Friday, February 29, 2008

One day down

The men returned from their testing around 3pm yesterday both feeling very good about their performance! This was fantastic news.

Unfortunately, Tiffany, William, and I were unable to say the same thing about how we were feeling. The three of us are significantly under-the-weather. We were really a site for sore eyes. We went to mall for a bit and to Target, but ended up just collapsing at the hotel until the guys got home, all nursing some sort of head cold. I can't remember the last time I got sick, and by golly, I am just not good at it.

Since the guys got home while it was still light out, we decided to head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Matt & Tiff have never been out east before so we really wanted to show them the Parkway. JB and I spent our honeymoon in a cabin on the Blue ridge. In addition, JB was born not too far from here! (How's that for trivia?) We've also returned to the area numerous times for Michelle's wedding, Elizabeth's wedding, and a cabin that JB's father does some work at. So we are good friends with this area.

However, the Blue ridge is closed due to bad weather!! Can you believe it? We still got to go on some pretty roads, but it just isn't the same.

After touring a bit before the sun went down, we found a cozy little Middle Eastern restaurant downtown. There was a live belly dancer performing which completely captured Williams' attention throughout all of dinner. I took pictures and will definitely post them when I return home and have access to my picture loader. This restaurant was a good choice for me as my appetite has been pretty crummy. Nice warm lamb and rice and pita bread was perfect!

This morning, the boys are off again for what should only be a few hours of testing. We are then hoping to get to the Biltmore Estate for the afternoon. Hopefully we will all start to feel better to enjoy the rest of our vacation.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's snowing!

Well folks, we have successfully made it to North Carolina. It was about a nine hour drive on Wednesday, and we arrived to a light snow which progressively turned into a good little bit by morning. It was a very pleasant drive with good weather, good traffic, and good company.

It was also a drive that got progressively colder -- dropping to as low as 22 degrees. Now, 22 degrees makes me think two things. The first is that, while everyone is complaining how cold it is, only JB and I know how much colder it could actually be. While we were cold, we were blessed it was only 22. The other thing we realized was: we are SO GLAD WE LIVE IN FLORIDA now. We just are not missing dashing from car to restaurant back to car to hotel at all.

This was William's first snow. They tried to take a picture of him in the snow but little William wanted nothing to do and clung fiercely to daddy as if to say, "Are you nuts? It's wet and cold down there!"

JB and Matt shared a hotel room last night to make sure that they got a good night's sleep for their test. I slept next door with Tiffany and William which was a good plan since little Will decided that 4am was a good time to get up and play. That wouldn't have been much fun had Daddy been sharing a room with him the night before his test.

The guys are currently about midway through day one of their test. We believe tomorrow will be about a half days worth of testing. Tif and I went and roamed the mall and Target, but to be honest, no one is feeling that great. I think we all have acquired the same little head cold that makes us just want to chill around the hotel.

If you think of it, please say a prayer for Matt and JB -- that their test would go flawlessly!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New adventures abound

Okay, trivia time.

Which of the following is a true statement:
A. I have spent the day with two dogs.
B. JB helped a turtle cross the road this past weekend.
C. I just found out I have another grant due in a week.
D. Both A & B
E. Both A & C
F. All of the above.

Do you have your answer? Scroll down to see if you are correct.

The correct answer is "D". If you guessed "C" or "E", I just want to say "ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?" I hope to NEVER do a grant again for crying out loud!

But . . . I have spent the day with two dogs. More on that in a second.

In addition, this past weekend, JB helped a turtle cross the street. He actually pulled it by the tail (so it wouldn't bite him). It was an alligator snapping turtle. Here is a picture of the turtle (not the exact turtle of course).

All right, so now that we are done with turtles, let's talk about dogs. Today, after I dropped JB off at the hospital, I stopped at a stop sign. Suddenly (pause for dramatic effect ...) a little Jack Russell came bolting underneath the car and then stood up and put his paws on the hood! I opened the door, and he came bolting to me and jumped into my arms.

Now what?

