Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Story time video

Every night I try to do "story time" with the kids. With each child it's evolved as they grow. With Connor, recently we have been doing stories with cars and jails. Sometimes we'll play video games or read books.

Paige prefers to use her imagination and play pretend games or with her stuffed animals. Her favorites right now are "Mommy and Daddy", Princess, and Teacher. I have a hands free camera I bought for my competitions and the other day I had the bright idea to wear it during story time. It's nice since it's completely hands free and Paige doesn't really notice it's there so she acts completely normally. When I first put it on she asked what it was and I just told her it helps me to hear better and after that she didn't pay attention to it at all.

I've done a couple videos with it. The first night's video was priceless. Paige was in a great mood and we had a lot of fun together. Unfortunately I didn't have enough light and when we were in the play room the video's very dark and it's hard to see anything. There were a few parts that came out. In her bedroom, the lighting was brighter and she really liked a story we made up together and acted out with her stuffed animals. I cropped it out of the big video for the blog.

Tumbling class

Paige started her tumbling class a couple weeks ago and this past week Andrea got some pics of her in her cute tumbling leotard. Andrea takes Paige at 11 on Tuesdays and there are two other little girls in Paige's class. Paige really enjoys it and surprisingly is the best listener and does exactly as she's directed.

They do all kinds of gymnastics and acrobatics.

Paige loves her new class and posed very nicely with Mario afterwards.

Connor was good about helping us out with pics, and so although it's unrelated to the tumbling class, I have to post my little man's pic too.

Strep Throat

Connor was already down with Influenza A and B and we kept a close eye on him over the weekend. He acted pretty normal as long as we kept up on ibuprofen and acetaminophen and we were hoping he was getting better. On Monday, he was complaining that his throat hurt and I peeked inside and saw big white sores in the back of his throat. It was late in the day, so we took him to the minute clinic. The nurse practitioner initially told us that his sore throat was probably just a symptom of the flu, but when she peeked in his mouth, she was pretty surprised and said it definitely looked like strep. A strep test later and it was confirmed that he had strep. We started him on antibiotics that night and by Wednesday he was back to normal.

It's Saturday now and he's doing just fine. Glad our little man is healthy again. He was very stoic about it and hardly complained except when he had to drink the yucky medicine. 

Monday, August 26, 2013


On Friday, when Connor got home from school, Andrea took his temperature because he said he didn't feel good. It was a bit high. We were worried it was strep or maybe an issue with his ear tubes. Andrea was able to get him squeezed in to the last possible appointment at our doctor and I took him in. They did a strep test and since they'd seen a few cases recently they also did a flu test. The strep test came back negative and I was starting to feel better until the nurse assistant came in and put a mask on Connor. Connor was positive for Influenza A and B.

We canceled our plans for the weekend and mostly stayed around the house. We went down to Daytona Beach, as we'd planned, but didn't stay the night at the condo. Just ate at Aunt Catfish and then went home.

Mostly, Connor's been doing pretty well. He has been more lethargic and whiny, but he's always a good boy and it stinks to see him down in the dumps.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Connor's first day of first grade

Connor's first day of first grade is today! We're excited for the new school year and hope he has a great start.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday night fun with the kids on the block

There are lots of kids on our little cul-de-sac now. On Friday night it rained and then cooled off a little bit. There were lots of kids out and Connor and Paige got to enjoy some play time with them. I snapped a couple pics of the kids all sweaty and enjoying the fun.

Connor's masterpiece painting

On Friday, Grandma Alice and Grandpa Rick took Connor to an art class to do a painting. The kids got to pick their crab's color and painted their masterpiece on real canvas with an easel and fancy supplies. Grandpa took some nice pictures of Connor working on the project with Grandma's help.

Afterwards they went to Burger King for a yummy feast!

Great work Connor!

Wolf Greeting - Connor's new teacher Ms Benson

On Thursday night (the same night Connor got his ear tubes), we went to his school to meet his first grade teacher. Ms Benson is new to his school and had just moved to the district. She seemed very excited to meet Connor and was friendly and personable. We were somewhat disappointed that with all the first graders we know in our neighborhood, Connor doesn't seem to have any in his class. I'm sure he'll make new friends and he did know Parker, who played flag football with him last year.

