Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas, sleds, ice and broken bones

After opening presents at home with just the immediate family on Christmas morning, we made our annual Christmas morning pilgrimage to my sister's house in Arlington Heights, IL. My nephew, Michael Preissing, unfortunately, had to leave right when we arrived. Michael's mom (my sister, Peggy) and his sisters were in Rome, Italy this Christmas visiting their dad/husband, John Preissing, who is working for the United Nations in Rome for 3 years. They were all greatly missed!

Michael and the kids

My brother, Ronn, and my sister-in-law, Barb

We did the usual opening of presents and then enjoyed Lori's always scrumptious Christmas dinner. Later, we played a great new game called Partini. It was a riot mostly at the expense of my brother-in-law, John Putz, who was the butt of many balding jokes.

On the 26th, we took all the kids to go sledding at a nearby hill. Arlington had just had about a foot of snow. This hill was extremely icy, which made for some really fast rides. It was also as hard as a rock. Someone had decided to make a monster snow ramp at the bottom of the hill. Loren had accidentally veered right to it on her first run. It launched her up about twice her height. She miraculously landed on her feet, and didn't fall. I, on the other hand, was not so lucky.

My nephew, Johnny, at one point had taken me out as I was climbing up the hill, and we both took a ride down together on his sled. Later, I tried to pay him back as he was walking up. Being an agile 16 year old, he hopped over me while I careened right toward the ramp. I was not able to stop, and I ended sailing over the ramp, flipping over and landing full force on my right shoulder and my head. I got up feeling a pain I've never felt before. I was only able to stand for a few moments before becoming dizzy and nauseous. I sat down at the end of the hill, and was rescued by my brother-in-law, nephews and some strangers, who put me on a sled and dragged me to the car.

John took me the hospital where they determined that I broke my clavicle in two places and also split part of the bone. However, being "out of network", I had to wait until Monday to be seen by a doctor (3 days later). Today, December the 30th, I am scheduled for surgery where they will put in a metal plate.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Operation Christmas Child take 2 - The News Gazette

Our local paper, The News Gazette, picked up on the Operation Christmas Child story and the connection the girls' had with this cause in that they received the boxes while in the orphanage. Here's the article:
The News Gazette Story

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

Last week Loren, Veronica, Donna and Andrea were featured on our local news station. Channel 3 was doing a piece about Operation Christmas Child which is a program aimed at helping children around the world know that they are loved by God and that someone is thinking about them. People can package up a shoebox full of fun gifts for a girl or a boy that will be delivered to a child around Christmas time. Here's how you can Pack A Shoebox.

Loren, Veronica and Donna were the recipients of shoe boxes full of gifts while they were in the orphanage in Peru, Hogar de Esperanza. Now it has come full circle, and they, with are family, are sending shoe boxes.

Here's the news story.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Andrew's Birthday, Cross Country and the JV Superbowl

October 12th-13th

Andrea's oldest brother, Mike, had a stroke a few weeks back, and we went up for a visit. We stayed at my sisters house who also lives in Arlington. Mike seems to be doing better. Andrea says that his speech and mobility on his right side had improved a lot since she saw him last. This is good sign. We are hopeful that with rehabilitation he will make a good a recovery.

We celebrated Andrew's 5th birthday while we were up in Arlington Heights. It's hard to believe our little guy is getting so big.

Happy Birthday to You!

How Old?

October 18th

Loren and Josh had their big season ending event for each of their sports. Loren was the only girl from her school who went to state this year which was held in Bloomington. But the boys team did qualify. The girls on her team also went to cheer her on. They even wrote her name on the bus. She did very well for her first time. She placed 20th out of some 200+ girls with a time of 12 minutes and 37 seconds. The top 25 girls were given ribbons.

Loren with her grandparents

Loren with the "Loren" bus

Josh's team played the Oakwood Comets in Georgetown which was completely in the opposite direction of Bloomington. So, we were very tight on time to see both Loren's and Josh's events. , Unfortunately, Josh's team didn't fair quite so well. The Comets came out strong from the very beginning, scoring on their first drive. The Comets shut out the Spartans for nearly the entire game. They were up 22 - 0 until the Spartans finally got on the board in the last 2 minutes making the final score 22 -6. Still the Spartans had a good year, and Josh's playing improved a great deal this year.

Josh receives his ribbon

Josh and the second place trophy

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Winning Day!

