Thursday, July 31, 2008

But I Don't Want to Go!

Those are the words that have come out of Samuel's mouth every time we've said it was time to leave the condo and go somewhere, whether it's to swim, to eat, to ride the Ducks, etc. Every time he has had a blast, but he just doesn't ever want to get up and go!

We are still having a really good time in Wisconsin. We have gone to all six of the waterparks here at our resort. Each kid has a favorite slide or water activity. I'm particularly fond of the lazy river! I just love it that there are indoor parks as well as outdoor ones. We have tended to go to the outdoor ones first (while we're freshly lathered with sunscreen), stayed for a couple of hours, and then headed inside.

On Monday, we went to tour a cheese factory, only it wasn't really a tour. It was watching a "How to Make Cheese" video in the corner of the store. We did try some really good cheese, though. We drove the scenic way to Madison, crossing the Wisconsin River on a ferry. The kids hadn't ever been on one. They were pretty fascinated. We went to a zoo in Madison that a parent from this past year told me about. It was about the size of the Tulsa Zoo, and it was free! The kids really like seeing the animals. The cages were a little different than one I'm used to. We could actually stand about eight feet from two grown lions - with just a fence inbetween. We also went to an interactive science center.

Yesterday, we rode a Duck on the Wisconsin River. It was fun; the kids loved going from land to water - - just driving right in. There were some differences between the Ducks here and the ones in Branson - - no quacking, for instance. This morning we headed out early to Mr. Pancake, the local pancake house. It was really yummy. I had peanut butter stuffed pancakes. After I ordered, I started thinking . . . why do I always pick the really fattening things? Fruit on my pancakes would have been a better choice, I"m sure. But, the peanut butter ones were really good. And, it's not like I ate anywhere near all of them. I was stuff after eating just a little off my plate! After breakfast, we headed out to "The Ranch" to go on a horseback ride. Jacob rode on his own horse - - he did great! He thought it was so much fun. Samuel rode with me, and Hannah rode with John. Hannah whined and cried through the first half of the ride, so much that the trail guide stopped and switched her with Samuel. She was fine after that. I guess she's just a mama's girl. I thought the horses were pretty fun. I guess we'll have to get Katie to take us riding sometime.

I think we're going to hang out and swim for the rest of the day today. Maybe we can find a good movie for us all to watch this evening.

More pics . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We made it to Wisconsin! The drive was long, and I'm really glad we did it in two days. We drove to St. Louis on Friday. We ate a great place in Laclede's Landing downtown (Old Spaghetti Factory) which is wonderful because you get dessert (ice cream or spumoni) included with every meal. Then we went to City Museum for a few hours. The kids loved it! Unfortunately, it's not air conditioned through most of the museum, so it was pretty hot. Of course, the kids had to climb through all the outside stuff too, which was very hot and humid. (City Museum isn't an ordinary museum; it's like a giant art deco playland.) Hannah's favorite was the three-story slide. The boys just loved it all. If we lived in St. Louis, it would definitely be the place to have a birthday party.

We drove the rest of the way to Wisconsin Dells on Saturday. Our condo here is incredible! By far the nicest we've stayed at anywhere. It's huge, new, very posh. Thanks Mom & Dad!! There are six different water parks here at the resort, and all are included for guests and can only be used by guests. Some things were crowded by afternoon, but never too crowded. Some of the water parks are inside which is nice since I can't be in the sun for too long. We did an outside park this morning and an inside one this afternoon. I only had to apply sunscreen to everyone once - nice. Last night and tonight, we let the kids play in a giant indoor playland (no water). It's wonderful just to let them go and sit and watch. (Yes, I did climb through lots but am sore and bruised from City Museum!)

We plan to drive in to Madison tomorrow. The zoo there is free, so we'll probably do that and go to see the capital building. There's a free ferry across the Wisconsin River that is supposed to be really neat. We also want to tour a cheese factory.

Please keep praying for John. His hearing is ever so slightly better, but he's experience extreme tenitis (sp?). That's a reverberation/whoosing sound in his good ear (trying to compensate for the bad ear). It's driving him nuts. He isn't having any bad side effects from the prednisone, so that's a praise. He is still really anxious about whether his hearing will come back. He's being a trooper, though. We're still all having a great time. I've included some trip pictures. I don't have many water pictures yet, so more of those later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Please Pray for John

John woke up unable to hear out of one ear - basically not hearing anything at all. He saw an ENT today, and we really expected to find out that he was having sinus problems, and that his eustacian tubes were just stopped up. Instead, we found out that he has a condition called Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. The cause is not known. Lasting effects are unknown as well. His hearing loss was measured by an audiologist as moderate/severe, and he thinks it's continuing to worsen. He is going to be taking large amounts of prednisone for two weeks to see if that will improve his hearing. There's a 75% chance that his hearing will return in some capacity, either mostly back to normal or limited improvement. There's a chance his hearing will not come back at all. He will have to get an MRI (when we get back from vacation) to determine if there's a tumor on his auditory nerve (benign) which is sometimes associated with this condition.
We are thankful that only one ear is affected; the other ear seems perfectly normal. We are praying that it will remain that way. Please pray that his hearing will be restored to full capacity and that he won't develop any of the other symptoms associated with this condition (vertigo, loss of balance) - especially while on our trip. Please pray that he will be able to enjoy our vacation and that the kids and I will be sensitive to the situation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Huneycutt Family

