News

The big fall

Posted in News on November 9th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Friday, September 30, was supposed to be an exciting day in our house. Leah had been planning to get her ears pierced after school for weeks. That didn’t happen. Fair warning, the description below will be detailed and a bit graphic.

That morning, I was in the shower and the girls were upstairs getting ready for school. Jen picked up the bag of recycling from the kitchen to take it into the garage. From our kitchen, there are two steps down to our concrete garage floor.

Jen slipped on the stairs and fell hard on her backside. She tried to stand up quickly. In doing so, she got lightheaded and passed out. Some time later, she woke up lying face down on the concrete floor with lots of blood around her and excruciating head pain. Apparently she fell face first onto the concrete, and did not catch herself since she was unconscious.

We’re not sure how long she was out cold for, as everyone else was upstairs getting ready. If I had to guess based on timeline, I’d say it was around 5 minutes. After she woke up, she staggered in to the kitchen sink to wash blood off, leaving a significant blood trail all the way. She managed to call for Molly, who came and got me out of the shower. Her nose was bleeding badly, busted lip, terrible head pain, repeated vomiting, bad tailbone pain, arm pain, and more. I came down and didn’t know what to do with her or the kids. I obviously couldn’t leave Jen, so we decided the girls would get the chance to walk to school unsupervised for the first time that morning.

Jen and I debated what to do. She was in serious pain and kept throwing up. Every time she threw up, blood would start streaming out of her nose again. We thought about calling for an ambulance, but decided instead that I’d drive her to the Emergency Room at Howard County General Hospital. Jen brought a William Sonoma mixing bowl to use as a barf bag. She threw up on the drive there, and again in the waiting area at the ER as we waited to go back.

Once we got back to a room, they said it sounded like all the normal symptoms of a concussion. They needed to do a head CT to check for anything more serious, as well as a coccyx X-ray to see if she broke her tailbone. They gave her some painkillers to help with the head pain, and treated an abrasion on her arm. To prevent her busted lip and nose from bruising/swelling, they gave her an ice pack for her face. She thought it was hilarious to have this giant thing on her face, which was good since she needed her spirits lifted at the time.

Ice pack

Thankfully, both the head CT and the coccyx X-ray came back clear - no broken bones, no internal bleeding. A concussion is no fun, but we were grateful it wasn’t worse. She had bruises in several places (all on her left side, so she evidently landed there), but no broken bones. As Jen rested, recovered, and let the medications take effect, she started to feel a good bit better. The head pain dulled and she stopped throwing up. We put away the William Sonoma mixing bowl (which received compliments from nurses and doctors).

They released her around 3:00, which meant we got home in time for me to pick up the girls. We were worried that they spent the day entirely freaked out after the morning’s events and not knowing how their mom was. They were, of course, perfectly fine. Their first question was how their mom was doing, but with no fear that something really bad might have happened. Leah’s second question was whether she’s still be able to get her ears pierced that day. She was disappointed when the answer was no, but understanding that it was just a short delay.

Jen then spent the next few weeks taking care of her brain so she could heal. No TV, no reading, no driving for a while. She then slowly introduced those things back into her life. For several days, she kept finding bruises she had not noticed before. And after a month, she’s now finally pretty much back to normal (though she still can’t quite do everything at the gym she used to thanks to the rear end injury).

New car

Posted in News on June 25th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After almost 13 years, Jen’s car started to have more problems than it was worth to maintain it. We’d been looking at new cars since last August, and finally made the decision to get something new.

Jen got a 2016 Honda Pilot (AWD EX-L with Honda Sensing if you were wondering). These cars are in serious demand still, even though they came out last summer. Fortunately, this one rolled off the factory the week after we requested one. We’re very happy with it, and still learning all the fancy new features.

New car

As the girls walked (well, ran) home, Leah ran right by the new car sitting in the driveway and went inside. Molly was a bit more observant, and shocked, at the new arrival.

