Monday, August 29, 2011

Girl's Weekend

I just had an outstanding weekend at the coast with some great girls! We had an awesome time last year, so my friend Jocelyn graciously signed us up for the weekend again at her extended family's beach house. And I was extra stoked to actually be staying the whole weekend instead of leaving early this time.

Jocelyn, Carrie and I drove out Thursday and Kari and Becca joined us Friday. We walked on the beach, went shopping at the outlets, had late night ice cream at Cold Stone for Becca's birthday, ate plenty, and talked a truly phenomenal amount. It is beyond me how a group of women can talk so much. And yet we can.

On Saturday we took some group shots.

Me, Jocelyn+Curtis, Becca+baby, Carrie and Kari. We honestly didn't plan the wardrobe, so it was funny how coordinated we ended up on the last day right in line with picture time.

After one nice picture, of course we had some fun!

Can can!
can can

In deciding what to do between group shots, I caught some funny ones...


Hula girls
hula girls

Charlie's Angels
Charlie's Angels

Hm, what next?

I love this one! I bet a caption contest could yield some funny results... sorry Jocelyn ;-)

Fight scene!
fight scene

Pretty girls
pretty girls

Um, wind blown girls? I'm not actually sure what we're doing here. Titanic maybe?
wind blown

Clearly, we had way too much fun! I'm so grateful for such good friends! Thanks Jocelyn for making it all possible!
Alicia and Amy, we missed you!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Travis' birthday was on the 8th so on Sunday the 7th we got together as a family and celebrated his birthday and Katrina's birthday whose was on July 27th but we were gone doing our scuba training that weekend.

Last minute, DeAnna wanted a family picture, so we may be all uncoordinated, but at least we're all there and smiling. Well, most of us are smiling. And the kids aren't encrusted with cake and ice cream yet, so it'll do.

In honor of the new scuba obsession and also of Shark Week on Discovery (which had just run), Angela made this outstandingly awesome cake.
scuba cake

Emmett helped with the candles of course.

It was really really good cake too!

These boys crack me up. Who knows what Damon and Avery are doing, and clearly Carson is catching on to what Emmett is doing, and in all I'm wondering if it's possible to catch a nice moment of that many boys all being nice... or normal?
Emmett, Damon, Avery, Carson

Emmett, you're a mess.

Time for presents! Katrina got this firepit which will be great for their deck.

And Travis got... can't you just hear the "OOooo!"

A titanium (meaning very light weight and all the other best qualities) scuba knife. Please excuse his I-may-have-cake-in-my-teeth smile.
Travis scuba knife

Travis didn't get a present to open from me... because he got to order his custom dry suit for his birthday. We cannot wait for that to come in so we can get back in the water. (Travis is rightfully sick of getting cold) So, a big happy birthday Travis!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Help

Have you read The Help by Kathryn Stockett? It's an outstanding book. One of the best I've read in the last couple years. With that in mind, some friends and I were very excited for the movie to come out, especially since the trailers looked like they were doing the book justice. So we went to a late show on opening day last Wednesday!
It was great! They really did do a good job with it! They were a little nicer with Skeeter's mother and I think some better coverage of the violence that was happening at the time in the beginning of the movie would've helped set the atmosphere of fear that Aibileen was rightly feeling in regards to Skeeter's request. That said, I'm glad they did cover Medgar Evars which helped escalate the stress.

Overall: See the movie! And still read the book!

Jocelyn, Kari, Carrie and me.
Jocelyn, Kari, Carrie, Laurie

The Help

Friday, August 12, 2011

Avery's Surgery

Three years ago Avery had his adenoids removed and tubes put in his ears because fluid wasn't draining behind his eardrums and he wasn't hearing very well. After the surgery, the ENT told me how huge Avery's tonsils were, but that he didn't just want to take them out then not having discussed it with me because the recovery is so much worse than just adenoid removal. What I've always wanted to know is why he didn't notice Avery's huge tonsils before the surgery.

