Our Family

Our Family

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

I love Christmas.  It has always been a magical time of year for me.  Now, with two little ones, I love watching them experience the beauty of this special holiday.  Since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, we attended Church in the morning.  What a wonderful way to remember that Christmas is really about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Abigail and Michael opened one present before church.  After returning home from our meeting, we opened the rest of the presents.  Abby was so excited she could hardly wait.   
 Abby loved her "Clarice" reindeer.

Michael (with Rudolph), Abby (with Clarice), and Tara on Christmas morning. 

Abigail had a great time helping Michael open his presents.  Michael loved his new toys, but he also was entertained by the boxes.   

Abby figured Daddy needed help opening his present from her. 

Abigail is all dressed up in her beautiful Christmas dress.  She was very excited about her little Miche coin purse named "Abby" from her Aunt Elisa. 

And there's our "little" guy.  Michael LOVED Christmas too!

What a great day!  Besides spending the day with my wonderful family, I was able to take a nap (Thank you, Coley!) AND I didn't have to fix dinner (Thank you, Mrs. Petrucci!)!  

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we had a few friends over for a little party.  We had some yummy snacks, lots of visiting, singing Christmas carols, and reading some fun Christmas stories.  The head count was 38 people (only 2 were babies).  It was a little crazy, but lots of fun!

Just visiting
Yummy food
Great singing
When the party was over at our house, we did a quick clean-up (to keep Michael safe from all the allergens) and headed over to the Petruccis (our adopted Italian family) for Christmas Eve dinner and festivities.  Michael loved opening his present from Miss Rita!  Everyone had a great day.  Michael wasn't sure what the next day would bring, but Abigail was sure excited to see what Santa would leave for her that night.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

By the Way....

Winter is here now.  It is not a good idea to even entertain the thought of trash-talking Winter.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Crazy" Christmas

On the day after Christmas, my 4 year old daughter, Abigail, said to my wife and me, “Why did we have such a crazy Christmas?”  “What do you mean by a ‘crazy’ Christmas”, we asked.  “No snow,” came the reply.  We moved here in April of 2007 three months before Abigail was born.  She had, up to this point, known nothing but white Christmases.

When we moved here, my recollection was that my wife asked, “Do you think we will have a white Christmas?”  My wife’s recollection is that she made a statement, not asked a question.  If you knew my track record for disagreeing with my wife, you would not bet with me.  Each time we investigate a disagreement, we find that I am right about 5% of the time and that is after I round up to the nearest 5.  I do make a point of making as much hay out of my 5% as I can.  I tell my wife that since I only have 5%, at best, to work with, I need to fluff it as much as I can.  In any event, my reply was, “Sweetheart, I am quite sure we will have a white Christmas.  We may even have a white Easter.”

So here we were this year in Rochester, NY singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and really meaning it, just dreaming and not having it.  Abigail is right.  It is crazy!  There may not be a divine right of kings, but isn’t there a divine right of Rochesterians to a white Christmas?

 Today I was asking my wife if I should start taunting Winter.  I was wondering if I trash-talked this Winter, maybe I could stir us up some snow.  My wife was very much against it, and I have, from hard experience, learned the value of her counsel.   So if Winter comes in here kicking tail and taking names, it wasn’t me.  I didn’t say anything to her.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa's Visit at Preschool

Even though tomorrow is Christmas Eve, Santa was not too busy to make an appearance at preschool this afternoon.  He even had a present for each child!  Everyone had a great time.

 Abigail receives her present from Santa.

Michael (who had been awakened from his afternoon nap to attend the party) was not all that thrilled about Santa.  Maybe next year.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Over the past few days, Abby and I have been busy making holiday treats (other than the toffee which was made when Abby and Michael were nestled all snug in their beds).  Tuesday after preschool, Michael, Abby, and I began the deliveries (unfortunately without Coley, who is working a crazy shift this week so he can be off for Christmas).  I asked Abby if she wanted to sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"  for our friends at the first stop.  She told me she wanted to sing a different song.  At the door, she sang "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" from start to finish all by herself.  After the applause, she was ready for more time in the spotlight.  At each house, she sang her little heart out and then wished her audience a merry Christmas.  The picture was especially beautiful as she sang to several different friends from church who have recently had surgery for various reasons.  What a great afternoon and evening!  Thank you Abby for spreading some Christmas cheer!  I love that little girl! 


