From The Home Office

What State Are We In Today?

We're once again back on the road in our RV, exploring the backroads (and toll roads) of this fine country! And, after our Jet Blue nightmare last month, being back in our RV is heaven! We've been to a beach town in Massachusetts and tubing in upstate New York...and we haven't had any accidents, blow-outs, or emergency room trips! Yea!! …

We’re Roughin’ It – Heh…

We're spending this week on our property in rural Western Maine. Richard has us online via a dish and he's building a storage shed while Mason and I "rough it" inside the RV, with the air conditioner running and the refrigerator stocked full of yummy stuff... that can be cooked on the stove or in the microwave (no campfire required!). We do use the campfire at night for the s'mores. Some things just aren't the same in a microwave... …

Frank’s Boo Boo is Healing Nicely, but…

After Frank was finally triaged (He sat in the waiting room, bleeding, for about 40 minutes, until people started complaining. They even triaged a little girl who was laughing and skipping around her mother in the the E.R. before they looked at Frank!), we saw a doctor. They didn't order x-rays or anything else. The doctor looked at him, felt the wound, and said, "I'm going to glue you right up." I thought he was kidding... …

Hoys + Vacation = SECOND E.R. TRIP IN TWO WEEKS!

This morning, after Mason went down for his nap, Frank and a neighbor started banging on the front door. I got angry because the dogs started barking and they woke up the baby. I opened the front door, ready to lecture them on being too noisy (I feel so guilty about that now)...and Frank was standing there with blood all over him. He had a pretty bad head wound... …

Hoy Family Vacation = Trip to the E.R.

We're on the road, desperately trying to enjoy our summer vacation. First, Jet Blue made our lives hell by canceling one of our flights, after we'd already gone through security! Our trip was delayed a day which resulted in a $200 hotel bill. Jet Blue claimed air traffic control shut down flights going in and out of the state we were trying to visit. We found out later that another passenger was given a completely different excuse. In addition, they had to fly us into a different city. We lost our original rental car reservation and had to get a new one with a different company in the new city. That cost was an additional $500 ($1200 for 2 weeks instead of $700). So, Jet Blue, which we will never, EVER fly again, cost us $700 plus a ton of aggravation and stress. And, by the way, air traffic control did NOT shut down flights to our original destination. We checked. And, yes, Jet Blue will definitely be hearing from me when this is all over. …

Mason’s Birthday and Talking Boxes

Mason's birthday was great fun...even though he had no idea what was going on! He just kept looking at all the people in the house with big eyes. He was friendly and let a couple of people hold him. Max (age 5) opened Mason's gifts for him. That didn't bother Max one bit! I guess we at least have photos of the party for Mason to see some day...when he knows what birthdays are. ;) …

Mason’s Birthday and Talking Boxes

In just two days, Mason will be turning one year old. We can't believe a whole year has gone by! The days when he was in intensive care seem so very long ago, thank heavens. I wanted to give you an update on how he's doing. …

My Sunflowers! Whaaaa!!!

About two months ago, when there was still snow on the ground, I lovingly set out my pots and my dirt and my seeds. Max helped me gently lay each tiny seed in each pot, and gently cover it with soil. We bought a special spray bottle so we could mist them gently, each day, giving them their nurishment. Once the seedlings emerged from the soil, reaching for the grow light Matt and Frank installed for me in the mudroom, Max and I fed them organic fertilizer. And, they grew. Oh how they grew! Each day, they were taller and more proud. Some reached for the grow light while others reached for the winter sunlight streaming through the window. …

Dog Germs and Lessons Learned

I was working in the living room one day last week when I heard a "pop" and a howl from Mason. I instinctively KNEW what had happened! I flew into Ali's room and found Mason on the floor, a puddle of drool on the floor in front of him, and Ali's plugged-in cell phone charger cord lying about six feet away from him. Ali was supposed to be babysitting, but she left him alone in her room. And, I've told her a thousand times to never, ever, EVER leave the end of a live cord on the floor... …

Outwitting Deer? I hope so!

