Friday, January 27, 2017


 On Friday the 13th I woke up just after six when I heard Rich walk into our room at his normal time after getting off of work. I asked him how his night went, and he asked if I had seen my phone. I looked at it, and saw the text from 1:30 AM  (which I never heard) stating he'd been in an accident but was ok.  I then listened to him tell me about his night. He'd been out on the boat for over six hours, then they were cleaning up their dive equipment from training the previous day. He took their dive truck to go get washed just after midnight. On the way, he stopped to get a big gulp and a burrito, and was looking forward to eating lunch while the truck got washed.  On the way, a white Mercedes traveling in the opposite direction lost control and went over the median right in front of him. He tried to stop but there was no time to do anything, and it was a pretty nasty crash.
He ended up spinning  across the road and landing on his side.  He's not sure if he lost consciousness or not, but he was definitely pretty dazed. He got on the radio and called for help, and before he knew it there were officers trying to break through the windshield to get him out.  He wasn't in a big hurry, but then he heard someone say , "Fire!" and he thought he saw smoke coming out of the engine.  He stood up at that point and helped kick out the windshield from the inside. Once he got out he realized that it was the Mercedes on fire. A good Samaritan had pulled the driver out, but his car was a mess.
 They were both taken to the hospital, and Rich could hear the doctors and talking about the other guy's brain bleed.  They did some scans and cleared Rich, then some guys from work drove him home. He was pretty sore and went to bed. About 9:30 I got a call from the ER doc saying they saw something suspicious  on his lung scan and he needed to come back in. I explained that we were about 70 miles away from the hospital, and he said it was important that we come. Of course that freaked me out a little bit, but I woke him up (although he wasn't really sleeping due to the pain), we got in the car and headed back.  Once we got there, the doctor explained that they had done a CT scan of the neck to check for any damage to the carotid or jugular, and cleared him on that. The radiologist in the morning however saw evidence of bruising in his lungs, but they could only see the very top so they wanted to get a more thorough scan. He did the CT scan, and eventually the doctor came back in to say, "Good news!  You're not bleeding into your chest so we don't have to admit you and cut your chest open." Umm, yes. Thanks for that!!!  At that point he got discharged AGAIN and we headed home (right in the middle of Friday rush hour traffic!  Poor guy, that stop and go traffic did not feel good for him!).  I am very thankful for great friends who very willingly picked up my kids and watched them all afternoon, and other friends who brought us dinner. Rich  has spent the majority of time since in his recliner trying not to move too much. He has a lot of pain in his chest, but fortunately he was wearing his vest and that probably kept him from breaking anything  (Kevlar stops more than just bullets!).  His neck has been really sore, and he has felt a constant headache since then. He finally saw the chiropractor a few days ago, and that seems to have helped.  He should be fine eventually, it's just taking longer than he had hoped! Two weeks have passed now, and he feels a little better every day (unless he has to sneeze!).  It was assumed by just about everyone that this was a DUI incident. The other driver was on probation for a DUI, and it was just after midnight which is a pretty typical time for that to happen.  However, we heard from the detectives this week that his blood alcohol concentration was zero and tox screen was negative (it sounds like he was speeding however). The other driver was in a medically induced coma for quite some time, but we have heard he should recover.  This was a big perspective-shifter for me! Sometimes I find myself getting irritated with the stupidest little things. Things that don't even matter. This made me very grateful for my wonderful husband, I'm glad he is still around with us!
 He had a lot of people checking on him at the hospital. I told him if anything like this happens again he better CALL HIS WIFE!!! He said there was nothing I could do, and he didn't want me to be up worrying all night and get some sleep. Very considerate of him, but sheesh!
A couple days later some guys he works with went down to the tow yard to see if there was anything salvageable in the truck, and sent Rich some pictures. The truck doesn't look any better in the daylight! 
 They did find his burrito however. Rich was impressed that the accident blew the burrito right out of its' foil.
 They sent him these photos as a joke - Rich BEFORE the accident...
 and Rich AFTER the accident. He got a kick out of it :>)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pack Meeting

 Carson earned his Wolf award! 

