Friday, July 29, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Still

Still... that is something I long to be. This summer I haven't been still very much. We did school up until our 3 week vacation with 2500 miles driven and trips to SC and the Adirondacks between doctor/ dentist appointments. Coming home Glenn started working at the schospital and the kids started swimming lessons taking up all morning at Thorndon Park for two weeks and with busy outings most afternoon. This week has been nice, a break from the craziness, especially since Glenn has taken the van most days so we had no choice but to stay home. We leave again next Thursday for our train trek west. I will have a chance to be still for part of that, maybe.

"Be still and know that I am God..." That is one thing that has really been lacking for me this summer. In all of our busy-ness and lack of routine I have neglected my time being still.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chinese Folk Tales

This two week part of Glenn's Internal Medicine rotation he is in outpatient (which has SO much better hours than inpatient that he worked 76 hours in last week!). The office that he is working in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is 6 miles or so from home so he has been taking the van which has been fine because we really don't go anywhere.

Today after he left I looked at the calendar and saw "Chinese Folk Tales DCL." This summer New York's library summer reading program theme is "One World, Many Stories" and there was going to be a storyteller or something at Dewitt Library that I was going to take the kids to. If it was at Petit we could have walked but since it was Dewitt we would have had to drive but we had no car so we couldn't go and I was kind of sad but then I realized something....

Last night we went to a Christian Medical Fellowship picnic at the home of the new president of CMF (Karl). It was a lot of fun. There were several people from overseas there, some from Africa and some from China. The three from China work in the lab that Karl has been working in this summer. We ate lots of yummy food and played some ping pong and a table game that you flick disks onto a target thing. While we were there the girls attached themselves to Lynn, the lady from China. They went off into an empty bedroom and she told them some "fairy tales." I got to listen in on part of them. I realized this morning that my kids really didn't miss out on Chinese Folk Tales. They heard actual folk tales from a lady from China who has only been in the US for about a year. (At the library it may have just been a librarian reading from a storybook, I don't know.) She told a story about about a wolf and a rabbit and one about a clever girl. One of the men from China told them a story about a snake and a farmer.

As I was typing this and asking about the stories Abigail said, "They weren't really true because a real farmer would be smart enough not to put a snake in his shirt." My kids had an opportunity to interact with people from China and they had the opportunity to try to navigate "what is the word for that" circumstances like when they were trying to figure out the word for something and that has a head like a snake and 4 legs  and a shell. It was a turtle. They also got to play make believe together.

I was sad that the kids missed out on the library thing but I think that the opportunity that they had last night was so much better than the library one would have been and I am so thankful that they could have a chance to make friends with some people from China, not just hear a couple of stories out of a book.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Camping at Lewey Lake ABCs

We got home from SC just in time for my root canal appointment at the dentist, unpacked and re-packed to go camping in the Adirondacks at Lewey Lake Campground (after a quick but sweet visit with my cousin Kasie and her family). While there we got to spend time with the Nafzigers because Lewey Lake is base camp for STEP this year. It was fun to see them. Here is our ABC list for that trip.

A- Abigail, applesauce, apples, met Annette, Adirondacks
B- beach, bees, bacon, bike rides, book, boxes, bugs, baked beans, beer bottle left behind by previous campers for our bacon grease
C- Caleb, Chris, campfire, candy, Cabela tent, Camelbacks, comfort stations (restrooms), Coleman stove, coffee, coloring books and pages
D- donuts (at VBS), dad, dry camping, date
E- Eli, Elijah (Bible stories at VBS), Ellie, empty campground
F- fish, flags, fireflies, fried potatoes, free firewood
G- Glenn, gorp, giant frying pan
H- Hannah, hot dogs, hikes, hot chocolate
I- Indian Lake, Izrael, Internet, ice cream at Stewarts
J- Jaynie, Julie, Joy, Junior Naturalist patch, jugs of milk
K- Kelty lantern
L- Lydia, Lily, Lewey Lake Campground, lakes everywhere
M- met the Millers, marshmallows, Mt Dew, maps, Mosquitos
N- Nafzigers :), Nathan Cronk, newt
O- Oreo cakesters, owls hooting around our tent
P- poor boys, pudding, pretzels, pancakes, pumps
Q- quesadillas
R- roasting marshmellows and hotdogs
S- smores, swimming, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, sharing food
T- tarps, trees, trip, turkeys and their babies
U- underarmour
V- Vacation Bible School, vacation
W- Watch Hill, water spigot nearby, woodpeckers
X- x-cellent adventures

