Friday, August 31, 2007

end of the first week of school

Our first week of school is coming to an end.  We will all be off on Monday (Labor Day).  Here's a summary of our first week.

Savannah has a teacher I had in 4th grade for language arts.  Her reading teacher is the mom of a good friend.  I spent many nights at her house as a kid.  Her science teacher is the mom of another of my childhood friends, one I also spent lots of time with when we were little.  Her math teacher is a lady I recognize, but don't really KNOW.  She went to the church I went to as a kid.  She only has a couple of teachers I don't personally know and they seem to all be wonderful so far.  This year she has her first male teacher & says that it's kind of cool to have a guy for a teacher.  She is still really happy about having her first locker & doing the class switching thing.  All is well in Savannahland.  :)

Samuel's teacher and the one across the hall from him have united & decided that if we ever need a babysitter, they're going to offer their homes.  (I tell ya...this kid is a charmer!)  They both walk him to the car (together!) every afternoon, always giggling about something funny he's said or done during the day.  I hope they continue to love him this much all year!  He is enjoying school so far.  We'll see if he still likes it next week when the homework starts!  Anyone else have a 2nd grade boy who never shuts up?  I thought it was just girls who talk 24 hours a day, but apparently my son doesn't have an "off" switch either!  This morning after I dropped off Savannah, I sat & listened to him talk (to no one in particular) as he described EVERY (yes, every single one!) car that drove past us.  "There's a red one.  It's shiny.  Look at that silver one.  I see a black truck, and a green van."  I finally had to ask who he was talking to.  He just laughed & said "I SEE A SILVER ONE!".  I looked out the window & didn't see a silver car anywhere, so I asked him where.  He laughed again & said "We're in it!".  Geez....boys!  I swear he fits the old sign I saw at my sister's house.  "A boy is a noise with dirt on it."

Sarah is loving first grade, too.  I wish I had more news to share about her, but there isn't really much to say.  She goes to school grinning & skipping and comes out looking pretty much the same.  She's doing great according to her teacher.  I'm going to go eat lunch with her today!

My first week was eventful.  I got to meet all but one of my kiddos at Open House.  Not sure what happened to the last one.  Maybe they forgot or were out of town or something?  The director's calling this weekend to see what's up.  I hope they didn't change their mind about going to preschool.  But I guess if they did, I'll have a new kiddo next week to replace her.  I'm anxious to get started!!!  :)

Tonight is Family Movie Night at church, so we'll do that.  Can't wait!  Love hanging out with my little family.  I have a great one.  I'm so blessed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Well wouldn't ya know it....

I was on my way out the door this afternoon to pick up kids after school when the WISD personnel director offer me a job.  One of the ones I applied for back in the early summer has another opening now & since I was the next one in line, they wanted to offer it to me.  Two weeks ago I heard about this opening from one of the aides in the class (a friend of mine), but didn't give it much thought at all because I wasn't being offered the job.  The special ed director wasn't sure about hiring the position they hired earlier this summer--she thought they might have too many people in the room already, so I sort of figured she just wouldn't replace the one who is leaving now.  I even saw the special ed director a few days ago at one of the kids' meet the teacher nights & she didn't stop me or say anything to me, so again, I figured she wasn't going to fill the spot. 

But now, with an offer on the table, ugh.... bad timing.  Had they offered me this job in May or June, I would've jumped on it.  But now, wow...this is NOT a good time.  Not only do I have a job (& one that I am really enjoying thus far) but I've made a commitment to Oak Tree Academy that I don't want to break.  The hours are AWESOME.  The work is something I love.  I'm having a great time getting to know my coworkers and getting to write lesson plans & such again.  AND...tomorrow is the first day of Meet the Teacher (there are 2 days of it).  It would not be good for my students to show up to meet me & then have me quit before their first day next week.

On top of all that, there are 4 ladies in that room (teacher + 3 aides) & 1 of them has moved, thus the opening.  A good friend of mine is the teacher in the classroom and when I applied for this job originally, the higher up folks questioned whether or not it was a good idea for she & I to work together because of our relationship outside the classroom.  But now, 2 of the aides are also good friends of mine, so that makes me worry about how it might be if we were to not get along professionally.  I had some reservations about working w/ the 1 good friend, but now I'd be working with 3 good friends, so my reservations are even greater.  Of course, it might be fun to work with 3 friends, but on the other hand if there was ever an issue between me & one of the ladies I'm not sure about how that might effect our relationships outside of work.  The pay would be more & I would get a year-round paycheck (vs. just during the school year), but this is not all about the money.

Also, this is a job working with severely disabled children.  While I don't think I'd have a problem doing it....and I know it would be highly rewarding....I'm just not sure if I'm cut out to do it every day all year long.  I know I could do it short term.  I don't have a problem working with or being around disabled people as a general rule.  Back when I was interviewing for the job, I knew I *could* do it, but I wasn't ever 110% sold that I'd LOVE to do it all year long.  I just figured that if I got the job, I'd just have to stretch that interest & "ok" feeling into a year long love.

:::sigh:::  Anyway, I turned the job down.  Too many "if's" & questions in my mind.  I don't really have a peace about it.

My friend, the personnel lady understood & said she thought that might be the answer I gave, but she wanted to check before moving on down the list.

Weird how life works out sometimes, isn't it??

