Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Difficult Week -- posted by John

Webb stopped breathing. It happenened last Monday. It started with him getting a cold. He didn't have a fever but Mom and Dad gave him some Theraflu at 2am on Monday when Mom heard some congestion in his chest. They put him in his thinking chair which is a leather recliner in the den and Mom stayed up with him. He fell asleep so she didn't mess with him since he was breathing easy in his chair. When she went to give him his next dose she felt he was having a raging fever. The thermometer had 103 degrees! While Dad was calling the doctor, Mom sat him up to put his clothes on to go, but when she moved him, he quit breathing and his toes and fingers turned blue! Mom hollered for Dad to call an ambulance. They got here quickly but it felt like a very long time.

Today he got out of PICU which is the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Now he is on the fourth floor. They said at first that it was pneumonia and then they said it wasn't and it kept changing. Four doctors said it was but Webb's doctor said it wasn't. Finally they said the worst thing he had was a kidney infection at the same time and not the congestion after all.

Mom and Webb are like, in a way, the center of the family. It is not the same without them. Mom only comes home to take a shower each morning and she hurries back to Webb. Dad stays with Webb while she's here and he only sleeps here. I don't like it. It's like a pizza without cheese and pepperoni. It's empty.

Sarah has been picking up the discipline around here and she's keeping us in shape. She baked a ham, and Will is helping her cook other food. Most of us have colds but now it is just runny noses going off and on and off and on.

For school, we watched The Teaching Company history videos and I've been writing a paper on ancient Greeks, but I haven't felt like doing much math or anything. I only had a little fever in the beginning but now it is just that runny nose again and again. We've had a few laughs, but it is not as many laughs as it would have been with the whole family.

We've been making Greek weapons and the spear is called a dory. George made a helmet out of a broom brush but we are also making helmets like gladiators. They have two rectangles on the cheek and a nose guard.

Right now I am dictating this to Mom over the phone since I'm not allowed to go on the internet when my parents aren't home. She doesn't change my words so it is still all me here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Our Snow Day -- posted by John

Like I said, it snowed! Check out our Dixie snowmen:

We don't normally get snow here in SC so I can tell you that it was thrilling. It was just a dusting, but there was enough to have a dirty snowball fight, and we skated on the deck. We have a very large deck so it was easy to play hockey, and even though we fell and slammed our bottoms, hips, and knees, we had an unforgettable time.

We tried to sled but we soon found out that we were tearing up the grass. The sled actually slid but when we looked back, we realized it took the snow with it. The sled made a snow-less track behind us, but it really did slide! It especially slid on the leaves. We had so much fun!

At one point the snow was coming down hard and we were playing an Arthurian King of the Hill (except there were four kings at a time on top of the dam with swords) and I lifted my shield over my head to block the snow that was beating upon me.

We stayed out most of the day until it all started to melt. I loved the feeling in the air and the smell of the snow. Outside smells wholly different when it's snowing.

The day was like a holiday. We came inside, had hot chocolate, and played games. We played the game of LIFE and I came in last both times. The second time I went to college in hopes of getting ahead but I still came in last. Mom came in next to last and we were the only ones to go to college. At least I got an education.

I learned to play Backgammon also. But my mother is a champion player so I haven't won yet, but I hope to. Mom is teaching me all the best moves so I can win and not always get sent to the bar and have to start over.

We also played Catch Phrase. At first they said I was too young but I kept begging and they finally gave in and let me play. I'm better than they thought I would be, but I haven't won at it either.

Lucky for me, games don't make the man.

Overheard -- posted by Mom


Richard (6), after playing the game of LIFE with the family: "My career sucked! LIFE is no fun when your career sucks!"

Mom, in disbelief that her 6 year old was casually using the word "sucked": "WHAT DID YOU SAY?"

Richard, oblivious to Mom's incredulity: "My career as an entertainer sucked! I didn't make any money. I was better off as an athlete."


