Thursday, September 3, 2009


We had a really busy summer which ended with having a steady stream of company. My brother Andy and his kids came fora weekend and we had a great time playing games and going to the beach. I love it when we get together!
Then, Carls brothers Austin and CJ came, we had such a good time that they extended their stay and ended up being here for over two weeks. They were so helpful while I was finishing up school and the kids had a blast with them. We also went diving with them. It definitely was not the best diving in fact some of the worst (we went out of Myrtle Beach) but we enjoyed being together. I told the boys that if they can dive in those conditions they can dive anywhere. I hope we can do a dive trip with them some time with pristine conditions. We were sad to see them go, we look forward to their coming back.
The boys left in the morning and my parents came that night. It really helped to keep the kids from being too distraught about the boys leaving. They have a really hard time when people leave. We had a lot of fun! Mom and Dad took the kids for us so we could go away for the weekend. We had thought about going to a resort of the beach but the both Carl and I decided we would rather take the opportunity to go to the temple. We went to Columbia and had much needed time together and at the temple. I had fun going to the beach with mom and dad and playing games with them and the kids. We took them crabbing and that was a blast. We played cards and had to even fish a card out of the water with a net.
School started, my parents left and now life is back to normal. Well, as normal as it gets.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Supposed to be studying

I find that when I have something I really need to do I coast around on the computer finding things to read and posts that I need to do since it has been a few months. Really I am just being lazy and procrastinating. Today is what I call a free day which means that I have no scheduled lessons or activities for the kids and I don't have class. It is the perfect time to study, take tests, write papers that are due this Sunday but I am finding other things that I just need to do first. Things like laundry which I hate more than anything and really can wait, everyone has enough clean underwear to last them a few more days at least, but because I should use this time to study I find myself thinking that the laundry is really needing to get done and that I will start my schoolwork as soon as I get that done. Of course the house will get clean and the laundry will get done but I will then stay up all night doing what I should have just buckled down and done today. Then my impending migraine that started last night, was subdued but I can feel the dull ache of its slow return coming back will be in full force while I am in class tomorrow. At least if I am going to blow off school it should be for something of value like playing and reading to the kids, not laundry.

We had a fun fourth although our fireworks were quite piddly the kids did enjoy them (Madison was scared of everything because of the sparks but she wanted to be involved so she would come over to help and then run crying back to Kathy). Nothing compares to what Joe does at my parents house. Most major cities shows would be in awe of what they put in the skies there. We grilled and had our friends over for dinner and then played Rook all night. The kids asked me all week if we could make apple pie for the fourth of July, something from a commercial I am sure. They walked around singing it. I get the apples out and all the stuff, they begged to help, peeled one apple each (I have an easy peeler where you just turn the handle so it isn't any work at all) and they were done. Of course they kept running back and picking up the peels and eating them, my kids are super. Then Carl had this idea that if the kids liked eating them raw he could cook them and what better way to do that then fry them. He put together some flour spices and sugar and a flavored egg wash and began frying them. I was really dubious and thought it unnecessary since we were trying to get everything else ready for our guests. He fried them up served them with whip cream with our appetizers and it was a HUGE hit. They were so good, who would've thought fried apple peel. We are thinking of plating and application of what they would be good on although by themselves they were great. I had to admit to Carl that I was wrong in doubting him (which I think made his day, maybe even his week), I was also really proud of having such a creative husband who thinks outside the box.

We also went on a camping trip before the fourth but I will tell more about that in another post with pictures.

Now I will procrastinate more by hanging out with the kids, at least that has value.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thank goodness for Childrens Hospital (MUSC)