Best part:
Glenn - spending time with Sonja and the kids, flexibility, go hiking everyday
Caleb- the summit of Watch Hill and VBS
Lydia- hiking, seeing Chris and Jaynie and the kids and meeting Annette
Hannah- spending time with our family and hanging out
Sonja- sleeping all together in a tent
Abigail- VBS

Enjoying lunch atop Watch Hill

about 8# of potatoes cooking with some onions - yum!

we used the huge frying pan we got from Grandma and Grandpa Nelson's house

ABCs of our South Carolina trip

After Glenn's test we spent a few days at home, getting some things done then, right after my ENT appointment, we headed south to visit my brother Russ, his wife Camy and their little guy Malachi in South Carolina for a few days. We had a lot of fun. We have a family tradition on our way home from vacations that we go through the ABCs and remember things for each letter so on the way home from South Carolina we did the same. (We drove home through DC on our way to stop in and visit our friends the Hahns in Philadelphia so not all of these things are from SC.) Here is our list:

A- Aunt Camy, Abigail, alligator, ants, air conditioning, Angel Tree
B- beaches, Black Market, baked beans, books, birds, Battery, big ships, buses, breeze, bacon
C- Camy,  Charleston, Chick-fil-a, Costco, Caleb, church, cookies, cake (from Camy's work), camera, Capital Building, cool buildings, crabs, chorizo, carriages
D- ducks, downtown adventures, dance party, docks, dolphins, date night, DC, Delaware (first time for all of us), digging holes, detours
E- egrets
F- Folly Beach, free samples @ Costco, fountains, family & friends, frogs, fruit, free parking, Ft McHenry Tunnel (under water)
G- Glenn, guns, Gracia, Goodwill, glass containers, great food, getting lost
H- Hannah, hot, house (got to see Russ & Camy's new one!), Hahns, homemade pasta, ham, HOV lane at 6am in DC
I- ice cream, ice cube machine, iPhone map function, Isle of Palms beach
J- Jen, jewelry, jelly fish, Jockey outlet
K- kite surfer, kites
L- Lydia, laughter, loved ones, lasagna, lizard, Lilo and Stitch, Lehigh Tunnel (under land)
M- Malachi, Magic Shell, music, Men's Bible Study, model homes
N- Nelsons, no bakes
O- ocra, octopuses, ocean, oil change, open air market
P- peaches, pralines, pool, Philadelphia, pancakes, pineapple fountain, pottery jewelry, picnic
Q- quality time
R- Russell, Reading Terminal Market, rain
S- Sullivan Island Beach, swinging on the dock, semis, sea shells, Sonja, sun burn, sun screen, sun shine, silliness, sorting pictures, Sam, shish kabobs, Stonewall Jackson Shrine, swimming, shark teeth, sprinklers, sand
T- Tootsie, Tangled, tacos, thunderstorms, taffy machine, tunnels, trains, True to the Old Flag from Librivox
U- Uncle Russ, underwater
V- Virginia
W- watermelon, Washington,DC, Washington Monument, water, walks
X- x-cellant time
Y- yogurt

I Can Hear!

Back on February 14th I had ear surgery. It was my second ear surgery. I had had ear surgery between Hannah and Lydia to remove a cholesteotoma, a growth of skin cells, inside my right ear. Before that surgery I had some hearing loss in my right ear but after the surgery the hearing loss was significant because the growth had eaten away at my ear bones and the growth had actually been helping to conduct sound through my ear. I was told at that time that I would need reconstructive inner ear surgery but then I got pregnant with Lydia, we moved to Houghton, etc and it never happened. My hearing loss was significant all that time but I just dealt with it.

