Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Joshua!

Joshua is now 6 years old. He had a pretty full day today. He went to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon with Goal camp. Then we went out for pizza and presents. He was quite funny. I love how he is always excited about everything. He worked really hard to read all of his birthday cards with minimal assistance.
I think Megan only came along for the pizza. She's been a regular chow-hound lately. It must be all the extra calories she's burning re-arranging her dress-up clothes in her new room.
Joshua was pretty excited to get a new game for the Wii. Grandma and Grandpa bought Joshua Super Mario Party 8 - a game that we can all play together. Keith and Grandma went out for hours the other night trying to track down Mario Kart for the Wii. They were unsucessful in their journey.
Joshua also got a basketball for the hoop in front of our house. And a book - Where the Wild Things Are.
Daniel looked on from over in the corner munching away on his pizza. He was slightly disappointed that it wasn't his birthday.

It bears repeating...

Unpacking is going to take forever. It might be because the people who packed us (as grateful as I am for their help), pack in such an unusual way that nothing in any given box seems to be related. I'm finding holiday decorations from our garage mixed in with toys from the kids' rooms mixed in with clothes from the master bedroom with a few towels from the linen closet thrown in for good measure. These two have been helping me unpack. I came across them on their phones with their Santa hats on. I hope they are putting in a call to the big guy requesting money for college (or gas) instead of toys. It's becoming all too clear that there is no deficit on toys in our house.

I'm pretty certain they are mimicking me, since I've been glued to the phone between minor problems with the house and scheduling Keith's follow up with a more local network provider. Our home had an energy surge from lightening according to the power company, the electricians did not 100% agree with what the power company was telling us, so after a day of the two of them deciding how to fix the problem, a few days without electricity, and a small trench dug on the side of our house to rewire (and bring us up to code) - we now have electricity, and more importantly, air conditioning.

Here is a front shot of our house. Once the inside is presentable, we'll take more pictures.
Keith grinning on his motorcycle in front of the house. Don't worry, he wears his helmet and a protective jacket when he is really riding it.
Megan telling me a secret. (It was that Daddy was cleaning the pool.). We have "pool school" tomorrow - the pool guy is coming out to teach us how to keep our pool functioning most efficiently and safely.

Tonight we are off to have pizza to celebrate Joshua's 6th birthday.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Unpacking is going to take forever

I'm convinced that it's going to take forever to unpack our house. The moving truck came and dropped off all of our stuff on Friday afternoon. We've only unpacked one or two boxes so far. We've all been busy working on small projects. In our cleaning frenzy, we keep noticing little things that make us smile. This is our doorbell. The original owners of our house were a Coast Guard family (as were the last owners), and installed this cute little fisherman doorbell. There was also a sweet little gnome hiding in some flowers in Megan's room, and she has now claimed him for her own.
Megan and Daniel spent most of Friday watching movies and creating artwork on boxes. The movers accidentally tore a box and out popped the toy electric guitar. Daniel was thrilled to finally be back jamming. This resulted in Megan constantly asking the movers, "do you have anything for me?" every time a box was brought into the house. Finally her play kitchen and pretend food was unwrapped and Megan was thrilled. Hopefully, their new (old) toys will keep them busy long enough to allow the rest of us to finish unpacking the house.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Moving is a lot of work!

Today was another day full of cleaning, organizing and planning for where our stuff will go in the new house. Joshua stayed busy at GOAL camp and Megan and Daniel enjoyed their last day of hanging out in an empty house. Megan and Daniel enjoying lunch sitting on a cardboard box in the dining room. Then we went for a swim. Daniel is so cute in his life jacket. Joshua is getting to be quite brave in the pool. He can stand up in the shallow end, and he uses pool noodles to get around the pool with.
It was a busy day around the house. Keith rested this morning while I got some cleaning done with the little ones. We had a new washer and dryer delivered this morning. We also had some cabinetry and a counter top delivered today. The kids enjoyed playing with the large boxes, which I've set aside to use tomorrow to cover the floor when the movers bring our belongings in.
We still have a little bit of cleaning to take care of before we begin unpacking the house. Then the real fun begins! I think the kids are going to be thrilled to see their stuff again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We're home owners, again!

We closed on our house in Florida this morning. It's been a whirlwind of a week, and it looks like things aren't slowing down anytime soon. I promise to post some pictures of the house soon.