Today was a long, but exciting day in the world of Brooks family sports. We began the day bright and early taking Loren to her school to catch a bus for her Cross Country Sectionals at Kickapoo State Park. Then, Josh had to go to practice for his football playoff game which would be later that day. After getting everybody else fed and clothed, we picked up Josh and headed off to Kickapoo (which is just a fun word to say).

Loren placed 1st in her 2 mile run, setting her own personal record at 13 minutes 14 seconds. It was quite exciting. As she was closing the first mile, we watched her move up from 3rd to 2nd place. By the time she made the first lap around, she was in first, and she never gave up the position.

Loren making her move from third to second place

1st Place

Final lap, still in 1st, Mom cheering her on

At the finish line, Go baby go!

1st Place at the
Ribbon Ceremony

Josh had his playoff game in Hoopeston where they played the Catlin Storm. Josh's team won as well. The St. Joseph Spartans won 14 to 6 and will advance to the JV Superbowl in Georgetown next week.

Josh Brooks #32, Striking A Heisman Trophy Pose

Josh and the team trying to intercept a pass.
Josh is the one on the right as the video starts.

All in all a good day! Next Saturday we get to do it all again as Loren is the only girl from St. Joe to advance to the state competition in Bloomington, and Josh and his team will play the superbowl.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Aug 7-9 2008 - 6 Flags in Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo, and walking around Chicago

Aug, 7th:

For the third time this summer, we went to 6 Flags, but this time we went to the one at Great America in the Chicago area. We're trying to get our money's worth out of our season tickets. We bought 4 season tickets, and we get a coupon book with each one that has certain free days for several different occasions. We had one to bring a friend for free for any non St. Louis 6 Flags, so that's what we used this time around.

This trip was less than stellar. We hit Chicago construction traffic on the way there. It took over an hour to get into the parking lot. Once we got in to the park, it was so crowded that each ride was at least an hour wait, usually two hours, and sometimes even three. This made for a grand total of about 5 rides for the entire time we were there from around 12:00 pm until 10:00 pm. We specifically picked a week day to avoid crowds, but that was obviously a failure. We had heard that some area students had won passes for attendance at school or something, and were probably using them before they expired. So, note to self, avoid going to 6 Flags at Great America in the first few weeks of August.

Best Buds (Josh and his Uncle Ronn)

Veronica, Andrea and Donna

TJ and his Dad (Why So Serious?)

Standing in line again: Chelsea, Donna, and Andrea

One last ride: Andrew and Uncle Ronn

Aug 8th,

On Friday, we went to Lincoln Park in Chicago. With 6 kids you look for the free stuff to do.

Really, he is human: Josh

Veronica, TJ, Loren and Donna

Donna, TJ, Loren, Josh, Andrew and Veronica

Veronica, Andrew, TJ, Loren, Andrea and Donna

On our way home, we went to a Peruvian restaurant called Ay Ay Picante. Estuve muy bien.

Veronica, Donna, Loren, Tim, Andrea, Josh, Andrew and T.J.

Loren, Donna, and Veronica

Aug 9th,

On Saturday, we went to Chicago and walked around. The highlight for the kids was the Lego Store.

T.J. and Andrew

Donna, Josh, T.J., Andrew, Loren, Veronica and Andrea

Dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe
Josh, T.J., Veronica, Andrew, Loren, Donna, and Tim

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weekend Camping at Clinton Lake

This weekend we had yet another abrupt weekend vacation. Our boys were at Grandma and Grandpa's all of last week. Andrea's brother-in-law, who lives in the same town, decided on a whim to pack up his 3 boys and go camping at Clinton Lake. So, Grandma and Grandpa decided to pack up there camper and go also. This, of course, set off a chain reaction where I found that we too were going camping.

Despite the abrupt nature of the trip, we all had a pretty good time. Things were forgotten, but it was all turned out okay. The temperature was in the mid 90's the whole time, so we spent most of our time in the water.

Loren and her cousin Chris enjoying a ride on Uncle Brien's pontoon boat.

Joey, Josh and Andrea taking it easy.

Donna and Veronica right after taking their turn surfing behind the boat.

I even got a turn.

Josh gives his mom a ride on Uncle Brien's jet ski.

Andrew and Loren take turns giving me a ride.

Josh get's ready to ride the waves.

Andrew loves his jams!

Sucking down some watermelon before we head home.