Hey somebody remind me.... go to bed at a decent time tonight.  :::Yawn:::

When it comes to paperwork type details, I'm so hyper-anal.  (Yes, anal is bad enough, but then add HYPER to it & I'm just nutty.)  I hate to leave anything undone where paperwork is concerned b/c I'm afraid if I quit & come back to it later I won't be able to remember where I left off or I'll flub whatever progress I made before.  Anyway, with that in mind, I wanted to finish (totally finish!) my September lesson plans last night.  So I did.  With a thousand different curriculum idea websites & a book full of ideas from the school, I knew I could get it done.  So I did.  I knew I needed a shower when I got done before I went to bed, too.  So at 11:45 when I finally finished my work, I took a shower & collapsed into the bed.  Let me tell ya....getting up at 6:20 & lasting til just after midnight, then sleeping only 6.5 hours again....boy I'm not going to be much good by tonight.   :::yawn:::  Come to think of it, maybe you won't have to remind me tonight!

Monday, August 27, 2007

1st day of school

The kids started school today.  Here's my kiddos on the way out the door for the big first day.  Everyone had a good first day. 

Sarah made a really cute "first day of school" book.  Definately one of those I'll keep in the school box (memory box).  She enjoyed sitting with my friend's little girl, who was also in her class last year. 

Samuel had a good day & apparently charmed the dickens out of everyone in his school...but then again, he charms everyone.  When we pulled up to the school to get him, 2 teachers & the principal came to the car.  The 2 teachers (his teacher plus a friend's wife who teaches there) said they were fighting over who got to walk him to the car b/c they both thought he was so cute!  The principal came to hug me & asked how Andrew is doing.  We really like this campus!

Savannah had a great day & enjoyed her first day of band, having a locker, etc.  She's only slightly bummed that she has a bottom locker.  She'll survive, though.  She's shorter than most of the kids, so having a bottom locker isn't the end of the world.

My day was really busy.  I got a lot done, but still have a ways to go tomorrow.  I can't wait, though!!!  I'm anxious to get there & get it done!  WooHoo!  I'm really having a good time!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back to School!!!

It's that time of year again!  The smell of new pink erasers, the rustling of packages of notebook paper & new binders.  The squeak of new tennis shoes on hallway floors.  The groan of children being drug out of their slumber to get dressed & eat breakfast....oh wait, that's me groaning, not the kids.

Tomorrow my children, like many others in the country, will start back to school.  Getting up early...ugh.  That's my least favorite part of going back to school.  (Can you understand that I'm a big fan of sleep here?)

Savannah, my big 11 year old, will begin 6th grade.  Yikes...which one of you gave her permission to get so big?  I know it wasn't me!  She got her schedule today & walked the halls of the school to locate classrooms & such.  She's excited, but I think it's mostly because she'll have a locker for the first time.  Wonder how long that'll last?

Samuel, my 7 year old, is starting 2nd grade.  I haven't alerted his teacher yet, but his best buddy from church is in the class.  That either means they'll have a great year.....or the teacher will hate them both by Christmas.  Not sure which way that'll go yet.  ha ha!  Either way, my big (little) boy is excited.  He's at a new campus (well, new to him) this year and he's happy about the idea of starting fresh and doing new things all on his own.  Last year, Sarah & Kourtney were at his school, so he always had a sibling/family member with him.  This year, he's Big Man on Campus (in his eyes, anyway).

Sarah, my 6 year old, is beginning 1st grade.  I'll be honest...I'm still bummed that she didn't get our first choice for teacher (the lady Samuel had last year).  But, I'm happy with who she got & I am looking forward to what a new year and a new teacher brings.  Sarah is also on a campus all by herself (without me or Samuel or Kourtney anyway) and while she's a little nervous about that aspect of things, I know it'll be good for her independance to make it on her own.  She's still pretty firmly connected to the umbilical cord, so I'm curious to see how this goes.

I am also starting a new job.  We had our first inservice day on Friday.  It was full & busy, mostly with meetings all day, so I'm anxious to get into my classroom & get it organized.  I've got a HUGE job ahead of me in that b/c there is a ton of furniture in there.  I'm not sure if I'll keep it all or not.  I will be working some serious muscles in the next couple days with all the moving & rearranging I'll be doing.  But (:::girl power grunt:::) I'll get it done!

Have a good first day of school everyone!!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

adding insult to injury

Larry finally made it to Dallas, visited the child in the hospital & headed home....only to discover he has a turn signal out.  He said it looked like a fuse is out, so he pulled over somewhere or other to check it.

I just called him back (it had been about an hour since I last heard from him).  I wanted to make sure he was ok & had gotten the fuse fixed.  He said that he wasn't really able to fix it, so he had no turn signal and his cell phone was close to dead, so he didn't have any battery time to waste.  (I guess he forgot his charger.)  He said he wanted to save it in case he broke down or something.

Poor guy.  It's 9:20 now.  I figure he'll be home in the next 30 minutes or so.  And this after leaving to head to Dallas about noon.  It's 2 or 2.5 hours one way.  This has been a long afternoon for him!

Poor Larry....

