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SEPTEMBER 2005
(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)


September 1, 2005

Alex had his first practice of the football season tonight.  He's very excited to have some old teammates on his team.  He also thinks he's going to play quarterback, but I say it's too early to tell.  At any rate, he's very excited - how did I spawn this child?  LOL

Alex is in the orange shirt, about to make a pass Waiting for the play to start


September 2, 2005

Mommy brag:  Patrick is reading a book that's based in 1906.  When he told me this, he took all of a minute and a half to figure out that it was 99 years ago. 


September 4, 2005

We headed over to the River this morning for a visit.  Mark's grandmother is staying with his parents for the month, so it was an extra-special visit.  Preston is about to get a Game Boy for his birthday, so Alex and Patch spent most of the day with Preston sitting between them with his head bobbing back and forth like at a tennis match checking out their Game Boy tactics.  It was hilarious!  KC brought his video of Jay and Stacey's wedding and played it for Great Nana.  Her vision is bad, so she stood right up to the television watching the wedding - she was having such a wonderful time watching everyone it was almost as if she had been there herself.

Preston's going to get whiplash! Patch played his Game Boy while Daddy napped

The next best thing to being there


September 5, 2005

The kids were bouncing off the walls (almost literally!) this morning, so Mark took them out in the little blue boat to go swimming.  I went out on the dock to take pictures of them, and through the zoomed camera, I was having trouble figuring out just what I was seeing.  First it would look like their fronts, then it looked like their backs.  I finally figured it out.  Patch was at the helm, and he'd figured out to turn the engine all the way in one direction to make the boat go round and round!  When they got back, Mark said that he had thrown Alex into the water from the boat (playfully, of course), and very close to Alex, a manatee suddenly made a big splash.  Apparently Alex had scared it half to death.  The manatee also scared Alex half to death, and Mark said he thought Alex was about to learn to walk on water!

Ring Around The Rosy . . . .

We had a Finster right of passage today when Mark and Nana taught the boys how to play cribbage.

Nana and Mark were each whispering to their partners about their cards

Alex's gifted teacher asked him to write a report about the snake babies for school tomorrow.  Alex has been very excited to write the report, and did a terrific job (in my totally-unbiased opinion).   Papa printed out a couple of our snake pictures and Nana gave him some poster board and art supplies to make a presentation. 

Typing his report Making a snake life cycle illustration on the poster

Showing off his work to Papa

But oh, our day is still not complete.  When we got home tonight, we went to check on the baby snakes right away.  I was excited to see a shed skin in the baby cage.  I took the baby cage out of the big cage and opened it up and . . . .  it was empty!!!  Yikes!  So I started about the daunting task of sifting through three inches of bedding in the 30-gallon snake cage looking for three tiny little snakes.  I came across two more baby snake skins - a sign of healthy babies.  I discovered one, then two babies, but here's where it gets interesting.  The second baby I found was in the middle of shedding.  So how did I already find three skins?  Hmmmm.  I kept digging, and sure enough, I found TWO more babies - four in all!  Since I threw away the clutch of nasty old eggs when the third baby hatched, the only explanation is that one had already hatched and made his way into the big snake cage before we discovered the others hatching.  So we got a bonus!


September 6, 2005

I met Alex in his gifted class this morning with the baby snakes so he could put on his presentation.  He did a wonderful job answering all of the kids' questions, and of course, the baby snakes were a big hit.  I was very impressed with the sophisticated questions the kids asked.  They wondered about colorations and gestation periods and feeding in the wild.  It was pretty neat!

Poor Mark has been in bed since last night with a sore throat, fever and general misery.  It's a little disconcerting - I've never seen anything kick his butt like this before.  :-(  My mom came over this afternoon to take the kids shopping for care packages her church is putting together for Katrina victims, and fortunately she was able to stay and take care of the kids while I went to a couple of closings, since Mark was in no position to even watch them.

In the hot seat Showing his pictures of the eggs hatching


September 7, 2005

Alex woke up with a "really" sore throat this morning.  With Mark being as sick as he is, I decided to take Alex to the doctor this morning, and sure enough, he's got strep.  When I got home I planned to coax Mark out of bed and get him to the doctor as well, but when he crawled out of bed, he said he was feeling better, and I must admit, he looked better too.  It's a good thing Alex's test came back as strep or I might have killed him.  By noon, he was bouncing off the walls and thoroughly enjoying his day off of school!  It's a darned good thing he's got the green light to go back to school tomorrow!


