Friday, April 27, 2007

Here are Luke's hospital pictures!

I am just in complete awe of this baby. He is absolutely beautiful. You would think after 9 kids, I wouldn't just want to sit and look at him all day, but I am completely smitten with him!

He seems to be adjusting to the hustle and bustle of our busy home, he is happy when he is being held, which right now is never an issue because the kids are still at the point where they are arguing over who gets to hold him more. I am sure it will wear off soon!

He tends to have a fussy period each day (or should I say night) where he just SCREAMS and FUSSES. He will try to nurse but he gets so upset that he ends up spitting up the milk, it is like his little belly is full but he still wants to suck and then the nursing just upsets the delicate balance. Unfortunately the fussing is occurring in the middle of the night....last night from about 11 AM to 1 AM, but then he finally fell asleep and slept until 6AM.....I know BAD MOMMY....letting a newborn sleep for 5 hours, but I was just exhausted and he doesn't seem any worse for the wear! The other nights it has been from like 3 AM to 6 AM

that he just fusses and screams. I can handle the 11 PM screaming much better. Hopefully this stage passes quickly!

I am healing well. The scar burns when I walk around too much or when I get up and down,but it is certainly managable with just ibuprofen! I even made Brett take us yardsaling this morning! I had convinced myself that Luke would be a girl, so I really had NO BOY stuff for a newborn. Well I completely lucked out at a yardsale up the road this morning. Everything the woman had for sale was brand name items.....Old Navy, Gap, Gymboree, Disney Store, Ralph Lauren...I even found a new Reebok outfit with tags still on it. I ended up with 10 outfits in 0-3 mo, 7 outfits in 3-6 mo, 1 summer outfit in 6-9 mo, and 3 fall outfits in 6-9 mo.....all for just $15! I was so thrilled!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

White Bean Chicken Chili

I made this last night for was really good (not spicy despite the hotsauce and chilies) and about the easiest thing I have made in years. I doubled the recipe and it easily fed 10 of us with leftovers for lunch today. I would say that the recipe easily would feed 6-8 people.

48 oz jar Randall's White Northern Beans (I am sure any brand would do)
26-32 oz of Chicken broth (I used 26 oz)
2 large cans cooked chicken, drained
1-4.5 oz can green chilies
white pepper to taste
1/8 cup hot sauce
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp.coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced

(optional: you can add 1 cup each-chopped celery and carrots....I didn't add these)

Place all items in a large stock pot. Cook, uncovered, on medium high for up to an hour, to reduce stock. Add more chicken broth if chili becomes too thick. Be sure to stir often to avoid burning/sticking. Shredded monterey jack cheese and sour cream can be used as toppings (very yummy!). Serve with crackers or cornbread.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Luke is here!

It is with great joy that we welcome Luke Zaid (aka PUMPKIN!) to our family!

Luke Zaid Riesenberg
Wednesday, April 18,2007
2:35PM via planned c-section
weighing 9 lb 8.2 oz
measuring 21 inches

Here is Luke's birth story (and the story of our 48 hours in the hospital after delivery!)

We were supposed to be at the hospital by noon, but we ended up running late. It didn't help that the majority of the elevators in the hospital were being serviced and that some maintenance guy with a bunch of big equipment seemed to think he took priority over a very pregnant woman and her pack-mule husband (poor Jay was carrying 2 suitcases and his newspaper!). We ended up arriving up in triage about 12:10 PM. It was oddly quiet and we were registered immediately and sent back to the surgical prep suite. It was so quiet that we ended up with 3 nurses attending to us! One of the nurses, Laura, went to start the IV, a procedure that I always hate as they tend to never get it right the first time. Unbelievably, even though she has to use the vein in the side of my lower left arm, she gets it started on the first try and it doesn't even hurt going in. Turns out her son plays football for UC (local college) so she and Jay chat about the new coach. They start the IV fluids, they need to get two bags in before heading into the OR. They test my blood sugar (77) and they fill out all the paperwork needed for the chart. Jay and I talk about names and the odd sense comes over me that since we easily picked a girl name, that this baby will be a boy! All of the nurses offer suggestions for names.

