Sunday, June 14, 2009

Catch up

The last month of school and the first few weeks of summer have passed quickly. May began with Lena in her school's production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Lena was a Head Oompa Loompa. She and the rest of the cast performed wonderfully.

On Memorial Day Weekend, we loaded up our bikes and headed up to Chicago for Bike the Drive. On Sunday, Lake Shore Drive shuts down from 5:30-10:30a allowing bikers to take over. We biked the 15 mile northern route from Grant Park. The view of the lake that early in the morning was fantastic. When we turned back south, we were treated to amazing views of downtown shrouded in fog. After arriving back at Grant Park, we biked around some downtown sites before heading down (via car) to the Museum of Science and Industry in the afternoon. On the drive home we learned (quite by accident) that if you set the Garmond to bike mode, you travel through some very interesting neighborhoods on your way out of the city!

Various lessons, camps and hanging out with friends are keeping the girls busy this summer. We've got a few trips planned for the summer, including our bi-annual trip to Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island has become for us what Nelson Lake and Revelle's in Hayward, WI was for my mom's family...our home away from home. We'll also spend some time in Epworth with Tom's parents and his sister's family.
Hope your summer and any travels are safe and fun filled!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The D Word

We debated on whether or not we would post this bit of family news. It came down to Ally's decision. After mulling it over for about a week, she's decided that, yes, as just about everyone around us on a day to day basis knows, we may as well let other family and friends know as well.

Ally was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on March 27th. The girls spent the beginning part of their spring break with my parents. They brought them back on Tuesday evening (I flew out to LA on Tues am). My mom mentioned to Tom that Ally was drinking a lot of water and had we ever had her tested for diabetes. Because Ally, since she was a toddler, has always preferred water to any other beverage Tom didn't think much of it. He did mention it to me when I got back from my trip on Thursday. I also blew off my mom's observation with the same reasoning that Tom used. However, after watching her down a significant amount of water on Thursday evening, I googled the symptoms and reflected that Ally had demonstrated most of them sometime over the past few months, but still wasn't convinced since each could be written off to something else. On Friday morning she wasn't feeling the greatest, so I decided that I'd take her to see her pediatrician and let him tell me that I was over-reacting. Not so much. After getting back her glucose level, he sent us directly to Peoria to the diabetes resource center. We spent the day there with them bringing down her blood sugar, and learning how to count carbs, give shots and many other things about type 1 diabetes.

The four of us are getting used to it and are mostly over our shock and initial freak out. Ally quickly took to the routine of glucose testing, insulin shots and carb counting. While there's a bit to worry about in the future, we're focusing on the short term and keeping her healthy in order to minimize problems in the future. We're keeping this in perspective and acknowledge that considering the news some families receive about their children's health, diabetes may be life altering but with proper care it is not life ending.

We consider ourselves very fortunate that my mom had the perspective of not seeing Ally for a while to notice the change. From what we've been told, most families find out when their child is so sick that they've ended up in the ER and get plunked in the hospital for a few days. We were happy to avoid that drama.

I can't let this pass without sharing some humor, though! Tom has relayed to a few friends his perspective of me calling him at work on Friday morning to tell him we were picking him up and going to Peoria: "It's one thing to get a call from college buddies to see if you want to meet them in Peoria on a Friday night for a guys' night, but a whole other one to be called by your wife on Friday morning to be told that she and your eight year old daughter are picking you up to go straight to the Peoria Diabetes Resource Center!"

One of Ally's perspectives on having diabetes made us laugh out loud. As many of you know, our family loves spending time in Chicago and we try to find any excuse to get up there. We enjoy the Taste of Chicago quite a bit. As we were discussing how diabetes would impact us, the topic of the Taste came up and Ally commented, "Well, I guess I'll be just like a pin cushion that day!"

Ally has determined that there are certain foods that are most definitely shot worthy: chocolate, chocolate and chocolate!

So far, we haven't mentioned Lena specifically. However, this impacts her just as much as it does the rest of us. She is steadily adjusting to the extra attention that Ally is receiving. Lena is helping us count Ally's carbs and calculate her insulin dosages. She's been extremely understanding and eager to learn all she can about diabetes.

Tom and I feel shortchanged, however. We thought that the diagnosis would get us at least a few days of no sibling conflict. Again, not so much. One day...that's all we got! I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that life quickly reverted back to normal (though, somewhat adjusted). But, come on, can you blame us for hoping!?!

Despite the large impact in our lives the diabetes diagnosis is making, we do have other things going on as well!

Lena turned thirteen on April 8th! Really, Tom and I are much too young to have a teenager. I can still distinctly remember the day she was born and the day we brought her home from the hospital. She just keeps getting more interesting and wonderful with each passing year. However, there is a bit of "wonderfulness" that we have determined that we are ready to pass over: eye rolling and muttering under her breath. Seriously, though, she is a good kid.