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Celebrating the Season at the Museum

Earlier this month, we spent an evening at the Strong Museum of Play to meet Santa and sing Christmas carols.  Michael and Abby both had lots of fun.
Michael was more interested in meeting Frosty the Snowman than Abigail, but he still wasn't quite sure about it!

Abigail caught Santa off guard with her response to the question of what she wanted for Christmas....  "Mr. The King, the racecar!"  Santa was sure he misunderstood, so he asked her again.  When she repeated her answer, he looked stunned.  It was rather entertaining.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tiny Mike

This picture of Michael was taken when we went to the Strong Museum of Play to visit Santa Claus.  We wanted this picture to show to our bishop, Tate Tischner.  He has taken to calling Michael, "Tiny Mike", because Michael is definitely not tiny nor is he likely to grow up to be.  Currently, he is greater than 97th percentile for height and is 75th percentile for weight.  While watching him crawling around on the floor, I have said to Tara, "Sweetheart, that baby is buff!"  While I am not a small man myself, Michael gets this from the Perry side of the family.  I told Tara that, when we were getting married, I knew I wanted to be good to her, but when I met her father and her brother, I KNEW I wanted to be good to her.  As for the Tiny nickname, it reminds of what my father once told me.  Never pick a fight with a man named Tiny until you have seen him first, because most Tinys are not.

Christmas Stockings

What do you think of Abby's stockings?
I wish I could have captured the moment when I discovered Abby, sitting at the piano, playing a little tune with "Christmas stocking" feet dangling from the piano bench. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gearing up for Christmas

We spent the weekend after Thanksgiving decorating for Christmas.  Coley was in charge of setting up the tree and putting up the outside lights.  Abigail had a great time helping us decorate the tree.

 And here is Michael.....  he was so much help, he ended up in the Pack 'n Play. :)

 Abigail loved hanging the crocheted snowflakes on the tree.

While decorating the tree, Coley gave Abby a present.  I love the look on her face.  She wasn't quite sure what was going on. 

 Once she opened the present, she was thrilled.  It was a "My Little Pony" ornament.  She told us thank you several times and kept telling us how happy she was.  It was really sweet.

We also had a present for Michael and Abby to open together.  It was a box of little "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" board books.  Coley found them last year after Christmas and we wanted to be able to read them (or eat them in Michael's case) this year.

What better way to end the night than by reading bedtime stories with Nana in front of the Christmas tree.  I love this magical time of year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving at the Duncans

I love Thanksgiving.  What a wonderful time it is to reflect on the many blessings we enjoy.  We had an enjoyable dinner with Coley's mom and a few friends from church.  We were also able to send dinner to some friends and their family whose newborn baby is in the hospital awaiting heart surgery.  Our prayers continue to be with them at this difficult time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vacation Drama

In the last post, I mentioned that I would write about some of the craziness we experienced while on vacation in Arizona and California.  So, here goes....

The night we arrived in Phoenix, we rented a car and drove to our hotel.  While Coley took the luggage cart downstairs, I looked at Michael and realized that he was having an allergic reaction (probably from touching something that had come in contact with peanuts on the airplane).  Coley returned to our room in time to see me trying to get Michael to drink a dose of Benadryl.  Thankfully, Michael responded quickly enough to the Benadryl that I didn't have to use the EpiPen or call for an ambulance. 

After that, were extra vigilant about what Michael touched or ate.  He was fine for the rest of our time in Arizona. 

On day two in California, we had another allergy scare.  Michael was eating breakfast when I saw that he was a little red.  I told Coley I was going to get the Benadryl just in case.  In less than a minute, Michael's eyes started swelling.  Benadryl came to the rescue once more.  Since Michael was eating  the same foods he usually eats, I think he was having a reaction to something that was in the soy milk.  Maybe it was processed in a facility that processes nuts and they didn't put it on the label.  Who knows.  All I know is that food allergies are very scary!

