Friday, April 28, 2006

Lunken Airport Tour - also Airport Aviation Days event!
Friday, April 28 11am
Cost: $5 per person - ages 5 and up, All ages welcome
Organizer: Julieanne Hensley

Julieanne wrote: We'll tour Lunken Airport - a little history of the airport itself, then the airplane hanging in the terminal and history of that plane, then we'll walk around and see all the different planes - they're having their Airport Aviation Days event, so there will be planes there from all over - everything from open cockpit biplanes to corporate jets - and you'll be able to ask questions and see them all! : ). They'll also have hot dogs and sodas for free, and we'll have books and such to take home with us. This is gonna be so cool!RSVP to Julieanne

What a wonderful day! The history of airport was fascinating, I learned so much that I didn't know. We got to tour the original control tower and then see the airplanes and life flight helicopter. The kids got an absolute blast out of being able to climb in the planes. Will was so cute, he sat in the cockpit of one of the small planes and kept pushing buttons saying "go up, go up!" and he would point to the sky!

Brett talked to the admission officer from Cincinnati State about their aviation mechanics program. It is a 3 year program and once certified jobs average over $20 an hour plus benefits. It will be interesting to see if it is something he decides to pursue....especially since he only joined me on the tour for the free hotdogs!

A breakthrough for Will too...he actually saw 2 different babies nursing and didn't demand "boob, boob", he was more interested in the planes! Maybe there is hope he will wean before he heads off to college (or flight school)!

We learned that they will be offering free flights for kids on June 10th at the Clermont County Airport. If we don't have baseball that morning, I think we will head out. The kids actually get to FLY the plane!
Pictures from today's tour: Picture of Sophie in the Flamingo Air jet; Em and Grant in the Flamingo Air jet; the original control tower; a closeup of the sign on the original control tower; Will in the cockpit!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

An Anniversary of sorts.....

A year ago this morning, my life was the way it used to a year ago tonight I knew my father was dying. It has been a very long year.......he spend 28 days in ICU, a week in the main hospital, and 5 weeks in rehab at Drake. Fortunately he doesn't remember any of it but the very end when he was at Drake. When he got home in July, I doubted he would make it to his birthday in September, but after his birthday passed, I began to stop thinking that he might not make the next "milestone"....Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mom's birthday, Easter....and now the one year anniversary of his diagnosis.

A year ago they told us he had an incurable cancer. A year ago they told us he was in complete kidney failure. A year ago (minus a few weeks) they told us he had a stroke.

He isn't the same person he was a year ago. None of us are the same person. There are times I resent the hell out of the chaos this has thrown into my life. Days when I resent that my parents have become such an integral part of our lives (I had worked so hard to keep a buffer between us since they don't approve of so much of our livestyles). Days when I am so pissed that my mother thinks she has any right to tell me that my kids should be in school because I can't possibly be teaching them what they need to know....she is right, I can't HALF of what I should be doing with them because my father now gets at least 2 days out of my week, if not three (depending on if he has an extra appointment with some specialist or not). But there are days when I am grateful for the time I have been given, to say a slow goodbye. Days when I hope by example my children learn that they have a responsibility to their parents and that even when it isn't fun, when it is inconvient, when it interferes with something they would much rather do, that the bond of family wins.

I never leave my dad without telling him that I love him, something I had probably never told him since the day I left home at 18. The younger kids have formed a bond with him that they would have never had if this hadn't happened. The older kids have learned a lot about the power of faith and prayer.

He has an appointment with his oncologist this Friday to determine if they will do more chemo. He goes to see a GI doctor next Wednesday to see if they can figure out why he is having trouble swallowing sometimes and why he has coughing fits. He is going to have his shoulder x-rayed to see why it causes him constant pain. He is to the point that the oxycotin doesn't help with the pain.

I know there other lessons in all of this.....some days I really ponder what it is and why I am not completely getting it. And I wonder, if a year from now, I will sit and post that we have made it to another anniversary with Dad still with us.
Visiting the Cincinnati Flower Show

We took the opportunity this morning to visit the flower show. We had to go down and make sure our containers were doing OK so we timed our visit with the late opening of the show today and spend some time walking around. The kids containers are amazing, they all scored GOLD (an improvement over last year we had gold, a couple silver and even a bronze).

Here are a few pictures from today! Sophie with her window box; Cade with his window box )view of his box by Sophie's box); Emily with her succulent garden; Grant with his HOT HOT HOT salsa garden; Sophie with her little pumpkin.