Tonight we began getting the house ready for our house hold good shipment. Our house hold goods arrive on Friday afternoon. To pass the time, we've decided to paint and install organizing systems in each of the closets. We also have a new washer and dryer being delivered in the morning along with some cabinets for the family room.

We've been incredibly busy, but it's been fun.

Pictures to come soon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home from the hosptial

Keith is home from the hospital and doing quite well.

Friday the doctor told us that Keith would be spending the weekend in the hospital. Keith and I decided that it would be best for me to head home and spend some time with the kids over the weekend, since up until this point, the nursing staff had been fantastic. Friday night I drove home and arrived home just in time for bedtime hugs and kisses.

Saturday morning I called Keith to check on him (close to around lunchtime). Keith was mad because his nurse floated to his floor from another unit and had a really bad attitude, and the doctor (who usually rounds before 7am) had not seen him yet. I called up to the floor to talk to the nurse and we just seemed to not communicate well. Keith felt like he wasn't getting good care from his nurse and asked me to drive back over later in the day.

Saturday after lunch, the kids were just pick, pick, picking on each other relentlessly. I know it is their way of getting my attention, since my head is in the clouds thinking about Keith and the house closing and wrapping up stuff for the new school year, and the other millions of things I feel like I need to be doing right now. I just couldn't take anymore of the bickering, so I made everyone take a nap. Since they are all three still in the same room and I knew that there would be partying going on, I took my pillow and blanket and settled in for a nap on their floor after giving them all the stink-eye and daring them to make any noise. It was so nice to nap. I slept for nearly 2 1/2 hours. After naps, we had a small dinner and went to Family Bible Adventure Night at the church. Megan was in a bit of a foul mood at the beginning, but she warmed up quickly. After I dropped the kids back off at the house, packed a bag and left for my 2 hour drive sometime around 9pm.

I arrived to find Keith bright eyed. He had since gotten a new very attention-seeking roommate. This guy lived on the nurse call bell, and was just a rude person in general. So, since it was 11pm and I was totally breaking the visiting hours rules, Keith and I walked down to the family waiting room and watched Saturday Night Live on the tv, until I got too tired to keep my eyes open, then I left to go back to the apartment to sleep.

Sunday, we had a different nurse (yippee!) and she was on top of things. I've never been on this side of the bed before, and let me tell you, when someone confident with a plan walks in the room, it really starts the day off right. She walked in and listed the things that needed to happen today (labs coming back, IV fluids changed, diet progress, etc). I liked her immediately. By around noon, I went to the desk to find out if it was the norm for patients to not be seen on the weekend. Turns out the rounding doc came to the floor sometime Saturday, but because Keith was walking the halls (which he was ordered to do in order to have his Lovenox blood thinning shot in his belly discontinued), the doc wrote a one-line note that patient was not seen because patient was not in room. The nurse paged the doc to at least get some of the orders changed, and I spoke with him to let him know that I expect him to come in and talk with us about what is going on. The bottom line was that I realize that time is tight for all of us, and if he could give me an idea of when he'll be at the floor, or at least page us to come back to the room, that would be great. I might have been a little too stern, but certainly not disrespectful. He came to the floor less than an hour later and spent about 20 minutes studying the chart and a decent amount of time in the room assessing Keith and talking to us. The nurses wanted to know how I managed to get him to the floor and if I'd like a job with them.

The rest of Sunday was rather uneventful. The manipulative roommate was unbearable, so Keith and I took up residence in the Family Resource Room, which was a quiet little room used for private family meetings with the social work team during the week. We read the Sunday paper and clipped coupons, napped and chatted in between the pain meds, antibiotics and vital signs.

Monday morning, our fantastic surgeon from last week was back from his weekend off. He had the discharge orders written before 7am. Jeff, our super-nurse of the day, had us out of the hospital by 9:30am. Then it was time to head over to the base.

At the Coast Guard base, we went into medical to follow-up with the Captain there. She said she just knew that Keith was sicker than he looked. She was great to talk with, and we follow up with her in 2 weeks. She wants Keith home on convalescent leave for 2 weeks. She is also going to wrestle the insurance company to allow Keith to follow up one more time with the surgeon that we liked (appointment in 2 weeks as well), and then help us to figure out how to make the surgery happen closer to Orlando. The end result is that Keith will have to have the sick part of the colon removed in about 4-6 weeks. For now, he continues on two antibiotics and lots of rest.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Updates on Keith

Keith continues to be in the hospital over in Safety Harbor (Clearwater area). I drove over on Wednesday afternoon to find him in pretty good spirits. That morning, he had been taken back to the CT scanner for a guided placement of a drain through his abdomen into his colon. Most of the day yesterday I still wasn't sure what exactly was going on with him.