He went to(ward) Dallas to visit a church member in the hospital today.  In Terrell, his tire blew out, so he got on the phone & called our Roadside Assistance folks that we pay for through Alltel (cell phone company).  He would change the tire himself, but he was attempting to not get all nasty & sweaty since he's in nice clothes & is on the way to visit someone in the hospital.  They called him back a few minutes later & said they don't change tires.  What?  Isn't that what "roadside assistance" is for???  He was irritated & plans to call & cancel our roadside service package now.  Anyway, so he gets out of the car & begins to change it himself, but quickly realizes that the lug nuts are cross-threaded & he can't physically get the tire out (his back wouldn't allow him to bend the right way to get to the little bar he needs to twist to get it off---it's the kind that is mounted underneath the truck).  So he got back into the truck & turned on the A/C while he called for a tow truck.  While he was sitting there waiting, he realized that this is the same tire he JUST had fixed on Tuesday.  They claimed to have plugged & patched it, but in the process they cross-threaded the lugnuts.

The tow truck came & took him to a tire shop & he got it all fixed.  He told the guy that he'd just had the tire fixed.  When they took it off his truck, they said there is NO evidence of a plug or a patch to that tire.  Now he's really mad.

He's back on the road toward Dallas now, but he's already called & fussed at the guy at our usual car fixing place about the tire.  He says he'll "make it right" by paying the tow bill & replacing the tire.

Larry's just irritated b/c he now won't be home in time to go to Meet the Teacher w/ us tonight for Samuel.  And to top it off, he's hot & sweaty & dirty now and he's still got to make it to Dallas & back tonight.  It's nearly 5pm now.  Ugh....  I think it'll be a late night.

Sarah--asthma/allergy update

As a baby, Sarah had major digestive system issues & some food allergy troubles.  At 12 months, she had pneumonia.  When she was about 18 months old, we learned that she was allergic to one of the most widely prescribed antibiotics (penicillin).  We have a family history of allergies to another antibiotic (cephlasporins) and there was another one that had never been effective when we tried it (can't think of the name of it, but it's the drug in Z-packs).  That means we were down to 1 antibiotic that worked for her (Sulfa drugs), and she was getting sick often enough that we were worried about her building up an immunity to that one.  The pediatrician suggested we get tubes put in her ears to take away one of our biggest problems (ear infections).  We went to an ENT & 3 days later, she was getting tubes put in.  It was remarkable how much of a difference they made, not only in the ear infections end of things, but to her speech as well.  At the time of her surgery, she only spoke about 3-4 words.  Within a week after surgery, she was talking in full sentences.  We realized that she must've been having trouble hearing & we never even knew it!!!  During all this time, she had developed Reactive Airway Disorder (the new politically correct way of saying allergy-induced asthma).

One of our friends from the church we were at then is a Pediatric Allergy & Immunology specialist, so we went for a visit to try to learn what it is she's allergic to and to get the asthma stuff figured out.  We've been seeing him ever since & today was her check up.

She did the computerized breathing test & came back showing AWESOME results on that.  They measure lung capacity & strength & she got a "100%" score on both.  He asked us lots of questions about her breathing & allergy symptoms and he decided that she's doing so well we can now ditch the nebulizer treatments when she has problems.  He prescribed 2 types of inhalers (one is a steroid treatment for preventative treatment when she's having cold/allergy symptoms to ward off it turning into asthma problems) and the other is a fast-acting rescue inhaler for times when she's in a full blown asthma attack.  He also gave us a stronger steroid for times of extreme emergency -- when the rescue inhaler doesn't cut it after several puffs.  In those instances, you give a dose of the stonger steroid & go to the ER!

Protocol states that asthma patients have a check up every 6 months, but our doc said she's doing so well that he feels comfortable waiting til next summer to see her again unless something changes between now & then.

WooHoo!  I'm so glad!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Samuel at the dentist

Wow...I was really impressed.  We got there a little before 9:00 for his appointment.  At 9:24, I was getting back into the car.  Talk about speedy!  As it turns out, they didn't have to numb his mouth (no shots) so they didn't use the gas after all.  In our dentist's office, there is a TV mounted at the foot of each chair so you can watch TV while you get your work done.  They let Samuel have the remote & he sat there patiently with his mouth opened & let them do their thing.  Since they were just sort of scraping some decay off the sides of his teeth & filling that with tooth-colored stuff, it didn't take long at all!  He wasn't scared at all & bounced out with 2 stickers 15 minutes later.  Talk about a brave little champ!

She's growing! :)

I copied this from last year's blog entry about Savannah's check up when she turned 10:

Savannah is growing & doing fine, too!  She was up to 63 lbs (I think?) and was 50 1/2" tall.

Today was her check up for this year.  She's up to 72 lbs & 53" now!  She's really grown this year!  I knew she'd had a growth spurt.  WooHoo!  She's still way tiny in comparison to other girls her age, but she's right on track as far as her growth curve goes.

She got her chicken pox booster, Hep A shot (the 2nd one in a series of 3, I think?) and her tetanus booster.  We declined the HPV vaccine, but had no issues w/ the doc about it (I'm glad...I didn't want to have to argue).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mon Aug 20th

Today was indeed a great day.  Larry & I celebrated our anniversary by going to the dentist's office with the kids for cleanings, going to Mundt Music & buying a $50 french horn mouthpiece for Savannah, going to get Sarah's haircut, doing yard work....oh, and we did go to Olive Garden for lunch, too.  ha ha!  I know...the romance isn't quite what it used to be, but we were happy to spend the day doing all that together!

At the dentist, we learned that Samuel's grooves in his teeth are super-dooper deep, so they're going to go ahead & fill a couple of them tomorrow b/c they're beginning to get "sticky", meaning there is some decay in them.  Bummer....I'm not too thrilled about that, but it'll be fun to watch how he responds to the silly gas tomorrow!  They're going to seal a couple of others at his next cleaning to keep this from happening anywhere else in his mouth.

