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November, 2003
(Click on an image to enlarge)

November 2, 2003

Mark and I went on a spending spree today.  We had already planned to go dining table hunting this afternoon, and this morning our lawn mower bit the dust, so we went lawn mower hunting as well.  We ended up with huge successes and bought both!

After we got home, the weather was so beautiful that the boys went out front, and soon we had seven boys all playing in the yard.  It was awesome!  I just love this neighborhood!

Alex has turned into a complete football maniac.  If he's not watching it, he's outside playing it.  Patch and I got tired of watching football and headed into the kitchen to do a puzzle.

Nothing like one-on-one time to bring on a smile!

November 3, 2003

I've been busy peeling wallpaper and painting our bedroom over the last several days.  I've been doing it a wall at a time, since it's impossible to move all of the furniture away all at once.  We rearranged tonight so I could find the last wall - a relatively small one and definitely an easy home stretch.  The boys have been very helpful at stripping the wallpaper off ("Gee - you want me to destroy something?") so before bed we let them start on this last wall.  As the wallpaper ripped off, colors began to appear - several colors of mildew!  Obviously, we have a moisture issue that needs to be addressed before we can move on.  SHOOT ME NOW!

Patch helped me put the switch plates back on after painting. Jacob came over to play and brought his Batman outfit, which Patch loves!

November 5, 2003

Alex and I went to the Herpetological Society meeting tonight.  We had a surprise when Alex's girlfriend showed up (her dad is a member and also whom we bought our snakes from), so the two of them entertained each other during the meeting.  They were very cute together, and I tried to get a quick picture without being rude to the speakers.

Look at that twinkle in her eye!  ;-)

November 6, 2003

We're so happy that Grandma is home from Michigan and spent the afternoon with us today!

A friendly game of pool

KC and Stacy sent us some adorable pictures of Preston and Danielle at Halloween!  What cuties!

The cutest ballerina you ever saw! Howdy pardner!

November 7, 2003

The boys had their last soccer game of the season tonight.  They both played great!  Each team had a pizza party afterwards.  It was a little sad because both boys want to move on to try other sports next season - Patch wants to play t-ball and Alex wants to play flag football, so it looks like we'll be leaving soccer behind for a little while.

November 8-9, 2003

We've been planning to head to the River to visit with Mark's family this weekend.  I've been working on the painting in our bedroom and have been very stressed that I can't seem to get it done, so Mark took the boys over and left me here to paint.  I was hoping that he would write about their trip, but it hasn't happened, so I'll share what they told me.

KC was there with Preston and Danielle, so there was tons of fun.  The highlight of the weekend was when Mark and Alex were out in the kayak and a dolphin swam by.  It spent quite a bit of time right in front of the dock, so everyone got to see the show while the dolphin fished for its dinner.

Patrick's brushing up for t-ball Tagged ya!

Preston's going for a home run! Patrick got ahold of the camera and took this one.  :-)

Danielle lookin' too cute with her Daddy! Rub a dub dub . . . . . .

November 13, 2003

I volunteer every Thursday in the art class at Alex's school.  The way the rotation works, I only see Alex's class about once a month, and today was one of those special days.

A rare moment of attention!

November 14, 2003

Alex has been fighting a cold all week and is pretty run down, so I decided last night to keep him out of school today.  Lo and behold, when Patch woke up this morning, he was in a full-blown asthma flare, so I ended up with two little helpers at home today.  We had a visit with the pediatrician this morning, and despite a breathing treatment at home an hour earlier, he was still retracting and wheezing, so he's back on the heavy-duty steroids for a few days.    The boys were calm enough that I was able to do the finishing touches on our bedroom - yippee!  A cool front came through today and the weather is absolutely gorgeous, so we had a picnic in the front yard for lunch.  After dinner Patch had a great idea - we had s'mores by the chiminea!

You know they're sick if they're outside and sitting still! It's only down into the 60's, and look at Alex all bundled up!

November 15, 2003

My closest friend from college, Dallison, and her family came into town today from Virginia.  Her son is the same age as Patrick, so the kids have all hit it off wonderfully.  I can't believe how much Kendall, her daughter and my Goddaughter, has grown!  What a cutie!  It's so awesome to see them again!  Tomorrow they're heading out to stay at one of the Disney hotels for the week, so we're looking forward to spending more time together while they're in town.