Connor gets ear tubes again

On Thursday morning, at 5am, we got up to take Connor to his second ear tube surgery. He had his first surgery in December of 2009 when he was 2 years old ( Since then, the tube in his right ear fell out and has filled back up with fluid. It hasn't drained appropriately and he was not able to hear properly out of it for some time. His left ear tube was still in, and sometimes we'd be able to see visible drainage, so you knew it was working. They typically don't stay in for more than 6 to 18 months, so it was good that they'd stayed in for as long as they had.

His hearing has been pretty bad for a while now and Andrea had multiple appointments throughout the summer to get it taken care of. She took him to the ENT multiple times and really struggled to get him a new ear tube surgery scheduled before he had to go back to school. With only two days to spare, she got him an appointment and on Thursday morning we took him to the surgery center.

The plan was to remove the remaining tube, clear the fluid out of his right ear, and put in semi-permanent tubes. The new tubes do not fall out on their own and are designed to stay in place until a doctor removes them.

Connor was an absolutely perfect little man at the surgery center. They got him an armband and dressed for the surgery. He liked the comfy red socks very much. When the anesthetist came to get him, Connor went right on back with him, blew into a "balloon" and was knocked out.

The surgery went perfectly and the ENT came out to talk to us about 15 minutes later. He told us that he was glad to have done the surgery and that the fluid in Connor's ear was like molasses and there was no way he could hear properly with it in his ear. We went back to sit with Connor as he woke up and we expected him to cry and be groggy. Instead, he woke up in a good mood and drank some apple juice and talked to us.

Without much of a wait, we were released to take him home and we got home before most people were even at work. We'd expected Connor would sleep some throughout the day, but he was wide awake and went the entire day just fine. He can definitely hear better since the surgery and I'm very thankful I've got a speech pathologist for a wife that is so good at taking care of this kind of thing.

Paige in her Ariel princess dress

Last week when we were at Costco, we bought Connor and Paige some costumes for fun. Connor had been able to try his on when we got home, but it was too late for Paige to try hers on. This past week she finally got to wear it and I got some beautiful pictures of her in it. She loved the royal scepter (or is it a wand?). She loves to pretend it's a magical wand and casts spells by swinging it and yelling "POOF". It turned out to be a little dangerous though. After these pics I cut off the beaded strings from it because she "poofed" me and the strings almost hit me in the eye.

Paige is a little sick

Paige was sick this past week from Friday through Tuesday. On Friday night I noticed she seemed a little warm, and by morning she had a fever. She hadn't been sick since March, so it's been a while since she's had any health issues. We waited through the weekend to see if she'd get better, but by Monday she still had a fever. Andrea took her to the ENT initially for a checkup. The tube had fallen out of her left ear, but she still had one in and other than overly large tonsils, she looked good.

They gave her a strep test, which came back negative, and was diagnosed with a viral infection. We were happy not to start her on any antibiotics, but were hoping she'd get well quickly and hated to see her not feeling well. She had a really bad cough and on multiple occasions would cough so much and hard that she'd vomit. After the first time she threw up in her bed, we gave her a bowl to sleep with and she threw up in it a couple times.

By Tuesday, she still had a fever and we took her to the family doctor we typically go to for a second opinion. The doctor came to the same conclusion, so we felt better that we were doing the right thing. By Wednesday her fever was gone and she's been fine ever since!

Most of the week she actually acted like she was fine. We took her to the Cheesecake factory Tuesday on the last day she was home with us and she loved the purple flowers.

Mall and Latitude 30 fun

On Sunday, August 11th, I decided to take the kids out for some Daddy time. I'd been traveling during the week and I thought it'd be fun to do something fun with the kids. We went to the mall and ate some food and played on some of the kiddie rides. We also finally rode the little train. The kids have always wanted to ride it, but typically when we're at the mall we're on a mission and don't have time.

After the mall, we went to Latitude 30 and played all kinds of games.

Their favorite ride was the "Typhoon". It simulated all kinds of rides and moved around so you felt like you were moving.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ninja Warrior - again! 2013 season!

American Ninja Warrior is back on TV, so we had to set up a Ninja obstacle course again in the play room. Paige has even enjoyed watching it the last few episodes.

Connor is still pretty good at his obstacles, but really struggled with the last difficult jump all night.  Miraculously, he landed it clean when I was taking a video.

Captain America!

The kids love playing dress up and Halloween costumes are out in stores. Just for fun while we were at Costco, Andrea and I picked up a few dresses for Paige and a couple costumes for Connor. He really liked his Captain America Costume and I snapped a few pics of him looking like a tough guy.

