Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Trip "Home," to Northern Virginia

Just to warn you, there will be about a gazillion pictures at the end of this post!

This was leg 2 of 3 of my summer travels. Shane was still gone, so it was just me and the boys. I should add that we dropped our dog, Indigo, off before I left for North Carolina (Shane left the same day to go underway, so he was around the evening before that) and at that point we had come to a decision that we would find a new home for her. She is a great dog, and was very gentle and tolerant with the kids, but she just had SO much energy and such a high need for activity that I couldn't fulfill for her no matter what I did. So she was always bored and getting into trouble (with Levi's help) because of that. I knew it would not get any better when Shane leaves this fall for his long cruise, so we decided that it would be best to find a new home for Indigo sooner rather than later. While I was gone, our friend that watched the dog for us found a great family for her and she went to live with them. It was sad for us to let her go, and we miss her, but it was definitely for the best and a huge weight off of my shoulders.

So, back to our trip... My nephew's 1st birthday was the 12th, and his party was on the 13th (yes, the day before Levi's actual birthday), so we first went up to be there for that. We stay at my dad's house when we go up to visit. Tyler (my nephew) had a great party a few days after we made it up there. Levi had a blast playing with the kiddie pool/fountain that my sister bought, and Jonas was happy as a clam socializing in the bouncy seat between eating and sleeping. I got some great photos, which I will share here.

On Levi's birthday, we had a small cookout with the family and Levi opened his gifts from the family. He got a preschool gaming system from my sister's family, a fun "hairy" green ball from Jackie, my dad's fiancee, and a kiddie basketball hoop from my dad. It took him a little help to get the hang of the game, but he caught on quickly. And he loves to play with the ball and the basketball hoop in the back yard.

A few days later, I started getting a sore throat. It's not uncommon for me to end up getting a cold while visiting my dad's, so I figured it was just my "luck" to get another one. The next day I felt about the same, not really sick, but that nagging scratchy throat feeling just before you get sick. Then dinner time rolled around and suddenly I was exhausted and could have gone to sleep right then and there. We went out for dinner and I was freezing but I couldn't tell if I was having chills or if it was just chilly in the restaurant.

Well, I got my answer when we got back home and I took my temperature and saw that it was 102.1. I took some ibuprofen, but my temperature continued to climb and climb, up to over 103. I called my midwife at home to ask her opinion on if I should be seen that night or if I could wait until the next day since mastitis was a possibility, and she told me to go right away. So I spent my night in the ER, getting poked and prodded and swabbed (for strep, flu, etc.) and x-rayed and IV-ed, and eventually was told that I most likely had a virus and sent home at 3 am.

I continued to have soaring fevers, up to 104, and chills for several days after that, but no major symptoms other than a slightly sore throat and the side effects of the fever, so my dad made me a last minute appointment with his nurse practitioner. She tested me again for strep and flu, both of which were negative, so she gave me antibiotics to cover me in case I had mastitis, and Diflucan for the inevitable thrush the antibiotics would give me. That night I suddenly got very congested and had all the symptoms of a sinus infection, so I guess that's what I had all along, and it just presented itself in a very strange way. It took another week or so to feel better from that, and a whole month for my sore throat to go away!

So, I spent most of my time at my dad's being sick. Thank goodness it happened up there and not at home, where I wouldn't have had any help with the boys. I spent a few days alone with them during the day while my dad worked, but I had help in the evenings, and my dad was off Friday and through the weekend. My aunt also came into town on Friday so that she and the rest of my dad's siblings and the available extended family could have a small ash-spreading ceremony for my grandmother, who passed away in September. My sister and brother in law brought all the food over for a reception after the ceremony, and we stayed at Dad's with the kids while everyone else went to the site where the ashes were spread.

I had intended to do an outdoor birthday portrait session for my nephew, but between being really busy, being really sick, and the weather not cooperating, we ended up only doing an indoor session with all three of our boys, to try and get a cute shot to frame for our dad for Fathers Day. I didn't get any shots with all 3 boys looking at the camera, smiling, in focus, etc. at the same time, so I had to use my (limited) Photoshop skills to take the best shot of each kid's face and combine them into one photo. I did manage to get a really cute one of just my two. I'll share those in this post too.

Sunday was Fathers Day, and I was still feeling pretty sick, so I sent Levi to church with my dad and Jackie, and tried to get some sleep. I met up with my dad, Jackie, Levi, my sister, her husband, and my nephew for Fathers Day brunch, and then later in the day I went to the drug store to pick up the prints of the photos I had taken the day before. They didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but I guess you can't expect a lot from a drug store photo lab. If I'd had more time I would have ordered them from somewhere nicer.

I still didn't feel well, but I had a doctor's appointment the next day (a consult about the surgery that I just had on Thursday) that I had been waiting on for nearly a month, and would likely have had to wait several weeks for again if I rescheduled it, so I drove home that evening, as planned. A few days later I came down with pink eye. You know, since it wasn't bad enough already. :oP But it was nice to be home, even being sick and on my own with the boys.

And, *drum roll, please* here are the photos I've been talking about (sorry for the quality on some of them - Blogger's picture uploader makes them look awful, but I am too lazy to resize and upload all of them elsewhere, so you will just have to bear with me):

Birthday balloons

Jonas and Grandad (my dad)

Emily (my sister's friends' little girl)

Jonas hanging out in the bouncy seat

Tyler splashing

Levi jumping in the fountain

My sister, Amy, with the birthday boy

Brotherly love

The almost-birthday boy

Birthday cake!

My brother in law, Darren, with Tyler and his cake

Logan and Grant, they would bend down and drink from the fountain for a few seconds, then get up and run to the other side and do it there, then turn around and run back, etc. They had a blast! I need to get one of those splash pools for Levi. They are only $10 at Toys R Us!

My dad and his fiancee, Jackie

Levi opening his gifts on his actual birthday

Going for the slam dunk on his new basketball hoop (with a little help from Grandad)

Looking very smug about his candle on Tyler's leftover cake (I knew Levi wouldn't care about the cake, just the candle, so I said it was fine to use the leftover pieces of Tyler's cake on his birthday. It was yummy cake from Wegman's!)

And here are the portraits I did of the three boys:

My Sweet Boys
I only snapped one shot before Jonas started sliding down out of Levi's arms, and I was amazed that it actually turned out really cute!

Kisses from the big brother
I wish I could have gotten Jonas to smile in at least one of these, but oh well. At the time, "not crying" was enough for all of us!

Jonas looking serious
A very serious Jonas

The cousins, featuring my mad Photoshop skillz (not really, but it turned out ok for my ability level)

And I think that's it. Enjoy!


  1. ok, I had to laugh because when I view your blog, that last pic - your nephew is cut almost in 1/2 so I thought the comment about your mad skills was in reference to that - once I clicked on the pic and realized you didn't actually cut him out I got to see how cute it is - great job!

    What did you use as your background? Did you bring your background stuff with you?

  2. Thanks! Yeah, I am still trying to figure out how to make the center column wider on here. I tried adjusting the numbers that I thought would change it and it just messed everything up so I'm stumped. I used my seamless paper backgrounds for the pics. I think I had to cut off and throw out half the roll after Levi was done with it, LOL.