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June, 2005
(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)

June 1, 2005

Mom came over this afternoon and took the boys to Target to buy school supplies for the children in Iraq.  I was proud of them for understanding the need, although it didn't keep them from spending some of their allowance on themselves while they were at it.  LOL

I caught Alex in the act!

June 2, 2005

I've been dealing with fluid in my ears on and off for a couple of months now, and for the past month it has been getting worse and worse.  It's been driving me nuts, and keeping me from feeling a part of things going on around me.  My doctor has given me antibiotics and steroids, with no improvement, so today I went to the ENT.  The first step was a hearing test, which showed mild hearing loss in my left ear and moderate hearing loss in the right.  Well, no wonder I haven't felt a part of things.  The doctor said the moderate hearing loss justified putting a tube in my ear.  After dealing with this for so long, I was eager to have it done, and God love him, he did it right then.  I have to admit, it wasn't fun, but five minutes later, I could hear!  It's fabulous!  When I left and started up my car, the book on tape I was listening to came blaring from the speakers.  I guess I had the volume up a bit!  I had the most wonderful evening just chatting with my boys - something I don't feel like I've done in awhile.  Life is good.

June 4, 2005

Alex came down with a fever and sore throat yesterday and is just miserable.  We're supposed to be leaving tomorrow for Georgia for a week with Mark's family, but it looks like we might have to postpone it a day or two.  I've had several closings the last couple of days, so actually I wouldn't mind an extra day to get everything in order before we go.  We'll see.

Daddy cuddling with our little sickie

June 5, 2005

I almost can't believe it, but Alex woke up this morning feeling just fine.  He felt so awful when he went to bed last night I was convinced he was in for another rough day.  So now everybody is excited to leave today.  Ack!!  So much to do!  I had laundry to do, packing, last-minute shopping, and cleaning, since we have lots of wonderful people coming over to take care of all of the critters while we're gone.  We managed to get on the road at about 4:00.  Between the DVD player and the Game Boys, the boys were fine on the road, although Patrick came across a bungee cord that kept him occupied for a half an hour.  We made it to Sea Island in good time to a warm welcome by Joe and Mary Ellen, KC and Stacy with Preston and Danielle, and Jay and Stacey with Cameron, Chase and Kate.  After a nice visit, we all collapsed into bed!

June 6, 2005

This place is amazing!  We've rented two gorgeous, and huge, houses a few houses down the street from each other.  Both houses have pools, and at the end of the street is the beach.  With the house comes the use of the beach club, with it's two pools with life guards and diving board, more beach access, shuffleboard, a spa, meals served to you right at the pool, and tons of other stuff we probably never got around to using.

Mark and the boys went to the beach with KC and Stacy and their kids and had a blast boogie boarding.  All of the kids decorated visors with their names and played games.  And we ended the day with ice cream cones.  Ahhhhhhh.

Patch getting ready . . . . Patch riding the wave!

Alex riding the wave! Daddy riding a wave!

Danielle and Stacy hitting the water Patch and Preston

Nana helping Preston with his visor Danielle concentrating very hard on pulling the back off the sticker

What a cutie pie! Preston and Danielle showing off their visors

Patrick - it's a sun visor, not sun glasses! Cameron watching Patch play his game boy (with Chase closing in)

Chase decided to take his new bankie that Nana made him outside for a picnic Danielle, Patch, Alex, Preston, Cameron and Chase

June 7, 2005

Mike and Mary Beth arrived today with their brood, Heather, Ashley, Julia and Ryan.  We had all eleven grandchildren together.  I think Alex was getting tired of having to play with the little kids, and was very happy to have Heather, a fellow eight-year-old, to play with.  Stacy and I were slotted to make lasagna and baked ziti for dinner tonight.   I was late getting back from the store with the dinner supplies.  Stacy had taken a break, and I was completely frazzled and don't even know how to make ziti.  Mary Beth came to the rescue and took over in the kitchen, and shortly after, we were having a feast.  Another fabulous day!

Precious Kate

June 8, 2005

John arrived today with his friend, Martha, and the clan is all together!  The kids did arts and crafts, played with bubbles, and there was dancing in the kitchen.  After dinner, we sang and had cake for all of the June birthdays.  I'm not going to list them all, for fear that I'll forget someone!  Ryan celebrated his first birthday, so was the center of attention, of course.  His big sister, Heather, sat next to him and when we all sang Happy Birthday, he got overwhelmed and wanted Heather to hold him.  It was so sweet.  He got over it when he had his very own cupcake!

