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August, 2003
(Click on an image to enlarge)

August 1, 2003

Today was the open house at the elementary school for the students to meet their teachers.  Alex's teacher seems wonderful, and Alex is very excited!  He also has one of his best friends from last year in his class.

Being shy with his new teacher Best buddies reunited!

August 3, 2003

We were all outside today while the kids rode their Scream Machines when one of our neighbors brought his dirt bike down for the kids to see.  Patrick was dumbstruck and wouldn't even sit on it, even though he sat and stared the whole time it was here!

I can't believe my little boy is starting first grade tomorrow!

He looks waaaaay too comfortable on there!

August 4, 2003

Alex had a terrific first day of first grade!  He was so excited this morning that we were the first ones at the bus stop - by 30 minutes!  We only had to wait 10 minutes though before someone joined us.  The first thing he said when he got home was, "My teacher is the best teacher I've ever had!" 

Cutie Patootie all ready for the bus

Jacob started kindergarten today - and Clara had to make a funny face.  ;-) Hail! Hail! The gang's all here!

Patch and I enjoyed having some time alone today for the first time in quite awhile.  We went to Chic-Fil-A for lunch.
Patch in the play land

August 5, 2003

Alex's second day of school wasn't quite the success the first day was.  When he got off the bus, he had "the look" (as Mark and I call it) that means he's really mad about something.  When I talked to him about his day, he kept ranting about how the assignments are too hard and too easy, and that they were giving him a headache.  Huh?  I finally got out of him that the math problems were too easy and a "waste of time."  The hard assignment was something about having to name all the kids in his class.  He said it was impossible and his teacher shouldn't have asked them to do it.  It occurred to me then that he's never had an assignment he couldn't do with little to no effort, and it pissed him off.  Well, well, well.  He told me at bedtime that if he woke up and didn't feel well that I shouldn't send him to school.  I disagreed, which really put his nose out of joint.  Welcome to the real world!

Now for the comic relief:  Patrick was in the playroom doing Lego's during the conversation after school.  As Alex was getting really worked up, this polite little voice came from the playroom and said, "Alex, you're just going to have to learn to deal with it."  You've never seen such self control as when I managed to not bust a gut!

We've had some tremendous thunder storms in the afternoons lately, and the dogs are both terrified of the thunder.  Alex decides from day to day whether he's going to be afraid, and as I was on the floor trying to calm the dogs, Alex climbed in with us, too.  I asked Patch to take a picture of us - guess I know where I stand in his mind!

It's the headless Mommy!

August 6, 2003

What a day!  Let's see, where to begin.  Remember that thunderstorm yesterday?  Apparently our computer modem was hit by lightening and I was dead in the water.  I know I'm a computer geek, but I was amazed at how lost I was!    So I've spent a ton of time trying to get my new modem up and running (as you can see, I finally succeeded late tonight).

As expected, our day started out with Alex refusing to get ready for school.  He finally agreed when he realized there was no other option.  I decided to call his teacher to just let her know what was going on.  She was fabulous!  First of all, she said she wanted to "defend" herself against the false accusation Alex was making.  LOL  Apparently he completely misunderstood the assignment - he was only supposed to name the students sitting next to him.  So that explains that part.  But she was so intuitive.  When I told her about yesterday, she totally understood what was going on.  She said that Alex is very smart, is a perfectionist, competitive, prides himself on being a good student, and needs reassurance that he'll succeed.   Her "prescription" was that we both reassure him - simple enough!  So on the way to the bus I told him that I had just spoken with her and that she said how wonderfully he was doing.  He perked right up and ran off to meet the bus.  Whew!

Patrick's been having a pretty rough week with Alex gone.  I ended up taking him to a closing with me yesterday because he absolutely lost it when I tried to take him to our neighbor's.  I had a closing in Daytona today, so Becca agreed to come along with me, with her 3 boys and Patrick, and just sit in the car with them while I did the closing.  We had some great girl talk while the boys watched a movie, and Patrick got to have his Mommy all day.  He's so clingy that he even refused to sit at the table with the other kids during lunch and insisted on sitting next to me. 

I've got a half a week left before Patrick's school starts.  Mom will be in Michigan until next week, and Mark's on a business trip until Saturday night.  All of the other kids in the neighborhood have started school and Patrick refuses to go anywhere without either Alex or me.  And somehow I'm supposed to manage doing both of my jobs during all of this.  Calgon, take me away!