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Overheard -- posted by Mom


George: "I remember the first time I saw snow. We were in a city like Florida."

Mom: "We were in Washington, DC."

George: "That's right, I think I was very annoying because I wanted to play in it everywhere we went."

Mom: "Yes, Arlington National Cemetery is no place for a snowball fight."


Richard to Sarah Grace: "I don't want you to get married.... I want you to go on a date."

Sarah Grace: "Why?"

Richard: "For your own good."


Still No Snow -- posted by John

If there was one person I could have with me while lost in a frozen mountain forest, it would be my sweet admirer, Momma. It's not that I don't love my father and sister and brothers; it's that my mother is the most affectionate of them all AND she has brains!

Last week, when 24 was on television, Mom and I were sitting next to each other and our eyes met. We took each others hand and throughout the show we would occasionally give a double squeeze. Our I-love-you Morse code made me into a soup bowl of lovin'. Some little things in life do that to me.

Today, since it will barely make it above freezing, we are doing our schoolwork under cozy blankets before a raging fire. Mom will keep the fire blazing and the kettle whistling while we knock out math problems and watch our history professor on DVD. Maybe we will have a group vocabulary lesson or play an educational game- that always warms up the room!

Since it got so cold last night, Mom slept in our (the boys') room. We have two sets of bunk beds in there and there are usually beds with more than one person in them especially if Richard doesn't sleep in Sarah's room, or if a top bunk gets full of toys or laundry or the sheets aren't put on for some reason. Mom slept with Webb in his bunk since he sometimes kicks the covers off himself. Tonight is the big night that may go down to 8 degrees, they said. She'll probably be in there to watch us tonight, too. Mom and Webb are the best to sleep with because they don't kick you. It's fun when she's with us because we talk a little back and forth while we are falling asleep and it's just cool for her to be in our territory. She brings lots of cheer. And a lantern.

I'm so glad to be in from doing farm chores. The ice in the waterers was a couple of inches thick and I had to bust it up with a stick and my fists. A muddy area was frozen solid- we could have skated on it if it wasn't so bumpy. James skated on a frozen area left by the hose. I tried to crack it with a hammer but it wouldn't break. My hands felt like solid ice even in my gloves. James couldn't feel his toes. We're safe inside now in front of Mom's fire, but it was an icy adventure!

We took the Christmas tree down just last night. It hadn't even started to sag! That was some tree.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Arctic Irmo -- posted by John

My father left for Denver to meet with his colleagues in a huge hotel for their once a year conference. If I get a lot of school work done while he's gone, he said he'll be happy to take me anywhere with him in his travels.

Last time he took me to Gainesville and I saw Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow in real life. Percy Harvin is a bullet. I saw him run with my own eyes. Tim Tebow is Hercules or some other Greek or Roman god statue.

After begging Mom to let me watch Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft by Professor Brooks Landon, she finally agreed to let me sit in with the older kids. Every time I've watched a lecture or read something about writing or style, I've understood it. I told her she shouldn't hinder my education just because it is a college course. She agreed, as long as I do elementary school and my chores.

We've had to bring the dogs in almost every night since the temperature has gone below freezing. We are having the coldest weather in nearly a quarter century! It is supposed to get down to 10 degrees on Saturday. If we'd just get some moisture down here, we could get some snow. That is a Southern boy's dream.

