Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rocket Science

Jack has developed an exciting new interest in science. This weekend it was all about rockets!

I was so excited when I heard Jack ask his dad if he would help him build a real rocket that could fly. Branden could have easily said no, not today son, but instead he said sure! It was Saturday morning and Branden had planned to work on one or two if we were lucky of the many, many unfinished projects we have around the house. But instead, he and his boys built real rockets that could fly!

Such excited little men!

Changing the design and adding fins for aerodynamics

So proud of their soda bottle rockets

adding the water before the launch

Check out Jack's rocket go!

Benjamin's 1st attempt

Benjamin's Rocket - shooting for the stars

Here's where it landed!

Fun stuff!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Long over due update

As we are approaching the one year anniversary (February 6, 2010) of my nephew Brent's horrible car accident I realized it's been quite awhile since I posted an update about him. I Feel bad that I haven't updated in so long and wanted to take a moment to update those that have been following his story and praying for him. For those that don't know the details feel free to clink on the "myfamily" link below or read some of my past post with the label Brent Sirignano.

Brent has made amazing progress these past 11 months. We are all so proud of him - well, actually we are all extremely proud of the whole family. The way they have come together through this scary situation and have pulled through a stronger, more connected family. They are an inspiration to us all. We feel so blessed to have spent some very special time with them this past Thanksgiving, at my Dad's birthday and Christmas and again for Benjamin's 4th birthday. These were really great moments that we won't ever forget!

*Keith, their oldest son, our oldest nephew is not pictured. He is engaged to be married and was unable to celebrate with us this year.

Here's the latest update on the "myfamily.com site" posted by my sister Mingie and brother in law Ed.

Hello to ALL,

Well 2011 is under way and Brent is off to a great start. Home tutoring and therapies are going well and Brent continues to heal and show improvements. We attended the ETHS varsity game last night and several of Brents friends came over to say hi and grab a hug. Then we watched the team pull out an amazing win in the last seconds of the game. Yes, we still Love this game and always will. Such an intense finish. Brent handled the excitement, the noise and even balanced himself on the unstable bleachers for the whole game. Good therapy for him! It was our first time being in the gym since the accident and of course being at the gym was a little bitter sweet.

On another note Eddies life seems to be getting back on track and he is showing improvement at school and just in general is a happier person and has regained the security in his life these days. Since Brents accident he has been and continues to be very protective of his brother and for most of last year he was Brents younger, but big brother. It was a very emotional year for Eddie, but as Brent continues to improve, we are seeing positive signs with Eddie too. Brent, however has now reaffirmed his big brother status and sometimes even acts like Eddies second Dad these days, questioning Eddie about his plans , when he will be home, who is driving etc. They certainly have formed quite a bond during this last year.

Keith and Amanda's wedding is approaching fast and we are finally at a place in our lives where we can really be happy for them and our family is getting very excited as the big day gets nearer. We Love you both and are very very happy for you.

May God bless ALL of you in 2011.

Love Always,

The Sirignano Family

Here are some pictures from Christmas of our AWESOME nephews with our boys.

The boys are so thankful to have their playful, happy cousin Brent back. Watching them interact was the BEST Christmas gift I could have asked for.

Whenever the boys and Eddie are together it's a constant giggle fest. He is such a fun and patient cousin. He is REALLY good with them. What a blessing he is. I only wish they lived closer (boo hoo)

Here's Keith and Amanda being as adorable as ever! Amanda is just a doll and we are so excited to have her as our niece and the kids cousin. Here she is being Jack's assistant for his magic tricks he was performing for the family. He was so happy to have her helping him!


We would like to send a big thank you to everyone who prayed for Brent and the whole family these past 11 months. We would be honored if you would please continue to pray for Brent as he continues on his journey of healing and regaining what was so quickly taken from him last year. Also, please let his experience serve as a reminder how quickly your life can change - in an instant everything can change.

Be safe when you drive, make wise choices and always, always, always let your your family know how much you love them!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Family Friday!

I just wanted to share these two new family snapshots we got last week when celebrating Benjamin's 4th birthday. Can you even believe my baby boy is 4?

It's been a LONG week and I'm looking forward to some family time this weekend. Hope you are able to enjoy some yourself!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A series of unfortunate events

**This post is from last night (1/4/11). I'm only posting it because it's kind of comical now and I want it as a reminder that things always get better

Unfortunately, this is going to be a downer of a post with me complaining about all the crappy things that have been happening to me (us) lately. Sorry about that, but it has been a really bad day that seems to be getting worse by the minute. As we speak, Branden is at The Home Depot or Lowes – who even knows or cares to be honest. But, he’s there buying a snake (I think) to unclog our bathroom toilet which is now backing up into our bathtub. For those of you that remember, this is our one and only working bathroom. Our front bathroom sprang a leak, what now seems like an eternity ago and that bathroom has been completely out of commission since then. Of course these things never happen at a good time, but this is truly the worst time. Poor Branden is trying to prepare for a big presentation he needs to give on Thursday. He has SO much work to do and does not need this added stress. He was up until after 3am last working on it and I’m sure will do the same tonight.

