Anlie’s Baptism / Cross Country Summer Trip

=Warning. Boring travel log.=  :) Wow- I am horrible at documenting our family journal/blog. Oh. Well. At least I’m documenting today, right? Well, I suppose I should mention that last December 27th, 2014, our family moved from San Tan Valley, AZ to the Cincinnati, OH area. Michael accepted a position with The Art Institute of Ohio- Cincinnati as the Sr. Director of Admissions & Marketing. I will also mention we are still renting out our house in San Tan Valley (and have been since we first moved to Indianapolis in the summer of 2012). We lived in Arizona for about a year and a half before moving to Cincinnati.

So now that we’re all up to speed :), this last June 20th Anlie turned eight years old! We really wanted to have family be able to attend her baptism so we decided to make a fun summer trip out of traveling across the U.S. Michael wasn’t able to come with us unfortunately. He was under obligation to accept a temporary work assignment in Santa Monica, California. We flew him from L.A. to Phoenix for the weekend of Anlie’s baptism.

We left about 5pm on Wednesday, June 10th, first traveling to Idaho to visit my brother and sister-in-law, Timothy & Kristy, and their family. We arrived Friday the 12th sometime between noon and 2 p.m. I think. They took us up to Yellowstone National Park, Lava Hot Springs, cave exploring and even an evening out at Stoplight Pizza. They had fun slippin’ sliding on a giant tarp in the backyard Kristy hosed down with soap and water and later listened to Uncle Timothy’s true “ghost” stories around a fire while eating s’mores. It was really fun playing and getting to spend time with their family since we rarely see them.

While in Idaho I was also able to attend my Great Aunt Shirley Pincock’s funeral which was nice to be able to go to. Due to the funeral, my mom drove up to Idaho with Cory & Amy who also decided last minute (as in the day of leaving) that they could cram in a quick get-together with my family & Timothy’s in Idaho since they needed to be in Sacramento soon after for Amy’s Uncle’s funeral. Due to Amy’s Uncle’s funeral, they couldn’t stay for Aunt Shirley’s funeral, so that meant my mom needed to catch a ride to AZ with us. That worked out pretty conveniently that the kids got to have Grandma travel with them!

Early Wednesday morning the 17th, we left Idaho and traveled to Arizona for Anlie’s birthday and baptism and my mom’s birthday.  After those events we were able to cram in some dental appointments for the kids with their familiar dentist, a physical for Camby’s school’s cross-country team requirements, and Ryker’s 3-year well visit. Both boys are above 95th percentile for height and about 75th percentile for weight. They must be related. :) Every day we were in Arizona ended up being crazy-busy! I completely spaced getting together with Tiffany Johnson and her kids- something we were looking forward to for several weeks since we haven’t seen them for a couple of years. I was so sad to get a text from her as we were leaving Amarillo on our way home asking if we had already left. Ugh. I was so mad at myself. Oh, well. Anyway, the evening of my mom’s birthday we were also able to go out for frozen custard at Nielson’s with Grandma and Grandpa Neus and spend time with them one last time before going home.

The day after my mom’s birthday, June 27th, we decided to take advantage of being on the west coast and travel on over to L.A. to spend the weekend with Michael in his temporary work-paid-for apartment on the beach for a few days. Hey- might as well visit the beach since it was right out the front door! The kids had a blast. We would have loved to stay longer (um, like the rest of the summer!) but Camby had to be home in time for scout camp. We were also able to walk down to the aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier to let the kids see eels, fish, stingrays, starfish, help feed the swell sharks and touch sea cucumbers and starfish. The day before we left to go back home to Ohio (Sunday the 28th), Cory & Amy and their daughters Ella & Raspberry (Raspberry is a foster child we’re hoping they can adopt) stopped by for about an hour on their drive back to Mesa from Sacramento. It was great to be able to see them one last time before heading back.

I woke up at 4am on Monday the 29th, got ready, and had Michael and Camby help me load the car up for our trip home. We left about 5:30am and traveled to Amarillo, TX where we stayed the night at a hotel. I think we got there around 11 p.m. We left about 10:45 am the next morning and drove all day and night. By the time we reached St. Louis, MO I really wasn’t tired at all so I figured I’d take advantage of the sleeping kids and peace and quiet and kept driving all the way home. We arrived around 6 a.m. Of course it was really like driving only until 3 a.m. since my body was still on west coast time.  😉 We completely unloaded the car, I got the shower I desperately wanted, then I took a little 5 hour “nap”, if you will.  :)

I set my trip odometer just as we left to begin our trip. I check it when we arrived home. 6,502 miles. Yep. We did a LOT of driving in 3-1/2 weeks.

Camby had Thursday through Sunday to recover from all his fun before heading off to scout camp at Camp Friedlander early Monday, July 6th. He comes home tomorrow morning. Yay! Guess who gets to mow the tall grass after all the rain every day this week! (Shh… he’ll be so excited!)

Kids Rock Arizona 2014

Last Saturday, Jan. 18th, Maille, Merik and Anlie participated in their first “Kids Rock Arizona” 1 mile fun run!  Camby, Maille, Merik and Anlie have all been participating in their elementary school’s before-school running club.  They all begged to run in the Kids Rock Arizona run once the running club sent out information about it, so I reluctantly signed them up (it wasn’t exactly cheap to register 4 kids!)  :)  A week before the run we found out Camby had a scout camp out that same weekend.  I let him choose which he wanted to go to and camping won out (go figure!)

