Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Philly : Day 3

My last full day in Philadelphia was the day I had saved for the historic "stuff".

Last night we went to the casino night put on by Mr. Wiedz' convention. It was really fun. The convention gave us each "$2000" to play with. After an evening of playing black jack, poker or other casino games you used the money to buy raffle tickets and put them into bowls for the different prizes the sponsors had supplied. There was a lot of prizes, I put in for gas cards and Macy's gift cards. I didn't win but we were there until 11:30pm so it was a late night.

So after sleeping in for my last morning I got down to the Phlash trolley and rode to the Independence Visitors Center area. My first stop was the National Constitution Center.

I had gotten a brochure about the center one of my first days here and thought it looked like the one thing I'd like to spend money doing. If you're ever in the Philadelphia area I totally recommend the Constitution Center. Part of the $12 admission was the "Liberty Ring" show. The show was wonderful! I was teary by the end just from the power of it all.

Part of The National Constitution Center is the Signers Hall, life-size bronze statues of the Constitution signers.

One of my favorite groupings was the dissenters. There is a note on their table that says "dissent is an honorable American tradition". I really liked that part.
The hall of flags was also really great.
After The National Constitution Center I met Mr. Wiedz and we went on to see the Liberty Bell. The whole Liberty Bell Center is really well put together and it really leads up to seeing the bell nicely. We both enjoyed the Liberty Bell.
We walked around a bit, seeing old buildings, the new Quaker meeting house, the burial spot of Benjamin Franklin and such.

We went on the free tour of the US Mint which was neat. They weren't actually working the machines which would have been better and there is only one path to take through the building so that once you start you just keep walking and walking until you're done. It got a little long and a little stuffy but it was free and a fun thing to see.
Another tall building because every time we see them we think the kids would think it is cool.
I disappear again tomorrow. Back home again with no Internet access.

we are really missing the kids and can't wait to get home. It will be a long trip back. We have to leave the hotel at 3:45am and fly most of the day but we are really to be home!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Philly : Day 2

Today I had a relaxing day. After sleeping in I went for a walk to the Rittenhouse District, which I thought would be a cool boutique-y district but it wasn't. It had a nice park but not very many shops that I was interested in. I had seen an ad for a needlepoint store which I was hoping to go to but, of course, it was closed. My luck!

I had lunch at the same place as yesterday. Another delicious slice of pizza!

After lunch I walked down to Antiques Row but was again a little disappointing. Another GREAT park which I sat and had a chat with a great friend and made some lists and jotted down some thoughts. But no antique shops that I was interested in.

A long walk back to find protesters outside the convention center near our hotel. President Obama was on his way today to an event in the convention center and my guess is that protesters show up every place he does.

We even watched the motorcade arrive from our hotel window.

We walked the LONG walk to "Jim Steaks" for Philly Cheesesteaks on the recommendation of a friend. I wasn't interested in the cheesesteak but Mr. Wiedz enjoyed his. Another LONG walk back to the hotel then we changed and went to the casino night that his convention put on It was really fun although we didn't win any of the raffle prizes.

Tomorrow is the Liberty Bell and all the other historic tour stuff. I'm really looking forward to it and starting to really miss my kids. The pictures below I took mostly for their benefit. We don't see big buildings, police just standing waiting to be helpful, motorcades or cheesesteaks where we're from.

::big buildings
:: our hotel
:: ornate Chinatown arch
:: police waiting and watching the area
:: President motorcade, the closest to any President Mr. Wiedz and I have ever been
:: cool police motorcycles that were part of the motorcade
:: protesters
:: protesters
:: Mr. Wiedz' dinner, Philly cheesesteak and St. Pauli Girl beer
:: worth the walk
:: on the way back we stumbled onto Washington Square and found the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was hoping to see this and was glad that we stumbled upon it as I wouldn't have found it otherwise.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Philly : Day 1

Did you miss me?

