Thursday, April 30, 2009

Minus one kid

Steven went to work with Mike this week. He called me today and told me about all his adventures in DC/Northern VA. He went fishing in the pond behind Mike's work. He was excited to find a new fishing pole for only $10, as well as a tackle box filled with tackle for only $10. He couldn't find our tackle box when he left. I forgot to ask him if he caught any fish!

Mike had a meeting in DC yesterday, so Steven went along. He went to several museums. I think he said the Museum of Natural History (maybe!) and for sure the Air and Space Museum. He also walked around DC, to the Washington Monument and the White House. He said the White House was particularly interesting because he thinks the President was coming home. He said three huge helicopters came, two hovered while the third landed. He also said the place was crawling with extra security and the snipers on the roof were all very visible. I wish we had all been there to see that, it would have been pretty cool.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More garden photos

Sorry, boring, I know, but this is my official garden record.

Last night I planted 26 bare root strawberry plants. That was 22 hours ago and almost all of them already have fresh growth on them! That is what I love about bare root plants, they are cheap and they generally take off right away. I planted some in the new fruit beds and some in the larger garden, where the stepping stones now made planting in the middle possible. I'm not sure how harvesting will go, though, it is pretty hard to stand on those stones and bend down and keep your balance at the same time. I figured that out last night as I was planting the strawberries! It was quite an effort.

The two new fruit beds, now planted with Cantaloupe, Watermelon, and Strawberries. Trellis' are next.

That darn garden thief has struck again! This time it chewed almost all of Roma tomato plant #2. Ugh! I tried putting some pieces of wood along the bottom of the fence. I'm sure that won't be a perfect fix, but should hold it until Mike can figure out something more efficient. He already stapled mesh fencing to the picket fence, but they are pushing it up and getting in underneath. I think we might have to secure some more mesh along the top of the garden floor, as well.

UPDATE: It wasn't a Roma tomato plant, after all, it was one of the heirloom plants! I'm extra upset about that because I was already wishing I had bought more and they are much harder to come by than the Romas.

This is my make-shift dog keeper outer thingee! We didn't have enough fencing left to fence off the new beds and Wrigley just runs right through them, so Mike used what was left and attached it to the downspout and wheelbarrow. I added the toy slide when Wrigley decided to try to fit himself under the wheelbarrow!

The holly bush, azaleas and daisies on the side of the house. These are just on the other side of the fence from the new fruit beds.


I can actually walk into my walk-in closet! Yay!

Monday, April 27, 2009

For Denise: The thornless rose

Denise, I decided to answer your comment here because I keep forgetting the exact name of this rose and I can never do a search on it. I figured if I put it on here, I will be able to find it much easier. If you ever need something else to grow on your deck lattice, it would be perfect because it smells so beautiful. It does grow to be HUGE, though, so if you ever get one, be careful to plant it where it will have a lot of room!

The climbing, thornless rose I took a picture of is called ZÉPHIRINE DROUHIN. It is the easiest to grow rose I have ever had.

Misc. Pictures

If you are squeamish, don't scroll down to the last picture. It isn't too gross, but it is a picture of Steven's finger, just before the stitches were removed.

Some of the heirloom tomatoes

The leave and stick piles Mike has been building up. The leaves are patiently waiting to be turned into compost and the sticks are waiting until it is safe to have a fire.

Mikey's hard work behind the sunroom. He cleared out two huge climbing rose bushes and pruned and tied the remaining one. Now we just have to remove two more rose bushes, remove the tree seedlings that planted themselves, and transplant the hydrangea and the camellia, that are growing on the side of the sunroom.

Alex took this shot at the end of the garage sale

Steven's finger, just before the stitches were removed

Garden Update

No more plants have disappeared from my garden, thank goodness! The five remaining Roma tomato plants are doing great. They are betting really full and bushy and growing really quickly. One of the heirloom tomato plants I ordered had a flower on it. They are still very small, so I nipped it off, which killed me, but I know the plants need to develop before they can concentrate on fruiting. The zucchini is growing like crazy. It sprouted after the broccoli and cauliflower, but now has far surpassed both in growth. I'm actually a little worried about the broccoli and cauliflower, they just don't seem to be doing to well, but I'm going to be patient for a while longer, while hoping that they are just slow to get going.