Tomorrow is also Savannah's 11 year check up w/ the pediatrician.  She's already said that she hopes they don't have to draw blood.  (Sorry kiddo...they probably will.)  I'm anxious to see how much she's grown since last year.  I know she's gained some weight (finally!) and gotten a little taller, but she's still very petite for her age.  I'll post her height/weight tomorrow night to give you an idea of what I mean.

We found out tonight who Sarah is going to have for 1st grade.  We are pleased.  Our very top choice was Mrs. Walker--who Samuel had last year, but apparently she had a lot of requests (b/c she's an awesome teacher!!!).  We got our 2nd choice instead.  Mrs. Walker actually told me last spring that if she had a 1st grader, this is who she'd choose for her own child, so I know we'll like Mrs. Mitchell.  I'm looking forward to getting to know her.  Tomorrow night is "Meet the Teacher" night, so we'll get to eyeball each other then & find out what we've got in store for us this year.  Sarah is ready to get back to school.

Thursday morning, Sarah has her annual check up w/ the allergy/asthma doctor.  That night we'll have Samuel's "Meet the Teacher" time.  We won't find out who his teacher is til we walk into the school, though.

Friday is my first inservice & then next Monday it's back to school time for the kids!  Life's about to get busy, busy, busy!  I'm not ready!!!!  Where did the summer go???

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy Anniversary Larry!

Tomorrow is mine & Larry's 13th anniversary, but we will actually celebrate 15 years together b/c we dated for 2 years before we got married.  Anyway, I wrote this for him & wanted to share it w/ the world.  I may not be on much tomorrow, so I'm sharing it today instead.


Happy Anniversary Larry!

Fifteen years ago, you walked into my life. I remember the day I met you like it was yesterday. I was at the salad bar at Mazzio's, cleaning up & refilling things. You were standing at the end of the front counter with our manager, Randy. He was giving you your first week's schedule & commenting to you about where you'd parked. I am not sure why those particular details are so vivid, because in those first moments I layed eyes on you....I knew. There was something special about you. There was an immediate chemistry, something that told me you were "the one". Call it butterflies, call it a spark, call it whatever you want. For us, there was absolutely *something* at first sight & I haven't stopped feeling it since. Some people are never lucky enough to share what we do. Some people only feel it briefly when they first fall in love -- that crazy, head over heels, silly, flirty, can't-get-enough-of-you thing. I've been lucky enough to feel that way for the past 15 years.

In the weeks that followed our meeting, we flirted & eventually began dating. Two years later we were married. On that day, August 20, 1994, I felt like I was on top of the world, floating on a cloud. I had a starry-eyed romantic view of life & 'just knew' that nothing could ever be better than the way I felt about you that day. Boy was I wrong.

In the years since we've been married, the love I have for you has only grown. The intensity & passion I feel for you can't begin to compare to the way I felt on the day we were married. Of course it hasn't all been wine & roses, candlelight & starry skies along the way. We have had our share (and then some) of hard times, but our relationship has remained constant through it all. I never would've dreamed 15 years ago that I'd be standing here today, having lived through all we have, and still holding you as closely as ever, feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you for sticking it out in the tough times & celebrating with me in the good times. You are my best friend and I amso blessed to have you in my life.

You are my sunshine, my blue sky, my cool breeze on a hot day. You are the one who quenches my thirst, the key to everything that brings me happiness. Where I fail, you succeed. What I can't see, you describe for me. When I am losing the battle, you step in like a knight in shining armor to save me. You are all that I've ever wanted and I am so grateful for your place in my life.

Everyone who knows me will tell you that I'm ready for Heaven whenever God chooses to bring me home or returns for us. I can't imagine the depth of excitement I will feel when that trumpet sounds. But until that day, I want nothing more than my little piece of "heaven" right here on earth--with you.

Thank you for loving me the way you do. Looking forward to the next 15 years with you.

All my love, Liz

Friday, August 17, 2007

Summer's almost over!

I can hardly believe that the summer is ending & school is beginning again.  A week from today I'll go to my first inservice at Oak Tree.  I can't wait.  But yet, I'm sad about having to start getting up early!  I've been sleeping til 8-9am every day so I'm a little bummed about giving that up.  :::sigh:::  I guess it was bound to happen sometime!  ha ha

The kids go back to school on the 27th.  We find out who their teachers are this coming week.  Next Sunday, we'll get to go get Savannah's schedule and walk around to figure out where all her classes are.  I think I'm just as nervous/anxious/excited about that as her!  I remember that age & being so excited about the prospect of switching classes all day, getting a locker, etc.  Tee hee!  Yes, I'm a closet nerd.  :)

Actually...this will cinch that for you--- I'm anxious for 7pm to arrive so I can watch High School Musical 2 with the kids!  We've been looking forward to this for months!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Travel journal from our vacation

Ok, you have to keep in mind that I was scribbling this in shorthand into a little book along the way, so some of it will need further explanation (email me if you really want more info on anything).  Enjoy!

Aug 3, 2007  I'm so excited!  Only a few more days til we leave!  The time can't pass quickly enough.

