Wednesday, February 27, 2008

student of the week

Evan is student of the week at Patterson Elementary School this week. This was a big confidence booster for him! He's such a thoughtful brother too, because he wanted to have his picture taken with Alec. Evan had to write why he is special and he wrote, "I am special because I was born on President's Day. I am special because I used to live in Maryland."

On an extended family update: we have had three babies born on my side of the family in a week. Now Evan shares his birthday week with three cousins. My sister, Carla, had twins on Monday, February 18. They were born just shy of 34 weeks, but they are doing very well. So we welcome Will and Wade Sankot to our cousin pool. My step-sister, Janelle, had a baby boy on Friday, February 22. Welcome to Brock Douglas Soppe! We are so excited about all of our new cousins....the kids keep asking when we are going to Iowa to see all the new babies! Summer can't come fast enough for our trip to Iowa this year!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This and that

Well, this has been another week of dr. visits for us, so I thought I would update everyone. Of course, I already posted about Evan being sick on his birthday. He has prescription level cough medicine he takes at night, which helps him sleep, but he still has an awful cough during the day. The cough often gives him a headache, so we've been steadily going through the ibuprofin. Thank God for CVS sales....I was able to stock up on the pain relief medicine.
Onto Ann-Marie....she had her follow-up visit with the ENT dr. on Thursday. She is scheduled to have tubes put in both of her ears on April 3rd. We are hoping that this will provide relief to her as she has had several ear infections this winter, most lasting weeks and weeks on end.

Alec is showing off his new haircut. Both boys get their haircut about every three months and they go to a man that used to cut Darrell's hair in Ellwood City. This was only Alec's third haircut and he's pretty proud of it this time. So onto Alec....we had a playdate with a couple of Ann-Marie's friends on Wednsday, since she didn't have preschool. The next day their mom called and said one of the boys had strep, so we were exposed. Thursday night, Alec woke up in the middle of the night screaming in pain and hitting the side of his head. Onto the dr. again on Friday, which revealed a double ear infection and strep! Poor guy.
So this is what we did for and popcorn night! Not a bad way to spend a icy, slushy, sick evening in.....but we are really looking forward to SPRING!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Evan's actual 7th birthday

Well, the morning of Evan's actual 7th birthday dawned with a sick child. Evan had requested French Toast with blueberry sauce, which I had waiting for him. He came downstairs and took one bite, then proceeded to go into a coughing fit. Needless to say he didn't finish his special breakfast. The picture above is of Evan talking to Grandpa Shippy on the phone.
Opening his first present of the day....a dinosaur to be buddies with his green dinosaur. He doesn't look it, but he's excited to have a dinosaur with a complete tail, since his giant green one lost it's tail in a horrific dinosaur fight!
After Motrin (wonder drug!) and some cough medicine, Evan was perking up by lunch. We let him open Aunt Sheila and Aunt Carla's presents at lunch. Thanks for the cool gifts!
Darrell took Evan to the dr. after strep, just the nasty virus that is going around. He kept getting better and more active as the day went on!
For dinner, Evan requested the traditional spaghetti and meatballs on our "Special Day" red plate. (Mommy, I LOVE your homemade meatballs!) Now he's officially 7 years old!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Evan's 7th Birthday Party

We had Evan's 7th birthday party this weekend at his Aunt Toni and Uncle Tim's house in Irwin, PA, which is about an hour from our house. Evan originally requested a dinosaur cake, which I didn't think I could pull off, so I steered him in the direction of a volcano cake. This was SO much fun to make....even Alec got into the action. Evan loved the final product. Thank you, Jessica, for the wonderful cake was a hit!
We even were able to find a number 7 sparkler candle to put on top of the really finished off the volcano cake.
After homemade pizza (thank you very, very much to Tim and Toni), cake and ice cream and presents, we headed to Boyce Park for snowtubing. Below are the friends, Connor and McKenna, that Evan invited along with family. (Side note, Connor and McKenna are the children of Darrell's best friend from school!)
Although Alec wasn't big enough to go snowtubing, he enjoyed running around and eating the snow. Thanks to Aunt JoAnne for running after him all afternoon!
Evan's actual birthday is on Tuesday, February 19....but nothing will top his birthday party this past weekend!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Happenings

It has been a Jerome family tradition to have a treasure hunt for the kids on Valentine's day. In the past, I have made cookies or treats that they have to find. This year, however, with both Evan and Ann-Marie lugging home grocery bags of treats from school parties, I decided on cheap gifts that they would find. They had to follow the heart clues (which Evan can now read to the other two by himself) to get to the gifts. As you can see, there was a little drama with the toddler that didn't quite understand the concept and had just gotten up from his nap.
The pouting.....
The realization.....
And the excitement.....
We followed this up by having tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches in the shape of hearts. Now Alec keeps checking the stove for more gifts....what fun!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

snow day

We had our first snow day of the school year yesterday. The day was filled with sticker fun, making valentine's day cookies, watching the "Cars" movie, and sled riding when Darrell came home early. What a fun day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Alec Song

This song was inspired on Saturday, when I walked into the door after being gone all day to see Darrell with a very tired and pinched look on his face. When I asked him what was wrong, I got a laundry list of toddler antics that had filled his day. Sing to the tune of "The Mulberry Bush":

"This is the way I burn my finger
Burn my finger, burn my finger
This is the way I burn my finger
When Mommy's gone for the day.

This is the way I spill the juice
the whole container, the whole container
This is the way I spill the juice
When Mommy's gone for the day.

