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October 1, 2006

Happy Birthday, Alex!

I guess I can't call Alex my little boy anymore.  He's TEN years old!  The poor guy's birthday was overshadowed by his Papa's visitation, but I so very much appreciate everyone's cheery "Happy Birthdays" when they saw him.  He had gotten some Target gift cards at his party on Friday, so I took him to Target so he could buy himself something (of course, he bought Yu Gi Oh! cards), which he was happy about.  Troy, his Godfather, came by the house after the visitation to see everyone, and had a card/gift for him, and Aunt Stacie gave him some birthday money, which made his day. 

The visitation was this afternoon.  Mary Beth had made arrangements for three babysitters to watch all of the kids at her house, which was such a relief.  I had planned for the boys to come with us to the visitation, but when we were about to leave and they realized all of the other kids were staying, I could hardly insist.  It broke my heart when Alex said to me, "Besides, I've already been to a bunch of visitations before."  My poor boys have been to five funerals already.  It hardly seems fair.

The family went early for some private time before the guests arrived.  Once everyone had gathered, we all went into the room together.  Mark's mom and his brothers went up to the casket while the wives stayed back.  It was the most touching scene when Mark's mom knelt by the casket and her five sons surrounded her, arms around each other in support.  We were soon surrounded by an incredible crowd of people who loved and cared for Joe and his family.  I'm especially grateful to my Aunt Annette who came over with my mom, and to my Aunt Lois and my cousin, Gloria, who drove up from Naples.  It means the world to me that they would go to such lengths for us. 

October 2, 2006

This morning we said our final goodbyes to Mark's father.  Oh, what a sad day.  The funeral was beautiful and very touching.  Mike said a wonderful eulogy, sharing stories of what a wonderful father he was.  All of the grandchildren brought up the gifts of bread and wine.  After the service, each of the children wrote a note to Papa on a balloon, and they released the balloons together up to Heaven.  It was a precious moment and everyone just stood and watched the balloons go up into the clouds.

We visited at KC and Stacy's afterwards, then made our way back home.  It seems so strange to be heading back to our everyday lives, but I suppose that's what you have to do.  The boys are off school this week for fall break, so at least we can lay low for awhile.

14 goodbyes on the way to heaven

October 6, 2006

The kids have been asking what we're going to do over fall break (which is almost over), so Mom and I took my boys and Justin for a day at Sea World.  It's been a couple of years since we went there, and it's quite different!  Alex is now tall enough to ride the huge, floorless, intense Kraken roller coaster, and wouldn't ya know, I was the only one there who could go with him.  It's a good thing we rode it before we ate lunch, that's all I've got to say about that!  A new baby killer whale was born on September 18, so we got to see the adorable baby, and the boys all sat in the splash zone and got soaked!  We had a wonderful, exhausting day, and now the kids can say they actually did something exciting over fall break.  :-)

Three crazy boys playing in the water! Alex and Patch getting drenched Patrick daring the water to get him

Checking out the polar bear claw marks in the snow. Polar bears have some BIG feet!

That's a HUGE walrus on the other side of the glass Mother and baby killer whales.

A mother sea lion nursing her baby

October 10, 2006

Patrick had soccer practice tonight, and Alex and I were watching.  There were seven players at the practice, so the coach asked Alex if he wanted to play to even things up.  They did some one-on-one drills, and the poor little girl who was paired up with Alex didn't stand a chance.  When they played everyone, four on four, Alex and Patch were on the same team and had a particularly exciting score.  Alex and Patch walked off the field together and gave each other a high five.  At least, it sure looked like a high five to me, although it was more likely a missed attempt to punch each other out.   But I choose to believe it was a high five!

October 13, 2006

Mark, Alex, Mom and I went to cheer Patrick on at his soccer game tonight.  Alex moaned and groaned and almost got the attitude knocked out of him about having to go to the game, but you wouldn't have known it once the game got started.  He was glued to the game, and even got up and walked along the sideline (just like his Daddy) as the play moved up and down the field.  He ended up standing down by the goal when Patrick scored and Alex went nuts, running up to Mark and giving him a big high five.  No matter how much they complain about it each other, brothers are still brothers.  :-)

I took a bunch of pictures of the game, but they all came out as blurs.  In this one, Patch is about to get a high five after he scored.

