Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Dreaded Boonie Bee

I know ~ I haven't posted anything on our Christmas festivities yet. I still need to download the pictures to the computer. The weekend just flew by. We did have a wonderful holiday complete with good food and friends. Stay tuned for photos and all the fabulous details of our last Christmas on Guam.

Today's post has to do with the horrible, nasty, no-good flying creature those of us on Guam refer to as the "boonie bee". I have written about these awful, aggressive bees before (June '08) when I was stung on my wedding ring finger and ultimately had to have all 4 of my wedding bands cut off. Take a closer look at the "boonie bee"...

Notice the yellow band near the back end. That is how we distinguish it from other bees/wasps.

Today I was attempting to tackle my to-do list and knock out a few things before school starts up again. I was outside taking down the Christmas lights when I was stung by the dreaded boonie bee, again on my left hand; this time on my middle finger. Ouch! It hurts so much worse than a regular bee sting. I immediately pulled of my wedding rings (don't want to have a repeat of June). I have taken 2 doses of diphenhydramine, put on the meat tenderizer paste, and applied ice. Right now I can't bend any of my fingers on my left hand and it is swollen about twice its' normal size. If you're lucky I just might put a picture of my hand here later!

Much to my dismay, I think I will need to dig out all of my beautiful flowers in order to get rid of as many of the boonie bees as possible. I knew I was going to have to trim everything down before we moved but I think my time-table has just changed. I hope Lilymei can leave the island without the "pleasure" of a boonie bee sting. The rest of us can't say the same. Does anyone have any bee/wasp spray?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho

Even though we don't have the snow or cold weather to remind us that Christmas will soon be here Lilymei is beginning to realize something special is about to happen.  St. Nick visited our home earlier in the month and left some goodies in our stockings but since then Lily has resorted to using the stockings as the name implies.

No snow but we do have a few snowmen!

Lily gives this snowman a hug every chance she can.  He's just so squishy.
Riding around the neighborhood we can see many inflatable Santa's, snowmen, and other assorted holiday decorations.  Lily loves them all and we can hear her in the backseat yelling out "Ho Ho Ho" no matter what she is looking at.  By the way, only 3 more days until Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Oh my" at Tarza Water Park!

Lilymei has come a long way from the day it took her almost 5 minutes to eat one bite size cracker!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

" I like hanging things on this tree but why is it in the house?!"

"I'm not so sure about this angel though."

"This is my favorite spot ~ right in front of Santa."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What does 1 and 3 make?

I knew today would come, even though I was not ready for it. Scott and I are about to embark on something we have never done before. We are now the parents of a ......TEENAGER! I'll admit it....I'm afraid....very afraid.

How can this be? Wasn't it just a few short years ago that our Nate was born on a cold and blustery day in Mayfield Hts, Ohio? Apparently, while I wasn't watching, 13 years have passed since that joyous day. Nate was born 3 days early at 12:04pm on Saturday, December 9th. He weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Today Nate is 104 pounds and 5' 1.5" tall.

Scott surprised Nate by taking the day off from work. In celebration of Nate's big day we let the boys take a break from their home school. Here is Nate with his breakfast request: eggs over-easy, toast, and hot chocolate.

Once Lilymei finished with her PT session we packed up the kids and headed to TARZA, (you know, Guam's water park). Nate was admitted for free (yippee!) and we spent the next four hours playing in the sun, splashing down the water slides, and floating on the lazy river. Lily couldn't walk yet when we were at Tarza for Drew's birthday in October so today she was having so much more fun, pushing the inner tubes around the shallow area, climbing up the stairs (by herself!!!), and yelling at the boys when they went under the waterfalls.

Once we were home and cleaned up we let Nate open his birthday gifts. Here he is with part of his gift from Gram ~ The Princess Bride movie.

After dinner, we sang Happy Birthday and dug into the ice cream cake I made yesterday/today. The story behind the 2 day cake preparation is simple....I bought 2 boxes of ice cream sandwiches on Sunday. Monday evening I started the ice cream cake. I used the first box of sandwiches with no problem. When I opened the 2nd box I noticed each one was completely dried out. Gross! (Mind you, on Guam sometimes we are left with no choice but to eat certain foods that are slightly out of date. Most of the time I don't even check the dating anymore because I would have no food in the house.) Well, these ice cream sandwiches were still in date. Unfortunately, the commissary is closed on Monday so I couldn't return the bad box. No problem; I'll just stop at the shoppette when I drop Nate off at his scout meeting. The good news ~ they had ice cream sandwiches. The bad news ~ I was not going to pay $6 for the box. Oh well, I knew Scott was going to be home this morning so I could make a quick trip back to the commissary and exchange the sandwiches and finish the cake. Nate appreciated it and we all thought it tasted great! Here is the happy teenager.