Shortly after 1 PM, Denise, the nurse anesthesist , comes in and discusses the procedure for the spinal. She is wonderfully cheery and upbeat, reminding me of the anesthesia guy we had with Sophia. It sets a great tone. One of the nurses shaves my massive belly to prep it for surgery. About 1:45 PM, Jay is handed his scrubs (which look like a biohazard suit) and told to get dressed while they start my spinal. I walk into the OR (a different experience since I had been wheeled into the OR for both other c-sections) and asked to hop up onto the table. The room looks almost identical to the OR at the other hospital I delivered at, the only bad thing is that I notice that the infant warmer and scale are at the foot of the bed, so I won't be able to see the baby or the scale once baby is born!

Denise tells me to sit indian style and to slump forward and relax! Easy for her to say, she isn't the one who is going to have a needle shoved in her back. She administers a numbing solution and I barely feel anything. I had felt tremendous pressure with my other spinals, but this barely hurt, I couldn't believe it. I was skeptical at first that she had even done it right, but as the familiar warmth and numbness rose through my legs and into my torso, I knew things were alright. By 2 PM, I was completely numb. While Denise does the spinal, the familiar sound of counting instruments is heard throughout the OR. They put a wedge under the right side of my back and strapped my legs to the table. Surprisingly, my arms were left completely free (another new experience). Denise put oxygen on my nose and Laura inserted the foley catheter. A screen was set up to block our view, but it wasn't very high. It was game time!

Doctors who perform the c-section: Dr. Andrews, Dr. Altman, and Dr. Valley.

Jay comes in and joins me just as the doctors test to see if I am completely numb. 2:05 PM the procedure begins. I can smell burning flesh and then realize I can see exactly what the doctors are doing in the reflection of the light. Jay can see right over the screen. The mood in the OR is light, lots of laughing, talking and joking. Denise agrees to snap pictures of the baby being pulled from the incision. Lots of PRESSURE and TUGGING! Jay stands up and actually manages to stay on his feet! Up baby comes into the air..... 2:35 PM....IT'S A BOY! I am completely and totally shocked, I think I even asked them if they were sure! I had spent my whole pregnancy preparing myself for a girl!

A funny sidenote. As baby is being delivered, the song "Rock Star" by Nickleback is playing in the OR. The night before (or more accurately at about 4 AM that morning) I awoke from a dead sleep with the words from that song streaming through my head. I had been dreaming about having the baby. The whole think gives me chills. I mention it to the delivery room. Everyone thinks it is funky!

Jay goes over to the table to watch them assess the baby. Apgars are 8 and 9. The moment of truth, baby is placed on the scale. 9 lb 8.2 oz. What a tiny little sprite for a Riesenberg baby at full term! He is 21 inches long. Dark hair and the most distinguished of cries. Ironically he looks NOTHING like any of his brother's at birth.

While they are assessing the baby, the doctors are busy finishing the surgery. I can see my insides being reassembled in the reflection of the light. It is kind of cool and kind of weird at the same time.

Jay comes back and sits down and is handed our beautiful son. Jay is right, he looks nothing like the other Riesenbergs! They finish sewing me up and staple the incision shut, not that I really notice, I am in total awe of the beautiful baby in Jay's arms. We are wheeled out of the OR and back into the surgical prep suite. We will spend at least the next hour in there being carefully monitored!
An initial blood sugar is taken from the baby. It comes back 37, just below what would be considered normal. Mine is also checked and reads 66. They decide to let me try nursing the baby to see if his blood sugar will come up on his own. i am worried since he has just been exposed to all the meds they gave me, but unbelievably he latches on the VERY FIRST TRY and then continues to suck for an HOUR! We finally take him off the breast because they have to wait 30 minutes after he finishes eating to recheck his blood sugar. I cradle him in my arms the entire time. They retest his bloodsugar and it comes back 43! YEAH! Jay finally leaves our side and calls the kids to tell them the news! We leave the surgical prep suite, baby still in my arms, and head downstairs (Labor and delivery is on the 3rd floor, post partum rooms on the 2nd floor). By 5PM we are settled into post partum room number 220!

