Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Summer Tradition

Every year when school got out, we knew we could count on a few things.   One, that freezer pops would magically appear in the freezer, two, that a new chore chart would soon make its appearance, and lastly, that we would be loading up the van and heading on a road trip soon!

And, if you know the Crains, you know it wasn't just a road trip a few hours away, but it was always some cross-country adventure that involved zigging to out of the way places, so we could say that we'd been to somewhere new.    In my childhood, we criss-crossed the country hitting all 48-contiguous states, Canada, and Mexico.  

But almost as much as it was just trying to cross a border, it was about the people.  My dad LOVED connecting with relatives and old friends and we surprised many a person by showing up at people's doors to say, "hello," unexpectedly.   I imagine that nowadays he might call them on his cellphone first, but back in the day, he would have his address book, a map (although the map didn't stop us from getting lost on a regular basis), and a plan for how we would surprise them.   Sometimes a kid would go to the door first,  sometimes he would feign an accent and try to sell them something, and one time I even remember them donning missionary tags for the occasion, but success was always determined by how big the reaction was and whether we got invited in for at least a quick chat (and a chance to use the bathroom)! 

With there being ten of us, making the trip as cheap as possible was always one of the top priorities.  We ate a whole lot of PB&J's,  and our camping experiences are a series of escapades that could fill a book in and of themselves.   We've camped during raging thunderstorms,  tornado warnings, swarms of insects, and sometimes all that with missing tent poles.   I'm sure there were some smooth camping experiences in there, but I don't remember any.  It was always some misadventure or another! Every once in a while my parents would give in and get a motel for the night, so we could shower (or stay dry after several nights in a row of rain), but even then it would be all of us in one room camping all over the floor!

But we did it.   

Most people with eight kids and limited resources would just stay home, but I love the fact that our family has been all over this beautiful country together.   It meant a lot to my parents that we kids see places and do things that broadened our horizons and they made it happen!   It wasn't always easy or comfortable (is it even possible for  10 people in a van to be comfortable?), but I am so grateful for the opportunity we've had to explore national parks, see many great cities, and visit landmarks that many people only dream about going to.    

And it's a tradition we've continued in our own family.   Our van isn't quite as crowded, we don't camp very often (bad memories!),  and we definitely watch a few dvd's mingled in with the hours of alphabet and license plate games, but when we zig 40-miles out of our way so we can cross North Dakota off our list, it's an instant flashback to the road trips of my childhood and I know the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree!  

Happy road tripping! 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The EEG

June 14:  After 6+ years of having dozens and dozens of absence seizures per day, the last few months Ellie's seizures have dropped to almost zero.   Even in Europe when our routines were off and she was often very sleep deprived, we hardly noticed any.   The neurologist was hopeful that she was finally outgrowing them (the normal course of her type of epilepsy).  This thought got us very excited and we started having grand visions of her having a normal EEG today and us starting to wean her down from her anti-seizure medication.  

Alas, it was not meant to be.   She still had at least two seizures during the procedure, which means that, yes, her medication is more effective than it's been in the past, but she still has childhood absence epilepsy and it's not time to wean her from the medication yet.  

<sigh>

After that it was time to go home and deal with the car.   Glen actually stayed home from work to help the process.    It was a looooooooooooooong day of ongoing car issues and other worries.   

In the meantime one of our favorite missionaries was in town visiting with his mom and asked to come visit.  We felt very honored that he would choose to come visit us and I was disappointed that I could not be home when he came.   

We love Elder Perkins!   

The evening  was one of extreme unpleasantness that I shall  refrain from recounting in this public forum.   Let's just say that it was rather hellacious and it, combined with my extreme lack of sleep from the night before, meant that I was not in my best form for dealing with it all.  


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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Good, the Good, the Bad, the Bad, the Bad, and the Bad



June 13:  
 Good:  I went to a visiting teaching brunch with some awesome ladies.  The food was delicious and the company even better.

Good:  Ellie and Adam had a piano recital and they both did great!

Bad: Spencer crashed the car (yes, that would be the second  crashed car in the last couple of weeks).   The struts were damaged, the tire shredded, the passenger side mirror shattered, and the front passenger side body banged up.  We only repaired what it took to get the car moving again, completely ignoring the damaged body and mirror, which meant it was only $450 down the tube.....  


Bad: It was a HUGELY stressful evening sorting out the details of everything that happened. 

Bad:  Because of the stressful situation at home, Glen had to take the metro home from the airport tonight.   It took 2+ hours. 

Bad:   Cami backed out of her commitment to stay up late with Ellie, so that Ellie could be properly sleep deprived for her EEG in the morning.    That means yours truly got to stay up until 2:15am and wake up at 6:30am.   Yay me. 