We spent the Memorial Day weekend at the "homestead" in western Maine. Richard and Frank started building a storage shed, Frank made a garden for me and I spent a lot of time inside the RV with Mason. The black flies were out in force and Mason doesn't yet know how to swat them out of his face. He did sustain one bite. One of the little buggers got to him in the RV. Max occupied himself by building little dams in the stream and then knocking them down. We heard wild turkeys calling to each other all weekend. Frank also found some firefly larvae. They had little glowing dots on their butts! Frank and Max were, needless to say, thrilled. …

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some R.E.M.?

Mason (11 months) has a bad cold and he's been very congested for two days. Needless to say, I'm swimming in a stupefied haze due to lack of R.E.M. sleep. I know lots of parents complain about lack of sleep but, truthfully, missing sleep hasn't ever bothered me in my mommy career. I enjoy cuddling a baby late at night (or early in the morning) when they don't feel good and need mommy's lovies. And, Mason just learned how to give sloppy kisses. You can imagine the horror on the other children's faces when Mason, with his runny baby nose, tries to give them a sloppy baby kiss. Heh... …

Flippies, White Noise and Update on Richard

If you're looking for a unique gift for grandparents, check out "Flippies." Flippies are custom flip books. This is one of those "wish I'd thought of that!" products. Very cool. Mason (almost 11 months old now!) is a very good napper...provided there's a steady stream of noise in the background, such as television, soft voices, etc. The problem is, we have other children whose voices are anything but soft. Richard recently downloaded "white noise" to his computer and we played that during Mason's nap yesterday. He slept for three hours! …

Update on Richard’s Vasculitis

I'm writing this on Monday night. Richard's vasculitis is coming and going and it got worse over the weekend and included something new - red lines under his skin (no, not the blood poisoning type). And, his other ankle swelled up. As of this morning, we've been waiting a week for a referral to a rheumatologist. I called the doctor's office right when they opened this morning and expressed my frustration (you know how I can be!). They immediately called Richard back and told him they can't find a rheumatologist who can see him before July! …

Update on Richard’s Rash (RR)

The results of Richard's biopsy are in. He has Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis, or LCV. We already pretty much knew he had vasculitis, but needed the diagnosis before they can proceed with more tests to see what's causing it. Basically, there is a 50% chance it's caused by an autoimmune disorder or medication or something he's eating, and there's a 50% chance they'll never know what's causing it. It could be caused by Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Hepatitis C, or it could be due to his thyroid medication (the doctor doesn't think so), or....maybe my cooking? Okay, humor does help in times like these. Honestly, we're praying it's nothing serious and that we'll never know what causes it. Because, if they do find out what's causing it, that something might be serious. If it's just a transient thing, chances are it's an anomaly and very minor. …

My Super Cool New Notepad

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Gene Papin (http://www.papincraft.biz), who creates neat stuff out of wood. I was especially impressed by his beautiful wooden pens. Well, last week, a nifty package arrived in the mail and I was thrilled to open it and find a notepad that Gene had made with one of his saws. He "engraved" it with my initials and a smiley face with his saw, going all the way through every piece of paper - the entire pad... …

Escape!

Lucky Ali (age 16) is in Florida for a 10-day Spring Break trip. She went with a friend and the friend's family. They have visited Epcot, Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and a few other places. Ali will probably sleep for a week when she returns. She's having a fabulous time and, while she says she misses her mommy, I know she's lying. …

My Paranoia – Children Who Are Choking

Gene Papin (http://www.papincraft.biz), a writer and woodworker, sent me an email last week in response to my missive on choking parts in squeaky toys. He said, "One of the things I do is make toys, along with scroll work. With regard to small children, if the toy fits inside the pasteboard roll (inside lining) of a paper towel roll, it will go down a small child's throat and choke him." …

Squeaky Choking Hazards and My Future Mud Room Jungle

Two of you wrote in last week advising me of the dangers of giving Mason chew toys with squeakers in them because they're a choking hazard. Chay Duggan told me to remove the squeakers with a screwdriver. Good idea. Wanted to pass that along in case any of you decided to start shopping for your teething baby in the doggy toy department, too. …

Chew Toys for Little Boys

Mason (age 9 months) has a particular fondness for soft plastic or rubber toys he can easily chew on. If he doesn't have a toy to chew on, he'll clamp down on your arm, your neck, or any soft flesh he can find (just ask Percy, the dog). …

Spring Flood!

