moments:
  • Abbey running down the go-kart helper dude while driving a Jr. Stock Car.
  • Ben providing a high-pitched operatic soundtrack for our travels.
  • While riding a family bike down the boardwalk:
  • Mom to Katie: "Did you just drop your shoe?"
  • Katie: "Uh, no, just my dignity."
  • Abbey to Everyone: "Are we toasted yet?" (not yet, but ask the grown-ups later!)
  • Making "snores" once we were toasted (or rather, once the marshmellows were)
  • Matthew: "This lasagne is the BEST camping out food EVER!"
  • Playing games 'til late: Settlers of Kataan, Apples to Apples & Would You Rather?
  • Mosquitos the size of small birds. (gack! and apparently impervious to insect repellent!)
  • Hermie the Hermit crab and the HUGE blue crab from the beach
  • Matthew & Katie colliding head-on on the Outlaw track
Can't wait for next time....

School Pics are Here!

Well, for Ben & Matthew, at least!! Aren't they handsome boys?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Update & a Couple of Things

Greetings beloved friends! I know I owe y’all some updates, so here goes:

Patrick is working on standing up and is managing pretty well. He’s not using as much pain medication, either, so YAY! He’s not ready for the walker full-time yet, but if him wanting to be on the treadmill on Saturday is any indication, he’s gaining ground and motivation. Patrick’s doing well back in school, too…getting into the swing of his routine—5th grade!!!! Last week his class stopped by for a field trip; they were visiting everyone’s homes as part of a unit about home & community. Was fun to see his classmates and visit with them for a bit, since we don’t often have that opportunity with the school so far away.

Abbey still loves her new school. She comes home every day with funny little stories about the friends in her class. She takes it personally when one of them isn’t there to play with her. We are also enjoying her little adaptations of classroom rules to home. a la: “Miss Jenn says never, never, EBER, run around with paint, Mommy. I think you should be telling Ben toofpaste is da same.”

Matthew is adapting well to 3rd grade and is finding the work a bit more challenging. ‘Course if I were learning new math, fact family based-twiddle, I’d probably find 3rd grade math challenging, too. GACK. NOT impressed with the way he’s learning math these days…

Ben is having fun with 1st grade and is highly motivated by the reward bucket. He found out the other day that one of his teachers at after-school care had the same 1st grade teacher he does; he’s not quite sure what to do with that tidbit, though. Hee hee hee

Katie is really feeling top of the heap in 8th grade, but juggling an all-honors load has her hopping. And her toe issues are clearing up—FINALLY!—so the hopping is a wee bit less painful.


As many of you know, we like to take a family vacation to the beach in October. It’s that time again. We are usually blessed in that Patrick has the opportunity to take a vacation of his own during this time. He’s scheduled to go to respite this Wednesday for the duration of our family vacay—nice break for everyone—and especially desired after the intense focus on him for the last few months. PLEASE pray that he will be accepted into care for the week. (Always some intense nursing scrutiny before he’s allowed in! He’s doing well, but sometimes…)

Please keep my father outlaw in your prayers. He’s had some heart trouble lately and the way ahead is unclear. He had an angiogram done last week that showed several serious blockages.

Thanks and much appreciation for keeping us lifted up!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Hubby!

Congratulations on surviving 14 years of adventures with me, darling husband!

7 homes, 5 kids, 3 states, more wrinkles, less hair...and I'd pick you all over again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fun in the Sun...and the heat...and the rain....

Saturday was probably one of the worst days to have an outdoor ANYthing.

It was hot.
It was sticky.
It was extremely sunny.

It was a BLAST!!

Katie and I went to Awakening Music Festival at Bull Run Park with a group of equally insane but enthusiastic folks. We joined the early-bird crowd at 9 am, staking our claim to a *good* lawn seating spot when the gates opened at 11 am. (Just for the record—that’s a LONG time to wait then it’s already over 90 degrees outside!)

Thunderstorms (severe ones, even!) threatened on and off during the day, but the crowd prayed them away. YAY God! In the end, we were treated to a bit of a nice cooling rain and some FABULOUS music. Not a dud act in the bunch...I even enjoyed Skillet and found out that I know more of their songs than I thought, hee hee hee. Gee, who'd have thunk it? Discovering my "inner metal head" at 40? My brothers will be sooooooooooo proud!

