Friday, December 23, 2011

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

Last year, A fellow MoM (mother of multiples) posted about taking her kids to Tower City to visit "Kris Kringles Inventionasium" and what a fun time it was for the whole family. I filed it away in my vault for this year and as soon as the season rolled around, I purchased tickets for the day before Christmas Eve.

When we arrived at Tower City, I was pleasantly surprised to see it hustling and bustling and not the ghost town it has been in past years. After walking around all the levels and checking out some real fancy suits and shoes, we headed downstairs to the area where all the activity was taking place.

Back in the 80's when Higbee's Department store was still around they had the Twigbee shop for little kids to go shopping without their parents. There was also the famous "Twigbee Bear", which I had a stuffed version of and LOVED. Higbee's is long gone, but they brought back the shop and the bear mascot so we decided to let the kids do some shopping for Bill and I on their own. I filled out the papers with the max they could spend ($20 total) and off they went. Bill and I settled down in front of a really cool show about the history of the Terminal Tower and in a flash they were done shopping. I'm really looking forward to the gifts, as they shopped in about 3 minutes the total came to $7 for both gifts. They wrap them for the kids and they are already placed under our tree.

On to the Iventionasium. I had no idea what to expect so it was total sensory overload when you first walk in. Think Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory overload. It was AWESOME! The colors, decorations, characters, it was all so cool. The kids were a little freaked out, but Nolan warmed right up after getting his lab coat on. Reagan took a bit longer, but in the end she came around just fine.

They stopped at several stations to do activities, drawing on chalkboard walls, create a crazy puppet, make snow, and build a toy to present to Kris Kringle.

After all that we were left in the waiting area for the private family visit with Kris Kringle. It was a bit of a wait and when I noticed a family that arrived after us get their turn, I approached the elf and told him I just wanted to make sure we didn't lost in the shuffle (no joke, because more papers than a deck of cards.)

He leaned in and whispered in my ear, "You are with Nolan, right?"

Um. Yes. He is my son.

"OK, you are having a very special visit with Kris Kringle in his super secret private office through the pink door behind you." ( The door I hadn't seen anyone go in or out of during the whole time we were there.) "When I put my finger up to my nose and jingle my bell three times, then you know to go to the door."

Um. OK.

So we waited a few more minutes and in the meantime my imagination was working in overdrive, what if there was a great glass elevator behind door #2 or better yet some fizzy lifting drink. Hell yeah, I'm going to drink it!

Finally "Boysenberry the Elf'" lay a finger to his nose and jingled. He opened the private door for us and the kids gasped and smiled at the awesomeness of being in Kris Kringles private office.

So did I, because there sitting on an ottoman in front of me WAS SOMEONE I KNEW, BUT NEVER KNEW HE WAS SANTA.

Sure it was always joked that he SHOULD be Santa. He has the white beard and he is short and round. I'd met him several times through our friends Andrew and Catherine when they lived in Cleveland. I haven't seen him in more than 5 years and he has never met our kids. Maybe everyone else except Bill and I knew he was Santa, who knows and who cares because it would have ruined the surprise I felt.

It was a truly magic moment that brought tears to my eyes.

I don't know if it was luck of the draw that we got diverted to door #2 or if there is a roster that the Santa's look over everyday and request to see (or not see) certain families. What I do know is that it was the most magical moment of Christmas that I have experienced as an adult.

So, thank you Santa for creating that special moment for our family. It will never be forgotten.

After our visit, we were all starvin' marvins, so we headed down Euclid Ave. to Noodlecat. It was the first visit for all us and it was so fun. Nolan ate Ramen like a college kid on a bender and Bill and I ate more steamed buns than humanly possible.

 We needed to walk off all that dinner, so we took a stroll around Public Square to look at the lights. It produced one of my favorite pictures of the holiday season.

Pretty darn perfect day if you ask me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

From The Mouth Of Nolan

You know the feeling.... your kid says or does something that is borderline obnoxious and funny at the same time and you are stuck between using the moment to discipline your child or just bust out laughing. We had one of those moments the other night at Trader Jacks, our favorite local restaurant where our favorite waitress in the whole world, Alyssa, works.

The kids have known (and loved) Alyssa since they were being lugging into the place in their snap & go car seats. They literally tackle Alyssa with their hugs now. She has taught them how to run credit cards and they have their own TJ's name tags.

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, was pretty quiet at the restaurant, so Alyssa had some extra time to hang out and talk. She crouched down at the end of the table, next to Nolan to talk. Somehow the topic of how big the kids were when they where born came up. Nolan replied that they were about 5 pounds, which is close. He was 6lbs and Reagan was 5 lbs, 6ozs.

I told Nolan to tell his gal-pal what I used to call them when they were first born. He told her "little sacks of sugar."

And then "The Incident" happened.