Aside from classes, Lena has been keeping busy with her two night a week tumbling classes as well as rehearsals for the school play. They are performing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on May 2nd. Lena is the Head Oompa-Loompa! She is so excited and has been diligently practicing her lines.

Until next time...take care!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not much...a rather boring update

Now that the boys' basketball season is over and Lena is no longer cheering we have slowed our schedules...just a bit. The season ended on a very high note...our seventh grade boys won the state championship! I can't adequately describe how much fun it was to watch them develop over the season and have it all culminate in such a great experience. Lena had a great time cheering during the championship game. It was a very exciting night! I've got some great pictures of her and will post them in the near future.

Our sister school, Holy Trinity, won the 8th grade championship. Central Catholic HS will be a basketball powerhouse in a few years! Quite cool that the two best 2A teams in the state are parochial schools here in Blm/Nml.

Now that basketball is over, the girls are picking up an additional night of tumbling...unfortunately for us, they go on different nights. Lena has picked up tumbling that is geared towards cheerleaders and Ally, my "boingy baby", has picked up a trampoline class. (When Ally was a baby and through her toddler years, we coined her "boingy baby" because she was constantly jumping up and down.)

Lena got her braces put on today. Suddenly what she thought would be so cool because so many other kids have them, well, isn't so cool now that her mouth hurts. She had mashed potatoes for dinner tonight. Tom and I have been reminiscing about our "braces days" resulting in much eye rolling by our children. They're becoming much less tolerant of us as they get older. Sometimes that feeling is mutual!

Not a lot of excitement going on here (other than shaking our heads at national politics...I'll avoid that topic here!)...which is rather nice for now.

Here's to hoping that spring weather arrives in Central Illinois VERY SOON!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cheerful week ahead

These are our evenings this week...

Monday: haircuts for Lena & Ally
Tuesday: Lena cheering @ 8th grade boys' regional game
Wednesday: Lena cheering @ 7th grade boys' sectional game
Thursday: Lena cheering @ 8th grade boys' regional game (if they win on Tuesday)
Friday: Lena cheering @ Central Catholic HS basketball game
Saturday: Lena cheering @ 7th grade boys' state tournament (if they win on Wednesday)
Sunday: After attending Mass, we become immobile on the couch for the rest of the day

On top of all that, Tom's birthday is on Thursday. He's offering to skip this one and remain 38 until Feb 5, 2010. Mmmm....not thinking so much. I'm thinking he will get a McDonald's Happy Meal for his birthday dinner. I've told him that if he's behaving well, we'll get him a McDonald's apple pie and stick a candle in it!

Don't feel too sorry for him, however. On either Thursday or Sunday, I'll be making him lamb stew...and he's getting one heck of a birthday present, though it is NOT the antique tractor that he really wants!

Ally is so not looking forward to this week! Poor kid has to tag along to it all. We'll make it up to her this weekend. A bit of chocolate (and some one on one time) goes a long way to readjusting her attitude and mood. Yep, she's my daughter!

I CANNOT wait for next Sunday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One of the many joys of parenting...

Thought I'd let you share in my misery from last night...(and get a good laugh at our expense...)

So, we're at the dinner table and Ally loses all color from her face and starts rushing to the bathroom. I run after her to find her puking NEXT to the toilet. Not in a trash can, not in a toilet, but on the FLOOR next to the toilet. (By 8 yrs old, my expectations are definitely such that one should be puking IN the toilet!) So, after I step in it (just love that squishy feeling between my toes) as I guide her over to the proper receptacle, I yell for someone to get me a towel. Tom, in his normal delegating manner, tells Lena to get me one. She goes darting into the laundry room and gets me a towel. Rather than laying it over the "spill", she dumps it in a manner rendering it basically useless. I "calmly" (yah, right) ask her to get me another one. A few moments later, I see her from my peripheral vision running from the laundry towel in hand...and not saying anything. I again ask ever so politely (read my sarcasm there) to get me a (insert adjective here) towel and see her running back to the laundry room with a roll of paper towels. (All this while I'm holding Ally's hair back and fighting off the sympathy puke urges.) Using my keen senses to determine that something was awry I yell for Tom to come help (who has been continuing to calmly eat his dinner this entire time). And, now, the clear aroma of chlorine bleach starts to effervess. Tom takes over the hair holding and I go to the laundry room to find a full bottle of bleach spilled over my laundry room floor...seeping into the piles of laundry also located on the floor...still haven't gotten a plausible explanation as to how that exactly happened other than, "I was looking for a towel!" (In Lena's defense, the bleach was set precariously on top of a pile of laundry on a shelf.)

We now have tie-dye appearing towels and school uniforms and my house smells like an indoor swimming pool.