August 7, 2003

I got some help today cleaning the fish tank.

Fortunately we have tile floors!  ;-)

August 8, 2003


Patch and I went to meet his new teacher this morning.  We both recognized her from the hallways in years past, and his support teacher was Alex's support teacher in Pre-K, and also her son was in Patrick's class last year.  His class is right next door to his class last year, so he's walking on very familiar ground.  He also has homework already!  He has to take a cutout of a child and decorate it to look like him to bring in on Tuesday (first day).  He's very fully of himself at having homework just like Alex!

Patch and Ms. Nancy checking out the magnifying glass

August 9, 2003

Today seemed to last forever.  I've been exhausted trying to do way too much with no help or breaks, and the boys have been bored to tears with the same playmates they've had all summer and their favorite adults (Grandma and Daddy) out of town.  Mark finished up his trade show today and was hoping to be home around 6 or 7.  When he called at 4:30 and said it would be more like 8, I about lost it.  I called Becca to cry on her shoulder, and she and John invited us over for hot dogs and hamburgers.  God love them - I immediately perked up!  All 5 boys had a field day running around and screaming like banshees - it was terrific!

We were all soooooo happy when Daddy finally got home.  Of course, he had goodies for the boys, including a ball of silly putty.  He showed them how to push it onto newspaper to make the image stay on the silly putty, and then stretch it out.  You never heard such belly laughs!

stealing images from the auto classifieds and turning them into a stretch limo!


August 10, 2003

It's sooooooo nice to have Mark back home!  He got up with the boys this morning while I lounged in bed.    Here's the conversation I heard him have with Patch:

        Patch:    Daddy, I'm hungry.
    What do you want to eat?
    No, you have to have something healthy first. 
                     What have you had to eat for breakfast?
    An apple.
   That's not enough.  You need something else for breakfast.
        Patch:    But I'm not hungry!

August 11, 2003

Patrick has his first day of Pre-K tomorrow (can you hear me grinning?).  At the open house on Friday, the teacher already gave them some homework - he had to decorate a child-shaped card to look like him.  He was so proud to be doing his homework!  And I think it's also got him so excited to turn it in that he'll forget to be sad when I leave him there.  (Cross your fingers.)

Scary combination - a 4-year-old and glitter glue

August 12, 2003

Patch had his first day of pre-k today.  He was a little sad before we left the house - typical separation issues - but marched right into the classroom like the veteran that he is. Another little boy went balistic when his mom left, and that seemed to remind Patch about being sad, but he didn't cry, and I was able to leave without hysterics.  (Whew!)  He's been full of school stories all day and happy as a clam!  I can't believe he's so big!

Do I have another brainiac on my hands?  Patrick went straight for the story books!

August 13, 2003

Happy Anniversary to Us!

I can't believe we've been married for FIFTEEN years!    Mom came over and had dinner with the kids while Mark and I went out to dinner.  We missed her birthday while she was in Michigan, so the boys and I made her a cake.  It was rather interesting!

Patch kept turning the mixer onto high, then claiming that he didn't mean to (yeah, right).  But I really woke up when he turned it on while it was sitting on the counter.  Maybe I'll just repaint the walls the color of cake mix!
He's having WAY too much fun with that mixer! An artist at work

Becca and I met up at Chuck E. Cheese's for lunch today.  I forgot my camera so she took these shots for me.  Now I know why I like to bring my own camera - it protects me from actually being in shots!  One of Patrick's favorite games is skeeball.  The balls are very hard, and he kept "rolling" (I'm using that word loosely) them up the lane, many times he'd miss the lane entirely and the ball would ricochet out into the room - hard and fast!  His strength can be dangerous!  Also, I had no idea that you could "tilt" (as you would in pinball) a skeeball machine, but somehow he managed to do it today! 
Whoopin tail at skeeball Playing a new table soccer game

August 14, 2003

Alex had his first soccer practice of the season today.  All but two of the players stayed on from last year, and the kids were excited to see each other, and they're still playing great!

He still remembers how to kick the ball - whew! Patch showing off his soccer skills

August 21, 2003

Sorry I haven't updated in awhile.  There haven't been many photo opportunities, and we've settled into a new routine with school quite nicely - thank Heaven!

