Looking for our Wish Lists? Here they are.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Leave

Richard's holiday leave was granted. We have a full schedule planned while in Michigan, which includes tons of travel. We will be leaving VA after R works on Tuesday the 22nd and drive back to VA on Monday January 4th. While there, we will be traveling with R's family to upper Michigan to a hotel for three days and to a suburb of Chicago with my family to a hotel for three days. We're excited. And kind of tired.

(Orders are supposedly closer and closer to being fully approved.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Patient has recovered functional deficitts and is able to do all functions of his assigned rate and rank. He is fit for full unrestricted duty."

Now, Richard has to take this letter to the ship and see what they say.

Christmas Stuff

Although we don't know yet if Richard will get orders to the deployable Ike, we're thinking he will. And if he does, we're thinking he will still be here next Christmas. But being sea duty, there is the possibility that he will be gone for the next three Christmases. So, we're kind of doing it up big this year. Which is kind of hard to do for a toddler who probably won't remember any of this. But at least we're taking pictures of most things.

We got Christmas photos taken of Lillian, both in her fancy red dress and in a Christmas sweater with lights.

Lillian helped me wrap Christmas presents and LOVED it. Wanted to be wrapped up herself.

She helped us in putting the ornaments on the tree. Richard was sitting at the box of ornaments and I was standing at the tree and she would grab each ornament from Richard and hand it to me.

Her ornament this year was a puppy, as she is obsessed with puppies right now. Our family ornament is one from Disney World.

She helped me make fudge and chocolate covered pretzels.

My good friend from high school, Kerstin, hand made us a huge felt Christmas Tree advent calendar. Each day Lillian gets to pick a small toy, piece of candy or a sticker.

Richard has picked out and purchased his special gift for Lillian, now he's just waiting for it to arrive and him to wrap it.

We're going outdoor ice skating on Friday night at MacArthur Mall. Lillian gets to have her own pair of double runner skates.

Next weekend we are going with friends to Busch Gardens' new Christmas Town. And then on Sunday, we're having our Sunday School party, the theme is "tacky Christmas". We all have outfits and I can't wait.

We've been teaching Lillian to say Merry Christmas. Right now it sounds like "Merry its". We're also teaching her to say "ho ho ho" in response to "what does Santa say?" She picked up on this, perfectly, right away, until she realized we wanted her to do it, now she's just refusing.

We're studying colors right now, so I printed off little photos of baby Jesus in the manger, and colored it in, two of each color. She is playing a matching color game with them. I also printed off four colors of a stable and there is a Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and star that color coordinates with each stable and she places them in the correct color.

We watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade and saw Santa come to town. We also bought the Radio City Rockettes DVD and Lillian is just mystified by it.

We have a bag that I made that holds all of our Christmas music, DVDs and books, and it hangs on our front door. Each day we read a book or two and sometimes watch a DVD.

We're always working on various Christmas coloring pages and crafts.

We all got new pajamas that we will open on Christmas eve.

We are hoping to head to Michigan early Christmas week. While there we will be spending a couple nights in a hotel in northern Michigan with Richard's family and a couple nights in a hotel near Chicago with my family.

Pray about....

This morning is Richard's neurologist appointment. It seems that whether he gets the orders to the Ike or not, all boils down to this appointment and whether the neurologist will write a letter of recommendation for deployment. We'll see. Pray about that please.

Also, Richard has been having to work extremely long hours lately, and its stressing him out and making me completely exhausted. Pray that it ends soon, at least a few days before we try to drive to Michigan.

Which brings me to another thing, we STILL don't know about holiday leave. Yup, its less than three weeks away. No, they care nothing about us. But it would really help in planning things if we could get approval from them to take leave. Pray about that please.

There are several practical and legal things we need to get done before Richard leaves for deployment (if he does). With the holidays, Lillian's birthday and his transfer leave being between now and then, its coming up super fast. Pray that we find out for sure soon and are able to get moving on all the details. We are very near to the 2 month window from the day he will leave.

Seems to me after reviewing this post that the Navy being dumb is doing a pretty good job of keeping the prayer lines to God strong. Gooooooo Navy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Playroom-Part 1

A friend recently asked for photos of our playroom. That, of course, required that we clean it. We have a strip of cork tiles across the far wall, to display learning materials and completed artwork on. You can't really see it, but we have pink and orange flowers hanging from the cieling. The curtain is fabric from Ikea. The gate is a LIFESAVER. We got it from Babies R Us and attached it so the playroom (dining room) is blocked off from the living room and kitchen. Most of the time the gate is open, but we close it if I need to take a shower (or its clean and I'm keeping it that way).
Our table, also from Ikea. Perfect size but the wood portion is raised higher than the white portion, making it a complete pain in the rear to clean. We hope to get a new, flat top one at Ikea while we are in Michigan. The doll cradle is a family heirloom which houses all of her stuffed animals.
The green tubs are toys that are out of rotation. Right now the tubs contain Music, Kitchen and Little People. The VS bag on top is dress up clothes that Lillian is getting for Christmas and were just temporarily setting there. The dollhouse bookcase was made by my dad just for Lillian from a picture in the Pottery Barn catalog.
In the corner is the Learning Tower, which can be used as a lemonade stand, puppet theatre, fort or a tower to stand at the kitchen couter safely. She loves it and so do we, but its a pain in the rear to move from playroom to kitchen.
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Playroom-Part 2

