Friday, August 31, 2007


Aren't we just swell?

Back in April, we noticed some bruising that looked more like skin pigmentation on the back of one of Ashley's legs and brought her into the doctor to have it checked out. It was kind of a coincidence that at the time she was learning how to slide into homeplate in softball when these spots appeared. There are about 10 of them and they vary in size and her doctor was pretty sure it was just iron from her blood/bruise staining the skin and that eventually they would fade and go away.

So here we are, 4 months later and they are still there. Haven't faded. Haven't really changed much at all. Two weeks ago, Bret brought her back to the doctor and he and counted them and measured them and told us to bring her back in two weeks so he could document whether there was any change. Today was the follow up appointment, and while he is still fairly sure it is nothing serious, he admitted that he cannot say he's 100% sure and suggested doing a biopsy right then and there to rule anything else out.

So Ryan went off with his favorite nurse there to play while Ashley and I followed the doc into the procedure room to get started. I think we were both expecting a lot more, but it was fairly simple and really quick. She was such a brave little trooper!

No one likes to hear the word biopsy, though. In five to seven days we'll know what the results are and just what these marks on her leg are. I'm sure it's nothing, though.

Cheers to my brave daughter!!!

Update: Biopsy came back normal. What a relief. Still not really sure what it is, though.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dear Gold's Gym,

Do you really think it's fair to change your policies regarding your child care services ten months after telling me that I can bring Chloe there with me? When I have written authorization from her mother, who is also a member? I realize that by telling members that they can no longer bring children who are not their own, you believe this will solve your over crowding issue, but do you honestly think that is fair? I've been a member there for two years and was completely shocked when you threw this piece of garbage news at me this morning. I've been honest about this situation from the start and all you are doing is encouraging people to lie to you.

So, let me see if I've got this right. Instead of bringing just ONE child in the morning, you would rather me bring my TWO children in the evening when it is just as crowded? What the heck are you smoking?

Ungratefully yours,


*By the way, my two page letter with my detailed opinion on this matter will be on it's way to your owner soon. Failing to resolve this amicably will result in another detailed letter to your corporate office, filling them in on how you treat your members and all of the DCFS regulations you are so obviously ignoring.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Last week, Peoria dodged a horrible storm that went through Galesburg, IL, a town nearby. On our way home from visiting our old neighbors, Jon & Emily at their new home in Davenport, IA today, we stopped in Galesburg to fill up the gas tank and grab some dinner. On our way out of town, we saw first hand some of the devestation that the storm caused. Buildings were torn apart and roofs were blown right off. I just happened to have my camera with me, so I snapped a couple of pictures. Makes you count your blessings, doesn't it?

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ryan's First Ball Game

Bret took Ryan to his very first Peoria Chief's game tonight. To Bret's satisfaction, Ryan has shown a huge interest in baseball since playing t-ball this summer. He can now tell you the names of most of the Chicago Cub's players and a few from some of the other teams. However, it looks as though Ryan may be destined to become a Dodger's fan. I'm not sure if it's to get his dad all riled up, but I suspect it may just be the colors of their jerseys. Any how, tonight was kind of a test to see if Ryan was ready for a trip to Wrigley Field for his first Cub's Game. Looks like he had a great time, so hopefully my brother will come across some Cub's tickets again this year.
Ryan with the field in the background.

Ryan prepares to hit his own pretend ball out of the park.

Yep, Dad's a sucker. Ryan got a Chief's hat and a big finger.

Yep, he's a cutie.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Surprise Butt Kicking

Teri doesn't know this yet, but we're going to do the Turbo Kick class at the Y in the morning. Guess she'll find out when she reads this...Ha! I'll pick you up at 8:30am sharp! You owe me!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!

Today was Ryan's much anticipated birthday party. We ended up with a total of 50 friends and family here at our house. The kids all had a great time and Ryan scored lots of cool toys! The rain did hold off until just about the time everyone was getting ready to leave and it's been storming ever since.
One of Ryan's favorite gifts.

The cake turned out really cute and Ryan couldn't wait to blow out his candle.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Wee Bit Stressed Out Right Now

What am I suppose to do with 24 kids and 33 adults if this rain really does head straight for Peoria like they're predicting tomorrow during Ryan's birthday party? Kids can still go outside and swim in the rain, right? That's 57 people in my house, folks!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Off They Go

Today is the big day and the kids did great getting off to school.

Can you believe how much older Ashley is looking these days?

No tears! He was so excited to be back at school.

Ashley and her friend that moved in this summer waiting for the bus.

Now it's just me and Chloe.
Time to go clean out the kids' rooms before they come home.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Is Over!

