Tuesday, June 30, 2009

California family vacation! (Day three)

Finally — after an X-ray, IV, blood drawn, CAT scan, ambulance ride and three different medical facilities, Jackson was diagnosed with severe constipation. Who knew? Written on the dry erase board above the bed was his wellness plan: 1.) Poop and 2.) Go home.

So after lots of fiber, water, some Miralax and a couple of other "procedures," things started to move and then he felt 10 times better. That gave me a chance to explore the hospital, which we arrived at in the dark of night.

A fountain out front.

I saw a photo in which these two giraffes were originally smooching, but now their heads have grown together. Hmmm...

Of course, being San Diego, it's perfectly normal for the doctors to have their morning meetings outside. This is a courtyard on the second floor, not too far from Jack's room.

On our way out, Jack wanted to ride down on a wheelchair, which the head nurse pushed herself — after giving him the nice stuffed rabbit on his lap. Here, she's showing him a 20-foot-high dinosaur sculpture.

We were so glad to figure out what was wrong, without having to do surgery and stay in the hospital even longer, but it sure was a crappy way to start our vacation!

* * *

Everyone else from Nebraska arrived on Monday.

That afternoon, I took all the nieces and nephews to the neighborhood pool. Yes, just a few hours earlier, Jack was in the hospital, and now he's doing cannon balls. Thank God he's feeling fine and back to his ol' regular self.

Lexi, Nathan and Dominic jumping in together.

It took Lexi hours of practice to finally balance on her hair.

Nathan always smiles. Even under water.

"wat i did on my sumer vacay" by SMD.

* * *


Super heroes getting ready for bed.

After the kids are in bed, it's nice to just hang out as adults, mix a few drinks and internet together.

Monday, June 29, 2009

California family vacation! (Day two)

Jack remembered from our last visit that, because of the temperate climate, you can often find lizards, snails and some other creatures we're not used to seeing in the Midwest. He was fascinated by this snail that was on the front porch Sunday morning.

Unlike our house, Lance & Felicia have a full flight of stairs for Landon to climb. Sir Edmund Hillary is his idol.

It was Father's Day, so we guys went out fishing on Lance's boat. A 34-foot sport fishing boat, docked at the Oceanside harbor. It's nice. And the entire place is so laid back, it feels like you're living in a Jimmy Buffett song.

Except Jack wasn't feeling well at all. In fact, he hadn't been feeling well ever since we got off the plane. (Note that he's not in any of the pictures from the night before.) So despite how excited he was to go out on Uncle Lance's boat and "catch a Great White," he actually stayed home and in bed. Except when he was throwing up and laying on the bathroom floor.

* * *

When we got back to shore, Lance saw that he had 10 missed calls on his cell phone: Jack was so sick that Leslie had taken him to the local urgent care place. They thought it might be appendicitis and sent him to the hospital emergency room. I went straight there.

Jack kept throwing up and was completely lethargic. He didn't even cry when they put in the IV. And as dehydrated as he had to be, he took an entire bag of IV fluid without going pee.

As reluctant as the doctors are to do it, especially on young children, they did a CAT scan on him to examine his appendix. Then after waiting for the results and for the doctor to come meet with us ... they couldn't find his appendix.

So they took him by ambulance down to Rady Children's Hospital, 45 minutes away in San Diego; Leslie rode inside and I followed closely behind in our rental vehicle. We arrived at the emergency room at 9 p.m. and Jack was admitted as a patient in the middle of the night.

We were completely exhausted, didn't have any answers and just wanted him to get better — soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

California family vacation! (Day one)

The Saturday before last, we left for our summer vacation in sunny Southern California. This is the third year in a row that my mom, all four of us kids, our spouses and all of our kids have gone on a week-lomg family trip. Thanks Mom!

We went to stay with my brother and his family north of San Diego; we've been there many times before and we all agree that it's one of our very favorite places to visit. Not only does it help being somewhere familiar with an eight-month old baby, but the weather's perfect, we hadn't been there for two years, my sister-in-law's family is great and it's a ton of fun!

We've had this planned since Christmas, so we were really looking forward to it and were so glad the time had finally come!

Our carry-ons. And our bags, too.

Up, up and away!

Once we got to their house, I don't know who was more excited — us to be there and see them, or for Dominic and Nathan to see us!

