11 May 2008

Day at the Petting Zoo

Depsite not much news on here from our family recently we have been busy. One of our more recent adventures has been to the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park, Kansas. There M and K could see many farm animals from goats to chickens to cows.

M really like it because she could interact with the animals. E is still too small to do anything but look at them and every now and then point and say "Hrgggahgh".

M got a chance to ride a horse, feed baby goats, feed adult goats, and fish with worms.

M feeding a baby goat with a bottle.

M fishing. No catches but lots of nibbles.

E hanging out until the cows come home.

26 October 2007

Anniversary in the Provence

K and I finally had our belated honeymoon and celebrate 10 wonderful years together. It was only fitting that this event be celebrated in the south of France. It all started on the way to the Dominican Republic last March. I was heading to the DR for an assessment trip with the Engineers without Borders Kansas City Professional Chapter. The movie on the trip down was A Good Year with Russell Crowe; a romantic comedy set in the south of France based on the book of same title by Peter Mayle. The scenery was beautiful and I was hooked on the Provence. I highly recommend reading the books Peter Mayle has written about the area. They are well written and filled with humor. We immediately began making plans to spend two weeks in the Provence. We looked online for rental homes and settled on a small apartment (named La Joliette) in the small town of Goult.

23 September 2007

We arrived in Paris after a long day of flying from Kansas City to Chicago to Boston to Paris. There was a significant layover before our high speed train (the TGV – a masterpiece of engineering and efficiency) left to Aix. There was an earlier train to Aix, but it left from the Gare de Lyon. We decided to get on the subway and head for the Gare de Lyon. We turned our tickets in for the earlier train and waited patiently to find out which track we would be departing from. It was funny to see other people looking expectantly at the TV monitor waiting for that little piece of information. We were soon on the train and on our way to Aix. I slept most of the way down. If you have never experienced the TGV I would highly recommend it. It is fast and the best way to get a feel for how fast you need to see one moving. There are some things like wine, cheese, bread and trains that only the French know how to do.

We arrived in Aix and found our way to the small rental station. Now the TGV station at Aix is remarkable. The two tracks are protected by a large canopy supported by laminated wood beams. I am not much for modern architecture, but this structure was naturalistic; it was beautiful. It reminded me of a number of trees set in a row, something that we would see often in our travels through the towns of the Luberon.

We ended up renting a VW Golf TDI. I liked the little car and we would find that little cars are very good for the tight turns and small alleys some roads would lead us to. If you are worried about getting lost in France you only need three things: a good map, a sense of adventure, and a good navigator. We had all three. I knew there was a reason I married K – she could read a map.

With our sense of adventure and map in hand we drove out into the unknown. We found Goult with little difficulty. Opa C had also helped us out by printing out a small blow up of a map around Goult. Goult is a small town and not one on the typical tourist map or guidebook. It has one baker (with suspicious hours), two butchers, one grocer, one café and three restaurants. It was the sight of a small castle of the family Agoult hundreds of years past. The castle still remains.

We met our landlord, Eva Parmelee, met us at the town square and showed us to La Joliette, a small two bedroom, one bathroom apartment. It was perfect. We felt like we actually lived in the town for the two weeks we were there.

The entry is cloaked in a grape vine. Eva bought it many years ago when the area was just beginning to be put on the map. Below is a cellar that doubles as a large dining room. Back in the day the home owners would keep their horses or donkeys down there. The apartment was very quiet as was the neighborhood. We were well off the main drag to the top of the town.
There is something about having a home base on vacations like this. We could cook when we wanted to (which we did because it was expensive to go out to eat). It was nice not having to unpack all the time. I learned from our vacation to Germany a couple of years ago that this was the best way, in my opinion, to enjoy the area and have a relaxing vacation.


27 June 2007

Update on Little E's Condition

We had to take E to the urgent care Friday night. He had what looked like a zit form on his thigh a few days ago. We thought it would go away, but on Friday night it was getting huge. So off to the urgent care we went. Fortunately we were almost the only ones there. They said they generally are only really busy in the winter and around the 4th of July. The doctor thought that he a bit of a staff infection and gave us a prescription for antibiotics.

After two days of grape-flavored antibiotics things were not looking better. He just was not himself. He was not eating and drinking well. The growth on his leg was not getting smaller and seemed to have enlarged. There was obviously a puss filled center to the growth. He would not put pressure on his leg and would keep it out and not close to himself. We went back to the urgent care and after some deliberation they decided to admit him to Children’s Mercy Hospital. He already lost about 1 pound from Friday to Sunday. He was pretty dehydrated and they ended up having to give him an IV. But because he is a little guy coupled with his being dehydrated they had to use the vein in his head. Needless to say the little guy was pretty beat up after all this. I ended up staying at the hospital

The next day he was getting back to his normal self. They decided to drain the growth on his leg and basically get out all the bad and pack it. He went into surgery on Monday afternoon and came through just peachy. He was able to put weight on his leg again. Of course through it all he still smiles and laughs and has a general sunny disposition – except of course when he is getting poked and prodded.

Today when I walked in I was greeted with a gown area sign at the door to his room. It turns out his issue is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The form of MRSA he was exposed to (through an open would we theorize) was not being treated by the particular antibiotic he was being given. So they will start him on another antibiotic that will treat the MRSA strain he has according to the culture. It sounded like he will be able to go home today. We will monitor him from home for the next week and a half.