This is the way I eat Daddy's shaving cream
Eat Daddy's shaving cream, eat Daddy's shaving cream
This is the way I eat Daddy's shaving cream
When Mommy's gone for the day.

This is the way I break the computer desk
Break the computer desk, break the computer desk,
This is the way I break the computer desk
When Mommy's gone for the day.

This is the way I drive Daddy nuts
Drive Daddy nuts, drive Daddy nuts,
This is the way I drive Daddy nuts,
When Mommy's gone for the day!"

Enough said!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The day of the co-pays

First off, let me say that I thank God that Darrell is retired military and we have Tricare co-pay, which is really low. If we didn't have such good medical insurance, I think we might have to take a loan out for all of our dr. appointments the last two months. Here's an update on the two culprits:

Darrell, since the beginning of the year, has been to our primary dr. twice (maybe three times?), an orthopedic dr., a general surgeon, has had x-rays, a cat scan, and now more blood and urine work - all for mysterious pain in his lower abdomen/upper pelvic region. Still no diagnosis, but we'll keep you posted if something is figured out. He keeps trooping along though, with a good sense of humor.

Ann-Marie, our princess of ear infections, is battling another one. She woke up on Wednesday night crying because of pain in her ear. This was after finishing her antibiotics on Saturday, for an ear infection that we discovered when we took her in for fever/cold symptoms mid-January. So Thursday consisted of going to the Pediatrician, who prescribed stronger antibiotics, going to the pharmacy to pick up the medication, phoning the ENT dr. - who very kindly fit us into his schedule in the afternoon, going to that dr. appointment to be told, "o.k., now I've seen a bad ear, I'll see you in two weeks to discuss our options when her ear clears up." I'm hoping this doesn't turn into our November with her, when she had an ear infections for basically six weeks straight.

Now, if you labored through all of the above information and still are with must really love our family! We will keep you posted. Let me say though, as frustrating as it is with Ann-Marie's ears and Darrell's mysterious pain, we thank God that we are all basically healthy and these seem to be little irritations in this journey of life!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The life of a toddler

The last two days with Alec have been challenging. He is quite the strong-headed little boy. But as intense as he can be, he is also intensely joyful. Yesterday I noticed he was saying "naughty" a lot. He would look at me when he was angry, point his chubby little finger at me, scrunch up his face, and say "NAUGHTY MOMMY!" Well, I guess we're using that word a little too much with him. So I taught him to say, "Smart guy" last night. That's all I've heard today..."Alec Smart Guy!"

I was particularly challenged this afternoon when Evan came home from school. Everyone seemed to need a piece of me and I felt there were no more pieces to be had! So I was sitting with Evan helping him with his homework, feeling my irritation level continually rising, when Alec galloped into the kitchen looking like this:

How does he know when I need a good laugh?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Time-out part 2

Sunday (part 2 of our time-out) involved visiting Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh. I actually saw this display in the Fall as a "Girls Day Out" with Ann-Marie and the women of the Jerome family. Darrell had been promising me that we would go together, and since the show ends at the end of February, it was now or never. The show is called "Chihuly at Phipps". For those who don't know, Dale Chihuly is an artist best known for his blown-glass art form. He created blown-glass sculptures to fit into the plants and flowers of the conservatory. If you ever have a chance to see a Chihuly display, please go! It is truly amazing and beautiful. Our pictures really do not give the displays any justice!

And below was my favorite plant....the Swiss Cheese plant!

Darrell and Paula take a "time out"

Darrell had an awards banquet on the Gateway Clipper in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, so we made it a weekend by getting a babysitter for the kids (Thanks Maura!!!!), getting a hotel room, and staying in Pittsburgh for the weekend. It was also Darrell's birthday present to me...a weekend away. Maura told the kids as we were leaving that "Mommy and Daddy are going on a time-out!" The Gateway Clipper is actually a fleet of boats that travel up and down the three rivers of Pittsburgh. Here's where I had to learn more about Pittsburgh: the three rivers are the Monongahela (say that three times fast!), the Alleghany, and the Ohio. The Monongahela and Alleghany rivers flow together in downtown Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River (which Darrell likes to ask - why is it named the Ohio River when it starts in Pennsylvania???) Anyway, there was dinner and dancing and cool sights to be seen as we cruised the rivers of Pittsburgh.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Beginner Blogger

Well, we have decided to start a blog. My sister, Sheila, and friend, Denise, make it look so easy; so here it goes! I'm hoping this will help keep all of our wonderful family and friends that are spread out all over the United States and Europe updated on our family happenings. So if you have received an invitation to this blog, we love you and want to keep you updated without filling up your in-box with tons of pictures.

An update on us: The past 10 years of marriage for Darrell and I have taken us on a journey from Italy, to Washington D.C. (specifically Beltsville and Silver Spring, Maryland), and finally on to settling down in Western Pennsylvania, where Darrell is originally from. We have had three wonderful children in seven years: Evan, who will be seven in a couple weeks; Ann-Marie, who is four and a half; and Alec, who is two. Darrell's career has taken him from 20 years of military service in the Air Force to a financial advisor with New York Life Company. Paula's career has taken her from the federal service to a non-profit agency to part-time and currently, working at home.
Now onto current happenings. Evan decided he wanted to do cub scouts this year. He had his pine derby race a couple of weeks ago. He worked hard on his dinosaur car, but was the first to be eliminated (even with $3.00 worth of quarters taped to the car to meet weight standards!) He was such a good sport about it so we were proud of him.