We had an eventful week starting Monday. After Carl swam in cold water at his swim team practice he came out early and began coughing. Around 11 that night he came in with a bad croup cough. We did all the stuff we could at home but it wasn't getting better. We took him to the pediatrician in the morning, when she saw his oxygen levels she called 911 and he was taken to the nearest ER (across the street). After he had been hooked up the doctor came to check on him and while listening to him breath he told lil Carl to "stop making that noise" to which my husband responded that he couldn't, that is why we brought him here. We were told his chest x-rays looked fine. They wouldn't believe he had croup because he is too old at 9 to have it. They began treating him for asthma. That went on for 5 hours and when the treatments did not make a difference they finally decided to take x-rays of his throat and discovered that he did have croup (what we had said all along) and that their treatment for the last five hours had been useless. They began treating for the croup at that point as he had improved very little. At this point they decided to admit him into the hospital, when they called our pediatrician they insisted on his going to the children's hospital in Charleston. I had been watching his breathing as he lay there and I was convinced that his right side was doing all the work breathing. I am always nervous bring up things to doctors. I mentioned it to the nurse who said she hadn't noticed any difference in the sounds from the lungs. She listened again and stated that she might hear a little difference and that next time I take him in for a checkup i should tell his doctor about it. I then stated that was the reason we were there not to wait til his next appt. Anyway, we then went to the children's hospital (Lil Carl's second ambulance ride of the day) where they were amazing and awesome. They listened to his chest and back and knew instantly that his left lung sounded worse than the right. From the x-rays they said that he had croup although they also said it was really rare for a child his age which concerns them and they also were able to tell from his chest x-rays that he had pneumonia in his left lung. That was all in the first hour of being there. I can't imagine what excuse the other hospital could give for not seeing it, they showed me the x-rays and I could see it. They also showed that his right lung was over extended and the left was really small. They say that all these things together are really concerning. It was also apparent to them that his asthma had not been treated well and needs more attention. He continued to improve now that he was getting the right treatment and his pneumonia broke up and his left lung cleared. Our respiration therapist Anita was so great, I am in awe of her. She taught us so much about managing his asthma and I feel like we can be proactive now and maybe he can enjoy his time outside without fear. Everyone at the hospital was enchanted by him, when the interns had their rounds they were in our room for a while, not just because he is such an interesting case but he held them captive telling them stories and asking them questions. After three days in the hospital we got to bring him home. He still has to go back so we can meet with the pediatric pulmonary doctors so they can do further investigation and maybe we can have more of an idea of why he is having all these problems. We have a few outstanding tests that we are waiting on the results for also. I am hoping everything is negative but I also want answers for him. We are grateful for everyone's prayers and we want everyone to know that he is doing well and seems as chipper as ever even when he is having problems breathing (which indicates that he is comfortable with difficult breathing, poor guy!) He is super happy to be home and we are all happy to be home as well!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Furniture

We took two days and went up to Hickory NC to shop for furniture. For the first day we found nothing, well there was a lot of great stuff but not in our price range. Then the next morning frustrated and disappointed we headed out. Both Carl and I kept being prompted to go back to a Bernhardt where we had already been the day before. The likeliness of there being anything new there that we liked was slim but finally we both stated the feelings we had been having and seeing as they matched up we decided to go back. As we got to the store we saw that there was another store on the other side. We went there and found what we were looking for. Yeah! After two days of looking and with the kids in tow we were finished. The kids were really great though. Here are some pictures of our finds.
These are for our front room which has been empty for the last four and a half years.

We got these chests for the girls room. Other than the finishing touches their room is done.

This couch is for the kids playroom. It is really, really comfy!

Now we have to wait for the delivery to come. I am hoping it is before Mom and Dad Agren come at the end of the month.

Back to the books

Just when the kids are getting out of school I will be starting again. I am so excited to return to the Culinary Institute of Charleston. I am going to be majoring in Culinary arts and working on my bakeshop certificates.

We had another Iron Chef party last night. It was a lot of fun. We did not know when we scheduled it that it was on the same night as the father son camp out and then with people getting sick and other things it ended up being smaller than usual. Our secret ingredient was cheese.

Carl and I made 5 cheese macaroni, Manicotti with sun dried tomato and balsamic vinegar sauce, micro greens topped with fried goat cheese and toasted pecan vinaigrette. For dessert I made a White chocolate cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust topped with chocolate raspberry ganache and fresh raspberries served with raspberry coulis. The macaroni and cheese was a biggest hit as was the cheesecake. Since the group was so small we decided to to play rock band and had a really great time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Catch up

Since the kids birthdays we have been really busy. Not only are both the girls on different soccer teams but Carl was also doing basketball. It made for a really hectic schedule especially on Saturdays when they all three had games.

At the end of February we went to Vegas for our friends wedding. We went a couple of days early and Carl's parents met us. We were all so excited to go on this trip and just as we are getting ready to go lil Carl starts complaining he doesn't feel well. It took us a whole day to get there and he just got worse and worse. He is such a good sport though, went everywhere during the week and the first few days he was really feeling miserable but he was really great about it. The kids highlight was when Grandma and Grandpa Agren got there and we always have so much fun with them. They are super! Carl had not been feeling great since he got back from Bahrain, he was really exhausted all the time and it was getting worse. At first we thought that it was what lil Carl had but it was much worse and different. He said his throat hurt worse than it had ever before. Mom and Dad took the kids for us for the day so we could get ready for and go to Don and Ohms wedding. It was a lovely ceremony and the reception was a lot of fun. We danced and the dinner was great. I felt so bad for Carl though, he was miserable but really trying to hang in there with the dancing. He was happy to have somewhere to wear his tux he had made in Bahrain. In true Carl fashion he bought black converse to wear with his tux (I think he had the most happy feet of anyone).