To make life just a little more interesting, Michael got sick while we were at Disneyland.  We were going to spend two days at the park with my friend and her little boy.  After our first day in the park, we went back to the hotel to feed everyone dinner and get Michael and Abby in bed at a decent time.  They were both wiped out from all the fun we had during the day.  Michael had a little cough that day, but nothing major.  That night when I put him to bed, however, his breathing seemed labored and very fast.  Coley and I debated for awhile about what we should do.  Coley went to Target to get a humidifier, but by the time he returned, we decided we better take him to the hospital.  After a little help from the front desk and a phone call to the nearest hospital, we were directed to a children's hospital (only about 10 minutes from the park).

To give you an idea of the seriousness of his condition, we were originally put in room 46 (way down the hall from the nurses' station), but after being checked by the nurse we were immediately moved to room 1A (directly in front of the nurses' station) so they could monitor him closely.  His heart rate was high and his oxygen saturation was too low.  They gave him a steroid and a breathing treatment.  They also gave him blow by oxygen.  The worst part for me was when they had me hold him in the awful contraption to take a chest x-ray.  He was so frightened.  We were told that Michael either had bronchiolitis or the beginning of pneumonia.  Poor baby!

We finally returned to the hotel (after another adventure with two different 24 hour pharmacies) and got in bed at 4:30 a.m.!  What a night!  It was a crazy night, but we were very grateful for the medical care that he received.  The doctor and nurses who took care of him were great.  We were also very grateful that Abigail slept through the whole thing.  She didn't wake up on the way to the hospital, at the hospital, or even on the way back to the hotel.  Amazing!

Needless to say, we did not return to Disneyland for day two.  I was sure Abigail was going to be terribly disappointed.  When she woke up at 9:00 a.m., she said, "Yeah, It's morning.  Today we get to...."  At this point my heart sunk.  I just knew she was going to be crushed when she learned she wasn't returning to Disneyland.  But then she finished her sentence with, "...Mariette's house."  What a blessing!  I can't even tell you how grateful I was at that point.

We did return to Mariette's house that day and spent the rest of our vacation basically preparing for our trip home to New York and trying to get Michael well enough to fly home.  Abby never complained about missing a day at Disneyland.  I think she was just as thrilled to watch "Bubble Guppies" on Mariette's big screen TV.

Even with all of the drama, we did have a wonderful time seeing family and friends.  We just hope and pray that the next trip isn't quite so exciting!

(Once we returned home, Michael went to see his pediatrician.  He is just finishing his antibiotics and is doing MUCH better!) 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fun with Family and Friends in AZ and CA

We just returned home from a two week trip to Arizona and California. Coley attended a conference for five days in Scottsdale, AZ, so we all flew to Phoenix together. While he attended the conference, I took Abby and Michael to visit my mom in Prescott. We had a great time.  Coley joined us as soon as his conference was over.
 Michael finally got to meet Logan and Samantha.  Samantha was so sweet with Michael.  She attended to his every need.

 On our last night in Arizona, we went to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner.  It was a great night with lots of family!  As you can see, my uncle introduced Michael to tools.  Life will never be the same!
 The girls had a great time together.  They played with the tools for awhile, but then disappeared to prepare their "dance recital."
 The next day we were off to California.  Our 5 1/2 hour drive across the desert took much longer with a four year old and a one year old, but we made it.  Abby and Michael were both very good and kept themselves entertained with Magna Doodles most of the way.
 While in California, I was able to visit several friends.  On Sunday, we were able to spend the evening with Emily and her family.  Abby was in heaven with all of Jack's toys.  Don't you love her outfit?
 Of course our trip to California included Disneyland.  The weather was perfect and we had lots of fun with Emily and Jack.
 We even found Santa while we were there!
Don't forget Mrs. Claus.

On the next post, I'll share more of our vacation adventures.... the crazy part of our trip. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Halloween

Here are the pictures you've been waiting for...  yes, it's the Halloween costumes!

Michael was a sea otter.  Is he not the cutest sea otter ever?  Since he prefers dragging himself across the floor instead of crawling on all fours, the costume really worked. 

Abigail was Mulan.  Aunt Marilyn sent her the dress.  It was perfect! 

