Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy August! Summer seems to be quickly ending and I can't believe that school will start next week! Here are some highlights from the past couple of weeks.

On July 25th we went to the "Tank Park", as we call it, to see the tanks and other modes of Army combat transportation and weaponry. The kids seemed to enjoy it, especially since they all got a little treat.

Cal stuck his hand in a hole in one of the tanks and started crying. He said something bit or pinched his thumb. Sure enough, his thumb was bit, and it started swelling. It seemed that a non-poisonous insect or arachnid did the biting because Cal's skin didn't start to get infected or rot away. Whew!

The next big event was Clark's 6th birthday! But before the party could begin, preparations needed to be done. Last Sunday night I started getting things ready to decorate his cake and realized I didn't have any marshmallows for homemade fondant. AHH! The morning of Cal's birthday in June, he was welcomed by decorations and a Henry cake on the table. I knew Clark would expect no less, and would be sorely disappointed if less was given. Thanks to Facebook and some great neighbors and friends, I procured some marshmallows at 10pm that evening.

Clark was not disappointed the next morning...

Clark wanted a treasure chest cake, and here is our rendition of one. We still have a ways to go in the art of fondant and cake decorating, but it turned out okay. And besides, Clark liked it and that was really all that mattered.

A little photo shoot later that morning while Lee took Cal to be tested for a free pre-school here on base.

That afternoon we invited people to meet us at the sprinkler park so Clark could play with his friends on his birthday. We brought some treats. Since it wasn't a birthday party, we were surprised when Clark received some gifts from his friends! He was very excited! We had a great time there.

This picture is so funny.

Yes, Cal is pretending to be a lion. And like all good lions on a warm day, he was lounging in the shade.

Clark, Cal, Lee and friends playing a game Clark got from his friend Patrick.

I think originally when I asked Clark what kind of birthday cake he wanted I think he mentioned either a pirate ship or a pirate. Somehow I convinced him on a treasure chest, for my own sanity. My neighbor gave us a great set of pirate toys and Clark found them one day awhile back. So for a few months he's known that he was getting some pirate toys for his birthday. They are in superb condition and the boys have had a lot of fun with them. Cal also got some of the pirate toys for his birthday. There are a couple more small things from the pirate set that we haven't given them, so we might wait until Christmas and put them in their stockings. Yes, we are cheapskates (in certain things anyway).

YUM! The cake was SOOO good. We now officially use the cake recipe Gianetta gave to me for all of our birthday cakes. Thanks Gianetta!

Between Clark's birthday and Elden having a developmental appointment in Columbia, Lee took off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. It worked out great and we didn't have to figure out getting babysitters while I went to Columbia with Elden. His appointment went well. A major concern about preemies, and Elden specifically, is cerebral palsy. Since he had brain bleeds, once they heal up a type of scar or scab can form and that in turn can cause muscle tightening or cerebral palsy. (I think the tightening and the palsy are two separate things, but both have to deal with abnormal muscle movement or stiffness or something...) ANYWAY, he looks great and doesn't appear to have any signs of cerebral palsy. The only concern is that his head is asymmetrical. I have a follow-up appointment to have it checked out again in a few months. Really, I don't know if I am going to go back for it. Shanna's head was the exact same way--noticeably asymmetrical. We took her to a specialist at Duke University and he said she was totally fine and that it was a cosmetic thing, and it would not in any way affect her brain or learning abilities. He said that there would be a concern if Shanna's face was contorted in some way too; but it wasn't, and neither is Elden's. So the thought of driving 4 hours just to have that checked out it is unappealing. We'll see what happens.

This is where I lived for 5 weeks, and where Elden was for 2 months.

This is Dr. Floyd who was my doctor while I was on bedrest.

I may have posted one similar to this already, but here is Jing again, one of my favorite nurses.

