I Am SO OVER Allergy Season!

If you do not suffer from allergies, you can just thank your lucky stars right now!  Because allergy season can be absolutely miserable to those of us who do.  And one of the worst things about allergy season is that it comes at the best part of the year.  In spring,  whenever winter is saying good-bye and everything starts coming alive again.  The grass and trees and flowers.  And THESE, unfortunately, are the things that cause me the most misery (Insert sad face here with a red nose and weepy eyes...).

Shortly after my wonderful outing at the park with Lila Kate, it began.  The sneezing and head congestion and ear problems (ugh...).  For weeks now I have been suffering with ear pain and fullness and I just kept going, doing Easter, traveling to Miami and working out at the gym.  I tried to treat it myself, staying on Allegra, nose spray, allergy shots and even getting some ear drops.  FINALLY, I cried "Uncle" and gave in and called my ENT.

When I went in, I told him that my ear was so stopped up, surely I had fluid in it.  He looked inside it and said, "No" (sigh...).  And then he sent me down the hall to the audiologist for some tests.  When I walked in, I immediately told her I felt sure I was going to fail the test.  She put me in the booth and we started.  I had to, of course, let her know when I heard the beeps and part of the way through she asked me if I had any hearing loss.  I told her I knew I had a mid-line hearing loss and she continued with the test, ending with having me listen to words and repeat them.

When I got back into the exam room, the doctor came in, looked at my test results and seemed pleased that he had a diagnosis: chochlear hydrops.  The treatment?  Taking a diuretic daily to regulate my body's fluid levels.  I know...I don't understand it either but apparently if the body fluid is regulated if affects the fluid within the inner ear.  I was put on this treatment for 7 days and then asked to return in a week.  Yesterday was a week.

After a week of taking Dyazide (I have never taken a diuretic before), I could tell my doctor two things:  One, I had pretty much peed non-stop and Two, my ear was not as stuffy as before and the pain had gone away along with the slight unbalance I had been experiencing.  He seemed pleased with that update and sent me off down the hall for another hearing test which I thought HAD to improve.  Well, I was sad to find that it had not.  He told me that I would need to continue taking the Dyazide for another month and then return for another test.  I asked if this would be an ongoing problem that would have to be treated on and off and he said that was a possibility.  Bummer.  However, I am really glad that I know what has been causing the problem and that there is something I can take for it.  This medication has not really caused me any problems other than having to go to the bathroom quite a lot more.  That requires that I also drink more to stay hydrated, especially when I am working out or in the heat and sweating a lot.  I hope that after a month I can say that I am significantly better AND some of my hearing loss has returned.  Until then, I suppose I have a valid excuse for not hearing some of the things Hubby says to me!

Every Superhero Needs a Side Kick!

I have been waiting impatiently to share our good news...We are expanding our family again!  Grand Number 6 is due October 29th.  Here's the "Official Announcement", posed and cute...
While I have been waiting to share this good news with everyone I have received a few picture that I thought would also make  pretty good announcements...
                                                           Number 6's first photograph.
                                                    Or perhaps "See Baby Jarrell Grow".
                                                       Yep...Skinny girls show quickly.
Or my personal favorite!  Caitlin,  who got out of bed around 10 O'clock at night because she wanted an apple pie from McDonald's.  The first drive-thru she went to didn't have any.  I suppose that's why at the second one she drove away with 3 apple pies AND and an ice cream cone.  When asked where her husband and child were she replied, "At home in bed."  I inquired as to what Kevin said when she told him she was going out for this little late night craving and she said he told her to get him a chocolate shake if she was really going.  Oh Kevin...Please don't try to keep pace with her eating during pregnancy; you can't do it.  Trust me.

 And this one I truly love where sweet Holli is kissing her mommy's tummy saying, "Come here baby, let me kiss you."
       Yes, every Superhero needs a Sidekick and I think these two will be fabulous cohorts!


Parking It At the PARK

Sarah had a hair appointment and asked if I would mind watching Lila Kate.  Quick to answer, "YES!" because I just can't get enough of the Grands, I was even quicker to formulate a plan in case of fussiness.  I checked the weather and it said no rain was expected and that put a smile on my face because I now had a plan!