I was so proud of them for being such good little runners!  Even Anlie, who really wasn’t feeling well and said she wasn’t going to do it, ran anyway.  They got neat “medals” at the end along with a goodie bag.  Just before we left I had the kids line up at the start line to take their picture all together and photographer asked if he could have them hold hands and jump together for future promo shot.  So they did… like 20 times.  And then he finally got the shot he wanted, ha, ha.  Or so he says.  :)  Anyway, it was funny to watch anyhow.  My dad came with me since Michael had to work.  It was a good thing because there was no way I could run back and forth between the start and finish lines in time to help each of them and take their picture.  He was a huge help and of course the kids always love attention from Grandpa.  :)  (Thanks Dad!)

Congrats Maille, Merik and Anlie for being good, fast finishers!

Maille, Merik & Anlie at Kids Rock Arizona

Maille, Merik & Anlie at Kids Rock Arizona

Michael’s Car Accident

Friday, November 8th was an unexpectedly eventful day for us. Michael left for work around 10:30am or so.  At 11:45am as Ryker and I rocked in the rocking chair prior to his nap time, I received a call from Michael’s cell phone, though it wasn’t Michael calling. The voice on the other end introduced himself as a fireman and told me that Michael had been in a collision and that he was okay, but were taking him to the hospital.  I asked which hospital and where the accident had taken place.  He told me that they were taking him to Scottsdale Healthcare (nearly 40 miles away from our home) and that the accident happened at the intersection of Ocotillo Rd. & Sossaman in Queen Creek – just 15 min. away from home.

After I hung up the phone, I called Michael’s parents to let them know what was going on; I also called my mom to ask her if I could drop off the kids to her house and then I also called Michael’s work to let them know they would need to find someone to cover for him. Then I packed up Ryker and his diaper bag and went to check the kids out of school so I could drop them off at my parent’s house in Mesa on the way to the hospital. The kids were surprised for being unexpectedly picked up early from school and when they came up to the school’s front office, asked me why they were leaving.  I told them their dad was in a car accident, but that he was okay, and that they were going to Grandma’s while I went to the hospital.  They were immediately concerned and worried but I assured them Dad was okay.

I don’t remember exactly what time I got to the hospital but Michael’s parents were already there as was my dad who had left work early to see if he could assist in giving Michael a blessing.  Michael’s parents had also called one of Michael’s brothers, so Kevin was there too.  I had come down with a fever, chills and horrible cough two days prior, so I really wasn’t feeling well when I showed up and tried really hard not to cough too much so that I wouldn’t get thrown out of the ER, ha, ha.  :)  When I got back to where he was, he really looked like he was hurting pretty bad.  He had had x-rays done and thankfully he had no broken bones.  We tried to help him sit up at the edge of the bed, but he was really nauseated and had to lay back down.  But you know the hospital- they have drugs for everything and they gave him some great stuff to make the nausea go away.  Still, the poor guy could hardly move.

I asked him what had happened and he told me that he was traveling west on Ocotillo Rd. and at the intersection of Sossamon, a car in the left turn lane just slightly ahead of him preparing to turn left (south) suddenly swerved just as he  entered the intersection on a green light, and then all he saw was a flash of red from a red northbound Ford Expedition.  He said it happened so fast he didn’t have time to react and the next thing he knew he and his car were spinning around 3 or 4 times.  The Ford truck was traveling about 50 mph and the distracted driver ran a red light at the intersection he apparently didn’t know he had even entered. Michael said he thought he sat in his car for only a few minutes before paramedics arrived.  They pried the door off to get him out and performed some preliminary tests on him.  They thought he had some internal bleeding so they airlifted him to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborne.  Yeah, that’s right.  He got a nice little helicopter ride. But he didn’t get to enjoy the view out the window since he was strapped down to a stretcher.  Bummer.  Anyway, once he got to the hospital and gave him a good looking over, they found there was no internal bleeding or broken bones.  What a blessing.  Unfortunately he was still in a lot of pain.

A while after the anti-nausea meds kicked in, we wrapped up paperwork with the hospital and Michael’s dad wheeled him out in a wheelchair while I pulled my car around to the ER entrance. On the long drive back we had to stop at the Queen Creek Sheriff’s Office substation, as a police officer had called and said he had Michael’s wallet. The officer told us the driver of the red Ford was on his way to a doctor’s appointment for pinkeye treatment.  Not only that but the guy was driving his father’s new 2013 Ford Expedition and was getting married that evening.  The driver sustained only minor injuries.  I do hope he was able to go on with his wedding that night, but how unfortunate to have pinkeye and then get in an accident just a few hours before tying the knot.  I do feel bad for that poor guy.

Unfortunately for us Michael’s car was totaled. Ugh. Just what we need right now. I forgot to add gap insurance back on to his car when I refinanced it a few months ago, so we’ll be paying about $2K negative equity on a dead car after the insurance payment kicks in.  That stinks!  He is currently undergoing physical therapy which he is supposed to do for about 12 weeks. That’s a major difficulty with his work schedule right now. He works 6am to 9pm Saturday through Tuesday, and 11am or noon to about 9pm the rest of the week.  So his few free hours he would normally spend at home he now has to spend at physical therapy.  Good times.  Not.

I will say we are so blessed that he is alive and okay.  The accident could have been so much worse. The doctor at physical therapy told Michael that on a scale of 1 to 10, 1- him having a normal spine and 10- his spine being snapped in half, he was about an 8-1/2.  Referring to a swollen spot near the top of Michael’s spine, the doctor said that if his spine would have snapped at that point, his esophagus would have gone too and he would have died. He said, “So I can tell you why you’re in a lot of pain and that it was a bad accident.”  Truly we were watched over and blessed, and for that I am thankful.