Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays

Even though I woke Christmas morning in a different place than years past, it still had a familiar feel. I awoke to the sound of my dad chopping wood and got myself ready as the smell of wood burning filled the air. Ahhh! Oh how I have missed having a wood burning fireplace on Christmas. And, probably one of the big reasons I wanted this house. As a child I dreaded hauling wheelbarrows full of logs up to the house. But, its been over 10 years since we had a wood burning fireplace and even longer since I hauled those logs so in a way I miss it. And miss seeing my dad hunched over the embers.

Soon enough the kids were up and scurrying about the house checking to see if Santa ate their cookies. Despite efforts to camouflage the violin Grandma Pam got Sydney that was the first thing she noticed. I think its safe to say everyone got everything they wanted(needed). Santa brought Sydney an IPod Shuffle and the reindeer pictures she requested and Andrew got his dinosaur.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Happy Holidays! Hope everyone has their holiday shopping finished & planning to spend the holiday with friends & family. Our family will be hosting Christmas for the very first time. With the exception of the one year when we went to the Florida Keys and surprised my grandparents on Christmas this will be the first time I have not awoke Christmas morning at my parents house. This year, Mom, Dad, Angie & David will be coming to our house. We will have our traditional appetizer dinner and then likely watch a movie. We had hoped to see the new film, "Marley and Me" but after learning the ending decided that might not be the best choice for Sydney.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I wot you to tac a pichr of rodorf.
PS I Lov You. I wot you to bring a horse to.

Love, Sydney Lavelle

Monday, December 08, 2008

Erie PA Competition

Creeping our way through the snow belt during a blizzard we made our way to Erie, Pennsylvania for our first cheer competition of the season. Unfortunately, the weather kept away most of the teams but Sydney & the NEO Cheetahs did a fantastic job & walked away with second place.

Sydney & her Big, Chloe. NEO has a mentor program where younger members are matched up with veterans.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Central Park

Andrew has fallen in love with the touch screen televisions in the back of the cabs.

Central Park Carousal

More NYC

We hit several more big city sights yesterday. Toys R Us Time Square where Sydney & I rode the the indoor farris wheel while Andrew checked out the life size dinosaurs.

The Winter Wonderland at Macy's Harold Square was a very impressive operation. There were at least 100 people in line but we moved through in about 30 minutes. They line winds through an aray of holiday displays, and the staff take on a characters to entertain adults & children alike. When you reach the end each family is guided into one of six Santas workshop's where you have some one on one time with Santa.

Sera treated Sydney to her first pedicure.

Friday, November 28, 2008

NYC Part 2

In leiu of turkey we had Korean for our Thanksgiving dinner this year, bulkogi, kyogi and yakudori. Yummo! As usual Andrew was spoiled by the waitresses. He pouted when we didnt order any noodles; a few moments later our waitress arrived with a noodle dinner on the house!

This morning we took a the kids down to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty. Sydney's only comment; "This is not a park and theres no batteries". Priceless! We tried to explain that in New York places with grass are considered parks. To our little Ohio girl, parks have playgrounds.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Big Apple Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We are spending the holiday at Matt's sister, Sera's in the lower east side of Manhattan. We drove in last night through the Holland Tunnel after an unscheduled tour of the New Jersey ghetto. The kids were wide eyed at the sight of all tall building in all their night time glory. Andrew was bewildered by all the traffic and asked if it was a parade.

But, the parade had to wait till this morning. About 4:00 AM Andrew popped up from bed and asked if it was parade time yet. Maybe we should have followed his lead but instead we got up at 5:30 AM and took the subway over to 75th & Central Park West. We arrived about 7:00 AM and were about 20 yards back from the sidewalk in a sea of humans from everywalk of life. We spent the next two hours elbow to elbow with new friends from the Bronx and Sydney, Australia. Just like clockwork at 9:00 AM the grand daddy of all them all; the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade kicked off with a crowd countdown. Although we could only see the floats & balloons it was still spectacular. Several seasoned watchers brought along buckets, ladders and scaffolding to see above the crowds. We ended up with the kids on our shoulders.

Sydney was thrilled to see the real life; Hannah Montana. While Andrew squealed with excitement over a Buzz Lightyear & the cast of Sesame Street. So, despite the long wait, insane crowds and holding the kids up for 2 1/2 hours I am glad we went. Thats one more crossed of my "bucket list".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Competition Season Begins

Back in my cheerleading days you practiced once maybe twice a week and cheered school football & basketball games. Boy, the world of cheerleading has changed. Tumbling is no longer a plus, its a must and you now find many girls giving up representing their own schools for the challenge of all star competition level cheerleading.

Sydney choose cheerleading as her sport of choice again this year. Since June she has been practicing three days a week. Yesterday the NEO Gym held a "dress rehearsal" for the parents & family. Sydney was so excited to dress in full uniform and makeup. She & her team did a nice job & I was so proud to see her throw a beautiful back walkover.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Andrew's First Field Trip

Andrew along with his preschool class took their first field trip to Kingsway Pumpkin Farm. We took a hayride, picked gourds and pumpkins, played in the corn box, visited the farm animals and painted faces.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Evening at the Races

The kids were thrilled to hear Grandma Pam was flying into town on Friday to watch them during Mommy's fundraiser. Thanks Pam for all your help!