We chopped a couple of truckloads of wood, I bet. We filled the wood bins, and stacked up two walls in the carport. We can stay warm with the wood and the 0 degree sleeping bags, I'm sure. We also have hot chocolate, coffee, and a huge selection of tea from The Republic of Tea. It was in the 20's when I went out to do my farm chores and I can't imagine how cold 10 degrees is. "Great, I got that "excited/scared" feeling. Like 98% excited, 2% scared. Or maybe it's more - It could be two - it could be 98% scared, 2% excited but that's what makes it so intense, it's so - confused. I can't really figure it out." (Owen Wilson- Armageddon)

I sure wish some of you, dear readers, would sometimes write in my comments section or email me because I'm not allowed to surf around and read journals. This feels awfully one-sided. Mrs. Sarah's laptop is down so she only has her work computer, but I know she's not my only reader, and that there are real people behind those counter hits. I don't mean to sound needy or selfish or pushy. I would just like to say, "How do you do? And, nice to meet you!"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Baby Come Back! -- posted by John

My Diaryland friend, Mrs. Sarah, has a broken laptop so she hasn't been leaving any comments on my journal. I wrote her an email that said this: "Dear Mrs. Sarah, Get your computer fixed! Love, Johnny" Then I had a link to this:

Get it? Baby Come Back?

She called me Bossy-Boots when she answered me!

Tonight we young guns and Dad got stuck in the middle of the Interstate in the van. We had to call AAA to get us. While we were waiting, it got very cold but fortunately we found some jackets in the van that fit well enough to keep us warm. I never had that happen to me before. Getting stranded was kind of fun. The tow truck got there sooner than they said so we didn't suffer too much. We just got a little bored.

Today Mom collected all our ski pants and jackets for us to try on in case it snows this year. George has been praying every day now for a good snow, so she got us all set. Last time he prayed for snow, it started snowing while he was praying! It only snowed enough to make a muddy snowman with pinestraw sticking out of it though. She also collected candles and oil lamps in case the power goes out when it snows. Sometimes we get ice with it.

We still have our Christmas tree up. It is still drinking water and since we got it late, we wanted to enjoy it a little more. You can see our beautiful tree if you click back to Christmas pictures, or scroll down if you are reading this on

Oh, by the way, our Gators won the BCS National Championship!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Jeremiah Johnson Life for Me -- posted by John

This is not the post with the rest of the pictures like I said, but I'll get to that as soon as I can.

My holy Aunt Mary, my mom's friend, made a delicious suggestion. You should try it:

1. Thoroughly wash a tangerine.
2. Peel it and divide the segments and save the peeling.
3. Leave the separated segments on the counter until the next day or whenever the outside gets crispy.
4. Make a pot of coffee like a French roast, or do like we did and just make a strong pot of Starbucks.
5. Next, take a tiny bite of tangerine peeling and then a sip of coffee. So good.
6. Later, eat the segments once they are crispy. They'll still be juicy inside but they'll snap when you bite them.

I'm going to try it with hot chocolate next.

We started school up again. I'm still regrouping in math and I hate it. It takes forever and I already know how to do it so it's boriiiing. (Yippee! Mom just said I may skip every other equation! Boohoo... she also said I can't skip any word problems.)

For Christmas we got some 0 degree F sleeping bags and a two room tent! It is HUGE! It is plenty of room for our whole family and we were so much already in the mood because before Christmas we had been watching Jeremiah Johnson with Dad.

Right after Christmas my dad took my mom and all of us to Sportsman's Warehouse to see what our tent looks like already set up, along with other camping and fishing equipment. Going to that store was like getting another Christmas gift! It was so much fun seeing all the tents and gear for hunting and fishing and kayaks and guns and knives. We were there a long time because that store is like a bunch of stores in one.

When the whole family goes camping we can't hike to a campsite until Webb starts walking. But that's okay because Dad can take us hiking to a campsite another time. We want to be with Webb and Mom.

Mom is happy to camp with us as long as she has an air mattress and an automatic drip coffee maker. Sarah only needs a headband. Clean restrooms are nice, too.

It was fun to see all the convenience things you can get for camping, but we wouldn't really want them all because camping would lose its Jeremiah Johnson-ness.

When we came out of Sportsman's Warehouse, Dad told us to look at the moon and we all gasped because it was the brightest and biggest we had ever seen... until we realized it was the Shell service station sign with a tree hiding the shell part! We all laughed at ourselves over that.