Sunday, November 6, 2011


It was my goal to write something after we moved in August....and then September....and then I promised a fellow blogger that I would write something in October....and now FINALLY here we are in November and I am going to take advantage of the day-light-savings-extra-hour-of sleep and work on the blog tonight.

Since I last wrote, we took a mini-vacation to Chincoteague Island shortly before we left Pennsylvania and we really enjoyed some down time before the craziness of moving half-way across the country. If you've never been there, it is really cool and right next to Assateague Island, VA (where the infamous wild ponies are). We got to see the ponies, dolphins, swim in the ocean and we left with some new Hermit Crab friends. Camden's 7th birthday was celebrated on our way there and he enjoyed the special birthday vacation.

Camden, Adalynn, and Broderick really enjoyed the ocean. They weren't as fond of the sand sticking to everything or even the salt water. But they loved it nonetheless!

 The infamous wild ponies that inhabit the island.

 We tried to take this photo ourselves by propping the camera on a table, but a good Samaritan saw us struggling and offered to take a few pics of us all together.

 It didn't turn out exactly as we planned....but I still love this photo of the kids jumping on the beach!

 Camden inspecting his Hermit Crab.

 Broderick was very excited about his!

 And here is Adalynn after she realized that her Hermit Crab was more than just an Elmo shell....she did NOT like it when it started crawling.

Our previous bout of bad luck continued when we were on our way to Wisconsin initially. We stopped in Indiana to visit family and see friends before they went to Abu Dhabi and Afghanistan and John fell about 15 feet from a rope type swing onto the bank of a lake....it kind of put a damper on our moving plans. Although he wasn't seriously injured, he was very sore and in a lot of pain. And then once he felt a bit better and we left Indiana for Wisconsin we found out about 2 hours from our final destination that the house we had signed a lease for, here in Wisconsin, had been sold and we needed to find somewhere else to live. What a crazy beginning to our new start back in the mid-west.
And here are the kids in Bloomington, IN with our best friends, Heather and Jesse, before they left for Abu Dhabi and Afghanistan.

I do have to say the bad luck has pretty much ended there. We did have some furniture replacement/insurance/Pottery Barn issues but finally have that all settled and we are really settling into our new home (at least our temporary home). We have replaced a lot of the furniture that was lost in the flood and we finally have a couch, loveseat, and chair as well as a dining room set (which I think was what we missed the most).

The boys have started their new school (an inquiry-based charter school) and they are loving it. Adalynn enjoys going to school every day with mommy and is enjoying 4K. I am adjusting to my job and John is really enjoying his. The boys just finished playing football and Adalynn has been having a great time at gymnastics. Broderick, John, and I all celebrated birthdays during the month of October. We've enjoyed trips to both Madison and Milwaukee and are discovering all that Wisconsin has to offer.
At the U.S.'s largest vendor-only farmer's market in Madison. Honey Crisp apples are AMAZING and cheese curds are pretty cool!

I can't believe we have a fourth grader, a second grader, as well as a pre-kindergartner! And yes, Camden got a major hair cut!!

Adalynn loves gymnastics and the boys had a great time being on the same team this year. They also enjoyed rotating and playing multiple positions throughout the year.

 Happy 10th birthday to my >100 lbs., >5' little man! I can't believe that you really are becoming a little man!

We had a blast spending the weekend in Milwaukee and seeing the Admiral's play! The boys love watching hockey games and it was extra special that they got to be on the big screen several times throughout the game!

It is so nice to be within 5 1/2 hours of family. Adalynn and I flew from Milwaukee to Indy in a brief 45 minute flight for my sister's baby shower and we  all just made a trip back (driving) to see to the baby. We are planning on a trip back for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. It has been forever since we have been able to do either. I am definitely looking forward to it.
 Here's Adalynn and my niece with my sister during her shower.

Seeing the baby was fantastic!! Waylen is adorable and the kids are excited to have a new cousin.

 We had tons of fun while in Indiana to see the baby. We were able to see other family, watch my nephew march in semi-state band competition, as well as go to the orchard that John and I went to growing up. Broderick and Camden loved carrying the hay bales around and building this structure.