More Flower Show pictures: Hannah and Sophie with the metal spider; Emily, Grant, Jacob, Cade, Sophie and Will with their friend Chris; Hannah's window box; Hannah's creative container

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Drama Class:

A graduate student at UC contacted Julieanne about testing the drama program she has developed for her thesis. It was great fun. Although the program was designed for more middle school and up age students, all of the little ones really got into it! Melodie just send me the pictures, even though we did the program back in are some of my favorites!

I hope that in the future we are able to present this class to an older group (jr high and high school). I think they would really take off with the material that was presented. In the pictures the kids are wearing their "emo" masks. The freat thing is that we got to keep all the materials from the project.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday, April 24; 1:00 pm
FREE Irish Dance class
Union Township Civic Center
No RSVP necessary
Contact person: Julieanne Hensley

Julieanne wrote: Hazel Donnelly, the very nice lady from Dublin who teaches the Irish Dance class we've been taking for the past few years is going to be coming to the gym this Monday to give a free lesson, and try to gauge interest level for setting up homeschool classes for next fall.

True and Liam have both taken Irish Dance with Hazel, and really love her. She's planning on coming to the Wild Child Open Gym at the Union Township Civic Center on Monday, the 17th at 1pm. So if you have any interest at all, this would be a great opportunity to come by, meet her, and observe or take a class! : ) She also teaches adult classes, if any parents are interested!

Although the girls are completely devoted to their current dance studies, I thought it might be fun to expose them to another dance genre, so we went and checked out the Irish Dance Class. Hannah opted not to participate (if it doesn't involve taps it doesn't appeal to her) but both Sophie and Emily took the class. Although they both had fun, Emily declared she would much rather take another ballet class then expand into Irish dance. There was a great turnout though, so if Hazel pursues it, she should have a great size class to work with.

Will was adorable, he so wanted to be part of the dance. He looked so cute trying to follow along with the dance steps and hand clapping.

These are some pictures of Hannah's routines. The one in the white jackets is her tap routine, which absolutely rocks the house. The gold/browns are from her hip hop rountine.

These are pictures of Emily's jazz routine. The routine is very cute and upbeat and Emily is center stage for much of the routine.

Here are some pictures of Emily dancing at a couple of our recent dance competitions. These are pictures from her ballet routine "Thieves in the Palace".

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Cincinnati Flower Show

Once again this year the kids decided to enter container in the Cincinnati Flower Show. I was so impressed with how beautiful the entries turned out! We dropped them off Thursday night but I didn't have time to post about it until now!

Grant's Farm and Greenhouse donated all of the flowers for our window boxes. With Hannah, Emily, Grant, Cade and Sophie all doing boxes, I probably walked away with close to $200 worth of flowers. I can't wait to get them back from the show and put them on our porch!

One top of the window boxes, some of the kids chose to make creative containers. Hannah did a beautiful arrangement in a stick basket. Emily did a small succulent garden in an old tabletop fountain that no longer worked. Grant opted for a grill again, this time his theme was "Feelin' HOT HOT HOT" and he planted a salsa garden full of tomatos, herbs and peppers. Little Sophie (the youngest enterant in the Jr Green Thumb division) planted a small orange halloween pumpkin (the kind kids go and get candy in when they trick or treat). She is so proud of it.

Two other homeschooling families also joined us. The Lelands and the Hensleys. Their kids also did window boxes and creative containers. I can't wait to find out how well the containers did in the judging. They looked just GORGEOUS when we dropped them off!

If you happen to make it to the flower show at Coney Island, the containers are in the second tent (just past the grand marque tent). When entering the tent they are to the left of the madri gras area, on the back wall. They are set up in front of decorative doorways. Sophie's little orange pumpkin should be easy to spot, or maybe it will be Grant's grill, complete will painted flames that gets your attention!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday's Sew Fun
April 21, 2006
Following Wild Oats Tour (roughly 1 PM -3 PM)
Pajama Bottoms!

What to bring: Three yards of fabric of your choice (nothing stretchy, just the regular fabric that we always use for everything else is fine). 2 yards of 3/4" wide elastic (give or take).

After we finished the tour of Wild Oats, I grabbed the kids lunch at Wendy's and we headed to Melodie's for sewing. The kids made PJ bottoms. The group seemed to work well, we had a machine for each kid and Josh (Melodie's oldest) had finished up most of the work on his before we got there, so we could look at them as a prototype. True, Emily and Hannah have become old hands at sewing. Sarah joined us for the first time and it was impressive how well her project turned out. What was most impressive was than in just about 2 hours we managed to cut pants from a pattern, sew them, hem them and MODEL them (picture to be posted soon).