I put him in the passenger seat -- at which point Scrubs jumped up in the front to see the new addition. I then started riding through the neighborhood. After I stopped at a few houses I realized that this was going to be an uphill battle so I went back to my house and called the Vet. They said to bring him in to see if he was microchipped. Sure -- I have tons of spare time. I'll get right on that. Actually, I have been meaning to go there for quite some time to get Scrubs "registered" on base so I actually killed two birds with one stone.

So, I bring little "Jack" in. No microchip. They tell me my only choice is to call the humane society off base. So I call the humane society not happy about this option. I hear they give them ten days before they put them down. Oh man. The humane society tells me that a little dog has just been reported missing fitting this little guy's description. They give me the number. I call it. Answering machine. By noon, I am worried it's the wrong number. If you were missing a dog, wouldn't you sit by the phone -- especially if you had reported him missing at the humane society? Nope, they tell me. That's the number.

To make a long story short, a woman finally called me around 6:30pm. Did I have her dog? Yes I did! Well, the humane society had written her number down incorrectly. She tracked me down by calling the wrong number they gave me and calling that number and talking to the woman I had left a bunch of messages for. Yikes! Turns out, the dog's "daddy" had a Saturn just like mine which is why he was so willing to jump inside.

Anyways, "Jack" as we affectionately called him has now gone home. But here are some photos from our day as a family of three.

Jack loved peanut butter as much as Scrubs!

No heart nose here!

Look how little he is next to Scrubs as they share a water bowl?

I brought out Scrubs' puppy kennel to keep Jack in when I had to leave (and when the two of them together was getting to be too much.) Look how little that kennel is!!! Look how big Scrubs is now.

I am so happy that I found Jack's owner before we had to leave tomorrow. I had made back-up plans with our new neighbor to take over keeping him until the owner showed up. I did NOT want to bring him to the humane society.

Other adventures today included lunch with Joia and her friends from Canada: Cheryl and Kristin. I "met" Cheryl through cyberspace as she blog hopped from Joia's blog to mine. It was wonderful to meet in person. You can see a picture of our day by blog hopping to Joia's blog.

We also went to dinner with the Sevdy's. They are such a fun family with three of the most adorable little boys ever (all under three!) They took us to Godfather's pizza for a $5.50 buffet! What a deal!

All right, time to get ready for my trip. I plan to bring my computer so you will hopefully hear from me from the road. But no promises. It's a vacation after all!

Update on Sarah

I wanted to provide everyone with an update on Sarah. Sarah is the daughter of my friend Beth, and I had asked people who read my blog to pray for her a week or so ago due to a tumor they found on her brain. I have received an update from Beth, and since many of you have emailed me asking for an update, I wanted to share what Beth told me today via email. I hope I get this all correct. Forgive me if I mix up any details.

The tumor appears to be benign. Apparently they are 95% sure that is the case. The tumor is in the left ventricle. They have decided to proceed with surgery to remove it due to the fact that it is currently small and manageable now but could grow and become more difficult to do surgery on in the future. As it grows, it could also impact her more as it touches on parts of the brain. They are not foreseeing any complications with the removal of the tumor. Sarah will most likely have the surgery next week. I will, of course, keep you updated. Please keep their family in your prayers as Sarah will have to stay in the hospital for a number of days in recovery. Also, mostly pray for Byron and Beth as I am sure this is harder on them than on Sarah. The great news is that because of Sarah's seemingly incidental fall, they found a tumor that may have continued to grow. I don't really see that as a coincidence!

Thanks everyone! They covet your prayers considerably!!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Insert a fork folks ...

11.42 hours of work later, the grant is, at least we believe ... done.

We submit it to Mayo, but the grant gods at Mayo have two weeks before they give the final nod of approval. Therefore, we could be told more work is needed. I pray that is not the case.

Unfortunately, work is far from done. I have gotten behind on RLSF the last few days due to grant. In addition, my boss at Mayo has a presentation due first thing tomorrow morning. We will be working on this before and after dog class tonight.

But, the fork has been inserted.

JB made steaks and salad for dinner to celebrate. Hip-hip-horray!

No fork in me yet

It's Monday morning, 6:45am. JB was on call all day yesterday. Other than my time with Josh and Sarah on Saturday, I have spent the entire weekend working on the grant. Technically, the dumb thing isn't due until today. We were planning on having it done on Friday since my boss left for Washington D.C. yesterday. However, work away we still did. And I'll probably be working on it all day today.