Shock

The girls were very excited to have a third row in Jen’s new car. As soon as we got it, they started asking if they could sit back there. We let them do it once to try it out.

Third row

Oh, and here’s her old car a few days before we traded it in. Good bye old car. You served us well through the years.

Old car

Goodbye Grandaddy

Posted in News on January 18th, 2016 by c-had – 1 Comment
He's a great Grandaddy

Yesterday evening, my grandfather, Elmo Weeks, passed away at the age of 96 in his home in Savannah, Georgia. While this saddens me, it’s hard to get too sad. He was an awesome man, and lived a great, long life. I’d be overjoyed to be able to live so well for so long.

Grandaddy chatting

He was a successful business man and an important part of the community in Savannah, but I will remember him simply as a loving grandaddy (and great grandaddy). He was one of my favorite people, and someone I try my best to emulate in many ways. He taught me about being on the water (which I realize is odd given that my dad was in the Navy, but Grandaddy had the advantage of actually living on the river). He was generous, kind, and I don’t think I ever saw him lose his temper.

Meeting Granddaddy

Granddaddy's house

Baby Fiddler Crab

Great grandkids

Pictures for Grandaddy

Grandaddy and Betty

Goodbye, Grandaddy. I’m sad to see you go, but glad you stayed as long as you did.

Grandaddy

Our new porch

Posted in News on October 31st, 2013 by jen – 2 Comments

When we bought our new house, there were two things on our wish list that this house didn't have. 1. A double oven and 2. a screened-in porch. I was OK with letting go of the double oven, but the porch was something that Chad and I both really wanted. My sister's house has a screened-in porch and when we visit, it's so nice to eat outside or let the kids get some fresh air while still being close enough to keep an eye on them.

Our house had a nice size back deck, so we knew we had a good base to start from. The week after we moved in, we immediately started looking into expanding it and adding a screened-in porch.

BackDeck2

After a 3 month wait, construction finally began last week.

Under construction

Progress happened fast.

A roof

After only six days working, it's done! The new porch looks fantastic. We still need to add a fan and lighting (with the help of a very generous neighbor), and then we need furniture. We can't wait to use it. Spring come quick!

Our new porch

Our new house

Posted in News on April 17th, 2013 by jen – 3 Comments

We are so ecstatic! We have a new house! We'll soon be living on Vinter Way in Ellicott City, moving after school ends in June.

It's crazy to think that in only two weeks we listed our house, got it under contract (twice!), and found a new house. A huge "Thank you" to Jeremy Walsh for helping us make it all happen. Now we can start planning where things should go and mentally moving in to the space.

Here are the pictures from the listing:

Vinter0

Living Room

Vinter1

Vinter2

Kitchen

Vinter3

Vinter4

Vinter5

Family Room

Vinter6

Vinter7

Vinter8

Master Bedroom

Vinter9

Vinter10

Vinter11

Master Bath

Vinter12

Bedrooms

Vinter13

Vinter14

Vinter15

Bathroom

Vinter16

Laundry on Bedroom level

Vinter20

Finished Basement

Vinter18

Walk out to backyard

Vinter17

Office nook

Vinter19

Accessible storage

Vinter21

Trex decking

Vinter23

Rear of house

Vinter22

Vinter24

We’re moving

Posted in News on April 16th, 2013 by jen – 1 Comment

When we moved to Maryland, we said we'd reevaluate whether to stay in 5 years. Almost 10 years and 2 kids later, we're still here and we've now outgrown our little home. So, since January, we've spent countless hours working on the house in order to put it on the market. We achieved our self-imposed deadline of April 1st and our house was listed on April 2nd.

After 7 days, 39 showings, 1 Open House, and 5 offers, we had a contract on our house. (Thank goodness we were in Birmingham celebrating JJ's 1st birthday for 4 of those crazy days.) We started really living in our house again, and then two days later, the contract fell through. :(

So, we started the showings again (now 49 total) and on Saturday we reviewed 5 offers again - the four we originally rejected plus a new one. After some negotiations, we are really, truly under contract. Hooray!