Mike filled the two 3' x 5' planters, he built last weekend, with dirt, peat, and manure. I planted 3 rows of cantaloupe and one row of watermelon. I have two rows left to plant the strawberry plants that are being delivered today. Some of those will fit in the bigger raised bed, now that Mike put in some stepping stones for me. We built that last year and I didn't know what I was doing and I had him build it too wide. Dumb! I have short little arms and can't reach to the middle at all. The stepping stones take away some of the planting space, but I couldn't get it to any of it without them, so I think its a decent solution to the problem. Mike is going to build a heavy duty trellis for me next weekend, so I can grow the cantaloupes up, so they won't need as much room.

This is my favorite climbing rose bush and the only one in the backyard that we are not cutting down. It doesn't have any thorns and it has the most gorgeous flowers, with a great, sweet scent. This is the first flower, a little small, but the rest will probably be a lot bigger. Mike trimmed it and tied it back up to the trellis yesterday and it looks so much better.

This is a picture of the remaining canes from one of the other climbers that Mike cut down. There is a live bird's next in it, so he left it. I can't wait to see the babies!

This is a close up of one of the zucchini plants

My new stepping stones!

The two new planters with cantaloupe and watermelon. Strawberries will go in tonight, hopefully!

Quote of the day

"You're my favorite furry orange friend"--Sung by Steven while he was petting Booty-Boy, our orange and white cat.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Garage Sale Results

Well, it was a hot, sunny day (close to 90 degrees!). We had a pretty good turn out and we made $59.75 on the garage sale items, plus $17.45 (minus my niece's portion) on the lemonade and bake sale. Last night I baked lemon cake and lime cake and every piece was gobbled up. One lady even asked if I had any more! I think we should have upped the prices a little because I don't think we made much above what I paid for the baked goods supplies and the drinks. The kids are planning on doing more lemonade stands for Reece's Rainbow, so we can adjust prices as we go. A lot of people were really nice and donated a dollar above what they had purchased or let us keep the change, once they found out that a charity was benefiting.

It was a good day. The shoppers were nice and we had a good time. I wish it had been a bit cooler, but I really can't complain because at least it wasn't raining.

Unfortunately, we could not convince my niece to donate her portion of the lemonade/bake sale to the orphans. I even talked to her about it and explained the situation these kids are in and why my kids were choosing to donate their share. Her reply was, "NO WAY, I'm not giving them MY money!" "I want to be RICH!". I think it is so sad.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Garage Sale

I'm in a hurry because I am busy pricing things for a garage sale tomorrow. I found out yesterday that my sister's subdivision is having a neighborhood sale. I asked her if I could bring some stuff because the kids and I had been planning to do a garage sale to benefit the Reece's Rainbow Adoption Ministry. Since our driveway is a steep hill, a garage sale at our place isn't possible. This didn't leave me much time to prepare, but I got as much as I could together, spending the entire day today, doing nothing but that.

Alex, Hannah, and Shauna asked if they could do a lemonade stand/bake sale to raise money for RR. I asked my sister, earlier today, if it was okay and she said yes and that her daughter would like to do it, too. I just got off the phone with her and she told me that she wants to split the money because her daughter doesn't want to donate hers to the orphans. I would be so ashamed of my kids if they acted like that. I told my kids about it and they were shocked and upset. Hopefully my kids will be a good influence on her tomorrow and she will change her mind. We'll see.

