Sunday, January 30, 2005

We have water again!

The greatest sound we heard today was the sound of water trickling out of the faucets. It started slowly and took about 15 minutes to come on full, but we were very excited to have water again. Drinking water is much easier to come by, then pumping water out of the pool to flush the toilets.

Belated Update for Last Weekend

Last weekend, we had a very busy Friday night for the Stratton family. We had three kids with something going on that night. Mallory had her last HS swim meet from 6:00 - 10:00, Taylor had a gymnastics meet from 6:30 - 9:00 and Joseph had his Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts from 6:30 - 8:30. I went to see Mallory because I had already volunteered to work the meet. I got a friend to take Taylor to her meet and fix her hair. Joe took Joseph to the Pinewood Derby first, then got to watch Taylor in a couple events because they we running late when he went to pick her up.

Mallory swam in three events; the 50M freestyle, the 200M freestyle relay and the 400M freestyle relay. She has really improved sine the beginning of the year. She wasn't sure after a couple of weeks, if she liked swimming or not, but I think she has decided that she does like it. The only thing she doesn't like is that being in the water so much made her face break out very bad, so she doesn't know if she'll swim again next year.

Taylor had a good time at the meet and was very excited when she saw that her her Dad was there to get to see her perform.

Joseph had fun at the Derby. Joe had to make some weight adjustments to the car as we hadn't gotten around to weighing it before the race. He also had to work on the wheels as 2 of them didn't turn very well. The first 2 times down the track, the car didn't even make it to the bottom. But after a few adjustments, the next race he came in first. Joseph missed his car win the first time as his turn came up while he was in the bathroom and Joe has to race his car that time around. Joe and Joseph already have some ideas for making a better car next year.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Joseph was very proud of his Pinewood Derby Car. See a close up of the car below. Posted by Hello

Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car build by Joseph with help from Joe. After some adjustments because the car didn't make it to the end of the track, Joseph's car won three times, but mostly came in 2nd or 3rd. Posted by Hello

Gig and Jive, look who's Five

Five years ago yesterday, we had to postpone Joe's 45th birthday dinner for a couple of days because we ended up at the birth center to have Bailey. Joe joked with me as we drove to the birth center that I had to wait to have her until the next day so they would each have their own birthday. I told him she would just get here when she was ready.

I had left work early that day to get my ear looked at because it was killing me. I was given an antibotic for an ear infection and told I would feel better in a couple of days. I would not wish an ear infection on my worst enemy, that pain was worse then my labor pains up until the last hour. I truly believe that my labor was stalled for about 12 hours due to the pain I had in my ear. I could not relax to have a baby because my ear hurt so much. Eventually nature took over and I went from 6-10 cms in less than 5 minutes and Bailey was born in 2 pushes. She crowned with the first push and flew out entirely with the second one, there was no stopping with just her head out. Bailey Denise Stratton was born 2.5 weeks early at 10:18am on January 29th. She weighed in at 8 lbs. 1 oz. and was 20.5" long.

Today she weighs 50.5 lbs and is 47" tall. She is a very vibrant, very smart, very talkative 5 year old. In fact, I think that she has stolen the most talkative Stratton award from Taylor and that requires a lot of talking and the asking of thousands of questions. I cannot believe that she is 5 years old already.

Bailey - at 5 years old Posted by Hello

Bailey - the day she was born Posted by Hello

Nifty, Nifty, looks who's Fifty

Today was Joe's 50th birthday. We have been giving him a present a day for the past 12 days, like the 12 days of Christmas. For his big gift, I gave him a NASCAR Driving Experience where he gets to drive an actual Stock Car at Richmond Speedway in April.

We started our day at my Dad's in Northern VA and left there early since I wanted to put in half a day at my office down here. So, Joe took the kids in the Suburban and drove home and I took his car and enjoyed the peace and quite and drove to work.

Joe called after he got home to tell me that we had no water. Then he called the city, who came out and told Joe that the pipes were frozen. We've never had a problem in the past with pipes freezing so I wasn't even thinking that was a possibility when I left Wednesday night. Joe was told that the pipes froze because we were gone and the water was just sitting in the pipes and not flowing in them. He was told to turn in the heat in the house and open the cabinets to help the pipes thaw out. As of 11:25pm, we still don't have any running water in the house.