After bragging last week about our temperatures getting up into the 50's, we had a massive winter storm on Friday night. We only got about six inches of snow but then we were deluged with ice and then rain and flooding. On Saturday morning, we literally had a muddy river of cold water flowing down our street, complete with ice chunks. …

Spring Cleaning and Spring Building

It's finally warming up a bit in Maine. The thermometer actually got above freezing last week and it was over 50 today! Some of the snow is melting, but there's a ton of it so it'll take awhile. …

Flu Bug Departs; Spring Fever Arrives

We're all feeling much better. It looks like Richard escaped the bug, even after kissing me while I was feverish. Zach spent three days in bed. He had it worst of all. …

Sick…and Tired

I had a sore throat on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, I warned Richard not to kiss me, but he did anyway as he left for the airport at 4:30 a.m. It's so romantic to have a husband who will kiss you, no matter how snotty or miserable you are...but boy is he gonna be sorry when the incubation period is over! …

Digging Out, Leaving On A Jet Plane, And Ha-choo!!

There's a LOT more snow on the ground now. We got hammered by the blizzard and the boys (mostly Matt and Zach) spent a couple of hours cleaning up the mess last week. It's still pretty deep out there but at least we can get the cars in and out of the driveway. As promised, here are some blizzard photos... …

BLIZZARD WARNING! WHOO HOO!!!

I'm writing this on Tuesday. We're preparing for the blizzard, which should start on Wednesday morning. We're supposed to get 8-14 inches of snow and the wind chills are supposed to be -20 - -40. Brrr! We're sure there won't be any school tomorrow, so the children are in a festive mood. …

Dreaming About Spring

It's so cold here that the entire family is suffering from severe dry skin. From my nosebleeds to Max scratching his knees raw, it feels like we're keeping the moisturizer industry in business these days. …

Too Cold For Babies to Be Outside

It got so cold here last week that we couldn't take Mason out to dinner with us. Max decided to stay home with the big kids, too, so Richard and I had a real date for the first time since before Mason was born. It was very nice and very romantic as we ate at a new restaurant in town...and then went to Home Depot for some new bathroom lighting (sigh). …

The Electrician’s A Capella

We had a snow day last Friday so the children got an unexpected three-day weekend. We have tons of snow now and it's been incredibly, uncomfortably cold with highs in the single digits and wind chills in the deep negatives. One of my eyeballs started to freeze when I was walking through a brisk wind at Frank's school the other day. …

Mason’s Mobility

Mason is keeping us all in shape these days! He went from spinning in circles on his belly last month to scooting, crawling, and pulling himself into a standing position by the sofa all in the past two weeks. …

Gingerbread Poop

I can't believe I forgot to tell you about our Gingerbread Poop! While we were making anatomically correct gingerbread people just before Christmas, we made a piece of gingerbread poop. …

Holiday Recovery

We did not have a white Christmas so we didn't get to go tubing and skiing with Richard's dad and step-mommy. However, it did start to snow about two hours before they were scheduled to leave. Oh well... At least they got SOME snow while they were here! …

We’re On Vacation! Yea!