The kids had a great time playing games.

Monday, January 23, 2017


It was a nice day so we decided to go to the park with some friends.  Brendan jumped out of the car and immediately got on his skateboard with his friends. I hadn't even put my stuff down when he hit a crack in the sidewalk and wiped out, ending up on the ground in tears and clutching his ankle.  I had him stay off it for a while, but after a week he had it made much improvement so I finally took him to urgent care to get it x-rayed. The doctor showed me the x-ray, and said that she thought it was probably broken. There was a small dark line on the scan which she said would definitely be abnormal if he was full-grown, but at his age it was hard to say conclusively. They put on a splint and gave him some crutches, and I left feeling like a terrible parent! The next day however, the radiologist called to say that it was NOT broken! He has sprained his ankle a couple of times before, but this was definitely the longest it's ever took to heal. He's been on crutches for over two weeks  (3 1/2 weeks since the injury) and is just barely starting to be able to put some weight on it.  Crutches at school in a whole lot of rain was definitely an adventure! The first day he brought them, I got a phone call from the nurse at 12:45 saying that he needed to have a note from the doctor giving him permission to have crutches at school. Apparently this was for "his safety."  Since the urgent care said I had to pick the note up in person, they made us pick him up from school with less than an hour to go in the school day. That was kind of lame. It learning experience I guess  :) He is slowly improving though!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

District Bee

 The district spelling bee. We knew this day was coming for about a month, and Brendan and I spent a lot of time studying. Every day I would drill him on words, and every day I was impressed by how well he knew them. There were some crazy words on that list. Words that I had to look up on YouTube how to pronounce because I have no idea. Words like recherche and gendarme and prestidigitation.  I didn't  know how he would do against eighth graders, but I felt pretty confident that if they stuck to the list he would do quite well. The night of the bee was cold and rainy, and he was SO nervous!!!  He seemed to think that he was the only one who was nervous as well :) There were supposed to be 38 contestants  (2 from each school) but only 35 showed up. The school level event was double elimination  format, and I assumed that the district one would be the same. I was fully expecting to be there for hours! Then they started the first round, and 19 or 20 kids missed their first word. At the end of the round they told the kids who missed to go sit down. WHAT??? This was going to go a lot faster than I thought! Brendan's first word was "enumerated " and he nailed it. When other kids missed words I thought to myself, "Brendan knows that word! He's going to go far!" The second round started, and once again a lot of kids or missing their words. It got to Brendan , and his word was, "inadvertent."  I did a little happy dance in my head, because I knew that he knew that word.  BUT, he spelled i-n-a-d-v-e-r-t-a-n-t.  The round finished, and he came to sit down just looking devastated. He said, "Mom,  I knew I said the wrong letter as soon as it came out, but I wasn't allowed to change it."  The rest of the bee he spent mumbling the spellings of words under his breath, and saying  "right" or "wrong"  whenever another competitor spelled a word. By round six they were down to the final two spellers,  including a fourth grader from his school and he beat pretty handily at the school bee.  After rounds of very difficult words, the first girl got the word "trek." And she missed it. The next girl (from our school) got the word "waltz." And she missed it. Brendan was DYING! I was too honestly. Not sure why they threw way easier words into the mix all of a sudden, but they did trip them up. When we got home, he went straight to his bed in tears. I didn't realize just how much pressure he had put on himself, and he was inconsolable. He was very convinced that he could have won the whole thing. I explained that sometimes we get nervous and things don't come out how we mean too, and I was super proud of him for making it that far, but he wasn't having it. Two of the most memorable things he said to me: "Mom, I really wanted to go to college and get a scholarship, but now I can't!" as well as, "D-A-M-N is the D word, right? Cause I really want to say it right now." Oh my goodness I was trying so hard not to laugh. It's hard to see your kid hurting though, and it did break my heart. After a couple of days he seems to have bounced back a bit. Love this kid!
 I meant to get a picture of everyone that came, but it didn't happen. Both Grandmas were there, as well as Grandpa Gray, Bob, and Aunt Kathy. It was Rich's first real outing since the accident, he made it until Brendan got eliminated then had to go back home!