The worst part about having no water, is the toilets. By the time I got home, every toilet in the house has been flushed dry. So, in order to get enough water to flush the toilets, I used a shovel to chop through the ice in the pool and have been pumping water in to a 5 gallon bucket to fill the toilets. Did I mention yet that it's cold outside here?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Natalie's Eyes

We took Natalie to Johns Hopkins today to see an eye specialist. The doctor looked at her and dialated her eyes and said that while the optic nerves do look abnormal, she has no other symptoms of a real problem with her optic nerves, so the anomility is probably normal for her. He also said that children with DS have a higher incident of abnormal looking nerves. He recommends that she been seen every 3 months by her doctor at home for a while to look for any changes. Also, if she is sedated again for any reason, they we should get pictures of her optic nerves, so we have a baseline of what they look like now, to compare later if a problem should arise.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Off to Johns Hopkins

We are off to Northern VA tomorrow night to stay with my Dad for a couple of days because Natalie has an appt at the Johns Hopkins Eye Institute on Thursday afternoon. The local pediatric eye specialist discovered that her optic nerves look very swollen, but he has ruled out both main causes and would like us to get a second opinion to help determine whether there is a real problem or if her optic nerves are just genetically larger then normal. As of the last check, her vision was perfect, but if her optic nerves really are swollen and it goes untreated, it could start to affect her vision. But since both main causes have already been ruled out, I'm leaning towards feeling like that's just they way she is. I will report back sometime this weekend.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


We started the day eating a great breakfast of pancakes and sasuage made by Daddy. While cleaning up after breakfast, we noticed that Rachel was now almost as tall as Mallory. So we put everyone up against the wall and took measurements. The last time I measured the kids, about a year or more ago, they had been all 6 inches apart, except Bailey. Bailey had been 42", Joseph was 50", Taylor was 56", Rachel was 62" and Mallory had been 68". Now, Bailey is 47", Joseph is 54", Taylor is 58", Rachel is 67" and Mallory tops them off at 69". But, I don't think that Mallory is going to be the tallest for very long.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Where else but Chuck E Cheese do you take a gaggle of kids like this?  Posted by Hello

Monday, January 17, 2005

Last week's sewing

Last week I made 2 items: a fleece bag for Natalie and a fleece pullover for Joseph. See pictures below. This week I need to make 2 more fleece pullovers, one for Taylor and one for Bailey.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I made this hooded fleece bag for Natalie to wear in the morning to the babysitter's house because it will be easy to get on without waking her. Posted by Hello

Joseph loves the Scooby Doo hooded fleece pullover I made him. The hood is lined with red cotton Scooby Doo print too. Posted by Hello

Rachel made this Navy Chief puppy at Build-a-Bear as a birthday present for Joe. I let her give it to him early. His birthday isn't until the end of the month. Posted by Hello

Friday, January 14, 2005

Retirement News!

Joe finally got a message from the Navy giving him permission to retire on 5/31/05. Yeah! He is currently planning on staying home with the kids for the summer and working on his resume. We'll all just have to wait and see what happens after that. Not much else happened this week, just the normal swim team & gymnastics pratices plus boy and girl scouts to taxi kids to. I actually got 2 evenings at home, but still didn't get much of the stuff I wanted to do done. I always seem to spend my evenings doing paperwork, laundry or cleaning up some room(s) in the house.

Things I'd like to have time to do: more sewing for the kids, figuring out how to transfer the digital video from my computer to a DVD or just being lazy and reading a good book.

I'd like to be able to do one of these things for me and still get to bed before midnight. Someday.

Monday, January 10, 2005

After more than an hour of major crankiness, I put her down for a few minutes and she fell asleep on the floor behind my computer chair. Posted by Hello

Lazy Day

We finally got around to taking the decorations off the Christmas tree and throwing it out. It was dry as a bone, very stiff and very light. Rachel still needs to take down the decorations inside the house and Mallory needs to get back up on the roof to take the lights down. One of these days, I'll unplug the timers so I least they don't keep coming on every night. But my neighbor across the street still has his outside decorations up and lite so I'm not the only one.

Mallory had vollyball practice from 3:30 - 6:00 so I took the rest of the kids with me to Target, except for Natalie, she was home napping. Didn't get anything exciting, just lots of necesseties, like paper products and cleaning supplies.

Natalie was a huge cranky butt tonight after I got home. She wanted to be held at all times and cried very loudly if put down. She even cried in the bath tub, which usually makes her happy when she's sad. I think she may finally be getting some teeth. I was told when they get them so late like this, that she may get 3-4 all the at same time. Ouch! I gave her some Tylenol in hopes that I'll get some sleep tonight. She finally fell alseep on the floor about 12:15am.


