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

November 3, 2007

Alex had his last football game of the season and they kicked butt!  His team ended up #1 in his league, too.  :-)  The team met at a restaurant for a party and I took bunches of pictures, but I've apparently messed up a setting on my camera so they didn't come out too well.  Anyway, Alex was on cloud 9!

A happy kid getting his trophy

We had some friends over to watch the FSU game tonight, so Patrick got in the spirit and put garnet color under his eyes.

Go Noles!

November 5, 2007

Fall has finally arrived in Florida!  It's been nice and cool the last few days, but very windy.  Tonight it was wonderfully cool and the wind was still, so we had a fire out back.  :-)  My favorite time of year!

It's surprising how much calmer our house is since Dee Dee left.  Of course, we were well aware that she was more than a handful, but now that she's gone, we're really enjoying the freedom of not having to constantly think of what she might be able to get into, or out of.  LOL  Although I hate the thought of her living out in a pen, especially with the weather getting cooler, I feel like our lives are back to normal.

November 7, 2007

Patrick had a great gymnastics lesson today, and I happened to have my camera with me.  :-)  Click on the pictures to see the videos.

Doing a back hip circle and dismount He nails his roundoff back-hand-spring about 99% of the time

November 8, 2007

From about the second grade, every child in our county anxiously awaits the fifth-grade "mud day" field trip to the environmental center.  And from about the same time, every mother I know starts preparing her husband for the fact (yes, fact) that he will be chaperoning that trip.  Mark and Alex finally got to experience mud day today, and from the looks of their clothes when they came home, they thoroughly experienced the MUD!  Mark took a disposable film-camera, so as soon as the pictures are developed, I'll share them with you.

November 9, 2007

The fifth-grade field trip is a two-day affair, and today was the dry day, which I chaperoned.  :-)  The environmental center is the county's "outdoor classroom" and is part of the school system.  The kids got to hold all kinds of animals, living and "non-living," in the museum, and we learned some orienteering with compasses and counting off paces. 

Learning about the animals in the museum Alex petting Wally, the baby alligator

Florida native animals Looking for the queen bee in the hive

They made "wood cookies" as souvenirs Making a rubbing of a basswood tree

November 10, 2007

We're at the river this weekend visiting Nana.  With Dee Dee gone, weekend trips are so much easier because we can just bring the dogs with us, instead of having to impose on Mom to puppy sit.  Mark and Patrick went out in the kayak to go fishing, and Patrick caught a yellow jack!  It's huge - 21 inches long and 8 pounds.  Go Patch!!

Aydee loves cuddling, especially on cold days Grendel has made herself quite at home

  Ready to go Patch threw out his line before they even left the dock

A VERY proud fisherman! Patch, the master fisherman, which his loyal assistant

Have to take proper measurements Nana was showing Patch how to use the scale so they could weigh the fish

November 15, 2007

We have a big road trip planned for the week of Thanksgiving, so we've started our Christmas decorating early. 

Decorating the playroom tree

November 17, 2007

Road trip!  We packed up as much as we could last night, with the intention of getting on the road by 9:00 this morning.  We made it out at 8:20!  With Dee Dee gone, we're trying to make Grendel more a part of the family activities, including this trip, and she did wonderfully on the road.  She's never been fond of the car, but we kept the Dramamine in her and she seemed to settle in quite well.  We made it to the campground a bit later than we had hoped, but were able to get set up and all tucked in before it got too dark.  We're staying at the Roosevelt State Park just outside of Atlanta, and it's beautiful here.  I'll have to go find a store tomorrow to get a bunch of things that we forgot.  Alex pointed out that perhaps if we hadn't left early, we would have remembered those things.  Smarty pants.

November 18, 2007

We had a wonderfully relaxing day camping.  Between playing Blongo or football, walking Grendel and exploring around the lake, it's been a fine day.

Playing Blongo Our beautiful view

Grendel LOVES being outdoors all the time Skipping rocks

Home sweet home

November 19, 2007

What an adventure we had today!!!  Wild African Safari is a drive-through zoo where you can hand-feed the animals from your car.  We rented one of the zoo's vans and got up close and personal!

Grendel was playing ostrich - maybe she's safe if her head is hidden!

Our welcoming committee I had no idea cows' heads were so BIG!

I started out in the front passenger seat, but when this cow actually put its head inside the van and tried to take my bag of feed right off my lap, I skedaddled to the back seat (behind the windows with bars on them) so I could take better pictures.  ;-)

Mark got face to face with our hosts He's popular with all the girls

He's making absolutely certain Patrick knows where to put the food  That's a well-trained buffalo!

That's a buffalo head INSIDE the front window! Interesting road block

Larry, Mo and Curly

November 20, 2007

We sadly packed up our gear and left our beautiful campground late this morning.  The good side is that our vacation isn't over - we drove up to Jay and Stacey's for the rest of the week for Thanksgiving.  We got there just in time to see the twins before they went to bed, and had a wonderful dinner before settling into a real bed.  :-)  Camping is great, but getting back to civilization has its perks, too.

