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MAY 2007
(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)

May 2, 2007

April and May are typically absolutely insane months, with the calendar overloaded with end-of-year activities both in and out of school.  In the midst of the chaos, I somehow got wrangled into joining the PTA Board next year.  I'm going to be the head room parent coordinator.  My theory is that it probably isn't really anything different than what I already do informally.  We'll see!  My day today was packed full:  the PTA Board meeting this morning, swing by school to catch the gifted kids at lunch so they could work on a gift for the teacher, take Patch to get his haircut, pick up Alex from his Musikids rehearsal, throw some dinner on the table, go to the Founders Day wrap-up meeting, then from there off to a closing at 8:30 p.m.  It's no wonder I'm in a constant state of panic!

By the way, Patch decided at the last minute to radically change his hairstyle, and went for a buzz cut!  He's never had hair this short, and it's adorable, albeit VERY different!  And he actually has ears!  Who knew?  No pics today, but you'll see it soon enough.

May 5, 2007

Universal Studios gave away 100 sets of admission tickets for today to Big Brothers Big Sisters, so my little sister and I went for the day.  She's a little daredevil and we hit every water ride and roller coaster at the park!  Well, she did anyway!  I was keeping up quite well, if I do say so myself, until we went on Dueling Dragons, a floorless roller coaster that goes every which way.  I was quite green when we got off and barely managed to keep my dignity!  We had saved The Hulk for last, and she very kindly allowed me to sit that one out.  I'm really glad we were able to do everything we did together, BUT my neck is killing me!  I'm thinking there is probably a cut-off age for thrill rides, and I've passed it!

May 6, 2007

Mark took the boys for their first attempt at racquetball.  He says they did pretty well, and nobody was fatally wounded.

Patrick's swinging big! I spy a little blue ball

Hmmmm - that doesn't look right Apparently you swing better when you suck in your lips

May 11, 2007

As Patrick and I were walking into the gym for his regular gymnastics class this evening, he casually mentioned that he has a meet "sometime soon."  Imagine my surprise, and panic, when I discovered it's tomorrow morning!  I was able to get him enrolled, but that doesn't change the fact that we already have a full schedule tomorrow.  Alex has a football game, and I'm taking my little sister fishing.  So Mom is once again coming to our rescue and will take Alex to his football game, Mark is taking Patch to his gymnastics event, while I go fishing.  Juggle, juggle, juggle.

May 12, 2007

Ever since I met my little sister (my "Little") through Big Brothers Big Sisters, she's wanted me to take her fishing.  I have absolutely no idea how, and no inclination to go fishing.  I mentioned this to our counselor, and she told me about a program called Hooked on Life.  Hooked on Life is a program a local man has to take needy children out fishing for a morning of stress-free fun.  He provides this service for Give Kids the World and BBBS primarily.  We met him at the crack of dawn this morning and spent four hours on a huge lake fishing and enjoying Mother Nature.  My Little was more content than I've ever seen her, which was worth every hour of sleep I missed!  She caught three fish and I caught one, although mine was so small that Joe, our guide, complimented me on the difficulty of catching a fish with such a small mouth to get the hook into!  He let my Little drive the boat, and her daredevil side came out again!  We were tied up to a tree in a little inlet fishing.  I looked up at a bird in the tree above us, and I heard Joe's wife gasp behind me.  She had followed my gaze, but saw what I had overlooked - an owl was sitting no more than ten feet above us watching us!  He stayed there the whole time we were there and seemed to be watching us with very cute curiosity.

Our fishing audience

Meanwhile, back at the ranch  . . .

Mom took Alex to his game, where he played incredibly, of course.  :-)  And Mark went to the gymnastics show and videotaped it so I didn't miss it.  And you don't have to, either!

Click to watch Patch


May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day!

We had a nice, quiet day at home, which is just what I wanted for Mothers Day.  :-)  My mom came over for dinner and the only thing missing was Mark's mom - Happy Mothers Day, Nana!  We are so truly blessed to have the mothers we have, and I am so blessed to have my guys!

The girls stuck together for their nap this morning.  :-)

May 15, 2007

About six weeks ago Alex joined a program at school called MusiKids.  They've been working very hard on Annie, Jr. and tonight is opening night!  Alex has two roles, Lt. Ward and Burt Healy, a radio announcer.  Mark's mom and my mom came over for the performance.  Nana brought Aydee, her dachshund, which Dee Dee seemed to think was a coon!  We had a few hairy moments trying to keep them apart, but in the end, everyone was still standing.   The show was incredible!  The kids all did an amazing job, and it was hard to believe it was put on entirely by fourth and fifth graders.  Click in the boxes below to see Alex's performance.