This window looks out onto our patio and has window clings on it, relevant to whatever we're studying at the moment. Currently it is colors. The orange tray is for art or eating in the living room. The pink bean bag is actually a Christmas present and isn't in there yet. The toy chest is another family heirloom. My great grandpa made it and my dad recently refinished it for Lillian. It houses toys that are out of rotation or still too old for her. This worked great, until recently when she learned how to open it. Now we're perfecting the look of death when she does open it, so she's slowly learning to leave it alone.
In the corner, behind the ball toy, is a basket full of dress up clothes. On top of the cabinet is a basket with learning tools for whatever we're currently studying, along with one of my curriculum books. I'm just realizing I should have taken a photo with the cabinet doors open. In the cabinet are art supplies, learning tools that aren't always out like flashcards, window clings, manipulatives, puzzles and games, along with a shelf of books that aren't board books so they can't be out in the open, but are young enough that she likes them to be read to her.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Photo Collage

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I tried and tried to make this the header, but it wouldn't do it, so this will have to do. If you click on the photo, it will open up a larger photo in a new window.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Pictures

Lillian's Formal Christmas Pictures are posted here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


For those of you who get this in email and don't always go to the site to view the blog, here are our wishlists. They are constantly updated on the top of the blog, as we know stuff is purchased. For my list, I suggest you check with Richard before you buy, as he will be shopping off the same list. His email, that he checks often, is richardbrill@gmail.com.

Lillian's Wishlist

Richard's Wishlist

Stacey's Wishlist

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"The November Nor'easter" Update

The news shows have dubbed this storm "The November Nor'easter". As if there has never been another one in November. I'm not positive, but doubtful that is true.

We have been fortunate, and except for a few minutes here and there, have kept power throughout the whole ordeal.

Teresa, a friend of ours, has not been so lucky and she and her 2 year old daughter and dog moved in with us Thursday evening and are anticipating staying until Saturday night at 10pm when their power is supposedly going to be restored. Brandon and Lindsey lost their power today, for 23 hours, but it has already been restored.

Lillian's room had water standing above the ceiling and maintenance came over and made holes in the drywall and drained over 10 gallons of water out of it. The rain is still coming down so the holes are still dripping, and the water spots on the ceiling are getting larger still with every hour.

The carpet in the hallway in front of the guestroom is wet. And the guestroom window has so much water damage, the molding and drywall are separating, falling down and leaking rusty water all over my curtains (now down) and the carpet.

Maintenance says they will be over next week to "fix it" although we have yet to hear what that will entail. Hopefully more than a paint job this time. Until that project is complete, Lillian is (not) sleeping on her portable cot in our room. She normally sleeps 13 hours at night, last night she was at about 7, broken with fits of screaming.

We were able to get out today to go to the mall. We braved the rain and wind, and had a good time, although one section of the mall was closed and out of power, and the children's play area was closed due to a water leak.

Teresa and I also got out to the grocery store and picked up pizza for dinner, and ran by her house. We were hopeful the power would be on earlier than predicted, but it was not. We did, however, rescue most of her frozen stuff, including her Thanksgiving turkey, all by the light of our two blackberry phones. I knew those expensive phones were good for something, if nothing else, they have a bigger screen to guide you with when the power goes out.

The good news is that Teresa's renter's insurance will cover the cost of the groceries that spoiled. She was on the phone with them tonight and they are going to deposit almost $200 into her account.

Everyone else is down for the night and R and I are following shortly. Tomorrow Savannah has gymnastics and R and I are going to try to do a couple errands, hoping the businesses we need to visit have power and no water damage.

R's duty, the Veteran's day holiday, and this nor'easter combined gave us a 6 day weekend. Too bad we couldn't have known that ahead of time and gotten out of town. Although, we would have come back to a fallen ceiling in Lillian's room and a lake on the floor, not to mention ruined pink furniture and that would have been the end of my sanity (not that there's much left at this point anyways).

Thursday, November 12, 2009


We're having a "nor'easter". Apparently its a huge deal to people around here. It just seems like three days of rain and winds. But geesh, they're closing schools, roads, tunnels, and whole cities for goodness sakes. Setting up shelters in high schools and pre-empting all the tv shows. They closed the malls. So now, we can't watch TV, can't go outside and can't go to the mall. Lil is thrilled.

Not to mention, there's water dripping down from the cieling in her room.

In good news, in the excessive closing of everything in sight, Richard got a day off and was able to spend the day at home with us. It was especially nice because I spent last night with a friend at ER and feel like poo today.

Game night tonight I think.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nov 2 Update

Still no news on holiday orders.

As far as regular orders: Right now R is still assigned to the Ike, the detailer has to be the one to cancel the orders and he has not. What the Ike sent over was a "recommendation" that the orders be canceled and for now, the detailer has chosen to ignore that recommendation. The Ike CAN make him do it, but as of now, they have not. SO, for now, it seems we are still on track for a Feb 12 deployment.

The car dealership wrote the color of the van as "white" rather than "silver" on the title, this makes a HUGE mess for us. So we're (and by we're, I mean I'm) trying to figure it all out.

We scheduled Lillian's 3 month follow up appt for her tubes on Friday.

We have set up an appt to get a DVR from our cable company, and at that time we will cease TiVo use. I hate new technology.

Apparently, R does not have duty Thanksgiving weekend now, although I have yet to believe it. If that is true, we will be heading to Durham to visit with the Howards/Fuscos for that long weekend.

We're going to make a trip to Ikea on Veteran's Day, next Wednesday, and top the day off with a girls birthday dinner for three of our friends.

ANOTHER washer guy came today. He seemed competent and seems to have fixed both problems. We'll see. East Coast Appliance has not been successful in anything so far, other than convincing us that buying the extended warrant is a MUST.

If you are getting R a Christmas gift, please just give him cash. He just purchased a laptop to use for deployment, and he wishes to use Christmas money to help go towards that.