I did take a break yesterday to take Scrubs to the dog park and then go on a run. Poor Scrubs had no idea why I made him run right after he had an exhausting one hour romp with a blood hound at the dog park. (I tried to explain to him the concept of being "stressed out" but he didn't seem to really get it.)

I also picked up Subway and watched the beginning of the Oscars with JB in the hospital. Oh, and by the way, according to the Subway "sandwich artist", I "smells good." I had just taken a shower before I picked up my food so as he was making my food he told me "You smells good. I smells like sandwich." (He was Russian I think.) Quite funny! I had a good laugh at that.

Oh, another thing I took a break for on Sunday. I went to church. I helped Brittney with the 2-3 year old class as her husband Clay was post-call. I actually had a good time with these ten youngsters. This is the first time I have worked in a Sunday school class since before our infertility diagnosis. I used to do it all the time when I was a teenager and at our church in Bowling Green. However, we stayed far away from the kids' wing in Minnesota. It was good to jump back in and help color and eat animal crackers. I'm still not in to helping kids blow their noses. I was glad Brittney was okay with that concept.

We are getting ready to head to North Carolina with Matt and Tiffany on Wednesday morning so JB and Matt can take their boards. I also have dog class tonight. Lots going on. Better get to it.

P.S. I know she doesn't read my blog right now because they are internet-less, but happy birthday Mom K.!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Our Saturday in pictures

Finally! Nice weather! So, time to tour our beautiful home! Here we are with one of the planes at the Air Force museum.

Following a stop by the planes (a place Josh informed us he could stay at all day (he loves history), it was time to go to the beach. Here are some snapshots from a beautiful Sunday on the water.

Okay, following the beach, it's time to head to "The Track" so Tyler could ride some go-carts and other rides. Here's some glimpses into that part of our day.

Following that, we ate some lunch at Chick-fil-A and then rented a boat on base. We tried something new. I went to the house and played with Scrubs for a bit while JB and the gang went to get the boat and then picked me up by our house! How cool is that? I just waded out to the water and got on. Here are some pics from the boat including Sarah getting SOAKED by a huge wave. We also saw some dolphin (but I couldn't capture them on film).

Aaaah, time to relax! While Mom and Dad changed clothes, I hung out on the swing with the boys. By 3pm, the Huismans were on their way back to Tennessee, and we were on our way to the dog park with our patient pup who was in his kennel most of the day.

Despite two days of rain, we made the most of our Saturday. It was so wonderful to see Josh, Sarah, and the boys and dream of days when we will live across the street from each other again!

Rain rain go away

Folks, I'm not sure I have ever seen this much rain -- even in south Florida. It has rained, and I am not exaggerating here, non-stop since Friday morning. Actually, scratch that, the rain finally did stop last night around midnight but for the two days Josh and Sarah and the boys have been in Florida, there has been a continual rain with very few, if any, let-ups. The rain is also tricky for Scrubs as he has to go to the bathroom, but when he gets outside, turns out and comes back in. We have to push him out there nearly a dozen times before he will finally acquiesce and go!

Anyways, yesterday, while JB and I were working, Josh and Sarah headed into Destin before the boys needed their naps. However, it rained so hard, they didn't even see the beach.

So yesterday, I got off at 5pm for a "quick" break from the grant. We took them to the Backporch so at least they got to see the beach from our covered little porch. Here are some pics from dinner:

I love this last picture. The captions on the picture, as Josh says, are endless. Heaven only knows what Jordan is thinking there. He has grown so much! I haven't seen him since he was two months old.

After dinner, we returned to Josh and Sarah's TLF (temporary lodging facility) for girl scout cookies and some Shrek. I had to then get back to do another grant edit. I finally finished around 10:30pm and just finished another edit this morning at 6:30am.

Right now, the weather looks clear so we are going to try to get out on the boat and to the beach! Wish us luck!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

My brain has left the building

It is now 2:08pm. My brain has officially left my body. Seriously! I am unable to think any further. I have already done nearly 9 billable hours of work, and Dr. Phil isn't even on yet. That's 3pm for all of you people that actually get dressed and drive to work. I'm still in my pajamas folks.