The final countdown has officially begun. Ashley is in the shower and Ryan is next and then off to bed for them it is. School starts tomorrow. It's hard to believe that summer is pretty much over and wow, did it go by fast. (Probably too fast, if you were to ask the kids.)
Ashley is all ready for her first day at the middle school and is really excited. She has her outfit all picked out and we're going to paint her nails as soon as Ryan is done with his bath. And most importantly? She still has her locker combination memorized.
Ryan seems to be doing okay with it so far. He seems excited and okay with it. We went and saw his new classroom earlier this week and visited with his teacher, who happens to be the same teacher he had last year. A position in first grade opened up and she took it and made sure Ryan was going to be with her again this year. Remember the heartache this time last year?
Click here, here, here, here and here.
(You won't believe how much younger thay looked at this time last year.
Hopefully, all will go well tomorrow and I won't be a sobbing mess all day.
(Pardon all the extra punctuation. Blogger is being difficult and won't double space my paragraphs anymore.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Help me decide:

Do I clean up the basement today for Ryan's upcoming birthday party or do I take the kids to the pool instead? Such tough decisions!

~ ~ ~ ~

Update (3:04pm): I hate basements. And basement bathrooms. And basement bedrooms. And in a couple of hours from now? I'm going to hate basement livingrooms and rec rooms. I should have gone to the pool.
~ ~ ~ ~
3:28pm: I killed the vacuum cleaner. The darn cord ripped right out of the thing.
~ ~ ~ ~
5:45pm: Oops, just woke up from a nap.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Boys vs Girls

Thank, God I have one of each, because I don't think I could handle back to school shopping with two girls each year.
Last night, while Ashley spent the night at Brianna's house (our new neighbor), I took Ryan with me to Kohl's to pick up some new school duds. He tried on 3 pairs of shoes and we decided quickly on the pair of Reebok's that are white with a traces of navy and orange and also found a killer deal on a Chicago Bear's jersey for the upcoming football season. He's now all set for Kelly and Dan's football parties this winter. We also picked up some jeans, long sleeve shirts, underwear, socks and a new short sleeve shirt for his first day of school this week. All fairly quickly and easily at one store.
Today, after Ashley came home from her friend's house, we headed out to do her back to school shopping. We started off at Kohl's and were a little disappointed at their small selection of fall clothes. Not much going on there with a full sleeve. We spent 30 minutes in the shoe department before finally deciding to check elsewhere later and then an hour in the Junior's deparment with her vetoing everything I pointed out and sulking as I had her try on underwear. She finally decided on some new shirts and two pairs of jeans. One of the pairs of jeans was a bit too snug fitting for my liking, but she loved them and I gave in, telling her she was going to stuff herself into them for the whole next year whether she could breathe or not. So with two pairs of jeans, 2 shirts and a couple of clearance tank tops to go under those shirts and some new pairs of undies we left for the new outdoor mall.
Next up was Payless where we scored and found the brown pair of ballet like flats that she wanted to go with her skirts. (She wears a gym uniform at school during gym this year, so she is super excited to be able to wear her skirts to school again.)
We then headed over to Bergner's (or also known at Carson's) and started looking around there. Browsing through racks and racks of jeans my body started reminding me that it had been way too long since I had last eaten, so we headed outside and grabbed some lunch at Camille's (yum!) where we ran into some friends. We hung out there for a bit and then headed down to Old Navy where we scored big time. Almost everything in the store was priced really low. I grabbed two pairs of shorts for Bret, two more long sleeve shirts and a lightweight fall jacket for Ryan, while Ashley walked out of there with two new skirts and two more shirts.
We headed back to Berger's and looked around a bit, but all of their fall clothes weren't really on sale and were priced way too high, so we decided to call it a day and head on home.
All in all I think we did pretty well, but Ashley is still going to need some long sleeve shirts when the weather gets cooler. Everything we found for her today had a 3/4 sleeve on it.
Boys are so much easier to shop for than girls!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nine Years

So what does one get their wife for a nine year anniversary present?



... and a Spongebob Lego for their son.

How does his wife of nine years pay him back?

She switches the tupperware cabinet with the dishes cabinet to confuse the hell out of him for the next nine years everytime he goes to get a plate.

Update: Ok, I admit it. I had been eyeing those Rubbermaid containers myself for awhile now.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Yeah, Because We Didn't See That One Coming

A couple of months ago, Teri got her self sucked back into the PTO at our kids' school as the Vice President. Along with this comes the responsibility of chairing the biggest fundraiser that the school puts on - the school carnival. Being the nice person that she is, she couldn't find it in her to say no.

I've been there. Secretary. Scrip Sales Chair. Girl Scout Leader. Girl Scout Service Unit Manager. Fall Fundraiser Sales Chair. I've done my time, right? Well, guess who's bailing Teri's butt out? (Holds breath.) Me. Did you get that? Let me say it again. Me. (Let's out breath.) She's been trying to find someone to co-chair with her since she signed up for it but hasn't had any luck, until now. She used the 'ol, "I'd do it for you" bit on me. Like the sucker that I am, I agreed. Then I started thinking about the fact that I'd get to be a part of something that benefits our children in such a big way. This fundraiser averages a $14 thousand dollar profit each year that buys the students and teachers things that they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. And not to toot my own horn, but I am a whiz when it comes to organization and computer work. I'm getting excited about it now. We'll have a lot of fun together doing this, but first I need to go organize her freaking binder because it's making the hair on my arms stand on end with how messy and disorganized it is. Then we can get started.