This morning, I was at the hospital by 6am since his doctor rounded at 6:30am yesterday. Keith was wide awake and watching Star Trek. He said he had a pretty good night. His nurses have all been wonderful. Around 9:30am a nurse practitioner from radiology came in to see us. She was there when the drain was placed yesterday. She finally explained things to me as best as she could. My limited understanding is that there is a bowel infection that if left untreated could have sent Keith into septic shock. The infection is a result of an abcess of some sort.

A few minutes later, the surgeon came in to see Keith. The surgeon is a really energetic, yet surprisingly genuine guy. He explained that the best case scenerio is that the antibiotics work right away and Keith gets to feeling better quickly. The worst case scenerio is that the antibiotics and drain do not work, resulting in Keith having the infected part of his colon removed. I asked him out of those two situations, which one are we realistically looking at. It looks like for now we are somewhere in the middle, waiting on the sensitivities of the cultures to come back - that confirms if the right antibiotic is being used (he's on a pretty broad spectrum IV antibiotic now) or if the bug causing all this trouble is more sensitive to another antibiotic. Those results should come out on Saturday.

Keith had a good day today. He was up out of bed a few times. However, he did run a couple of fevers. As soon as his temperature goes up, he starts to get a little confused. Funny how the morhine puts him right to sleep, but the fevers make him confused.

He goes for another CT scan sometime tomorrow. I'm currently in Clearwater with him. However, I'll head back to Altamonte Springs tomorrow evening if it seems like he is doing okay. We are hoping that after the CT is done we'll know a bit more about what the plan of action is.

I asked the surgeon (since he seems to be the main guy in charge), what the probability is of Keith being up on his feet and back in Orlando by Wednesday since Keith has to sign for our house closing on that day. The surgeon told me not to count on it. It looks as though Keith will be signing for the house from his hospital bed over in Clearwater.

The command has been amazing. The kindness and generosity we've been shown has been amazing. We've had a visit from the Chaplain and also from the Captain and a half a dozen people in between. I've got a pocket full of business cards with many hand written cell phone numbers requesting updates and offering everything from helping to find child care to advanemnents in pay if needed. I have to admit right now we could just use some extra sleep and some extra prayers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We must be having fun...

We must be having fun because time is flying by. I've got a bunch of great pictures on my camera from all sorts of silliness during our errand running the past few days. I only have time right now to do a few pictures. Megan and Daniel went with Keith and I to Cycle World in Daytona Beach. Keith needed to order a part for his motorcycle, so the kids and I spent some time looking around. The sales floor had a small area with bikes bolted to the ground for kids to sit on. Of course, our crew are all too small for anything like this, but it's fun to see them pretending.

The hot afternoons force us to take refuge inside for some quiet time. Lately, quiet time for the kids means crazy phone call/email returning time for me. We close on our new house in 7 days, which means reading and re-reading many legal forms. School starts here on August 11. I was shocked when I found out! It seems like that's still the middle of summer-time to me. I was in frenzy trying to finish getting the kids stuff together for the new school year. Joshua and Megan are going to visit the school again in the morning. There is still some question about which grade Joshua will be in this year. It looks as though many of the 1st graders are seasoned 6 year olds, some going on 7 soon. While Joshua will be just turning 6 a couple of weeks before school starts. Scholastically, he's one of the smartest people I know. He picks up concepts so quickly, and his reading is amazing. I worry that if he repeats K he'll be bored. But I also worry that I don't want him to be the smallest boy in his class.

Keith is in the ER at the hospital in Clearwater. Today was his first day checking in to his new duty station and he had been feeling poorly for a few days. He managed to bump up his appointment with the medical people on base, who then wrote a prescription for him to go to the ER for a CT scan. Poor guy, he's been running fevers and complaining of serious abdominal pain.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Some cool stops along the way

Here are a few cool stops along the way from Kodiak, Alaska to Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Keith thought this was a cool picture of another green 4Runner driving through the mountains.
The most westernly community in Canada.