Check out the day in my pictures here. Not nearly as cool as the slideshow as one of the other moms did, but hey…

I FINALLY got to see the Newsboys live & in concert! WHOO HOO! (Ever wanna feel really old and super young at the same time? Go to a concert for one of your favorite bands with your teenage kid!!)

Came home tired, sunburned and toting some good memories!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

You Asked for It....

Long time, no post. Sorry gang! Getting everyone off to school and trying to get in the rhythm of the school year has been an adventure.

But no more excuses…on with the news you can use! Patrick is doing well. His casts came off last week—YAY! Let me just say that there was GREAT rejoicing in Zoo Crew Land at the news that we could bathe the beast. He still can’t put weight on his legs, but the surgeon has already noted bone regrowth at the surgical sites. YAY! Even better news—it looks like his legs are pretty much the SAME LENGTH now AND--wait for it--he has feeling back in his right foot. YAY! YAY! And double YAY!!! Still not much motor control over that foot, but feeling is good.

He started physical therapy and—despite the fact that it’s a struggle for him—he’s mostly complying with the exercises. It has helped that his former therapist is available to work with him. (Thank you, God!) We’re sticking with strengthening and stretching for now, but his doctor has cleared him to do weight-bearing as early as next week. We’re hopeful and we’ve been talking with him a LOT about what he’ll have to do so he can walk again. This is rubber hitting the road time…he’s got a shot at walking almost normally IF we can get both legs under him and strong at the same rate. Trying to apply our lessons learned from last time ‘round and keep him from trusting one leg over the other—may prove to be a challenge, but I think we just might be up to it.

Earlier this week, he was down for the count with the lovely stomach virus going around. Ummmmm…NOT fun. (GACK, really!)

But now, Patrick man is feeling well enough that he’s figured out how to drop the sides of his hospital bed and begin maneuvers into his wheelchair on his own. Let’s just say I found this out when I came up from the basement the other day and found him happily nuking tacquitos when I *thought* he was napping. Almost wet my pants, he gave me such a surprise!

Next hurdle? There are TWO…
1—Getting on his feet (no walking, just aiming for standing!)
2—Going back to school (maybe next week?)

Thanks again to everyone who has been praying and thinking of him. I have EVERY confidence that it’s your prayers and well-wishes that are keeping our family afloat during this crazy and challenging time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Off They Go!!

Four out of Five Zoo-Crew Progeny headed off to school today.

Miss Abbey off to Pre-K. Silly as ever...

But at least we managed to get her shoes on the right feet first! She's already made a "hugging" friend named Tristan.
First grade was calling Ben's name...he decided to answer, but not before he made some really weird faces....

Last night, while packing lunches, I asked Ben if he wanted an apple or banana in his lunch. His response? "I don't eat LIVE fruit, Mom! Do we have any applesauce?" hee hee hee

Matthew, pretty grown up and philosophical about stuff, said that "third grade could just be a turning point for me." We're not sure WHAT he's turning from, but....

And, last, but really, the first out the door....Katie hit the road for 8th GRADE. *gulp*

And another summer is over....*sigh*

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hospital Pics

My "home away from home"...looks comfy, eh?

Nurse Amy checking Patrick's vitals...by request, on demand...at 4 in the morning...

Patrick's favored mode of sleep....wouldn't you think it would be MUCH easier to just turn off the lights?

Little ham clowned it up for the camera, striking a variety of "woe is me" poses...this one is my favorite.

Happy to be snoozing at home again, Big Sis at his side.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Home SWEET Home

We are home.

Got home late yesterday, so didnt' have a chance to post. Thank you everyone who called. I apologize if my lack of posting caused any anxiety. It was questionable off & on all day if we'd be allowed to leave. But he managed to keep two rounds of meds and some smallish amounts of chow down and we were given the ALL CLEAR.

Evidently, I brought home more than just Patrick, though...after a visit to my own doctor, I'm on antibiotics for strep. Hospitals aren't good places for healthy people. *sigh*

The reality of the next few weeks is settling in...Patrick is VERY glad to be home, but he can't decide if he wants to be in the chair, in the bed, on the couch...you get the picture. It's a challenge to move him, despite the handy lift, hospital bed and reclining wheelchair, but we're getting the hang of it.