Cameron, Ashley, Preston and Chase making pictures Ryan reading to Heather.  ;-)

Me and Martha, with John in the background Fed children = happy children

Mark, aka the Pied Piper, making HUGE bubbles! Jay with Chase and Stacey with Danielle

Heather dancing with Uncle Jay Kate and Heather dancing

Can I touch it? Everybody singing Happy Birthday - over on the right, Ryan is trying to hug Heather

   Diving in! Now this is more like it!

June 9, 2005

The big boys went off to play golf and a bunch of us girls took the kids to the big pools at the beach club.  Alex headed straight for the diving board, which he had discovered a few days ago.  He was doing all kinds of wild antics, when Patch came up and said he'd like to try jumping off.  He did great, although he looked a little surprised at how far down he went into the water.  You can imagine my shock when, on only his fourth trip to the diving board, he did a flip!  I guess he saw Alex doing them and decided he could too.  Thank God he was right!

Alex doing a flip Patch won't let his big brother outshine him!

This afternoon we all got cleaned up for the wedding rehearsal and dinner afterwards.  It was a BLAST!  The dinner was on Rainbow Island, a small island with a screened dining room and a fabulous buffet.  There was a playground for the kids, live music and instructors teaching shag dancing.  Patrick really got into the dancing, and had me dancing with him for most of the evening.

Everybody getting ready
Mark provided entertainment while we waited to go to the dinner Daddy teaching Patch how to juggle

Ryan getting a hug from Julia while Kate watches Stacey and her flower girls

A very happy Ryan with his daddy A proud Nana!

Playing on the island before dinner
Who's happier?  Mike or Ryan? Uncle John snapping a shot of Ryan

My monkey boy Kate's not too sure about the wiggly bridge

The kids were all watching a rabbit at the base of the tree Martha and John

Chase and Kate with Darice, the best nanny ever Ryan had something to say when Kate climbed into his stroller!

Preston found a baby crab climbing up a tree Patch and Cameron checking out the crab

Danielle looking TOO CUTE! KC and Stacy

Alex, me, Mark and Stacy The happy couple

Dinner time
VERY happy Nana and Papa Jay very much enjoying his new role as Poppy

Heather liked the ribs! Nana and Kate

Ryan testing out the ribs Hey!  I want more!

Me and Mark, Mary Ellen and Joe, and Stacey and Jay

Hanging out after dinner
Jay and Stacey with Chase They've really got to lighten up

Mark and his brothers showing their best side Mark, Mike, Joe, Mary Ellen, Jay, John and KC

Chase isn't too sure of this pose Ashley hanging on for dear life!

Joe, me and KC relaxing Danielle and Julia are best buddies!

A small miracle that they're all still at once!
All of the grandchildren lined up by age:  Ryan, Kate, Danielle, Julia (hiding behind Danielle and Chase), Chase, Preston, Cameron, Ashley, Patrick, Heather and Alex

June 10, 2005
Jay and Stacey's Wedding Day!

Since the boys went golfing yesterday, the girls had a day at the spa before the wedding.  Once we'd been pampered, it was time to get everyone spruced up for the big event.  The setting was beautiful on the beach, and it was just overcast and breezy enough to keep everyone comfortable.  Cameron and Chase came down the aisle with Stacey.  Cameron gave Stacey away, and Chase was ring bearer.  Heather and Ashley were beautiful flower girls.  Chase was adorable.  During the ceremony, the musicians sang a song.  Apparently Chase didn't care for it - he had one ear laying down on the ring pillow and his hand over the other ear!  He then sat up and put his fingers in his ears!  As Jay and Stacey were walking away as husband and wife, Cameron rushed to catch up, then Chase realized what was going on, and went running after them.  It was very sweet.

After the ceremony, we went to a room at the beach house for the reception.  The food and music were fabulous, and once again, Patrick danced the night away.  I couldn't keep up with him, so he just kept dancing by himself.  By the end of the evening, he was break dancing and doing jumps - the boy just can't stay right-side-up for long!  It was definitely an evening of family and we all had a special, fun time laughing and dancing together.

 Ashley and Heather as flower girls Stacey with her escorts

The scene was set with beautiful bagpipe music Jay, Mike and Paul watching Stacey walk down the aisle

Saying their vows Full of joy!

It's torture! Make it stop!

A happy best man My happy little group

John and Martha with Julia Ryan with Uncle Mark

Cameron catching up Don't forget Chase, too!

Patrick signing the guest book - actually, they framed the invitation and everyone signed the matte What a wonderful keepsake!

