Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pool progress

Today we started the plaster process. It took an entire day for Josh and I to find the Acytl 60 that we needed to add to the portland cement, rock, and lumite to fulfill the necessary ingredients for the plaster. Since most of these pools are built on the West coast it has made it difficult to find the products on the East coast! Thankfully, Josh's brother Tim came to our rescue today and helped plaster. Josh, Tim our hired help and I plastered while Isaac and our nephew Gabe shoveled mortar. Olivia took a 3 hour nap today so that helped! We got our first layer of plaster on and the fabric mesh on. Now two more coats on the outside and two coats on the inner walls!

Gabe shoveling mortar

Isaac on the job

Josh working on plaster

Did you know that square object is called a 'hawk'?

Mesh added after the plaster was applied

This is beside the subject but I thought it was blog worthy. Sorry if it's TMI :)

Olivia pee peed in the potty and said "pee pee"!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Language explosion

Kids do go through cycles of language learning... they might have a quiet spell for a while as they are mastering a new skill and then boom... they hit a explosion.

I do believe this week has been an explosion for Olivia. She is using multiple two word phrases to communicate and is using more words than grunts or cries to tell me what she wants. When she woke from her nap she yelled, "Mama, out!". I went in her room and she said, "Poo poo diaper". Sure enough she had a stinky and needed a change.

She's added more names, more animals, more body parts, and new action words all in a week.

Here is a cute video of her doing a few animal sounds. Ignore the shirt of Eli's covered in mashed potatoes where she just finished eating. 

Building a pool

 Josh and I have wrestled with the idea of putting in a pool since we built the house. We would go back and forth..... it's a lot of money for a hole, what if the kids fall in, how are we going to secure the back door, do I want to lose my backyard? We researched all sorts of pools and we were both in agreement we didn't want a vinyl liner, and we wanted a salt water pool. After searching online we ended up coming across this pool company called Insulated Pools out of California and talked back and forth with them for months. Basically the pool is insulated with styrofoam so it stays warmer than a typical pool and you can use it a month earlier in the spring and close it a month later in the fall. There is no liner.. just a waterproof coating called an EVM coating. Well we did it and bought the kit. It's so much more complicated that we thought it would be... I knew I was crazy when I bought a 'do it yourself kit' but this thing has Josh and I both scared.  So, I'm contracting out the labor and things that we just can't do and don't have time to do.

Our back yard before the pool

The last night at with a back yard

The first dig

Olivia likes heavy equipment too

A big mud hole

Eli wanted to get his tractor out to 'work'

Tile and colors.. my head hurts!

The first load of screening gravel

Styrofoam walls going up

Another load

The walls are together. Now for plaster and concrete

Visiting Auntie

Last week I went to stay with my Aunt Jane in the hospital for a few days. Thankfully she's had someone with her almost every hour of her 13 day hospital stay (she went to rehab yesterday!). I drove the six hours to Georgia on Tuesday morning and arrived at the hospital around 5 that evening. She was glad to see me and I was equally glad to see her. She looked so good that she agreed for me to snap these two pictures! Coming from death a week ago I would say that's quite a recovery. She was in a lot of pain that night and I didn't get any sleep, but that was ok!

The next morning I went to grab some coffee and breakfast in the cafeteria and I had to wait in the ICU waiting room until shift change was over. I walked back into the unit with my coffee and phone and accidentally left my clutch sitting on the table beside me. I think I was so sleep deprived I was just out of it. When I realized it was missing and went back it was gone of course.

I was so distraught because I was six hours from home with no drivers license, no money, and I had a LOT of valuable information in my clutch. My social security card as well as Eli and Olivia's were all in there, along with multiple credit cards, 3 check books, gift cards, and cash. I started canceling accounts and Josh wired me money through a Western Union in order to have enough to eat, get gas and get home on Thursday.

Even though I knew not to carry my social security card I had it in there because several weeks ago I applied for a new job and thought I might need it. This opened my eyes to make sure that I know exactly what's in my wallet and not to carry anything I can't live without. Even now it makes me a bit nauseous to think about what all was in my wallet but if I put it in perspective; it's all replaceable. After a brief meltdown, I sucked it up and enjoyed the rest of my time with Aunt Jane.