23 June 2007

Father's Day Weekend

Last weekend my parents came into town. They had not seen E in some time. Little E is growing and growing. And a little hair is coming in too. It was nice to see them again. And it was Father's Day. My father had to leave early for an eye doctor appointment. My mother stayed through Wednesday. She spent a full day with M and then a full day with E. I just think it is very important for the kids to get know the grandparents well and I am thankful that my parents have the time to spend with their grandchildren.

Father's Day weekend was much like any other weekend around our house. I try to get something done around the house, but usually it just ends of in more added to the TO DO list. Last weekend was no exception, but that was more of my own stupidity. I decided to recaulk the some of the windows and the patio door in the back. I was doing very well taking out the old caulk and putting in new caulk. I decided to let it dry and paint it the next day. Well, I went to start painting and noticed that the paint was running off. Upon careful inspection of the back of the caulk bottle I noticed that it said in tiny letters "Paintable No". Blah. Back to Lowe's for some paintable caulk - this time carefully reading the label. Back home for a trial of putting paintable cault over non-paintable caulk. Well, the trial worked and we have had a couple of rains and no paint running off. Now I just have to do everything esle!

A couple of weekends ago we went to see Thomas the Tank Engine in Baldwin City, Kansas. M likes Thomas and I heard about Thomas coming to the Kansas City area so I thought it would be neat for her see this. The event is more or less a genius marketing ploy that happens to include a ride in a train that is being "pulled" by Thomas the Tank Engine. Overall it was fun. Lots of activities to do, all naturally centered around Thomas and his friends.

Little E is starting to eat mushy foods. He likes it. So far he has tried some prunes, apple sauce, and some veggies (hard to tell when they are all mushed up).

Weightloss Update

In order to keep it "real" I will be posting my progress on my weight loss. I really need to lose weight and have started a life-style change program.

Weight June 11, 2007 - 294 lbs

Weight June 18, 2007 - 287 lbs

Making progress slowly but surely. Ultimate goal is 230!

15 June 2007

St. Louis Trip

I had decided that I wanted to see one of my favorite radio personalities live. Glenn Beck, I know what you may be thinking but the guy really speaks to me when it comes to family life and what is important in life, was doing a comedy tour (An Inconvenient Tour - about life not really mocking Al Gore) and one of his tour stops was in St. Louis. Well that was the closest stop to Kansas City. I bought two tickets thinking one of my colleagues would go with me. As it turned out, my colleague backed out (something to do with being gone from home and not wanting to upset his with). So I asked Uncle O if he wanted to go. He said yes and then we decided to make a family trip out of it.

K, M, E, and I packed up and headed out on Saturday afternoon. In the commotion I forgot the camera. K had schedule a work meeting for early Saturday afternoon so we did not end up leaving until 1:30 PM. It was 6 PM before we made it to St. Louis. Uncle O was already at the hotel. We had some dinner and Uncle O and I drove to the fabulous Fox Theatre. K stayed in the hotel room with M and E. Naturally, I had to go to the kennel. Supposedly he enjoyed his stay.

The theatre was fabulous. It was either well refurbished or well maintained, I could not tell. There were ornate carvings everywhere in the theatre. The style of carvings was Asian influenced with an Asian inspired goddess prominently displayed on either side of the stage and in the entrance to the theatre. The Fox Theatre is one of those grand old theatres. It feels right to see a stage show in one of those. Glenn Beck did a decent show. Since I did not know if I would ever see a show of his again I got some good tickets. They were 4 rows back in the center. It was full of laughter. He talked about the many inconveniences of life from everyday events to parenting.

Uncle O and I headed back to the hotel after the show. I would not have minded going to Schlafly Brewery and having a brew, but I thought it better to head back to the hotel. I thought we would be able to go the next day anyway for lunch (I had been there a few times about 8 years ago when I was working in St. Louis and they had some good food). E was not enjoying the pack-n-play. We spent a restless night trying to get him to sleep. Through it all M slept. Nice.

The next day after brunch Uncle O left and we did some swimming in the hotel pool. We basically had to because M insisted and it was a big selling point of the trip with her. After swimming we packed up with the intention of going to the St. Louis Zoo. It was close to lunch but not enough time after the brunch so we bypassed Schlafly Brewery. Oh well, next time I told myself.

If you ever been to St. Louis you know it is a fairly nice city. It once hosted the 1904 World's Fair and you can tell from its layout and grandiose of the city central buildings. The zoo does not disappoint (I refuse to go the Kansas City Zoo because I literally get depressed by the half-assed way they have done the zoo). The St. Louis Zoo is a world class zoo and you can tell from the way it is laid out. The zoo was originally constructed for the 1904 World's Fair and some of the buildings reflect the construction of that era. We did not spend as much time as I wanted, but I think we will be back to St. Louis because it has so much to offer and there is much more to see in St. Louis than the arch.

Photo of Uncle O with M and E at ORiver's house.

Real Life in Kansas City

I wanted to create a blog about real life from a midwestern family perspective instead of the usual political and social commentary on my other blogs. This is for family and friends that want to know what our family is up to. I will try to do regular posts about what K, M, E, I and me are up to. Hopefully plenty of pictures to show the family. Life goes on despite what the morons in Washington, D. C. do.