Saturday was my turn again to work at BINGO. The parent's association for Taylor's gymnastics team, runs a BINGO game to raise money to help offset the high costs of meet fees, coaches fees and travel costs. If we didn't raise this extra money, I'd be paying about $800 this year for taylor to compete. The parents are split up into 5 teams so you only have to work every 5 weeks. You can arrange to switch dates with someone if you are busy on one of your regular BINGO days. I am amazed at how money these people throw away at BINGO, but know that if we weren't getting their money for our kids, somneone else would be getting it for theirs. These people are going to play, no matter who's running the game. Mallory and I also work BINGO for the HS band once every 4 weeks. So I usually get to do it twice a month, but this month I get to work three times because I switched my Dec. date to Jan 1st.

This is what happens to you when you are the baby in a large family. There were more sticky notes but Natalie got most of them off before Rachel and Taylor got the camera. Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Tonight's Swim Meet

Mallory had another HS swim meet tonight. I volunteered to be a timer. I had no idea what that was, but learned that I had to write down event times taken with a stop watch in case the main electronic timer failed. I was afraid that working the meet would make it drag on forever, but it actually made it go faster. I ended up working on lane #1 and both of Mallory's events were on lane #8, which is on the other side of the pool. She did great and the coach commented that she looked great and had improved so much since the beginning of the season. Mallory, who wanted to quit the swim team during the holidays, has decided that maybe she will be on the team again next year. She likes that she has met a whole new group of friends.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Rachel models her new fleece pullover. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Gift Exchange

Tuesdays are one of my only free nights during the week. My best friend and her boys finally got to come over to exchange Christmas gifts. They were supposed to come over last week, but her her kids were sick so they didn't come. Everyone enjoyed their gifts and a good time was had by all.

After they left, I sewed together a fleece pullover for my 12 yo dd. It's almost done, but I didn't have enough of the printed fleece for the hood, so I need to make a trip to the fabric store tomorrow night to find some solid gray fleece. I also want to put a solid gray pocket on the front of the jacket.

Mallory participated in the high school swim meet tonight in one leg of the 200 M freestyle relay. The meets are very long, usually about 3 - 3.5 hrs. Her event was last, so that's a lot of waiting around for her turn to swim.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Nastalie loves her new piano that Santa brought her. Posted by Hello

Monday, January 03, 2005

Day 2

Slept in again today. Natalie woke me up at 9:22am, earlier than I wanted, but it could have been worse. Joe and I decided that today was the day to clear out our dressers and closets of clothes that either didn't fit or we just didn't wear anymore. The local charity that comes by the house to pickup donations will be getting 8 big bags of clothes in the morning. Then I finished Mallory's pullover and it fits her great. I sent Taylor up to get a picture and ended up with a goofy one, which you'll see if I can figure out how to add one as part of this post. We had stuffing in the crockpot and pork chops on the George Forman grill for dinner. Joseph tried stuffing for the first time, without any fuss, and actually like it. He still won't eat many vegatables, but he's eating so much more than he did even a year ago. I'm just glad that he's more willing to try new foods these days. Relaxed after dinner by cutting out another fleece pullover, this one will be for Rachel. I didn't have enough fabric for the hood, so I will be making a trip to the fabric store soon to find some fleece that is either off white or some shade of gray. It took longer than noirmal to get all of the kids to sleep, no one was tired at bedtime since they had all slept late this morning. Bailey was the last to go and she just fell asleep on the sofa behind me at 11:45pm. Oh, I also hemmed a new pair of jeans for Joe after I got Natalie to sleep. I'm leaving any more sewing to tomorrow evening because it's time to go to bed.

Natalie's new haircut. It's hard to get the bangs straight when she wiggle around so much while you are cutting. Posted by Hello

Mallory's new fleece pullover than I started last night and finished this afternoon. Posted by Hello

Joe and I cleared out 8 big bags of clothes from our dressers and closets. Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy New Years!

Tonight I decided that I would start out this year trying to keep everyone up to date by blogging.

Since today was Saturday and I didn't have to get up early, I got to sleep until amost 10:00. Joe stayed home with the kids while I spent 5.5 hours working at the BINGO hall for the gymnastics parent group. Joe made a wonderful lasagna for dinner which was ready soon after I got home. After dinner I watched TV while cutting out a fleece hooded pullover for Mallory. It's orange with volleyballs on it. Natalie decided to nurse a lot, otherwise I might have finished sewing the jacket. Natalie also got her bangs cut again. She's finally asleep at 1:22am, so I am going to sleep now too. Tomorrow, I will post pictures of Natalie's new haircut and of Mallory in her new jacket, if I finish it.