On the ride home, we all decided it was definitely EASIER and possibly even CHEAPER to buy pj bottoms at OLD NAVY but we had a blast learning a new skill! Hannah even wore hers to the dance studio to model them for her friends!

Photo added 4-25: From left to right: True, Sarah, Emily, Hannah, and Josh
Friday, April 21; 10:30 - 11:30
Tour of Wild Oats - Hyde Park/Norwood Store
2693 Edmonson Road Cincinnati,Ohio 45209
Cost: Free
All Ages invited to participate
Max: 35 people
Required wavier: look at the top under "Materials Needed"
Rsvp by April 17 to Deanne Leland
RSVPs: Leland (3), Riesenberg (8), Hensley (3), Robbins (4), Epping (4), Starr (2), Coz (4), Andrew/Light (2)

The tour, entitled, Be A Natural Shopper! will help children in grades K-8 develop and enhance skills in:
Natural and organic foods
Healthy living and nutrition
Meal planning
Career planning
Decision making
Trip amenities include:
Free samples of healthy foods and beverages.
Free student goodie bags with souvenirs from their trip

For a FREE tour this completely ROCKED! Not only was it extremely informative, but we got to sample lots of goodies along the way including smoothies, sushi, chocolate soy milk, make your own trail mix, honey tangerines, ornages, stawberries, cheesecake, cracker with spread...I am sure I am forgetting something! We ended up with a bag full of samples to take home (cereal, macaroni and cheese, gummy snack, natural laundry soap). I can't wait to go back when I have some extra money and do some shopping! The only thing I ended up buying was some sushi for lunch!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cade wins at Homeschool Architecture Program!

This year was the first year that we participated in the Achitecture by Children (ABC) program. The theme this year was for the kids to design their own museum. They could either build their museum out of things like boxes, toilet paper rolls, foam board and the like or they could submit 2-D floorplans for their museum. Our original plan had been to build the museum but when Cade sat down with me and told me what he wanted on each FLOOR of the museum (he had 3 floors in his head) we opted to go the 2-D route. Although his idea of a pontoon boat ride on the thrid floor was a bit unrealistic, his overall plan was pretty impressive, especially when you consider he just turned 6 years old. He even included a piece of countertop that looked like alligator skin and green paint chip samples. I guess all those museum visits he has made in his short life have had an impact on him. He was so cute when they announced he won, he went running up to the architect that was our advisor looking for his "prize". He didn't realize that it just meant that his project got to move on to the finals at the downtown library! Jacob designed a basketball museum, Grant a baseball museum and Emily a sculpture museum. They were all so proud of Cade they didn't seem to mind that their projects didn't advance in the competition.

His project will be on display at the Main Library downtown Cincinnati for the next week. If you live in the area it might be fun to go check the museums out. All the winning entries from all over the area will be on display. The overall winner will be picked on April 25th with awards presented on April 29th!

Here are his plans:

Cade's Crocodilian Museum
My museum would include:

Interative Habitat Area with Map: Did you know...? Crocodiles are found in 91 countries in the world - 51% of all countries. These 91 countries have a combined human population of 4.7 billion people (in 1999) which is 78% of the total world population. 3 out of 4 people have crocodilians living in their country. Sit in a crocodile's nest, navigate through the Everglades on a boat and encounter "mock gators".

Interactive Anatomy Area: including such items as live sized alligator, caimen and crocodile jaws side by side for comparision. Also Taxidermied animals for examination.

Crocodilian Conservation Area: Displays on the importance of conservation and reasons to stop hunting and poaching.

Tanks with rehab crocodilian

Learning Lab: offering classes and workshops on crocodilian


Croc Cafe: restaurant featuring family friendly menu and reasonable priced refresments. Includes picnic area for families that prefer to bring in their own food.

Gator Gifts: gift shop featuring crocodilian related merchandise. All conservation concious!

Crocodilian Themed play area

Vending area with tables

Office Space for Museum Staff

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Grant turns 10!

Those with double digits ages now officially outnumber those with single digit ages in our household! Grant turned the MAGIC 1-0 today! He surprised me when he asked that I make cornbeef, mashed potatoes and green beans as his birthday meal (the kids can chose whatever they want for dinner on their birthday, most chose to go out to their favorite restaurant). His gift requests were simple, a GBA game, wrestling guy and a pair of sliding shorts for baseball.