We just found out this morning that due to a big boo-boo, we'll be driving home instead of flying.  It knocked us off course for a while, but this is a fixable mistake.  A couple extra days on the road...a couple more states to visit...a couple more nights in a hotel.  It's do-able!
Aug 8, 2007  12:30pm
The plane took off on time & we've been flying for about an hour & a 1/2 now.  We should land @ 2:00.  (our time--12:00 CA time)
The pressurized cabin is making my head feel funny but not nauseated -- just a weird pressure sensation, hard to explain.  Needless to say, I'll be glad to get there.
Savannah & Samuel are sitting w/ Larry.  Sarah & I are together.  Sarah & Samuel were a little scared of take off, but they seem fine now.
Security was no problem, but was a little more thorough than other flights I've been on.
9:10pm (11:10pm TX time)
Wow...what a long day.  We arrived in CA on time.  No sooner did we hit the ground than my tummy started feeling wonky.  We got to the hotel & had some snacks from our welcome bags (thank you Jerry & Sheryl!!).  It calmed my stomach a little but we were all hungry, so we went to a Mexican place ("Acapulco" restaurant down the street) for a 3pm lunch/early supper.  We ate & then went across the street to the Whole Foods Market.  While there, my stomach got even worse crampy & nauseated feeling.  I'm not sure if it's the elevation or having had my equilibrium all messed up earlier on the flight or maybe the stolen (HA HA) chicken wrap I ate on the plan, but I felt awful for several hours.  We came back to the hotel & rested while the kids watched some cartoons.  When we got up, we all went down to the pool.  I sat & watched for a while, but finally the Pepto-Immodium-anti nausea meds cocktail kicked in & I swam.  It was so very relaxing & calming, so I'm glad my tummy finally got better!!  The kids & Larry even prayed for my stomach tonight on the way to the pool (in the elevator).  I'm not sure if they were more worried about me or the risk of missing out on Disney tomorrow if I didn't get better!  ha ha!
Weather is warm/hot w/ a good breeze all the time.  Very comfortable!
9:20pm (11:20pm TX time)
Time for bed!  We've been up since 5:30am (TX time), so that's nearly 18 hours now.  Yawn!
We're in Room #601, Holiday Inn on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills, CA.
Oops...forgot to mention that we saw Warner Bros., NBC Studios, ABC, Disney Channel and the Disney studios today (all on the way to the hotel from the airport).  Cool!
NOTE to those reading this:
I didn't really steal the chicken wrap.  On the flight, no meal was served but you could buy a snack.  I opted for an Asian Chicken wrap.  The flight attendant said he'd finish giving out the other drinks & such and then come back to get my credit card for the wrap.  He never came back & I completely forgot about it until we were in the car on the way to the hotel.  The kids & Larry teased me all night about "stealing" the chicken wrap.
Aug 9, 2007  10:26pm  (12:26am TX time)
Long exhausting day, but WOW!
We got up at about 7:00.  Kids were already awake, dressed & sitting on the side of their bed watching us sleep.  I think they were anxious for Disneyland!  ha ha!  Too cute!  We went downstairs for breakfast & left the hotel about 8:30-8:45.  The guy @ the front desk told us it would take 45 min- 1 hour to get there.  Wrong....2 hours!  The kids were WOW'd by everything from the parking trams to every ride to all the cool topiaries all around the park shaped like Disney characters.  Here was the order of our day:
Entered the park @ Main Street USA & quickly went to Tomorrowland where we:
1.  saw Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (cool 4-D show!)
2.  tried to ride Space Mountain (it was broken down & they were actually in the process of pulling passengers off the stuck ride...uh oh!)
3.  considered riding the Nemo submarines but there was a 2+hour wait!
4.  Kids rode Astro Orbitor (rocket ride)
5.  got water
We moved onto Fantasyland:
1.  lunch at the Village Haus restaurant
2.  rode Casey Jr. Circus train
3.  kids & Larry rode Dumbo flying elephants
4.  kids & Larry rode the tea cups (Mad Hatter)
We left Fantasyland after having been there for nearly 4 hours & went through Frontierland where we bought frozen lemonades.  Everything we wanted to ride had too long a wait, so we went to New Orleans Square to ride the Haunted Mansion.  We all went in, but Sarah got scared, so she & I went outside to wait while the others rode.  Afterward, we got on the Disney Railroad & rode as far as Fantasyland before we got off --no A/C & it was HOT!  Since we were back in Fantasyland, we rode "It's a Small World".  The line was too long the first time we were there.  We got another round of drinks when we left there & headed for Adventureland to take the Jungle Cruise.  Everyone loved that!
By that time, it was getting late and everyone was tired.  We got to Disney @ about 11am & by now it was nearly 7pm.  We stopped on the way out & bought everyone Mickey ears & took a few pictures in them.
We can see why people buy 2-3 day tickets b/c there just wasn't enough time to do it ALL like we wanted to.  We had to skip a lot of rides/shows that we would've enjoyed just for time's sake.
Traffic moved along faster on the way home & we were back to the street w/ our hotel in about an hour +/- a few minutes.  We went to a place called California Chicken Cafe for supper & ate like kings!  Yum!  We were shocked at the SIZE of the "side orders".  We were expecting Texas-sized side orders of the things we ordered, but each one came on a platter!  What a side!!!  Wow!
Aug 10, 2007  9:45pm (11:45 TX time)
We ate the breakfast buffet again this AM before heading out to the Hollywood Wax museum & Guiness Records museum.  Drove around & saw the Hollywood Hills, Walk of Fame & other sites.  We came back to the hotel to rest, then went to the beach.  The kids LOVED it.  Went to Mogan's Cafe for supper & it was COLD.  We were seated outside and we were all still damp from the beach.  They had to turn on the heaters, but we were still chilly!  Brrrr!  Came back to the hotel & swam again til after dark.  Yawn!  I'm beat!
Aug 11, 2007  11:02pm
Today we spent the morning @ the pool.  Everyone got a little sun & enjoyed a relaxing day.  We left here @ 3:00 to head to the Bar Mitzvah.  It was about 45 min away in Camarillo.  Meeting Jerry was at first a little awkward, b/c it's been such a long time coming & we feel like we've known each other forever.  Larry ended up telling a few jokes, loosening things up & then we all laughed & it was very comfortable.  The rabbi was very nice -- reminded me a lot of Terry Cadwell, same stature & demeanor & teaching style.  He wrote a book called "The Christian's Guide to Judaism" & gave Larry a copy.  The service was very formal in the liturgy & ceremonial stuff, but very informal in the setting and the way the rabbi presented things.  Samuel fell asleep minutes into the service.  He looked so cute in his Yamulkah.  The service was 2 hours long.  Wow.  The kids sat very quiet & respectfully through the whole thing even though the majority of it was in Hebrew.  Very interesting, but long.  Jerry ended the service w/ a very sweet tribute to that he'd written for Zach.
When we moved over to the country club, the kids immediately jumped into the racing simulator & enjoyed a few laps around the track.  They took pics by a Mercedes & a Rolls Royce for the "pit passes".  The big party was inside-- a DJ & dance floor was set up w/ every sort of racing themed decor you can imagine.  We had a salad & a fantastic dinner and watched a sweet powerpoint video Jerry created for Zach.  It had pics of his birth through today.  Very sweet!  Then they had the Mother/Son dance to "Beautiful Boy" from Mr. Holland's Opus.  Love that song!
Oh, I forgot.  Earlier in the evening, we did the traditional "horrah" (sp?) dance where everyone circles & sings.  It was cool!  They lifted Zach into the air in a chair like you see in movies.  Very cool!
We left about 9:30 b/c we have to get up early tomorrow to start the drive home.  Jerry walked us out & hugged us.  It was sad to say goodbye but it was a great meeting of one of my 1st long-time internet friends!
Thank you, Jerry & Sheryl, for having us.  We all had a wonderful time!
Tomorrow we will begin the long trip home.  Protect us, Lord & carry us safely home.
Aug 12, 2007
2:35pm--222mi into our journey--Mojave desert
9:30pm--we're at the hotel, all checked in & kids in the shower.
We made it to Winslow, Arizona.  It was a long day.  Lots of driving.  We're "taking it easy" tonight (Eagles song).
During the ABC game in the car today, we had some funny answers.
"I" is for ick on the windshield (Sarah)
"F" is for snakes farting in the desert (Samuel)
"T" is for topography (Larry)
Aug 13, 2007  10:30pm
We're in Amarillo tonight, anxious to make it home.  We should get there by tomorrow evening.  Larry is beginning to get stressed out about work stuff--which is his usual last day of a vacation thing.  He's had a fun experience seeing drum corp teams along the way (going to & from).  His leg has bothered him a little today, but otherwise he's doing alright.
We went to the famous corner in Winslow, AZ this morning before we left & stopped for a couple pictures.  Saw some neat Indian artifact stores along the way.  Had to clear up a lot of stereotypes for the kids about Indians/Native Americans, though.
Drove all the way across NM in one day.  Sure is smaller than Texas!
Can't wait to return this rental van to the DFW airport tomorrow.  The next time we're shopping for vans, we know what kind to NOT look at.  Can't stand this thing.  I'm ready to get in our Honda & go HOME!!  Woo Hoo---Whitehouse!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We're BACK!!!!!!!!!!

