Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baby's Hungry and the Money's All Gone

Mackinzie and I went out to dinner yesterday evening at El Salto Mexican restaurant after I picked her up from school. Although she didn't really indulge in the Mexican cuisine (she ordered chicken tenders and fries), she did like the chips and salsa.
... and the limes!
Also yesterday, I started experiencing some of the symptoms of Fifth disease; most specifically the rash-y arms and legs. The rashes have actually gotten worse today. They don't itch, but it does feel like a really bad sun burn.
I tried to take some pictures of it, but they don't really do it justice. It really sucks, but I guess since my wife and daughter came down with Fifth, it was only a matter of time before I got it myself.
Today, while I was working in my new basement office, I got a surprise visit from a neighborhood squirrel. He didn't mind coming right up to the sliding glass door to see what was going on.
He was really curious.
... and then he proceeded to climb all around the screen door. He hung around for quite a while, so now I'm wondering if I leave the blinds up everyday, will he be coming back for repeat visits?

In other news, the Camo Pirates suffered their second loss of the season to Chris Walbert's Squeakers team. I scored 111 points, but The Squeakers scored an astounding 141 points! Congrats to them, but now I'm preparing for a duel with my brother's team, Will Power next week.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lots of Family News!

There has been a lot going on with our family lately.
About two weeks ago, Mackinzie started having this pink-ish rash on her face and arms and legs. She cheeks were so rosey that it looked like she had been slapped in the face. Sure enough, it turned out to be Fifth disease. The illness sounds a lot worse than it really is. Mackinzie never felt sick or had any other problems, other than the rashes, which also didn't seem to bother her. The biggest problem with Fifth disease, is it can be extremely harmful to unborn babies under twelve weeks along, which is just about where Laura is with our current pregnancy. It can cause a condition called Hydrops with the fetus and potential miscarriage. Needless to say, we were initially frightened and expected the worst when Laura tested positive for Fifth disease. We met with a genetics counselor at GBMC on Friday to discuss the issues. The counselor was able to ease many of our fears by telling about the percentages and such. That same day we had another sonogram and as you can see, the baby was a-okay! It looked like it was waving to us as if to say, "I'm doing okay in here". Our next steps are to have bi-weekly sonograms for the next 10 weeks to keep and eye on the baby to make sure that none of the symptoms of Fifth or Hydrops take effect.
We have greatly appreciated the many prayers and thoughts that have come our way over the past few days. We would just like to ask for continued prayer for the baby and our family as we go through the next few weeks. Friday's sonogram greatly improved our feelings on the whole ordeal, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we're out of the dark just yet.

In lighter news, our family got into the Halloween spirit for my brother's annual costume party. Mackinzie had been wanting to dress like Yoda (from Star Wars) for a long time now, so she finally got her chance on Saturday night. Of course, Daddy and Mommy had to join in on the fun! I dressed as Han Solo and Laura as Princess Leia.
We had a great time hanging out in Will's spooky basement. It was decorated with lots of colored lights and pumpkins, skeletons, witches, and other Halloween standards.
Kinzie enjoyed dancing to the loud music!
Here is Laura/Princess Leia with my brother, dressed as Ravens head coach, John Harbaugh.
Our friend Justin is a big Halloween freak! He loves all kinds of horror movies and everything that goes along with it. He and his wife, Sam, co-hosted the party at Will's house. In fact, pretty much all of the Halloween decorations belonged to Justin.
Kinzie got the point later in the night where she wanted to take her Yoda costume off. So she changed into her pajamas and played Starfall on Brittany's computer for the rest of the night. She impressed many of the guests with her keyboard and mouse skillz.
So that was our weekend. We are all doing great and we're staying very positive about the baby situation. We know that our prayers and yours are being heard and we're putting it all in God's hands.
Thank you all again!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Daddy the Plumber

My very first job out of high school was working as a plumber's assistant for a large local contracting company. It was the summer of 1998 and I didn't really do that much hands on work. It was mostly a lot of "hand me this", "hand me that", "get out of the way and just let me do it." So here we are, 10 years later and the drain stopper... handle... switch.... thingie on our bathtub broke last night. It was ugly....
The metal piece had corroded away so much that it broke it two. I removed the metal plate and thought to myself, "I'm gonna have to hire a plumber for this job!"
... Like I said, it was ugly. I decided to call a plumber in the morning, but the answer came to me in a dream. I can fix this myself!
This morning, I took the broken pieces to Home Depot. I found the replacement parts without having to ask anybody for help. I came home and here is the end result...
The drain stopper-switch-thingie is good as new! I admit, I'm not the best with plumber's putty, so it might look a little amateur around there, but it works like a charm. I am far from the handyman around the house, so as you can tell, I'm quite proud of my little accomplishment. I probably saved $100 by not calling a plumber and spending $10 at Home Depot for the parts on my own.