I just found out that in Virginia when a teenager gets their driver's license for the first time, they have to go to the Courthouse and meet with a Judge. The Judge then gives the license to the parents, saying it is their opportunity to give the responsibility of a license to the child as they deserve it. That is AWESOME. Wherever we are, our kids are getting their licenses here.

Lillian climbed into the house bookshelf dad made today. Just to chill out on the shelf.

Christmas Lists are up on the blog and continually updated. Lillian's is here and Stacey's is here.

Whitney has her biggest show this year on Sunday, and I am helping her with it and R is helping with set up/tear down. Teresa is watching Lillian for us.

I think that's it for now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

COMPLETE change of plans

Richard got word today that the Ike rejected him because of his shoulder issues and has canceled his orders. As of right now, we have no orders for January. This does mean we could end up moving. We don't know. We don't know when we will know. Richard is supposed to go to medical tomorrow to pick up the faxed memo from the Ike and take it to his chain of command. We'll see.

The Ike is recommending Richard go to the Roosevelt because it is in the yards for the next three years. He could be getting "sea duty" time without going to sea. However, at last knowledge, there were no open orders for the Roosevelt.

Richard is also going to make an appointment with Dr. Bischoff, the neurologist here, to see if he would write a memo to the ship asking for an exception, because by February Richard will not need daily neurological care (the ship can't provide that while out to sea-that's why they canceled his orders).

Right now this does look very bad for Richard because he got a Senior Chief to recommend him for the job, which they're now saying he cannot fulfill.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


-Lillian has moved from single words into phrases. Her favorites right now are "oh no" and "no mommy" "no no ___" with the __ being whatever we're asking her to do. Do we sense a theme here?
-Her favorite single word is "ready". It gets used for everything. Time to go to the store, time to eat, ready for bed, ready to get in the bath, ready to get out, etc.
-Her bangs are already in her eyes again and need a trim.
-Richard's holiday leave still hasn't been approved. Yes, this is retarded.
-Richard's work schedule is crazy right now and we won't see much of him for the next week.
-Next weekend, Lillian and I are going with friends to Hershey, PA for a trip to a pumpkin farm and the Hershey park. I'm excited, should be fun. Although its supposed to rain so pray for no rain.
-Lillian is now totally without the plug and has been for three weeks or so.
-She is sleeping in a regular twin size bed, up on the frame, with no bed rails.
-She loves the number two. She can't count, but if you say one, she will always say two.
-She is wearing size 6 shoes, 24 month/2T shirts and 18month pants.
-She seems to be thinning out again but I wouldn't know because we haven't gone to the doctor lately, imagine that.
-I have been up to the usual: cooking, cleaning, laundry, checkbook budgeting, calendaring events, yada, yada, yada.
-We still love the new van. We're taking it to PA this weekend.
-I'm contemplating decorating for the Christmas holidays on November 7th this year, so we have time to enjoy it, if we really do get the leave we want and leave before Christmas. Ironically, we probably won't know by then if our leave has been approved or not.
-R is still doing therapy twice a week for his shoulder. He needs to make another appt with the orthopedist to see how long this should continue. We have noticed improvement, more from time than therapy though, we think.
-I need new pants and am having a ridiculously hard time finding them. But in the meantime I found four shirts, a pair of shoes and a puffer vest. I spose I could wrap one of the shirts around my waist.
-We're having family photos taken tomorrow.
-Lillian's favorite toys right now are a mini-size Magna-Doodle that we keep in the car, one of our old cell phones, her stuffed puppy and the small rubber Little People animals.
-We're trying to work on colors and shapes with her and she's having none of it, so whatever !
-She knows most all animals by sight and can recite what they "say".
-We celebrated our third anniversary on Wednesday, low key, but had a great day. R was able to get special liberty to not go into work that day, so that was a gift in itself.
-We took her to the zoo on our anniversary and she was hilarious, making animal sounds all the way through.
-I have decided the theme for Lillian's second birthday party and its almost all planned. It will be on her birthday, Saturday, January 23, 2010. If you're from out of the area and think you can make it, let me know and I'll add you to the invite list. If not, you're missing out.
-We're now officially less than four months from when R leaves. BOO. I'm still taking reservations for visitors. Right now I have exactly NO ONE lined up to come. Come on people....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We're still alive. Just busy lately, and bored today. But bored in the sense that I don't want to do anything that needs to be done, not in that I don't have anything to do.

Working on Wish Lists for all three of us. Should have them completed soon.

Holiday leave was officially applied for yesterday. As well as transfer leave. Praying both go through, and are approved, exactly how he wrote them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Deployment Boxes

For right now, he does not need any more gatorade or hot chocolate packets.  He also does not need stamps, he can mail for free.

Snackwells Cookies
Beef Jerky
Laffy Taffy
Flavored Tootsie Rolls
Chicken in a Biscuit Crackers
Salted Peanuts
Home made Peanut Butter Cookies
Home made Sugar Cookies
Fruit Rollups
Granola Bars

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We are back in debt again!

We bought a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country Touring today.

Its silver outside with two tone grey interior, with some wood grain stuff.

Its got every bell and whistle you could dream of, including three automatic doors, a keyless key fob, THREE DVD screens, stow & go seating, an electrical outlet, satelite radio, a rear view camera, etc.

Other than the fact that its a minivan, it ROCKS!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Richard's Orders

Richard received word today that he has been awarded orders to the USS Eisenhower. People call it the Ike and that's what I'll be calling it from now on, so don't be confused.