I held her hand, rubbed her feet, moved her bed around, fed her, and washed off her face after she got sick. I know if my dad and grandmother were here they would be doing the same thing. When she felt like talking she told me stories of my childhood. One of her favorites was when she brought Uncle Richard home for the first time, I was around 3 and she said, "Summer, this is my baby," I said, "That's a big ole baby!" Her and Uncle have laughed about that story for many years.

Memories with your loved ones are things you keep forever and these are the irreplaceable!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Livi is 15 months

Olivia is such a joy and sweet heart. Here are some things she can do!

  • She thinks she's a big girl and loves to try to keep up with the boys.  
  • She's walking and climbing everywhere. She loves to climb steps when I let her and will go down them holding onto the rail and my hand. 
  • She sleeps in her crib for around 12 hours at night and takes a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. She was a trooper while we were on vacation and had no trouble sleeping in her pack and play.
  • She did much better on the car ride than I anticipated. Lots of snacks, books and toys were employed to help the journey.
  • Her favorite foods are spaghetti, any kind of fruit, cheese, oatmeal and boiled eggs. 
  • She's been in size 3 diapers for months and still wearing 12-18 month clothes. 
  • She weighs 22 lbs (50%) and is 31 inches (50%)
  • She can point to her hair, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, ears and belly and can follow directions such as "Go get your baby and bring it to Daddy". 
  • She is doing great leaving her 'hearing computers' in.. except while we were on vacation and for a few days after we got back.
  • I took her bottle shortly after she turned one and she did fine. She still has her paci for naps and bedtime and loves her pink silky blanket. 
Here is her current list of words she uses spontaneously (without me prompting her): 

  1. Mama
  2. Daddy
  3. Eli
  4. Isaac
  5. Brother
  6. Nana
  7. Papa
  8. Pawpaw
  9. Allie
  10. Day 
  11. Nanny
  12. Diaper
  13. Socks
  14. Moo
  15. Dog
  16. Woof woof
  17. quack
  18. chick
  19. bock bock
  20. eyes
  21. nose
  22. mouth
  23. belly
  24. hot
  25. dirty
  26. kiss
  27. up
  28. down
  29. out
  30. stop
  31. no 
  32. sit
  33. bye bye
  34. hey
  35. hello
  36. eat
  37. bite bite
  38. cracker
  39. more
  40. ut oh
  41. bottle
  42. ball
  43. water
  44. baby
  45. book
  46. thank you
  47. that
Honestly there are probably more that I'm not thinking of right now. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Aunt Jane is sick again

We've known since right after my birthday in April that the dreaded 'c' word is back again for the third time in less than 3 years.

We've had such hope.

Aunt Jane (my dad's only sister) was diagnosed with a rare uterine cancer two weeks after my dad died from lung cancer. She had surgery, chemo and did wonderful. She was cancer free and we rejoiced!

It came back... in her lung. She had a lobe of her lung removed and did great. Her doctors did not recommend chemo because it was ineffective the first time so we waited and had great hope it would stay dormant for years.

This time the cancer is back and the doctors say she will never be cancer free. It's in her stomach, adrenal glands, liver, and lung now. She's tried another type of chemo agent and it was unsuccessful. Right now she's in the hospital because the tumor perforated her small intestine. They've done surgery so now we just wait. She's six hours away so I feel pretty helpless. I want to be with her.

When most people hear that my aunt is sick they think, oh that's sad but it's not like a parent or grandparent. Oh, it was painfully hard when my grandmother whom I loved so much passed away October 2009, and it was heart-wrenching hard when my Daddy passed away January 2011, but Aunt Jane is not just 'any' aunt.