Nate is a wonderful son. He is so loving to his baby sister. Lily is really bringing out the gentler side of Nate that we haven't seen since Drew was a baby. We are so proud of Nate! Congratulations on reaching your 13th birthday Nate! We love you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Smiley Face Conjunction

What a treat for those of us living in the tropics....Guam's December 1st sky with Venus and Jupiter above the crescent moon.

ScubaRoo Trip

Black Friday found the O's not at the malls shopping for bargains but rather, out on the open water of the Philippine Sea. A couple of months ago Drew had won a gift certificate for 4 people to spend an afternoon out on a ScubaRoo boat trip. It was a beautiful, sunny day. We were at the dock by the appointed time of 1pm. We waited for a few other families and a couple of Japanese tourist groups to arrive. By 1:30 we were on our way. Once we passed through the channel markers we headed out to the front of the boat to catch the breeze and enjoy the ride.

Nate and Drew clearly enjoying their time on the boat.  (Don't mind the date on the photo~Scott pulls out the batteries from the underwater camera each time we use it!) 

After approximately an hour boat ride we came upon a pod of dolphins. What a surprise! There were nearly 30 dolphins swimming around our boat. It was beautiful!   Take a look....

Once everyone had taken as many photos as they wanted the captain turned the boat around and we headed back for the harbor. Time to untie the banana boat! The boys were really excited! Here we are hanging on for dear life.....

After everyone rode the banana boat we pulled into the harbor and dropped anchor.  A handful of Japanese tourists were suited up to scuba dive.  The rest of us jumped off the back of the boat and snorkeled.   The boat crew threw out pieces of hot dog to bring out a few more fish.  We spent an hour snorkeling and relaxing on the boat until the divers came back to the surface.  We pulled back into the dock by 4:30pm.  What a great day!  Drew kept reminding us to thank him for taking us along.  Thank You Drew!!!

This is a sample of what we saw.....

For those of you who are wondering where Lily was, not to worry.  She spent the day with her Nina and Ninu (Carlene and Steve).  They played with the neighbor's Little Tikes car, took a ride in the stroller, and had ice cream!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble, Gobble

That's Lily's newest saying. It was 4 months ago today that our precious baby girl was placed in our arms and there's not a better day to count our blessings than today ~ Thanksgiving Day!

Lily's pj's say "Everyone is thankful for me!" So true sweetie pie! Enjoy your first Thanksgiving day!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving day today. The kids let us sleep in ~ thank you! We had a nice breakfast of orange rolls, Nate and Drew's favorite. I frosted the cut-out cookies (turkeys, leaves, and pumpkins) I had made last night while the kids took showers/baths and put on their new Christmas outfits. Scott put the turkey in the oven and we drove over to the base golf course to take a few (ok~ about 50!) photos of the kids for our Christmas card.

Lily did not want to stand still. This is one example.

While Lily went down for her nap, the boys played video games (can it get any better?!) and Scott and I worked together in the kitchen to prepare the rest of our Thanksgiving dinner side dishes. We didn't eat lunch so we snacked on boonie pepper jelly and crackers while we worked. Our menu included: turkey, hash brown casserole, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing, and dinner rolls. For dessert we had pumpkin pie and frosted cookies.

Thank you Scott for making the delicious turkey!

Lily ate her pumpkin pie but she really loved the Cool Whip.

Lily didn't know what to make of all the food but she sure loved digging in with both her spoon and fork. After dinner we spent a little time with our next door neighbors letting the kids play on the trampoline, the swingset, and Lily's new favorite....the Little Tikes car.

We finished off the day with a game of scrabble. Nate almost dethroned the queen of scrabble but ended up coming in at a close second. We left Scott and Drew in our dust.

We reflected on our blessings of the year today and we wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where does the time go?

