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MARCH 2006
(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)

March 1-7, 2006

This week was just a big blur.  Mom and I met with the minister and the funeral home a couple of times and plans are in motion.  A lot of family came down and have been wonderful at keeping us occupied and helping with all that needs to be done - and there's so much to be done.  It's always such a wonderful silver lining to have the family gather.  Dad would have been pleased.  Becca took me out for the day on Saturday to shop for a dress for the funeral and get some pictures taken care of.  I spent two days putting together a scrapbook of Dad's life, and it turned out wonderful.  It was great therapy to go through his life through pictures and see how full it had been.  Between our neighbors and Mom's church, we've eaten like royalty.  I'm so grateful for that - many days I don't know how I would have managed to put together a meal. 

I need to give the kids a lot of credit.  It's been very hard on them to have their lives thrown upside down and be carted all over kingdom come taking care of things.  They've been absolutely awesome.

The visitation was Tuesday night, and three men came from Dad's job.  David and I were blown away by the stories they had to tell about Dad.  He was part of a group that we never knew, and it was heartwarming to hear about the fun times they all had.

One evening when we were all gathered at Mom and Dad's house, the kids got a hold of the camera and created their own entertainment.

Lil' ole me Goofball #1

Goofball #2 A disaster waiting to happen

March 8, 2006

Dad's funeral was this morning.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I just can't believe he's gone.  The funeral home set up a beautiful reception with computer paraphernalia everywhere - it was perfect!  We are so blessed to have so many friends and family who came to offer their support.  It means the world to me.

My cousins are leaving tomorrow and wanted to get a taste of Florida while they're here, so we went up to Blue Springs to see the manatees, and even got a good look at a huge gator - I'd guess he was 12-14 feet long, just lounging in the river.  It was a wonderful, relaxing afternoon after a rough week.

The manatee on the right has a tracking tag on his tail Chomp chomp!

March 9-12, 2006

Spring break started this afternoon, and we've been planning a camping trip this weekend with several other families for months now.  We hemmed and hawed about it and finally decided to just make our best effort to get ourselves together and packed up.  We got out of the house at about dinner time and ended up setting up camp in the dark with the mosquitoes, but I'm so glad we did.  I think we all benefited from a complete change of scenery and little demands on us.  It was an awesome group of people - 16 adults and 15 kids.  We had group breakfasts each morning which were fabulous, and roasted marshmallows and peanuts in the evenings.  The kids discovered roasting peanuts.  They had a business of sorts going on taking orders from us and then roasting the peanuts and delivering them.  It was too cute.

The river and lake were teeming with alligators.  We went on an airboat tour and saw probably 15 or more gators and learned all about them.  One family brought their canoe, so we rented a one-man kayak for Alex, and Mark, Patch and I went out in the canoe and paddled out into the lake.  Alex was thrilled to be "on his own" even though we were literally six feet away from him the entire time, and I must say, he did wonderfully.  He was completely tuckered on the way back, and finally agreed to let us grab his oar and tow him in.  Patrick, of course, wanted to do the kayak by himself as well, so Mark went in the canoe while Patch went in the kayak in the small cove where the boats launched.  There is a 12-foot gator named Freddy who hangs out in the cove, but we had him in our sites and made sure they kept their distance, and he did fine.

March 13-19, 2006

If anyone asked me what we did for Spring Break this year, I think I'd have to say we recovered.  We made no plans, and just hung out at home and the boys had friends over to play.  Mark was down in Ft. Lauderdale for a few days, which was a little tough.  I realized that I have really not had a moment alone since Dad died.  It was pretty crazy for the week after he died, then we did the group camping trip, and now the kids are home 24/7.  Calgon, take me away!

The first swim of the year!  (notice they're all in the HOT tub!) Patrick loves to lay out in the sun to warm up after a swim

Mark and the boys made rocket cars out of model rocket engines and Legos

March 20, 2006

Ahhhhhhhh.  A quiet house.  The boys are back in school, Mark is out seeing clients, and I've got the house to myself! 

March 22, 2006

Alex started practices for another football season this afternoon.  He moved up to the next age group, and we kept trying to prepare him for the fact that for the first time, he's going to be among the youngest on his team.  Wouldn't ya know, the coach made him quarterback.  So much for learning to be humble!

March 26, 2006

A fair was at our local mall today so Patch and I joined our neighbors to check it out.  We got there early and it was almost empty, which sort of took some of the excitement out of it, but Patch enjoyed himself anyway.

Waiting for the ferris wheel Thank God he's old enough to do this himself - it's too high for me!

Wheeeeee! Now that's a slide!

March 27, 2006

Mark bought a slingshot this weekend and he and Alex built a box as a target.  They set it up in front of the fence and started shooting.  (You can see the box target on the left in the third picture below.)  The boys are being very good about strictly following all of the rules and can't even get to the slingshot without one of us.  Mark put a grapefruit in the box and hit it dead on with the shot.  We cut it open and the shot went all the way to the center of the grapefruit.  It was pretty cool, but also showed the kids just what a hit can do.  They seemed duly impressed!

Poor Patch could barely pull back on it! Alex has pretty good aim!

Trying to recover some of the shot from our new thick lawn

March 28, 2006

I'm so excited!  We have two new little nieces!  Jay and Stacey's twins were born this afternoon.  They were nine weeks early, so it was a bit scary, but they've been prepared for an early delivery.  Madeline is doing great.  Caroline had a rough start and needed some help breathing, but is doing great now, too.  They were 3 lbs. 11 ounces and 3 lbs. 14 ounces, but I don't know which is which.  Woohoo!

Madeline telling the world she's here! Madeline looking very precious

Caroline stealing all of the attention