When we got home Carl left immediately for a business trip and when he got back he was feeling worse than ever. He spent the weekend in bed. He had another trip and again came back feeling awful. He started to feel a little better just as I started feeling bad. I had begun to suspect mono and I knew there was really nothing that would work but rest. Then Ha-Na started complaining about being really tired. She got worse, I took her to the doctor and yup it's Mono. Carl was scheduled for a trip to Bahrain for a couple of weeks so he has gone and is feeling better. I have Ha-Na home with me and I am praying the other kids don't get it. We spend our days hanging around the house and ordering take out for dinner. She has to drop out of soccer for the rest of the season, she seemed fine with it although I think it is because she had such a miserable time at her last game and practice since she felt so miserable from being tired and sick before we caught on. We will try again next season if she wants.

That is pretty much it for now. I will huddle up on the couch at home and entertain the kids best I can til I get better or Carl comes home.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Holy Cake Batman!!!

Carl's birthday is today and I made a cake to bring to school. He wanted a batman cake so Carl and I came up with the design. It was a lot of fun and everyone at school was excited about it.

I did three layers, the bottom has bricks with scallop impressions. The second is a marbled darker grey and the third is a medium grey with windows. The banner is made of fondant and designed to look as if it is falling off the building as it topples. The windows are orange to imply there is a fire going on inside the building.

Here it is all put together with the bat signal on top. Behind that you can see the smoke of the building being destroyed (it is actually dry ice in a container placed in the top). Batman is climbing up the side of the building to save it (sorry Katie, we did not have a bat girl toy :))

Here is a closeup with whisps of smoke behind the signal.

We then took Carl and Ha-Na out of school and to the aquarium where Carl had asked to go. It was fun and we even saw dolphins swimming in the bay.

Carl asked to go to AW Shucks to dinner, he really loves seafood. He ordered the seafood bucket which had crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, and muscles. When it arrived the girls suddenly decided that their children meals were not sufficient and began mooching. Big Carl thought he was going to get at least one of little Carl's oysters but the girls and he ate them all and my husband went home oysterless. It was so fun to see them enjoying the seafood, I love that my kids are adventurous eaters, I don't think there are many kids 4, 6 and 9 who would fight over shellfish.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ha-Na's castle cake

We decided to have family parties for the kids this year so I told the kids I would make any cake they wanted for their classes. Ha-Na asked for a castle and this is what I came up with.

Here are the three layers with fondant and the brick imprints.

Here is the the cake with the turrets put on and the fondant banner in front. The turrets are made from Rice Crispy Treats that I colored while making and sugar gum paste.

Here it is all finished with Belle and the Beast. These were one of her birthday presents.

I was really proud of this cake, it was my first time making and using fondant and I was really pleased with the outcome. I learned a lot in the process and it was a fun challenge and everyone at school was really excited when I brought it in the lunchroom. There were lots of oohs and ahhs but the best was how excited and happy Ha-Na was to see it, I had kept it hidden from her so it would be a surprise when she saw it. The kids ate almost the whole thing in like ten minutes.

Now I will take a couple of days rest before I need to get started on Carl's cake.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Painting Handprints

I have been promising the girls that I would paint their room for a long time now. We had talked about colors but I have put it off for other things that seem more urgent. Then, Madison comes to me one day and says "I painted my room purple" with great excitement. I didn't worry too much because I knew we did not have purple paint in the house so I went on with the day. Later Ha-Na came home from school and asked me if I had seen the walls in her room. I knew instantly it was going to be bad. I went up to look and saw that there was purple paste all over the the wall. Apparently she had taken the Aquafresh that has three colors and mixed it together which turned into purple so she then used it as paint. Resourceful, yes but man what a mess. She got in big trouble, then went on to do it again a few days later with the bathroom wall.

Sunday morning Carl went downstairs to find that she had dumped out the hot cocoa mix to pick out all of the dried marshmallows, when she was done she left the powder on the floor for the dog to lick into a paste. It was a mess.

