Monday, September 30, 2013

Soaking Wet Weekend


We rang in the the END of the 1st quarter....did you read that?  The END of the 1st quarter!

One of  the perks of starting school in July?  Remember this post?


Sally had her first swim meet since her knee injury.



She was nervous since it's been awhile.  

She had only 3 weeks to train for this meet - after being out injured for 4 months!  

She swam one event - the 200 Backstroke  - and ended up 3rd in her heat.

She felt gggrrreat afterward!

(Talking with her swim coach after her event.)

Then the rains came.

Glorious rain that North Texas has desperately needed for a long, long time!  (Too bad it ended too soon.)

Of course I let them have fun in it!

Sunshine reigned on Sunday.  

Most of the neighbor girls were out in force.

The kids painted  scenery for an upcoming Davy Crockett birthday party at our house on Friday...

Our typical Sunday consists of 8am Mass, an early dinner followed by a family rosary.

Dessert comes next with some family game.

We played Hedbanz this time.  (Oh my gosh!  My family is SO LOUD when playing games!!)

Guess who won?

Me.  (Hee hee)

Our plans for the week?  No home school.  Another perk to starting in July :)

Happy Monday, everyone!!

~  Patty  ~

Friday, September 27, 2013

Smash That Snooze Button!

Said a priest in a homily.

Smash it hard...jump to your feet shouting, "All for the greater honor and glory  of God!"

David was more than willing to share that tid bit with me when I sunk down deep into my bed last weekend, turning to set the alarm, complaining about how the morning would make its' appearance too soon.

But you know what?  I did it.  Well, not the smashing part, but I turned off the alarm and rose quickly the next morning with a quick prayer of thanksgiving.

I did the same thing two mornings in a row.

And by the third morning, I was moving a bit slower.

The fourth?  Well, I growled and David laughed.

~  Strange Bed Fellows  ~

Last Sunday, heading to bed, I had a visitor.

This type of visitor ::

(Picture from the Internet.)

Mr. Gecko was on the wall RIGHT next to my side of the headboard.

Have I ever mentioned I sleep walk??  

David and the girls caught Mr. Gecko and released him back outside.

That's the first  (and prayerfully the LAST) one I ever seen in my house.

~  Thor  ~

Whenever Miss Clementine sees this cup ...

... she says, "Da Da!"   (insert cat woman-like purr)  Ha ha ha!

Have a blessed weekend, y'all!

Remember to "Smash that snooze button!"

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hanging Pumpkins

Mabel ::  Mom, can we do a fall craft?  We haven't made a craft in awhile.

Me ::  You bet!  Let's see what Pinterest has.

This has been so much fun!  I've left out the craft supplies so they can make them throughout the week, in between their quarter final tests.

We've hung them over the kitchen table...and added a splash of color, because autumn is suppose to be full of color!  :)

All we needed was construction paper, pencil, ruler, scissors, stapler, and string for hanging.  You can find the directions here.


PS - My mom was able to walk two times today down in rehab!  I have her updates posted here.

~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Make-Up Brushes and Eye Infections

I own only three make up brushes.  Bought them almost six years ago with my Bare Minerals make up kit.

They are too expensive to replace, (in my humble opinion.)

I've heard many times you can wash your make up brushes, and  I embarrassingly admit here, I haven't washed them until this past summer.

Grrr-oss!  I know.

I had an eye check up and the eye doctor told me I had Blepharitis.

What the heck is that?

I thought I was working on eye allergies!

My symptoms included :: more crusties than what the sandman usually delivers...irritation,  especially when I wore my contacts...and it felt like sand in my upper eye lid.  Especially when I would blink.

Treatment ::  Wash my eyelashes each day with gentle baby shampoo.  That's it!

I brought up make up and applicators/ brushes to the eye doctor.

"Wash those make up brushes...they are a leading cause of eye infections!"  the eye doctor told me.

I felt like a fool.

So I went to my trusty friend, Pinterest, and found this article on how to safely wash make up brushes.

And it takes only a gentle baby shampoo!

I washed mine around 10pm on a Saturday evening, and then let them dry overnight on the towel (picture above) and was able to use them by 7am the next morning.