I'm tired.  It's late.  I'm headed to bed....but wanted to let you know we made it home safe & sound from our vacation.  Lots of details & pictures to follow on posts in the next few days.


(if you'd like to see the pics, email me & I will send them your way)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Savannah's 11! (and other thoughts of a busy day)

Eleven years ago today, I was holding my nearly 3-hours-old baby girl.  I was a mommy for the first time and as I stared at this little angel, I had no idea how much a decade would change my life.  (well...a little over a decade)  It's amazing to see how much life can throw at ya in such a short time.  While Savannah was a veryyyyy difficult baby & toddler & preschooler, she is such a sweetheart these days.  Sure, she has the typical preteen quirks, but I really couldn't be more proud of her.  She is becoming a beautiful Godly young lady and I'm honored to be her mama.

Today we started the day with our traditional birthday morning breakfast----cake!  She opened a present from us (a Chicken Little soundtrack CD, magazine subscription & a giant Rice Krispy treat which she's saving for the trip) and then proceeded to get a full day worth of phone calls, emails, cards, etc.  She was really blissed out when we went to the mall & she got three Neopets magazines for $6.50!  (they usually cost $10/ea, but these were clearanced b/c they're out of date, which was just fine with her!)  We went to Claire's & she got some funny little rubbery grassburr looking earrings.  They're very interesting...ya gotta see 'em to really 'get' what they look like.  Larry got some tennis shoes while we were there & I got one last thing I needed for the trip.  Tonight when I tucked her in, she said "I don't want this day to end!".

Today we got all the carry-on bags packed (well, mine & the kids anyway...Larry can handle his own).  We're packing up tomorrow & will be out the door earlyyyyyyy Wednesday morning.  We're getting giddy around here!!!