I will say that he's doing a much better job driving his wheelchair this time around..last summer it was kinda bumper cars type driving...he's really trying to navigate carefully around the house. I'm still sad for my newish paint in the hallway, though....*sigh*

Thanks again to everyone for their prayers and well wishes. Pictures will follow shortly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If it's Tuesday, we must be...

still at the hospital...

Patrick's feeling somewhat better, joking & signing up a storm. His color is better and he definitely seems much more comfortable.

BUT (you knew that was coming, right?)

No eatie, no goie homie. Or rather, he can't go home 'til he stops yakking everything up. *sigh* Please keep this in your prayers, as he is convinced today is going home day...but until he keeps something down (nothing has stayed in there since 5 pm yesterday)....he can't leave. I think another night here would really demoralize us both.

He didn't sleep much last night, so neither did this mommy....am hoping he'll nap this morning and wake up ready to be puke free. It's a dream, but he can make it happen, LOL.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Still no Wiggly Piggies...

Monday morning finds me rested, but tested. Last night, after 4 days of successfully managing to deal with his IVs, both sites started to bleed. Easiest and best course of action was to remove them. Only an issue for the IV pain medications, since Patrick's done with his rounds of antibiotics. At least this time, he didn't pull 'em out himself!

This morning, he is struggling to keep his medications down. He's been napping for about 2 hours now, surprisingly comfortably...so am praying it will continue.

Surgeon stopped by and well, no progress on the lack of sensory or motor control in his right leg. She is confident it is not permanent, so I am trying hard to focus on her experience and my lack thereof. She bent his knee up a bit to relax the stress on the nerve and to see if that helps. Guess we'll find out.

This part of the weekend's adventure will be keeping Patrick and I here 'til at least tomorrow...maybe Wednesday.

Highlights from yesterday, though...
using the lift to get Patrick into his cool reclining wheelchair for a trek around the ward
Patrick joking with the nursing staff...telling them to go to time-out for not taking his vitals, telling them they were stinky and telling the sitter to go home because her work was done
visits from the sibs
visits from the Morin ladies
trying out a Video Phone Relay System (very cool!)

More later....thanks again for all your prayers and calls & good thoughts!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Day, er...a Night...or was that Day?

The last 24 hours have been, well...a day.

Saturday morning, the nurses noticed that Patrick wasn't wiggling his right toes anymore. We are all confident that he was on Friday, so the surgeon was paged.

Good News...there are 3 reasonable explanations, none of which are permanent or overly scary
  • swelling from soft tissue has impeded the nerve
  • epidural is working TOO well on the right side
  • the papa-something nerve was stretched too far during the surgery
Bad News...all the above explanations require some action to narrow it down...
  • partial removal of the beautiful cast
  • removal and/or stoppage of the epidural flow
  • removal of the right leg cast & reset with a bent knee
*sigh* Even the surgeon was commenting that if anything weird were going to happen to a surgical patient, it would happen to Patrick, LOL.

I have had the very unfortunate experience of watching my boy writhe in pain today while the epidural flow was stopped...I think everyone had underestimated how much that was helping him cope. His blood pressure spiked and he didn't nap more than 5 minutes at a time most of the day. Still no toe wiggling... So, after several attempts with a slightly malfunctioning cast cutter (imagine the surgeon wielding said instrument suggesting that a roomful of nurses and the mom prepare to take cover in case the blade goes flying), portions of the cast have been removed. It is determined he's got no feeling below the hip. aaarrrggghhh

So now we wait...feeling seems to be returning to his leg, slllooooooowwwwwllllyyyy. Still no toe wiggling, but I'm optimistic. For now.

He finally fell asleep, but woke up a bit ago...around 3:30 am. Thanks to my erstwhile sitter of the evening, Bea, I've had a bit of rest. They woke me when beastie insisted on a Mommy-hug. (There are worse things to wake up to!) I'm ready to hit the hay for a snooze again...Patrick, however, is having fun pushing all the nurse call buttons & playing with the bed. And now I hear the vague sounds of snoring from Bea's general area. (Oh, did I mention that Patrick has finally turned off the lights?)

Nurse Amy has been kind enough to take his vital signs on demand in the wee hours this morning...booger keeps pushing the call button, then insisting on having his respirations counted, heart rate listened to, blood pressure & temp taken. I have pictures, but apparently brought the wrong cable to connect my camera to 'puter. Oh well....will add 'em later!

