This has been an interesting week for our family! Monday afternoon Owen calls me on his cell phone [while I'm over at a friend's house so our kids can swim and play together] and tells me that he's on his way home and he's feeling really nauseous. All weekend he'd had what he described as discomfort in his abdomen and just wasn't feeling right. But that afternoon at work, his secretary said he looked positively green. So, I gather up the kids to get home, hoping that whatever Owen is suffering from isn't contagious. When he gets home, he Googles his medical ailments and comes up with appendicitis. I offer to drive him to the ER, but says he can get there by himself. So, I call my mom and she comes over after I give the kids dinner, have an abbreviated family home evening, bathe, and get everyone into bed.

I get to the ER at about 9 pm, where Owen is waiting to be taken in for a CAT scan. They take him for a scan at 10 pm and he's back by 10:20. 90 minutes later [our hospital's version of 30 minutes] we hear word that Owen's appendix is in the early stages of inflammation and that he will be admitted for an appendectomy. But alas, there are no available beds upstairs yet, so we endure listening to a pregnant crack mom alternating between screaming and laughing hysterically and the cries of a newborn-sounding baby [both sad]. And since I drank a Pepsi at midnight in an effort to have one of us coherent throughout all this, I am wide awake. Wide. Awake. I turn off the lights and close the door so that Owen can rest, and I perch on my hard plastic chair and lean over to lay my head on the end of his gurney. Really comfortable. But at least I don't have appendicitis, I remind myself.

Just after 2 am [and about 10 minutes after I finish praying for a room to become available] we are taken up to Owen's room. Or should I say deluxe suite, because I have rarely seen such a nice hospital room. Evidently our hospital has a newly renovated wing of upscale rooms. Since there were no other beds available [and since Owen's ailment is of the non-communicable variety] he was able to use a room there as overflow. The room was huge. And nice. There was a nice sleep-chair and a padded window seat that could be used to rest on. And they offered me blankets, sheets, and pillows. Unlike the time 3 years ago when I spent 17 days in the hospital, and my poor mother and husband had to beg, borrow, or steal even a crappy blanket to use in the crappy chair in my crappy hovel of a room. Not that I'm bitter about it. I even took pictures [of Owen's room, not my crappy one]; they're back up at the beginning.
They come for Owen at 5:30 am and surgery is at 6, where everything goes very well. He's back up in his room at a little before 8 am. My parents and sister-in-law Ana save the day for me by getting kids to school [parents] and watching Collin for the day so he doesn't have to hang out at the hospital [Ana]. Owen did really well after surgery. We were worried that the anesthesia may cause him nausea [as had happened in the past] but he was great. He was actually discharged that same night at around 8 pm. He could have gone sooner, but I had to attend Back to School Night for the kids before I could get back to the hospital.
And he's still improving every day. He laid low from work this week [and got out of 2 days of working in 100 degree plus humid heat at the church vineyard-excellent timing] but has been up and around at home a lot. He's tender, and can't do much lifting, but because the surgery was done laparoscopically, his recovery will be quick. So, that's been the highlight of this week! I'd planned on posting earlier, but Owen has been spending most of his convalescence in front of the computer. Thanks to everyone who called and emailed-we appreciate your concern!


bailey's video

Click here to view the video that Bailey made and posted on YouTube!


techie kids

Friday night Bailey and his friend Matthew worked on making a movie. He was so proud of it that I told him I'd post it on the Internet so everyone could see. They worked pretty hard on it. He recorded some footage from one of his video games (Fire Emblem) and burned it to a CD so he could work with it on the computer. Add some background music ["All Alone" by Kutless] and he had a finished product. I'm glad that Bailey is enjoying his Advanced Computers class enough to work on it during the weekend. Once it's uploaded to YouTube I'll post a link.

Also, click here to visit the blog of the guy who was able to unlock the iPhone. He's 17. And he's just starting college. **Sigh** And here I was feeling good about the fact that I even know my way around my little uncomplicated cellphone. He's already sold it [traded it, rather], so you can put your wallet away now. But, he gives step-by-step instructions on his blog for you to unlock one yourself, in case you're so inclined.