I have had no issues with Blepharitis since.

~ Patty  ~

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rolling On Down the Road


Sometimes it feels like a big, old plow, doesn't it?  It just .... boom!  ....  keeps rolling along.

First off,  without further a-do... Miss Clementine is swinging happily along again!

Can I get an Amen?!

I'm happy to announce that all poo is normal which means the colon is doing its' thang!

Thank you!  Thank you!   for all the well wishes and prayers for little Miss :)

Then there's Autumn!  I mean, really!  What should we do about her??  She came out of nowhere this year. 

Geesh!  We are still kickin' it up at the pool.

Our pool is usually open May 1 - Oct 15.

Since Autumn came blasting in ... I figured it was time to ring her in properly.

So we got our fall on last weekend!  We needed to cheer up the house a bit after all that stress we encountered!

(My kids LOVE the gel clings and put them on their bedroom windows.)

(I made that same candle centerpiece last year.  If interested, you can find the directions here.)

Hello?  We mustn't forget to top off the fall decorating with some yummy feasting.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Two years ago, Miss Sally made and posted this recipe and it simply went viral.  They're easy - breazy!!  

Two ingredients.  That's all.  

Umm...except the cream cheese frosting she added this time,  (*wink*).  That makes three.

And then there's my mom.  My hero.
Holy smokes!!  She has gone through and continues to go through A LOT!!

I have the previous post on her current condition here.  She is going to have a long, hard recovery.  She's got the fighting spirit, but she had quite the surgery.  Please keep her recovery and her spirits in your prayers!

That's all for now... life really doesn't pause and I need to prepare some dinner. sounds like a pancake and sausage dinner tonight!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, September 23, 2013

Surgery Updates

* I'm going to post all updates on this post.  Most recent will be on top.
Sunday, September 28
The past few days have shown Mom to have ups and downs.  The biggest issue was still figuring out pain medication.  The good news is that on post surgery day 5, she had her last remaining iv removed and on post surgery day 6, she was moved to a new floor, the rehab floor.  This is a GOOD thing!  It is a foot in the right direction.  I expect to see Mom there for two weeks.  But who knows.  She may be home sooner.  I just don't want her to rush it.

There are the little things we don't think about.  For instance, on Saturday, (post surgery day 5), she still could not do the basic thing as lift the lid off of her food tray.  The muscle she would need to pick it up...we just don't realize what muscles we use until they are hurting.

We are so proud of her and the hard work she is doing!

Thursday, September 26 (Post surgery day 3)

Mom was fitted for a body cast today.  ( I'm not sure if it is a 24 hour thing or if it can be taken off for bathing.  I believe she will be needing it for a few months though.)  Getting fitted was a big step since the patient has to stand for 7 minutes - which is agonizingly painful for these patients who have had such a huge spinal surgery.  She walked twice down in rehab.  Doctor was so very pleased with her.  Mom says the pain is bad.  She would rather have delivered her babies again then do this.  (And she delivered 9 babies....5 of them weighing 10 + pounds !!  She's a trooper.  She doesn't complain and does what she it told.  We are so very, very proud of her!  She does whatever they ask her to do, working through the pain.

I spoke with Mom on the phone today.  She was a little groggy from the medication...actually kind of loopy.  But she could hear my voice and she just wanted to say, "I love you."  :)

My brother Mike was up visiting her today.  At this point, the siblings who live closest to her are just visiting her daily.  She really needs to not be around family as much as resting, sleeping, and being down in rehab.  So 1/2 day visits are working well right now.

Mom's surgery was up at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.  I hope to visit with her when she is home again recuperating.  Until then, the five siblings that live in her area are taking turns visiting and being with her.

Best Mom Quote ::  After being told to keep going Mom said, "Don't expect me to be doing the Cha Cha!"

WEDNESDAY, September 25 (Post surgery day 2)

9:00 pm - From my sister, Sue ::  what a busy afternoon she has had...she sat on the side of the bed, got cleaned up, walked to her chair and occupational therapy did a lot of education. Just when she had had enough... Physical therapy came and took her to the gym down the hall. She was able to walk 30 feet which she did with very few complaints. 

