Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 in Pictures

Here's a pictorial glimpse at our Thanksgiving this year!  My brother Pete and his wife Mika did a beautiful job hosting and we had a fantastic time enjoying the day with them. We missed having Matt and Karey here this year and hope that maybe Christmas will bring all four of us East coast Crain siblings together again!

Random sidenote:  We did absolutely ZERO shopping this weekend! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

What is Tryptophan?

This post is for Spencer, who accused me of making up the word "tryptophan" today.

tryp·to·phan /ˈtriptəˌfan/
An amino acid commonly found in turkey meat.  When tryptophan is eaten in large quantities, it is known to cause a sedative effect in certain prone individuals.

See  below for further information:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

In a few short hours it will be Thanksgiving.
The fridge is full, but I have not yet cooked one single item.  
In fact, tonight we ordered pizzas, Ellie had friends over who were having so much fun
that I totally forgot to pickup Adam at his friend's house.  I felt horrible for arriving
 over an hour late to get him, but somehow
neither he, nor his friend, nor his friend's parents seemed to mind much at all.  
I, however, felt like a complete spacehead.

It's been very rainy and cold here the last few days and I have been feeling a little stir crazy
and out-of-sorts.  I ran errands for three hours in the pouring rain/sleet/snow today, 
just to get out of the house for a while.   Unfortunately my time did not end up as
productive as I'd hoped and I finished up feeling as frustrated as I began.  
I, for one, am very much looking forward to the opportunity to sleep in a little 
for the next few days and am hoping that getting more sleep takes the edge off my edginess.  

Tomorrow I am cooking the turkey, making sweet potatoes, baking a pie or two,
and making a salad, but we are not hosting.
My brother and his family bought a beautiful new house a few months ago
and we are excited to enjoy the day with them at their home.  

As we  head into Thanksgiving in a few minutes now, I would like to
take this opportunity to thank each of you for your friendship and support. 
Glen and I are not the greatest at expressing/showing how we feel, 
but we truly are thankful for each of you! 

We have also been specifically thankful lately for reliable cars, warm blankets, a good read-aloud book about gratitude that I've been reading with the kids, nice friends who don't judge when I show up an hour late to pick up my kid, our awesome homeschool co-op, our faith, and especially for the opportunity we've had to have our entire family be all together again.   Truly we are blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!

************************* let the Christmas carols begin!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

"It's Pork!"

I keep telling my kids over and over!

Ever since our homeschool co-op's Polynesian Luau this past weekend, my kids keep asking me where I'm keeping the  leftover pig.

I kinda see why, since it's the most pig-like we've ever seen pork in our family.

But I just can't wrap my brain around calling it "pig".  I know that turkey meat comes from turkeys and chicken meat comes from chickens, but it just simply seems wrong to use the word "pig" in the same sentence as food and eating.

 It's giving me a complex.


On another note, I am happy to say that our fridge is now in place and I think it's about big enough to hold that entire pig.


Friday, November 22, 2013

1-1/2 Year Check-Up!

Happy early Thanksgiving to us!
Spencer had his 18-month check-up today at the cancer center in Harrisonburg
and we are thrilled that all is still good.

It was interesting to hear while the new oncologist was reviewing his file with him, that she kept mentioning how aggressive his treatment protocol had been.  Finally I asked and she informed me that adults with AML are not treated as aggressively as pediatric patients, because their older bodies can't handle the damage the chemo does to their organs.  I had no idea!

After his appointment, we piled back into the car for some Grilled Cheese Mania (our favorite H-burg restaurant) and met the owner for the first time.  After the delicious dinner (I got the Mama Mania sandwich--which was a perfectly spicy, pesto, tomato, and fresh mozzarella panini) we took the two hour drive back home, wherein I finally gave way to Cami's begging and let her drive the last 20 miles or so. 
Now we are all back under one roof again for the first time in nearly three months. It is an amazingly comforting feeling and my heart is nearly bursting to think that we've got a blessed ten days together!

Clinic Stats:  
Weight:  73 kg    WBC: 7.5    RBC: 4.53  Platelets:  162   Hgb:  15.3


Glen's Facebook update this evening:
 I believe in miracles. I've seen too many of them in my life to deny. My 18-year old son just had his 18-month check up to see how he's doing in his battle against Leukemia. Well, Spencer remains cancer free! First of all, congrats Spence - we love you!!! Second, there's a story in the "Good Book" about 10 lepers that had contracted a hideous, degrading, embarrassing, ostracizing and life shortening disease. As Christ passed by them, he was filled with compassion and physically healed all 10 of them. Only one of them returned to thank Jesus for restoring his life back to him. Christ told that one individual that his gratitude allowed him to be healed spiritually in addition to being healed physically. Today, I say thank you to my God for the miracle of healing my son and helping him remain cancer free for these past 18 months. The odds were not pretty when we started this journey, and to see Spencer healthy, in college and cancer-free, well, to me is an amazing miracle. What a great way to head into Thanksgiving to have this (and so many other things) to be grateful for!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

QC at Night

Congrats to all you travel bugs who correctly guessed that the last stop on our vacation was to Old Quebec City!   Kelly and Valerie should stay tuned for a prize of some sort or another!