September 11, 2005

Mark is still dragging a little bit, but we managed to get a few small "honey do's" taken care of this weekend.  A week from Monday the crew starts demolition on our big remodel (master bathroom, closet, and foyer) so we've got to get the house in order, and rearranged and packed up, by then.  It's a little daunting!

Daddy's showing Patch how to play with big kid toys!


September 13, 2005

Oh my goodness!  When it rains, it pours!  Mark is out of town and I got SIX closings in today, and all of them came in after the kids got home from school.  After we got homework done, I sent the kids to a friend's house and tried to get a handle on things.  This week is gonna be a doozie!

Alex has been bugging me for a few weeks to get a different hair cut, so we finally went today.  I suppose after eight years of the same hairstyle, he's entitled to have an opinion of his own!  Mom met me at his football practice to watch the kids while I went to a closing, and she couldn't even find him on the field, he looked so different!

Wow - he's got eyes and ears!  LOL


September 14, 2005

The poor kids are getting shuffled around from place to place.  Between all of their own activities and my closings, we can't even tell which way is up.  Alex has a big report due on Friday, and we haven't even started on it.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . .

Justin came over this afternoon and they got to playing around with Alex's new hair gel.  What a bunch of lunatics!

Larry, Curly and Mo


September 15, 2005

I had yet another closing this evening, but Mark's home from his trip so he took the boys to Alex's football practice.  As soon as I got home he walked out the door for softball, and Alex and I got started on his report.  He chose Yellowstone, and he put together a beautiful report!  And we were only up until 10:30.  Ugh!  I guess I'm raising a procrastinator despite my best efforts!

Labeling his geyers and volcanoes


September 16, 2005

Alex came home from school bursting with pride about his presentation on his report today.  The boy does love being in the spotlight.

All told, I had seven closings this week.    Work is good, but I wouldn't mind having it spread out a bit!

We had construction workers at the house all day doing all of the finishing touches on the hall bathroom.  It's DONE!!!  I'd post a picture, but I have to clean it first.  ;-)


September 17, 2005

Alex's first football game of the season was this morning.  His experience is really showing and he played great!  Patch played cameraman for me and got some great shots!

Tonight Patch is at the gymnastic gym for a big overnight party they're having.  He's been as excited as could be.  I'm having a very hard time accepting that my baby can spend a night without his mommy (or at least some other trusted mommy-substitute!).

Alex playing quarterback looking for a receiver Patch was "hanging" on Daddy when we dropped him off tonight.

P.S.  As I was publishing this update, Alex asked if he had carried the ball correctly at his game.  I said, "I have a great picture of you running with the ball" and showed it to him.  He looked at it and said, "Mom, that's not me."  Oops!  Maybe he shouldn't have picked such a popular hairstyle!  Needless to say, I've removed that picture from my update!


September 18, 2005

Patch had a fabulous time at his overnight last night!  There was a girl there about 9 or 10 years old.  As Patrick went bouncing by to gather up his sleeping bag, she said to me, "He's like a puppy" because he bounces everywhere!

I finally took an "after" picture of the hall bath.

Before Ta Da!!!  After


September 19, 2005

We've spent yesterday and today trying to find places around the house for everything that used to be in our closet, bathroom and the piano room, and I'm amazed to say that as of 9:45 tonight we are ready for the workers to come tomorrow.  I truly believed we'd be up until the wee hours of the morning trying to pack it all up.  I don't know how on earth we'll live like this, but I suppose as with all else, we'll find a way.  I'm just trying to keep my eye on the prize!


September 20, 2005

It sure has been a big day!  I got the kids ready for school a little early (miracle of miracles), then set them loose in our closet with a crowbar and a hammer.  They were absolutely hilarious tearing up the wall!  The only wall I was certain they could destroy was between the closet and the bathroom, and they came across the pipes in the wall that supply the sinks.  I just told them to move away from the pipes and they kept at it.  A little later I went into the bathroom to wash my hands and heard Patrick screech and come running out of the closet going "Oh no!  Oh no!  Oh no!"  He thought he'd burst the pipe!

