Monday, August 30, 2010

Last weekend. The good, the bad, and the ugly…

What a whirlwind weekend this past weekend was!  As incredible as it may seem, it was the first weekend with just the three of us together at our house in Knoxville since July 16th!  We were certainly looking forward to spending some quality time together as a family unit.

And we started out doing just that!  Beginning Friday evening, we were all in the living room, smiling at each other, and marveling at just how “right” it all felt and how it was good to be “back to normal”. 

Saturday morning was just as nice.  Doing more of those “normal” things.  Mowing the lawn.  Cleaning the house.  All of the things that most people would not enjoy at all, we were relishing – soaking up every wonderful minute just for its shear normalcy.  With as crazy, topsy-turvey, upside down, crazy, spinning out of control as things have been lately, it as absolutely marvelous to be so “normal”. 

And “the good” continued as the “quad mom” agreed to watch Mike for us while “mommy and daddy” got to go out on a date and celebrate their anniversary!  It was a great night with great food and great wine.  Thank you Jim and Allison for watching Mike for us!!!  Someday (after a lot more practice) we’ll be qualified to watch the quads and we’ll be able to return the favor!!!

As the date drew to a close, so did “the good”.  We went to pick up Mike it just seemed like he was a little whiney.  Not anything that anyone would ever notice – except that Mike is NEVER whiney.  He whimpered most of the way home and his congestion, which had been sounding better just a couple of days before, was now back in full force.  We got home, put on his brace (hopefully we’ll be able to eliminate that from the bedtime routine in another 3 or 4 months!), and put him to bed.  He wasn’t asleep for long before we heard him crying in the monitor.  That’s REALLY uncharacteristic!  Mom trekked up the stairs and calmed him back down.  An hour or so later, he was crying again.  Again, mom trekked up the stairs and calmed him back down and he fell back asleep.  just a few minutes later, he was crying again.  This time, daddy made the trek to Mike’s room.  Three times in one night – something is certainly not right.  Mike doesn’t wake up crying in the night three times in a month!  Three times in a night?  Hmmm – something isn’t right.  And then, like turning on a switch, out pops a fever!

So we start the Tylenol regimen.  That get’s him through the night, but by mid morning on Sunday, it wasn’t keeping the fever down.  We decided to call the “nurse line” since the pediatrician wasn’t open on Sundays (because kids NEVER get sick on Sunday’s!).  The nurse asked all of the routine questions and then asked to hear Mike’s breathing over the phone.  That’s when things started slipping from “the bad” in to “the ugly”…

When the nurse heard Mike’s breathing coming in a raspy pant (and since the pediatrician's office was closed), she felt that we shouldn’t wait until Monday to see a doctor.  Of course, that means a trip to the ER at Children’s Hospital!  We were concerned that the nurse might be over reacting a little – but what kind of parents would we be if we didn’t follow the advice (especially if it turned out to be bronchitis or pneumonia or H1N1 or………).  It’s certainly better to be safe than sorry.  So, off we go.

We get to the hospital and waltz in through the ER doors.  We are whisked from room to room and see several different nurses (who all assure us that it was better to come in than to wait for the doctor’s office to open).  After much poking and proding and taking his temperature a half dozen different times (we assured Mike that when he gets older, there is a better way to take his temperature) we saw the doctor.  He listened to his lungs (“hmmm – they sound a little congested”) and then looked in his ears (“Oh!  That one’s infected.  And looky there – it looks like we’ve got a double!”).  They took some x-rays of his lungs just to make sure nothing serious was going on there (especially since mommy has asthma).  The x-rays looked good – at least there was one little piece of good news!

Now it’s been 24 hours and Mike has had three doses of his antibiotic.  He already seems like his normal little playful self.  And looking back on it all (hindsight is 20-20) – it really wasn’t over reacting.  He ears were bothering him enough that it hurt when he swallowed which is why he hadn’t been much interested in eating.  Every time he coughed, it would bring out this long moaning cry.  And Tylenol had stopped controlling his fever.  I’m sure that by Monday, he would have been beyond miserable.  It’s too bad he didn’t have some of the “classic” ear infection symptoms that everyone has told us to look for – like red ears that he tugs on all the time!

And why is it that pediatrician offices are closed on Sunday’s?  Maybe we just haven’t told Mike that Sunday’s are off limits for sick days…

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday dear daddy!

Happy birthday to you!


Happy Birthday Daddy!

Today is my daddy’s birthday.  Happy birthday daddy!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sad news once again…

Sometimes it seems that in the game of life, you can never get over the hump.  Just when things start looking up a little bit – here comes another hit out of nowhere and knocks you back down the hill again.

And so it is again.  The seemingly harmless phone call to let us know that Mike’s “pappy” had suddenly passed away.