After the show we went out for ice cream and ran into a bunch of other kids from the show.  The kids were goofing off with some quarters and Alex threw one up in the air and it came down on his front tooth and broke it.  I know, truth is stranger than fiction!  He was very upset about how it would look on stage tomorrow.  When we got home I called our dentist's after-hours number, and imagine my surprise when the dentist answered the phone himself.  I explained the situation to him, including the performance at 9:00 tomorrow morning.  He agreed to meet us at his office at 7:30 tomorrow morning to see what he could do.  Wow!

Kori, our next-door neighbor, was also in the show Alex as Lt. Ward talking to Annie

Click to see Lt. Ward Click for Burt Healy

May 16, 2007

I cannot say enough about how awesome our dentist is.  We got to his office at 7:30 this morning and he took Alex in immediately.  He completely repaired his tooth already!  He has 7 children of his own, and said that 10 years ago he might not have recognized how important this is.  He said, "There are emergencies, and there are emergencies.  This is an emergency!"  LOL

May 17, 2007

Over the past three days, the kids have put on six shows of Annie, Jr.  Each day they put on a 9:00 show for two grades of students at the school, and then an evening show each day as well.  Tonight's was the last show, and there was definitely a different atmosphere.  The nerves were gone and the kids were relaxed and having a blast.  The poor kid who played Mr. Warbucks kept forgetting his lines.  He's supposed to call for champagne at one point, but he ended up saying it three different times, and the butler and servants came in with the champagne every time!  At the end when the music teacher was doing her wrap-up speech, she said that she had told the kids throughout the last six weeks that they were going to find their "funny" in this show, and "champagne" is it!  The Warbucks actor took it all in good stride and we all got a good laugh out of it.

Alex hanging out with the other actors before the show

May 18, 2007

Two more days of school!  I had my last school obligation this morning - a thank you brunch for all of the volunteers.  As nice as it was, at this point, it was just another thing to check off on my calendar.  The closings are picking up as summer approaches, which is awesome (it was a long, dry winter business-wise!), but I don't have time!  The kids got out of school at 1:00 today, and will get out early on Monday and Tuesday of next week as well.  I had a last dinner with my Little sister before she goes to stay with her dad for summer.  Mark took Patrick to gymnastics.  And round and round we go!

May 19, 2007

Alex had an amazing football game this morning.  They won 18-0, and the last play was Alex catching a 60-yard touchdown pass!  He also had a 40-yard run and an interception.  Woohoo!  Dat's my boy!

After the game we headed over to the River to visit with Mark's mom.  We got all of the boats in the water, Patch and Mark went fishing, and we just had a wonderful relaxing day with Nana. 

I don't think this is what they mean by "tubing" Rub and dub dub

Nana and Patch playing cribbage Are my boys actually reading TOGETHER?!

May 20, 2007

Nana and Papa's doctor and his family came to the River for the day and we had a wonderful visit!  They have two children Alex and Patrick's age, and all of the kids went out in the paddle boat or the kayak and got up close and personal with a few manatees.  The tides obliged (we weren't sure they would) and we took the boat out to the Gulf for a swim where some dolphin playfully showed off for us.  And afterwards we were graced with the presence of a rather large gator in the cove.  It was so nice to get to know their family, and Mother Nature was kind enough to put on quite a show!

Hoping to catch dinner Boo LOVES going to the River, especially without the girls!

I crazily took my camera out in the kayak to get this shot Mark was giving Alex a boat driving lesson

We had a stowaway!

May 21, 2007

Patrick's last school project was to create a board game based on a fairy tale.  Patrick chose Arthur and the Sword, which is no big surprise given his love of swords.  Today his class played each other's games, and then we played it some more at home.

Let the games begin!

May 22, 2007

SCHOOL'S OUT!!!  I can't believe Alex is a FIFTH GRADER!  One more year and he'll be in MIDDLE SCHOOL!  Argh!  I woke up this morning with a cold, so after I got the kids off to school I crawled back in bed for a little bit.  You can imagine my shock when I woke up to the kids coming in the door after school!  I had a long list of errands to run today, too, with it being my last chance without kids at home.  Ah well - I guess I needed the rest!  Mark is in Ft. Lauderdale all week, so I need to be healthy, with the kids home 24/7 now.

