Friday, September 26, 2008

Larry's home and doing well

Larry's surgery went well yesterday and he's home and resting uncomfortably. It really is amazing though -- I mean only a few years ago this would have been an open surgery, much more invasive with a much longer recovery time. With robotic laparoscopy, Larry should be back into his normal routine in just a few weeks. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and please keep 'em up.

We love you all!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Keep us in your prayers please

Larry goes in for surgery tomorrow for early stage prostate cancer. Please pray for him and for his surgical team headed by Dr. Harold Frazier. Dr. Frazier is pretty impressive -- a former Navy doctor who is head of urology at George Washington University Hospital in D.C. He's done 800 of these by robotic laparoscopic surgeries which are less invasive with quicker recovery. Larry should be in the hospital overnight and home recovering on Friday. I plan to stay overnight at the hospital and have my pillow and a lounge chair packed and ready to go.

We've learned a lot about prostate cancer in the past few months (and cancer in general for that matter). There are lots of dietary and lifestyle changes that can increase your chances of avoiding cancer in the first place and recovering fully. So we plan to follow some of the recommendations if not all. (I don't think I can give up all refined sugar forever -- I like chocolate too much.) But moderation is a good strategy and that's our plan.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More baptism pictures

I haven't figured out how to do captions so here's the rundown. Lamb cake with wine -- works for me, Larry with Matthew (thought it was Zack at first he's gotten so big), Brett (Jonathan's dad) with Roo, Larry and I with Jamie, Jonathan, and Marianna, the little guest of honor, Laura (Jonathan's mom) with M., Rachel and Zack with Roo, and finally -- David and Jes and family who were proxy godparents filling in for Alice and Chris who were still in Austin after fleeing Hurricane Ike. So number 18 grandchild is now an official member of the Church Militant. She witnesses for life just by being who she is.

A baptim and Life cereal

Chris (Alice's husband) sent me an email about the blog he's starting. Sounds like a winner:

"I am starting a blog listing everything I eat at every meal each day. I am eating Life cereal right now with skim milk. I finished Sophie's banana off prior to eating the cereal, but had I been thinking ahead, I would have put the two together. More to follow..."

Do I detect a little sarcasm here? Thanks for the chuckle, Chris.

Marianna was baptized on Sunday at Sacred Heart in Winchester. The new priest, Fr. Baez, officiated. The little bundle of grace let out a few healthy squawks, but settled down happily. And the get-together at Jamie and Jonathan's afterwards was fun with FOUR grandmas and two grandpas.

Monday, September 22, 2008

This is for Brendan: Paka 1 - Groundhog zero

While Brendan, Ryan, and Lauren were visiting we decided to engage in the groundhog wars. The groundhog was eating our tomatoes. We wouldn't have minded sharing a few, but he would take a bite out of lots as if to say, "I'm looking for the best and you can have the rest." Well, that just wouldn't do. So Brendan and Paka went and bought a trap and baited it with (what else?) tomatoes...and lettuce, carrots, etc.

Well, the groundhog did not take the bait until after Brendan went home. The next day there he was fat and sassy and not a bit happy in the cage. We took him down to the dam and let him go -- and did he go.

Please pardon my sideways picture; I'm still learning. I must have been holding the cameral sidewise at the start.

Addendum: We were very happy we caught the groundhog and not a skunk!

Of ponies, bullfrogs, and bears.

We've had lots of visitors this summer and sometimes visits correspond to fun events --like the parish picnic. Tara and Lawrence were off to a wedding in Michigan with Sean, but Brendan, Ryan, and Lauren came to see "Gamma" and Paka. The kids really enjoyed the picnic with the horse and pony rides, the mini moon bounce, and the fish tank. Ryan played the cornhole toss game and got all the bags in the hole. (standing right at the end of the wooden platform - hey, it's a start.)

Later in the afternoon Brendan rescued a big fat bullfrom from our pool for the second time during the weekend. That fella just won't stay in the pond - must like the taste of chlorine.

Then we got a call on Monday from a neighbor that there was a bear in a tree down at the end of our road. Sure enough, the poor little creature had gathered a crowd and did not look happy about all the attention.

Living out here in the Shenandoah Valley is a never-ending-adventure. We love it! Come see us and bring your kids and grandkids.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Photos from our Skyline Dr. Trip. Come Visit!

Here are some more photos from our alternative trip - not in any order. That's John under the car hooking up the gadget to connect the brakelights on the camper before towing us home. The landscape view is from the highest peak on Skyline Drive, Hawksbill Peak. I got Larry with his mouth full eating lunch on a bench along the Limberlost Trail which is handicap accessible and there I am checking out the trail map and the trail guidebook on the patio at Skyland lodge. The last picture is the tunnel at Mary's Rock, the only tunnel on the Skyline Drive. There's a great story board there showing pictures of the workers blasting through the mountain to make the tunnel. What an incredible feat.
Come visit us and we'll take a ride up to the Drive. We have a liftetime pass and it truly offers some views of a lifetime.
But wait until Larry recovers from his surgery. For those who don't know, he has early stage prostate cancer and will have robotic laporosopy (Did I spell that right?) on Thursdayat George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. He'll only be in overnight and then home recuperating. From all reports the recuperation is quick and he should be feeling pretty good within just a few weeks. Please keep him in your prayers.

Close to home can be beautiful!

I love blogging and I love my family, so what an adventure to do both at once. I wanted to create a space where I can post pictures from fun family events and also share some of Larry's and my adventures in camping, etc. For my first post I'll share an adventure that wasn't quite what we expected. On August 28th we headed out in our 1999 Trooper towing our Trailmanor hard-sided popup for a two week camping trip to upstate New York. We were going to end up at my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary in nearby Vermont. Three hours on the road (after a very nice lunch in Chambersburg, PA) the transmission blew. Fortunately as smoke poured from the rear we were able to get to the next exit and pulled off on the shoulder next to the stop sign. So much for our plans. Thank God for AAA.
We spent the next two days in Lebanon, PA stranded trying to figure out our next move. It was a holiday weekend -- no hope of getting a repair until the next week at the earliest. After our attempts to rent a tow vehicle and continue our trip failed and being turned down on a one-way rental to go home, I called dear brother John (my hero) who drove up with his suburban and towed us home. We moped for two days and decided we needed an alternative trip, so we threw a few things in a bag and took a short drive up to Skyline Drive where we checked into Skyland and spent three days hiking, horseback riding, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. (The video is one of my first attempts and gets a little crazy at the end because I didn't realize it was still filming.) We were sorry to miss the 50th wedding anniversary, but enjoyed our three days in the mountains.