Since my sister and I were born she's been 'twitter-pated' (her words.. remember Bambi?) with Audra and I. She's been at pretty much ever major life event and more. When we were 3 and 4 years old she flew home with Uncle Richard for Christmas with two Golden Retriever puppies with big red bows on their necks. She's taken us on countless vacations and spent hours upon hours with us. When I was seven, I flew with her and my Uncle to Georgia to spend a week and I wasn't homesick a bit. When I was a little girl and  in love with Anne of Green Gables she bought and booked our hotel at Dalvay by the Sea.. the hotel that appeared as the "White Sands Hotel" in the movie. She took us to New York and introduced us to the theater. In highschool she took Audra and I to Paris and Amsterdam when the tulips were in bloom. When I was 16 and angry at my mom for grounding me, I took off in my car to drive 6 hours to Georgia to my Aunt (how in the world I got there before the age of GPS and cell phones I don't know!).  In 2005 when I finished grad school and Audra finished undergrad she took us Ireland and we stayed in bed and breakfasts, sipped a Guinness, and kissed the Blarney stone. So many wonderful trips and more I could name. When my dad got sick, she packed up and came and stayed with him until the end. Aunt Jane was there the night he died in his sleep and it was her on the phone that morning in my classroom at school telling me my daddy was dead. Honestly I don't the words to express how much she means to me.

So it looks bleak right now but I'm not giving up hope. She is a fighter and she is a strong woman. We are hoping she can recover from this surgery and can go to MD Anderson in Houston for another opinion on a chemo drug that can shrink these tumors or put them in remission. So if you think about it, please say a prayer for my Aunt Jane. She's a phenomenal woman.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Beach 2013

This week was our annual Allison vacation at Holden Beach. Holden is such a beautiful, non-crowded, family beach we return here year after year. This year we stayed in the west end at the same house we stayed in 2 years ago. It's ocean front, however we do have a hike through the dunes. There are now 19 of us so it takes a fairly large place to accommodate everyone. We've had gorgeous weather all week- warm and sunny but not overly hot. It's been a nice break from the rainforest where we currently live (we've had uncanny rain all summer and are beginning to mold!).

Isaac and his cousins have played in the ocean and tried to awkwardly scope out the girls next door. There are a couple girls around their age and we have cracked up because the 4 boys have been on the prowl. They even got into an argument over who actually said 'hi'. Today they were in the ocean and 'subtly' kept moving closer to the girls. They finally made contact with the alien species but the girls must have not been impressed because they didn't stay to chat. I'm not ready for this!

Eli has absolutely had a blast and is at a great age to really enjoy the beach. He has used his boogie board to surf the waves and has loved digging holes. We did have a scare yesterday when he tried to follow Mawmaw inside and we could't find him. We were all in panic mode but thankfully he was okay.

Olivia is a beach bum! This child just keeps turning browner and browner. She loves the sand and water and has been entertained 'washing' seashells in a bucket of water. Watching those little chub legs run in the water is just adorable. It's so much easier this year because I don't have to keep her under an umbrella out of the sun and worry about her over heating like last year when she was not quite 3 months old. Click here for pictures from last year.

Pretty sunset view

Olivia's first encounter with the sand and ocean

Eli is happy to be here

Cheese- I used bribery to get him to look at the camera

Isaac and his cousins 

Daddy dug Livi a water hole

This girl loves getting dirty... we tried to keep her from eating too much sand

Eli playing

Livi and her bucket

Isaac burying his hands

Our dune walk to the ocean

Really Mom

13 year old Isaac

Little E and his shovel

I turned my back and Eli pulled off his swim shorts and ran in the water. I sprinted across the sand to grab his trunks and snap a picture before making him get dressed again. He said his shorts 'hurt'. Humm.

Livi loving the sand

After a blow out diaper I had to wash her off in the ocean

So relaxing

2 of my sweeties out to dinner 

Salt washed wood, sand dunes, and sandy feet

Ahhh.. It's so much fun Mom

I got a smile :)

Joshie fishing

Josh's dad, Pawpaw fishing

Eli and his 'crack'

Sweet girl

Braedon and Isaac playing games at the room

Aggravating Dad

Someone put on too much sunscreen

We drove down to Myrtle to Broadway and Eli built a Lightening McQueen

He's loving this

Isaac, Bryce and Braedon did the ropes course and zip line

Livi hanging out while Isaac ziplines

Isaac ziplining

Riding the carousel

A sea turtle nest hatched and we watched the baby turtles head to the ocean