Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Since we moved 800 miles rather suddenly last year, we thought it would be nice this summer to take a trip back east to visit friends and family.

We drove overnight to Maryland, so it is understandable that since I had about 2 hours sleep and James less than an hour, he got to collapse first when we arrived on Friday, July 10th. But the playing with grandpa and uncle Jon was short-lived when my mom called from a Sears parking lot that she was having trouble breathing. The staff at Sears wanted to call an ambulance for her but she didn't want to go to a Baltimore hospital but rather one closer to home. So my dad and brother went and picked her up and took her to the ER where it was discovered she had blood clots in both lungs and was about as close to cardiac arrest as you can get without going into full cardiac arrest. They gave her a very powerful but very risky drug called DTP that actively broke down the clots and she was put in ICU under constant surveillance. Later in the day we all went over to the hospital and, with the exception of Thomas due to his age, visited her in the ICU. 

Saturday we had the joy of visiting with dear friends in celebration of the baptism of their newest arrival:

And Cecilia got to visit with her long-missed best friend:

 After welcoming little Sebastian to the Church, we went back to my parents' house for a family get-together. Since Thomas was born in Wisconsin, most of my family had never met him. He was a bit overwhelmed with so many new faces but he was still his usual smiley self. Here he is with his great grandmother:

 We visited with my aunts, uncles and cousins all afternoon but they did drive over to the hospital and visit my mom a half dozen or so at a time. Needless to say, by the end of the day, we were all pretty tuckered out.
While traveling, Thomas sleeps in the pack 'n play. He is a pretty good sport about it too. 
 Sunday we went to Mass and visited with Cecilia's and Felicity's godparents. It was so nice to see them again! Our kids went to a nearby park together and ate watermelon and Teresa was obsessed with trying to find their cat. We had a lovely dinner together and then had an awesome indoor snowball fight!

On Monday my best friend (and Brigid's godmother) needed someone to help watch her kids while she went to a doctor appointment and since our kids are like PB&J and we weren't doing anything else anyway, I said sure, why not. So we spent the morning at their house, all but Thomas and James. James had grading to do and Thomas had napping to do. :)

My Brigid and her little toddler hadn't seen each other for a year but they clearly hit it right off and built blocks and shared pretzels together. Oh my gosh the cuteness was overwhelming!
 A couple of the kids watched The Lego Movie. Little Henry, true to being a 3 year old, got very angry at me when I said he was cute. He scowled and said, "I not a cute guy. I a Henry guy." Priceless!

 It was funny because most of the time I was there my oldest 5 basically just paired up with her oldest five.
 My oldest and her oldest are best friends and like to Skype and play Club Penguin together so, only for a little bit, they got on computers back to back to meet on Club Penguin.
 We spent Tuesday visiting with friends and having dinner with them.

On Wednesday we had lunch with Elizabeth's godparents. They rent a house on a farm so we chatted, watched them feed some of the Japanese beetles to the chickens and got to visit with the horses. They have 3 gorgeous clydesdales!
In the afternoon we stopped by the hospital to visit my mom. After 5 days they had moved her out of the ICU to a private room and she seemed to be doing a bit better. They were happy with her test results and trying to figure out what kind and dose of blood thinners she would need to stay on. Ever try to supervise 6 young kids in a hospital room? "Don't push any buttons. Don't pull any plugs. Don't pull the emergency cord. Stop moving the furniture. Don't sit on the window sill. Don't touch anything. Don't breathe." You get the idea.

Thursday we hung out, played games, and my dad and Cecilia worked on setting up the tent. We couldn't make our troop's campout in June. So we brought the tent along and my dad helped Cecilia earn her AHG Camping badge. She helped set up and put away her tent and camped out in it for two nights and completed a couple other requirements. 

He also helped her complete her Fire Safety and Fire Building badge.

The first night the weather was so lovely they kept the fly off and slept, screened, under the stars. 

On Friday, we took the girls for their first time bowling.  Of course we set up one lane with bumpers for the kids, and one lane without for the adults.
Elizabeth got more spares than anyone.
Teresa loved throwing the ball down the alley and seeing how many pins she knock down. She got the idea down but did tire of it halfway through the second game.
Cecilia got the hang of it right away.
Felicity did well too!
They did well for their first time bowling!
But the highlight was Brigid. She sat munching chips until the second game and then came up to the bowling balls, pointed and said, "I help?" Since Teresa was getting tired, we let Brigid take over her game. She LOVED it! And she didn't even stay to watch if she knocked down anything, she light up in sheer joy at just having set the ball rolling like everyone else. She was beautiful to watch!

James didn't bowl, but I did alright, considering it had been over 10 years since I'd bowled. :)
Sunday James and my brother and his wife took our oldest four to meet friends at the movie theater and see The Minions movie.
I stayed home and hung out the the youngest two.
That afternoon my mom got home from the hospital. She was tired and weak but glad to be home. So we all took it easy that afternoon.
Sunday we went to Mass and then had a lovely lunch and then played board games. My kids are getting scary good at Michigan Rummy and my dad taught them 7 Card Stud too.

On Monday we had the pleasure of a visit from Thomas's godparents and their amazing children.
Thomas and his godmother:
On Tuesday I had to run a couple errands and Teresa wanted to come with me. She didn't even know I was going to a toy store. It was so cute watching her play with everything.
But going with mama has its perks, and in the end she took this home:
It has become a bit of a joke that the minions are "her people." She keeps asking to see the movie again too.
Before we left we also saw Inside Out with my parents, brother and sister-in-law and spent an afternoon at the pool. Overall it was a nice trip and I think we all were ready to head home when we did.
My mom has met with her new hematologist and is on blood thinners and, while she tires easily and is weak, she is doing better.

Vacation is a pleasure, but is makes coming home again pleasant too.


  1. Cecilia and Bella should chat about backyard camping! Bella did two nights in our tent this summer too. She's the only one who lasted the whole night.

    How lucky you got to be there when your mom was in the hospital, I'm sure it would have been much scarier if it happened when you were in Michigan.

    1. Oh that would be great! I'll try to remind Cecilia to write a letter about it this week.

      Yes the timing had divine intervention written all over it. :)