He is to report to the Ike on February 10, 2010. He was supposed to transfer in early January, and we're not sure why his report date is February 10th, other than the Lord heard my many prayers and performed a miracle. Really. This is very odd. But VERY good. They are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan on January 4, 2010. We're assuming that shortly after he reports on Feb 10, they will fly him out to the ship. This will make his deployment 5 months instead of six.

This also means he will be home for Lillian's second birthday! And we will possibly be able to go home for the holidays, whereas it wouldn't be possible if he deployed Jan 4.

It will make his first month on the ship harder, as he will get grief from the other crew as well as having to catch up on learning stuff, but he's up for the challenge.

He should get some holiday leave, as in past years, either the two weeks before Dec 28 or the two weeks after. He is also entitled to up to 30 days of transfer leave. We're trying to find out if that is to be completed by Feb 10 or if that starts Feb 10. He might also not be granted both periods, he might have to choose. We don't know yet, he is trying to find out some more information.

We do not have written orders yet. PLEASE pray that the Feb date is not a mistake and that his written orders come through ASAP and have the Feb 10 date on them.

He is excited about these orders. And is excited that his reputation is good enough with a couple senior chiefs already on this ship that they pushed the orders so that he would get the job over any other applicants.

He will be on "sea duty" for three years beginning February 10, 2010. As far as we know right now, the Ike will deploy Jan 4, 2010 for six months, returning the beginning of July, 2010 and go directly into the yards. This means the boat will go into dry dock to be worked on. Richard will still report for work directly to the boat, in the yards, which will be in our area, but not directly at this base. It will either be in Portsmouth or Newport News.

The boat is also scheduled to go on deployment sometime in 2011, although we don't have dates yet.

Other than the cruise deployments, which typically last six months, he will have to be on the boat every time the boat pulls out of the dock. The ship has to stay "qual'ed" so they will be pulling out of the dock for several days each month when they are not on deployment.

The Ike has an "8 duty section". Duty on the Ike is different from his duty now. Now for duty, he has a 6 section rotation. When he's on duty now, he's basically "on call"-he can't leave his 'recall number' (our house) unless he calls in for an errand (church, grocery store, etc) and sometimes, he will be required to work a shift on a weekend he has duty or do a watch or flag duty when he is on duty. However, on the Ike, a "duty" lasts 24 hours and he is required to be on the ship the whole time. So once every 8 days, he will be spending 24 hours on the boat. of course, this 24 hour period for example, would start at 6am Tuesday and end at 6am Wednesday but then he would have to still work Wednesday so he would be gone from 6am Tuesday until 3pm Wednesday. We're not sure how they do the weekends. At his command now, they only schedule Fridays. If you have duty Friday, you have it all weekend long. This command might assign each day separately though, we don't know.

Moms-Here is a site that says its the official website of the "Ike Moms"

Others- Here is the official website of the Ike
And here is the wikipedia entry for the Ike and here is another navy site on the Ike

None of them are super informative with anything really helpful, but all that info is classified of course.

Richard will need several things for cruise that he will be adding to his Christmas wishlist in the coming weeks. And he will also be compiling a list of things that will be good to send him in goodie boxes while he is gone. Because he will be on a ship, space is very limited, so he would like to request certain things, and ask that not much more than that is sent. I will have him constantly keep a list updated so you know what he would like at that specific time. He can always use phone cards but needs specific kinds. He will find out exactly what kind and we will post that information also.

These orders mean:
1. We will be staying in Virginia until early 2013.
2. R says we will look for orders to Florida at that time. (I have three years to compile arguments against that and create stunning protest signs.)
3. We will not be buying a house in Virginia. (Our good friends are taking $15-18,000 to closing in two weeks to get rid of their house.)
4. Lillian and I will be staying in Virginia, in our current apartment, while Richard is gone. We might travel some. (Plane tickets or gas cards are welcome.)
5. As R's leave gets figured out we will know what our leave plans are before he goes.
6. We plan on keeping both vehicles we currently have until he gets back from deployment next July at which time we will replace my Pacifica with trade in and cash with something that is a 2008/2009. We will probably keep the truck until it costs more to fix it than its worth.
7. We will be having some sort of a birthday party for Lillian (hadn't planned on it if he was going to be gone) and you are all welcome to come.
8. Lillian and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE company Feb 2010 to June/July 2010. I mean we would LOVE it. More than you know. And I would love some boogeyman scaring away powder I could spread around my house :-)

We're very happy about these orders and all the things they mean. Although this will be not only our first deployment while married, but also our first with a child, so it will be difficult but its going to happen sometime and we feel like we'll be adequately prepared. The next three years, Richard will be "gone" meaning sleeping on the ship, whether off the coast of Virginia, or elsewhere, for almost two years. Lots of prayer, letters (to Richard) and visitors (to me and Lil) will get us all through.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Richard's Shoulder Update

UPDATE AUGUST 3: Richard saw the Orthopedist, Dr. Bischoff again this morning to discuss the results of the EMG.

The EMG report officially stated "suprascapular neuropathy with involvement of supraspinatus and infraspinatus."

Dr. Bischoff said today:
1. He doesn't think surgery is going to help. But he is referring to an orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion.
2. The nerve grows 1mm a day. At that rate it is going to take 6-10 months, more, to fully heal.
3. The bike accident fractured his shoulder. Yes, BROKE HIS SHOULDER. Yes, in February. Yes, they are just finding this out now. He said the fracture is now showing as healed, so there's nothing we need to do about it (other than know the Naval Hospital ER who turned him away was COMPLETELY WRONG TO DO SO).
4. He put in a prescription for more pain meds, Richard is on them almost 24/7 now.
5. He wants to see Richard every 4-6 weeks for the next ten months, to measure any improvement.
6. He wants Richard to go to Rehab 2-3 times a week until this is fully healed (6-10 more months). Rehab will last from 1-2 hours each session.
7. He said probably in January Richard would have to do a Limdu Board. That is a review board that will determine the status of Richard's injury at that time, and MAY keep him off the boat. We do not know if this means he would be on "sea duty" but not go out to sea, extend his shore duty until he is healed-and then transfer to his 3 year of sea duty, or he would start his sea duty on time, but his sea duty time would just be extended to add on the amount of time he is not eligible to go out to sea.