all things austen

I think I'm going to go and see "Becoming Jane" this weekend. I've been waiting to see it and I'm sooo excited about it. The movie opened the weekend Owen and I went to Sonoma, but it wasn't playing either here or up there yet [we saw "No Reservations" that weekend-it was very good]. So, I think it just started playing here either last weekend or the one before, and I'm ready to immerse myself in the British Regency period for a couple of hours. Last week I read "Austenland" by Shannon Hale and I just started "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen this week, so I guess I'm in a bit of an Austen mood. Fine by me! I'll either go tonight and let Owen get the kids to bed by himself or, if he'll be getting home from work Saturday early enough, I'll catch a matinee then. And yes, I am going by myself. All the more popcorn for me!
UPDATE: Went to see it Friday night! It's good, although somewhat unexpected. Some parts are a bit, ah, rambunctious, for lack of a better word. It's always interesting to speculate about people of historical note, fleshing out what their lives may have been like. I've read a biography of Jane Austen, so I was already familiar with many of the major events in her family's life, but there are many things that we don't know about. I think that there were letters burned, etc. that may have shed some more light on her life. Evidently there is a book of the same title that this movie was based on. I've already got it on queue at the library-am looking forward to getting my hands on it. Anyhow, it was so nice to get out for an evening on my own. So liberating!
P.S. The movie features two British actors, Maggie Smith and Julie Waters, both of whom appear as regulars in the Harry Potter movies. Whenever they had scenes together, I couldn't help but thinking, "Wow, there's Professor McGonagall and Mrs. Weasley!" I know, so pathetic, but so funny at the same time!

fun with hamsters

Julia's hamster, Mini, goes for a drive with the top down.

Collin enjoys his new hamster. He named her Dig. Very appropriate, since she does.

Collin and Dig check each other out.

Yes, I know. I really do! We are having way too much fun with these hamsters.


hamsta in da house!

This is Oreo, Libby's hamster. He is such a sweetie. And isn't he adorable? Julia's hamster, Mini, is buried under the pine shavings to his left. I'll get a better picture soon. We are officially down to three hamsters right now (including Bailey's hamster, Bijou) because I packed up Collin's hamster in a carrying case with food and water and had Owen take her back to the pet store today. We were just having way too many problems with her. She was very aggressive with the other hamsters-rushing at them, attacking, and intimidating them. She also bit. A lot. And hard, too. We noticed about a day after Owen brought them all home that Collin's hamster (I promptly named her Chopper) was actually missing her back left foot. We're not sure if she was born that way or had an accident, but we attributed her defensiveness to that and understood why she might behave that way. She was moving around fine and even ran on the hamster wheel in the cage. But yesterday I noticed that she was picking on the others unprovoked, causing much squeaking from the hamster cage. Since she's supposed to be Collin's, I figured we needed to find one that was gentler. He wasn't too excited about getting bit by her all the time-can't imagine why! So, we'll see what Owen brings home today. Fortunately there is no microwave involved with this fiesty hamster! [check out the comments on "high school musical and hamsters" for this backstory - sorry, Megan, I just couldn't resist]

Update: Owen called just after I posted-the pet store was happy to exchange Chopper for a timid little hamster that was just brought out from the back. Sure, keep all the friendly hamsters IN THE BACK! Anyway, we'll see how things go with the new one when Owen gets home from work tonight.

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a weekend of high school musical and hamsters

This weekend we [finally] caught the wave of High School Musical mania. I had taped the first movie on the Disney channel, oh, about six months ago and had never gotten around to showing it to the kids. So, with the advent of HSM2 on the horizon, I figured there's no time like the present to get hooked. Friday we watched the first movie and Saturday we taped and watched the second. Both movies are pretty great for kids. If you haven't seen them yet, they're fun, clean, and have really catchy tunes. I think I prefer the first movie, but they're both good. Even though #2 is set during summer break, there were NO bikinis. Some tankinis and a couple outfits on the skimpy side, but as a whole I was fairly impressed with the restraint they showed in the wardrobe arena. Pretty hard to come by these days.

Also, Bailey's best friend gave him a hamster with all the trimmings this weekend. Yes, our first rodent! [At least it's the first one I've ever known about.] Of course the other kids went gaga over the cute little thing [she really is cute-I had no idea!] so Owen bowed to the pressure and went out and got the other kids their own hamsters and the trappings. *Sigh* Right now it's all good, but I'll update you in a week or so when the thrill is gone.