Please keep your fingers crossed for a good turn out and lots of sales!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Steven's hand update

We went back to the surgeon today and they took out Steven's stitches. It was pretty painful, unfortunately. Luckily, the nurse was pretty quick, taking out 22 stitches in only about 5 minutes. The doctor said he actually has less swelling than would be considered normal two weeks after surgery. He also said that his range of motion is better than would be considered normal, so it was all good news. He also confirmed that the dog had not nipped the tendons, so he can expect that he will eventually have a complete recovery. Thank God, since he will need full range of motion for his culinary career! The doctor advised him to keep working hard on the physical therapy and continue frequent visits with the infectious disease doctor. He needs a follow up appointment with the surgeon in 6 weeks.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quote of the day

"I move back home and my mom raids my pot stash in the attic! Wait, that didn't come out right!"--CUP (He was talking about the cooking pots that he inherited from Gramma S.)

Something fishy going on in my garden

I went out to check the garden today, to see if the storms yesterday had done any damage. I was happy to see that 3 more zucchini plants had sprouted since yesterday. I was shocked and horrified to see that one of my newly planted Roma tomato plants was missing! Yes, missing, not chewed on, not pulled out of the ground and lying next to the garden, but completely missing. Not a trace of it remains. The tomato cage is completely intact and there is a small round hole where the plant used to be. What the heck? I got a sweet deal on those Roma tomatoes, too. They were on a one day only, buy one get one free promotion. It is bad enough if the plant that was stolen was a free one, but if it is one I paid for, I am going to be really mad!

I don't have much experience with gardens, but don't animals usually just nibble on the plants, not kidnap them? The garden is fenced all the way around and I saw one spot where a rabbit or other small animal could have gotten in, I suppose. There were no animal prints or anything. I wonder if the Forensic Files producers would be interested in this case? I'm sending the kids out to get the mail so I can check it for ransom notes!

The evidence

"I have asthma"

Hannah, Alex and I were talking. Alex said that Hannah looked skinnier. I said that is because she isn't eating as much and she is going outside more and getting more exercise. Hannah blurts out, "I have asthma!" Alex and I burst out laughing. WHAT? She doesn't have asthma, not even close. So she tells us that they were doing the pacer in gym class and she could only do 27, then she had to stop. Her friend came up to her and said, "I had to stop, too, because I have asthma." Hannah said, "I have asthma, too!" and her friend high fived her.

Ugh, I'm not sure why she really stopped, most likely because her friends were stopping, but I know she doesn't have asthma. She is a very fast runner, with tons of stamina, but she doesn't want to stand out, so she will watch what her friends are doing and copy them.

Turn off the TV week

I knew that Turn off the TV Week was coming up, but until Denise reminded me, I hadn't realized it was this week. Since I LOVE tv and I'm most likely addicted to it, I think I should participate. So I promise that I will turn off my tv. Well, what I mean is, I will turn off my tv when I go to bed. That way I will be observing Turn off the TV Week and saving the planet at the same time! Yay me!

Stuff and more stuff

Steven continues to slowly improve after his surgery. He has been to the physical therapist 4 times, which is still really painful for him, but he is sticking with it and doing the exercises. We went to see a lawyer today to, hopefully, get his medical bills paid. She said he has a very good case and she is going to ask another lawyer to join her on this case because he has a personal injury practice and has a lot of experience with dog bite suits. I'm not really thrilled about having to bring in a lawyer, but since the dog's owners don't want to help with the bills, we don't have a choice.

Janine is here, arriving several hours earlier than expected on Saturday. CUP was freaking out because he had to rush to get ready. He gave her a hard time about it, but the important thing is she got here safely and without any traffic problems! Mike, Jack, Janine, Steven, Hannah and I all went to Richmond Saturday night to see Chuck's band again. It was fun. Since it was a beautiful evening, they played outside on the patio and that was really nice.

I have a black and white shirt that I joke around with my mom about. I call it my "hot" shirt. At the restaurant, I told Mike that I had my hot shirt on and his reply was, "I have my compression stocking on." Wow, talk about a reminder of how old we are getting! When we were dating, we hung around with Chuck and Roni a lot. While we were at the concert, I told Mike that it reminded me of when we were dating because he smelled like beer and we were hanging around with Chuck and Roni!