Tomorrow, Richard will pick up his prescription.
Wednesday, he will have his first Rehab appt.
Friday, He will have his next rehab appt.
Monday, He has an appt with his primary care physician, just to keep him updated. And he will have his third rehab appt. (Every M-W-F from now on).
August 25th, he will meet with Dr. Ellingson, the orthopedic surgeon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Words

More new words-these tubes are AMAZING!

kykee (Kylie)


side (outside)

pug (plug)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Richard's Shoulder

Note: Of course, we are not medical professionals, or spelling experts nor do we have perfect memories. What follows is the best of our recollection of what the doctors have said thus far.

Richard had an MRI of his right shoulder which showed a "Nonspecific atrophy of supraspinatus and infraspinatus" and a "globular intermediate high signal seen in the supraspinatus and infraspinatus near the tendon insertions." The orthopedic doc said this is bad because it basically means they (the MRI techs) see a "something" but don't know what it is. You don't want to stump them. The MRI "result code" was "Abnormal, Immediate Attn Needed". They did say it definintly is not a rotator cuff tear. This is good. There is much "degenerative atrophy" meaning his muscles are rotting. Not ever good.

The orthopedist, Dr. Bischoff, referred him for an EMG test to be done by a Neurologist to hopefully clarify what damage has been done, and where.

His EMG was today at Portsmouth Naval Hospital.

We had a great doc, a neurologist, who performed both parts of the test. The first part involved shocking various parts of R's hand, wrist, arm, shoulder and neck and recording the results. This part was uncomfortable and mildly painful. The second part of the test involved sticking needles into the muscles, starting at the hand and working all the way up to the shoulder, recording first with the muscle resting, and then with the muscle engaged. This part was mildly painful at the begining (the hand/wrist/arm) but became extremely painful when the doc neared the damaged areas of the shoulder and neck.

The doc gave us several answers:
1. The damage was absolutely, positively a result of the motorcycle accident Richard had in February (yes, really, FEBRUARY).
2. The subscapular nerve was damaged due to blunt force trauma (ie hitting the pavement) but the damage is "incomplete" which means it is not completely broken, just damaged.
2.5. The subscapular nerve feeds impulse signals to two muscles, one above it and one below it. The one below is severely damaged, the one above, not as much, but still significant damage. The upper muscle controls the lower 15% lifting power of the arm, the lower muscle controls the movement as if you have your arm in a sling position and then are pushing outward as if pushing a door open with your forearm.
3. The nerve damage happened immediately but was not evident until weeks later when the muscle stopped geting impulse signals from the nerve. (See straw analogy below.) This was the time during March when Richard had such severe pain that he was in two ERs and a doctors office, all within two days.
4. The muscle not getting whatever it gets from the nerve is the reason the muscle is atrophying (rotting). Richard has a severe concave hole in his shoulder, where that muscle used to be.
5. If it was a "complete" tear, surgery would absolutely be required.
6. Since it is "incomplete" damage, it may or may not require surgery. Sometimes these things heal on their own, although they take "a very long time-six months to a year" to do so. It has already been six months.
7. The neurologist said the next step is to make an appointment with the orthopedist, Dr. Bischoff, to review the EMG results and decide what the next step is. The neurologist's guess was that Dr. Bischoff would refer Richard to a surgeon.

It seems that we can wait another six months and it may heal on its own, still requiring physical therapy after that time. Or, we can opt to do surgery, which may or may not be able to help, and would also have an extensive recovery time and would require much physical therapy afterwards.

The straw analogy. The nerve is like a straw. When Richard hit the pavement it flattened the straw, but did not tear it. So there were some impulse signals still left in the first portion of the straw that was able to feed into the muscles. However, a few weeks later, all the impulse signals were either already in the muscle, or on the other side of the damage to the straw. That is when the huge pain happened and the muscles started to rot. Now, we are waiting for the straw to re-inflate, which may or may not happen on its own.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bed training

Lillian jumped out of her crib twice tonight, landing with a HUGE thud on the floor and getting right up and running, laughing, down the hallway to the living room.

I think she has a death wish.

So far, we cannot tell that she has hurt herself, but we know its just a matter of time if she keeps up the diving act.

We have a "big girl" bed in her room for her, which we lay in with her each night to read books and try to get her to go to sleep there, but she refuses to lay down when anyone else is in the room. This is true for any bed.

She will not be held to go to sleep, she will not be rocked to sleep. She must be in her bed (her crib), by herself, and then, when she is ready, she will go to sleep.

We are desperately trying to figure out how to bed train her.

We have tried "the supernanny way" of putting her in the big bed, sitting outside the door, putting her back in the bed, when she gets out. She lasted 5 hours before we gave up.

My only thought is to move EVERYTHING out of her room, except for her "big girl" bed, and the crib and just put her in the big bed, shut the baby gate on the door, and leave her there til she falls asleep. But we really have no other place to put the rest of the furniture in her room so I don't know.

Lillian's Word List

Ba (ball)
nigh-nigh (night night)
ooo ooow (yellow)
mo (more)
mo (NO!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ear surgery went well.

Richard's still working a retarded amount of days/hours.

His EMG test on his shoulder is the 28th.