We call the kids again. I am given juice to drink. Boy it tastes good after not eating anything since midnight. Baby nurses again for about 15 minutes (6:30 PM). They bring my meds bedside (ibuprofen, gas-ex) and tell me that I can take them when I need them, no more than every 6 hours. If I want narcotics, I just need to call the nurse. Jay heads out to run a few errands and to go home and be with the kids. Nurse until shift change is Mary.

After Jay leaves, I call my mother. No congratulations. Only her saying she hopes that this is the last baby we have. At least she holds her tongue and I don't get a white trash comment from her this time around. I don't get it and I never will. Oh well, not my responsibility for her to take joy in her grandchildren. It certainly is her loss!

7 PM is shift change. Night nurse is Phyllis and the PCA is Lori.

By 8:30 PM, I am eating Jello. Oh, how I HATE jello! I call Deanne and chat with her a bit, but don't feel up to calling anyone else.

11:30 PM, I am given a sandwich, applesauce, and cookie to eat. A very dry turkey sandwich has never tasted so good!

4:45 AM: Catheter is removed.

Baby was up the whole night! He nursed some, but mostly fussed.

5 AM: They test my bloodsugar. It comes back 85! YEAH!

7 AM: Dr. Wall comes to visit. Baby is happily nursing once again. He removes the dressing over the staples. OUCH! He reminds me to keep the incision clean and dry. Yeah, like I want to let it get infected! Baby finally falls asleep. Shift change and our nurse for the day is once again Mary and the PCA is Bonita, who is wonderful sweet!

7:30 AM: Breakfast! For a hospital, it really sucks nutritionally! An egg, danish, juice, milk, cereal! But I am hunger so I eat the danish and the egg and drink the milk, even though it is 2%.

8:45 AM: 4 hours after catheter is removed, I finally PEE! What a relief, although it is obvious that the bladder is still being affected some by the anesthesia as it is hard to control the flow. It gets easier to pee over the next two bathroom visits and things are pretty much back to normal by noon.

10 AM: Baby is taken to nursery for circumcision.

2:35 PM: Happy 1 day birthday baby! Checked for jaundice and level is 7.4, just under what would be considered worrisome at 24 hours old (a reading of 8).

4 PM: The gang arrives for a visit! By the end of the visit, Luke has been named! Will insists that his baby's name is PUMPKIN! Emily even changes a poopy diaper!

7 PM: My mother visits. She HATES the name. It so happens her father's name was Lucas so she hates it. She is hell bent on holding onto the past, I much prefer to create new memories and a bright future. The way I see it, it really is not my problem if she likes the name or not, after all, how much contact will she have with him? If her past behavior holds true, maybe on holidays and an occasional baseball game. She leaves by 7:30 PM. She comments that I need to lose weight, even though she brought chex mix and trail mix with her for me to eat. I will NEVER understand this woman!

8 PM: Hannah returns with Sarah and Deanne for a visit. They bring a chicken sandwich from Penn Station with them! YUMMY! It is great to have company that actually wants to be there! OK, the kids wanted to be there, but they were VERY LOUD!

Baby is taken to the nursery to be weighed (this is normally the only time each day baby is taken from the room). 8 lb 12 oz. Night shift nurse is Jeanie and PCA is Alice.