We're still without internet at home. But, I'm not at home so I told #1 I would post on my blog and while she's at Grammie's she could check it and see what I'm up to.

Mr. Wiedz came to Philadelphia for a conference and we used his frequent flyer miles from his old job to get me a "free" ticket to join him.

He's busy in classes and seminars all day but today (after sleeping in) I went and met him for lunch at Reading Terminal Market where we had delicious Italian food for really cheap! I/We'll be back everyday!

After lunch he went back to the conference and I took a walk down Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art which was closed (because it was Monday) but there are so many great things to see on the walk. On the way I stopped at the Logan Square, Philadelphia Free Library, and Elkins Oval.

By the time I was done I was TIRED and would have had a LONG walk to the hotel had I not found the Phash trolley. Only $2 and it took me everywhere I wanted to see and got me back to a closer walk to the hotel. Tomorrow I'll be riding it again!

Mr. Wiedz and I went to dinner at "hole in the wall" famous 5 Guys Burgers. It was as awesome as the recommendations said it would be.

#1 asked for pictures of the tall buildings, flowers and our hotel room. Tomorrow I'll take better pictures of the actual tall buildings found in this big city and of the outside of our hotel.

Tomorrow I plan on going to Rittenhouse Square and Antiques Row.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ER trip #2

Tonight was #4's turn.

Playing tackle football with his brothers, #4 got the ball and quickly got tackled. Not normally a problem but this tackle was right onto a rock which either went through his lip or made him bite through his lip. Either way, Mr. Wiedz took him to the ER. 4 hours, a couple hundred dollars and some glue later they're on their way home.

Poor guy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

She's Eight

Eight years ago we welcomed our wonderful #1 to our family. To say we were ready would have been an understatement, we'd been waiting and wishing and crying and hoping and praying for over 2 years by the time she came. But to say we were amazed at the love we felt, amazed at how tired we were, amazed at how unequipped we felt for the job would have also been accurate.

Mr. Wiedz and I had moved to central California right after finding out we were expecting #1 in the winter of 2000. Mr. Wiedz worked his dream job as an assistant golf pro at Pebble Beach Golf Links and I had a job also working for the resort in the reservations department. We'd found a great doctor who didn't mind that our insurance wouldn't start until middle of the way through my pregnancy and did all the birth preparation classes and hospital tours. We were ready.

Grammie (my mom) decided she just couldn't stand to possibly be there in time so she flew down about a week before my due date. We had a fun couple of days showing mom around before my doctor's appointment on Friday. At that appointment the doctor stripped my membranes and said "see you this weekend". After that we stepped up our preparations a notch.We had the car seat installed at a car dealership, bought window screens, went out to lunch and made sure my hospital bag was packed. Mom treated me to a pedicure at the Pebble Beach Spa while Mr. Wiedz hit the actual Pebble Beach Links. He thought it would be awesome to get to say he was golfing on Pebble Beach when I called to tell him I was in labor.

At the end of my pedicure (4PM) I felt a contraction. When we paid I felt another one. At the car, there was another. Mom noticed at that point and we started keeping track. We called Mr. Wiedz awhile later when the contractions weren't stopping although they were still 12 minutes apart and so there was no reason for him to come home yet. Mr. Wiedz returned after a fun afternoon on the golf course and we spent the rest of the evening going on walks, resting, wandering around, breathing and anticipating. At 4:15AM we headed to the hospital. My doctor came at 8AM and broke my water. I spent the rest of the afternoon in labor. And at 4:08PM Saturday the 7th of July, 2001 our sweet #1 came into the world!

Mr. Wiedz and I are always suggesting that we bottle the kids. Not let them grow anymore. Keep them at this perfect age! It has become a great family joke. I have loved #1 at 7, she's so much fun. She talks SO much (though she comes by it so naturally she can't be blamed), has great ideas (she'd make a great only child so she could execute all the ideas that take too much time or effort to do with all these siblings), she tries to be helpful and kind but these little brothers are so much a thorn in her side at times that she really just needs to learn to trust the Lord to cultivate that kindness and patience in her life.
Eight should be great! I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The first of many, I'm sure!