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Never Ever Mess With Your Layout

. . . unless you really know what you are doing. I was inspired by a custom layout on a friend's blog, and I thought, you know . . . I could surely figure out how to do that. Ha. I went to webfetti and instantly had a new background/layout. I was just playing around and didn't really want to keep the background. But, I could NOT get it to go away. I did all kinds of things to my blog before I figured out how to fix the background. When I finally got the background to go away, I had succeeded in removing all of my pictures, sidebars, etc. The most confusing thing was that I didn't have a page elements tab to be able to try to put it back on. I even enlisted John's help in trying to figure out what I had done. I have spent the last hour trying to figure it out - -- finally, I have things back to a relatively normal state. I was tempted to call my friend, Reba, to tell her my frustrations - - knowing that she would understand. Leah, I need REALLY detailed instructions. Otherwise, my blog will have to not be cutesy.

Monopoly, etc.

The boys have discovered the game of Monopoly. We have played several times in the past few days. One morning, I had intended to get a lot of cleaning done and ended up staying in my pajamas and playing monopoly for more than two hours! I just told myself that making memories and playing with my kids was more important than having a clean house. Of course, based on what my house looks like most days, you'd think we play and make memories all the time! I've been impressed with Samuel's ability to strategize what properties he wants to get as well has his ability to make change. I wish that the boys would realize that they could play without me - - hours of staying busy, how great would that be!
All three kids spent Friday night with John's parents. It was just supposed to be the boys, but Hannah asked all afternoon is she could stay too. I told her that we'd have to ask Grannie Bee which she promptly did as soon as we arrived. Grannie Bee said no at first but then saw how disappointed Hannah looked and recanted. I told her that I thought Hannah would be fine and not any more trouble than the boys. Saturday morning, John's dad (85!) took all three kids to Cracker Barrel for breakfast - - by himself! So impressive! The kids seemed to have a wonderful time, and no one seems worse for the wear.
We've enjoyed swimming a lot this past week. We went to Ann's house several times, and we also went to Ms. Terry's house (a friend from school) when she had a pool day. While there, Samuel busted his leg open, and I thought we might have to get stitches, but a butterfly bandaid seemed to work fine. All three kids have gained a lot of confidence in the water. Hannah is wanting to swim without floaties between me and the wall. I'm so glad that she's not timid like she was last year. It's so nice to have a sister with a pool - - thanks Aunt Ann for letting us come over so often!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Busy, Busy

This past week went by quickly as I was busy with several different school related things. I spent Tuesday & Wednesday working all day with a couple of other 7th grade social studies teachers. This is what I counting for my "swap" days. (In Fayetteville, we can "swap" professional development days that we do in the summer for days off during regularly scheduled professional development during the school year.) Working these two days will allow me to have the whole week of Thanksgiving off. Plus, since the teachers who worked these two days could determine what we worked on, we were able to get a whole lot accomplished. We were able to sketch out lesson plans for the first nine weeks of school. We were able to create several complete new lessons and create some new things using our new textbook materials.
My other school activity was teaching in the Non-Traditional Teacher Licensure Program. This was a first for me. I taught a group of about 80 novice teachers. Fortunately, the topic was one I know well - - Pathwise and Praxis III. The teachers had a lot of questions about doing their Praxis assessment that I was able to answer. I teach again tomorrow (for the second and final time). I'm a little more nervous because I'm using canned materials on professional ethics. I have tried to throw in some of my own stuff to "jazz" it up some. I certainly don't want my audience to feel the way I have felt in many a professional development session (like I want to impale myself with the plastic fork at my table!). It's been a good experience, something new. I think I will have the option of teaching some Saturday classes during the upcoming school year.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Swim Ranch & Basketball Camp

Our house was a flurry of activity this past week with Jacob going to basketball camp and then both boys going to swim lessons. Jacob attended the John Pelphrey camp at the U of A from 9-12:00 each morning this week. I was anxious to see how he would do with going to a camp type environment where he would just show up by himself not necessarily knowing other kids in his group. Fortunately, I did know that a couple of friends from his class were also planning to be there. He didn't get placed in a small group with these boys, but there were a couple of boys from his class this past year in his group. He seemed to really enjoy camp overall. Anything social we can do is good for him. We didn't send Samuel because we thought you had to have finished first grade to be able to go. We found out later in the week that he could have gone. Next year, we'll have to send them both.

We headed each afternoon to the Swim Ranch for swimming lessons. Both boys can swim, but neither are great at specific strokes and skills. Samuel has actually been very timid in the water this year after jumping off the diving board at Ann's house and then panicking. I think it made him think that he couldn't swim anymore. Samuel did have a couple of major fits about not swimming, but he ended up having a lot of fun as you can tell from the pictures. I think both boys will advance to the next higher lane next summer. Lessons were more fun for me this year because a long-time friend was there with her kiddos at the same time. Also, Hannah was able to entertain herself in the puddles and could play with a boy from church while she watched and waited.

We ended the week with a 4th of July party at Ann's house. The kids enjoyed swimming, especially playing with James & Allison. We will miss them so very much ! :( We ate well and enjoyed sitting around the pool and visiting while John played with fireworks. We also enjoyed another exciting round of hide and seek. Lisa broke Matt's record and stayed "lost" for at least 45 minutes. We would never have found her if David hadn't joined the game. The hiding places just get crazier every time.