12 AM: Luke screams for almost 1 hour. Nothing makes him happy. Hopefully this isn't an omen of things to come!

1 AM: I am in so much pain from the incision,backache and cramping (with baby #9, post partum contractions during nursing are worse than labor contractions, and each contraction is accompanied by gushing blood) that I ask the nurse for perocet. She is a sweetheart and takes Luke out of the room with her and says she will bring him back when he needs to eat. Apparently I pass out from exhaustion ( I slept less than 1 hr the night before) because the next thing I remember is the nurse standing over me with Luke at 4 AM saying he wants to eat! It is amazing what just a few hours of sleep does for the spirit and soul!

4 AM: Luke nurses for an hour! We fall back asleep.

6 AM: Dr. Wall comes to visit. Says we can go home if we want. Incision looks great according to him. It isn't oozing at all! Home health nurse will remove staples when she visits. Need to make appointment for follow up visit in 1 week and at 6 weeks. No long car trips for at least 2 to 3 weeks because of swelling in my legs.

6:15 AM: SHOWER! What fun it is to be CLEAN!

10 AM: Hearing test is administered. Once the vernix is cleared from Luke's ears, he passes with flying colors!

11 AM: Peds round and agree baby can go home! They check a bilirubin on baby at it is 9.4 at 45 hours of age. They do the PKU test and also test baby for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a fatal disorder that only afflicts baby boys. They have just started offering the screening for this disorder and we agreed to participate in the pilot study.

By 3 PM we are heading home. Just 48 hours after surgery and we are reunited with the family!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Everyday he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger he cried out, "God! How could you do this to me?"

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! "How did you know! I was here?," asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

The Moral of This Story: It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives.even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Remember Cade's birth: 7 years later!

Today, Sunday April 8, 2007 is Cade's 7th birthday! Hard to believe that it has been 7 years since he came into our world, in a blaze of glory....I suppose being hugely pregnant is making me super sappy and sentimental, so I decided I wanted to share his birth story! I copied and pasted this for the antiquated computer in my husband's office!

