Tuesday, April 28

Hooray for McKay's!

I think one of the best parts of living in Knoxville has GOT to be McKay Used Books and CDs. I can shop there for free! I actually don't remember the last time I spent money in there. I always have credit from selling books, movies, or CDs and am pretty good about keeping my purchases under the amount I have in credit. My mom even brings books from Illinois everytime she comes and trades them in there! Anyway, as with any used book store, you don't always find what you're loking for, but the hunt is always part of the fun for me. Plus, it makes it that much more special when you DO find what you're looking for. Today I went in looking for movies for Kate. We're going to Florida next month and I thought I'd start looking for some new movies now. I found three movies for her that I've been looking for for a while. I thought I might have to pay a little but I ended up coming under my credit amount by $2! I found the cheap version of the Tinkerbell movie (You know how they add extra features to movies and charge $10 more? I hate that! What 3-year-old cares about the extra features?), the Curious George movie, and the Leap Frog Storybook Factory to follow up Kate's beloved Letter Factory. They're in a bag in my closet waiting for their debut on our long car ride. I don't know why I'm so excited about this but sadly I think it made my day. Making my kid happy and doing it for a bargain - does it get any better?

Monday, April 27

Great weekend!

Last week was really busy on top of recuperating from the illness we all had the week/weekend before. In addition, we planned a busy weekend. It wasn't that busy, but there was lots of playing outside in the fantastic weather with a big event planned each day. Saturday was the Rossini Festival downtown. We took the kids downtown around 5:00 and stayed until 8:00. We walked up and down Gay Street and checked out all the wares for sale, we shared pasta, pizza, tiramisu and ice cream, we played in Krutch Park, and walked around Market Square. Kate was so filthy when we got home that her bath water that night left a ring of brown in the tub - gross! Sunday, the kids woke up early (of course - what else do kids do when they've played too hard the day before?), we went to church, took quick naps and then headed off to a friend's birthday party where we all played outside for a few hours. James and I got the kids to bed early last night and ordered a pizza, which we ate outside on the deck to enjoy the perfect weather.

We all had a great weekend, but now we're going to take it easy for a few days then get the house tidied up for company. James's parents are coming Thursday night for the inspection of the home they have under contract in Knoxville. They'll be staying at La Quinta because Hotel Hemrick is booked. My parents are coming on Friday night and staying this weekend and next weekend with travels to Alabama in between. I can't wait until we head to Florida the last week of this month where we plan to do nothing but play on the beach and in the pool. Ok, we might sneak a day trip in there somewhere... but there will be plenty of relaxing! While we're gone, James's parents will be closing on their house in Knoxville and gearing up to move mid-June! Look out Knoxville!

Here are a few pictures from this weekend and a few of the garden taken last weekend. It's no Mustaleski Farms (my friend Rebekah's garden is a huge tract of ridiculously beautiful cultivated earth - no red clay or chert in sight and big enough for their entire neighborhood!), but it will get us started.

Thursday, April 23

Owen's Pharmaceuticals

Owen is taking a crazy number of medications right now. Some are permanent, some temporary, some new, some he has taken for a while. Owen had three doctor appointments in the last 8 days and the medications varied from appointment to appointment, so you should have heard me trying to stumble through the answer to "Is he taking any medications?" yesterday. It's not like they're all 1/2 tsp doses, either. We have asthma medications that are measured in number of puffs and number of times per day. We have drops to put in his ears. We have medications given by dropper (different dosages at different times of day). And we have granules to mix in with a little bit of food. And all of this information is only in my head. I should probably write it all down for James so he could have a clue of what Owen needs if I'm not around (whenever that might be) but I would probably need a day planner to do it. It's not helping that Owen just decided that he doesn't like to take medicine by a dropper any more. We've never had any trouble before...

So why all the medicine? He has been taking asthma meds for a while now and there was actually talk of getting him off those after the winter, but then spring came (or bloomed) and now he has a 'sinus' infection (probably triggered by allergies), which has triggered a blocked ear tube and more asthma symptoms. I say 'sinus' because that's what the ENT called it, but the pulmonology NP told me children this small don't actually have sinuses yet. Whatever it is, hopefully we can get rid of the infection with this round of antibiotics and maybe the allergy symptoms will subside soon too. Owen's ENT doctor said it is a "miniscule percentage" of kids who block their SECOND set of tubes after an adenoidectomy. That's my boy! What he was trying to say was that the blocked tube was caused by the 'sinus' issue, not his ears by themselves. Let's hope springtime will not always be this complicated in the future!

Not that any of this is a huge deal, but on the positive side, the nurses at the pulmonology office rock! They gave us free samples for three different medications (and would have given us a fourth if they hadn't run out)! And they said to ALWAYS ask for samples because they know how expensive it is on private insurance. I came home with a bag full of free medicine! Add that to the samples the pediatrician gave us and we shouldn't have have to pay for any prescriptions for a couple months!

Wednesday, April 22


I don't mean to take over Angela's blog, but I seem to have time lately to post, while Angela has not. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to reflect on things, whether it is Angela being gone, time with the kids, trying to be more environmental, or my latest thought this week - simplicity of living. It has been a crazy week for us starting last Wednesday when Kate threw up at church right after dinner and then threw up in her bed Wednesday night. She was better Thursday, but Owen got it and was throwing up Friday night and woke up Saturday morning to a bed full of diarrhea (very pleasant to come in to first thing in the morning). He seemed to be better Saturday, but Angela got it Saturday night and I had it by Sunday night into Monday. I think we are finally over the sickness, but it was a rough week, especially the weekend in the Hemrick house.
Now I am stressed over a week of work where everything is hitting at once (of which I already missed Monday and was supposed to be off Friday - I may be working at home), I am hoping Angela is over her sickness (she was still feeling kind of funny last night) and that the kids don't get it again, and I am having one of those weeks where events keep me thinking about the choices I have made and am making about life. Things like career, lifestyle, where we are serving, and what we should be doing with our resources (not necessarily in that order, as the order changes daily).
Anyway, I came across by chance a blog yesterday that Angela has linked on this blog ("Remodeling This Life" - http://www.remodelingthislife.com/). I wanted to repost a piece of it that I came across yesterday. This sounds like our life lately and maybe what we should be doing more of.