Technically he tied for 10th. With 8 or 9 kids. It was a learning experience for sure!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Van

Our van was almost 10 years old, had about 122K miles, and we planned to drive it as log as possible. Then, 5 days before Christmas the check engine light came on. Rich took it to the mechanic, and the sensor read that there was some wiring that needed to be replaced. We gave them the green light, and also had them change the timing belt since that was overdue. It felt like a gut punch spending an unexpected $1300 just a few days before Christmas, but it needed to be done. When Rich picked it up, the mechanic said the wiring had been eaten. By a rat (he left behind the poop as evidence). GROSS!!! Since Indy died, we had been letting Samantha sleep in the garage with the door open so she could go in and out. We had done this plenty of times with both dogs, and Indy was a pretty good guard dog and didn't let any critters in. Samantha however is pretty lazy and just lays there on her bed :>) Rich had seen rat poop and chewed up boxes in our garage a couple days prior to this, and set out a bunch of traps and poison, but so far no luck. Once we got this news about the van, he doubled down with a renewed vengeance. The next day I got a call from him while I was at work saying he had shot the rat with his BB gun. Twice. Problem solved, so we thought! But then I started driving home from work and the check engine light came on AGAIN!!! We called the mechanic, they were closing for a week over Christmas and suggested we change the oil (which was a super lame suggestion). We did so, with no success. Once they opened again, Rich took the van back and the sensor read the same code. We were really worried that the rat snuck back in there and ate the wiring again before it had a date with Rich's gun, but it turned out to be a faulty part. They fixed it, but pointed out that there was an occasional jump in the transmission (which we had both already noticed), a knock in the engine, the power steering pump was almost shot, and there was a crack in one of the tires that needed to be replaced ASAP. We felt like the van was quickly turning into an unreliable money pit, and made the choice to trade it in before the engine blew up and it was worth nothing. I dropped the kids off at their cousins' then went to see Frank at the Honda dealership. It was our 15th anniversary, but Rich had to work anyways so what can you do. We have never bought a new car before, but we came away with a 2016 Odyssey. It was cold and rainy (and has been pretty much since then so the car is all dirty and I haven't taken any pictures) but it looks pretty much like this:
It's nice that we have an 8th seat now, and all the little idiosyncrasies of the old van (like the gas cap not opening, and the tire sensor being on constantly) are no more. I would love this car a lot more if we had bought it a couple years from now, but we like it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Great Wolf Lodge

So many people have been talking about the Great Wolf Lodge, so we decided to take the kids. It was a lot of fun! I was nervous how it would go since 3 of the kids had just gotten over the flu, and Whitney was at Urgent Care the day before with an ear infection and a 103 degree temp, but everyone seemed pretty healthy by the time we arrived. We got there Monday afternoon, and went straight to the waterpark. We went on a bunch of slides, and the kids really enjoyed crossing the lilypads. 

Except Sabrina. She was cold after awhile, so we hung out in the hotel room while everyone else played!
 After some yummy pizza we went to story time. The boys (Brendan especially) were less than enthusiastic about this part, but the girls really enjoyed it.
 They got to meet Violet as well!
 Afterwards we got donuts which always makes everyone happy :>)
 The next morning we got there right when the park opened, and Brendan and Rich went straight to the FlowRider to try surfing. It was harder than Rich thought lol. Brendan wanted to boogie board instead of stand (he twisted his ankle a few days prior and was hopping around on one foot the whole time), and when he went back in line later (they did stand up at the beginning and boogie boarding later) the line was crazy long and slow and he gave up on waiting!
 We went on a ton of slides though, and the kids really liked the lazy river.

 It was a fun little trip with our family!