He sheepishly smiled and said, "You know what? I like these sacks of sugar" as he reached up and patted her amble bossom.

OMG, you guys!!!!

She laughed. Bill was mortified. I was stuck in the middle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Like Father....

This never ceases to make me smile :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Move Over Walter Payton, There's A New Sweetness In Town

Conversation at story time today regarding the ending of a book showed the kids finding a treasure and becoming "rich."

Nolan: Momma, what does rich mean?

Me: It means having a lot of money to do anything you want. It also means having lots of love in your life to make your heart full.

Nolan: I'm rich.

Me: You are?

Nolan: I'm rich because you're my mom and I love you.

Me: < wiping tears>

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Hello In The Clouds

So, it has been a month since I posted in our little family blog. A month spent swimming, going to amusement parks, playing in the sandbox, taking lots of senior pictures, and preparing for our first BIG family vacation.

We took the kids to Washington D.C. for a couple of days and then on to the Outer Banks, NC. The moment our feet hit the sand in the OBX, we were in love and are already talking about next year.

On the way home from the OBX, we stopped in Uniontown, PA to visit my Grandparents grave. It was an emotional ride once we crossed over from Maryland. Lots of memories flooded my mind. As I told the kids stories about going to Laurel Caverns or taking Pappy on rides up the mountain to get fudge for my twin cousins, I got teary-eyed. The thought that my Granny Pike would have had such a great time with my kids made me sad. We went right through town and I saw what used to be the bowling alley, the Gallatin Bank, the Medicine Shoppe, and the Long John Silvers that has a huge treasure chest for kids to pick out of. Things and places I haven't thought about in a long time.

As we were driving in the mountains, I looked into the sky and saw the smallest sliver of a rainbow. It has not rained at all, so I'd like to think this was Granny Pike's way of saying "Whoopie! You are here!"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Party Crasher

Nolan is the typical boy. Loves firetrucks, police cars, tractors, etc. BUT his favorite truck of all times is the airport crash truck.

When one pulled up at touch-a-truck this past weekend, he was thrilled.

It seemed that they were going to let the kids climb up the ladder to the roof of the crash truck. I thought this was a little dangerous, but my kids hoped into line behind about 6 other kids. Turns out those kids were that particular fireman's family and he was giving them a little extra special treat. I started to steer Reagan away by the shoulders and it was then that I see Nolan's little butt being helped up the stairs.

Somehow, they thought he was "with" the family. The little shit wormed his way onto the top of the crash truck!

See, I told you he loves the crash truck!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Missing Martian

My Dad didn’t much care for crowds so I don’t think he would have done many adventures with the twinadoes and I. (I totally know the three of them would have been fishing buddies at Gilson Park though.) There has never been a time where we’ve been out and about and I got to thinking, “Gee, my Dad would have had fun with his Grandkids here.”

Until today.

The twinadoes and I were putting our Great Lakes Science Center membership to good use today and included were tickets to a special exhibit, “Facing Mars.” When you go into the exhibit you have to choose which gate to go through by answered the question, “Do you want to travel to Mars?”


Right up my Dad’s alley. He enjoyed nothing more than sitting in his backyard on a Saturday night, smoking a stogie and drinking a beer. All the while staring up into the night sky and pondered what and who was out there.

He was a trekkie. His favorite t-shirt said "Beam Me Up Scotty."

I can imagine, as a child, his life’s ambition was to be an astronaut. (Sad to say I don’t really know the answer to this question.)

He would have loved this exhibit.

I actually got choked up and tears welled in my eyes because I could just imagine the three of them going from station to station learning about life on Mars; laughing when they did the “Mars Hands” and the “Mars Dust Storm” and him comforting them when they got afraid in the dark during the “Can You Last Two Minutes On Mars” part.

Yep. That day they would have been three peas in an outer space pod.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Final Draw

I got a little tricky and took Nolan in for his bloodwork a day early. The waiting is always so torturous for me and his test was scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, which is my birthday. I just didn't want that day to be filled with aniexty (not that my birthday is a big deal anymore. I'm not acknowledging them after this year, so maybe this should have been a big one, huh?)

Anyway....back to our super platelet maker. His count today was 347,000 which is a slight increase from the last draw. The nurse then said, "well, this is your lucky day. NO MORE BLOOD DRAWS!"

No birthday gift could ever top that deep breath I was finally able to take when I hung up the phone.

Not all kids or adults are as lucky as Nolan and ITP becomes a chronic disease requiring treatment when platelet counts drop to levels that could cause internal bleeding. The treatments all have side effects and the surgical removal of the spleen is often a final step.

I am so thankful we only had to explore two treatment options. They both involved antibodies extracted from the plasma of THOUSANDS of blood donors. So thank you to those thousands of donors that help save people's lives on a daily basis.

Thank you to several of my friends that donated in the weeks after Nolan was first hospitalized. That meant a lot to me.