Lillian peed on the potty for the first time today. She now regularly sits on it for about six hours a day, or at least it feels like it. She sits on it before and after any nap or bedtime, and before and after a bath and after a meal. Kylie is also doing really well. Which makes me want to move the tv into the bathroom since I spend so much time in there, but I think they're helping each other figure it out faster, which is great.

Lillian's new favorite thing is Ring Around the Rosy. Its super cute. She will take your hands and do it with you or just spin in circles by herself. (I taught her that because I get dizzy by repetition #2.) She falls down by herself about half the time and the rest she wants you to shove her down and then she laughs uncontrollably.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mom and Dad wanted an update.

Here's your update-

The time is currently 10:53 on Saturday night July something 2009. I am exhausted and need a live in babysitter because my husband is currently employed 12-14/7 by the US Navy.

Lillian had pictures taken at The Picture People today. She was a brat. But the pictures turned out cute anyways. Those people are good. Expensive, but good. We are currently accepting gift cards for said photo place.

Lillian's ear surgery is on Monday. We have to be at the hospital at 6:40 am. That means we need to leave our house at 5am. As if surgery wasn't bad enough on its own. And I'm betting Ihop doesn't deliver to the waiting room. Darn! And french toast sounds SO GOOD right now.

Our very good friend Britt just left for "the place you would never want your husband to go" for an "undetermined amount of time" (not to be less than 45 days). He does super secret (ie VERY SCARY) stuff. Pray for his safety. And Whitney's sanity. And everything inbetween. He just got back less than three weeks ago from another trip. This was going to be the first year since they've been married that he was going to be home on her birthday. Oh wait, the Navy just changed that.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Richard's Shoulder

Richard had his follow up (from the MRI) appointment with the orthopedist yesterday morning. There is a "globular mass" that he is very concerned about, but there is NOT a tear in the rotator cuff. They have scheduled him for an EMG test, where they stick needles all over the muscle and test it with electrodes to monitor reaction to try to narrow down where the root of the problem is. That test is scheduled for July 28th. Yes, this is Navy medicine at is quickest, people. But we are probably still looking at surgery, they just have to do this test first to narrow down exact location. Then it will be followed up with months of physical therapy.

So, that's the story, until it changes again at least.

Re-Enlistment Ceremony

Richard's Re-enlistment ceremony was last Friday and one of his co-workers took some photos for us. (I was sure we had a family photo at the end, but apparently not.)

Lillian was perfectly happy using Richard's desk, but refused to be held and be part of the ceremony. They (the US Navy) also had a certificate for me. Promptly after these photos, Lillian puked all over me and her, both. It was spectacular.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Strawberry Fields

I want THIS quilt.

Etsy is so dangerous.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's looking like we will probably be paying $1700 to $2000 out of pocket to take care of the bike. And it sounds like we're going to have to pay it all when the insurance check comes through. The bank says that since we no longer have the bike, we can no longer have a bike loan and therefore must pay the balance off in full.


If I ever get married again (to the same man, of course) and I'm a millionaire, I'm going to do it up like these people did. (The last part of that sentence is a link to the fabulous wedding I speak of. Click on the words "these people" to go there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Richard's motorcycle was stolen sometime between 7pm last night and 11am this morning. The police came out to do a report and say it is probably already chopped up in pieces across the water.

Insurance has a mandatory waiting period (they won't tell us how long) to wait and see if it is recovered or they see us driving it before they will offer a settlement. They will not disclose the amount of the settlement until that time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Late June Update

Lillian is having surgery to have tubes put in her ears on July 20th. She does not have to have her adenoids out though, at this time. She may later, but tubes may do it on their own so we're trying that first.

Richard has a MRI scheduled for midnight tomorrow night and an appointment with an orthopedist the following Monday. We're sure he's looking at surgery. His shoulder is so bad now that you can see the shoulder blade is in a different spot when looking at his back. It is typical now that he can't open a door with that arm, pick up Lillian and the other day he couldn't even pick up a can of soda.

I am doing good. But I have been having carpal tunnel problems again. I had it while pregnant and they said it would probably go away when I delivered. It did. For a year. Now its back with a vengeance, worse than it was when I was pregnant. However, its not to the point yet where I'm willing to tell any Dr. and risk getting another cortizone shot in my wrists.

I am in need of new tv shows to watch, I'm bored with everything I've been watching.

I made cake balls the other day, they were amazing!

Richard is re-enlisting on Friday. Lil and I are going. To collect the big bonus check. Oh wait... But we are going.

We switched from Blockbuster Online to Netflix. I'm very happy so far.

We're on house arrest for June, July and August by order of the US Navy. They say no leave so we're staying put for the whole summer. It seems soooo long. Especially when all of our friends are going to be gone for so much this summer. We're the only ones out of 6-8 families that are going to be here for the 4th of July weekend. Whee!

Richard's parents are stopping by the first week of July though. They will arrive Wednesday the first in the evening and leave Friday morning the 3rd. We're excited for that. But we're wishing they could stay longer. We're itching for visitors, especially since we're stuck here. The year seems so long with only getting to Michigan at Christmastime.

I think that's it. Not much exciting lately. Hence, no updates.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Disney by the numbers!