Best Mom Quote ::  After being shown all the new hardware in her back, the surgeon asked what she thought of it.  She replied, "Well, I guess you can call me heavy metal now!"  LOL!

3:30 pm - From my sister, Sue ::  A change in pain meds is helping Mom a bit better.  She's received a sponge bath.  Mom is in a wheelchair now and is headed to the hospital gymnasium floor for some rehab and walking.  Sounds promising.  Surgeon made very early rounds this morning.  Mom's spine is perfectly straight!

TUESDAY, September 24 (Post surgery day 1)

5:30 pm - From my sister, Jane ::  Our mom was just transferred out of the ICU onto the orthopedic floor late this afternoon. She was able to sit in a chair this morning. It was quite painful, but necessary to do. Every time will get easier for her. They switched her to oral pain meds which is a good sign that she is moving along. She is also drinking clear liquids now, and keeping it down! Tomorrow will be a big day for her. The surgeon wants her to walk.

8:30 am - PT is working with her to sit her up already!  She is HURTING, but they say it is normal and she has to do it.

8:00 am  - From my sister, Jane ::  Good morning from Chicago. Our mom had a pretty restful night. Her pain is under control. She doesn't like when they move her, but it is important to do so. She told us she's so happy and at peace. She also said "I hope I made everyone proud"! We couldn't be more proud of her. The doctors came in early this morning and are pleased. They want her sitting up and standing this afternoon. They said it will be painful, but the sooner the better. He told her that her spine is now straight. That sure put a smile on her face!

Monday - September 23 (Surgery day)

6:00 pm - They are closing her up.  Everything went really well.  The doctor is very pleased.  They have about 20 minutes to finish.  He thinks that she will have a lot of relief from her pain.

Praise be to God!


4:20 pm - In the final stretch.  Everything going as the doctor expected. The rod is placed and the screws are attached.   They are decompressing now, which means shaving bone.  Then she will be done.  About another hour and a half.  She is doing fine.


1:45 pm - Mom is doing fine under anesthesia.  Surgeon is working on her spine through her back.


11:20 am - They are finishing up on her side (through her side).  They are putting in 3 cages.  Cages are hardware that replace her disks.  So she will also have 3 disks replaced as well.  Then they will close up her side and reposition and prep her for the back.

I think it's going to be a very long day...


10:45 am - Mom went in @ 7:30am.  Prep work took 2 hours.  So the surgeon had only been working for 1 hr and 15 minutes at this time.

Thanks for the continued prayers!

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Post Vacation Trauma & Drama & Stress

This here is a dish on real life.  Behind the scenes at the Hughes house.

* Alzheimer's.  It is an extremely sad disease, one that David's father has suffered from for some time.  He's in his mid 80's and his health is declining quickly.

On the drive down to Houston, the day before our trip, we received word of two incidents that occurred involving my father- in- law.

(Not a great news to hear when you are ready to leave the country.)

Thankfully, David's five brothers and sisters and he were all on the same page about what measures needed to be taken next.

They got the ball rolling.

* I mentioned my mom's back surgery postponement here.  Well, it is  this  Monday @ 7:15 am  CST.

We all will be so relieved when this is behind her.

Mom has been nothing but a rock star patiently waiting!!

And remember that remodel job I mentioned?  The one about building a shower on the main floor for her and moving the washer & dryer to a closet in the kitchen?


Removed washer & dryer   -  removed panel and plaster  =  a big mess!


Her "Almost finished"  new full bath  :)


Old double pantry closet set removed  +  new laundry closet being built  =  another big mess!


New closet built out  -  holds new stackable washer & dryer  =  no more stairs for Mom to climb!!

Mom is going to LOVE this new set up!!

*  Washing Machine near death is  every mom's nightmare!

So we arrived home Sunday evening and  immediately started the laundry.  A BOAT LOAD of it, too.

Holy Toledo!

Monday night my washer made a funny noise.  Tuesday morning my washer stopped washing.

Was I calm?  Hell no!

The kids were starting back with their schooling...I had my YEARLY check up scheduled  (oh joy!)...and the baby started acting funny (as in sick)...and I had to plan for my first Confirmation class I would be teaching the next night.

My beloved was on the phone ASAP with a repairman he knew and trusted.