The shock is always a little deeper when it is this unexpected.  He hadn’t been sick.  There weren’t any health concerns.  He had even been working out in the backyard just minutes before.

But we have faith that there is a “great plan” and that he has been called home to do bigger and better things than he could accomplish here with us.  And while pushing our grief aside might feel like moving mountains, we know that mountains have been moved before.  And rather than focusing on the pain, we focus on his life and living the way he would have wanted us to. 

Love your family like nothing else – your spouse as your constant companion, your children as if they were your world, your grandchildren as if they hung the moon, and your brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, and everyone else as if there is nothing you wouldn’t do for them.

Love your friends and neighbors as if they were family.  Use your skills and knowledge to promote the greater good.  Realize that helping your fellow man is just like helping yourself.  And when you need a favor in return – people will be knocking down your door to offer help.

Love your country as if it were the best place on Earth – because it is.  Remember that your lifestyle came at a great cost and that there are many people still fighting today to insure that we keep a hold on those freedoms.  A soldier’s sacrifice has given me the ability to sit here tonight and say whatever I want, however I want.  There are many countries that are envious of that – and many other things.  If a soldier ever asks for a hand – lend them one and never ask for anything in return.  They’ve already repaid you.

Every Sunday, there is a particular point during each mass when the priest asks us to “remember those who have died”.  We will remember you, Pap.  We will teach Mike as best we can.  And we’ll make sure he knows that he hung the moon…



Mike and Pappy telling tall tales…

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another trip and other milestones

Mike and his mom had been talking.  They realized that summer was coming to an end.  Mom was going to have to head back to work soon – the fall semester was quickly approaching.

They decided that one last summer road trip would be the best way to say farewell to summer.  And with mom and dad’s anniversary just a few days away, there couldn’t be a better road trip than to spend a long weekend in Cincinnati with dad!

So, this past Thursday, they loaded up the truck.  Baby clothes, mommy clothes, baby toys, dog toys, baby food, dog food, diapers, and many other things that we can simply call “other stuff”.  Mike was strapped in his car seat.  Foxy was in the back keeping him company.  Izzy was in the front keeping mom company.  And mom pointed the truck up I-75 and “let-r-rip”!

Last Friday was the official anniversary.  Five years.  Before long, we might actually be married longer than we were engaged!  Ahhh – but that’s a different story altogether!  A nice home cooked meal.  Dad even had candles at his apartment!  What a better way to celebrate a wedding anniversary than to be with your family – especially when you have to spend so much time apart.

Saturday was a great day!  It started with a lazy morning.  Everybody slept in – even Mike!  We had a great lunch at Scott’s BBQ – and we topped it off with a piece of sweet potato pie.  Yum!  Then we went back to get ready for the main event.  A trip to the Great American Ball Park to watch the Reds play the Marlins!  We must have brought them some good luck – the Red’s won 5 to 4 and regained the #1 spot in their division!  Since it was Mike’s first baseball game, the Reds gave him a certificate commemorating the occasion.  That was pretty cool – and it will surely end up in the scrapbook…

Sunday was the trip to Jungle Jim’s.  “What’s that"?” you say.  The best way to describe it is an “international grocery store” – but that’s like calling the Olympics “just another sporting event”.  If it can be sold and it’s edible – you can find it at Jungle Jim’s.  Of course they have all of the things a “normal” grocery would have – milk, eggs, bread, ground beef, potato chips, tomatoes, etc.  But they also have things like elk steaks.  Or a cheese aisle that is about 1/4 mile long (no I’m not exaggerating) and has cheese from a couple dozen different countries.  Like wine?  They have everything from Boone’s Farm all the way to a $5000.00 bottle.  I’m pretty sure that I’ll never know what a $5000.00 bottle of wine tastes like – but I’m sure it doesn’t taste like Boone’s Farm.  So – what did we get?  A bottle of wine from the Bordeaux region of France, some Mango’s from Argentina, some cream filled ginger snaps from Yorkshire, and some pasta (chipotle fettuccini) from Italy.  Oh – and some baby food from Pennsylvania.

And there was one additional event, a milestone if you will, that happened this weekend.  Mike officially has teeth!  Two little teeth barely poking through his bottom gum.  He is now continuously shocked (and a little dismayed) that chewing on his fingers hurts a little now.  And let me tell you – they are S-H-A-R-P!!!  Our little baby is getting big!  Cheerios are just around the corner…


Yo - 'sup!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!


Candlelight dinners make me sleepy…

Sisterly Love

Even the dogs got along…

The Reds game

Our seats at the game…



I want these chips!

Dad?  Are you going to let me eat these potato chips?  I’ve got teeth, you know…



Mike in "seat number 1"

“Baseball games sure are long.  It’s WAY past my bedtime!”