They adore Landon and are so good with him. Jack and Landon have the best cousins!

We just hung out that afternoon/evening at Lance & Felicia's house (one of our favorite things to do) and the boys played. Felicia made an awesome lasagna that night, just like the pros ... and the Italians. I've since learned that by waiting and adding the sauce only on top — to each individual serving — it's easier to serve, it looks a lot better and it's actually easier to make. I can't wait to make it ourselves.

I ended up taking fewer pictures on our trip than I expected. Only 792. I didn't even fill up our memory card. But I plan to post the best ones a day at a time, over the next week, so you can follow along.

If I had to sum up our trip alliteratively, I'd describe it as "sun, surf and sand." Or "family, food and fun." Or "people, places and poop."

I'll explain tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

That's A Picture!

Becky Griefe, one of Leslie's co-workers, took our family pictures the weekend before last in her basement — more than 400 of 'em in all! See selected ones here and here on her site.

Thanks Becky!

Friday, June 19, 2009

He's an animal

I took Landon to "The Grove" at Zona Rosa for the first time yesterday. It was perfect for him.

All the moms there, upon asking how old he is, would reply with either "Oh, he's big." Or "Wow, he's really mobile." Or both.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A boy and his coconut

Jack's been asking lately to get a "real, live" coconut. So while Leslie was at Bunko last night, we guys went to Hallmark for a couple of Father's Day cards and then to the grocery store.

Always searching for educational opportunities, we discussed that it cost $1.49 — which Jack thought was "reasonable" — and he read the sticker saying that it was grown in Mexico.

At home, we first drilled a hole in it (Jack loves using power tools in the kitchen) to drain out the milk. It filled up a 12-ounce glass! Then we got out the hatchet and I cracked it open, outside on the deck. Unfortunately, neither the milk nor the meat were as tasty as we were hoping/expecting; definitely milder than the packaged coconut and artificial coconut flavorings that we're used to (Jack kept suggesting that we add sugar to it). So the flavor was pretty underwhelming, but it was a fun experience — and now we know!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jack's last T-ball game

... was last Saturday. Here he is with his best bud, JD, during team pictures beforehand. Yes, even though it was an hour before the game started and we had just arrived at the ball diamond, Jack already managed to get grass stains on his pants. I'm sure he was just going for the authentic look.

He usually plays catcher.

On deck.

Landon with "Uncle" Jason.

The other position Jack plays is second base (because he's so aggressive at going after grounders) with JD playing first.

Look at all this action — runners on first and second, and Jack fielding the ball going for the out!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Teenage mutant ninja...

I discovered this big snapping turtle in our yard while mowing the grass last week. His shell alone was about 12 inches across and, man, could he snap!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Brody's 6th birthday

The next-door neighbor boy's birthday party was Sunday afternoon. Preston, Jack and Brody look so calm and mind-mannered. HA!

They even had a moonwalk in their backyard!

When we got home, Jack asked "Know where I wanna have my next birthday party? Brody and Preston's house!"

Monday, June 8, 2009


This fawn and doe are at our neighbor's bird bath and bird feeder early every morning.

Our Saturday morning project was taking down this decades-old fence between our yards. It was fully embedded in the trees and the bottom row was burried by a couple inches of dirt. Here, Jack attacks it with ... pliers. (That big leaf at the bottom near his feet is wild rhubarb.)

The perfect climbing tree.

One of the honey locusts behind our property. Jack and I call them "trees of death."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Art of the Brick

After Landon's follow-up doctor visit this week, we three boys met Leslie over lunch just minutes away at Crown Center's free Lego exhibit. There are about 30 sculptures out of standard Lego bricks, created by a man named Nathan Sawaya. Jack was so excited, that he did a great job of behaving at the hospital ... with this as his incentive.

It was sad to hear the kids ask, "Who's that?" and when we said John Lennon, they'd ask again, "Who's that?"

This one's called "Reflection."

Jack staring into "Infinity."

Not suprisingly, this was Jack's favorite — the one with his head coming off. I'm holding him up, 'cause he wanted to see what's on the inside.

This was actually just a precursor to our trip to Legoland this summer. And when we got home, I got a new ReadyMade magazine in the mail with a two-page article on Legos. They're everywhere!