Sunday, June 29, 2008

Just too cute

Here is a pic of Max and me on some playground equipment by Wilson High School when I was home. We were just driving around (kind of lost), saw this equipment, and took it as a sign to play.

Scott took this with his iPhone. We were having a pretty good time. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

We're baaaacccck!

We were able to spend a few days with our Pennsylvania family this week. It always goes by so fast.

We left on Sunday and stopped in Ohio, a little to the east of Columbus (Pickerington). We drove the rest of the way to PA and landed in Wyomissing, where we stayed at the Country Inn and Suites. We went over to Nan's new apartment... nice pad! We were able to help her select and start using a new printer using her wireless capabilities.

The kids loved the pool at the hotel. Max was in love with the hot tub. He also is very good in the water... not afraid to try some moves, unlike his brother and his mother when younger.

We also spent some time at my brother, Bobby's, where I got to meet my great nephew, Christian. Good food, good times. We hadn't seen their new place, either, so it was nice to be able to tour.

While introducing the kids to Friendly's, I ran in to Ann Botch. It was so strange to just look up and see each other! If I had an extended visit, I could have squeezed in some buddy time, too. It was a tight schedule as it was.

We spent some time in Lancaster, visiting Jen, Fred, and Diane. Max "found" a park at the end of Jen's street, so Diane and I (on separate occasions) found ourselves lured there by Max. Jen has a nice home as well.

On our drive back, we stopped at Fort Rapids in Columbus. This is an indoor waterpark. It is a resort with a hotel as well. We stayed in a room that had bunk beds for the kids. It was pretty cool. It was a surprise for Ignatius, and he was, indeed, surprised.

Here is a slide show. There are not nearly the number of pics I would like. I did not bring the camera into the waterpark because it was like a sauna, and the lens would have fogged up... hence, no pics would have been taken anyway. Ignatius also took some pictures (on film!), and we have to get them developed tomorrow. The stuffed elephant was a "guest" from Max's day care. She accompanied us throughout our trip. :)

Say this one three times fast

Grade III Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Right hemisphere. That is a type of (malignant) brain cancer with which my dear friend, Marilyn, was recently diagnosed.

I met Marilyn in 1992. I was 23 years old and fresh out of my first year of teaching. I had married and moved 850 miles away from most of my family. Scott traveled a lot, and I had yet to make a great deal of friends.

When I walked in to Blessed Sacrament School to prepare for my first set of seventh graders, she was the very first teacher I met. She was her bubbly self and was working in the science lab getting ready for her year, also. I was planning my hallway bulletin board and explaining my theme for the beginning of the year. Even though she probably had her own things to organize, it was as though she had time only for me at that moment. Little did I know that this was the essence of Marilyn. Always in the moment, making you feel like what you are saying is the most important thing in the world.

I wish I could arrogantly say that she saves that side of her for me, but that would be a lie. She shares her generosity (and her opinion... see why we get along?) with those around her. She could find the goodness in dog poop... "Isn't it a blessing that the cycle of life continues..."

What you know first about Marilyn is that she is a family gal. She and Joe (Joe Lynn is her husband's name... scary, yes?) are perpetually visiting their children and grandchildren. However, many people are pulled in to her extended family. They are treated with as much care as her own blood relatives.

She is always a teacher. Everything has a lesson, and every lesson has God's hand in it.

She also matches my own sense of "righteous indignation." When things are unfair or unjust, her mouth is not silent.

When I spoke with her today, she had just come from golfing with her grandsons. She had a fantastic game. She sounded so much like herself, and it was a relief to hear her, as my mind was going in many directions regarding her health. She is ready for the battle. Still, it sucks, and I am really sad that she has this to fight.

I have seen Marilyn help at least two of our dear friends as they lost their battles to cancer. I know she has been by the bedside of others as well. She seems to have this peace that comes only from God. That grace helps her see all of life's natural hills and valleys where others (me) see only despair. She also knows how to do personal battle with cancer. She fought it and won before.

So, I shall pray, as that is pretty much all I can do at the moment. What to pray for? Strength, perseverance, dignity. That's a good start. Now maybe tomorrow I will figure out what I will pray for Marilyn (ha, ha, ha, ha).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The adolescent has returned

Despite the fact that right now he is obsessing about breathing in car exhaust (a way of getting out of helping his dad wash my car), I am quite happy to say that the Eagle has landed... Ignatius is home. I think it's time to send his behind to bed. He welcomed a shower and his toothbrush (don't ask), and we are now preparing for a trip to PA. A whirlwind June it has been!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Family Night

We went to Family Night at Boy Scout camp tonight. It was our first communication with Ignatius in 5 days. He looked great! I think his week had ups and downs, but, overall, he seemed very healthy and happy.