Bailey and his friend have been into the hamster thing for awhile-they found this great hamster video on YouTube [sidebar] that your kids might enjoy as well. Check it out-it's pretty catchy!


new school year, new school

Relief. Yes, I think that's the word I'm reaching for. It is so nice to have everyone back in school and back on a schedule. The first day of school was today, August 8. Sundale starts a week earlier than most because they take a week off in February. For the Farm Show. That's what happens when you go to a country school! Julia had to stay home the first day to wait for the telephone call giving her the green light. Fortunately we got the call early that afternoon, so we went down to the school to see her classroom and meet her teacher so she would know what was happening the following day. And we're off! It's the beginning of a new school year, and I'm so excited for them to be at this new school. Especially Bailey. Everytime I thought about him going to the local junior high, it felt like my stomach was twisting itself into a knot. And this will be great for all the kids. We leave earlier in the morning for school, but so far it's working out well.



Sonoma was fabulous. I felt almost naked, knowing that there were no children to tote around. We got to our B&B in Novato at around 3:30 and it was so nice and quiet. It is on a small vineyard, and the owners had remodeled a portion of the winery into a one-room guest house. The bathroom itself was amazing. The huge open shower was crafted of rock and had dual shower heads. So relaxing. We spent the weekend visiting great restaurants, going to a movie, and exploring Sonoma, which is about 20 minutes north of Novato. I still get a kick out of people's expressions when we politely refuse the wine. Why else do tourists come to Sonoma, right?

The last activity on our agenda was actually the whole reason we came up there in the first place. During a conference Owen attended for work, he won a certificate for a race car driving course at the Jim Russell Racing School at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. It's a half-day lesson of formula one racing. Owen had a great time and I had fun watching and playing paparazzo. As soon as class was over, we raced our way back home so we would be in time for the school orientation scheduled for that evening. Ah, the fun has to end sometime, right? We'll just have to go back again soon.



A funny story to relate just how crazy it's been around here. First of all, in the midst of preparing for Sonoma and playdates for the kids, I get a call from the superintendent of the school we would like to transfer our 3 kids to. It is K-8, meaning Bailey would be spared all the trauma of middle school woes, and I have heard super things about the school. So, I'm sitting outside Libby's friend's house, waiting for the girls to collect Ciera's things so they can turn their playdate into a sleepover, when I get the call on my cell phone that they want to interview the kids [and us] for the coming school year. Which starts in 6 days. Fortunately I'm parked, so I rummage about trying to find something to write all the critical info on, and then it's off to gather all the records they need for registration. And I haven't stopped since! Their interview at the school went well-the only question is room for Julia. They have an extraordinarily large 1st grade due to an extraordinarily large kindergarten class last year. However, the superintendent feels confident that there will be room. The only kicker is that we have to wait until the first day of school to know for sure.

Anyway. Back to my funny story. After a day of errands, packing, cleaning, 2 well-child visits, and new school interviews, I come home to look at my list to see what is still left to be done. I realize that I haven't made the gluten-free bread yet. So, at 9 pm, dead tired and still not done with for the day [night], I put the bread in the bread maker and go off to finish packing. A little while later I hear the bread machine knocking about and being extremely loud. Frowning, I I open the lid and peer inside. I stir it around with a spatula, but otherwise everything looks fine. But it's still really loud. When the timer goes off at 11:15 to take it out, I take it out in a dark kitchen and go up to bed.

This morning I am getting ready to put the bread into a bag when I notice a shiny silver something poking out the side of the loaf. What the heck? I pull away pieces of bread until I have in my hands a FORK. Inside the bread. All baked into it. I am about to blame one of those darn kids for putting flatware in my bread machine when I suddenly remember that I always use a fork to stir around the water, oil, and eggs before I add the mix. Except this time I left the fork in.



Yes, I'm at it again. Usually I'm pretty good about getting things done, but I have to admit that I have days when I either a) don't stop moving all day and get everything done and then some or b) can't seem to even get started. This seems like a B day. It didn't start out that way, but then it got hot or I got lazy or something. Usually my A days come right after I've lounged about finishing up a book, but I finished reading my last book several days ago and had some A days that I've used up already.

But I digress. I'm supposed to be getting everything ready for Owen and I to go on our weekend to Sonoma sans little fishes. I spent a good portion of yesterday online, researching all the ways we could spend our precious time up there. Owen seemed to be more interested in the restaurants I'd uncovered-I can just see us now, doing nothing except moving from restaurant to restaurant, fielding triple digit bills as we go. Anyway, today I need to focus on other immediate concerns, like making a list of necessary info and a schedule for Grammie to use, and cleaning the house, and doing the laundry, and going to the store, and start thinking about what I need to pack, and, well, you get the picture. Not nearly as exciting as daydreaming about Sonoma, is it? Right. Well, it's off to work I go, since I really do want to have everything organized when we leave town.