Last weekend Mark and I went to St. Pete to celebrate our anniversary.  We stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast and very much enjoyed our childless trip!  (Thanks Mom for staying with the kids!)

I went to "curriculum night" for Alex's class this week, where the teacher explains the plan for the year.  We spoke afterward and she ranted and raved about how wonderful he is - I swear my head wouldn't fit through the door by the time she was done!  I've officially been designated her room mom - I'm still trying to figure out how that happened!  ;-)

I sat in awe tonight at dinner while Mark and Alex had a conversation about the planets.  Alex knew more facts about our solar system than I believe I've ever even been taught.  He recited the planets in order, knew which ones were gaseous and which were rock, knew how many moons they each have, and more.  I asked him where he learned it all, and he said they'd studied the planets last year at school.  Wow!  Now if he could just remember the rules of the house that well . . . .

Patrick is loving his new class.  One of the moms told me this morning that her daughter talks about Patrick all the time.  It didn't take him long to get the girls swooning!

There's a simple little cough going around right now, and Patrick's had it for a week.  I'm thrilled to say that we haven't seen one little iota of asthma, despite him hacking his little head off at times.  Yippee!

Hopefully, I'll have some new pictures to share soon, although there doesn't seem to be much time for anything besides school and homework these days.

August 24, 2003

We've had quite a busy weekend.  Mark and Dave braved the heat and put in a new gate and section of fence that were blown down by a storm a few weeks ago.  They put in a snazzy double-wide gate so we can get the camper in and out, just in time for camping season to get started.

The poor kids fended for themselves most of the weekend.  While Mark was melting outside, I was painting our bedroom.  We'll sure sleep well tonight!

Take your pick:  Bad hair day?  Back picture day?  How about both?!

Looking good! Boudreaux tried desperately to get past our temporary barricade.  By the way, he's actually STUCK there!

August 27, 2003

We've had a very sad day today.  Most of you know that Trouble has had a huge mass on her leg for the last three years.  Last night she was having trouble walking, and you could see in her face that she was struggling.  We've known this was coming for a very long time, but it was still devastating to realize what we knew was next.

This morning we made the agonizing decision to end her suffering.  Mark and I were both with her when she died, and as we had been told, it was very peaceful.  While we're all unbelievably sad, we were so blessed to have had three years with her after we'd been told that her days were numbered.  We truly treasured that extra time and spoiled her rotten.

The boys have been handling it very well.  Patch had tons of questions, but he seems to have accepted it.  Alex barely reacted when I told him after school today, but tonight he wanted me to bring Boudreaux in to sleep in his room tonight, and cuddled him for a long time before he went to bed.  Boo has been a bit subdued today, but of course, we don't know if he is missing her or just responding to the general mood of the house right now.

  Trouble was sweet, cuddly and loving, and was a mother and protector to any child who came near.  We'll miss her.

August 28, 2003

Healthy Herb came to the preschool today to entertain and teach the kids about health.  In the four years we've been going to that school, for some reason I've never made it to see Healthy Herb, so I made a point to be there today.  He was absolutely hilarious!  He bounced all over the place, made himself slide across the floor as food would down the esophagus, he had a huge stretchy red sort of bag he put over himself acting as if he was inside a stomach, and then used some big 2-foot wide balls as fruit and "swallowed" them inside the "stomach."  I suppose it's one of those things that you had to be there for, but the room was full of children rolling on the floor with laughter!

Patch was enthralled! Belly laughs!

Healthy Herb showing his heart beating

August 31, 2003

Well, this month, or more specifically this week, just needs to come to an end.  It's been hard enough dealing with losing Trouble.  Also on Friday, Mary and Travis, and the boys' best friend Jacob, moved to another subdivision, which was incredibly sad for us.  And then to top things off, Mark, Alex and I all came down with a horrible stomach flu this weekend.  Patrick's had a cough for a few weeks, which has turned into a full-blown asthma flare this weekend as well.  He was such a trooper today, though.  We were completely useless, sitting like bumps on the couch when we weren't running for the bathroom, and Patrick pretty much took care of himself and entertained himself all day long.  I can't say much for his dietary choices, but the fact that he fed himself (I believe he had Oreos for lunch) and didn't bug us was a God-send!  We're all starting to see improvement, and September is looking pretty nice right now!

(Sorry there aren't any pictures, but I figured you'd understand!)