Grant was thrilled that he got to hang out with his friend Chris for part of his birthday even if it was at the community gardens and at baseball practice. He lead the highs and lows at dinner. I love hearing what was the best and the worst part of everyone's day!

Grant was born on the one year anniversary of the OKC bombing. The day of the bombing I was shell-shocked. I remember spending so much of the day sombing, surrounds by my three small children. At one point I laid on the couch, nursing Emily and I fell asleep. I had the oddest dream. My husband's aunt who had died when I was pregnant with Brett (she had been a nun) appeared to me, holding a baby in a blue blanket in her arms. I assumed the baby was my nephew Jack who had been stillborn a year or so before Brett was born. Sister Hilda told me that it was OK to grieve today, but that next year I would rejoice on this date. So fast forward a bit...we move to a new house and a few months later I realize I am PREGNANT! I go to the doctor and we do all the calculations, including a dating ultrasound and everything agrees that our newest addition is due May 17th. I half joking say something like "that date doesn't matter. This baby will be born on April 19th". The doctor just laughs. I think he was a bit more freaked out than I was when I went into labor on April 18th and delievered Grant at 1 AM on April 19th.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Jacob is 8!

Jacob turned 8 today! I felt so bad, we didn't get to go out with our friends for lunch because I was stuck down at the hospital taking my dad to have some test run. Jacob always seems to be the kid that things don't go right for. He always ends up on the sports team with the mediocre coach (or worse yet a loud mouthed redneck), the one who plans always get put on hold for, the kid who's birthday lunch get cancelled!

He took it well! We went out to dinner. He opened his presents (a gameboy game, some wrestling guys and a wiffle ball bat) and the money his two grandmas sent him is burning a hole in his pocket!

Jacob was my longest labor, just over 36 hours. I was so tired by the time it came to push, he really delivered himself, I had no energy left. I had tested group B strep positive when pregnant with him and although they treated me with IV antibiotics, he looked septic when he was born. They rushed him to the intensive care unit and hooked him up to IV antibiotics and ran blood tests. The lab they sent the bloodwork to caught fire that night (see what I mean about Jacob's luck???). He spent 3 days on antibiotics before they decided that most likely didn't have group B strep.

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Today we had our annual Easter egg hunt with our homeschool group. The weather was GORGEOUS and we ended up with 5 teens doing the work and about 40 hunters. The kids had a BLAST. After the egg hunt, we had a bakesale and a raffle (we raised close to $60 for a future event). I had to leave at noon to go and get my dad from dialysis, but I am so fortunate to have two great teenagers and so many wonderful friends that made sure everything ran smoothly in my absence! I came back to the park after getting my dad and we ended up hanging out until after 3 PM. The kids LOVED just getting to play on the playground.

Will was so cute during the hunt, carefully walking around and picking up eggs. Sophie would shake every egg before she put it in her basket, so she ended up putting down any with stickers or a special prize ticket in them because they didn't make noise. What is so great with the homeschoolers is that no one thought it was strange that the kids over 10 still wanted to hunt eggs.

I got some many positive comments from those that attended that it really made me feel good about going to the effort to have the hunt. To see so many happy kids, relaxed parents (and grandparents) does ones heart good!

We brought our ladder golf game with us. It was a big hit with the kids. Deanne and I think we may have the kids work on making more of them to sell at a local craft fair.

The details:
What: Easter Egg Hunt
When: Thursday, April 13; 11am Egg Hunters/10am TeensEaster Egg hunt & Raffle!!!
Where: Miami Riverview Park 587 Branch Hill-Loveland Rd Loveland, OH
Who: EVERYONE including teens!
Cost: Free
Organizer: Laura Riesenberg

Come and join us for one of our favorite and best attended events! The hunt is open to ANYONE who wants to hunt for Easter eggs (regardless of age). I also need teens to come early (around 10 AM) to help stuff and hide eggs. Donations for PEANUT FREE and NON CHOCOLATE candies or other small prizes are much appreciated. We ask for safety reasons that candy be individually wrapped. Little bags of skittles, individual bags of jelly beans, ring pops, small size airheads, small boxes of nerds, those safety suckers are just a few suggestions. Small toys (like stickers, bracelets, necklaces and whistles) also work, but please avoid those small bouncy balls as they are a choking hazard. We will even have a couple of prize eggs that will win a special Easter basket! The hunt will start around 11 AM. Plan to picnic and play following the hunt.