Washer fixed by late afternoon.

A dime!  A bloody dime was stuck inside the agitator and ground the entire machine to a halt.  A dime did that!

(You should see the dime!)

*  Remember the sick baby?  No sooner did the repair leave, and I walked into the door from my check up, then David, baby, and I headed right back out to the doctor's office.

Clementine was having severe, intermittent, abdominal pain on her lower right side.  Our amazing doctor did everything she could to keep us out of the ER, including an EKG and blood work.

Couldn't find anything.

Pain subsided so she thought it might be an infection causing stomach cramps.  Watched her overnight at home.

*  ONLY through the grace of God, come Wednesday I  juggled taking baby back to pediatrician for another check, home schooling four kids, and prepping for Confirmation class (that night).

Since Clementine was pain free for the afternoon...and still thinking it was an infection...I headed out to teach Confirmation.

The entire time I was at class, David text updates of Clementine's  painful attacks.


*  6:00 am Thursday, Clementine woke up with one of her worst abdominal attacks yet.  We were on the way to the ER.

Clementine was diagnosed with a   intussusception.  (By way of ultra sound and x-ray.)

Big word.  We know!

(Affects between 1 and 4 infants out of 1,000  -  more common in boys.)

There are two kinds.  The worst one includes the colon which she had.

It tries to collapse inside the a telescope effect.  Causing the intermittent, severe, abdominal pain in the lower right quadrant.

*Left untreated, the child can die.*

Usually comes with blood in stools and vomiting.  She had neither.  They think we caught it early.

(That's the reasons the pediatrician did not find it either.)

This was taken after all the tests and needle pokes...waiting for a procedure to fix it.

Her eyes are so puffy from crying so terribly hard.  They had just placed her i.v.

After the procedure.

Our poor baby girl was exhausted :(

It was VERY, VERY traumatic for Clementine.  They took us into a room where a radiologist and nurses performed a procedure on her while she was awake.

Mom and Dad were asked to leave.

Mom cried as she heard her baby girl SCREAMING for her.

Heart wrenching, I tell you.  Geesh!

This was taken about three hours after the procedure.

She was so much happier after resting and getting some fluids into her system.

They admitted her for 24 hours since there is a small chance of relapse.  (It usually happens in the first 24 hours.)

We are staying positive (and a wee bit guarded.)

*  Homeschool.  It's at times like this that I wish I did not have to home school.  Talk about adding another layer of stress.

This is where I give a HUGE shout out to my kids.

I have some awesome students who know how to stay the course even when life gets really hairy in our house.

I truly appreciate their excellent focus!

*  Prayer warriors needed.  For all the things I listed above, please keep them in your prayers.   Especially for my mother's surgery this Monday.  I will keep you all updated.

Thank you so much and God bless you!!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Family Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean

We booked this cruise 157 days out...and the kids counted down every, single day.  Ha ha!

It was a thrill for my family since it had been over 5 years that we did anything remotely this huge.

So here it goes...sharing our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

We spent the night before down by Galveston Island.  In the morning, after breakfast and Mass, we headed for the Port of Galveston...

They were pretty excited when they spotted the ship...except Clementine :)

Departing from Galveston

It had been raining hard earlier that morning, but the sun came out just in time for our departure.

Room service not only made a walrus for him, but used his glasses as part of the prop.   For him, that was the bomb!

Monday - Day at Sea

The view from our bed each morning...

Sitting out there while everyone was still sound asleep was so peaceful.

48" high balconies...I checked on that before we booked the cabins :)

 The water park was FANTASTIC for all ages!

Relaxing on a deck in a glider outside The Red Frog Pub.  Pretty cool.

(Those were deep fried peas.  AWESOME and spicy!)

The older two girls loved the teen club program, Circle C.  It was for kids 12-14 years old.

Tuesday - Port of Call - Key West, FL

Killing time till since we didn't dock until 10am.

David and I visited Key West on our 5th wedding anniversary...thought it would be fun to see it again.

(The other cruise ship, Carnival Imagination)

(The captain on the bridge of the other ship...thank you zoom lens.)

We took the kids on a trolley tour.

Until the road construction there is complete, I would not recommend it for Key West.  We saw very little.