You see, the Grands are coming really quicker than I can keep up with and each and every precious one has their own little personality.  Some are loud and showy, some are quiet and sneaky, and  some are laid back,  but there's one thing for sure...most come into this world trying to figure it out and get adjusted.  And in the process of doing that...they cry.  And THAT is exactly why it is good to have a "plan".

Since Justin and Sarah have moved back to Alexandria, they are within walking distance of a park.  And I love this little park with the walking track, playground, benches, shade trees and bird sanctuary.  I love the fact that one can walk or sit and just enjoy the quiet.  And I know another thing or two about what babies like.  Most of them like to go for a stroll and if you are very lucky, they will not cry and may even take a nap.  And THAT was my "plan".
 By the time I was on the sidewalk to head over to the park Lila Kate was snoozing.  I walked straight over to the bird sanctuary.
 I was prepared for our little outing that day and brought my Kindle, a knitting project and snack along.
As I sat there and knitted, I realized how peaceful it was out there.  No noises...except the birds.  And Lila Kate's soft snoring.  Both,  which I liked very much.

Sitting there quietly, I began to ponder what has happened to our world.  It was a much simpler place whenever I was growing up.  Not much television and no cell phones or computers for sure.  I sat around reading, coloring or playing with my toys.  Jigsaw puzzles, books and dolls were my world.  And it was serene.  And as I sat there, I vowed to do this more often; unplug and enjoy the peacefulness of just being quiet.
This sweet baby appeared to enjoy it too because she took over a two hour nap nestled snugly in her stroller.  Yep...this is the life and I can assure you I will be "parking it at the park" a whole lot more in my future.


From New Orleans to Miami and Back: Part 2

As I said, getting out of Louisiana when we did was a pretty good idea since rain was coming in and LOTS of it.  We took a plane out of New Orleans and by the afternoon we were looking out of our room window at this...

                                      Now, I'll say this is MUCH better than the rain any day!

We stayed at a different hotel this time, The Tides.  It is located on Ocean and there is a lot of activity around this area since the land is owned by the city right there.  The rooms were great; comfortable and cozy...

This trip we also brought some friends along with us to do a little Peacock Bass fishing again...
The day started off nice and sort of cool, but unfortunately it got a little too hot for me after a while and I actually dehydrated and spent the rest of the day trying to recoup.  Still, it was a lot of fun catching those fish!

That evening, I was rested and feeling a little better so we all went out to eat dinner at Espanola Way.  I love this little historic area that has the look of Cuba.  The outdoor dining is just as wonderful as the food.  We ate at Havana 1957 which is a restaurant that serves Cuban food...OH MY GOODNESS HOW YUMMY!

The next morning I was feeling MUCH better and hydrated so Hubby and I set out to do a little walking around when suddenly everyone wanted to go bike riding.  There are Citi Bikes all around the city for rental and it really is a good way to see the city.  However, I prefer just staying on the boardwalk because getting on the road with cars just freaks me out a little bit.  And I specifically let that be known.  But do you think that mattered much?!  Apparently not,  because after a short while of enjoying the boardwalk, I followed our little group right out into the road (Yikes!)

  This big smile was before I knew we were gonna be riding in the road!  And, Yes, I put some bottled water in that handy little basket. 

Even with all of the fishing and bike riding and running around Miami,  I DID get to do my favorite thing while there...You've got it; just lay on South Beach, listen to the waves roll ashore, read a little bit and, of course, people watch.

                                                       Yep...Here's my "Happy Place"!

This trip was a busy, short little trip but I enjoyed the get-away very much and am excited to say that I will actually be returning next week for a little longer stay with my Ohioans!  Years ago, when Caitlin was only a junior in high school, she and I started going to Miami during spring break each year.  There were a couple of years that we missed here and there; the semester she spend in Washington, D..C., the year she got married and since having Holli, we haven't thought she would be old enough to enjoy a beach trip to Miami.  But this is the year to resurrect our "Miami Girls' Trip" and I can't wait!