If you don't already donate, please consider stopping the next time you see a Red Cross blood drive. You never know who you may help!

Every drop really does count.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I haven't said too much on this blog about my photography company, multipleXposure photography,  but I had several sessions in the last month that make me smile. I can't explain how much I enjoy doing this. Taking the pictures, editing the pictures, and seeing them in print is so much fun for me. I think I finally understand what it is like to LOVE your job.

So, if you need some pictures give me a holla.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Today was the first time the hemotologist mentioned the word "stable" in regards to Nolan. "Holding his own" was another one.

His count was 339,000; a slight rise from last week. He is 6 weeks post WINRHO treatment. By now there would most likely be a drop-off. The medication is out of his system and his body is doing what it needs to do. With that said, ITP is its own beast and that could change tomorrow, but we are hopeful Nolan is not going to be "chronic ITP" and this was a one time ordeal.

We are hopeful he is in that 80% this time.

Keep those platelets going, buddy. "To infinity and beyond!"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Safety Dance

One of my favorite childhood memories was going to Safety Town. It was an actual town built in a fenced in area of the elementary school playground. I remember feeling so important because the mayor (Morris Becker, if you grew up in Eastlake) came and gave us our certificates.

The twinadoes did Mentor's Safety Town recently. Sadly, our fair city no longer has programs like this due to poor money decisions in the 1990's.

They seem to have enjoyed themselves and were excited to go every morning. There were no tears or prolonged goodbye's, just a quick kiss and off they went. I guess I should be happy they are so well-adjusted, huh?

On Day One, they were sitting in the classroom while the teacher explained some things to the parents. I looked over at my boy and this was his look. Total boredom. I suppose this will be his standard look all through school.  He wanted out of that classroom and on the town to ride the big wheels we had seen when walking in.

Day 1: Traffic Safety/Water Safety

Day 2: Fire Safety/Poison
Day 3: Police/Bike Safety

Day 4: Bus Safety/Stranger Danger

Day 5: Graduation

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Drumroll Please....

329,000 and blood draws moved to every other week!!!

I know after (too) much research that nothing is predictable with ITP and the bottom can fall out at any time, but I've just got to keep hoping that isn't going to happen and he is on the road to recovery.

He feels fine, he is acting fine, he certainly looks fine.

Again (and again and again) thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and cards. It means a lot to Bill and I.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Yesterday's count was 214,000! Maybe Nolan's body is finally doing what it needs to do instead of eating platelets faster than he could make them. Only next week's blood draw will tell, but this little increase with no treatment is a good sign.

So, keep doing what you are doing and hopefully Nolan's body will do the same.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Here Come The Butterflies

For Easter, Reagan got the butterfly habitat she was so desperately wanting.

About 2 weeks ago, the larva arrived and they set up house. It was amazing how quickly they grew and then after about a week, they climbed to the top of the jar they had come in and turned into chrysalids.

They have just been hanging around on the side of the habitat for another week and yesterday I noticed one was breaking through. It is an interesting process to watch. I remember doing this in first grade as our final project for the year. However, I do not remember there being blood when the butterfly emerges.

This morning I noticed another butterfly trying to break free. We took a break from our morning chores (emptying the dishwasher for me; watching Curious George for the twinadoes) to watch.

Yesterdays butterfly started crawling up the side of the habitat and we watched the other one flap its wing trying to break free. Amazing.

I know you are surprised, but I had my camera. Nolan went to get his, of course, it was nowhere to be found. (Nolan has trouble putting this back where they belong. Sure, he picks up his mess, but who knows where it goes.)

Reagan found hers and starting taking pictures and asking me if she "had the right angle". Meanwhile, Nolan starts this radio announcer type voice, saying, "folks, we are watching it as it happens!"

Just another morning at our house.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Prayer Pics For Nolan

My friend, Tonia in Jupiter, FL sent these pictures to me. They are made from palm fronds.

They came at a moment when I needed them most, just after finding out Nolan's counts had dropped this past week.

So, Tonia, thank you!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Long Weekend

What a glorious weekend we had. Not too much rain, got some things accomplished, and spent time with friends.

Tomorrow is blood work day, so I'll be back to being on pins & needles.

Ready to ride the rails with Thomas The Tank Engine.

 Looking out for "alligators" since it was so swampy.
 ready to party at winking lizard luau.
 My boys.
 Helping Uncle Sam get the fire goin' for smores.
Bounce & Slide

Nonny & Grandpa's 30th Anniversary
The best cupcakes ever. Salty Caramel is my fave :)
Some friends didn't have as good a weekend as we did. Our friend, Bob, lost his mom and my friend, Mary's mom is in the hospital. If you have a good thought to spare for them, please do. Their moms are a very important part of their lives and this is a difficult time for both of them. It is hard to see your friends hurting when there isn't much you can do.