Ahh, I love our life!

(Yes, Ally is feeling much better now...)


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year's Eve!

We're enjoying a family game night. Lena is currently rocking out to Guitar Hero at the hard level. If she'd only spend as much time studying as she has played GH in the past be fair, she's also spent a good portion of her Christmas break reading, so I won't complain. Ally is waiting for Lena to be done so that she and Tom can play Wii golf. They both get very competitive with each other! The girls are determined to make it until midnight...not sure if Tom and I will get that far.

I have a confession to make...our Christmas cards still haven't been mailed. Oh, I started with the best of intentions. I ordered them in October, for goodness sake. Started addressing them on Thanksgiving weekend. Then, it just sort of petered out as other Christmas preparations took priority. On top of that, the computer on which the Christmas card list is stored fell victim to a virus. So, I have half the list completed. I don't feel TOO bad though, as we continue to receive Christmas cards with Dec 27 & Dec 28 postmark dates. I'm in good company! However, I do fear ours will be the last Christmas card everyone receives. Maybe I'll order them on Labor Day Weekend next year...

On a positive note, I had all my Christmas shopping completed BEFORE December 24th. First time that has happened in about a decade. I am showing progress.

We had a terrific Christmas. Spent the 24th in Ladd with my parents and my dad's family. We thoroughly enjoyed catching up with my Kopina cousins. My cousin Carrie's son is absolutely adorable, even though he told me my name was "Poopie Pants". There are times when it is enjoyable to hear someone else's kids use their ever expanding language skills! The evening was spent with the Sale side of the family at my Aunt Linda's. They're a fun group to be around! After Santa arrived on Christmas morning, we trekked into Normal to spend the day with Tom's parents. Christmas then carried over to Sunday with Tom's aunts and uncles. Hilarious to hear them reminiscing...they definitely have some interesting stories.

Okay, my turn to dazzle everyone with my Wii tennis skills. See you in the new year!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well, hello there,

If you've gotten here, we're assuming that our Christmas card didn't end up at the bottom of the birdcage (for which we thank you) and you're
a) looking for further proof that we still are among the living
b) wondering what we've gotten ourselves into this year or
c) amazed that we actually took the time to do this and had to see it to believe it.

Whatever your reason, welcome.

Short version of our year: we're still in Danvers, Tom's still cooking, Jer's still not cleaning, Lena's still running, Ally's still darned cute (and obstinate) and the Lily (the dog) and Bit O' Honey (the cat) still barely tolerate each other. We're healthy, happy and enjoying our lives.

For those of you with a bit more patience and endurance (scroll to the end for pics if you're already out of patience), some highlights of our year..

  • Tom again enjoyed his guys' weekend ski trip in February. We are all very happy he returned without a concussion this year.
  • Lena celebrated her First Communion at an all-school Mass in early April. The support she received from teachers and classmates as she made this step was much appreciated.
  • Jer traveled to China in April to finish her EMBA and graduated in May. We are still waiting for her "free" time to appear.
  • Ally celebrated her First Communion in late April with her classmates. Another thank you to Tom and his mom for arranging and hosting the dinner afterwards as Jer was still floating through jetlag.
  • We traveled to Jackson Hole in July and calculated that we hiked over 35 miles at Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks during our weeklong visit...and, yet, somehow managed to come home at the same weight.
  • Lena started 7th grade and Ally entered 3rd grade in August. Luckily for Tom and Jer, only the girls are getting older...please, let us have our delusions...they keep us quite happy.
  • We enjoyed Labor Day weekend in Ladd visiting all three of Jer's grandmothers...sort of a Grandma Trifecta.
  • Lena took off over a minute and a half from last year's personal best during this fall's cross country season. Tom took off ten pounds by running with her.
  • Lena enjoys cheering for the Epiphany basketball teams. Even more to enjoy is that the squad only cheers at home games.
  • Ally is excited that she finally started tumbling classes this fall (even though she has to go with her sister).
  • We've enjoyed 2008 and now look forward to a happy and exciting Christmas with family and friends as well as seeing what 2009 has in store for us.

For friends we see often, thank you for brightening our lives. For friends that have moved to other locations throughout the country (you all know who you are!) we miss you, look forward to seeing you and give thanks for e-mail and nationwide calling plans! For friends we see or talk with not nearly often enough, you are often in our thoughts and our New Year's resolutions include getting back in touch.

We'll skip any more mushy sentiments and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Tom, Jer, Lena & Ally

The Year in Pictures:
Lena's First Communion
Jer at the Forbidden City
Ally's First Communion

Hidden Falls on the Cascade Canyon Trail at the Tetons

Ally hiking at the Tetons...the shirt says "Hug Me Not a Tree"

Lena cheerleading