I forgot to blog that another friend of Steven's was killed last week. He had two friends killed in an accident last summer (they were drunk and high) and now this friend was hit head-on by a drunk/high driver and killed instantly. I find it hard to believe that people still think it is fine to drive drunk or under the influence of drugs. As we were leaving the lawyer's office, Steven got a call from one of his friends who told him that another of their friends had committed suicide. How sad.

This morning Alex had to stay home for a little while because he had such a bad nose bleed and it wouldn't stop. Every time I take him to the doctor and tell her that he gets these terrible nose bleeds, she tells him not to pick his nose! Hello, he is 14 years old, he doesn't pick his nose! I'm going to take him in again and see if there is something else we can do to prevent this, besides banning the nose picking. When he gets these really bad bleeds, he can soak through several towels and lose a ton of blood, which can't be good. I wonder if we should just take him to the ER the next time it happens. Of course, it almost always happens in the middle of the night or early in the morning and sometimes he doesn't even tell me when it is happening because he doesn't want to bother me. Sometimes I see the tell tale blood splatters and figure it out that way. I always joke that if a murder is committed in our house and the police spray it with luminol, there is going to be blood all over the place from his bloody noses, as well as Hannah's! He does a pretty good job of cleaning the blood up, now that he is older, but sometimes he misses some.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Catch up stuff

Steven is recovering nicely from his surgery. The incision is large and creepy looking (22 stitches), but it is healing really well. He had to start physical therapy 3 days after surgery, which was incredibly painful. To his credit, he actually has been doing the exercises at home, as the therapist told him to. I didn't expect that at all. The therapist was shocked when he went back on Day Two and had already improved tremendously!

Giving him the IV infusions at home isn't as bad as I thought it would be. We have the routine down pat now and it goes fairly quickly and smoothly. Steven is even beginning to be able to handle some of it himself, which was impossible at first because he couldn't use his hand. He has the IV's going for 9 hours a day. He is also taking one oral prescription in addition to his pain medication. I have to change his wound dressings, but that isn't as bad as I thought it would be, either.

Having him back at home has been okay, especially since he slept about 22 hours a day for the first 5 days or so! For the most part, he has been very nice and respectful, with a few minor exceptions, so that is good. He had a reaction to one of the IV meds, but they slowed the rate at which the medicine was infused and had him taking Benadryl a half hour before the meds started and that took care of the problem. In addition to the 3 physical therapy appointments this week, we also saw the infectious disease doctor, who is in charge of his medications. The home nurse has been to the house twice, but only has to come once a week from now on. She will check on him, change his picc line dressing and draw blood.

This is just a quickie post to keep my fans quiet, but I hope to post about his surgery/hospital experience soon!

Janine is coming to visit, again, tomorrow. She will be here for a little over a week and we are all looking forward to seeing her. She is bringing me some Autism Awareness ribbons that she made and is selling to raise money for Autism research. I meant to blog about this earlier, but never got the chance. If anyone would like to purchase a ribbon or ribbons, please let me know and I will put you in contact with Janine.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why I haven't been blogging

Three FREAKING days spent in the college admissions office, trying to get Steven signed up for school. Let's just say that I am extremely stressed out and frustrated right now and once I calm down, I will blog about it. This is spring break for the younger kids and I have been out of the house for all of it so far. Steven's surgery is Friday which means I will be busy that day and probably the rest of the weekend, helping him. That means we have one day to do something fun for spring break. This sucks!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Steven's finger

Well, it doesn't look too good for avoiding surgery on Steven's finger. It is swollen and painful again and this time the swelling has spread to the palm of his hand, as well. That is something the doctor said wouldn't be good. He called this morning and the surgeon on call told him to go to the ER, but we didn't take him. The only thing they would do (as they have both other times we took him on a weekend) is tell him to start taking the antibiotics again and see the surgeon on Monday. His insurance ran out on the 31st of March and won't be in effect again until tomorrow, when he signs up for school. They insurance company told me they would probably cover the week between, but they won't guarantee it, so we can't take that chance. He had a refill for his antibiotics, so he going to take those for now, until we can get him in to see the doctor tomorrow or the next day.