Patrick was showing Quinton his favorite web sites Kendall kept trying to steal everyone's food

The kiddie dorm

November 17, 2003

We all woke up bright and early this morning.  Mark headed off to Baltimore for the week for work while the boys and I joined Kevin and Dallison at Disney!  I was nervous about Patrick because his asthma is still in full swing.  I ended up bringing his nebulizer in a backpack (wow, is it heavy!).  The first aid station at Disney was wonderful.  Not only did they give us our own room for him to neb, but they also kept the nebulizer there the entire day, so we could just pop in whenever he needed to neb.  It was right in the middle of the park so it was very convenient - whew!

The kids have reached new heights at Disney - literally.  They're both tall enough now to ride Space Mountain - over and over and over again!  We rode it FOUR times!  We all wore red shirts, and on our third time through, the guy working the ride said, "Look, it's the red team again."  Both kids said that Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear are their favorite rides.  Alex's socks got wet and his feet hurt by the end of the evening.  He also gave Dallison a ride for her money on the race cars.  On the way home, he said he'd learned two things today.  "Wear good socks, and I need to learn how to drive!"

My boys had a great time with Quinton, and Kendall was a real trooper, squeaking by with a short nap and still smiling all day.  She's so cute!

The ice cream cones were bigger than they are! In front of the Indy Speedway

Alex drove Dallison and Kendall around the race track Patch was my driver - HANG ON!!!!!!!!

Future Mickey and Minnie Patch, Alex and Quinton playing in the water area

Kevin and Patch are in the pink teacup.  Dallison, Alex and Quinton are in the purple one to the right. What a beautiful family!

Of course, we had to go on the carrousel He does know how to enjoy the simple things in life!

I'm surrounded by handsome little men! Quinton and Patrick are kindred climbing spirits

November 18, 2003

I'm trapped at home today and tomorrow while our new cabinets/home office are installed.  So once again, Mom came to my rescue and picked Patrick up from school for me.  We then joined Mom and Dad for dinner and had a very nice evening.  Mom brought over some modeling clay, and the boys made some little bowls and saucers for Thanksgiving.  Awwwwww.

Creative minds at work

November 19, 2003

Now that our bedroom is finally finished, I let the kids attack the wallpaper in our bathroom.  They had a blast seeing just how high they could get it to tear.  We've also had cabinets installed for Mark's office over the past two days.  The workers were getting pretty tired by the end of the day and could hear the kids laughing their heads off.  At one point, Patrick was standing on the bathroom counter and had a strip of wallpaper ripping straight up towards the ceiling.  He said he was going to jump off the counter and hang from it to make it tear.  I was in the bedroom (where the workers were) and said, "No Patrick - you cannot hang from the wallpaper!"  The workers thought it was hilarious and said they needed a laugh right about then.  I pointed out that I wasn't making a joke - he really was going to hang from it!

Patrick started on the wallpaper behind the towels.  LOL

Demolition derby

Look at our new home office!!!!!

Storage, storage, storage!!!!

November 20, 2003

Patrick is a Bionicle genius!

Very proud of his creation!

November 21, 2003

Tonight was the pre-K Thanksgiving performance at the preschool.  Patrick's class dressed up as Indians and they sang One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians, both in English and in Spanish, while doing it in sign language!  There were also pilgrims and turkeys - they were all so adorable!  Afterwards, we went outside to the petting zoo.

Getting ready beforehand in his classroom Waiting for the show to begin

They had "picture time" once everyone was on stage He waved to us everytime he caught our eye during the performance

Back in the classroom afterwards - cutest Indian tribe I ever saw! Hammin' it up

This could be cute if it wasn't a game of "who can ram the other into the wall the hardest" Daddy and his mini-me

Holding a baby bunny Patch didn't think they were really bunnies because they didn't jump!

Patch was laughing his head off as he fed the goose

November 23, 2003

I took Patch to a bowling party for two of his classmates today.  It was quite entertaining to watch a dozen 4 and 5 year olds bowling!

Overhand bowling Look at the effort on his face!

He was concentrating very hard on signing the bowling pin for the birthday boy

November 25, 2003

Patrick's class had a Thanksgiving lunch today and the parents were invited to come.  It's easy to be thankful for the gifts in our lives when we're surrounded by beautiful, smiling children!

A very happy Mommy! Cheeeeeeese!

November 27, 2003

We headed up to Michigan today to spend Thanksgiving with my family in the Cold White North!  I must be out of touch with my roots, because it was c-o-l-d!  We had a nice flight into Chicago and my cousin, Rick, picked us up at the airport.  We went straight to see my Grandma.  She was very tired and couldn't speak much, but I'm so glad we all got to see her.