In other big news, my Camo Pirates are continuing their winning streak. Four straight wins gives us a 5-1 record to start the season. We're still in first place in our division and 2 games ahead of the Estonian Rebels. Our win this week came against Zac Fisher's Zac's Fishers. The score was 100-92, a close one. Our only loss this season came against the Fishers back in week two, so it was great to get a little revenge.

Now we just need Tony Romo's broken pinky finger to heal quickly!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


One of Kinzie's favorite birthday presents came from Aunt Teri. The Vtech Kidizoom Camera. It is a great little digital camera for kids. It's look reminds me of the old "ViewMaster" 3D thingies that I had when I was a kid. It has a lot of cool features like superimposing images like pig noses or pirate hats or stage curtains, etc. to add some creativity to the shots. Our house has felt like a red carpet movie premiere lately with all the camera flashes going off. I just downloaded all 153 pictures from Kinzie's camera and she helped me post her ten best shots here on the blog.
10. Grandpop's pig nose is only missing the lipstick.
9. Mackinzie Sroka: LIVE! On Stage!
8. James Eastman visiting from Nashville for the Ravens/Titans game.
7. The DVD menu for Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
6. An artistic shot of Cinderella glass slippers, a Munchkins box, and a basket full of Cheetos.
5. Mommy's beautiful smile.
4. Uncle Playdoh being goofy.
3. "Chocolate Lips" Audrey 2. Daddy the pirate. "Arrrgh!"
1. Uncle Playdoh (Will) being himself.
.... just imagine looking at 143 more shots like this! As soon as I cleared these pictures off the camera and saved them to the hard drive, Mackinzie was back to taking more photos of random stuff like the refrigerator, the carpet, door knobs, and railings.
In other news, my fantasy football team, the Camo Pirates, won again this weekend. It was a 112-58 victory over Greg's Strong Arms (Greg Armstrong). My team is now 4-1 and in first place in our conference. Next week, we're playing Zac's Fishers again... the only team to beat us so far this season.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fun-Packed Weekend

This past Friday (October 3rd), our little girl turned 3 years old! Mackinzie started her big day with a morning trip to Dunkin Donuts before going to school. We bought a big box of Munchkins to share with her class for the birthday celebration. After school for Mackinzie (and work for Laura and me), we spent the afternoon preparing for Saturday's birthday party.
We started Saturday morning with another trip to Dunkin Donuts (... I feel like we should get some kind of advertising royalties here on this blog.... ). Mackinzie had her second ballet class of the fall season. After class, she shared more Munchkins with her friends. Here she is with her new friend, Ava, on the left, and Sophia on the right.Me and Laura spent the afternoon cleaning the house and preparing the food for Mackinzie's party. It was the first time we had a lot of people in our house at once. Despite it being a little crowded upstairs, the party was a huge success! Mackinzie got a lot of great presents from her friends and family, which included Sophia, Catherine, Emma, Brooke, Audrey, and Ian.
We sang happy birthday once....
... but Sophia was in the basement and missed it, so we got to sing it twice!
Here is Mackinzie opening some of her presents with Catherine, Ian, and Emma looking on.
After everyone left, Tom and Laura (and Sophia) stayed back to play some Rock Band with us before my friends from Nashville (Ben & James) came over, along with Mike Maiste, to go out for the night. We met up with our friend Courtney and hit up a few place on the Avenue in White Marsh before calling it a night so we could get ready for the big Ravens/Titans game the next day.
We had a great tailgate Sunday morning with James and Ben, Will and Brittany, and Laura and myself. Despite the Ravens loss, we all had a great time and it was one of the better tailgates I can remember having... I don't have any pictures to share, but it was a great tailgate, I promise!
At least the Camo Pirates are going to win. More on that tomorrow...