Please include my mom in your prayers.  Her name is Faye.  She's having some health issues that are bothering her.  I won't go into too many details here, but I know she'd appreciate your prayers.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

A million thoughts in one post!

First topic: death of 2 local firemen

Yesterday morning, our community lost 2 great men.  Both of them are the family members of friends of ours.  Austin Cheek, 19, and Kevin Williams, 42, were fighting a fire & lost their lives.  Both were members of a volunteer fire department.  Austin is the nephew of one my dearest friends and Kevin is the son of friends from our old church.  We are shocked & blown away by their great loss.  The whole community is grieving their deaths.  Please join us in prayers for these two families.  Their funerals are early this week, hopefully before we leave town on vacation.  I really want to be there for both funerals.

2nd topic:  update on yesterday's big oops

We went to mom & dad's tonight to borrow all their maps of the California to Texas drive we'll be making next week.  It looks like it'll be about a 1500 mile trip & we have to drive it in 3 days.  Larry HAS TO be at work Wednesday morning so we MUST be home by late Tuesday night.  Ouch...that's 500 miles a day.  Oh boy.

Let me just be honest here.  I'm not a big fan of long drives (even less of a fan if I am the one driving, but thankfully Larry will do most of this drive).  Road trips always sound fun in theory or on movies, but put me in a car/van/truck/whatever for a long day of driving and I'm usually clawing at the doorknob to get OUT.  I'm not clausterphobic exactly....but I just hate to SIT for so long.  It makes me a little nutty.  I am doing my best to be positive & excited about this opportunity to spend time with my kids and hubby and get to see new parts of the country I've never seen before, but I'm really dreading 3 days in a car.  I need some "alone time" to keep my sanity.  Hmm....I think I'll pack some bubble bath for those late evenings in the hotels along the way.  Please pray for an uneventful drive home with lots of laughter & giggles and fun along the way!

3rd topic: funny of the day

Today we were playing a Bible Pictionary sort of game.  Larry was drawing a duck as part of some picture & after it was drawn, he said "Oops!  I forgot to put the wing on it".  Somehow I heard "I forgot to put the weiner on it."  My eyes bugged out & my jaw hit the table as I asked him WHY he would say that.  After we cleared up the misunderstanding, everyone cracked up.  We haven't all laughed that hard in a while.  We've teased each other all day about the duck missing its weiner.  LOL!  The kids are old enough to "get" the misunderstanding, and they all think it's really funny that mommy thought that's what daddy said.  (Of course, we don't normally discuss things like this so that makes it even more giggle-producing for them.)

4th topic:  God is good!

For a long time, every time someone asked what my 'dream vacation' is, I've said "to take my family to Disneyworld".  I didn't know how we'd ever pull it off ($$$$!) but hoped that one day we'd figure it out.  I realize we're not headed to FL, but Disneyland is the "original" Disney & I'm sure it'll be great too!  I can't wait to see the looks on the kids' faces and to enjoy the magic of Disneyland w/ my family!  God is good to work all this out for us!!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

a big BOO BOO

Larry called me while ago completely panicked.  He got out the airline ticket confirmation emails & realized he'd made a huge error when he bought them 3 months ago.  The return tickets have the wrong date on them.  And they're non-refundable tickets.  We're stuck with 5 useless tickets for the return trip & no way back.  He called expedia & the airline to try to find out if there is anything they can do, but since he confirmed the tickets a long time ago, their hands are tied.  The only way we can come home by airplane is to buy 5 new tickets to the tune of about $3000!  One airline offered first class tickets for the price...which might be fun, but 3grand!  Ouch!  We've determined that we can drive home cheaper, so our vacation is going to get extended by a couple of days.  We've got a rental car to use while we're in L.A., but that company doesn't allow their cars out of the area, so we've already contacted another company & reserved another vehicle to drive home.  It's about 1500 miles.  We'll return that one to the DFW area when we get back.
Ugh...what a mess.  That means packing a little more, spending a lot more....but ya know, I'm determined that God took us off that return flight for a reason.  Maybe the plane is going to crash or maybe one of the kids will be horribly airsick.  Or maybe a thousand other things.  There's got to be a reason for this.  And besides, we'll get to spend an extra couple days on vacation, we'll get to drive through 2 states we've never seen (Arizona & New Mexico) and we'll get to spend 2 more nights in 2 more hotels (the kids are THRILLED about this part!). could be worse.
Larry called all upset saying "this is a disaster".  No....a disaster would be having to cancel the whole trip.  This is fixable.  It's gonna cost us an arm & a leg, but it's fixable.  God's gonna get the glory no matter what!
Now we just have to figure out what we can stop & look at on the drive home.  My parents have been this route before & tell us of all the "beautiful" hours & hours of sand & desert roads.  Boy oh boy!  LOL!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

made a decision about Savannah's med

I wrote this letter to Savannah's doc tonight.  I editted it for privacy.


August 2, 2007

Dr. S____,

     I wanted to fill you in on our attempt to lower Savannah's Zoloft dosage.

     Week 1: On July 15, we began giving her 1/2 a pill each day (___ mg/day). The first couple of days were shaky. She was more moody & cried a lot, but we knew we should give it more time. I think that may've been a reaction to her fear of dropping the dose. She was worried about how she'd do. By days 3-5, she seemed to "level out". But on days 6 & 7 she had big "dips" again, very moody & crying all day long. Since the original plan had been to try a lower dose for about a week before dropping it any further, we decided not to mess with the dosage yet & give her a little more time on the smaller dose before making any further changes. She was still going up & down too much.