It seems like that is the question that Scott and I ask each other at least once a week. Just where has the time gone? I can't believe we are less than a week from Thanksgiving. Scott has been very busy with his MBA class ~ only 4 months (21 class periods) left to go! I know he can't wait to be finished. Neither can I ~ it will be nice to see him every Tuesday night again.

The boys and I have been really hitting the books hard with the intent to finish our home school year much earlier than previous years. We anticipate leaving our beautiful island by early June. I am really hoping spring fever doesn't hit us hard so we can have our school year complete before our PCS date. We would all love to have some free time before we fly out.

Lily has been keeping very busy in her own way. She is walking like crazy! She started walking with her physical therapist on Nov. 3rd. By Nov. 5th she was done crawling. At first, to look at her she looked like she was riding a roller coaster with her arms above her head. Then she progressed to the Frankenstein walk ~ arms out in front. Now she is a pro, walking with her arms at her side, up ramps, down the hill in our side yard, and up and down the sidewalk. She is even climbing up the neighbor's slide, which Lily calls the "Whee". Every time Lily looks out the front window or we go outside she yells out "Whee??".

Lily has even mastered walking on the trampoline, while someone is jumping! She loves the trampoline ~ she says "bounce" and she crouches down like she is going to jump. She can't get lift off yet but she's trying!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mongolian Outfits & More Parties!

Lily in one of her traditional Mongolian Outfits.

Another Mongolian Outfit.

Mongolian outfit #3, just plain tired of trying on clothes!

Lily, very excited about her presents from the Andersen Home School Group "toddler shower" which was held at our local Chinese restaurant, Magnolia's. Lily is wearing a traditional Chinese dress, complete with hot pink "squeaky" shoes~they squeak when you walk.

Lily admiring the table decorations and beautiful cake from the baby shower November 2nd, given by friends on base and from our church.

Isn't this cake adorable?! Lily's godmother, Carleen, had it made for the shower.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lily In Costume

Lily looking wide-eyed at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Waikiki. Note the butter all over her face!

Lily, not so sure about this Trick-or-Treating thing yet. It didn't take long for her to figure it out.

Lily in her OSU Buckeyes cheerleading outfit from Aunt Kimmy. Thanks Aunt Kimmy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tarza and Trick-or-Treat~ What a Great Day!

Halloween was such a treat this year. Scott took the day off of work and we went to the local waterpark, Tarza. This was Lily's first visit and she loved it. After a few hours of fun in the sun Lily took a nap and the rest of us just chilled out until it was time to dress for Trick-or-Treat. The weather was perfect and we all had a great day.

The kids at Tarza, Guam's premier waterpark. Of course the boys were all over the park, riding all the water slides and floating down the lazy river. Lily enjoyed the shallow area but she also rode a couple of water slides (on someone's lap) too. She did great! I guess that means we can visit again. Hurray!

The gang, and a friend, before Trick-or Treating began. Drew was Lance Armstrong (on a day without his yellow jersey). Lily was a butterfly, thanks to Aunt Amy! Nate was a pirate. The boys' friend, Coleman, was Charlie Brown's character, a ghost.

Lily with her loot! The kids received plenty of candy; though not as much as some years. Lily is all about the M & M's and suckers, but she will try anything. The boys each have at least a gallon ziplock bag full of candy. Don't forget, boys, Mom gets all the good chocolate!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lilymei's Baptism...We are so blessed!

We had a great day on Sunday as we enjoyed Lilymei's Holy Baptism! It was a beautiful day on Guam and Lilymei was in a great mood. Father Theisen performed the mass along with the help of Nate and Drew as altar servers. Steve and Carleen, Lily's Godparents, joined our family in celebrating this sacrament and great day.

Here are a few pictures of Lilymei with her Godparents and Nate. The last picture is of the North Shore in Hawaii. I thought I did a good job on the photo, probably just the new camera.
We miss you all, thanks for looking.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Double Digits!!

Scott and I are in amazement. Not in the fact that we have 3 beautiful children. Not in the fact that we are so very blessed. What is amazing to us is that our 'baby boy' is 10 YEARS OLD. Drew was born 10 years ago Sunday, October 26th, at 5:37am. He was 16 days early and he hasn't slowed down once in the past 10 years. At birth, Drew was 21" long and weighed in at 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces. Now Drew is 4' 10" tall and weighs 83 pounds.