For the past several weeks I have been working out 5 days a week. I really wanted to start wearing my regular clothes (which I am) and to not look pregnant anymore (which hopefully I don't.) A few weeks ago I was telling someone how anxious I was to "get back" to my normal size. She pointed out that Elden was only 4 months old and that basically I didn't need to rush. When she said that it hit me that Elden was still really young, and what was I getting so worked up about--it took me longer with Clark to get back to "normal" size (though I actually never lost all the baby weight after Clark--I finally lost all of it after I had the twins.) This past week I realized why I was pushing myself so hard to get back to my "normal" size, and why I felt like loosing the weight was taking such an incredibly long time--even though Elden is only 4 months old. Ever since he was born I was around people. As soon as I was discharged from the hospital we went straight to the Ronald McDonald house and people saw me there. The next day after that people saw me at church and asked when I was due. I went to an Enrichment activity also and me being pregnant came up again. For two months the nurses, doctors and dining staff at the hospital saw me. And the whole time I was wearing maternity clothes, the same few outfits all the time. Usually when I have a baby I go home, and basically stay there for several weeks. Yes I venture out early and go to church. And Lee and I would take the kids on some outings here and there to get out of the house. But overall, I was at home--not seeing oodles of people everyday. So I think that is why I was so anxious to loose the weight and felt like it was taking forever to get back into my regular clothes. I still have a little bit more to go, but overall I am satisfied with the progress made thus far. So Don Y., impressed with my self psycho-analysis?

My sister and her family were on their way home from Iowa Saturday so we met up at the St. Louis Temple and swapped babysitting. Despite the rain, the temperature was wonderful and the kids had a great time playing with their cousins.

After we parted ways (which is always SAD!) we went to Target so Clark could spend his birthday money. He was so cute. He was almost overwhelmed that he could spend a little over $15 on whatever he wanted--thanks to grandparents! He chose a car carrier semi, a bag of Skittles and a lollipop with some liquid sugar something or other. While we were looking at toys he thought about getting some Hot Wheels monster truck race track. I saw the monster truck that came with it and it had skulls or some scary looking art on it. I told this to Clark and he basically replied with the following: "Of course it's scary mom. It's a MONSTER truck. It's supposed to have Monsters on it." Too funny! He is so literal. I had never, ever thought of a monster truck in that light.

After that we went to the mall in my hopes of finding a great deal on some jeans for Clark. (Wishful thinking!) I went to JcPenny's and there were some decent sales going on, plus I had a coupon for 15% off my total purchase. One was for swim trunks for $7.19. Even though I was shopping for Clark, I knew Lee needed some swim shorts, and this was a good deal. Even better yet, I saw that the drawstring was frayed! After finding some wind-type pants for Clark for $6.99, (not the greatest deal, but I was getting kind of desperate) I asked an employee if I could talk to the manager. I showed the maganger the fray and asked if I could have a couple of dollars off. She had no qwalms and said I could get an extra 20% off. (SWEET!) She asked that same employee to ring up my purchases. He got all the proper discounts for the swim shorts, but couldn't get it to work for the wind pants. After a couple of tries, and with $5.24 showing up on the register, he just said I could have both items for $5.24. I asked him if that was really okay and that I didn't want to gyp the store and that I could pay for it. I really wanted the discounts, but this way I was getting one item for free, and then some! He said it was fine and that he can do discounts and he felt bad that I had to keep waiting. WOW! What a blessing! It was great. I was so happy about it!

This morning when I went down to fix the girls' hair for church I saw them wearing their winter coats. So funny.

And on a side note, sometime last week we watched Madame Curie. It was a great movie about, take a guess, Madame Curie and her amazing contribution to science and a wonderful discovery. You could google it and find out the main idea of the movie, but Lee and I watched it not knowing anything about the movie, so I am not going to spoil anything if you choose to do the same. I definitely recommend it! Also last night I finished listening to Agatha Christie's book Hallowe'en Party. The ending somewhat surprised me. And that is how it should be, right? But sorry, no surprises to this post ending!


Lois said...

Sounds like you had a good week! I didn't realize that you met Lena and Mike at the Temple. How fun!

Heidi Sue the Mommy crafter said...

Wow! Clark's birthday looked fun. And Ruth you look great! Loved the pictures and all the fun stories!

Mike said...

Great times!

Photo Crazy! said...

Happy B-Day Clark! I am so glad Elden is doing so well. You family is darling. You really did great at JC Penny. I always find stuff I need their. Thanks for the up-date.

Ashley said...

Both Bryan and I can't believe how old the kids (especially Clark) are getting. Wow!

Liz said...

Cute cake! Busy week. I think it's great that you manage to have so much fun with a big family. Amazing! :-)