Dat's my boy!

October 14, 2006

Alex had his last football game of the season this morning.  It always seems like the team is just getting into their stride by the end of the season.  LOL  They played beautifully, and Alex made the only touchdown for his team.  :-)  Afterward, they had pizza, cupcakes, and of course, received their trophies.

That's Alex running with the ball  Go Saints!

Just hangin' out with his trophy

October 16, 2006

We received some pretty scary news today.  Our sister-in-law, Stacie, had a heart attack this morning.  She called Mark's mother herself to deliver the news, which was reassuring.  She is expected to be okay, thank God.  Please say prayers for a quick recovery.

October 18, 2006

Stacie went home from the hospital today and is doing well.  We're so relieved that she is on the road to recovery.  Hang in there, Stacie!

October 18, 2006

I had a tube put in my ear over a year ago, and it never fell out on its own, so I had to have it removed today.  I'm thrilled to say that having it removed was nothing like having it put in.  :-)  It's so nice to be "normal" again and not have to worry about keeping it dry and all that jazz.

October 19, 2006

One of our neighbors is a single mom of two boys who are friends with my boys.  She's been in the hospital all week with complications from gall bladder surgery.  Stephen, her 12-year-old, had his first band concert tonight and invited the boys and me to come.  We were happy to oblige and I took video so his mom could enjoy the concert later.  It was so neat to be a part of the band scene again.  I just love the sound and feel of a huge group of instruments playing together.

October 20, 2006

Mark's mom came over for a visit and to watch Patch's soccer game tonight.  Becca ended up joining us at the game and used her super duper camera, and her superior photography skills, to get some awesome action shots of Patrick!  Mark was out of town, but between his mom, my mom and Becca, we made our own pretty good cheering section.  LOL  After the game we went out for ice cream.  What a fun night!

Muggin' for the camera Patrick was showing Nana the garnets we got in Alaska

Patrick put a lot of effort into making this "nest" for Grendel

Patrick playing goalie Reving up for a goal kick

Boot that ball! Hanging out with his teammates

My 2 best friends (Becca and a massive sundae!) Yummmmmmm - I got the cherry!

October 24, 2006

Mark and Alex hooked up with Mike and some friends for a Bucs game in Tampa.  Alex was in seventh heaven!  They passed out Bucs bandanas at the entrances, so Alex took on the pirate persona.  The game turned out to be quite exciting and the Bucs won in the last FOUR SECONDS!  Thank God they didn't leave early to beat the crowds!

A budding pirate

October 28, 2006

Mark spent the afternoon with Patrick and Michael, a friend in the neighborhood, playing around making magic wands for Patrick's upcoming birthday party, which will have a Harry Potter theme.  They had a blast trying to come up with original styles of wands.

Demonstrating his wizarding technique Behind the scenes at the wand shop

Tonight was parents night - no kids allowed!  Mary and Travis had their traditional Halloween party, so the boys went over to Justin's house.  Alex stayed the night, but Patrick still isn't quite ready for a night away from home, so my mom came and stayed the night with him at our house.  This was no small thing, since she just flew home from visiting David in Seattle this morning!

Meanwhile, Mark and I went all out working out our costumes.  It all started as just a cute sleep shirt and apron.  Then we had fun with it.  Mark's apron had the image of a buff man on it.  He added some tattoos and the Bucs bandana and turned into a sexy biker dude.  My sleep shirt had a bombshell in sexy underwear, so I went as his sexpot!  I spent an hour and a half curling the heck out of my hair, had on fake eyelashes, and four-inch heels!  It was hilarious, and we had a blast!  We were surrounded by fun friends, and dare I say, a good bit of alcohol, and the evening went on and on.  It ended with the six of us on our street walking (staggering?) home at about 3:00 a.m.  Woohoo!

Dressed to kill Ooooh Baby! Getting a little wild and crazy!

October 29, 2006

We had a rather peaceful household today - since Mommy and Daddy were both comatose all day!  OMG - we are DEFINITELY not as young as we once were!

Nothing like a cup of tea and a good book


October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

We had a Star Wars Halloween.  My clone trooper and jedi raked in the candy, although we also had plenty left over, so we're in calorie heaven.

Looking "cool"