Drew was able to spend his birthday afternoon doing something he has wanted to do for a very long paintball. On Andersen a brand new paintball field opened up just about a month ago. Minimum age to play....10. How old is Drew now?....10! Scott, Drew, and Nate suited up in whatever long-sleeved, long pants old clothes they could find and headed out in the heat of the day for 2 hours of paintball fun in the sun. Lilymei and I stayed back in the air-conditioning, napping (Lily) or lesson planning (Jean). All 3 boys came back excited, exhausted, and extremely bruised! What a wonderful day ~ Drew said he didn't remember having that much fun in a long time.

After the boys all showered, again, Drew was chomping at the bit to open some birthday presents. Below, Drew is holding the movie he received from Gram. We have a rule in our house... you can't watch the movie if you haven't read the book yet. Every night, if possible, I try to read aloud to the boys. Right now, we are reading the 5th Harry Potter book. Looks like Drew will be able to watch his new movie as soon as we finish it.

For dinner Sunday night we took Drew out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Al Dente, located in the Hyatt Hotel, downtown Tumon. We invited Lilymei's godparents to join us. We had a nice dinner. Drew was able to eat his all-time favorite food ~ pizza from the brick oven. He was surprised with a double portion of chocolate cake for dessert, complete with candle and birthday singing.

Drew is such a wonderful, loving son and brother. We are so proud of him. Congratulations on your 10th birthday Drew! We love you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our new First Class Scout!

We had a busy weekend and now we have lots of news and photos to share. Even though I should be in bed sleeping by now I wanted to get Nate's update on the blog. Saturday evening was the BSA Court of Honor. Since the last Court of Honor Nate has earned 2 ranks; Second Class and First Class. Yippee! Nate has been working very hard to earn his ranks along with 4 more Merit Badges and we are so proud of him.

Andersen's Boy Scouts have unofficially adopted Lilymei as one of their own and she is the proud owner of a Pack 20/Troop 20 t-shirt with hot pink lettering. She loves it! She wore it Saturday night~ it was the cutest thing! She also clapped for each and every boy receiving their awards.

Lilymei with her Boy Scout/Cub Scout t-shirt on. Of course she wears a matching pink bow!

Nate receiving his recruiter patch from his Scout Leader, Tom. Way to go Nate!

Lilymei after our family photo shoot on Friday afternoon. I don't think she smiled for the photographer but she always smiles at home! Thank you Christine for the beautiful dress!

Check back soon....we have lots of photos to share from Sunday....Drew's 10th birthday and Lilymei's baptism.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can we exhale yet?

"I love these apricots Mom! Can I have some more?"

Where has the week gone? It seems like I just unpacked the suitcases.....oh yeah....I just did! Actually, I haven't even put the suitcases away yet, but in my defense, in order to do that I have to pull off our mattress and box spring and gently place those large suitcases under the bed frame. I can't wait until we have a "little" bit more room.

On the bright side Lilymei has had a couple more "firsts" this week:
  • She will no longer lay nicely when I am changing her diaper. She squirms like crazy!

  • She will attempt to stand on her head like her loving brother Drew taught her to!

  • She will show her "frown" or "smile" face on demand! Too cute if I do say so myself.

  • She will "Patty Cake" all the hand motions over and over and she is learning "Itsy Bitsy Spider" now too.

and last of all but most exciting......

  • Lily can stand alone and she took 5 steps all by herself!!! She is so proud of herself as are we. It won't be long now before she is running~I know....look out.

Tomorrow we are having a family photo taken. Poor Lily is suffering from her first cold (with us) and Drew has some sort of impetigo on his chin. I wonder if we can have all of our faults airbrushed out of the picture. Maybe I should reschedule but I just wanted to have it done on base and not have to drive "all the way down town" to have it done. We'll wing it and see what happens.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I took Lilymei to the pediatrician the day after we arrived home from Hawaii to have her spots looked at. Even though the spots were healing up nicely I just wanted another set of eyes to take a peek at them. Lilymei's doctor feels that she did indeed have a mild case of the chicken pox. At least she had them before Halloween. I would hate to think of how many more children would have been exposed had those spots come out 3 weeks later!

Friday, October 17, 2008

MRI Results

We made it home safely from Hawaii last night. We were all so glad to be in our own beds. Lily did wake up at 3:30am, 5:30am, and then was up for good by 7:15am. That's ok. Scott was already up getting ready for work, and I couldn't sleep anymore myself.