Ahhh – a nice bed and a glow-seahorse to pet.  Now I can visit dreamland!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meanwhile – Back at the Orthopedic Doctors Office…

Haven’t we all noticed that the older we get, the faster time flies by.  And I have come to discover that the passage of time exponentially increases with the addition of kids!  It is almost impossible to believe that we are in the final throes of summer vacation.  School children everywhere are feeling the carefree summer lifestyle slip away with every trip to the store.  No more pink lemonade – now it’s all pencils and paper new shoes and underwear.

Of course, we have a year or two (or three or four) before Mike reaches that stage.  And the date circled in red on his calendar might not have been marking the first day of school – but it was certainly marking an important date.  Another trip to the Orthopedic Doctor for a foot checkup.

As is always the case, the approaching appointment brought with it the nervous unease of impending bad news.  We certainly had no reason to suspect bad news – Mikes feet have been doing outstandingly good.  At least in our opinion.  But who are we but mere parents – and new ones at that!  There may be a doctor in the house – but a PhD does not mean MD.  And we certainly haven’t spent our entire adult lives treating clubbed feet.

And there’s always those nagging early memories.  Those first several trips to see the Orthopedic Doctor.  Before the tenotomy.  Back when Dr. Visit = new cast = more pain for Mike.  Or Dr. Visit = new brace = more pain for Mike.  Those equations are very hard to break.

Realistically, we haven’t had a trip like that for over five months.  And five months is a REALLY long time considering Mike is only 8 months old!  So we don’t have anything to worry about.  Right?

We walked in to the doctors office last Wednesday and it was like we were with a rock star.  Nurses were jumping over the counter in a mad dash towards us.  The first nurse reached us (after a NFL caliber move over and around her co-workers) and said, “Here.  Let me hold Mike for you.”  The other nurses, grumbling in there defeat, finished rolling out the red carpet and dropping rose petals ahead of us as we walked back to the examination room.  A quick x-ray of Mike’s feet (a couple of nurses in the background.  Let me do it!  No – let ME do it!).  Then it was time for the doctor.  He came in – the lights sparkling off of his smiling teeth.  “So – lets see what we’ve got here.”  He took hold of one of Mike’s feet.  A twist this way, a bend that way.  Rotate around.  Pinch in various places.  Mumblings about the pronate of the metatarsel.  Then it was the other foot.  More twisting, bending, rotating, this way, that way, and the other way.  Pinching, pinching, pinching, mumble, mumble, um hum, um hum.

It was about at this point that I realized that my fear of the prognosis that this doctor was preparing to give us had caused me to not draw a breath for the last 23 minutes.  I casually exhale the stale air from my lungs with an “I meant to do that” flair.  The doctor twisting the first foot a little more.  Rotated the second one a little more.  Another pinch.  He turned around to look at us and he said…




GREAT!  No changes – and the brace can continue to stay off during the day.

WOO HOO!  The disco ball dropped from the ceiling, Gloria Gaynor (I didn’t know she was a nurse here…) started singing “I Will Survive”, confetti was blowing all around the room and we all danced until the early hours of the morning.

Completely exhausted, we packed up the diaper bag.  Four nurses instantly appeared at our side to help us carry Mike out to the car.  On the way out, I swear that I heard them humming “We Are Family”.  Sister Sledge?  Surely the Sledge sisters aren’t nurses at the same place with Gloria Gaynor.  It was dark after all – but the nurse on the left certainly looked like Joni and the one on the right could have been Kathy…

As we buckled Mike in his car seat, the doctor called out, “see you again in three months”!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mike’s baptism!

This past weekend was a wonderful weekend!  Full of family and friends (both in person and in spirit!).  All converging on Knoxville to join us in a beautiful celebration…

Mike’s baptism!!!!

It was such a special day.  All of the joy and excitement of watching your son celebrate his first (and most important!) sacrament.  With all of the love and joy and happiness that he has brought in to our lives, it was a true blessing to be a part of this.

So let me welcome you Michael Robert into the Christian community.  The water has cleansed you and given you new life.  You have been marked as one of God’s children by the sign of the cross.  You have been rubbed with oil to strengthen yourself, and chrism has sealed you with the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We have given you a candle, lit from the Paschal candle, so that you may use the light of Christ to find your way through the world.  And we have given you an army of people to support you along the way – your parents, godparents, all of your family, friends, and the full love and protection of the Church and Christian community.

And of course there are pictures!  Below are a few – but you can also click here and see the a ton more!  


Mike and Mike

Mike and Mike” – Mike visits with Father Michael.

 I'm Ready! Mike says, “Skip the formalities – I’m ready for the water”!

 The Baptism

The Baptism…

Mike with parents, godparents, and Father Michael

 Mike, parents, godparents, and Father Michael.


The Quad Squad

The Quad Squad (and the world famous Quad Mom).  And thanks to the Quad Dad for being our designated photographer!

Monday, August 2, 2010