This past weekend we went camping at a cabin Mr. Wiedz has been helping his best friend build for the past year. The cabin's final inspection was coming up and the guys had a couple outside things to do but, inside was safe for kids to be in the cabin. The loft had a railing. The tools were put away. The floor was done. It was warm. So the inaugural family weekend came and we packed up for a fun weekend in the woods. I'll blog about the actual trip later.
Today I have a different story.

After we got to the cabin on Friday we played outside, exploring the surrounding woods. I'd gotten myself HOOKED on the "Twilight" series and was into book 2 for our drive. So I mostly followed the boys around with my book and a camp chair so I could watch them and read at the same time. About 11:30-12:00 I decided that since it was trying to rain so much the boys and I would go in and I'd see if a bottle would get #4 to fall asleep.
I brought the Lego's in for the big boys (#1 was riding with our friend's wife and daughter after swim lessons that morning so she wasn't there yet) and went back out to get the milk from the cooler. When I came back in #2 was on the floor in the hall screaming. Now it is important to realize that I often come back into a room to one of my children screaming. #2 in particular. It is his natural first reaction to scream like the devil is chasing him when one of his siblings does something to him. For all I could have known #3 could have smacked him.

It didn't take long for me to come to the conclusion that #2 had fallen out of the loft and landed 9 FEET below on the floor.

After about an hour of asking him to move each finger, wiggle his toes, searching him head to toe, getting him to calm down and having many discussions about going to the Burns ER we decided that his arm was the most hurt but that it seemed sprained or bruised deeply. I made him a sling from a t-shirt and gave him Tylenol.

After a few more days of camping we came home and #2 was still in a lot of pain. We noticed that he couldn't do certain things like pull up his pants or put on his shoes. We decided that it was necessary to get some x-rays of his arm and really know what was wrong.

I took him to the Dallas ER and after x-rays and a short visit from the doctor we had this.

And yesterday a visit to our family doctor, the result:

Both of the bones in his wrist are cracked. 4 weeks in a cast. Our first broken bones!

We are thanking God everyday that He spared us from all the other injuries that could have been the result from that fall. The Dr. just shook his head over and over. The Dr. also told me to keep #2 from running, riding his bike, jumping, or anything else that could cause him to fall. I reminded him that we were talking about a 5 year old boy in the summer! He just smiled! How nice.

His arm is doing well and the pain is gone. He's already complaining about the cast and wanting it off. He also asks a lot for toothpick so he can reach the itchy place.

It is going to be a long 4 weeks.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I know I have a blog.

I'm just too tired.


I promise.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Always a duck!

Remember this:
This weekend was the culmination of all the work, and stress, and late nights, and cranky days of homework.
Mr. Wiedz has three more classes to take (1 on campus, 1 independent study, and 1 on-line) but walked in the graduation ceremonies on Saturday.

We had a nice day celebrating and taking in all the moments that this meant to our family. The Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM) program ceremony started at 10AM. It was a simple time with a few comments from the professors that run that department and all the graduates stood to be recognized in their program. The rain threatened to make the ceremony very quick but it held off. It made the air feel even more special, the grass and the moss a little greener and the trees drip.

After that ceremony we walked to a campus pizza place that Mr. Wiedz had wanted to get back to. We were the first ones there which was AWESOME and the kids could run around and play video games and we didn't have to worry about other people. Lunch was wonderful too. Mr. Wiedz remembered Pegasus Pizza from when we were in college in the early 90's and it was as delicious as he remembered. I had wanted to have a picnic on the campus somewhere but this was so much better.