It was seriously one of the absolute coolest places we'd ever been as a family and every single person in our family was completely enamored with our little taste of the Old World in the middle of Canada. From the English and French architecture, to the plethora of French food (that wasn't very expensive), to the streets bustling with people morning, noon, and night, we were sad that we'd only left about 24-hours to explore there.

One of the most fascinating parts of Old QC was the fact that it never seemed to slow down a bit.  We first arrived there around 10:00pm one night and couldn't believe the sheer number of people milling around so late at night.  It made us wonder what it was like when something actually exciting was happening.  

As it was, the people took over the streets and had to make way for any cars that were bold enough to try to make their way through the crowds.  

One of my favorite sights was standing at the edge of a bluff at night overlooking Lower Quebec City.  The St. Lawrence River is in the background and the city of Levis is across the river.   Wow!

Sitting atop that bluff, Le Chateau Frontenac dominates the Quebec City skyline and is considered the most photographed hotel in the entire world.  

 And since it was in approximately 25% of the 602 photos that I took in QC, it's definitely not a stat that I'll argue with!  

 In fact, we even got a family picture with it in the background while we were on the ferry from Levis to QC. Don't mind how completely tired and unattractive I look in this picture.  It had been a LONG day driving! 

 This building and fountain caught my fancy while we were there and I also have a gazillion pictures of this in the day and night. 

I mentioned all the street performers in the last post, but in the ultimate of all ultimates of street performances....Cirque du Soleil does a free show there five nights a week.  The lines were a mile long and we could only watch it through the fence, but what we did see was fascinating and fun!

And although we didn't plan it  this way, the last night we were there just happen to be one of Quebec City's twice weekly firework shows during August.   

From our vantage point up on the bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence, it was every bit as breathtaking as you might imagine and was a great send off as we left the next morning. 

Stay tuned for one more QC post, which at long last will officially be the last (or second-to-last) vacation post of 2013! 


Friday, November 15, 2013

Name that City

On our vacation this past summer, we made one more stop that I have yet to blog about.  I took so many pictures there and was so enchanted by this city, that it's seemed rather overwhelming trying to do it justice in a blogpost.  I'm sure that there will end up being at least a few different posts about it eventually, but today I am taking that first step of introducing all of you dear blog readers, to what I think is the absolute most charming and exotic city in all of North America.

Can you figure out where we were based on these pictures and clues? 
It was my dad who recommended that we visit this city on the way home from Prince Edward Island.  It's not really on the way home from PEI, but based on his descriptions of it and the stunning scenery we'd pass to get there, we added an extra day to our trip to visit.  

My dad had served a church mission here back in the early 1970's and although I had been here before many years ago, I had never had a chance to get out and explore the city and therefore didn't remember anything about it.  We were in the city for all of an hour before we decided that we needed to cut off the last stop of our trip and extend our stay here by an extra day.  

We did not regret that decision one bit.

The architecture here in was breathtaking.  We had to continually remind ourselves that we were still in North America and not magically transplanted across the Atlantic to some quaint European town. 

Morning, noon, and night...the streets were crawling with people....

with a disproportionate number of them decked out in elaborate costumes.  

My kids (Adam and Spencer in particular) were fascinated with the large numbers of uber fancy sports cars that dotted the city.   Lamborghinis, Lotuses, Ferraris, and some too fancy to even recognize were everywhere in the city.  

More amazing architecture. 

I was in love with all the old churches...

and palaces...

and homes!  I don't think there was a boring building to be seen.  

We also really enjoyed the street performers that performed every evening.  Apparently they have to try out before the city will allow them to perform, so each of them was pretty dang amazing in their own rights!

First person outside my family to correctly name this city will win a super awesome prize that will probably have to do with an apple pie if you live close and something yet to be determined if you live far away. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rolling Out the Red Carpet

Have you ever dreamed about having the red carpet rolled out for you? 

About two weeks ago these beautiful young women got to find out what it was like at a very special night celebrating, "Young Women in Excellence". 

After walking down the red carpet, they were presented with special awards....

after which they gave a little speech and shared a bit of how they had strived to make good decisions and  stand in holy places  this past year. 

Then they shared a goal that they'd worked on this past year for Personal Progress.  Cami talked about holding a cupcake sale and donating the proceeds to  cancer research and Emma played and sang, "Love is Spoken Here." 

It was a special night and so refreshing to hear that, in amongst the distractedness that is so prevalent in today's society, that here are a group of girls that are constantly looking out of the needs of others, developing their talents, and standing up for goodness and righteousness each and every day of their lives.

I am so grateful for Cami's and Emma's associations with them...  
and absolutely love the time I get to spend with them each week!


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