Paige's treadmill mistake

Paige was a good girl for Grandma Alice while we were on our cruise. We have been so happy to have our little girl around again and she has been awfully sweet lately. Unfortunately this last week she did get in to some trouble and learned a very painful lesson. We've told her multiple times not to go in to the workout room. There are some heavy weights, a weight bench and a treadmill in the room among other things.

Paige was supposed to be in bed taking a nap, and instead she snuck out of her room and started playing with the treadmill. She somehow managed to turn it on, and although it was going at a very slow speed, she managed to fall and hurt herself. She skinned her chin and got a bad friction burn on two of her fingers on her left hand. I was away at work and Andrea was unable to get a hold of me. Paige was inconsolable and Andrea called Grandma Alice and Grandpa Rick. They came right over and helped Andrea patch up Sissy and make an objective assessment of Paige's injuries. Andrea had a difficult time trying to decide if she should take Paige to the ER or not. Eventually Paige settled down and she's been very regretful about her bad decision.

We are upset that Paige got hurt, but very thankful that it wasn't more serious. Since then, we've locked the room up so no kids can get in, have unplugged and secured the treadmill.

On a side note, her hair is getting pretty long. Andrea had it up in a ponytail today and it actually came down her neck a bit. I took a pic of her profile so you can kind of see it.

I had to throw in a pic of my little man too since he's so cute.

Victory - Carnival Cruise out of Miami with friends

On August 1st, we went on a 4 day cruise (Key West and Cozumel) with our neighbor friends. It was nearly the same group that went on our last cruise, however the Haskins family couldn't go because Mark's mother was ill. Clara, Dan, Sophia, Danny, Bella and Clara's mother came as well as Angel, Chris and Kenlyn. We were worried it wouldn't be as much fun as the last cruise without the Haskins, but despite their absence it was probably the most fun we've had on a cruise.

We seriously considered bringing Paige, especially since she has been such a good girl lately. She stayed home with Grandma Alice and Grandpa Rick this time. It was probably the last family vacation we do where she doesn't come along.

We sailed on the Carnival Victory out of Miami and drove the 4 1/2 hours down in the morning. The traffic in Miami was a bit crazy, and if we sail from Miami again, we'll probably leave earlier. We made it to the boat with time to spare and since this was our 10th Carnival cruise we got the VIP treatment and were boarded very quickly.

We got comfortable in our room, met up with our friends and got partying!

We met up with everyone for dinner the first night and due to some booking issues were stuck at a  small table. Subsequent nights, we ended up moving to a bigger table, but the first night we squeezed together and got very cozy and comfortable for dinner.

Everyone loved chocolate milk!

After dinner we went up to the top deck for some group pics. It was very windy and although the lighting was fantastic, it was hard to get a decent pic.

We sailed through the night and our first stop was not too far away. We docked at Key West early the next morning and it was a short stay. The boat was scheduled to leave at 2pm, so there wasn't a lot of time to do much and you had to get off pretty early to squeeze anything in. The Edwards family stayed on the boat, so we got off with the Prescotts and explored Key West.

Connor and Kenlyn found a ton of neat things to pose with so we got lots of pics of them together.  


We didn't have any idea of what to do, so we wandered around for a bit and then considered taking a tour or something. Eventually, we opted to rent a goofy little electric car. It was midway between a compact car and a golf cart. I ended up driving it around and was pretty nervous I'd wreck the little thing. The top speed was 25 miles per hour, but since the island was so small, there weren't that many places to drive or get lost. We drove down to the southernmost point, then to a beach, and finally to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

The kids pretended they fell asleep on the way to the beach and even fooled us for a second.

It was kind of a crazy day with a lot of running around in the heat and sun. We got back to the boat and had to wait in the blistering afternoon sun in a horribly long line to get back aboard. We were happy to be done with Key West, we weren't exactly blown away with the short stop.

 That night was formal night and we didn't get very fancied up this time around.

Our next stop was much longer one in Cozumel. We have been there before and really enjoy the port. There are lots of things to do and the area by the port is built up nicely with all kinds of shops and restaurants. Once we debarked, we found a big taxi van to take us all to the beach. It was a little bit of an adventure to get the taxi since apparently we had too many people in our group "officially" for one taxi. However, Clara talked in Spanish to one of the taxi drivers and he communicated that if we got in the taxi on the street we could all go together. It was a little scary to cross traffic with our big group, but it was nice we were all able to ride together.