I think he's drifted off...so maybe I can, too...

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Battle for the Remote

Beastie had a pretty good night...thanks in part to a new hospital service--a sitter. More officially, a Patient Comfort Assistant. A team of lovely folks traded shifts to sit in the room with us, promising to stay awake so that I could catch some zzzzzzzzz while ensuring that he didn't pull his IVs out or do anything else risky. While it certainly wasn't as restful as being home, it sure was nice to catch a full 3 hours nap. YAY!

Now if I could only get him to relinquish the remote...booger doesn't want ANYone watching TV unless he's watching HIS chosen channel. Poor sitter this morning got quite an eyeful when Patrick went off the deep end over it. He was ZONKED and I had gone downstairs to grab a cup of coffee. She *dared* to turn on the TV and he was fully awake and totally unglued in an INSTANT. LOL. He settled the minute she turned it off, but MAN.

Doctor has already been in this morning to check his progress and is pleased. YAY!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stage Three--CHECK!

YAY! We are out of surgery and in his nice cozy (?) hospital room.

Surgery completed around 5:30 pm, but then it took him 'til 7:30 pm to make the folks in recovery happy. *sigh* He's in a cast from the hips down, with a bar between the two legs, slightly below his knees.

The good news? His legs are within 1 cm of the same length.

The bad news? His right knee will never really straighten out. (not terribly bad news, just slightly bad...oh well).

Now that Patrick's done playing with the buttons on the bed and calling the nursing staff rather needlessly, he seems to be settling down. Only one ugly near-breech of the IV thus far, so please keep your fingers crossed...

Oh...and his day nurse tomorrow will be Lynn who nursed both he and Ben last year. YAY!

Good night, friends...and thanks for your prayers and good wishes!

Stage Two--CHECK!

Okay, so a few of the things you NEVER want to hear in the background when you receive a phone call from your kid:
  • beer glasses clinking & blenders
  • sirens
  • "feet back & spread 'em"
  • hand grenades & explosions
  • "Rave" music
Nurse Naomi gave me a shout out a few minutes ago. They just closed the third incision on his right leg and have moved over to his left. Evidently to the bone sawing part. Um...I'm thinking that I would have been willing to wait just a few minutes more for that update....

The anesthesiologist called a bit ago, asking for permission to set up an epidural for him. Seems he's concerned about post-op pain medication, so we're going to try that route. Not a bad idea, considering the not-so-willingness of my Patrick to cooperate with an IV once he's awake. I like this guy! He had a wonderful way with Patrick this morning AND of working with the the interpreter...not ordering her around or directing her what to tell him or what NOT to tell him.

That's about it for now...looks like another 2 hours or so...maybe more, depending on how long it takes to put the cast on. Any bets on how long it takes to wrap a 5 foot boy in a half body cast???

First Stage--CHECK

Little booger woke up this morning signing "go to hospital, fix legs". The biggest challenge this morning? Keeping him out of the fridge 'til it was time to go! 10 am surgery meant 8 am arrival...nice to avoid the whole butt crack of dawn thing, but that meant an extra hour or so without chow for my little chowhound!

We arrived and he could barely contain his enthusiasm...the nurse was STUNNED that he was so happy to be here. Now that I'm in the waiting area, I can hear her telling everyone about the happy little boy who couldn't wait to get in the back.

What a difference a year makes! No struggle to keep the gown on him, no arguing with the nurses. At first, he told me to stay and go play on my computer. Changed his mind and wanted me to go with him to the OR. Definately one of the hardest things I've EVER done....but I admit it was easier than when he and Ben were 2 and seeing them so tiny in those super bright OR lights. Not a shock, but he did NOT like the mask--UNTIL they put the cotton candy scent in there, LOL. He drifted off and everything got underway.

Naomi, his OR nurse, just called to say that they finished part 1 of 3...the hamstring lengthening has been completed. YAY! That was the easy part, though...and I can't help but wonder how Patrick's ultra-petite surgeon is going to be able to pull the old plate & screws out of that bone....