Richard's dad and step-mommy are in town so we're on vacation this week. Our Boxing Day party was yesterday and we're going skiing and snow-tubing on Thursday. Whoo hoo! Happy New Year, everybody! This week's Maxism: Mason (age 6 months) has started speaking! Last week, he said, "Na Na Na Na Na." Max came in the room and, when he heard Mason, looked quite surprised. He sat down next to him and responded, "What? What? What? What? What?" Hugs, Angie P.S. Write your autobiography in 2007! Afraid you can't remember your childhood? Yes you can, using my memory triggers! Sign up for my popular and FUN class, How to Remember, Write and Publish Your Life Story! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/wwu/courses/memories.html

Touching Other People’s Babies…

On numerous occasions, I've told the girl next door to NOT bring her son over when he's sick...at least not while Mason is so small. She did just that last week, assuring me he was no longer contagious. Yeah, right... …

Fretting About Undelivered Gifts

Well, there are less than two weeks until Christmas and, while I did my online shopping early, there are still a few undelivered gifts floating around out there somewhere. I placed one large order with a company I've never shopped at before. They sent me a receipt when I placed my order and I've heard nothing since. …

Peppermint Bark and Snow

I'm writing this on Monday. Each year, when we get a good early snow, I drag the children outside for the annual Christmas card photo. We usually get a bit of snow in November but we haven't had any this year so far. It's snowing right now, but there's only a tiny bit on the ground. I prefer a raging snowstorm (heh...) for the photo but it looks like I might have to settle for a dusting this year. I told Ali to ride the bus home if it's snowing at 2:00 p.m. Richard will pick Frank up and Zach has promised to be here on time, too. I'll bundle up all the children, drag them outside and make them stand and smile for a good five minutes while I snap a few dozens photos, looking for just the right one. Matt is part of our family now, too, as he lives here when he's not at school. But, he won't be home from school until December 20th and it never snowed over the Thanksgiving holiday while he was here. So, I might try to superimpose a photo of him into the snow picture. We love Photoshop! …

Our Cuddly Monkey

We had a wonderful and very long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I only got online to check for emergencies each evening. And, boy oh boy, did I pay for that on Monday when I had a flood of emails to answer. The time we spent with the children made it well worth it. We feasted on Thursday, shopped and wrapped presents on Friday, bought our tree on Saturday, and decorated it on Sunday. …

Tradition!

Ah, I always get that Fiddler on the Roof song stuck in my head around this time of the year. Matt and Aubri are home again, but this time for the entire week. So, the house is quite full and very festive! …

Holidays Coming Fast and Furious

This weekend, Matt and Aubri were home so we had a fun time with them. Aubri is always a huge help with the baby and Matt and Aubri both helped put up a new storm door. Things got a bit confusing and Aubri's dad had to come over and save the day. They'll be home for a whole week for Thanksgiving so all the children are excited about that. …

My Baby Brother…the Missionary

My brother sent us all into a panic this week when he phoned and emailed my mom to let us all know that he and his beautiful wife are currently stuck in another country. …

Mom Comes And Goes…

My mom came to visit for the weekend. I hadn't seen her in a year and she was only here for about three days total so I was very sad to see her go. I don't know when we'll see her next so that made her parting all the more painful. …

In-Laws Gone; Mom Incoming

Richard's mom and her boyfriend left on Tuesday morning. We had a fun visit and, on leaving, his mom hugged me and said I was a "good hostess." So, I want to thank all of you who sent in easy recipes for me to use while they were here! I'll admit, we did eat out while they were here, too, but that sure can get expensive. I enjoy cooking at home much more. We took them to Bar Harbor for a day, to our favorite antique mall, and spent Sunday driving to our land, which was resplendent in its fall colors! It was gorgeous and we are dreaming of next spring when we'll start building. …

Fall Cleaning

In anticipation of the arrival of my mother-in-law this week, we cleaned the house from top to bottom. Ali (age 15) complained the ENTIRE time I spent in her room rearranging drawers, sorting clothes, looking under her bed and hope chest (pretty scary!), and arranging her books, among other fun things. But, she was very happy with her new room when I was finished. The very next morning, I walked into her room and was horrified to discover it looked like I've never even been in there! …

PTSD Update, School Shootings and Lack of Lunch

Last week, I posted a note about my recent surgery that followed a litany of other challenges we've experienced over the Summer, including the doctor telling us Mason might die, and my resulting anxiety attack. I went to the doctor last week and posted an update to last week's missive on Wednesday afternoon. If you read the issue before the update was posted, you can see the update HERE. …

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