I plan to stop at 5pm to spend some time with Josh and Sarah and then not restart work until 2pm tomorrow so I can spend some more time with them then. Unfortunately, I thought the grant was due today at 5pm. I was wrong. It is due Monday by 5pm. So this means a half day tomorrow and full day on Sunday will likely be a true facet of my existence before we wrap this thing up. In addition, my boss is leaving Sunday evening for a major presentation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes 3 posters and 2 PowerPoint presentations. Yes, I am involved in these as well. Yikes!

Thus the reason my brain has officially left the building. I need chocolate. I would also like to get some exercise. Unfortunately, it has been raining NON-STOP since yesterday morning. Poor Josh and Sarah. What a bummer of a weekend to come into a beautiful place like Destin. I really hope we can go out on the boat tomorrow.

In other good news. I spoke with our lawyer this week. (His name is "Fritz" if you care.) I have preliminary paperwork (and, a preliminary bill :) to get things rolling for the adoption. He says that if everything goes as planned, this might be the easiest adoption he's ever done! Yipeee!

Okay, now back to find my brain . . .

They are here!

Josh with oldest son Tyler

Tyler: "Do you have a real dog that goes bark, bark?"

Not sure I can tell you how excited I am to see Josh and Sarah. Josh is my cousin. He is the son of my dad's brother Bob (who, side note, had a double wedding with my parents back in 1975.) Josh has two brothers: Jason and Justin (all three of which you can find in my blog links to the side). I actually have 15 cousins on my dad's side (13 of which are boys), but for some reason I have gotten especially close to these three. I'm not sure why. :)

No, but really, back in about 2000, Josh and Sarah, married only a year, decided to move to the Nashville, TN area. Josh is very involved in Christian music (check out his myspace for more info), and they wanted to get closer to Nashville. We were, at the time, living in Franklin, KY, which is only about 45 minutes south of Nashville, and incredibly cheaper in terms of cost of living. (We were renting a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, brand new duplex for a mere $450 a month!)

So, Josh and Sarah ended up renting a duplex right across the street from us. Originally, they were going to get one around the block, when, at the last minute, the guy who lived across the street from us was evicted, and they moved in. This was an amazingly fun two years. Two young couples with no children and lots of freedom living right smack across the street from each other. In the beginning, Josh and Sarah didn't have a TV or a washer and dryer so they were over at our house a lot. It was great fun! Years later Sarah would send me a card reading: Remember the good ol' days when all we had to worry about was 'what is JB going to cook on Friday night?' Aaaaaahhh ....

I remember two moments in Kentucky pretty vividly. The first was the night that Josh and Sarah told us they were expecting Tyler. We celebrated that night! These were our bosom buddies going to be parents! The second was the night we told them that JB had gotten into Mayo. I remember Sarah screaming incredibly loudly. They were so excited for us, and yet I know they were also incredibly sad. (I mean, c'mon -- who wouldn't be?!)

The bad news? We were moving in May, just a few months before Tyler was born. In May of 2003, we relocated to Minnesota, and Josh and Sarah decided to return to Chicago where Josh had been offered a job as a youth pastor. However, today, they are back in Nashville, Josh a youth pastor for another church there. They have another son now, Jordan.

Anyways, so they got in last night at 5pm. They are staying a a hotel on base because Sarah is allergic to dogs. They did come over for dinner last night, and Sarah did pretty well, but we'll avoid hanging out at our house too much more after last night. Originally, I was upset that they got put in a hotel on the other side of base. But, it turns out, they are right on the water and right near a little beach. The boys also have a room with bunk beds, and they are thrilled with this.

John should get off at noon today so he is going to take them to Destin. I'll hopefully follow shortly thereafter, but with the grant, can't take any real time off.

So excited to have them here! (If you can't tell!)

P.S. Joia, I think spellchecker is working again.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The foxes hit close to home

I have been having a little trouble sleeping lately. I sleep really well until about 2:30am and then have trouble returning to sleep. So this morning at 2:30, I moved to the couch. I truly believe that change of scenery can help sleeplessness. And, after four years of insomnia, I consider myself a sleeplessness professional.