We took the taxi to Paradise Beach in Cozumel. It was a beautiful and well maintained beach with all kinds of fun things to do. The beach sitting area was picturesque with lots of chairs and people to bring you snacks and drinks.

The swimming area in the ocean had quite a few rocky areas, but farther out in the water were some big blow-up slides and climbing obstacles. When we first got there, we paid a guy for some chairs and then made our way out to the beach blow up toys. The kids enjoyed them, but they were pretty unsafe and scary. We didn't spend too long on them before we decided to come back in. 

The best part of the resort was a humongous pool. There were a bunch of kids playing there and Danny brought his football. We threw the football and eventually the kids around and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Andrea and I snacked on a bunch of guacamole and some virgin Pina Coladas.   

After we left the resort, we ate dinner with the Prescotts and then did some shopping.

We hired a guy to bike us down the pier since we'd done it before and Andrea thought it'd be fun for Connor. He enjoyed it a bit, but his eyes were really starting to bother him that night. He had opened them too much in the pool and he could barely keep them open. That night he really wanted to go to Camp Carnival and he almost had to miss it because of his eyes. Thankfully they didn't hurt him for too long.

The last day of the cruise was a sea day. We didn't swim since Connor's eyes were bothering him and the pools on the boat were pretty small and awful. We never did ride the slide. The first day, we tried to and didn't get to go because we had to do the muster drill.

We played mini golf with Connor for a bit since it's one of his favorite things in the world to do. He does surprisingly well considering he hardly ever takes time to line up a shot or do much planning in general. 

We had promised Connor a stuffed animal in Cozumel and were horrified to find out that there were no stuffed animals in the shops. We searched everywhere and hadn't found any, so to make it up for Connor we attended a Camp Carnival Build-a-Bear event.

On our last cruise with friends, the kids had tried the Camp Carnival and Trevor, Connor and Kenlyn hadn't liked it. We hadn't expected them to like it this time around, but the first night on the boat we sent all the kids and they absolutely loved it. The first night they had a special party and the kids got glow sticks and stuffed animals. After that, every night all of the kids would be begging us to go to camp. Unfortunately, because of the timing of the things we did with Connor it seemed like every time he could go was during an event that we had to pay for. On the last day, since it was a sea day, we finally found a session he could go to that was free. He danced with the kids in the dance club and made a cool t-shirt.

At dinner time, all the kids did dinner at Camp Carnival (except Bella), so we had an all adult dinner together.

Afterwards we wandered out of the dining room towards the sound of some Latin sounding music.  There were three guys singing all by themselves with an empty dance floor. Clara's mother said that dancing helped her digest her food and pulled us out on the dance floor.

Before long, other people joined us and every time someone wandered nearby, Clara's mother would wave for them to join us.

She was a lot of fun to watch and was the center of attention. Andrea and I don't really dance to that kind of music, but it was irresistible to dance with Grandma and we will always remember it. 

After that, we weren't sure what to do. It was the last night of the cruise, so I was somewhat thinking we'd wrap up early. Wrong! The girls had a few pina coladas, some Long Island iced tea, and then we went to the dance club!

We'd been to the dance club a few other times and it was somewhat empty at first on the last night, we went out and danced anyways, and eventually the place filled up. It was awesome to be with a group that enjoys the same kinds of music and likes to dance.

We stayed up way too late and had way too much fun that night. We got up early the next morning, rolled our own luggage off the boat, drove home and then I had to work since it was a Monday! Kind of sucks to have to go straight to work, but it was so nice that the cruise was so close we had the option. It's so nice to just drive home after a cruise.

All in all, it was an amazing time. Connor was a good boy throughout the trip and you can take him just about anywhere. All the children got along amazingly and they are such good kids. Andrea and I were talking later on that it will be hard for us if we ever go on a trip alone again. We've had so much fun with the other couples on these last couple trips.

The boat wasn't our favorite, we'd been on the Victory on our honeymoon, and although it's a huge boat it always seems overcrowded and there are long lines galore. We'd been on the Fascination the last two cruises out of Jacksonville and it really made us realize how much we love that boat. We had so much fun, we can't wait to do it again. Shortly after we got home, Connor was already asking us when we can go on another cruise.