The Notre Dame alums with the grooms cake And the gorgeous brides cake

Chase joining Mommy and Poppy on the dance floor Patch dancing with the bride

Mark helping Kate and Ryan dance Mike with his mini-me

Heather with Ryan and Stacey with Ashley And Kate dancing with Mommy

Heather making Ryan laugh - what a happy kid! The old veterans taking a go on the dance floor

Mary Beth and Ryan Jay's teaching Chase how to dance!  LOL

He dragged me out dancing again! Alex looking very mature

Ryan is slowing down Soooooo sleepy!

Patch's antics by the end of the night! Two mighty good-lookin guys

Mary Ellen and Mike Mary Ellen, KC and Joe

Pretty happy ourselves

June 11, 2005

It's been such a fabulous week, but alas, it's time to say goodbye and head back home.  As we were loading the last few things into the car, it started to rain - good timing, as we'd had perfect weather all week.  We ended up driving through the edges of Tropical Storm Arlene.  We passed six accidents heading in the other direction on the interstate.  Yikes.  We got home to some very happy doggies, and a week of mail and over 300 emails.  But it's still great to be home!  I thought about doing this web update today, but when I uploaded the pictures from the camera, there were 160!  I guess this'll take a little longer than I thought!

June 13, 2005

So much for needing to recover from the big vacation.  Everybody is already stir crazy, so we went to the bowling alley with Anthony and his mom.  She invited the boys over to swim for the afternoon so I was able to get a bunch of stuff done - finally!

June 14, 2005

I woke up to "Mom, what are we gonna do today?"  Oh boy.  With Daddy's birthday and Father's Day fast approaching, we agreed to do some shopping, with a break at the mall to see Madagascar.  We're gonna make it through this summer bit by bit.

While we were on vacation, Alex was running quite far on the beach without much effort and Mark noticed he runs like a long-distance runner.  Sunday he bought him a sports watch with a stop watch on it, and tonight they went for their first run together.  They did the "little loop" through the neighborhood, which is 1.4 miles.  Alex came in the door boasting that he didn't stop running once, and checked his stopwatch - just over 11 minutes!  Wow!

Silly String fight! Racing a horse at the arcade

June 15, 2005

Becca and I were planning to hook up at the Science Center today, but when she got there, it was packed with summer camps and field trips.  She called me and we agreed to go bowling instead.  After we got home, a couple of neighbor kids came over and they went berserk with my camera.  The results were pretty funny!

Patch's shot JUST missed!

Ta da! A little fuzzy, but shows how much fun they're having

Calendar boy Don't take that picture!

June 16, 2005

Happy Birthday, Daddy!!!

We had a quiet day at home today, then Daddy went to his softball game.  We joined him after the game at the sports bar that sponsors his team and had dinner with all of his buddies.  We went home to cake and gifts.

The cake wasn't big enough for all 39 candles.  ;-)

June 17, 2005

Mark and I sent the kids over to Justin's house while he and I went and made the final decisions on the bathrooms.  Since Mark had softball last night, we were planning to go out for his birthday dinner tonight.  When we picked up the boys, Alex was being belligerent and kept saying he didn't feel like going out.  Rather than spoiling Mark's dinner, we agreed that he and Patrick could have some one-on-one and go out to eat alone.  Meanwhile, I was ticked at Alex and left him on the couch while I went in my room to read.  Mark and Patch came back home saying what a wonderful time they'd had.  Mark went to sit next to Alex and said he felt warm - he had a 101 degree fever.  I guess he really didn't feel like going out!

June 18, 2005

Mark was out pressure washing the sidewalks today and somehow wrenched his back.  I answered a knock at the door and there he was, bent over and asking for me to help him inside.  The poor guy was on his back for the rest of the day.  Becca and I were supposed to have a girls night out tonight, and God love him, Mark insisted that we still go out.  We ended up cutting our evening short because Emily wouldn't cooperate at the movie theater, so I was able to hear about the evening when I got home.  He said that the boys were extremely good and helped him out wherever they could.  It's nice to say they'll come through when you need them to!

June 19, 2005

I was finishing up the pressure washing today and Patrick came out to keep me company.  We were having fun splashing around in the puddles and mud it created and he asked if he could help.  I didn't think twice about him being barefoot, since we'd been playing in the water, but he ended up pressure washing his foot.  He started screaming horribly and when I got him inside, the top of his left foot had a gash across his entire foot.  I'm still stunned it could do that much damage!  And, yes, I'm the worst Mommy in the world.  :-(

Patch wanted to play in his Bionicle costume from last Halloween

June 20, 2005

Today turned out to be quite the circus at our house.  Each of the boys had a friend from school over to play for the day.  On top of that, I woke up to four construction workers ringing my doorbell ready to work on the house.  Fortunately, all of the kids got along great.  So I had two extra kids, two men in the back yard jack hammering away the old concrete slab, two men in the front of the house hammering and drilling and banging replacing the two big windows, and two dogs stuck to me like glue scared out of their minds!  (Come to think of it, that's a whole lotta guys with just little ole me!)  Did I mention it was a particularly LOUD circus?