     Week 2 was rough. She seemed to do well in the mornings but by early afternoon every day (around 2:00), it was like the medicine had worn off & she spent the afternoons sobbing over little frustrations. On one day in particular, she spent over an hour crying about something silly. She actually came to me & asked if she needed to go back up on her dosage because she realized that she was getting upset over trivial things and was having a very hard time calming down after an anxiety attack. I was impressed that she could logically SEE this & was able to rationally understand that maybe a different dosage would be helpful. Through teary eyes, she asked for us to let her try the lower dosage for a 'few more days' because she wanted to make it work. She would like to get off the medicine completely, but she is aware that this may be a lifelong problem she must deal with. She's ok with that, but like a diabetic kid might wish not to deal with diabetes, she wishes she didn't have anxiety trouble.

     I have a theory. I suspect that the first week or so, she still had a lot of medicine built up in her system & it pulled her through that first week without an extreme change in her mood/personality, but after that all wore off, she was only getting that little dose each morning & it wore off by afternoon, leaving her with that afternoon "low". Could that be possible?

     Week 3 has been more of the same--a few good days & a few rough ones. This evening, I was watching her walk around in a 'gloomy' sort of slump. It reminded me of the way most kids act when they're sick. You know ...... when they don't have a particular physical ailment or symptom, but they're just dragging around with no energy or enthusiasm like they're on the verge of tears.  Just feeling "blah". This is how she looks. Her mood is low, her energy is almost zilch & it takes a good deal of effort to get her to smile.

     I fear that if we drop her dosage any further we will be in real trouble. As it is now, she's not at the bottom of the barrel so to speak, but she's not herself either. She seems sort of depressed & low and that bothers me. With her about to hit so many BIG changes in life (going into middle school, beginning the youth group at church, starting band at school, beginning dance class again, puberty, etc), I'm wondering if it would be wise to drop her dosage now. If the higher dose gives her that sweet perky personality that we've seen for the past few years, I'm all for staying at the higher dose.

     While we haven't had the extreme issues this time that we had the last time we tried to wean her off the medicine, this time hasn't been positive either. I hate to see my baby girl looking so 'droopy'. She's just not herself. Larry & I talked tonight and made the decision to go back to the full dose tomorrow. We're leaving on vacation this coming week and want her to enjoy the trip---not spend half of it bummed out, crying & feeling down. Bottom line, I hate to give her more medicine than she needs, but the lower dose is less than she needs so we're going back up on the dose. I want my happy, sweet child back. Gloom & doom doesn't flatter her.

     We're leaving on vacation ___day Aug __ & will be gone until __ Aug __th. Please give us a call & share your thoughts if there is anything we need to discuss before the next appointment.

Thank you for your time,

Liz Reeves

home: 903-___-____

cell: 903-___-____




For those of you who are not on AOL who've left comments on the journal site, can you please email me privately & tell me how you did it?  I have a friend who's on another internet provider that would like to get the alerts to new entries & the ability to comment but she can't get in with anything other than her AOL account.  I know it's possible to get the alerts otherwise, though, because many of you do it.  Tell me how, please!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

We're going on vacation!

By this time next week, we'll be in California!  We're soooo excited!  Let me tell ya a little about God's goodness.

In 1998, we discovered that Savannah had a birth defect.  She was about 18 months old before we really discovered it & immediately we found an awesome doctor to start treating it.  Savannah had an eye muscle disorder that falls under the Strabismus umbrella of eye problems.  (for more info, go to & click on the "education" link at the top, then scroll down to "strabismus")  Anyway, in beginning the process to treat her & knowing that surgery was part of what we'd be doing, I went online in search of someone who had "been there, done that" & could tell me what to expect with the surgery/recovery.  A single dad from California wrote to me.  His son, a couple years older than Savannah, had been through the surgery already & he filled me in on what to expect.  We talked about our kids & how each of them came to have this problem, what sort of treatment they were doing, etc.  Over the course of the next couple years, Savannah had 4 surgeries to correct it and eventually went to glasses (bifocals).  During that time, this nice man remarried & added several other children to his family and we kept in touch.  That was nearly a decade ago & we're still online buddies.

Last year, he told me that his son (the same one who had the eye problem like Savannah) was turning 13 in August of 2007 & he would be having his Bar Mitzvah.  He invited us to be there!  Wow!  What an honor!

Without sharing all the details, God has really blessed us with the finances to go.  Without HIS hand in all this, we could've NEVER afforded this trip!!  We are so excited!

We'll be just outside of L.A. next week for the Bar Mitzvah & since we may never go back, we decided to go a few days early to do all the cool "tourist stuff".  We'll go to Disneyland while we're there, the beach, up & down the Hollywood streets to check out stars' homes, etc.  We can't wait!  Don't worry...I'll take lots of pictures & will report in as soon as we get home.  This is truely the trip of a lifetime for us.  I've said for YEARS that my "dream vacation" was to take my family to Disneyworld....but Disneyland is just as good!  :)  And since we've obviously never seen a Bar Mitzvah, that will be a HUGE event for us--what a great experience for all of us!

We are sooo excited & just can't wait!!  We've got 5 suitcases lined up in the living room waiting to get packed!  We've got carry-on bags waiting to be filled.  Oh the excitement is growing!!!  WooHoo!