After months of hard work my Evening at the Races fundraiser went off without a hitch. A big thank you to my chairpersons & committee members for all your hard work & dedication.

Also a big thank you to my family & friends who attend, I appreciate your support. You always lighten the stress level by giving me a good laugh. This year that was mom & Terri doing jello shots, Bob winning butt paste and Angie & David running in the scavenger hunt.

In the end we raised lots of money for orphaned children around the world.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sheriff Open House

My parents & I took the kids over to the Summit County Sheriff Open House this weekend. The training center is just down the road from us by the airport. What fun we had! We watched K9 & SWAT Team demonstrations, shook hands with the bomb squad robot, and got the kids fingerprinted. Even took a ride in a tank. I give much credit to all our serviceman who spend their days in one of those. Its basically a metal box so not comfortable when your bouncing around inside and we were traveling through fairly level terrain. It's also extremely loud; you could barely hear the person next to you. Despite all that we thoroughly enjoyed our ride and can mark that down as a once in a lifetime experience.

Most of our visit was spent with the mounted patrol. Sydney's love for horses was very apparent to everyone. She went down the row giving special attention to each horse. I want to especially thank Deputy Black. His quarter horse, Brooks was so sweet and sucked up all of Syd's attention. We hope to take him up on his offer to visit the Sheriff Stables very soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Got Crabs

Sydney has been begging us for another pet. She would prefer a horse or rabbit but we settled on hermit crabs. I had them as a kid and they are fairly low maintenance; which is perfect since no matter how much she says she will handle their care we all know that most of the work falls on Mom. So five crabbies joined our family about one month ago. Thankfully, they are all still alive and well despite Sydney's constant handling. After some online researching I found a gentleman in the Florida Keys who creates hermit cages just like the one my grandpa built for me. The crabs were happy to leave behind their makeshift house; the top to my Tupperware cake taker and climb the walls of their new breezy Florida style home. To spoil them even more, Grandma Pam shipped several pounds of beach sand up to us. These crabs are living the good life. Well, as good as it can get for a Caribbean Crab in Canton, Ohio.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

First Day Of Preschool

Andrew was very excited about his first day of school. I don't normally like to make predictions but I have a feeling he is going to be a great student. He is very eager to learn.

For the first day they had a shorten class where both parents and students could attend. Andrew marched right in and up to the teacher, Mrs Mazzaferri. She asked what his name he replied, Andrew. She asked if he knew her name, and he proudly replied, Miss Ferry. She chuckled.

We explored the classroom, bathroom, played in the kitchen, water table and train table before gathering for circle time. The circle quickly revealed that Andrew was one of only two boys in the class plus ten girls. Our little ladies man will have no problem with that!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Please help!

This year I am serving as president of Friends of Adoptive Families. We are a non profit organization made up of adoptive parents who are committed to improving the lives of orphaned children. I am organizing an Evening at the Races event on Saturday, October 4th and need your help! If you are in the Cleveland area and able to attend please please join us. I would love to have a big table cheering on our favorite horses. If you cannot attend you can still support our cause by purchasing a race horse, program ad or making a donation.

I got involved with FAF several years ago shortly after Andrew joined our family. I was looking for a way to give back to his orphanage. Since then I have been grateful of all the opportunities FAF has given me to visit his orphanage and give back to all this children still waiting.

Our wishlist is always long but this year we hope to raise funds to help medically fragile children receive corrective surgeries and reduce their adoption costs in hopes it will reduce their wait time for a forever family. And continue suppling orphanages with basic need items and playgroup equipment.

If you have a moment check out our website

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

1st Grade

Sydney left on the bus as a first grader today. Scoring a nice teacher, Mrs Melert and having best friend Kate in her class seemed to ease any fears she had. She said the best part was riding the bus, 2 recesses and the french fries at lunch. However, I packed her lunch. I peeked in her wallet and sure enough the emergency lunch money I gave her with explicit instructions was gone, along side it, the lunch box with her now warm smooshed up lunch still inside. She says she forgot she packed!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Surgery Day

Pre Surgery

We arrived at Akron Children's Hospital at 8:30 AM this morning. Dr. Milo was running ahead of schedule so we buzzed right through the check in process. A child life specialist then came by to talk with us. She showed Andrew the hair nets, masks and oxygen masks he would see in surgery. She asked him to come along with her to pick out a smell for his anesthesia mask. He happily took her hand and headed down the hall. They returned with some strawberry scented chap stick. This simple task reinforced to Andrew that the staff would bring him back to us. She rubbed the chapstick on the inside of his anesthesia mask giving a sweet smell, then attached a balloon to one valve asked him to take a deep breath in then out to inflate the balloon, which he did. She told us they will ask him to repeat this task back in the OR and add a little anesthetic gas to the mix. Genius!