Old New!

Terrified doggies Jack hammering the slab in the back yard

After dinner, Patrick and I rode bikes while Alex ran the loop in the neighborhood.  Poor Patrick kept having minor little accidents that were frustrating the heck out of him.  The most notable is when he had an itch on his head and tried to scratch it through the holes in the top of his helmet.  He ended up getting his fingers stuck in the holes, which caused him to fall off his bike and he got hit in the chest by his handle bar.  It really took a lot for me to act sympathetic while desperately holding back hysterical laughter!

Alex is way up ahead running while Patch and I (behind the camera) follow along

June 21, 2005

Mom came over today to stay with the boys while I went to a closing.  We then went and had a wonderful meal with her and Dad for a belated Father's Day dinner.   I have to say, the kids were good as gold at the restaurant, and Patrick had a great time chatting with Grandpa during dinner.

June 22, 2005

Patrick loves to work on his muscles!

A one and a two and a three

June 23, 2005

I think it's time to get more proactive with our summer.  The boys are about to kill each other, if I don't beat them to it.  They were supposed to go play at a friend's house today while I ran a bunch of errands and then go for my follow-up with the ENT.  When we got to his house, though, the boys were bickering so badly I ended up taking Alex with me.  I had really been looking forward to a little time to myself, but Alex and I had a nice time together.  He went to the doctor with me, and the doctor went on and on about how good he was.  The doctor put a scope in my nose to look at my throat, and let Alex look through the scope at my vocal chords.  He thought that was really cool.  I thought it was a bit weird, from my perspective!

June 24, 2005

I did some web surfing last night looking for fun activities and came across a rock climbing center, so we checked it out today.  It was awesome!  Of course, the boys took to it instantly.  There were two types of climbing:  bouldering and top roping.  Bouldering involves climbing a lower wall, but you sometimes have to climb the underside of an outcropping.  You don't need safety equipment because you're not far up and there are cushions and mats to land on.  Top roping is for the tall vertical walls and involves having a harness attached to a rope that goes through a sort of pulley at the top of the wall and then down to another person who "belays" for you - keeps your rope taught and keeps you from falling.  I was the belayer for the boys.  Patrick loved bouldering - especially when he got to the top and dropped himself down onto the cushions.  Alex didn't care for the bouldering, but was determined to master the top roping walls.  They had to take turns top roping because I could only belay for one at a time.  While belaying isn't particularly demanding or difficult, I did it nonstop, while the boys got breaks between turns.  I think we're all going to be pretty sore tomorrow!

On one of the more difficult walls, one of the knobby thingies (I'm sure that's a technical term) was quite large and particularly difficult to maneuver - it didn't have any indentations to grip.  The boys dubbed it the "great green gob" and every time one of them would encounter it, the other one would start singing the song, "Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts . . . ."  It was hilarious!

With me belaying, I obviously couldn't take pictures, so the boys took pictures for me between turns.  They did pretty well!

Their first attempt at bouldering - Patrick actually ended up doing a flip off the wall right after I snapped this!

Scaling that boulder! Almost there!

All harnessed and ready to go

Patrick top roping the big wall Mommy concentrating on belaying

Patrick taking a ride while I let him down with the rope

Alex rapidly conquered his first wall Mommy at the bottom belaying for Alex

June 25, 2005

Things have been pretty quiet around here, since we've been stuck inside trying to stay out of the rain.  In between rain showers, Mark and I have been working in the back, painting the new ceiling on the porch and laying new sprinkler pipes to go around the new concrete.  Ugh!

His room is clean, he's reading, and he appears happy - what more can a Mom ask for?

June 29, 2005

The boys were supposed to spend the night at Anthony's tonight, but at the last minute, Alex decided he didn't want to go.  Patrick happily went anyway, and Alex and I had a nice quiet evening together (Mark is on a business trip).  It was really nice to get some one-on-one time.

Cuddle time

June 30, 2005

Alex and I hooked up with Anthony and Patrick at the bowling alley this afternoon.  Patrick was adorable.  The minute he saw me he ran full-tilt and jumped into my arms with a huge bear hug.  Then he chattered non-stop about everything he and Anthony had done.  It hadn't occurred to me until then that this is the first time he's had a sleepover without Alex.  He was thrilled, and also exhausted!  They'd stayed up until midnight and woke up before 7:00.  Bedtime will be easy tonight! 

Patch trying to adjust to the BIG pool table Playing a very serious game of air hockey