Fast forward to now and Avery's tonsils have remained massive this entire time. He also sounds nasally more lately and is often all stuffed up. He didn't seem to have hearing issues anymore, but lately there had been the occasional concern about it (last time it was fairly sudden and very obvious). When I was a teen I had an absolutely horrible time with my tonsils, so we were also concerned that with Avery's obviously enlarged tonsils, leaving them in there may just be setting him up for more problems in the future. So we decided to see an ENT before school started again and see what was what.

Turns out one of his ears had some minor hearing loss due to fluid retention again and all in all it was agreed the tonsils needed to go, tubes needed to be placed again, and the ENT was concerned that the previous guy had likely left some adenoid tissue behind - which I guess is common with a popular procedure, but he claimed the procedure he used was more fine-tuned and took care of all of the tissue. Considering the last guy told me that taking too little or too much adenoid tissue could change a kid's voice (and I remember his vocal demonstration of the changes) obviously he probably had left tissue in there. The problem with that is the left over stuff can get big again.

So Monday Avery had surgery.
He specifically asked to see the tonsils after surgery. I will add that to the end of this post... with a warning beforehand... in case you don't want to see them...

Practicing for blowing up his balloon. He chose a red balloon because they didn't have orange. This is how the anesthesiologist get them to suck down the gas.



Avery was so sick of waiting for his turn. He was ready to get this show on the road! When it was finally his turn, he didn't even give me a hug, or wait to be led where he needed to go, he just took off through the doors.

When the ENT came to tell me about it, he commented on how refreshing that was that a kid came in so ready to go! The adenoid tissue left behind had indeed become very inflamed and were apparently quite large. I was assured that as far as tonsils and adenoids were concerned, that chapter in Avery's life was over. All tissue was completely sucked out of there.

When they got me to go to Avery, he was freaking out a little, which seems pretty natural if you wake up all drugged up, but in a lot of pain and don't know where you are and you're mom's not there. I really wish they would let parents be with their kids before they wake up so at least that type of freak out could be prevented.

Once he sat on my lap and settled down, it didn't take long before he was past ready to get outta that place! He even stood up and started to take off his IV so he could go. The nurse and I asked him about feeling sick, but he kept claiming it was just empty stomach sick, not pukey sick. Well, we made it about 20 feet from the door before he splattered his feet three times. So I went back to the door for some paper towels to wipe up and then finally we could go home.

That was the last of the puking, thankfully, and since then Avery's preferred not to take any medicine and goes quite a while before we make him, and he just keeps quietly to the couch, watching movies or playing the Wii... except that first afternoon.

Emmett showed up in front of me being silly and wanting a picture with my phone. Next thing I knew, Avery had the 3D glasses on too... and was dancing around, posing for the camera. After he got a little too lively, I told him, unfortunately, he had to settle down because he just wasn't allowed to exert himself yet.

Emmett, Avery

So here's a whole slew of silly boys
silly boys

Sadly, it's not been all fun and games since then, but I think we're supposedly past the worst days now so I'm watching for the improvement to begin. Of course, the sloughing off of scabs around day 7 can cause the pain to go up again, so we'll see...



Tonsils below...

Avery wanted to see them so they saved them for him. Obviously he needed a picture too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Before their respective surgeries on Monday (Avery's tonsilectomy and Papa's ablation to take care of A-fib), Papa wanted to go fishing on Saturday. So Travis and Avery loaded up with Papa and they picked up Alli and off they went.

Travis didn't bring the camera like he was supposed to, so I got these two pictures from Ben.
Alli, Avery, Travis

And just like last time, Avery ended up with the only fish of the day. He's so happy.
Travis, Avery

When he got home, he was very proud and anxious to show me.
2011-08-06 IMG_0469 +ss


Cleaned out and ready to eat. I'm the only one who will eat it, but I'm sure glad I don't have to clean it!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Jocelyn Sees Blue

After two girls, my friend Jocelyn is having a boy, and since boy is something I'm certainly familiar with, I threw a shower for her.

Unfortunately, in the distraction of actually running the shower, I managed to leave my camera inside until we were just about done and it was getting dark!
baby shower

I went with a bird theme.