Andrew in recovery

About 30 minutes later we were called back to recovery. Andrew did great! He was crabby and very floppy when we arrived but we immediately got to hold him. Just like his sleep test he was obsessed with the red pulse ox light and begged to have it off. Once it was removed he moved the focus to his IV. But, he would have to tolerate it for another four hours till we were discharged. Overall he did very well and had three Popsicles and some juice before we left.

So far day one went better than expected. He slept for a couple hours, had noodles and applesauce for dinner and a Popsicle and jello for dessert. Hopefully, he will sleep comfortably through the night.

A big thank you to everyone at Children's for making everything stress free. And to everyone who has called with well wishes. And Grandma Franny & the Napholz's for the gifts.

Right before discharge

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cindy's Wedding

Cindy Sekula, a dear old friend got married today. Congrats Cindy & Corey. Thank you so much for inviting our family. This was the first time we have taken both kids to a wedding and we had a blast. They must get their dancing legs from Matt because they were ripping up the dance floor.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Noah's Lost Ark

As most of you may know I am a sucker for animals, especially those of the African plain. Thanks to my friend Angel, we learned about an animal sanctuary not far from our home; Noah's Lost Ark. This non breeding facility is dedicated to providing a permanent safe haven for unwanted and abused exotic animals. I was suspicious at first that a back yard facility could provide a safe, caring environment for these magnificent animals but was very pleased to see their animals looked well cared for, healthy & happy. My mom & I talked sweetly to a resting bison named Elroy, who then took an interest in us. He made his way over to a feed bucket and began head butting it. Following his direction we tossed in a handful of feed and sure enough he gobbled it up and head butted the bucket again. What a charmer! He suckered us right in and over and over we tossed in the feed until the next victim came along.

Noah's Lost Ark has a large population of big cats, leopards, tigers and lots of lions each with their own sad story. A big male lion named Hawk make our entire trip. Unprompted, Hawk emerged from his shade cover and for 2 minutes serenaded us all with his roar. What a remarkable experience, I have heard lions roar in Africa but only from some distance, never within 10 feet. Wow, no wonder a male lion's roar can be heard up to 5 miles away. It was a sound that penetrated your rib cage and make everyone in the area stop and take notice.

Anyone looking for an educational animal experience I would highly recommend, Noah's Lost Ark.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Andrew's ENT Visit

We had our appointment with Ear Nose & Throat Specialist, Dr Milo today. He was very personable. Andrew opened right up when Dr Milo said he needed to look for Mater in his ears and Lighting McQueen in his nose. He knew exactly what three year old boys like. When Andrew opened up his mouth Dr Milo exclaimed "Holy tonsils Batman". Those need to come out. On the same 1-4 scale the pulmonologist used Andrew's are now a four. The doctor compared their size & consistency to meatballs. No wonder he is having trouble breathing & swallowing food.

We also lucked out and Andrew had one of his many nose bleeds while we were there. So while Andrew is under anesthesia Dr Milo will also cauterize some of the blood vessels in his nose to help prevent those.

Andrew is booked for surgery at Akron Children's Hospital on August 22nd.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Andrew Update

Lots of you have been asking about the results of Andrew's sleep test. We met with the pulmonologist and the test result show he does indeed stop breathing while he is sleeping but not long enough to be classified as sleep apnea. Since his symptoms are still disrupting his sleep we opted to follow up with an ear, nose and throat specialist. We have an appointment with Dr Milo of Akron ENT next week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Makin' Jam

My mom and I took the kids out to Walnut Drive Gardens in Suffield to pick raspberries. In all we picked about 10 pounds of red, black and purple raspberries. Yummo! The kids really enjoyed themselves and even followed directions not to eat the berries before weigh in; mommy didnt. :)

We froze a couple pounds and made the rest into jam. Ummmmmm!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vacation Wrap Up

After departing the Bradenton Beach area we headed north. Stopping off at Downtown Disney for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Then hit the Goofy Candy Shop where Sydney was selected as "Chef of the Day". Dressed in an apron & hat she got to select and decorate specialty treat. Disney staff really goes out of their way to make kids feel special. Syd chose the chocolate covered rice krispie. They announced her name and where she was from then brought over a tray of toppings for her to chose from.

Soon we were back on the road headed north of Atlanta to meet up with my cousin Natalie. She also has a daughter named Sydnee who is only a couple weeks older than our Sydney. We get together a couple times a year and the girls have a great time. This time we rented a cabin together in the mountains of Helen, GA a German village along the Chatahoochie River. The highlight was "Tubin the Hooch". For $3.00 you get a hot pink inter tube and a bus ride up the mountain. Then you take a 3 hour float back to town down the Chatahoochie River. I wish I had pictures but I didnt want to risk waterlogging my camera. Our four tubes were tethered together which caused us to get hung up on rocks & beaver dams, but we had a great time and workout. Sydney was very tentative as usual. Andrew was so comfortable he slept for about 45 minutes.

Wow! boy has Andrew's swimming skills improved during our vacation. He was a fish before and now he's a dolphin. He went from swimming assisted to swimming alone across the pool. He was so excited to show off for his swim teacher today.