3 of us
3 friends
3 days of travel
9 days of vacation
7 days of rain
1 lunch at Cinderella's Castle
1 surprise private meeting with Minne and Donald
5 hour behind the scenes tour of Magic Kingdom
93 pictures taken by the Disney staff
800+ pictures taken by us
$124 for five day park hopper passes for six people
2 vehicles
1 car accident
2 hotels
2 times in the pool
4 ponchos purchased
2 stroller covers purchased
5 umbrellas
24+ inches of rain
4 puke incidents
2 dinners at Boma
2 Upper Respiratory Infections
1 ear infection
6 MRSA spots
2 strollers
25+ bus, ferry, monorail rides
2 rides co-piloting the monorail
3 free fast passes because we were on our honeymoon

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's raining and thunderstorming. Everything is closed up. It cut our night off at 5pm last night and our morning off at 11:30 today. Tonight looks bleak. Its supposed to rain the rest of the week. Please pray it stops or is at least light enough we can still be out.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And we're off...almost

I don't even remember when my last post was or what it was about. This week has been busy with repair men (imagine that!) and packing etc.

The car is currently in the shop to make sure the rickety, clunking sound that has been there but has gotten louder is not going to leave us stranded in South Carolina or Georgia.

The guy at the shop laughed at me when I said "We just need to know if it needs to be fixed now or not. But don't fix it. We can't fix it now, we just need to know."

I'm experimenting with how low my money can go before payday this pay period. Its making my head hurt on a daily basis. So far we've broken and blasted through all previous records. Not necessarily something you want to excel at.

I should mention after that last paragraph that we are currently taking donations for the "new car fund". We accept cash in the form of coins or bills, checks (as long as they don't bounce and have a valid signature, amount is not reqired, we'll fill that part in for you), credit cards, pay pal, cashier's checks, money orders, gift certificates, reward points, Chuck E. Cheese tokens and foreign currency. We currently have $372.84, so obviously a new car is right around the corner.

(We purchased our 2004 Chrysler Pacifica in October of 2007, planning on having it for four years. However, it seems to be a lemon, from which no one will buy our lemonade so we are saving up our pennies as fast as we can to bump up that schedule before we have to dump much more money into it. Our philosophy for vehicles (aside from the motorcycle, but that was a small abberation in Richard's brain functioning which has since been resolved) is that we trade what we have and add to it whatever cash we have but the total of what we purchase cannot exceed that amount. We aim for no monthly payments. My income is never guaranteed (if we move, it may/may not happen and may take X or XXX months to happen and may bring $ or $$$ in income) so we live (almost) solely off of R's income and that doesn't allow for a car payment. Since my income varies month to month and so does our spending, we just put away as much as we can each month and then when we have enough, buy a car. That way, we don't have to have $XXX for a payment every month. Because some months we have X and some months we have XXX and some months we have -0-.)

Between us and the Woods', we're taking three strollers, two cars, four adults, two toddlers, four sets of keys, 48 cans of pop, 60 changes of clothes, two laptop computers, two iphones (unfortunately neither are ours), six cameras, three coolers, 17 swimsuits, two pack n plays, 7 stuffed animals, umpteen minnie themed things, and 20-30 diaper bags, duffle bags, tote bags, cooler bags, paper bags, etc. That's a lot of stuff.

Ricard is filling out paperwork to re-up for FOUR more years on June 27th. He had the option of two all the way up to six. We felt four was a good in-between-ey-weenie number.

We bought a Baby Bjorn baby carrier this week. I've hated it every other time I've ever used it, but this time when we borrowed it from a friend for Disney, we both loved it, so we now own one.

We leave for Disney in just over 24 hours. Need I say more?

Well yes, I guess I should, in case its not obvious...No new posts for a week and a half.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I won the Mother of the Year award. Check out the news coverage.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


-I'm not going to say a whole lot, partially because the day is not half over yet and partly because I'm so freakin annoyed :-)

-Today, the Transmission light came on in the Pacifica, minutes before the car died in the middle of the road and the oil light came on.

-Today the New Car Manager at the dealership (the only one working today) arranged to have the Pacifica towed to the dealership, have a shuttle come pick me and both girls up at 10:30 tomorrow, and send me home with a rental (free of charge, of course) that is equal to or bigger than my Pacifica until they fix whatever they broke on my car while they were fixing what they broke on my car. DORKS! Apparently they drank their lunch too.

-We are leaving for Disney in less than two weeks in this vehicle. Please pray that it gets fixed AND IS TRULY FIXED or that they give us a rental for the entire trip (which is what I'm going to ask them for).

That's all. Well, for now at least ;-)

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I've realized I like the "today" series.

-I ran on the treadmill (I don't get to it a whole lot on the weekends.)
-We went to the beach and played in the sand for an hour and a half.
-I got sunburnt (on purpose, so I don't at Disney).
-Lillian got sunburnt. Not on purpose. With 50 spf on.
-Lillian had so much fun in the sand, after she got over being scared of it.
-We planted strawberry plants-20, we'll see how many make it.
-We called in a service call for our dryer, which now that the washer works and we did a load of laundry, we found out that the dryer doesn't work.
-We bought 12 cases of pop at the NEX. They have it on sale there often, but I'm sick of running out to get it each time its on sale so we stocked up.
-R caught up on the dishes.
-I estimate our laundry to be done at about 6-7 loads right now. We'll see what it is by Monday afternoon when (hopefully) I can finally do it.
-We drug the kitchen table into the living room (which is now empty because we took the ottoman in for leather repair) and ate dinner as a family at the table and played games.
-We watched "Life After People" on the history channel. It is super fascinating and I recommend everyone watch it.
-I ran into a girl from Michigan at the beach. I haven't seen her since I quit working for Kathy. (Beth, it was Melissa) It was odd, but super fun.
-I fit into my plaid capris that I bought in 8th grade. And for those of you that are wondering, it was 13, yes a WHOPPING 13 years ago. They are now officially in the Disney pile.
-Some girls at church had a "girls night" and did not invite others of us. Unfortunately, this is becoming an ever increasing habit. I thought I left junior high 13 years ago. Apparently not.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Today is a new day and brings an entirely new set of "Today..." statements (imagine that). As you can probably tell, I am either too busy lately or too lazy (or both) to write in comprehensible paragraphs so you get lists. Eh, it gets the facts across just the same in less of your very valuable time right?