More later!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Prayer Requests for Patrick

Just a quick posting to ask for your prayers, happy thoughts and speedy recovery vibes for Patrick-man. He’ll be heading off for another go at orthopedic surgery this Thursday morning. This time, we’ll be tackling BOTH the right & left legs, in hopes of evening him out length-wise AND straightening him out. We expect to be kicking it in the hospital for 4 – 5 days, then home in a half-body cast for a few weeks. He is VERY excited, and looking forward to being able to walk, sans walker.
Please pray for his strength, for the surgeon’s wisdom and for this mommy’s calm. Pray, too, if you would, for the nursing staff to be compassionate, understanding and patient with him, as he’s NOT the world’s best patient.
Thanks so much, my friends!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Birthday Bash to End all Bashes

And, NO, we will NOT be doing this anytime again soon...

Katie & Allison's big 13th birthday smash-bash was a success...much joy was had by all. And cake. And dancing. And snacks.

Check out the slideshow: Katie & Allison's Big Night (kudos to guest photog Tina!)

Sunday Obsession was in rare form and WOWed the crowd with both their music and their on-stage antics. The impromptu post-party photo shoot made for some interesting memories!

But, boy am I GLAD that's over!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Trekkin' Down Rodeo Drive

No, not Row-DAY-o Drive! Row-DEE-o Drive! A smallish contingent of The Zoo Crew hit the road for an evening at a local ranch for an adventure.

The adventures began before we even got there, with Patrick and our helper-friend Ashley hanging back at the Zoo Crew ranch...after looking at the event's website and peeking at rodeo information, the goofball put himself to bed! At 4 in the afternoon. Seriously. Apparently, he's much happier teasing Ashley about cows than going to see them in real life! Little booger missed some fun! Bummer was, he's the reason we had the tickets, a gift from the Arc.

The evening was a fundraiser for a local charity, so we started with pulled pork BBQ and a few photo opps. Note the decorations Matthew has already added to his outfit. The skies were ominous and we thought for sure we were in for a drenching...but the sun came out and "made ebbeyting all shiny!" (to quote Miss Abbey)

Even though the boys declined the offer, Abbey readily hopped up on the pony for a little ring ride. She was soooooooooooo dratted cute!

The boys LOVED watching the cowboys try to ride the bulls...and it took 12 of 'em falling off before we had a scorable rider! (Those bulls were in *fine* form that night, let me tell you!) Me, I was highly entertained by the bull's names: 911, Test Me, ER. Between the entertainment provided by the rodeo clowns (and Bubba the dummy!), it was difficult to tell which the boys enjoyed more--the successful or unsuccessful bull-riders!

Abbey, on the other hand, was much more fascinated by the young lady sitting behind us...the reigning Miss Frederick, Leah Worrell. What a lovely and gracious girl! Truly a real, live princess! She autographed a picture for Abbey, letting Abbey hold *the* crown while she signed. And then, much to Miss Abbey's delight, posed for this picture:
...my baby girly girl's little heart was so blessed!

Who knew wild cow milking could be so entertaining? or maybe it was the trippy chicks in heels and babydoll dresses that wanted to sign up for the competition?? You can see the professional pics of the evening here: Battle of the Beast.
I think this is something we will do again...what a fun way to spend a family evening! YEEEE HAAAWWW!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Welcome to your TEENS, darling girl. Or should I say "young lady"? Because you are well and truly on your way.

We may not always agree or even share the same universe, but you will always be my special kid. When you were born, so was a Mommy. (Not to forget the Daddy, too!) Your arrival created a family from a couple. And we liked you so much,we decided to have more. So, really...this whole 5 kids thing is YOUR doing. Hee hee hee.
Some cool stuff about you:
  • You are a TERRIFIC big sister. Especially when you think no one is watching.
  • You have a weird but wonderful sense of humor. Came out early on and has just gotten weirder.
  • You are SOLID in your faith and down to earth. We like that you know who you are and don't mind being her.
  • You are a fabulous lacrosse player. You've taken to the sport like a duck to water.
  • You have the power to use your intellect for good...and, so far, you seem to plan to do so!
  • You are a good friend and listener to your friends. (not always to US, but...)
  • You have been an adventure from the very beginning...starting with the day of your birth when we were trapped in the delivery room alone.
This year's festivities included cheesecake with all kinds of fruity toppings. And in a couple of weeks, a joint party with Miss Allison, featuring Sunday Obsession!

We are very proud of you...and can't wait to see where God takes you!