This past fall I had a routine checkup and Glenn wanted me to mention my hearing loss and the reason for it to see if I something could be done about it. I was referred to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist and the surgery was scheduled for Valentine's Day for titanium prosthetic ear bones to be placed in my ear. The surgery happened without complications and I was down and out for about a week (my kids played a lot of Legos that week and didn't get much school work done. After about a week I started feeling better but I was disappointed not to be able to hear yet. I have been in for a few post surgery appointments and at my last one on June 22, right before we left for SC, I finally had another hearing screening done. Here are the before and after hearing screenings. They are kind of hard to see. Hearing in my right ear is still not perfect, or as good as in my left, but it is so much better!! The doctor said that the ear may still be healing as well and there may be some more improvement at my 1 year post operation checkup. I have pictures of my scar too and myself right after surgery but they are a little gross so I will keep those for myself.


Thanks God for successful surgery and improved hearing!

Swimming at Thorndon

Two years ago when we moved to Syracuse we were pretty excited that Syracuse had public pools that you could swim in for free but when I got on the website to check hours I realized that there could only be 3 kids under a certain height limit per adult. I had 4 kids under that limit and Glenn was taking anatomy therefore we couldn't go swimming that summer.

Last summer we signed the kids up to take swimming lessons at Thorndon Park. They all made quite a bit of progress in their swimming ability and getting over fears in the water. Lessons through the city program are cheap ($10 for 2 weeks - 10 half hour sessions) for city residents so how could we resist.

We've had a busy summer this summer but I really wanted the kids to take lessons again. I signed them up when we got home from camping but since it was so late they had to put them in a bunch of different sessions. They started lessons last Monday. Caleb is in Blue Whales at 9:30, Hannah is in Blue Whales at 10 then we have an hour break before Lydia and Abigail's Goldfish lessons at 11:30. It has been fun but tiring to spend our mornings at Thorndon Park. During our break we play in the spray park or play on the playground and have a snack. We have made some new friends and played with some old friends as well.

We had a busy week last week with something every afternoon but we stopped by the pool entrance as we were leaving one day last week and found out that Caleb is tall enough to not need an adult for free swim. It has been a hot week this week and so yesterday we decided to stick around after Lydia and Abigail's lesson for free swim (which starts at noon). We stayed for a little over an hour. It was nice to cool off after hanging around the pool watching the kids swim all morning. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again today. With temps going to be around 100 tomorrow I think that it is likely that we will do free swim again tomorrow.

At first I was annoyed two years ago when I couldn't go to free swim with my kids but after swimming at the pool yesterday I realized that I am thankful. Because of the swim lessons that the kids have taken last year and this year Caleb and Hannah were able to pass swim tests that enabled them to go into the deeper section of the pool without me and I didn't have to worry about them. Lydia and Abigail have confidence in the water so that they can swim around without clinging to me. Had I been able to take my kids to the pool 2 years ago I would have been worried about their ability and I would have had 2-3 little girls clinging to me, afraid of the water. They may have enjoyed it but it would have been very stressful for me. Now we can just go and have fun. It's another thing I love about this stage of parenting. My kids are learning so much independence. It is great. So now I am thankful that we couldn't swim in Thorndon Pool 2 years ago. I am also very thankful that we can swim in it now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Loss

I recently found a blog that was referenced in another blog called The Gypsy Mama. I really appreciated her post from today. She does something called Five Minute Fridays that I would like to start doing. She suggests a topic and you are supposed to blog about it for 5 minutes, no editing, post and link-up. Today is my first (and maybe only) Five Minute Friday and the topic for today is "Loss."

I have experienced some loss in my life. From kittens and dogs lost to 5&20 as a kid to the loss of my parents to the loss of places where I've lived and people that I've loved because of moving. They have all struck me differently and none of them have been easy.

