A Diary Of Special Days
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March 12

Vampire Baby!       Xavier turns 1! Messily! Not a lot happened today, but we had our friends over, and we made a chocolate cake from scratch. With red icing. Xavier looked like a vampire. Hah!

Happy Birthday

April 25-
May 7

The Really Bad Fortnight

       Holy crap! Talk about some serious hospital time! Thankfully, there are no pictures of these events. But we'll tell you about them, anyway.

April 25
Kim stayed up all night the previous evening with tummy pains. We went to the ER in the morning. They said to us, "Well, it's good you came in now, because tomorrow her appendix is gonna 'splode. She stays with us for a few days, got it?"
May 4
While Kim was still recovering from her wonderful experience, Xavier the monkey-boy decided to show us what a good air-walker he is. Except that he isn't. Trying to walk on air from the bed to the window -- a three foot wide chasm, from his perspective -- rarely works for anyone. A nice big gash on his forehead resulted. Have you ever seen the process of giving stitches to a baby? They have a thing called a "papoose board". It's a really small, rigid stretcher with sheets of velcro attached to it, not just straps. They lay the kid on it and strap his whole self down. He couldn't move anything but his toes and his eyes. So, here's a baby in pain and afraid in a strange place, and instead of picking him up, we let strangers tie him ALL THE WAY down. Then they take a needle and thread to his forehead. Four times. Yay.
May 7
The curse spreads. While hanging out at our place, uncle Matt takes an errant baseball to the eye. His glasses get in the way. They survive, Matt gets a glasses-shaped impression around his left eye. More stitches, oh boy! I don't think they had to use a papoose board on him, though.

May 14

Kohler men love NY       Liz and Larry got Married! On this date in Glorious New Jersey (!) they tied the knot, Jewish style. (It's about friggin' time!) Arizona was the ringbearer, although he ended up being more of an escort for Mom than a ringbearer, since 3-year-olds have a pretty low level of patience. (He decided he would rather play video games and eat M&Ms than wait around in a tux. Remember that if you use young people in your formal ceremonies: don't involve them until the last 30 minutes.) It was still an awful lot of fun. This fantastic wedding made a trip to Glorious New Jersey a once-in-a-lifetime not-to-be-missed dream vacation! And that's the truth!

       Of course, a standard requirement for vacation travel such as this is to lose an important piece of luggage. Fortunately, it didn't have a lot of valuable stuff inside. Unfortunately, the two important things it did contain were irreplaceable. Joel was the official caterer for the rehearsal dinner, and he pre-made 4 bags of pasta from scratch, all of which were packed in the lost bag. Guess when that bag was finally delivered to us? During dessert at the rehearsal dinner! 32 hours after we landed! The other priceless item was Mr. Giggles, Arizona's teddy bear. (He had a marvelous adventure and arrived safe in New Jersey to tell Arizona all about it.)

The Phantom of the Opera       We didn't just go to Jersey for the wedding. We stayed in town for a week and (finally) did all the New York vacation things. (This is our fourth trip to New York.) We went to Ellis Island and saw the statue (which, for those of you who are sticklers for details, is not on Ellis Island, but on Liberty Island, just across the way,) we took the circle cruise around Manhattan, and we saw Phantom of the Opera*. On Broadway. Third row center seating. Awesome beyond belief. Totally made the whole trip worth it made up for the 3 fruitless previous trips, despite the airlines.

* Note: Kim finally got out of the doghouse for this. During her freshman year at NU, she saw the show in Chicago. 10 years later, when the show came back to Chicago, she failed to buy tickets to the show for me, despite the knowledge that it was and is my favorite musical. She thought I'd seen it with her 10 years previously, when I was still in high school. She didn't realize until after my birthday and after Christmas that I couldn't have been there. When she finally realized this, she dragooned Liz into getting us monster good seats to make up for it. So she's a good girl again.