Big babies pose a problem with delivery, so given the fact that Emily weighed 10 pounds and broke her collarbone during delivery and that Grant and Jake had both been 9 pounds, I was being watched very carefully. The OB who was following me promised to deliver my baby no later than 38 weeks;hopefully avoiding the large baby/broken collarbone problem we had experience with my third child. Unfortunately she never noted in my chart that she planned to deliver me early, and when she went on unexpected leave when I was 37 weeks pregnant, none of the other doctors believed that I had been told I would be delivered at 38 weeks. They each thought that I just wanted my pregnancy over and that I was pushing to be induced for my convenience rather than true medical concern. So despite my protests and my ever-growing abdomen, I waited out weeks 38 and 39. On the day before my April 8 due date, the ultrasound tech estimated the baby to weigh about 8 pounds, 12 ounces, just under the doctor's 9 pound threshold for avoiding ac-section (the one thing that she actually did note on my chart!).. After consulting with the doctor who would be on call on the following morning, we were scheduled for induction at 7 am, Saturday, April 8, 2000.After almost 40 weeks, it seemed unbelievable that the end was finally so close. We scrambled to make plans for all of the children the following morning. My friend Michelle came to the house and watched everyone from 6 am until other friends could pick them up. Brett ended up staying with his best friend from school, Hannah and Emily stayed with another friend, and Grant and Jake went home with Michelle. The weather in Cincinnati had turned rather nasty. At midweek we had been wearing shorts and t-shirts but the forecast now included rain and snow, with temperatures falling through the 30's, what a gloomy day. At about 6:50 a.m. we pull into University Hospital parking garage and head over to triage. I change into my favorite light blue nursing gown and the nurse tries to start the IV. It only takes her two tries to get it started, but that is one more time than I would have liked. I really hate needles. The doctor checked and says that the cervix is high,firm, and just under 3 centimeters dilated and that baby is at -3 (still floating). The doctor asks if we would be interested in participating in a research study for a new induction drug. The one drawback is that it can take up to 48 hours for labor to start. We had been through two long inductions already (Grant was around 20 hours and Jake had been over 36hours) so we felt we had nothing to lose. Finally just after 10 a.m. a labor room is open and we are transferred. At 10:45 a.m. the study drug is administered. The doctor says she will be back in to check on us in four hours unless we need her sooner, and then we can ring for her. I experience some mild cramping, certainly not painful at all, and both Jay and I ended up taking a nap. At 12:45 p.m. the doctor returns to discuss my concerns about shoulder dystocia and she feels that given that Emily was rather short and round that this baby appeared to be much longer and at least a pound lighter and that this baby should emerge rather easily. Since she was in the room, she decides to check for dilation and announces that I am now 100% effaced and close to 4 centimeters. I haven't felt hardly anything, she decides to stop the study drug (obviously labor is now underway, there is no turning back) and says she will transfer us to a birthing room and start pitocin as soon as one opens up (little did we know at that point that 15 other women were also in labor... YIKES!).The nurse brings up a lunch tray and I devour everything (I had been told not to eat after midnight: roast beef, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables,applesauce and a slice of wheat bread. Around 2 p.m. Jay and I start to play the alphabet name game, we each pick at least one name for each letter of the alphabet (minus the letters the other kids names start with) it helps to pass the time since basically nothing is happening at this point, mild contractions, we watch bits of a movie on TV (the Langoliers by Stephen King) and once again we nap (remembering what a long road we might have ahead of us given our other birth experiences). At 3:30 p.m. we are finally moved to the LDR room. The nurse administers IV antibiotics because I was group B strep positive with a previous pregnancy. Jay and I decide to narrow the list of names and rather quickly have it narrowed down to three names(Dalton, Lance, and Quinn) for a boy and three names (Veronica, Alison, and Sarah) for a girl. The question is, will we still agree on any of the three once the baby gets here? At 4:35 the pitocin is finally started. A side note here: at about 4:15 p.m. I decided to have Jay pull out the camera so it is ready and I discovered that the batteries I just bought two weeks early are completely dead! Jay runs out to get new batteries, and I dig out a cheap disposable camera for the labor bag in case it is needed. By 5:10 p.m., the contractions are starting to piggyback... vivid memories of my last labor and the 15 hours of piggybacking contractions that did nothing keep flashing in my mind. Jay makes it back with the batteries and I am feeling pretty miserable. The doctor agrees to break my amniotic sac, even though baby is still very high,in order to get labor rolling along. She said that it was the toughest sac she ever had to break, probably explaining why the stupid thing didn't break when I fell down the steps in the rain on Monday, April 3. Within an hour of the sac breaking contractions and pressure are really building I can remember thinking to myself, "Please let these contractions be doing something." The doctor decides to check and says we are at just over 6 centimeters dilated. I am so relieved because I stayed stuck at 3centimeters with my last baby for over 12 hours. Jay comments on how smoothly things are going (of course it is smooth for him -- he can't comprehend feeling like a bowling ball is trying to escape from your bottom), we have made it to more than 6 centimeters and that we are in the home stretch and he hasn't gotten yelled at once or been made to massage my back for hours on end. Somewhere shortly after 9 p.m. I feel a contraction that I know is different, the sensation that maybe I could push is there.The next contraction I try to completely relax and listen to my body, as the contraction builds I can feel my body being called to push. About 90 seconds later the next contraction begins, I moan, look at Jay and say, "Go get the nurse and the doctors; it is time to push." Everyone rushes in. The doctor checks me at 9:40 p.m. and declares I am complete and that I can push whenever I want. Since I had gestational diabetes, the room begins to fill with medical personnel. Along with the two OB doctors and three nurses there are also five pediatricians in the room. Empowered by the freedom to finally push, we didn't go with the typical controlled pushing to the frantic count of 10. The doctor allows me to push as many times as I choose through each contraction. The head rapidly descends; I can feel bone moving through bone. Someone's pager keeps going off and I make some comment to the effect that they either need to answer the damn thing or given it to me so I can throw it out the window. Dr.Carpenter comments the next day that she has never had a patient keep her sense of humor the way I did during pushing. I probably pushed a total of 20times, through about 8 contractions. I will never forget that wonderful feeling as the face cleared the pubic bone. What a wonderful feeling to know that the baby is almost here. The head completely out; I know from previous
experience that one more good push and baby should be free.I push, and NOTHING. Suddenly all 10 members of the medical staff in the labor room fall quiet. I know our worst fear has come to pass: the shoulders are stuck. The head of the bed is rapidly dropped (talk about a head rush) and I am practically doing a headstand. The OB tried to break his collarbone but couldn't. At this point they had pushed the mirror out of the way so I couldn't see what was going on, so I was looking at my husband and watching the color literally drain from his face. He got whiter and whiter. Later he told me this was because 1) baby was getting grayer by the minute and 2) he heard the neonatologist say that they has lost the baby to a nurse as he sent her from the room. Too distraught to look at my husband any longer, I decided to focus on the OB. Big mistake. When I caught sight of my OB's face, she was crying. Talk about being freaked out! Finally she managed to reach her fingers between the public bone and the tightly wedged flesh of the baby's shoulder,maneuvering her fingers under the left armpit, and she rotates the arm in and up popping baby out. Free at last at 10:01 p.m., it's a boy! My son is blue, limp and lifeless. My husband leaves my bedside practically running over to the table where they are working on our son. The doctor lets the placenta deliver itself (10:26 pm), and then makes a final check for tearing or skid marks, and not a single stitch is needed. Thanks the Lord for flexible tissue! During this time the baby is taken to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit to be assessed. Jay follows him to NICU and then comes back to tell me he is stable and that they are assessing him and going to run some tests. Jay and I both agree that he looks just like Jake and we decide none of the names on the list seem fitting. About 11:30 p.m. one of the pediatricians comes back into delivery room and tells us that baby broke his humerus (bone in his upper arm) during delivery and also has suffered some nerve damage, and that they are consulting with an orthopedic doctor from Children's Hospital. After the delivery, physically I felt pretty good with the exception of feeling like my pelvic bone is bruised and the fact that my afterpains felt like labor contractions. I finally got to see my son at 1:45 a.m., little splint on his arm and all! I spent so much of that night and the next day angry with the doctors for endangering my son's life. I felt that if anyone had listened to me he would have been spared a broken arm and damaged nerves and my husband and I would have been spared almost losing our son. So even as I hold my son and look at him I can't help but erase from my mind my first image of him, so sick and barely clinging to life. I can't imagine what my life would be like without him.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