My laptop? Broken.
Internet connection? Broken.
Dishwasher? Broken.
Vacuum cleaner? Broken.
Kids? 2 ear infections.

Some days I have grand plans to get all sorts of things done. Maybe this all is my reminder to just stop. Let the dishes pile up for a few hours, let the sand spend more than 3 minutes on the floor before it gets cleaned up. Let the emails go unread for a day or two. Sit down and snuggle the ones who need me. I am pretty sure this is a not so subtle nudge telling me to slow down. Prioritize. Appreciate. Today, I plan to do just that.

Not knowing I was thinking about this last night Angela gave me a great present when I got home. She had brought to my attention earlier in the day that she had heard Ben and Jerry's was giving away free ice cream cones. When I got home she was not feeling up to it, but she sent Kate and I out for ice cream while she put Owen to bed. Needless to say, free ice cream, my little girl (who was on her best behavior), and beautiful TN spring night made for a perfect end to a hectic, stressful day. So, sit down and snuggle the ones you love...slow down and enjoy some simplicity.

Saturday, April 18

Victory Garden

We have joined the fad and decided to plant a small garden this year. We were actually thinking about doing this before it became popular (I promise) since we wanted to start eating more organic produce (which is really expensive in the store) and more locally grown produce (what is more local than your own back yard). We will still try to support the farmers market as well, but it is hard to drag two kids and our lazy selves downtown each week.
So we are going to start small (a four foot by eight foot raised bed) and see how it goes. Not only will we hopefully grow a few things to eat, but it should also be a fun learning experience for Kate. Above is our plan. The Marigolds, Nasturtium, and Sunflowers are "companion" plants that should help control bugs. We have started to grow what we can from seeds and will "direct sow" the other stuff in early to mid May. I built the raised bed yesterday and we filled it with dirt and planted lettuce seeds, some spinach seeds, some spinach plants we had been growing from seeds and some sunflowers Kate had been growing from seeds today. It was a fun family activity (Owen was sleeping, but we will let him get his hands dirty next time). Angela took some pictures, but they have not been downloaded yet. Hopefully we can get them posted soon as Kate was really cute with her shovel and rake.

Monday, April 6

Another Weekend Survived

I am happy to report that Owen, Kate, and I survived our "weekend without mommy". We all missed her greatly and were glad she safely returned Sunday afternoon.
In her absence we enjoyed time at the "playria" (play area) at the mall, a morning of cooking pancakes from scratch, a two hour trip to the park, an afternoon playing in the back yard while daddy made burgers on the grill, a ride around Knoxville looking for the Tinkerbell movie, movie night with daddy and Kate (we had to settle for a Barbie princess movie), and an afternoon at church - while I played basketball (our friend Tiffany watched the kids), we waited for Angela to return, and we went to the monthly kids program and dinner Sunday afternoon. A couple pictures of the kids doing their favorite thing, swinging, are below. Welcome back mommy...

Friday, April 3

Quiet Friday Night

Angela is off in Atlanta with the church middle school youth at the "Believe" Conference, so I have a weekend alone with the kids. I think Owen's expression below sums up our general feelings here...we miss mommy.Angela being gone makes for hectic, tiring days, but quiet nights after everyone goes to bed. So, I thought I would upload a couple of my favorite pictures from our trip to Belleville/St. Louis the week before last.We will see how we fare this weekend. I think this is the second time that I have had the kid's alone. I am sure we will be fine unless it rains all weekend and we are confined to the house. In that case Kate and I may drive each other crazy.


Owen had his annual assessment for TEIS this week. He's continually assessed throughout the year, but this was the official assessment for his annual review where we set goals and update paperwork. To do this, they basically ask me a lot of questions about what he's doing and based on those answers they determine his "developmental age" for specific areas. I'll spare most of the details here, but I will say that God is good! In the Communicative Development (speech and language) area, he is at 16-18 months for receptive and 14-16 months for expressive (our EI tells me "everything has to go in before it can come out" so receptive is usually ahead of expressive). He just turned 16 months so that seems to me that he's right on target. It's really unbelievable to think that he's developing in speech and language just as well as any other kid. I can't really express how thankful I am for newborn hearing screenings and early intervention. I can only imagine where we would be without them now and down the road.

All that is to remind myself that he is doing great. Lately, it's hard for me to overlook the fact that he's 16 months and not walking! Not that it's unheard of, but I'm ready for him to walk! It's strange to think that with everything we've had thrown at us over the past 16 months, his gross motor skills would be the area where he lags behind. A year ago I wouldn't have believed it if someone had told me that Owen would be saying 15 words at this point and that my biggest concern would be that he is not walking. He was a late crawler, too, and even then he did a funny army crawl for a long time before he was up on hands and knees. It's just the way he is and I know he'll walk eventually. Hopefully by the time summer rolls around! It will make playing outside so much easier! But, until then, I'll be satisfied knowing that his language development is right on track and he's doing fine.