Yep, I'm a sucker.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Grand Bear Lodge - Day Three

Our last day here at Grand Bear has arrived and I'm pleased to say that everyone is still talking to each other. It's always a good thing when family spends the weekend together and walks away still friends. It really has been a fun time and the kids have really enjoyed spending this time with their cousins.
Our villa.

The kids on the back balcony.

And posing on the stairs.

One last quick picture of Ashley before she goes upstairs to recheck that we haven't forgotten anything.

The kids say good-bye to Grand Bear until next year.

Us in the lobby of the main lodge.

Before leaving, we spent some time in the arcade.

And then headed over for a few last rides at the indoor amusement park.

Before heading back to Peoria, we stopped at little ice cream place for sandwiches for lunch.

They really do love each other. Really.


For the rest of day three's pictures, click here.

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa for sending us again this year. Merry Christmas!

Grand Bear Lodge - Day Two

Sunday morning started off pretty sluggish. Neither Bret nor I got much sleep with Ryan tossing and turning and wacking us in the faces with his arms. Lucky Ashley got to sleep by herself in the pull out couch bed in our master bedroom. It stormed all night and was still raining when we got up this morning. The humidity and the heat were so bad that you couldn't see past the condensation on the windows. It pretty much rained on and off all day.
Once we were up and moving, we headed back over to the pool for some more swimming.
Ashley and Brooke pose while we wait for Bret to get our wrist bands for the day.

Ryan and Brooke lock Bret in the "jail". Really it was a cave that connects the wave pool to the regular pool.

Ashley loved the water slides again this year.

This slide was more Ryan and Brooke's pace (at least until they were persuaded to try the big slides).

The tree house playground offered tons of fun for all of the kids.

This may be my favorite picture out of all four hundred some that were taken. Ryan waits for me to put away the camera so I can take him over to try the big water slide.

I went down first so I could catch Ryan when he goes next.

A little trigger happy with the camera, but he did make it down and decided ten minutes later over a bribed snack that he did indeed like it afterall.

Brooke and Ryan look for a place to sit.

Once we were thoroughly water logged, we went back to the villa to eat lunch. On the walk back it started raining and we we looked like we had just stepped right out of the pool. After eating, Bret stayed back at the villa while Mitchell napped and Ryan played. The rest of us walked over for more thrills at the amusement park again.

Ashley and Brooke in front of the Rock Monster.

After this experience, I've decided that Ashley's not getting her driver's lisence until she's 25!

She's definately not afraid of anything that whips you around in the air!

Still spinning from the rides we went back to get ready for dinner.

Mitchell and Bret chill out on the sofa.

Hey, it's not our furniture. Why not let them eat in the living room?

After dinner, the plan was to let the kids play at the park while the guys played minature golf with Ashley, but the humidity was still so thick that even taking pictures outdoors was nearly impossible because the lens kept fogging up and everything hadn't dried off yet. There was still thunder booming in the distance, so we put the kids' swim suits back on and let them play for a bit at the still wet park. The loved it.

The kids posing in front of a bear on the walk over to the park.

The kids really didn't care too much that everything was all wet. However, parden the foggy lens.

The rain was starting to move back in, so we quickly made our way to the water park for another swim. You'd think we would be sick of swimming at this point, but it was really just the opposite. The water park was a lot of fun. They even turn off the lights in the water slides at night, making the ride down that much more fun. We weren't loving the five story climb to the top of the stairs each time we wanted to go down though.

Ashley smiles pretty, but Ryan is tired of pictures by now.

To view the complete set of pictures from day two, click here.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Grand Bear Lodge - Day One

Our first day at Grand Bear was a great time. We got into Utica around 1pm and checked into our villa. The weather was comfortable in the high 70's and the rain held off until we were fast asleep that night.

Brooke and Ashley hang out on the couch as the adults unpack.

As soon as we had our stuff unpacked, we headed straight for the indoor waterpark.

Brooke and Ryan play in the fountains.

The water park.

The wave pool.

After swimming, we headed back to the villa for showers and to make dinner. After letting our dinner settle for (hopefully) long enough, we made our way to the indoor amusement park for some thrill rides.

Ashley and I outside of our villa.

We stopped for a quick picture of the kids at Bear Island.

And also another picture on the resort train.

Remember this big ol scary thing from last year? (The rock monster, not Bret.)

Ashley and Brooke hit the rides.

They finally let Mitchell and I join them.

Bret takes Ryan outside for a quick break to call Grandma to tell her how much fun he's having.

The kids are wiped out and the adults finally get some grown up time, if they can manage to stay awake.

To see the whole set of pictures from day one at Flickr, click here.