Abigail and Michael loved trick-or-treating with Madeleine and Hannah.  The weather was great (especially for the last day in October in Rochester)! 

Michael looked like a giant next to his little friend at the Ward Trunk-or-Treat on Saturday.

Abby and Makenzie had a great time trick-or-treating at the ward activity.

On the Friday before Halloween, Abigail's preschool class had a little cotume parade.  The children were all very cute!

Abby decided to try on Michael's sea otter hat.  Wow!  It fits!

And this is how Halloween ended at our house.  Good night!  Sleep tight!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Red Light, Green Light!

Michael was able to see an allergist a couple of weeks ago to address our concerns with his food allergies.  He had to endure skin testing, but we came away with lots of answers.  He does have serious allergies to milk, egg, and peanut, just as we were previously told.  Tree nuts were also added to the list.  Even with that news, we left the office very excited because Michael was given the green light to eat gluten!  Michael was a happy little boy, eating crackers while I fixed him some pasta that night!

The doctor told us that most children outgrow the milk and the egg allergies, but only 20% of children outgrow the peanut and tree nut allergies.  Michael will be tested every year.  Once his levels are low enough, he will do a food challenge test in the doctor's office.

Dealing with serious food allergies is a bit scary, but I am very grateful for the help and guidance from Michael's allergist and pediatrician.  They have been so good to answer my LONG list of questions!  I've also been introduced to several moms from Abby's preschool who are dealing with very similar situations.  It has been very reassuring to talk to them!

Other Fun Birthday Pictures

Since Michael spent his actual birthday in the hospital, he was able to have more than one birthday celebration.  About a week after he got home, I baked his oh, so yummy gluten, milk, egg, and nut free cupcakes.  (It's a good thing he doesn't really know what he is missing!)  Then, I baked and decorated a cake for the rest of us to eat.  The chocolate cake was much better than the cupcakes!  

Michael got right down to business and ate his cupcake! 

He's already getting the idea.  Presents are good.  Presents are fun!  Just don't try to take his frying pan away.  It's not pretty!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Look Who's One!

Here is our birthday boy!
I love how he appears to be reflecting on the events of his first year.  What a year it was!

Happy birthday Michael!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What a difference!

Tomorrow is my six month mark with braces.  I had an appointment with the orthodondist a couple of weeks ago.  He is very pleased with how fast my teeth are moving.  I am too!  He said that I have possibly a year left, but I could be done in nine or ten months.  Yeah!

 This picture was taken in April, a few days after getting braces.

This was taken a couple of weeks ago.  There are no spaces on the top!  (The spaces on the top were closed within three months!)  There is still some crowding on the bottom, but not much.  I am amazed at how fast the new systems work.  The orthodontist was even surprised at how fast my teeth were moving.  He wanted a whole new set of pictures during my last visit.  Gotta love those cheek retractors! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Michael's First Birthday

Here are a few pictures of our birthday boy.  Even though he was sick enough to be in the hospital, he was happy and had a great time opening presents.

Look at that sweet little face.  He did not like having the probe attached to his foot.  More than once or twice he was able to wiggle out of it or move it just enough to make the nurses come running to check on him.  Every time, more tape was added to try and keep it in place.  I'm still trying to remove all of the residue from the tape.

The nurses surprised Michael (and us) with a birthday sign, presents, and a pretend cake (made of diapers, ear plugs, a pacifier, pinwheel, and cheek swabs).  Michael was so excited as they sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

The whole family on Michael's birthday.  Notice the creative cake made by the nurses.  They knew Michael couldn't eat cake because of all his allergies.

Don't Abby and Michael look thrilled?  It was a LONG three days, but they were both so good!

 Coley bought a birthday cake to share with the nurses and doctors even though Michael couldn't eat it.  I had some gluten, egg, milk, and nut-free cookies in the freezer for Michael, so he was able to have a treat too.  We couldn't let Michael dive into the cake because he would break out with a rash just by touching it.  With his croup, we decided he shouldn't blow out the candle either. :(

Abby loved helping Michael open his birthday presents.

It wasn't our first choice of locations for Michael's birthday, but we are very grateful for the kind and professional care he received.