I know you are probably thinking "come on Nicole, a clogged toilet and tub is an inconvenience but clearly not the end of the world, you of all people should know this”. I do know this, really I do. I know that our health - the health of our children and family are all that truly matter in life. However, after the string of bad luck and stresses we have had the last two weeks I am just really struggling to keep focus and perspective. I am frustrated and angry and am really just trying to hold it all together.

Here’s just a quick list of our series of unfortunate events:

On the 20th our dryer broke and we had to buy a new one (although clearly not a budgeted expense) because ours was super old and had been repaired twice before.

That same night Jack has an asthma attack and is sick with asthma/croup issues for the next few days. Asthma stuff ALWAYS scares me.

On the 21st, while driving to Children’s Hospital LA in the rain we discover that the brakes are going bad. We take the car in and yes, they need to be replaced – more unbudgeted expenses.

On the 27th as I’m running out the door to take Annabelle to PT we realize that my car battery is dead. We charge it but it dies immediately. We take it in and they say it’s dead – you need a new one. Great, yet another unbudgeted expense!

During these next few days we start to notice that Annabelle is getting sick. Obviously, this is so disappointing since we have been working so hard to keep her healthy. By the 31st she has a high fever and is vomiting ~ we assume it’s another UTI. Of course we have to cancel our New Year’s Eve plans. This was not a huge deal to cancel, but was a big disappointment as we were all looking forward to celebrating with friends. At the doctors they tell me she has an ear infection, I think huh, okay, that’s sort of good in a typical kid illness kind of way. They decide to take a urine sample to be safe. Fast forward to January 2nd when the Dr. calls to tell us that not only does Annabelle have an ear infection but she has another UTI and not just any old UTI but the kind that can only be treated with Cipro - that really strong antibiotic that we really don't like to use. GREAT!

Do you want to know what the saddest part about the whole Dr.’s visit on New Year's Eve was? It was that the whole time there I was so happy that it was 12/31 ant not 1/1 because starting 1/1 ALL deductibles and out of pocket maximum go back to zero! So that $10 office visit would have been a $50+ office visit the very next day. Yep, the beginning of a new year is always dreaded for financial reasons.

So now here we are again January 4, 2011, still with a backed up toilet and bathtub. I forgot to mention that our internet is down – it's been down all day (ugh!). So, I’m actually typing this in MS Word with the intention of copying it into my blog as soon as I have a connection and clearly I can’t ask Branden to see what's going on (double ugh!) So, in the time I’ve been typing this (and trying to nurse my little girl who does not want to go to sleep tonight) things haven’t gotten much better. Branden has returned home with the rented snake from The Home Depot, he has changed into his coveralls and has been doing something loud outside for the last 30+ minutes. He’s now on the phone with the aforementioned Home store because the snake he rented from them seems to be missing a part! He looks furious and has now just run out the door, which I am assuming to go down there because they probably close in 15 minutes (it’s 8:45pm). I’ve got a sink full of dishes I’m afraid to do just in case it starts to back up there and I have a little girl who is determined to not go to sleep anytime soon!

Okay, so I’m “supposed” to feel better now that I have typed this all out, right? It really does still suck and it has been extremely expensive but honestly I do feel better now that I have gotten all off my chest, because really what can you do when crappy stuff happens do. I guess just focus on all the good in our lives, all the people that have been so generous and have helped our family. Just recently my brother in law so generously gave of his time and his business’s time to help start putting our front bathroom together. He installed a new bathtub and has a new toilet and shower fixtures waiting to be installed once Branden gets the drywall and floors done, my Dad who so graciously helped to pay for my brakes and wouldn’t take no for an answer, The Epstein-Levine family who has given (YES, I SAID GIVEN!) us a one week vacation in their time share in San Diego to be used at the end of next month, and I don’t want to forget last months “Christmas miracle” where Dr. Javahery’s office wrote off a very large bill we owed him.

We are so blessed to have these angels in our life and although it’s sometimes hard for me to keep perspective when we’ve had what seems like really, really bad luck. However, I am able to clearly see it now! I’m glad I took the time to complain and then reflect - it was well worth it to help me move past this yucky feeling I’ve had in my belly all day.

Quick bathroom update: It’s 9:52 and he snaked out the culprit (looks like one of those tushie wipes) and the drain is once again clear. Now to clean the bathroom and wash all the towels he dirtied.

Quick Internet update: It’s 11:35 no, now it's 12:15 and we are STILL on hold with Verizon trying to get someone to help us get reconnected to the internet. We have been on hold for almost 2 hours (not feeling so blessed at the moment!) After 1 hour and 57 minutes on hold with Verizon the internet suddenly started working on it's own. They never answered but it works now - go figure! Oh but it's 1:30 in the morning and Branden has passed out asleep :-o

Thank goodness tomorrow is a new day!