This is my son... we get there and he says he has things he bought for us from the camp store. Mind you, I gave him money for snacks throughout the week, and he buys US something. Hence, the cookie picture. He bought us Grandma's Fudge Chocolate Chip cookies, Twizlers, and Nerds Rope. Now, if you didn't know Ignatius well (or me) you might think these sound like his "gift" is reminiscent of Homer's bowling ball gift to Marge. Au contraire, mon frere. I love Nerds Rope and Twizlers, and Max loves cookies. So, it was really quite thoughtful.

It was sad to leave him. He was trying to keep it together, as were we. I did better than his father. However, he returns tomorrow at noon. Yeah! Below is a slide show of some of tonight's festivities. We had to leave a bit early with Max, but we were there for a nice portion of the festivities.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Get on your bad motor scooter and ride...

It's true! The Platos have succumed to the gas crisis. It was KILLING our budget, as I am sure it is with others. We could not bike as we have many places to go with our children that are not conducive to a bike. Because I would not let him get a Harley at this time, Scott compromised on a moped. Yes, a bad motor scooter. :)

Here are some first day pics. Max was very disappointed that they did not "go" anywhere. No thank you, says Mom. FYI, something I did not know... mopeds get about 130 mpg. That was the selling point. They are also tens of thousands of dollars less than getting a new car or, alas, a Harley.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A-Camping He Did Go

Ignatius got off safely today. He had a stuffed camping sack as well as a "day pack" (his bookbag) with some stuff, too. Poor kid.

Weatherman Scott said they got some pretty severe weather in the general area of the camp this afternoon. In fact, that weather is hitting us as we speak. Seventy-mile-an-hour winds and hail. I hope they got their gear to their tents before it started opening up a can of weather woop-a$$.
Well, he's in God's hands now. I hope he has a great time, and I am so glad he could have this experience.
Today, we also celebrated the second birthday of Karen's daughter, Maddie. The party was at State Farm Park, and it was so much fun for Max (Ignatius was sad to have missed it). State Farm Park is basically this huge complex with pavilions and tennis courts and grassy areas and a very, very cool pool area. Karen's husband works for "the Farm," and they have had Maddie's party there for... well, as long as she's had birthdays! It was a good time. Definite overstimulation for Max, but a ton of fun for him, also.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I Believe I Can Fly

Today at 9 AM, Ignatius got the chance to go up in an airplane as part of the Young Eagles program. I think we were both a bit nervous. It was a gorgeous day with almost no wind... a rarity around here lately.

Here are some photos, followed by an interview with Ignatius.

Mom: What did it feel like when you took off?
Ignatius: It felt like I was in weightlessness for a little bit, but then it felt like I was on the ground.
Mom: What could you see?
Ignatius: I could see a bunch of cars that looked like toys. I saw a biker. He looked like an ant. And I saw lots of lakes, buildings, and fields. Waterson Towers [at ISU] looked like a little building.
Mom: What did you hear over the headset?
Ignatius: We could talk to each other, so I heard the voices of the other people on the plane. I also heard the voices of the pilot and the people on the radio.
Mom: What was landing like?
Ignatius: It felt like the plane was about to explode, actually, but it was a little fun, too.
Mom: Are you glad you did it?
Ignatius: Oh, yeah!

Spring Review Slide Show

Enjoy! Click on any photo to see the larger image.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy anniversary to us!

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary (20 years as a couple in September). People asked, "So what are you doing for your anniversary?" We did the things we like best... relaxing with the family. Scott had to work, I had my hair done, Ignatius had percussion lessons. The day went on as is typical with us. We got some take out from Logan's Roadhouse, as Max is not quite restaurant-friendly at this stage of the game. It was a day in the life, and that was just fine with all parties involved.

Here is a photo of the scrapbook page I needed to do today. It focuses on Ignatius, who will be attending Boy Scout camp next week. I have been nervous for several reasons that I shall not enumerate here regarding his spending his first extended stay away from one of us. Then the paper comes with news of a camp in Iowa that has a severe tragedy. Under my scan of the front page of The Pantagraph from June 12, I have journaled my feelings about this in reference to sending my son an hour and a half away. He's terrified of tornadoes. Those who know me well know I have NEVER been a big fan of them, and the fact that I live in Tornado Central is an enigma to most. Anyway, I thought I would share my page with the world. I guess I just need to send him off and pray.
Tomorrow, he will be going up in a plane through the Junior Eagles program, so I will have more about that, and some photos, I am sure.