Did you know Hershey's makes cookies and creme kisses... and that they come in light blue wrappers? I didn't, until I saw a bag when perusing candy bars for game prizes. Nor did I know that there was such a thing as York Pieces and that they were blue and white. Perfect! Sadly, it wasn't until about 15 minutes after the last guests left that I realized my blueberry yogurt covered pretzels and cinnamon yogurt (white) covered pretzels were still in the pantry. I knew I was forgetting something! The simple table I planned had seemed even more simple than I thought it would be.
food table

Chocolate or butterscotch dipped chow mein noodles make cute nests with yogurt covered raisins for eggs.
bird nests

Mini cinnamon rolls don't quite look so nest like, but I still gave them cream cheese frosting "eggs."
cinnamon roll nests

A simple diaper cake. Doesn't this remind you a little of the carnival game where you try to shoot the moving ducks down?
diaper cake

Yea for baby boys! Congratulations Jocelyn!
Laurie, Jocelyn

And, yes, I did dress like the theme... blue shirt... birds... Just call me cheesy.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I'm a scuba diver now!
Travis was certified back when he was around 13, but he had very few dives and hadn't been diving since high school. He wanted back in the water, but first he wanted to find out if I would be willing to join him. So back in March Travis surprised my by pulling up to a scuba shop when we were out for my birthday and signing me up for a discover scuba class (put the gear on and see if you can handle breathing underwater before investing in the certification class). I had absolutely no clue how I would handle it. It went great! So we signed me up for class.
So in June I finally had my certification classes. They were split between two weekends, the first being in the pool, and the second weekend being open water dives up in the Hood Canal.
Here I am in the pool.


My buoyancy skills rock! Thankfully! Seriously, I think that's made a big difference in enjoyment, that I haven't had to fight any of the skills, they've just come really naturally.

Here's the view from the balcony of Mike's Beach Resort on the Hood Canal, my first open water dive experience.
Mike's Beach Resort


Travis came with me of course and got some diving in with the dad of another of the students there, but he did take some pictures for me on the last day during our last training dive.

All geared up
Laurie, Vickie

Safety check
Laurie, Vickie, Justin

Getting ready to go


Look how gorgeously smooth the water was this day! That's me at the very left starting to descend with my dive buddy.

And soon, we were all down.

While we were down, Travis spotted this Lion's Mane jellyfish near the surface. These suckers can get huge and you have to watch out for their seriously long tentacles which do sting and since they get so long, they can be super hard to see. This one was at least the size of a dinner plate with 10-15 ft long tentacles. We saw several while diving.
Lion's Mane Jellyfish

There's Justin, our instructor, leading us back in.

Having ended our last certification dive, Justin presented us all with our cards, but dropped mine! James, a Divemaster candidate assisting Justin, grabbed it up before I even saw.
dive for your card

Now, I've got it!
Justin, Laurie

Debbie and me. Debbie is Justin's wife and another Divemaster candidate assisting the class. She's been great to have a woman to ask questions of!
Debbie, Laurie

Thanks for grabbing it James!
Justin, James, Debbie, Laurie

James, Justin, Holly (another student, there was another as well, but she took off before we got this picture), me and the amazing Debbie.
James, Justin, Holly, Laurie, Debbie

After the pool I had a lot of anxiety about this whole diving thing... but not for why you might think. The diving itself continued to come naturally to me. I was concerned that it was all going to just be "okay" and not amazing. What if we invested all this money and I didn't love it. Was I going to think diving was enough of a reward for all the money and effort involved in going diving?

The answer is YES! Getting into the open water and seeing all the life down there is a complete game changer!

So last weekend Travis and I completed our Advanced Open Water weekend class together. We spent Friday through Sunday at the Hood Canal with Justin and Debbie and were joined late Saturday by another AOW student who could only get part of her class done that weekend.