We have also put an offer on a new house, so hopefully we'll have some news on the buying front soon. :)

We're moving

Celebrating JJ

Posted in Celebrations, Leah, News, Trip on April 11th, 2013 by jen – 1 Comment

We spent part of Spring Break in Birmingham visiting with my family. It was possibly the shortest time between visits with G'Mom and Grampa that the girls have ever had.

Family visit to AL

It's always fun to see what Grampa sees.

Grampa's glasses

JJ loved his first ride in the Cozy Coupe. Leah stopped to chat along his route.

Waving to his peeps

We went out to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack where the servers dance. Molly took that to mean that she should dance as well, and she spent much of the evening dancing and dancing and dancing.

Dinner and a show

The reason for our visit was to attend JJ's first birthday party.

Birthday cake

The birthday boy is a happy boy as he waits for the party to start.

Pre-party fun

So much fun

Got a balloon

Who needs cake? The icing is the good stuff.

Who needs cake?

Emmie loved sitting with Uncle Chad. And Leah's always wanting to share in Daddy's love.

Preschoolers and me

There's always time for reading with G'Mom.

Reading time

Leah loves "baby JJ."

Cousins

Grandma Dot came over for a post-party visit. Here she is with her four great-grandchildren.

Great grandkids

JJ loves playing with his trucks.

Truck

Molly was super sweet with JJ. Every time he was fussy, she was right there trying to cheer him up. She even sat with him a few times and played trucks with him.

Molly can play too

Little sister wins

Posted in Leah, News on February 16th, 2010 by jen – 6 Comments

Leah beat out Molly for the prize of "First kid to the ER" yesterday. She was admitted for a dislocated elbow, also known as nursemaid's elbow.

It happened just after noon yesterday when Molly rolled Leah from her front to back, and Leah's arm got caught underneath her. She let out a cry of pain and it took over an hour to calm her down. By 3:00 PM Chad noticed that Leah was not moving her right arm, so I called the doctor and was told to come in. After the third attempt to reduce her elbow, we thought it was back in place, so Leah was given some Tylenol and we headed home. The pediatrician called at 7:30 PM to check on Leah, and was not satisfied that we had corrected the problem, so she sent us to the ER.

We were swiftly taken back to the pediatric ER and by the time Chad showed up (he had to put Molly to bed and wait on his mom to arrive) the doctor was walking in. X-rays were taken and showed that nothing was broken. So, the doctor attempted the fourth try at reducing Leah's elbow. This time it worked! She was laying in my arms and immediately reached up toward my face. But then it took another 10-15 minutes for her to move it again. It was like she didn't know she could move it (we enticed her with Molly's sunglasses as seen below). We were given the OK to go home and were out in less than 2.5 hours. Leah was in bed by 10:45 PM and the craziness was over.

It was the best ER experience we've ever had (not that you ever want to have that!), and Leah's doing better now. Her arm is not at 100%, but she is moving it more and more as the day progresses. I was reassured by both doctors that this is very common for infants and toddlers, but I sure hope that we don't have to go through that again!

Snowbound, part 2

Posted in News on February 11th, 2010 by c-had – 5 Comments

As I talked about previously, we've been snowbound around here. In my last post, I left off Tuesday with an unplowed street and another approaching storm. Well, it indeed started snowing Tuesday afternoon and snowed throughout the night. The next morning, we had around 6 new inches on the ground and thought we'd never get out. Then, much to our surprise, we saw this in front of our house:

A snow plow!

Yes, that's a front loader clearing our street. This first storm dumped so much snow that normal plows on trucks couldn't cut it, so they brought out front loaders to pick up the snow and move it around. We were very relieved, but it was still snowing and we were under a blizzard warning, so we still weren't getting out of the house.