After lunch we started walking back toward where the next ceremony was to take place. We first walked to the Knight Library and showed the older kids what a beautiful college library looked like. I even showed the boys the card catalog because I think it is so cool they still have them set up. The smell of a card catalog is undeniable.

The School of Architecture and Allied Arts held their ceremony and the sun had come out! #4 took his nap after we got our seats and were waiting for the ceremony (an hour!). I held him across my legs and held a scarf up to shade his face from the bright sun. It was a short nap but any amount of sleep I figured was a gift! Mr. Wiedz and all the graduates marched in a were seated by program. There was a couple speeches then they called each graduate across the stage and gave them their diploma cover and shook hands. After all the graduates were announced they moved their tassels and were graduated!

It was all so fabulous to witness. Such a big deal to be a part of. Finishing his degree has been a life-goal for Mr. Wiedz and he got to participate in the ceremonies which really brought the whole thing together. I'm proud of him for sticking with it (this last term almost got the best of him and us) and excited about what he can and will do in the future. He can do anything that he puts his mind to.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some tresures

We've been finding all sorts of great bugs/critters around lately. #2 is chief critter finder. He also wants to know about the bugs/critters he finds. We've been using google and wiki to find information with little success. He really needs a field guide. I remember having butterfly and seashell identification books when I was little. They were pocket size and so beautifully illustrated. That's what #2 needs only for bugs with legs, caterpillars and snakes and slugs.

:: periwinkles found at the creek

:: some green catterpillar we couldn't identify

:: a slug I found on the deck the other night and photographed to show

:: a fuzzy catterpillar
:: another fuzzy catterpillar found at the lake on our trip to Florence

I need this one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Reading

Today I pulled out our summer books for our basket.

Quite awhile ago I read a Soulemama post about having seasonal books arranged in a basket. I store our books between seasons so it is a fun surprise and like finding a treasure when it's time to get them out again.

When I gathered the summer books I realized that our pile is very skimpy.

Here's the titles we have so far:
  • Graduation Day Is Here by Grace Maccarone
  • The 10 Best Things About My Dad by Christine Loomis
  • My Daddy and Me by Amy Sklansky
  • America the Beautiful

See. Skimpy.

Please leave some recommendations in the comments. I'd love to pump up our summer reading.

We are going to the library today and I'm armed with a list I made from some of my fave blogger's lists. And, I hadn't thought of this before, I'll be taking along the Sonlight catalog I got to look for some titles from their lists for #2 and #1.

#2 is really starting to take off in his reading and I'm hoping to use the summer months to get him to a little more independent stage. If anyone has grade-school aged kids Barnes & Noble is offering a free book for their summer reading program. #1 is going to work on that, she's already finished a Nancy Drew book (I haven't even read any of these) and just started The Boxcar Children last night (be still my heart, I loved that book when I was her age)!

Monday, May 25, 2009

On the home stretch

Mr. Wiedz is just about finished with this term's work load. He's taking 16 credits which is a lot of work to juggle between his other responsibilities.

He gets help from everyone!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Sandbox

When I was pregnant with #1 my parents got her one of those covered turtle sandboxes as a baby shower present. For the past seven years we've used the turtle more as a swimming pool, filling it with water or letting the rain fill it up. The kids have filled it with dirt and mud.

I have a vivid memory of #2 sitting in the murky water that the turtle was filled with a couple years ago. My cousin, Scary, and I walked up to see what he was up to. He reached his hands out of the water to show Scary his pool buddies, worms.

This spring I've wanted to get sand for the turtle so my last visit to Walmart I picked up a couple of bags.

The turtle sandbox has become a favorite hangout of all the boys. The socks, shoes, pant cuffs and my floors and laundry will never be the same.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My big embroidery project

When I finished the quilt for the school I started a new project for our mother's day presents.

A few months ago I followed links from one of my favorite blogs to an article in, Mothering Magazine, highlighting her new book with a link to a sneak peak at a project from the book, family portrait bookmarks. I showed the kids and suggested these would make a nice present for the grandmas for mother's day. Back then they decided first we needed to make on for Uncle Bill first since he was going to Iraq. (I posted about that here.)