We tried out some new accommodations, Sunrise Motel & Dive Resort, and let's just say no one will be returning. It was an adventure though! This picture doesn't even come close to doing it justice, but that's all I've got. I absolutely cannot believe I got up there without my camera. Blasphemous! So I only took a couple shots with my iPhone.

Justin and Travis
Justin, Travis

Playing with instagram on my phone

Friday we did three dives at Sunrise. The first two were for my dry suit specialty and the third was our night dive for AOW. Night diving is very cool! Different, but cool. The aquatic life that's out at night is different than day too.

So, unfortunately, on top of lousy accommodations, the diving at Sunrise really wasn't all that good either. It's too bad about all that since the set up is nice with the room right on the water, making access right at your feet. But for Saturday we bought admittance to Sund Rock and did five dives there that day. The parking is very tight there.
Sund Rock

The tide is way in here, but here's northern entrance. When the tide is out, it's a rocky beach down to the water.
Sund Rock

Getting ready for dive four out of five there that day.
Travis, Debbie, Justin

The rest of these pictures I have to thank Debbie for!

Finishing that fourth dive. I guess I didn't get the memo about taking off our hoods for a picture. At least I'm dry though. That's my new dry suit. Travis had to wear a wet suit because he doesn't fit the type that I bought, mainly because of his super huge feet, so he has to go with the more expensive custom fit ones.
Laurie, Justin, Travis

At Sund Rock Saturday, we started with a deep dive for training, then had a fun dive at the north wall. The third dive was a training dive to the wreck. Justin usually does a frog kick that moves him slowly through the water, but we needed to get out to the wreck faster since it's further away and you don't want to use up too much air getting over there, especially since it's at 40-60' depending on the tide, so you're using your air faster when deeper too. Unfortunately, Justin hauled tail out there. Travis, Mr. Marathon trainee, didn't have any problems with that, but I simply couldn't keep the pace and it had me breathing heavily so I used my air way fast. Debbie thought she was gonna die, he was working us so fast! SO, trying to conserve air by getting there quickly totally backfired by completely overexerting Debbie and I. There has to be a happy medium. I wanted to know if we couldn't head out there shallow and use a surface reference for a cue on when to head deeper to find the wreck. (There used to be a buoy on the wreck, but the weather keeps ripping it off and it doesn't get replaced.) Debbie had the winning idea though. Run a line from the wreck, straight towards shore so that people can head out shallow and run into the rope that will lead them straight to the wreck. I couldn't help but wonder why that hadn't already been done.

So for the fourth dive, Travis and I went with Justin to run the line. When we found a big rick to tie off to at the shallow end, and Justin started tying it off, Travis and I found out what NO visibility is like. Tying the rope kicked up so much silt that we seriously only had visibility ranging between three and six inches. I could just see a couple inches of Travis' light beam, and same for mine, but with Justin busy tying the rope, there was no light to see him by, so I just held on to the neck of his tank so I'd know when he started moving away! Talk about something that could really disorient you!

The fifth dive was another night dive, much better though at Sund Rock. That was just a fun one for Travis and I and it was the first time the two of us went off on our own, while the other student who had just arrived did that for her training.

Sunday we did our last two training dives, underwater navigation and then search and recovery. Travis and I finished s&r really quickly, so after that the two of us got to head out to finish our air just us again. How fun to be out with Travis, just having fun. I love this!

After our dives, we packed up and then sat down to do our log books.
Laurie, Justin

Just because I like this shot of Debbie's.

Such a fun weekend!
Travis, Laurie, Justin

And here's all my credentials now. We just ordered Travis' dry suit today, so he'll take that class later and get that card then. In the short meantime, I get to be more trained than him.

We're really happy we've gone with the new crew in town, Blue Element Scuba for our training. Travis was originally certified elsewhere and we know others who go elsewhere, but the people at Blue Element are outstanding, the shop is super clean and well lit (not always so common with dive shops) and they're always welcoming and helpful when you come in, which also isn't always the case elsewhere. I definitely highly recommend them!

By the way, I've been on Blue Element's home page for a bit now. That's a crop from the second picture in this post.
Blue Element Scuba