We did meet with the neurologist on Tuesday to discuss the results of the MRI. We have GREAT news! Lily does not have hydrocephalus! She does have ventriculomegaly (enlarged ventricles) but she is not having any problems with increased pressure in her head. Lily's body is taking care of any excess cerebral spinal fluid that is roaming around inside her skull on its own. The neurologist also talked about her subdural bleeds. Neither one is currently bleeding. The doctor does not expect her to have any problems with them. He did stress that she could have more bleeds if she falls and hits her head since the blood vessels are stretched between her brain and the skull. Overall though, she is very healthy. She is making tremendous strides in catching up in all areas of her development. We do not have to do ANYTHING medically for her. God is good! The neurologist suggested that she continue to be monitored by her pediatrician more often than the yearly well-baby visits and we will continue with her weekly physical therapy sessions to get her walking as soon as possible. We thought we might have to go back to Hawaii in 6 months for another MRI or even move back stateside for more medical care but the doctor said no. We are free to roam around the world as much as we would like. (I know all of our family in Ohio is not happy to hear that part.) We are just so thankful that all is well with everyone in the family. Thank you for all your prayers!

Last, but not least, we would like to thank Letty and Marlon for taking care of the boys for us while we were off island. We felt so much better knowing everything was ok with the boys so we could concentrate on Lily and Scott. Many thank-you's Letty and Marlon!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's Up?

"Get your running shoes on... we've got a lot of stuff to catch up on!"

Sorry we haven't updated lately.  We have been having trouble with the internet in our hotel room.  So, what have we been up to the last 3 days?  On Friday, our anniversary, we went to the Pearl Harbor NEX. There we purchased a new stroller for Lily (finally!).  For lunch we went to Anna Miller's where we couldn't help but have a slice of one of their 31 kinds of pie.  Lily was too busy eating her french fries to try a bite.  Friday night we went to Bandito's Cantina for a Mexican dinner.  Lilymei had lots of interesting things to look at on the walls and ceiling to keep her entertained until her Spanish rice and cheese quesadilla came.  She loved the rice...surprise, surprise!  

Saturday we slept late (until @9am) and then had a leisurely breakfast.  We packed up Lilymei's new stroller and headed to the Honolulu Zoo.  Lily's first visit to the ZOO!  It was very warm but the zoo had lots of shade trees along the paths.  Lilymei loved the animals.  Her favorites included the monkeys, the giraffes, and the birds.  After the zoo we walked the Waikiki beach up to the Outrigger Hotel where we had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants~ Duke's.  

"Just hanging around at the zoo playground."

Sunday morning after church we packed up the van and headed towards the North Shore. Lilymei fell asleep while Scott was driving.  Sneaky Mom and Dad pulled over at the Dole Plantation and Scott ran in and bought us each a Dole Whip ice cream cone.  As Lily would have said it if she were awake when we ate it....YUM!  We drove a little bit longer until we arrived in the little town of Haleiwa.  Lily woke up as we pulled into town so we stopped for lunch at Kua'aina Sandwich Shop~home of the world's best hamburger.  We can tell Lilymei is almost 2~she took ONE bite of her hamburger and refused to eat any more.  She looked pretty sad when we parked the van at the North Shore and she signed the word "eat" and Scott said NO. Those big dark eyes were starting to tear up.  We walked down to the beach where Lilymei did not want to get into the water.  She lifted her legs so as to not get sand on them.  Eventually, she did sit on the beach towel and played with some shells.  

Monday morning I had my hair cut and colored.  Then we did a little bit of shopping on base. We let Lily take an early nap and for dinner tonight we went to Ruth's Chris for dinner. Delicious!!!  Lily loved the cut up bananas and strawberries that were brought out for her before her meal arrived.  She loved the calamari appetizer and the butter off of her slice of bread.  She then had the veal ravioli for her main entree.  Lily was tickled pink when her vanilla ice cream came out for dessert.  She did so well throughout the whole meal.  We couldn't ask for her to be any better.  She's mastered this fine dining gig!

Tuesday morning we meet with the neurologist to go over Lilymei's MRI results.  Please pray that all goes well.  As far as the bug bites go....we did have them looked at again.  We're still not sure what they are but they're slowly healing up and Lily is not itching them any longer.   Poor baby.  

Lilymei joined our family...

Lilymei was born...

Drew is...

Nate is...

Jean and Scott have been married....