Keith tells me that Whitehorse was pretty cool. He brought home a t-shirt from the Harley dealership there. (I think it was the only clean article of clothing in the truck once he actually made it home!)
Keith tells me that Canada was absolutely beautiful. He was able to stop in and see some friends that live in Calgary; although he cut his visit short because he was anxious to get back on the road.

Keith's Farewell Kodiak Pictures

Keith has been back home with us for a few weeks now, so these pictures are a little old. Keith left Kodiak on the June 16th ferry. Here's our trusty 4Runner loaded down ready for the big trip, parked in front of the beautiful Baranov Museum.
A shot out the front window during the boarding of the ferry. Notice the trusty pig. That pig was attached to a flower arrangement that was delivered to us when Megan was born. Somehow it took up residency in Keith's truck and there it has stayed.
One of the last foggy views of a really special place.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Disney Marketplace

We were planning to take Joshua to the big Lego store in Disney Marketplace for his birthday to purchase some new Legos for his new room. However, we are closing on our house the week before his birthday and with scheduling deliveries of our belongings that are in storage, a new washer and dryer and some other much needed furniture, a day trip out shopping just might not be do-able. So this weekend, while Keith is still in town with us, we loaded up the mini-van and went out to Disney Marketplace. Disney Marketplace has all the shopping and glamour of a Disney park - but no admission price.
We gave ourselves just a few hours to look around and have lunch. We didn't even both to get out the stroller, since it's hard check out little shops with it.
Megan was thrilled to see some princesses. These character statues are through-out the marketplace.
After checking out a few princess, it was time to head to the Lego store.
The statues are all made out of Legos. There was a Lego racecar building competition going on in the front of the store, as well as bins to play with other Legos.
All of the kids enjoyed playing with the little Legos.

Daniel even got in on the Lego action. Notice his upside-down sunglasses, that's how he likes to wear them.

Inside the Lego store, Daniel was doing some serious looking at the Indiana Jones sets. We ended up purchasing a space set for Joshua, a small mixed bucket of Legos for Megan and a small box that had a quad bike and little Lego guy in it for Daniel. Daniel's set is from the Coast Guard line of Legos.
For lunch, we made reservations at the Rain Forest Cafe.
We ate in among the elephants. Keith and I shared an amazing salad.
Every 25 minutes in the Rainforest Cafe, the sky darkens and huge crashes of thunder and lightening strikes begin. Daniel was not so thrilled with the faux thunderstorms.
After lunch, we walked around a bit. The kids were excited about the merry-go-round.

Daniel and I were singing to the music going around and around. He wasn't really interested in sitting on a horse, so we rode together on a bench.
Daniel was pretty excited to see Buzz Lightyear.
In one of the shops, there was a make-your-own-lightsaber stand. Joshua thoroughly investigated it.
On the way home we had a few sleepyheads.
The next day, Joshua went to Goal camp and told everyone he had been to Disney World. I laughed to myself knowing that this is about as close to Disney World as these guys will get in a long, long time. Going as just adults a couple of weeks ago, Keith and I realized how easy it is to be too excited about the whole Disney thing and rush into it with the kids. We know for us, our kids aren't ready for anything like that. We can only handle outings for a few hours at a time. I think the kids were on excitement overload by the time our little few hour tour of Disney Marketplace was over, I shudder to think of the meltdowns that would occur at an all-day Disney theme park.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

The quality of some of these pictures might not be top-notch. It's hard to hold sparklers and take pictures at the same time!
As you can see the littler two weren't too sure if they liked the sparklers.
Daniel tried to blow his out. He grabbed it by the hot end and got a small blister on one of his fingers, but that was the end of sparklers for Daniel. He decided to stay away from them for the rest of the night.
Joshua enjoyed dancing around with the sparklers.
Earlier today we had a fantastic lunch. Grandpa and Keith grilled out, and Grandma made a fantastic potato salad. The kids all really enjoyed the watermellon.

This afternoon, we went out shopping for a bit and then stopped for ice cream. Daniel wanted to make sure he got every last bit of his ice cream.

And it sure was good.
Even though I am enjoying these young years when holidays like the 4th of July translates into ice cream and sparklers for the kids, I am really looking forward the age when they can understand and embrace American history. Keith and I both enjoyed listening to the kids in the mini-van tonight singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and humming along to The National Anthem from our little patriotic CD.