I was struck deeply by my loss yesterday as I watched Olivia's DVD. She had lots of pictures of multiple generations of her family. Her parents, grandparents and great grandparents are living. My kids don't have that (on my side). They have us and my dad's parents but they will not really ever intimately know my parents, only through stories I will tell and have told. They knew my dad somewhat but in his last years he wasn't the same man that he was when I was growing up. In order for a video like that to take place in our family on my side I will be the great grandparent, my kids will be the grandparents and their grandkids will be the ones making the DVD (I doubt that it will be DVDs by then but whatever we will have years down the road.)

OK, 5 minutes are up. That was tough. Maybe next topic will be easier....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Evening of Tears

Evening of Tears

Today, after swim lessons we headed to Grandma and Grandpa Nelson's
house for our monthly visit. I thought I could kill two birds with one
stone - get in a visit with them and pick up Kyle and have him spend
the night for Caleb's birthday. All was going according to plan until
AmyJo left and then Kyle started crying because his stomach started to
hurt and grandma decided that she should take him home and not have
him spend the night. That started Caleb crying. He cried for a while
as we were packing up (and, of course seeing them cry made Grandma
tear up) then they came up with a plan to have Caleb spend the night
and then they both come out to Syracuse in the morning. We called and
talked to AmyJo and it was decided that that would be ok. Then I had
two happy boys I was leaving behind but I got in the car and found a
sobbing Lydia, so sad because she was going to miss her brother so
much. She was crying again just a few minutes ago as she was going to
bed, missing her brother.

I got some tears in today too while we were watching a neat DVD that
my cousin's daughter Olivia made called, "Because Two People Fell in
Love" that traces her family through 4 generations starting with my

It will be weird waking up with no cinnamon rolls and no birthday boy
tomorrow but I'm sure he'll have fun with Kyle. I'm looking forward to
seeing my 11 year old tomorrow! Happy birthday Caleb!!

Thanks God for sensitive hearts, for joy and sorrow and the grace You
give us in each.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Celebration and Deals

Today was Glenn's first day of his internal medicine rotation. I picked him up after he was done and we decided to head to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate his first day of in the hospital and (since we had a coupon for a free kids meal for Caleb's birthday) to celebrate Caleb's birthday (he turns 11 on Friday). We had wanted to go out to dinner for a while to celebrate Glenn finishing his tests but it just hadn't worked out. We decided that Grandma Hansen would treat us to our dinner out. We had sold a couple of dressers that we had gotten from her house that were too small for us on craigslist this spring and decided that she would have liked us to use the money to go out to dinner so, after tithe, we put the money in an envelope for this momentous day ;) (After we were done eating Caleb said that she probably would have taken us to McDonald's instead of Texas Roadhouse - I'm glad we got to pick the restaurant!) We love going to Texas Roadhouse. We went during the 4-6 early special time and with Caleb's meal for free our bill came to less than $35. For all 6 of us! And we were all full and brought home leftovers from every meal. And it was delicious!

Caleb (with his mouth way too full of steak!) on the saddle after being told Happy Birthday by the waitresses :)
 After Texas Roadhouse we decided we needed to go to Staples to pick up the penny and quarter deals. On the way we stopped at the Thrifty Shopper. We found a new with manual/ recipe book Whirley-Pop popcorn popper. We have been using a regular pot but it is dying and making popcorn in it isn't helping so we thought we'd get it. We also found a 2 pack of US map puzzles. (the map on the back you can color on your own). Our total was $2.62.