Bring your quarters! We will have both a bake sale and a raffle. We need donations for the raffle. Anyone unwanted items for our WHITE ELEPHANT raffle are your kids have outgrown, puzzles, food, books, old happy meal toys, stuffed animals, toys, home decor items...your "trash" is someone elses treasure...anyone who has been part of one of the raffles before has seen that a two liter of pop sometimes goes before something that is significantly more valuable! Bring raffle items with you and place on the raffle table when you get there! Donations for the bake sale are also appreciated! Profits from the raffle and bakesale will be used to offset the cost of future H2H activities.

RSVP to Laura Riesenberg. If you decide at the last minute to join us, that is fine, there is no need to RSVP, but it is helpful for us in getting a count as to how many hunters we will have.

Directions: Take I-275 to exit #52 (Loveland/Indian Hill) and turn LEFT at the bottom of the exit ramp. Follow to the first road on the right (Hopewell) and turn RIGHT onto HOPEWELL. Follow about .3 mile to Branch Hill-Loveland Rd and turn LEFT onto BRANCH HILL-LOVELAND RD. Follow about 1.5 miles to the park entrance on your RIGHT. MIAMI RIVERVIEW PARK. We will meet near the playground.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Colossus Dies!
Colossus, the showcase 40 year old western lowland silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, died Tuesday morning while undergoing a root canal and routine physical. He never came out of the anesthesia and is believed to have died from Cardiac arrest. See the full story:

This news made me quite sad, as Colossus was one of our favorite attractions at the zoo. I don't think we have ever visited the zoo and not stopped to see the gorillas. One of my favorite gorilla memories was visiting the zoo a few years back with the kids and while we were in the gorilla exhibit on of the young females kept throwing huge clumps of dirt and plant material at all the on lookers. She just found it hilarious and Colossus just kept sitting there looking on. You could tell he thought her antics were rather entertaining!

It will be sad to visit the zoo and not see the 500 lb gentle giant!

Brotherly love!

On Friday we went and toured Paul Brown Stadium with a group of our friends. One of the neatest part of the tour was that we actaully got to "take the field" on the new field turf! The kids played in the endzone (wish I had known in advance, I would have brought a football) and a friend of mine snapped this picture of Brett "tackling" William.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Happy 6th Birthday Cade!

It is hard to believe that merely 6 years ago my bright eyed, inquisitive son entered this world at this very moment. His delivery was by far my most tramatic and scary. His shoulders got wedged after we had delivered his head and he spent 8 minutes stuck, without oxygen. I will never forget looking between my legs and seeing my OB crying or overhearing her hushed words to the nurse to "get the chaplin, we've lost him". In a last ditch effort, thinking he was already dead, she wedged her hand in, snapped his arm and yanked him out. Limp, blue, lifeless they worked on him and then this faint squeak (it wasn't even a cry) came from the corner of the room. As the chaplin walked in, my son gasped for his first breath!

Today, to look at him, you would never know what a tramatic entrance he had into this world! He will tell you that the "stupid doctor broked my arm" when he was born. I really can't imagine my world without him!

So today we celebrate with a raspberry cheesecake from Jerry's Cheesecake and a few gifts. A gameboy that he has been asking for since Christmas, a couple wrestling figures and a bag of gummy bears!

Happy Birthday, Cade!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Granny's Homeschool Garden Program resumes!

We had to postpone our original starting date for the gardens because vandals DESTROYED the courtyard gardens, but today we were able to get our hands back in the soil! It was so great to see everyone again!

Granny kept the kids busy! First they filled in a hole, then they carried "black gold" over to the gardens, then we went off to plant our very own HOMESCHOOL GARDEN BEDS! We planted potatoes, peas, lettuce, radishes and a few other "early" crops. It will be so exciting to watch the gardens bloom and grow and so tasty to eat our produce!

Pictures are posted below!

Will decided to attend the gardening program with us today! It is hard to believe how much he has grown since we last were in the gardens in the fall. No longer a "baby" he is now a busy toddler, eager to try to help plant and dig. Hard to believe that he wasn't even a year old the first time we visited the gardens!

Part of the group hanging around after hiking the nature trail!

Planting peas in the garden beds. The homeschool group has 3 beds that they are responsible for planting and maintaining!

Listening to Granny tell them how to plant potatoes. Will just had to be part of it all!

Putting the boys to work shoveling mulch!