Other interesting/exciting news since we've been in Wisconsin is Adalynn finally had another team visit with the craniofacial team at UW-Madison Children's Hospital. She was seen by the speech and language pathologists, audiology, ENT, dentists, geneticist, as well as the plastic surgeon. We saw a total of 7 specialists in 4 1/2 hours!! We are expecting her next surgery to be this coming spring or early summer. It is hard to believe it is that time again. They will do some work on her nose and her lip and possibly close one of the fistulas (holes) in her palate. She is also continuing speech therapy here through the University and we are currently battling with the school district to get her additional therapy through them. She does have some nasal emissions and is struggling with some specific sounds. It is sad to see her teachers as well as her peers not be able to understand her. Hopefully with some strong prodding we will get the school district on board. Her initial evaluation through them says she does not qualify. I am hoping the information from her clinic visit as well as my background in special education will help as we begin the first of many battles regarding her needs. Wish us luck!

That leads us to the end of October with Homecoming parades and Halloween: I think we created the best Halloween costumes ever this year! We used cardboard boxes, plastic food storage containers, hot glue, and spray paint and made LEGOS!!! We've never gotten so many comments on their costumes as we did this year and they were so easy and cheap to make. The kids really liked them as well!!!!

We also have enjoyed the yard that this rental house has and I think it might be our favorite part! It is so great to have somewhere for the kids to run and play as well as a driveway long enough that they can ride their bikes in. I think this is the first house we have ever lived in where more than 2 cars could fit into the driveway. We (well I should say John) spent several hours today raking leaves in this massive yard and for the first time ever my kiddos got to jump in leaves. What a great afternoon!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crazy crazy

Why does it seem like life gets crazier and crazier every minute?? Maybe it's because through chaos we can truly see beauty? The craziness is actually full of blessings....crazy, crazy.

Back in April things seemed to be finally settling down after such a tough fall. We even planned a trip to Washington DC over Easter weekend and surprised the kids with visits from their godparents. We had a great time!

We even went to a sunrise Easter service at the Lincoln Memorial.

It was pretty amazing!

But you can imagine our shock and disgust to return home after 4 days to discover that our water line on our refrigerator had malfunctioned and flooded the main level as well as the basement of our rented town-home. Approximately 13,000 gallons of water....needless to say we had a huge mess!! Collapsed ceilings, ruined furniture and of course after sitting for days waiting for an adjuster to come----black mold.

We ended up living in a hotel for 8 1/2 weeks while they cleaned up and remodeled our home. Yes, three kids and a dog in a hotel for a very long time. It could have been a nightmare.

We adjusted quickly, learned to live in very close quarters and discovered we still had what was important....each other. We were lucky enough to stay at a Homewood Suites so we had two bedrooms, a small living area, as well as a kitchen area. It wasn't as bad as it seemed. Actually a blessing in disguise. Crazy, right? It slowed us down....well it tried to. Did I mention the three kids and a dog?

While we were there the boys finished their baseball seasons and Adalynn had her first ever dance recital.

Adalynn graduated from 3 year old preschool and the boys moved to Wolf and Webelos ranking in Scouts.

I was also able to go on field trips with Camden's class to the zoo and Crayola factory and we took a trip to Baltimore as a family to see the Orioles play at Camden Yards (how Camden got his name). And of course we had to try crab cakes while we were there.

And we can't forget that during all of this crazy time I graduated with my masters and we finalIzed our decision to move to Wisconsin! John has accepted a position there.
Here is Adalynn at my graduation. Sorry, no pics of me they are on the camera (these are all from my phone).

Speaking of Adalynn, we can't forget that during our extended hotel stay she had a birthday. I can't believe my baby is 4!!! (Will I ever stop calling her baby?) So we had a hotel pool party! She (and the friends that came) didn't seem to mind

Then school finally ended (not until the 21st of June) and we took a trip to Gettysburg with friends. We camped for a few days while they were finishing up our house. No photos of Gettysburg are on my phone since we had a ban on electronic devices. ;-) there are some on the camera though (so I may be able to post some later).

After our trip to Gettysburg, we briefly (3 days) returned to our very empty home. We lost most of our living room furniture, our dining room furniture and almost everything in the basement (except some toys that were spared damage).

We did gain hardwood floors which are nice, but sad since we will only be here for a short time.

We most recently returned from a trip to WI to find somewhere to live, then on to IN to visit family and John's sister's wedding. We had a blast boating with my mom, brother, and sister and the kids were beyond adorable at the wedding. Throw a trip to Build-a-Bear in there and we had a pretty nice time.

Now we are home again. Or at least our home for the next few weeks. We are packing but still trying to enjoy what little summer we will have.

Life can be crazy sometimes-well all the time, but by turning those crazy things into blessings we are able to see the bigger picture. Thank you God for helping us see that.

And thanks to all of you for being a part of our crazy lives.