So after the school quilt I got to work on the kid's drawings of their grandmothers. I got finished the day we left for Mother's Day weekend. The grandmothers enjoyed their gifts and the kids thought that their drawings turned out good too.

The instructions called for using ribbon as the tab but my supply of ribbon is limited so I crafted tabs from fabric scraps I had and I loved the result. Don't tell the kids but #2's are my favorite, how he filled the whole square and all the details of the hair and the fingers. #4 doesn't write or draw so I did his with just the grandma's names. #1's were smaller and therefore embroidered really quickly which I loved and she was very specific about the color of each element, I can't wait for her to lose her fear of needles so she can do her own embroidery. I helped #3 draw his figures which were simple stick figures with big smiles and lots of spiky hair.

A fun project. And a great gift!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A fun time and meeting goals

We went to Rhody Days in Florence this past weekend.

I have many memories of attending Rhody Days myself as a child and I've always wanted to make a tradition of Rhody Days for my kids.

Mr. Wiedz isn't really a parade and carnival kind of guy. So Rhody Days isn't on his list of must dos for a year. Neither is the Independence Day parade or Dallas' Summerfest. I drag him to the Polk County Fair every year and we don't even discuss the State Fair.

This year I made a goal to run the 5K at Rhody Days, called of course the Rhody Run.

When a carnival and parade include some exercise Mr. Wiedz changes his mind.

We had a great time in Florence for Rhody Days. #1 and #2 didn't have school on Friday so we tried to get out of the house early. 8:00 stretched to 9:30 but eventually we were on the road and made it to Florence in the early afternoon. My cousin, Scary, took #1 and got her daughter out of school for the rest of the afternoon. After some hanging out and enjoying being out of the car Scary and her husband, C$, treated our family to a trip to the carnival. The kids had so much fun riding the rides and enjoying some cotton candy.

After a pizza dinner, some Wii and old-school-Mike-Tyson-punch-out-Nintendo everyone was in bed.

Saturday morning Mr. Wiedz and I headed out for the Rhody Run while Scary and C$ watched all 6 kids.
Awhile back I started running/walking on my treadmill and using a 12 week walk/run program to increase my ability to run. I abandoned the run/walk program awhile back because I just wanted to run. After I stopped using the program I would just run for 15 minutes. Then I noticed I was really close to a mile so I ran a mile, then I went a little faster and noticed I was close to running for 20 minutes so I changed my plan and ran for 20 minutes. I kept doing that until I was consistently running 2 miles. During that time I decided it is always nice to have a goal so I figured I could find a 5K to walk this spring then maybe by the end of the summer I would find one to run. When I shared the plan with Mr. Wiedz he thought I should just set the goal of running one this spring. I googled 5K Oregon and found the Rhody Run. So started my training with a date of May 16th.

My fabulous neighbor happens to be a runner so she and I started running on weekends near our homes. We found a place we could park on a not-so-busy-road. From where we parked to the end of the road is 1.5 miles so there and back to the car equals 3 miles, the length of a 5K. For all of March and much of April we ran those 3 miles every Saturday.

May 16th came and my goal became finishing the Rhody Run without stopping.

I finished without stopping in 37 minutes 13 seconds.

To finish out the weekend, Mr. Wiedz and I returned to Scary's house, showered and got ready for the day. We made a picnic lunch and went to the park. After lunch we watched A in the kids parade. It was a perfect parade to attend, lasted about 15 minutes, 1 handful of candy and we were out of there. We returned to the house and laid #4 down for his nap. When he woke up we went to a lake just south of Florence and played in the water, dug in the sand, played Frisbee and relaxed. BBQ dinner when we got back. And peaceful sleep after a full and fabulous day.

I think we have a new tradition.