That blizzard warning turned into a full fledged blizzard (if you're unfamiliar, blizzards have little to do with how much snow you have and more to do with high winds and reduced visibility). We had winds gusting to 50mph and at times we couldn't see houses at the end of our street. I didn't get a picture of the blizzard in full force, but here's a shot of what it looked like as it was winding down:

Blizzard

That lasted into Wednesday night, and we wondered when we might get plowed. It had taken 5 days for our street to be cleared last time, so we were really surprised when we looked out our window the next morning and saw this:

He's back

Yes, the front loader was back and clearing our street again. It was not snowing. Freedom was in sight. Of course, there was a little bit of snow to take care of first.

A lot of snow

I never heard a number for Columbia, but Savage (not far away) got 18 inches in this second storm. Added to the 33 from the previous storm gives us 51 inches in under a week. That's a lot of snow. In fact, the official Baltimore total for this winter is now up to 79.9 inches, shattering the previous record from 1995-1996 of 62.5 inches (and winter's not over yet). And not only do we have crazy snow at our house, but crazy icicles as well. Yes, this big one reaches all the way to the ground:

Icicles

So, I got to shoveling. Molly helped (well, sort of). She really enjoyed playing in the snow as well. She liked throwing snowballs a lot. We threw a few at each other, but she much preferred to throw them into the street.

Snowball

She also liked eating the snow and just getting her hands in it.

Playing in the snow

Eventually, I got through shoveling. It took over 4 hours to shovel out (and that was with the help of some very nice neighbors), but both of our cars are now clear.

Freedom!

So, we're now free! We can leave our house, though we haven't done it yet. We don't have an urgent need to get out and the county government has asked everyone to stay off the roads since it's still quite windy and the snow is drifting a bit. That said, it feels like this craziness is over (or close to it).

Snowbound

Posted in News on February 9th, 2010 by c-had – 4 Comments

I have been trying to wait to post this until the saga was complete, but I cannot wait any longer. As most of you know, Maryland and surrounding areas was hit by one of the biggest snow storms we've ever had this past weekend. It started snowing a little after noon on Friday and didn't let up until late Saturday afternoon. Here's what it looked like out of our back door Saturday:

Blizzard of 2010

The Bible is there for a little perspective. Out front, my car had disappeared and Jen's was barely still visible.

Snow-covered cars

Molly and I played in the snow a bit (and shoveled a bit as well). While outside, we heard a loud snap. A neighbor's tree had buckled under the weight of the snow and snapped right in the middle of its trunk.

Tree snap

How much snow did we get? Officially, the news says 33.8 inches. I measured just under 32 in our front yard, but there was still and inch or two on the ground from the last snowfall. I generally measure a bit less than the official number, as some of the snow blows around.

32 inches

How much snow is that? Well, it's basically my legs.

Standing in the snow

On Sunday, I shoveled our driveway out. Here's what it started to look like halfway through:

Shoveling in stages

The problem you can see here is that while I may clear my driveway, it does no good unless the snow plows come by to clear the streets in our neighborhood. They always come by within a day after a snow storm, so we thought they'd come by Sunday. They didn't. Howard County then assured us all streets would be plowed on Monday. Well, that didn't happen either.

It's now Tuesday. We've been snowbound since Friday and we're running low on certain supplies (like milk). According to the forecast, we're about to be hit by another snow storm dropping between 10 and 20 inches of snow. Consequently, the snow plows have been pulled off of plowing neighborhoods and have started preparing (salting) the main streets for the new storm. Because of our need of supplies and the imminent storm, we gave up on waiting. We got my mom (who was plowed Sunday) to come pick up Jen to take her to the grocery store. Jen walked through the snow to meet her on a bigger road that has been plowed. Here's our hero returning from the store with the needed supplies:

Our hero

I'm not sure when our street will be cleared. Perhaps Thursday or Friday. We're all very ready to have the freedom to go where we want back. I'll update here when we manage to escape.