To be yound and in love:

My nephew, Ryan, is getting married in May and the whole family is very excited about the upcoming wedding. Not only does it mean a trip out of town to stay in a nice downtown hotel (we reserved 2 rooms, can't imagine the whole clan shoved into one small hotel room for 3 days) but it will be the first time we have gotten to spend with most of my husband's family since his mother's death last August. Some of his family gathered for Thanksgiving and we missed Christmas because of my father's death, so we are really looking forward to seeing everyone.

My future niece (I am assuming the website is her handywork!) made a website about the upcoming wedding, check it out!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Tour of Anthony Thomas Candy Factory and American Whistle Factory
Submitted by Deanne
When: Friday, March 30
Where: Columbus, Ohio
Times and cost: Candy Factory tour is Free and starts at 10:30 AM
Whistle Factory costs $4.00 person (includes a whistle) and starts at 2 PM (under 2 is free but they don’t get a whistle)
Who: Homeschoolers of all ages

Deanne wrote: We plan to arrive at the Candy Factory at around 10:15. The tour lasts from about 10:30 - 11:30, then we will drive over by the Whistle Factory, have lunch from about 12:00-1:15 and after head over to the Whistle Tour that starts at 2 PM. The web sites below provide lots of interesting information about the tours. I don’t know if they make candy with nuts in this factory so if this is a concern for you, or if you have any other allergy questions, you can call them at 1-877- 226-3921 and try to get that information.