Anyways, JB took Scrubs out this morning for his early morning bathroom break. When Scrubs woke my up a few minutes later with a bark and a lick, JB informed me that my dog started his morning off with a bang.

We have observed two foxes on base for a few months now. We have seen them no less than a dozen times. We think they hunt our maniac squirrels on base. Well, you guessed it. Scrubs decided to hunt for a fox this morning.

John said all of a sudden, Scrubs took off. Bolted actually. John had no idea where he went or where he was going. He went inside to get his wallet and keys, and was headed to the car when our dear dog returned to the house, and sat down in front of our treat counter. John said it was as if he had never left at all. He obviously failed to catch the fox and instead just returned home as if he had never took off in the first place. Here I am. Back from my potty and ready for my treat.

Needless to say, we have given up trying to take him out leashless. We are just asking for trouble. It's a leash everytime now.

We are excited by Josh and Sarah's arrival around 5pm today with their two little boys: Tyler and Jordan. I wish I didn't have this dumb grant due. That's the only thing that could make my weekend better.

Sad news

One of the pilots that ejected yesterday died. You can read it here. Please pray for their family and everyone on base. This is tremendously sad for all of the base.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crash on base

In case you may not have heard, click here to read about the crash that occurred on base this afternoon. We are so thankful that both pilots are doing fine. JB was required to stay at the hospital when word of the crash broke. He ended up being able to leave around 5:30pm.

In other news, Josh and Sarah come in tomorrow! We canNOT wait to see them! It has been two years since I have seen them.

Stressed but warm

Well the bad news is, I am just really, really, really, really stressed out today. This week in general actually. Grant due in just a few days. Ugh!

The good news? The temperature indicated below is for Rochester where I no longer live.
More good news? Yesterday we got this adorable outfit in the mail from our awesome friend Rachel (and Hans too, although he probably didn't know it):

How cute is that? I especially love it being pants since I think that is one area (warmer clothes) that we are lacking in a bit.

It came with the paperwork from the state of Minnesota that Rachel took to the courthouse for me. That's one more piece down! Yay!!! I am so blessed by wonderful friends.

If you think of it, please say an extra prayer for me. I just talked to JB via email, and we are going to skip Bible Study tonight. I am just really feeling the weight of everything with work and home and whatnot.

Skimpy blogs often result during these weeks. I hope this was enough to entertain you all.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Do not assume that your little doggie, who has been doing so well coming when off leash, will do so at the moment you most want him to. Do not assume this when leaving your friend Tiffany's house after a walk. Do not decide to let him walk home off leash. Especially do not assume this when the neighbor has left his ball cap on his porch.

Do you have the image yet? Scrubs with ball cap in mouth running up and down the block. In fact, I only got him to come into the house when he could look in through the front window and see me pick up the flashlight to play with him. At that point, he came in, and I got the hat and walked it back to the neighbor's house.

(And yes, these are the new neighbors who are fairly cranky and don't seem to want anything to do with me, Scrubs, Tiffany, or any other neighbors.) At least they didn't see Scrubs take the hat or me return it, with just a bit of dog slobber included.

Just when I thought he was doing better! Ugh!

Cajun night

Here a few pictures from Cajun night, hosted by us, but cooked by Kacey and her sous-chef JB.

JB following Kacey's instructions perfectly.

Kacey with her two pots of gumbo. I thought I didn't like gumbo, but Kacey changed my mind!

JB and Kacey (with Matt and Tiffany)

JB's fellow intern Rob with wife Sarah and Della, the lone girl in the mix.

Preparing to eat!

It was a wonderful evening, and I am sure you will be able to see additional pictures on Joia's blog today so check it out. (Okay, I just checked, she already has pictures up there. So click HERE to see more pics. I love that Joia takes as many pics of Scrubs as I do. She needs a dog!!!! :)

As for me, I am, stressed out from the grant we have due. I try so hard to take each grant in stride, but when it comes to five days and counting, I start to feel the weight of these million dollar proposals. I just keep thinking that one of my errors could cost him the grant, and I have trouble sleeping or focusing on anything but the grant. I am making sure I take time to walk and do my devotions and spend time with JB. I also keep reminding myself that this will be my last grant at Mayo, since my last day is April 1st. But it isn't helping as much as I like.