Whirley-Pop and US map puzzles
We then made our way to Staples and spent the rest of our $3. We got 2 reams of paper, 2 things of glue, 2 packs of pencil top erasers, 2 packs of pens, 2 packs of stickie flag things, a graph paper notebook, and a 3 pack of mini legal pads. My grand total was 37 cents! (I had Staples rewards from a couple of months ago for $15.20 that I used). I am going to get almost $12 back in rebates as well. I love back to school sales :)
My Staples loot that I spent 37 cents for :)
Staples shares the same parking lot with BJs and since Glenn's phone died this morning (and he decided not to get a pager yesterday saying that they could just use his cell phone, hard to do when your phone is dead!) we decided to go over and bother the Verizon salesperson there. We love the Verizon sales people in BJs. They are so much nicer than the Verizon sales people anywhere else. I think that it is because they are so thrilled to have someone to talk to :). Anyway, the guy showed Glenn the cheaper phones (they would still need a $10/mo data package) and he could tell that we really didn't want to buy anything today and knew we were only there because Glenn's phone died. He asked us if we had any old phones laying around or if any friends did. We do have 2 old LG clam shell phones that were our original cell phones. One was ours one was my dad's. We got them when we lived at the Christensen's. When we upgraded and added my phone onto our joint plan in October of 2006 he gave us his old phone as a toy for the kids. When our phones were stolen in August of 2008 we took both phones back from the kids and were going to start using them but it was going to cost $20 each line to change phones. We were going to get phones for free for re-upping so we just re-upped. We've been dragging our feet not wanting to sign another contract with Verizon and praying that our phones would last us. My Env2 turns off randomly and Glenn's Palm Centro has been giving him problems for a while. He also has had to charge his through his computer for the last year since he left his charger in St. Louis last summer. He's trying to charge it on his computer right now hoping that it will work but we are also charging our old LG. There was nothing wrong with it when we stopped using it (that I can remember). I think that we just wanted cool new phones because we were eligible for them and we wanted to get a phone for me. Anyway, the Verizon guy at BJs told us that we could just change phones ourselves online with our MyVerizon account at no charge. That is a change from 3 years ago. So, this may be Glenn's phone for a while and we may have to make the cell phone decision that we've been putting off for a while sooner rather than later. I am grateful that we aren't going to have to make the decision this instant and that this phone can be a little buffer zone. (When our phones were stolen we were phone-less for about 2 1/2 weeks making a decision about what to do. With Glenn needing his phone for pages that is not an option this time!)
Glenn's "new" cell phone

Another praise- we found out earlier today that our bank intercepted a $300+ groupon purchase that someone had made with Glenn's credit card. We have to pay $5 for them to send him a new credit card but that is a lot better than someone else spending all our money!

Thanks God for yummy, inexpensive, fun family food and fun at Texas Roadhouse; fun, cheap geography tools; a yummy snack maker; school supplies on the cheap; and another friendly, helpful BJs Verizon person. Thanks also for a bank that looks out for us. You are so faithful, generous, and good! Thank you for a good first day for Glenn. Please continue to be his strength and help him to learn a lot in this time of training. Thanks God also for neat conversations he was able to have today!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Well, it's been about 3 weeks since I blogged. Three weeks of wonderful break. We had lots of adventures that I will blog about over the next few days but the best part has been being together as a family. Who knows when we'll get 3 weeks off in a row again!

Tomorrow Glenn has orientation and he starts his 12 week Internal Medicine rotation on Tuesday. We got the schedule a couple days ago. I am going to miss him. While he was taking classes he would go to class and then usually come home to study so we would see him a lot. Starting tomorrow he doesn't really get much of a choice when he'll be home. We knew this signing up but it is going to be a change. He does have one day off a week guaranteed so that will be nice. We will have to make the most of the time and not take it for granted like we have so often the past couple of years :)

Today we ventured out after a relaxing afternoon and found Glenn a few more pairs of pants, shirts and ties for use at the schospital. It will be different seeing him in a shirt and tie most every day. We are thankful for the deals we were able to find. We still need to find shoes for him. His feet are going to be hurting if he wears any of the shoes that he currently owns.

Thanks Lord for a relaxing, fun break. Thank You that You are all we need and will provide all we need in the days, weeks and months to come. Thank You again, so much, for allowing Glenn entrance to medical school. You are so gracious. Thank You for all that he is going to learn as he enters his clinical years and how You are going to prepare him to be the man of God and the doctor that You desire him to be!