November 21, 2007

We had a wonderful family day hanging out and letting the chaos of seven children wash over us.  LOL  When the twins weren't napping, we were getting to know them, and they are cuties!  Since they are truly identical, I won't even bother trying to tell you which is Caroline and which is Maddie in the pictures.

Nana and her girls

Of course, the football had to come out to play Grendel and Bogey got along great!

Look at ME Hello

Trying to un-baby-proof the basement Kate and the twins loved playing with the air mattresses

Whirling dervishes Taking a break with Uncle Mark

Aft A friendly game of air hockey

November 22, 2007


In honor of the holiday, the weather obliged by turning COLD!  The kids put out a cup of water last night and it was frozen solid this morning.  The day was a hubbub of cooking and children. 

A funny story that will explain a couple of pictures:  The last time Mary Ellen was here, Chase had asked her why her hair was gray.  She decided to play a joke on him and put on a blond wig at dinner to get his reaction.  We were all laughing our heads off!

After dinner we took a stroll to work off the fabulous meal.  Unfortunately, we barely made it to the end of the street before we nearly froze to death!

You can't get three happy girls at once Superdad!  And check out those bellies!

Look at Mark and Kate watching the dogs play Happy Uncle Mark

Nana with her "young hair" ROFL Chase didn't know what to make of Nana!

Helping Nana with her turkey I'm not sure if Mark held OUR kids this much!

All bundled up and ready to go I'm lovin' the cold weather!

The whole crew - minus Nana who's taking the picture

November 23, 2007

Jay and Stacey took us to a great bowling alley for the afternoon where we got to let loose a little.  Afterwards, all of the boys went for a hike in the woods behind the house.

Kate helped Grendel get into the Christmas spirit

Mark, me and Cameron at the bowling alley Check out Chase's teeth!  LOL

A beautiful hike Ooh - wet and muddy - our favorite!

November 24, 2007

We headed for home this morning, with a stop at Mammoth Cave on the way.  Unfortunately, the trip was much more eventful than we would have liked.  Patrick has been asking to go to Mammoth Cave ever since the last time we went.  Mark and Alex weren't all that interested, so they stayed behind with Grendel while Patrick and I did a two-hour tour through the caves.  Patrick has had a cold, and between being sick, the cold weather, and the damp cave, he needed his inhaler a few times along the tour.  It didn't keep us from enjoying the amazing things in the caves, though.  After lunch at Mammoth Cave, we were back on the road again, and despite a long road ahead of us, were hoping to make it home late tonight.

Along the drive, poor Patrick had been coughing up a lung, and wasn't getting much of a break.  We tried all of the medicines I'd brought, and he was using his inhaler frequently.  After dinner, as we were somewhere in the middle of Georgia, Patrick started saying that his inhaler wasn't helping and it was getting harder to breath.  Not knowing even where we were, much less where the nearest hospital or urgent care center was, Mark first tried the GPS, but it wasn't much help.  Thankfully, we called AAA and they were able to guide us to a hospital.  Despite using his inhaler all day, he was still wheezing, so they hit him hard with the nebulizer and oral steroids, and after about four hours, he was much improved.  Of course, any hopes of making it home tonight were gone, and we had a fitful night in a hotel.

It was 23 degrees this morning in Louisville, and the frost on everything was gorgous

November 25, 2007

Turns out we had a long way to go before making it home late this afternoon.  The boys were able to play with Justin while Mark and I unpacked.  I guess we won't get much time to wind down before school and work tomorrow, but at least we're home safely and Patrick is feeling better.

November 27, 2007

Alex's teacher called today and told Mark that Alex has had a bad attitude in class.  We aren't the least bit surprised, though.  I've been talking to the principal about his teacher since the first week of school.  He has come home in tears several times saying how mean she is, and he's completely lost interest in school and has absolutely no respect for his teacher.  I have to admit, I don't either - the couple of times I've been with the class it was obvious she has no control of the class and does a lot of yelling.  I've also spoken with most of the parents and it appears that most of her students are having a very tough year.  We've talked several times about having him switched to another class, but Alex has adamantly refused, saying he really likes the other kids in the class.  Mark and I decided tonight to override Alex and request he be switched.  Alex was livid, but I just don't see any other option at this point.  I sure hope this is the right decision.

We finally went and had portraits done.

November 28, 2007

I sent an email to the Assistant Principal last night, so of course, he called me this morning.  He said he's not surprised to hear my request, and is surprised we waited so long.  We just have to wait until he can talk to the principal to see what will be done.  It's interesting to note that two kids have already been transferred out of her class, and the AP told me on the phone that as we were speaking, another mother was in with the principal requesting the same thing for her son.

November 30, 2007

The principal finally called me this afternoon and told me that Alex is to report to his new teacher's class on Monday morning, and all of his things will already be in the new classroom.  Woohoo!  Alex isn't thrilled, but has come to accept it.  He's frustrated because he was hoping for Ms. Bradburn but got Ms. Keller instead.  We'll see how Monday goes.