Bad: Sleep deprivation and stressful circumstances  are not the ideal set-up for proper mental functioning.  


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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Stake Conference and Missionaries x2

oops!   I was trying to schedule this for a future day, but messed up and accidentally published it too soon, which is why you've seen this in your feed before!

June 11:
At stake conference today,  Cami and her roommate, Katy, ran into one of their good friends from BYU, Ty, who is now serving as a missionary in our stake.  They were very happy to see each other, but  said it was very weird  not being able to give him a big hug.

Emma also had her voice recital today.  I missed her first performance, but was able to see her performing, "Hark, the Echoing Air".  The camera's sound quality is very poor and does not capture the clearness and the beauty of Emma's voice very well, but hopefully this will give you a glimpse of the difficulty of songs she performs.   I love hearing her sing!  


June 12:   Speaking of missionaries and stake conference, today I ran into the missionaries serving in our ward at stake conference and spontaneously invited them over for dinner.    We made lasagna, breadsticks, salad, and this cake.   It looks all fancy, but it's actually just an overcooked cake mix cake on the inside.   I may or may not have eaten more frosting than actual cake.   


It was a lot of fun to have the missionaries over.  We saw some cool birds on our deck during dinner (a bluejay and a ruby-throated hummingbird).  We ended up playing Telestrations with them and they shared a message about redemption.  

Other than Glen being out of town, it was a great day!


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A Lump

June 10:
Today Glen had a "giant lipoma" removed from his back.


 Because of how large it was, the surgery had to be done in the hospital.

Lipomas are almost always benign, so the doctor isn't worried too much about it, but they are doing a biopsy on it just to be on the safe side.    The surgery took about an hour and while he was under I went to visit the pediatric hematology-oncology floor.   They recently built a brand new wing of the hospital and it's now on the tenth floor of the new wing.   I only ran into one familiar face (Holly from ChildLife).   It's crazy how much things change in four years.   

Between the surgery and the visit to the hem-onc floor, I was surprisingly worn out, and later forgot all about a birthday party that Ellie was  invited to.  Eventually (after a phone call from the mom of a girl I was supposed to pick up along the way)  I dropped her off late when I took Adam to his flag football game.  
It was a long day, but this sunset was a beautiful finish to the day.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Night at the Temple


June 9:   With my kids ages 11-21 now, I don't have to find babysitters very often anymore.  The one exception to that is when we go on youth temple trips.    It involves everyone in the family except Ellie.  At 11, she's well old enough to be on her own for a while, however because of her seizures, we aren't quite there on leaving her the several hours a temple trip takes.   It's an extra pain though, because all the teenagers we know well usually are on the temple trip too (or are  busy with something else that makes it so they can't come), and asking adults makes it feel more like a favor.
This time we called several people, none of whom could take her, and I was beginning to think that either she might just have to stay by herself or Glen or I might have to stay home from this trip.  At the last second, we finally got it taken care of, and we had a wonderful night at the temple.

Because of the timing, it was our lowest attended temple night in a long time, but it was still a good-sized group of youth.  About 90% of the names done were family names that the youth had found themselves, many of which were found by my kids!   It was an exciting and special experience for them!

 I drove a carful of 12-13-year- old girls and I got to hear a whole lot of giggling and the low-down on all the crushes.     Afterward we went out for ice cream and the silliness only increased. 

I've been in this calling (as YW president) for about four years now and going to the temple with the youth is still one of my favorite parts of it.  These youth are so busy and still they take time from their lives to come to the temple.   What great examples they are to me!

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Success!

June 8:   I am not much of a shopper, especially for clothes, so I've been somewhat dreading the whole  shopping for the mission experience with Cami.   I had the sound excuse at first, that I couldn't really do anything else until our trip to Europe was done, but, alas, that excuse is gone and it's time to get to business.

  Today we headed to Potomac Mills outlet mall and spent most of our time at Burlington Coat Factory.   She didn't find much, but did come home with this very cute outfit.

It's not a lot, but I will take whatever success we can find!  


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A Day at the Beach

June 7: Today we gathered with Ellie's little girly book group, who had just read a book about Mary Anning and her fossil finds,  and headed to Flag Pond State Park in Maryland for a day at the beach.
Zoe E., Ellie, Simone T., Miriam P.

After a stressful couple of weeks since returning home from our trip, this was exactly the laid-back, social kind of day we needed.   

And it was just as social for me as it was for Ellie!   
 Martha E., me, Katherine T., and Sarah G.

The kids were finding fossilized shark teeth, cool seashells....

and even jellyfish!