I'm really upset about this because he is going to miss a lot of work and he already has a lot of bills, including the medical bills that are already piling up. He owes us quite a bit for the car payments we had to cover because he just didn't have it. I can't even imagine how much the surgery is going to cost. Steven plans to call a lawyer on Monday to see if he can get any help with the bills from the dogs owner. Apparently, he asked the guy he is renting from to help pay for the hospital bills or take some money off his rent and that guy told him there was nothing he could do because the dog belongs to his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend and they are just caring for it because he can't have it where he lives.

Yard Work/Gardening Update

We have gotten some things accomplished over the last few days. Shauna and I planted vegetable seeds yesterday, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, and lettuce. Mike worked on getting some trees cut down and I cut down some small ones. We are trying to clear out a patch so we can put in some blueberry bushes. Mike also tackled the beds around the sun room in the back of the house. Many years ago, I had planted some climbing rose bushes there and they had gone completely wild! We usually give them a little trim and tie them up each year, but last year, when I was bedridden with the torn hamstring, we didn't do it. I would have to estimate that most of the branches on them were 20 feet long. Some had actually rooted themselves to the ground and produced about 8 new plants. One had also grown into one of the attic vents and grown out the other side! Mike left part of one of the bushes because there is a bird nest in it that might be active. We are also leaving one of the climbing roses bushes because that one has no thorns and beautiful fuchsia flowers with a wonderful scent.

On Friday, we ended up doing some stuff in the front and side yards. I trimmed the bushes while Shauna and Luke (and Steven, a little) cleaned up the trimmings and hauled them up the hill to the backyard, where they dumped them deep in the woods. Mike took out some older rose bushes for me and Shauna took off all the dead growth from the daisy bed.

Today we plan to continue with the tree clearing. Luckily most of the area we are trying to clear just has small holly trees, although we have two oaks that are not doing well and need to be taken down by a professional. I'm pretty sure the budget won't allow that, so we just have to pray that they don't come down on the house in a storm!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Today we are gardening and doing yard work. For our family, that means everyone is either watching tv, on their computer or Blackberry, or hiding somewhere in the house so I can't yell at them for not doing anything!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Worst dinner guests ever

Today Steven and his friend, Will, came over to pick up the last of Steven's furniture. Steven had already asked if he could come over for dinner because he was off work. The girls have been dying to spend some time with him, so I changed my plans so that I could stay home and cook. Will asked me when I was going to make brownies again, so I told him I would make them today and I invited him for dinner, too.

I made the brownies, regular and cream cheese swirl, and made Steven's favorite dinner, sweet and sour hot dogs. Well, Steven came over without Will, saying Will would be over later. About a half hour before dinner, I told Steven to call Will and get him over here. He called and, apparently, Will wouldn't be able to make it after all. When dinner was ready, Steven tells me that he just wants to take his home because he isn't hungry! Ugh, see what I mean about the worst dinner guests every? One doesn't show up and the other doesn't want to eat!

I wasn't angry, I actually thought it was a little funny and I'm used to things not going exactly as planned, so it didn't throw me off. The girls had a good time with Steven and so did Luke. The two boys played hockey in the driveway for quite a while. It was funny when Steven first came over because Luke, Hannah and Shauna all had so much to tell him, they kept all talking at the same time. I felt like a traffic cop, holding my hands up to two to be quiet while the third talked and then switching back and forth while this went on for quite some time!

When I took Steven home, Will was pulling in at the same time, so I got to "yell" at him for not showing up to dinner. He said he got "stuck" at his girl's house, but would make it up to me by coming over this weekend to help with yard work. We'll see how that turns out! Steven claims he will come one day to help, also, but I'm pretty sure I won't hold my breath.

Quote of the day

"I can't believe it has come to this, we even have bad credit at the library!"--CUP

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Quote of the day

"I wish I could be like you, Wrigley, and just sit around the house and annoy Mom all day."--Luke