May 23, 2007

The neighbors all got together for a pool party to celebrate the beginning of summer.  It's always so nice to get together, and the kids had a wild and crazy blast!

Now THAT'S a water slide! Alex battling in the pool

May 24, 2007

I had a meeting this morning so Mom came over to stay with the kids.  She got more than she bargained for.  By the time I got back home there were five boys here.  They're old enough to entertain each other, so the more the merrier.  I also went to the doctor because I was sure I'd developed an ear infection from this cold.  Turns out I've got swimmers ear, which happened to show up at the same time I have a cold.  That works for me.  The last time I had an ear infection, it didn't go away until I got an ear tube.  I just wish they could waive a magic wand and make the cold disappear.

May 25, 2007

We've had a house full of boys all week, which is fine by me.  The more kids, the less they bother me.  LOL  Mark's been in Ft. Lauderdale all week, and came in the door just in time for me to head out for a closing.  While I was gone, the boys were scheming.  Justin had dinner with Mark and the boys at our house, and then all three of the kids went to Justin's for a sleepover.  We've been down this road before with Patrick, so I just brought the phone to bed with me, and sure enough, at 11:00 Sherry called to say Patrick wanted to come home.  :-)

May 26, 2007

Mark and Patrick went back over to the River for some boating and fishing with Mark's mom and his great-uncle.  That left Alex and me to fend for ourselves.  I'm still feeling pretty lousy, and as soon as Mark and Patrick left, I climbed back into bed.  Not 15 minutes later, Alex came home from the sleepover, and the friends started coming over.  Ugh.  Dee Dee got out of the house and went swimming in the pond across the street, and that was the last straw.  I kicked all the kids out (including my own!) and washed the freakin' dog and laid back down for awhile.  The phone rang off the hook, so I finally gave in and agreed to go out for pizza with Sherry and her boys, which turned out to be a wonderful time after all.  I guess all's well that ends well.

May 27, 2007

A mom of one of Alex's school friends called today to invite Alex to go to the beach with them for the next four days.  I was a bit apprehensive since I don't think he's been away from us for that long before, but Mark and I agreed there's no reason not to let him go, so tomorrow he's heading out.

Mark and Patrick had a very exciting day on the river, where they saw dolphin herding and catching fish and some very playful manatees!  When they got home, we went out for dinner and a movie as a whole family, since having us all together seems to be a fleeting thing these days!

Coming up to say hello

May 28, 2007

When I woke up this morning, Alex greeted me with, "I'm all ready to go!"  Turns out what that meant was that he had pulled out some clothes and thrown them in a pile on his bed.  LOL  We spent the rest of the morning getting him packed, while I filled his poor head with every piece of advice I could think of.  I drove him over to Harry's house, and did manage to get a nice big hug before I left him to go to the beach for four days without his beloved mommy. 

All set!

May 29, 2007

Mark and I have been enjoying having Patch all to ourselves, without any bickering and arguing among the brothers.  After dinner tonight we went out for dessert and then to Borders to stock up on books for our cruise next week.  I just love buying books, and I love even more that my kids love books!

It's been just about killing me that we haven't heard from Alex yet.  When I was out this afternoon, he called and talked to Mark.  At about 10:20 tonight, just as I was about to fall asleep, he called again and we got to chat.  He was sooooo sweet!  We chatted about what we'd been doing, and I even got an unprompted "I love you" out of him.  Ahhhhhh.

May 30, 2007

Mark spent all last week in Ft. Lauderdale helping out since Maria, one of the two people in his office, was on vacation.  Before he left on Friday, he found out that Ryan, the other person, was flying to Wisconsin because his grandfather is dying.  Maria has been up to her ears trying to get caught up on her own work and also covering Ryan's, so Mark was planning on going down for the day to help her out.  Mark received word today that Ryan's grandfather had died and he will not be back until next week.  AND Maria will be out on Friday for some minor surgery.  So he packed up once again and headed down for the rest of the week.  Poor guy has hardly spent a night in his own bed for the last two weeks.

May 31, 2007

I got my Alex back!  He got home around lunchtime and gave me several big huge hugs.  They had a blast at the beach, but I think he's pretty glad to be home.  I know I'm glad to have him home!