I'm still going nuts trying to keep up with all of my closings.  Mark and I have different perspectives on it.  I was moaning and groaning to him that I had so many closings right when the construction is starting.  He told me I have it all wrong - he's thrilled that I have all of the work with the construction starting!  So anyway, I came dragging home at 10:00 tonight from a closing and went in to kiss Patch goodnight.  He rubbed his eyes and moaned that he was still tired, then he mumbled, "Is it a school day?"  Poor little guy!  It didn't take much convincing to get him back to sleep!

The official bathroom "before" shot

Getting started with gusto! They're getting into it!

Finally getting a hole Aiming high

He's enjoying this a little too much.  Hmmmmmm. Making serious progress Who needs a contractor?

What used to be the planter in our living room This is the view from our closet into the bathroom now.


September 21, 2005

What a wonderful day I've had!  It's my birthday and the guys treated me like gold.  Patch woke me up to a sweet little "Happy Birthday" and hugged and kissed me all day long.  Alex didn't even moan and groan when we went out to eat (a huge sacrifice for him - he hates eating out), and I got very sweet, albeit coy (he is "cool" now, after all) hugs and birthday wishes from him.  We went to Macaroni Grill and Patch discretely told the waiter it was my birthday and asked if I could have one of the flowers from their vase, which he gave me.  Mom came over yesterday and helped the boys decorate a cake which we had after dinner.  I'm so blessed!


September 23, 2005

The new walls are beginning to take shape and we now can tell what the rooms will look like - sort of.  They've moved our bedroom door over and started framing where our new closet will be.  The downside is we're all feeling lousy.  When they pulled the tile out of the shower, the drywall behind it was black with mold.  I'm not sure if it was the mold being stirred up, or just all of the dust, but Patrick and I are both wheezing and coughing, Alex is grumpy as hell and Mark is miserable.  :-(

The wood frame will be our new closet


September 24, 2005

KC had given Mark tickets to a USF football game in Tampa tonight because he'll be out of town.  We were going to go over and spend the day with Mike and Mary Beth, and stay the night with them after the game.  We all woke up feeling miserable and ended up canceling.  We even discussed going to a hotel up the street tonight so we can sleep in clean air.  I spent the day cleaning the house to within an inch of its life.  We'll see if it helps.


September 25, 2005

I guess the cleaning paid off because we're all doing a bit better today, although Alex is still stuffed up and having headaches.  This is not going to be fun!


September 26, 2005

This afternoon Justin came excitedly knocking on our door and said they'd discovered a snake.  We all went pouring out of the house to see and there, lying in the road in front of our house was a dead baby coral snake.    All of the kids knew exactly what it was and were duly impressed with the implications.  Yikes!

Patch monkeying around in the tree


September 27, 2005

I think something got put in upside down when Patrick was made!

He just can't have his head up and his feet down!


September 29, 2005

The kids have been pestering me to have a treasure hunt, so I set one up for them last night that they woke up to.  It's so fun to watch them try to figure out the riddles, then run like mad to where they think the next clue is.  Their fall break starts tomorrow, so we pulled them out of school after lunch and hit the road for Michigan.  We're getting to be seasoned travelers, and with the xBox in the back seat, the boys were good as gold. 

We'll be camping up in Michigan, so we've got the van loaded with the tent and sleeping bags.  The sleeping bags are at the kids' feet, and while Alex was resting on one, he discovered his stuffed parrot inside it, which had disappeared some time ago (no doubt the last time we went camping LOL).  He was so excited!

Goofing off with the spiders they found at the end of their treasure hunt Ack - it's sucking off Patrick's face!!!


September 30, 2005

It was another l-o-n-g day on the road.  The further north we drove, the cooler the weather became and we were LOVING it!  At a gas station, Patrick got out of the car and exclaimed, "It's freezing!"  We got some pretty strange looks from the locals, since it was only in the 60's.  We made it to Aunt Jin's house just in time to wish her a quick Happy Birthday and crawl into bed, but not before Patrick warmed up by the fire!

Thawing out those toes (hee hee)