On the way to my aunt's house, we stopped at some property Rick has bought, and the boys ran off some energy while he showed us around.  Patrick was so excited to finally get to wear his Scooby Doo hat and gloves!

Florida jackets are a JOKE up there!

Rick and his fiancée, Jessica, have three boys between them who are right around my boys' ages.  They all came over for dinner tonight and the kids had a blast together while we adults caught up.

David, Alex, Thomas and Patrick Just like home - LEGOS!

November 28, 2003

Rod (another cousin) came over this morning for a short visit, and to lend us his car (THANKS!).  The boys really love Jin's cat, and Alex discovered he'll play through the window.

We headed over to Kalamazoo to visit with my cousins on my Dad's side, Tom and Gloria, and their families.  On the drive over it was snowing lightly, and when we got to Tom and Cheryl's, there were a few inches on the ground.  My three boys had an all-out snowball war until their pansy-Florida gloves forced them in to warm by the fire.

Nobody's safe! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

We had a wonderful visit with Tom and Cheryl and their kids, Kelly and Eric.  Heather and Nathan, Gloria's kids, were also there already.  They're all teenagers and were awesome with our kids.  The six of them spent most of the day playing down in the basement.  Patch would come up occasionally to say hi, and Kelly would show up and grab him and say he was her buddy.  Patch would just sit there and grin!  Terry and Gloria joined us later after work, and we had a fabulous visit!  It's been way too long since we've all seen each other, and we really enjoyed ourselves!

Patch and Kelly - mutual admiration society!

While we were hanging around in the house, someone called for the kids to come look outside.  It was really snowing and looking like a Winter Wonderland!  We stood staring for a while, and then it hit us that we had to drive back to Dowagiac in this - and we've never driven in snow!  So we bundled up as fast as we could and said our goodbyes.  Mark drove wonderfully!  We were all tense.  Traffic on I-94 was going 25 mph, and on the 30-mile stretch we traveled, we saw 6 wrecks!  We made it home with no mishaps, although Mark didn't waste much time finding a bottle of Sherry to calm his nerves!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Patch has had a little bit of a cough since we got to Michigan and it has been progressing.  At 11:30 tonight he was up and coughing in a full-blown asthma flare.  By 3:00 a.m. we had tried everything in our arsenal and the poor little guy still couldn't catch his breath.  So I woke up my aunt and she and I took him to the little local hospital (Mark stayed behind with Alex).  He was seen right away and they brought out the big guns and sent us on our merry way.  When we got home, he was still coughing without a break.  It seems that he had a pretty bad case of croup as well.  I finally woke Mark up at 8:00 and dumped Patch on him while I crawled into bed for a few hours of sleep. 

November 29, 2003

My cousin, Katie, and her family came over for a visit this morning.  It's been so long since we've seen each other that her baby is now a toddler and I just met him today!  What a cutie!

We had our big Thanksgiving feast today.  It was just like old times - a bunch of crazed lunatics hanging around the table while a herd of children played hide and seek around the house.  My aunt had sprinkled some star confetti on the tables, and Mark and Tim started a "football" game across the table by flicking the stars at each other.  Of course, it became an all-out war, with stars in drinks and hair, and then the whipped cream came out!  It looks like Scott lost that round!

The kid table DON'T mess with Mother!

He's starting young - assuming the position with a belly full of turkey and football on the TV I wasn't sleeping - I didn't miss a thing!

November 30, 2003

We spent the morning recovering.  Patch is still waking up coughing a lot, so Mark and I are zombies, although the cough has improved dramatically during the day.  Alex's eye started bothering him yesterday, and now the other eye is hurting, too.  Lovely.

Rod invited us out to go four-wheeling in the afternoon.  Nothing like a stiff wind in 30 degree weather to perk you up!  Not to mention the excitement of riding an ATV through the woods!  I think Mark has a new hobby - Heaven help us!  Tim and Jeremy were awesome with Alex and Patch and took them on ride after ride after ride. 

Muscle men Alex the cyborg

The helmet weighed more than he does! Mark the Maniac!

Mark with Patch and Rod with Alex

We went over to my Uncle Dan and Aunt Penny's house and had a wonderful dinner.  The kids napped in the car on the way over, so we were able to stay pretty late and have a good visit.  Patch played the piano for everyone and my cousin, Tracy, showed them her horse and the goat.  What a great day!