-I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new front load washer and dryer to be delivered (tomorrow).
-I am sitting in awe that someone from craigslist is coming by in an hour to buy our washer as well as our defunct dryer.
-I am trying to find the address to send my mid-month Discover card payment to them so we can use it on our Disney trip without going over the limit. (I'm addicted to their cash back program.)
-Two maintenance men arrived in the middle of my treadmill time. I yelled come in and didn't stop. They wern't jerks. Imagine that.
-The maintenance men, actually, one maintenance man and one maintenance man in training, "fixed" my dishwasher (which has been ending the cycle with water left in the bottom) by replacing a gasket and saying "call when it happens again".
-Maintenance man and MM in Training "fixed" the cause of water on my master bathroom floor by "tightening the tub drain" and saying "that tub sucks, when it happens again, call us and we'll have to call a tub repair guy cuz if we tighten it more, we'll crack the tub."
-I debated tightening the drain and cracking the tub. I did not. Yet.
-R has training at work, as he does on every Wednesday. It makes him stay late at work, he says its pointless and it makes him cranky.
-The car dealership is still holding my car hostage, saying they are/will fix the oil pan, as soon as the newly ordered part comes in (the part that was supposedly ordered a month ago when I scheduled the appointment).
-Lillian fed her bottle to her (my old) cabbage patch doll.
-I looked on ebay and amazon to buy a larger wardrobe for said cabbage patch doll and sat in stupor seeing how expensive they are. Do I really have to make some? Really?!?!
-It is much cooler than the 92 degrees of the last few days. I shut off the air and opened the windows and love it. I don't love though, that we can't leave Lil's open at night because its at ground level and there are no burglar bars.
-The EI (Early Intervention) lady came for our intake appointment. She will schedule a time for two therapists to come out and that is in late May, after our Disney trip.
-We have to go buy HE (High Efficiency) soap for our new laundry machines that are coming tomorrow. (Just a little excited!)

Monday, April 27, 2009


Today...I am sick. I feel like a swine with the flu. I mean, I feel like I have the swine flu. Well, I'm just sick, but it may be the first reported case of swine flu in Virginia.

Today...our dryer took four cycles to dry one (small) load of clothes. Now I'm searching for a new (to us) dryer, trying to find people who will come pick up and dispose of our old dryer, and trying to find places in our house to hang the three loads of laundry that were after that load.

Today...R discovered why our vacuum has been stinking up the house. The bag, which was not yet full, was covered with mold inside and out, as well as the filter. Joy.

Today...we dropped the car off for a new oil pan. Thankfully, if you will remember from posts awhile ago, this was the dealership's error and although they will not admit that, they have agreed to pay for the whole process.

Today...Lillian puked. Not while in the car. On my bare feet.

Today...we didn't have Kylie because she has an ear infection which Tricare refused to see her for so she had to go to the ER. Gotta love Tricare.

Today...I am pooped.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

All is well

There is/are...

no pop in my dining room
no toys in my living room (or kitchen, or bedroom, or bathroom for that matter)
no extra food in the linen closet
no toys in MY bathroom (she has her own)
seven large new pieces of furniture in my house and still plenty of room
flowers outside my front door

There is....
not as much natural light
no back door
more to clean
mom and dad left

I'm getting highlights in a half hour
today's the circus
Sunday we actually get to go to Bible Study for the first time in forever
Monday is girl's breakfast
Tuesday is R's 27th birthday
Wednesday is Bible Study at our house
Thursday is raking for an older lady in need
Friday is the botanical garden and leaving for NC
This weekend we see the Howards (and even Courtney) and the Fuscos
Next week we take the car in for a FREE oil pan replacement and oil change
Then..........we go to DISNEY WORLD! For 8 days!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Prayer needed

We need prayer for a couple things for Saturday...

1. That it won't rain. Currently there is a 70% chance of precipitation :-(

2. That R's shoulder will be well enough that he can help out some

3. But also, that R doesn't do too much, and hurt his shoulder worse

4. That mom and dad have safe and quick travels tomorrow (Friday)

5. That our friends are all able to help us, that no one gets hurt, and that the job gets done quickly.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

These are my two biggest anxietys about moving.

My OCD closet. Everything is hung first according to color, then by sleeve length, spaghetti strap first, then tank tops, then short sleeve, then three quarter sleeve, then long sleeve. If a shirt has a raised collar, that will go in the back of that sleve length's category. Somehow I don't think the boys that help us move will a) understand my system and b) care that it stays intact through the move.

My most prized posessions. The hanging glass globes from my wedding ceremony. I have yet to hang them up since then, I'm waiting for a space that is worthy. However, I have been heard to say "those mean more to me than you" to both my husband and my daughter :-). The yellow duct tape on the corners is our system for the moving boys to know that something is fragile. I'm tempted to wrap these two boxes totally in yellow duct tape, and might if not for fear that I would run out. My saving grace is that the boxes are brightly colored so it should be easy to keep my eye on them all day long. I'm thinking of taking them and giving them safe storage in my Pacifica on move day. Bringing them over, myself, after all the wonderful moving friends are gone. No offense to anyone, of course.
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This is Command Central. With lists of things to do before we move, things to clean before and after we move, things we need to buy, etc as well as a calendar box for each day and that day's tasks (on post-its for easy moving to the next day if it doesn't get done-that's about as flexible as I get).

Our current pile of boxes in the dining room.

The newly repainted boring beige wall.
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