After the toothpaste incident I decided I should get to painting the girls room so Madison would not feel the need to do the walls herself again. We went and picked out the color and I spent a day taping off and painting the first coat. I let it dry for the day and had wrapped up the roller and the brushes in plastic so I would not have to clean them out between painting. The kids were told the room was off limits and I went down to make dinner. The kids were playing so well upstairs and I was so proud of them since I was busy cooking. We called the kids down for dinner and sat down to eat. As Madison sat down Carl asked her what was in her hair, as we stared at her it dawned on us both what it was and then I realized it was on her hands and feet also. Carl ran upstairs and I heard him exclaim loudly. I ran up and was stopped in my tracks as I got to the girls room. First I saw the window which was covered in paint, next that there was paint on their dresser that I had painted for Ha-Na just before she was born, then I saw the painto on the floor. As I was cleaning that up first I looked over and saw that on Ha-Na's quilt that my mom made for her also had paint on it as did the door. I was in shock and then I just started to cry. I got it out of the carpet saw hat she had also painted a birdhouse that we have in the room, I went to work cleaning that the whole time crying in frustration. I looked at the window and saw that amont the rolls of paint (she had gotten the roller out of the plastic and used that as her weapon) there were also tiny handprints. I walked arround and saw the back of the dresser was also covered in the handprints. Now that I am not crying anymore I think I will keep the handprints on the back of the dresser just to keep the memory of this stage that she is in and be so happy when she is out of it!!!!

She continues each day to get into trouble, I am not sure what is going on with her but if it is quiet I am terrified. I have been keeping her with me continually to keep her leashed in. I will post one of the pictures I took of it (I had to have evidence)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tomorrow, Tomorrow!!!!

I am sooo happy tonight, Carl is on a plane coming home right now. Well, actually he is on his way to Paris right now but tomorrow he will be here.

Everyone has been asking for pictures so I did another slide show. I am giving a warning though, there are a lot of pictures. I should have cut it down but I didn't want to leave any out so I didn't. If you make it through them all give yourself a little cheer.

So what is this enormous slide show? It has the kids in their Christmas pajamas on Christmas eve. Then it has Christmas, Madison's birthday in Florida including Jessica's marching band and then some from New Years Eve.

Madison had a great time on her Birthday although she is dissapointed that turning four did not make it so that she could suddenly do all sorts of new things. She chose to go to cheesecake factory for her birthday dinner and when we got there and asked her what she wanted she looked at us like "duh" and replied "lots of cheesecake." We ordered her some dinner but she did not eat anything til the cake came. She also insisted on wearing her knit cap that Grandpa Shull made for her, she wears it everywhere. I think she is going to love it to it's death.

We also have pictures of our new house project, we want to use the space under the stairs for more storage so we cut down the wall, removed a few beams and with some more boards and shelves I will have lots of much needed storage.

We have really loved the new member of our family Yoshi. Carl kept asking me if he could have a little brother and he has decided that Yoshi is even better. I love that he is already housebroken, no three years of waiting to potty train!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Summing up

We have been settling in at home. Carl was not able to come home for Thanksgiving we went to my brother Andy's house in Ohio and had a blast. The kids had a great time with their cousins and it was nice to be around adults for a change. Madison and I are having fun with our outings during the day. She is really enjoying her mom time. We go to the YMCA each day she likes playing with the kids and I like riding the stationary bike. I get an hour to read without interruption while I am doing something good for my health.

Carl arranged to come home for Christmas break so I got all my cookies for my plates done before he gets home so it didn't take up our time with him. We drove to Virginia to pick him up. It was so great when he came to the hotel, I started to cry. The kids were so thrilled and it was really great to be all together again.

We took goodies around and even sang to a few of the people. We just had a really great time getting ready for Christmas and hanging out.

I think Carl and I were more excited for Christmas than the kids were. We had the inside scoop and knew that Santa was going to be dropping off a puppy.

That morning the kids came down and saw the puppy and presents and were over the moon. The puppy took most the attention for a while but then they got to opening presents. We settled on Yoshi for his name, we had an Australian Shepherd before and we wanted to keep the tradition of using Russian words that describe them. Our previous dog was Lapka which means paw because he had such big paws. Yoshi means Hedgehog, he is all fluffy and he is soo cute. Carl had pet hedgehogs when he was on his mission and so we thought it was fitting. Sometimes he reminds us so much of Lapka, we slip and call him Lapka. He and Carl have bonded really well and the girls love to chase him and be chased by him.

We played with all our games and really, really love Rock Band. We started a family band and we have one with our friends here. Their teenage daughter says we are too old to be playing that game. I asked her what she thought she would be doing at our age. I find it so funny cause I can look back when I thought back when I was her age and I probably thought the same thing.

We went to Florida on Madison's birthday to see Carl's sister Jessica and her school marching band compete to play at the football game half time. It was a lot of fun and we loved seeing her, we only wish we had more time to visit.

Shortly after Carl had to go back Bahrain but he should be back by the 14th. We will be really happy to have it all settled and be together again.