Here is something that did help. A book Joan sent me: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. She sent this on December 23rd, the day, eighteen years ago, that she found out she had been chosen to adopt Brianna (who ironically, was due on the exact same day as our little XY). Here is today's passage.

You are feeling weighed down by a plethora of problems, both big and small. They seem to require more and more of you attention, but you must not give in to those demands. When the difficulties in your life feel as if they're closing in on you, break free by spending quality time with Me. You need to remember who I am in all My Power and Glory. Then, humbly bring Me your prayers and petitions; your problems will pale when you view them in the Light of My Presence. You can learn to be joyful in Me, your Savior, even in the mdist of adverse circumstances. Rely on Me, your Strength; I will make you feet like the feet of a deer, eabling you to go on the heights.

Pretty perfect, huh? If you could add me to your prayer list this week, that would be great. Also, please remember little Sarah, who has her MRI tomorrow.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Different start to the week

Monday starts with . . . JB home. It's President's Day! Another great perk of working on a military base. There are a ton of military holidays.

One of JB's fellow interns, Kacey, is going to borrow our house to make a traditional Louisiana meal this evening.

I'll update post-dinner.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Boys abound!

It is 7:45pm. Do you know where your dog is? Our dog is, well, check out the picture below. He's sleeping underneath the kitchen table, plum tuckered out.

The reason for his fatigue? Why there was too much action to take any naps today. First, Keenan came by while his mom and dad (Phil & Joia) went to a movie. Then, Tiffany and Mr. William came by as William's daddy (Matt) was on call and they didn't want to hang out all by themselves during a rain storm.

Keenan: "My Scrubs, what a long tongue you have."

Success! Everyone looking at the camera at once!

Keenan doesn't look happy here, but I promise you, he was enjoying Scrubs.

William, complete with one cool pant leg, telling Scrubs who is boss!

I love this picture of Keenan and Scrubs chilling in front of the door. They actually spent a good portion of their day both slobbering on the window.

"Don't worry Scrubs. If you get hungry, you can have some of my food. No problem dude."

Look at those fishies!

There's that tongue again.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A weekend away

More than 400 years of history

On Sept. 8. 1565, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore and named a stretch of land near the inlet in honor of Augustine, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on whose feast day - Aug. 28 - land was sighted. The location has been pinpointed in recent years by archaeologists from the University of Florida as being where the present-day Mission of Nombre de Dios and the Fountain of Youth stand, several blocks north of the City Gate and the Castillo de San Marcos.

The emphasis on "first European settlement" acknowledges that the Timucuan Indians were here first and observed Menendez and his party of about 1,500 soldiers and colonists. Since, the city has been under the governments of Spain, 1565 to 1763 and 1784-1821; Britain, 1763-1784, and United States, 1821-present. Florida became a state in 1845. It was part of the Confederacy from 1861-1862 when it returned to Union control.

St. Augustine in the late 1880s had its birth as a resort community with the arrival of Standard Oil co-founder Henry M. Flagler. He built two hotels and took over another to serve as the base of his Flagler System hotels. He founded the Florida East Coast Railway as a means of transporting guests to and from the north to his hotels in St. Augustine, Palm Beach, and Miami.

Here are some snap shots, now that we are home, from our Friday around St. Augustine. JB and I had never been here before. What a quaint, beautiful city, with as much history as is possible in the U.S.

This morning, Saturday, we were able to connect with Nicole and new fiancee Bay. Bay works at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville. This was actually where he met Nicole. Nicole was doing a rotation there, spotted him, and she asked him out. Good thing says Bay, because he would have been too shy to ever initiate a date.
They took us to a quaint breakfast joint in the heart of Jacksonville and showed us around the downtown and Mayo Clinic there. JB was very impressed with the idea of working at a Mayo that has palm trees! Especially considering there's a possibility Bay and Nicole could someday end up there.

Bay told me he'd "kill me" if I used the second picture but since he's one of the nicest guys ever, I highly doubt it. So I'll risk it and use it.

We are now back home and getting ready to head over to Tiff and Matt's for dinner. That's a good friend for you: feeding you after a trip when everyone is overwhelmed with the idea of cooking.