Anthony Thomas Candy Company
1777 Arlingate Lane Columbus, OH 43228
Walk along our comfortable, glass-enclosed suspended “Cat-Walk” and observe eight lines producing 25,000 pounds of chocolates per shift. Our experienced tour guides explain each process step-by-step, from our kitchens to the final packaging. View interesting sights such as our huge copper kettles where the centers are created, and our unique silver wrapped pipes that carry liquid chocolate throughout the factory. The tour finishes in our beautiful 2,500 squarefoot retail shoppe.

American Whistle Corporation
6540 Huntley Road Columbus, Ohio 43229
See the factors of production* beginning with the process of manufacturing a whistle from raw material to shipping packaged product to our customers. View mechanical engineering at work in one-of-a-kind machines designed and
built specifically for our exact manufacturing needs. Learn who buys whistles and why, and how a commonplace - yet fundamental - product is successfully marketed.

Directions from Mapquest
To Anthony Thomas Candy Factory From Cincinnati:
I-71 N toward COLUMBUS. Keep LEFT to take OH-315
N toward DAYTON. Merge onto I-70 W via EXIT 106A
on the LEFT toward DAYTON. Take the WILSON RD exit-
EXIT 94. Turn LEFT onto TRABUE RD. Turn RIGHT onto
ARLINGATE LN. End at Anthony-Thomas Candy Shoppes
Total Est. Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

To Whistle Factory From Candy Factory
Start out going NORTH on ARLINGATE LN toward
LN. Turn LEFT onto N WILSON RD. Turn LEFT onto
ROBERTS RD / CR-28 W. Merge onto I-270 N toward
DUBLIN. Merge onto N HIGH ST / US-23 S via EXIT
23 toward WORTHINGTON. Turn LEFT onto E WILSON
RD. End at 6540 Huntley Rd. Total Est. Time: 21 minutes

What a great day! We got to the candy factory early and were excited as we saw about 60 other homeschoolers show up for the tour...pretty amazing that so many made the almost 2 hour trip (and you can only get a handful at something held locally, go figure!). The tour started out in the gift shop of the candy factory and we were greeted by the intoxicating smell of CHOCOLATE! Our guide gave a brief history of the company and then led us upstairs so that we could view the factory from above. One of the first things we saw was a candy wrapping machine, it was amazing that the girls working the line could pick out a piece of candy that was wrapped the wrong way! We then saw different lines producing different product, it was absolutely fascinating! We saw the largest easter bunny that they made (35 lbs, cost $195). The kids LOVED getting to pick out candy in the shop when we were finished. Amazingly, many picked suckers over chocolate, difinitely NOT their mother's child! I indulged in a small dark chocolate candy bar, it was so smooth and yummy! I was a bit disappointed that the factory was more "Willy Wonka-ish" as the person who recommended it had claimed, I was expecting a chocolate river and lickable wallpaper, but it was still an AWESOME tour!

We stopped at McDonald's for lunch (I was so hungry even that tasted good!) and then found a local park to kill the 45 minutes we had left between tours. We headed to the whistle factory.

I was shocked at how SMALL the whistle factory was. The owner and tour guide was very informative but you could tell from EVERYTHING he said that the bottom line is always the almighty dollar! It was amazing that they could produce so many whistles in such a small place (honestly no bigger than a football field, if even that big!). He did mention that his factory is going to be featured on 2 different tv shows, we are going to try to find them when they air. Each of the tour participants received a shiny whistle at the completion of the tour.

Amazingly, even with being on my feet from 10 AM until after 3 PM, I only had minimal swelling in my ankles (well major swelling in my RIGHT ankle and hardly any in my left, go figure!) and my back really wasn't bothering me! Of course you have to wonder at the sensibility of a woman who would travel 2 hours from home less than 3 weeks from her delivery date! The boys rode home with Deanne and the girls and I stayed in Columbus for the rest of the weekend for the dance competition! Only 19 days until D-day!