(Sloppy Joe's Bar, a favorite hang out for Ernest Hemingway.)

Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe  -  Travel Channel has this as one of the top 5 places to get awesome Key Lime Pie.  That's Kermit himself! 

We tried the deep fried key lime pie dipped in chocolate - on a stick.  Oh! My! Word!

I took the older three girls para sailing while David took the other two kids back to the ship for a nap.  

I've done this twice before, but it was a first for the girls.  

We rotated turns.

Our guides were super fun.  We booked the excursion directly through Fury Water Adventures.  

They had to keep the weight evenly proportioned, so two of us received a second ride for free!

Oh my gosh!  They had a blast doing this. 

Great memories!

Wednesday  -  Port of Call - Freeport, Bahamas

Check out the lobby of our ship...

(Looking up at the elevators.)

I had gotten up early to take pictures while the ship was still "asleep".

Freeport is a huge shipping port and our cabins overlooked the industrialized part of the the port...

Not very pretty, I know, but it was VERY interesting watching them load the ships for destinations around the world.

For a birthday present, David took her on an excursion where she could go and play with some really cute dolphins!  

While we waited for David and the birthday girl to get back,  Stan the man wanted to go to Camp Carnival for the day (age 6-8) and so we took him...

(Looking for his name tag...)

This camp, filled to the brim with activities for kids, (no extra cost to ship guests), was NOT daycare.  It was all fun and games.

The boy LOVED it!!

Under 2 Playtime.  Certain days of the cruise, for very limited hours, you can drop off your Under 2.

We could stay and play for FREE or pay $7.50 an hour and leave her there with some PHENOMENAL  ladies.

Little Miss ended up being the only one there, so she received a TON of love from the workers.

(They gave us a phone in case of an emergency.  David and I were able to hold onto it for the duration of the cruise. ) 

The older two girls and I headed ashore for a bit of island shopping...

With two kids still on the ship, we didn't wander far.  There was plenty of island charm right off the ship.

Back on the ship...

Cabin 9457 belonged to the kids.  A queen bed, a twin bed, and a bunk bed (comes down out of the ceiling).

The four older kids slept there.

Each cabin had a bathroom...

Cabin 9461 belonged to David and I and the baby.  We had one queen and a twin.

More birthday surprises...

We had them decorate her cabin for her birthday :)

Surprising the birthday girl at dinner...

Thursday  -  Port of Call  -  Nassau, Bahamas

Little man would have nothing to do with the person in the costume.

Carnival Magic is on the right ...  Carnival Ecstasy is on the left.

We were on the Magic.

Back on the ship...

Excursions cost $$, especially for a family of 7.

So, we took advantage of the empty ship and hung out on the ropes course...

Carnival Magic holds the world's First-Ever ropes course at sea.  It was located at the top of the ship.

 And we basically had the water park to ourselves, too!

Stan the Man was loving Camp Carnival...scavenger ball...Wii...lunch with shipmates...just to name a few activities.

Views from our cabin...

(Atlantis Resort)

Views from on top of the ship...

Evenings on the ship...

My favorite part of the cruise was being served dinner every night!

David enjoyed taking naps :)

Friday & Saturday  -  Fun Days at Sea

Celebrating new friendships...

Ice cream ... all you can eat ... 24 hours a day :)

By the way, that is a glass wall behind her...48" high.

Climbing to the top of here ...

... you can see out here...

... and then slide down in one of two twister slides...

Amazed at these ...

And that was taken with my super zoom lens.

Serenity Deck.  21 years to enter.  LOVED.

Our amazing waiters the served us each dinner ...

Milovan and Radenko were from Croatia and Haris (far right) was from Indonesia.  They were so good to us.

Saying good - bye ...

Camp Carnival Counselor Ivana was from Croatia and she was just an joy to be around.  The kids loved her!

Sunday  -  Debarkation, Port of Galveston

After getting off the boat, wee were able to attend Mass at the beautiful Sacred Heart Church.

We had so much to give thanks for!

(I'm sure it was rather comical watching us sway back and forth in the pew....sea legs.)

Back to reality now... which includes a washing machine that has decided to stop working...

~  Patty  ~


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