May 28

New Quesa Puppy       We got a puppy! (To go with our 3 cats and 2 lovebirds and 2 aquariums and 2 kids... We're F***ing NUTS!) Welcome to Quesadilla, Lady Poofball, de Tierra del Toro Amarillo! (AKA Quesa.) You see, all of the streets in the neighborhood where she was born have Spanish names. Her house was on Toro circle, 2 houses down from Amarillo street. Therefore, we thought "What common Spanish word would make a good puppy name? Quesadilla! Yea!" Also, she is poofy. She is a black lab/golden retriever/german shepherd mix. Read that as "Gonna be freakin' huge". Gah, we ARE nuts.

       UPDATE: Quesa topped out at 50 lbs., which puts her at the medium to small end of the weight scale for her mix of breeds. She's still three times bigger than any dog I've ever had before, but at least she's not a 200 lb. behemoth.

July 17

Medieval Times       Happy 4th birthday, Arizona! Actually, his birthday is the 18th, but since that's a Monday this year we went out for a special dinner on Sunday. At Arizona's request, we went to "the castle". That's Medieval Times dinner and tournament. He had such a good time! He was far too entrance by the show to even think about eating. We were in the green knight's section, and for days afterward, he kept telling everyone he met that he cheered for the green knight. Any time anyone even mentioned "night" to him, he'd go off about the green knight. Gosh, he loved it!

July 27

       Chicago's northwest suburbs were hit with a big fat wind and hail storm today, and afterwards there were trees and tree-bits down all over the place. We had two major events befall us in this storm. One, a fallen branch pulled down our power line, and two, a dove nest in the neighbor's tree fell to earth with two young birds inside. Their story is the DoveTale.

       The power line saga was a lesson in homeowner responsibility. The branch, when it hit the line, did not break it, but it did break the neutral line, which is the exposed wire that is used to attach the power line to your roof, like a support wire. The loss of that support caused the wire and branch together to pull on the pipe and crack the bracket that attaches the pipe to the electric meter box. The power company guys came out 2 days later (after everyone who had lost power had been seen to) and re-attached the neutral line to the roof, but they informed me that the pipe, even though it's on the far side of the meter, is my responsibility to fix. They can't touch it. To fix it, they would have to come out again later, cut the power, go away while I fixed it, then come back again to re-connect the power. So I told them to go ahead and cut it right there. It took about an hour to fix, including time to run to the store and get the parts. Total cost was about $10. How much more than $10 does it cost Com-Ed to send their guys out three times instead of once?

September 12

School Days       School time! Arizona started pre-school today. He enrolled in the Rolling Meadows Park District classes, three days a week, 9:30 to noon. He's thrilled beyond description. So are we. We met his teachers on the 9th, Mrs. Cathy and Miss Carolyn. This is gonna rock.

October 15

Our First Winter Crocus       We ordered a BUNCH of bulbs for the high school fundraiser, and today we planted them. Over 100 bulbs, took us all day. In fact, it took us all day and into the evening. Planting bulbs by flashlight, heh! We dug something like 75 square feet of garden 4 inches deep -- that's 25 cubic feet of mud. It might not sound like a lot, but trust me, it's a monkey-load. The wonderfully helpful children arranged matters so that we had to re-sort the bulbs three times -- I hope we got the right flowers in the right places -- then they helped to "decorate" the inside of Daddy's truck with their unbelieveably muddy boots. Still, we had a lot of fun. I hope they come up ok next year.

      Note: This picture is of our first Winter Crocus, taken in March 2006. It looks like we were successful!

October 19-26

Click the winning poker hand to read about our Vegas Vacation!
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October 23-26

San Antonio ZooKemo the not sick puppy       After we left Vegas, we spent a couple of days hanging out with Kim's folks in San Antonio and their new doggie, Kemosabe. They call him Kemo, which means "Friend of Chief", apparently. This is appropriate, since Kim's father retired as a Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force. While we were actually in Vegas, the boys stayed with their grandparents. The big trip for them was to the San Antonio Zoo. They sure had fun!