From New Orleans to Miami and Back: Part 1

I know it's been a while but I have been on the move lately.  We headed down to New Orleans first for a weekend with some of the kids and Grands and then on to Miami for a little fun in the sun.  The real purpose of the New Orleans trip was two-fold:  Ryan (who is in the process of setting up his dental practice) had to look at some dental equipment and he and Allison also had a wedding to attend.  And they needed a baby-sitter for Olivia.  SO...You've to it!  We agreed to baby-sit while also enjoying New Orleans.
Ryan and Allison had not been back to New Orleans since they moved last May and she had
2 things on her mind for this visit:  One was eating some raw oysters and she got those for lunch right away at Drago's.
 After lunch we walked over to The Shops at Canal Place where we found a Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up and Beckett got a snack.
                             Olivia just watched on and enjoyed riding around in her stroller.
            Saturday, Allison got her second wish...Beignets at Morning Call in City Park!
                                                              Beckett enjoyed them too!
 Olivia looked on longingly...I could tell by the look on her face that she can't wait until she can have some, herself.
               But for now she will just settle for some milk and a nap (Ahhh...the life of a baby).
 We actually enjoyed the nice weather by picnicking in the park also.  We made a stop at Whole Foods to grab what we all wanted and then headed out there.
 I absolutely LOVE City Park.  The scenery is just beautiful, with moss draping from the trees and ducks paddling along.
                         Beckett liked the Park too and was showing Uncle Ryan the ducks.
 The beautiful Oak trees that can be found throughout the park are not only great for climbing but also the perfect backdrop for photos.
                       This is one of my favorite shots I took while there that day.  So serene.

As Saturday wound down, Hubby and I got ready for the next leg of our trip...MIAMI!  And just in time it seemed, since the rain was beginning to move into Louisiana...


Spring, Easter and MY BIG, FAT FAMILY

It's officially spring and I LOVE that we are now having more warm days than cooler ones.  I LOVE that the days are longer and I can see the sun more each day.  I LOVE that because spring has arrived we will be swimming by the end of May, however, spring does not feel the same way about me.  Proof?  You want proof of that fact?  It is the color green.  No...I don't mean all of the new sprigs of grass popping up and trees blooming.  I mean that yucky green pollen that has me not only on antihistamines, nose sprays and ear drops but this year allergy shots also (ugh!).  I mean it really takes an effort to keep my eyes and nose from running constantly.  I look outside and it looks SO inviting but the minute I get out there for a few minutes the allergies flare up (Ka-Choo!).  This past weekend was Easter and it rained here in the south...which actually washed some of that pollen away but it also kept us inside with our BIG, FAT FAMILY.  To dye eggs.  And hunt them.

I enjoyed all of my kiddos and their kiddos (with the exception of Caitlin) being in for the holiday weekend and, of course, took quite a lot of photos.  I know that I'm running a little behind but I still wanted to share some of them with you...

Earlier in the week I met Allison in town to take Olivia to have her picture taken with the Easter Bunny for her very first Easter.
                                                  And Holli went to an egg hunt in Ohio.
                     Parker Ann and Beckett started Saturday off by decorating Easter cookies.
 Beckett was totally shocked that someone actually allowed him to climb on the step stool AND ice cookies and pour sprinkles on them.  I think he had a pretty good time!
                                      It was definitely a "sweet" kinda holiday around here
         We waited until later in the day to dye our eggs so all of the adults could enjoy it too.
    And, although Holli could not be here with us, Caitlin sent us a picture of her dying her eggs too.
Uncle Dave (along with the rest of us) spent time rocking the little babies (Lila Kate left, Olivia right).
          We all went to church on Sunday and I got photos of ALL of us (One happy YaYa here!)
                                                   And my Ohio baby went to church there...
   It poured rain here all day on Easter but that didn't stop these two from hunting eggs...INSIDE!

At the end of the day and weekend, Poppi and YaYa were able to say that "Life is Good"...
Celebrating our risen Lord, the beginning of spring, children and grandchildren...It really is a good life.