The weather was exceedingly lovely (low 80's and sunshiney)...

and it ended up being a perfect day....

for everyone!
Priscilla G, Simone T, Zoe E, Haven T, Abigail G, Lydia G, Ellie, Hannah G, Miriam P
 The only downside is that we apparently are out of practice on applying sunblock on a frequent basis, because Adam, Ellie, and I  all ended up with a little sunburn, despite a good slathering of it at the beginning.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Gravity Cake

June 6:  My sister, AnnaLisa, asked for Emma's help to make a cake for her FHE group.  Me?  I would have used a cake mix and slapped some frosting on, or maybe made my favorite carrot cake, which is delicious, but decidedly not very pretty.

But that's not Emma.

Here's her labor of love:   The Gravity Cake!

Not surprisingly, it was a huge hit among AnnaLisa's friends!   

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Normal Life?

May 31: First semi-normal feeling day since coming back from our trip, except for Ellie packing her bags for Hogwarts.   Did lots and lots of laundry.

June 1: Spencer was having some neuropsych testing done, so we spent ALL day at Children's Hospital in DC.


June 2:  Had to drive Spence both ways to work, took a hike with the Spigarelli's and stake YW leaders, Ellie missed activity days because I am inept, and we went to a concert at JMHS for mutual tonight.



June 3: Another almost normal day.  Tried to take Adam to flag football practice and game and spent an hour in traffic only to find out that the road was flooded and closed.   We went back home.


 June 4:  Went on a hike around Burke Lake (about 4.5 miles), then spent the rest of the day doing yard and house work.



June 5:  As per ward tradition, the girls who went to Mormon prom wore their dresses to church today.   Here's a glimpse of four of my beautiful Laurels!   Love these girls!


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Patriotic Food

May 30:  Happy Memorial Day!  

Today involved long overdue yard work,  planting my birthday flowers (a month late), having a fun outing to the gym, putting flowers on our grandparent's graves....

and this lovely culinary creation by Emma!

Rest assured, that it was as delicious as it looked!

We also had watermelon and sandwiches for dinner and Ellie made our patriotic layered drinks.

Yum!

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Rolling Thunder and More

May 29:  It's the Sunday before Memorial Day, which means that it's the day that Rolling Thunder rolls through our community.    

Don't know what Rolling Thunder is?  

Let me enlighten you.   Every year as Memorial Day approaches, motorcyclists from around the nation gather in the DC area to participate in events that bring awareness to the POW's and MIA's from the wars of the past.    There are numerous events all over the area during the weekend, but on the Sunday before Memorial Day, they gather at Harley Davidson stores, the policemen block off other traffic, and they caravan parade-style to a gathering in downtown DC.     It's quite an amazing sight to see a stream of thousands of motorcyclists unified in a patriotic cause.

It's one of the highlights of our Memorial Day weekend and we are grateful for the opportunity we have to cheer them on in their journey most years (when our church schedule doesn't interfere with the timing).

We love seeing their motorcycles bedecked in flags and other patriotic symbols!

The only problem with Rolling Thunder, is that we always get blocked into our neighborhood by the road closures.   In order for me to get to ward council, I had to drive several miles  the opposite direction of the church, so that I could get around the closures.   Luckily I know that, because there was one poor fellow who just moved to the area, who ended up arriving quite late.

Wait.    

The Goolds had two fully good days in a row?   

Of course this couldn't be!   

Spencer informed us today that he was actually injured in his car crash earlier this week and that he thought he needed to see the doctor.  


So he had a large wound on his wrist from the airbag and X-rays preliminarily showed a fracture.  
So yeah, the rolling thunder in our lives seems to be continuing onward.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Best Place on Earth

May 28: In amongst all the gunky things that have been happening this week, we had this happy day thrown in there. It was Cami's first trip to the temple to receive her endowments!

It was a wonderful day and made even more wonderful that she got to share it with her two best friends, Matt and Katy.    They're all heading on missions this summer (Katy to Argentina and Matt to Mexico), and we couldn't be more thrilled about  their friendship and where they're heading in life!

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Real Life Again

May 27:   Real life again.

I am back for the last day of the homeschooling conference, but am now officially sick with what Ellie had and have zero appetite and even less energy.

I am pretty sure that I performed some seriously comical snoozing feats during a few classes today.
But we didn't last long.   

Adam is now sick too and we are going home early.

I was excited though that at least we would miss the traffic going home.  Surely the traffic in the middle of the day would be better than rush hour when the conference officially ended.   

Nope.   It's me, so of course it's going to take me another 2-1/2 hours.    

<sigh>

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