No Connection

It has been 3 plus weeks since we have had Internet access in our house and 2 weeks since we have had tv. No updates, no Facebook, nothing...

We were suppose to have it installed last Saturday, but 22 inches of snow caused a cancellation. They rescheduled for today, but 22 inches of snow shoveled onto the the law makes a whole lot more snow! Turns out the guy didn't know where the installation plate was. We spent half an hour randomly digging around the yard before we called it quits and rescheduled for January 3.

I uploaded a few pictures to our Picasa page. Check it out. Hopefully I will be able to update from the cabin

The good, the bad, and the gross

(Natalie here) Well it has been quite a crazy last few weeks here on quiet Oakwood Lane. The month started off really great. First, the Furni Family came up for a visit over Columbus Day weekend. My parents (Baba and Grumpy) took Ella pumpkin picking and Ella just LOVED playing her harmonica with her grandpa during the hayride and then later carving her pumpkin with Baba. She also had a lot of fun with Great-Grandpa Warner who has never visited our home before and turned out to be rather proficient at play-dough sculpting and story telling.

October wrapped up with more fun--a birthday party for mommy (can you believe I am 29? Yikes!) and a Halloween party for all the neighborhood kids the next day. Although I couldn't for the life of me tell you why I agreed to the Halloween party (too much money, stress, and energy), Ella had a great time and the whole Dennison family pulled together to host a great event. Also, God reaffirmed to me that it is Thomas, not I, who has a gift with other people's children. Really, he is so amazing with a room full of kids--I have no idea how he does it!

Of course, we also had the requisite trick-or-treating that evening. Ella dressed up as a princess fairy cat (her own creation) and Sam was a baby monster. Ella is such a funny girl; I had to practically drag her to go visit the houses and gather candy as she would much rather stay home and pass it out. I think this means she gets too much candy at home, but I prefer to think it is because she is such a giver.

November turned out to be not so much fun though. The worst thing that happened was that Kathy had to have emergency surgery to have her appendix removed. She is so tough--she still tried to take the girls for the day, but as astute as I am, I determined that her being doubled over in pain indicated she should stay in bed. Thankfully, Pops was able to convince her to go to the ER and they pulled her appendix out ASAP. They are not sure it if burst, but there was a lot of puss in her abdominal wall and her white blood cell counts were very high. We are all very thankful that it was removed before she got sicker.

There is never a good time to have appendicitis, but this was especially unfortunate timing since Pops is still recovering from his back surgery and still wasn't cleared to drive or lift more than 10 pounds. Also, we were all planning on going on a mini-break to Deep Creek, Maryland that weekend and the cabin rental was already paid and non-refundable. In true Dennison fashion, though,the family pulled together, figured out the care for not only Kathy, but Sam and Ella as well since Kathy watches them during the day. We even managed to get up to Deep Creek on time and ended up having a great weekend (except for Aunt Jen puking in the back of my van on the ride up--that's where the gross comes in).

I was hoping things were finally settling down this week, but boy was I wrong. I was crazy sick yesterday with what I can only describe as a 24 hr e-coli bug. Thomas is in bed sick as I type and I just got back from Sam's pediatrician--turns out Sam has a double ear infection and a burst ear-drum in her left ear. Poor baby!

Here's hoping the rest of November turns out to be less eventful!

(p.s. Now you know why I never update the posts; clearly brevity is not my strong point.)

The Evolution of our Lives

Yesterday on a walk with Nick and Nicole, Ella started to talk about how smart she was. Sounds normal, right...no big deal...she was clear and easy to understand...sounds great, right! Unless you're Daddy and remember when she use to put the /f/ sound at the beginning of all /s/ words. So instead of saying that she was super smart, she use to say that she was "fuper fart."

Can't believe that is gone, one day those cute little things are just gone. You don't have time to prepare or even know that they are gone, it just happens and your heart breaks because there is no video, only the replay in my mind. A replay I hope to never loose. You won't hear or see those things again.

Tonight she helped make dinner, while getting things together she kept saying "this is going to be the best dinner ever." When Natalie went up to check on Sam she said, "you know what the best part of this dinner is, eating with family." How long until that joy and uninhibited love are tainted by the world. If it is up to her Daddy, I pray never.

Speaking of dinner, check out my burger: turkey buger grilled, toasted bun, sliced avacodo, fresh tomatos, dip egg, swiss cheese and old baby. Just missing a piece of bacon. Sooooo, good!!!

Natalie is not happy I have "pushed down" the one post she has done in the past 2 years. So scroll down and say a prayer for Donnie.

Dennison and Furn Family updates

Natalie here--First I want to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns about Tom (aka Pops). His back surgery went really well and I picked him and Kathy up from the hospital yesterday to bring them back to home-sweet-home. Pops looked really good for having just had hardware screwed into his spinal column and he even was able to hold Sam and Johnny for a while after we got him settled. Ella is ecstatic to have her Grams and Pops back across the street and we are all glad to see Pops looking so well. I am sure there are pictures of Jen's blog which is in our sidebar if you'd like to take a look.

Another family member has also been heavy in my heart--my brother Donnie deployed a few days ago. He is in Kuwait for now, but will eventually end up in Mosul, Iraq. I know it is nothing new for many people in the US, and many who may read this blog, to have a family member deployed, but it is a first for me to have a sibling there. (My brother-in-law was deployed as well 2 years ago, but I didn't know him that well at the time.)

To say I am worried is of course an understatement. I try to not envision the worst, but the scarey thoughts kind of creep up on me. I love him so much and he is so special to me, to imagine him hurt or worst just makes me go a little crazy. So please keep those prayers coming folks, for Donnie and all of our soldiers. Envision a white light around them. May the Lord protect them and bring them safely home.

Visiting Papa

I took the girls up to the hospital to see Papa today. He was in great spirits and is always excited to see the girls. Ella was a little scared because I made a big deal about being careful around him. She even asked on the way up, "how can I show Papa I love him without giving hugs and kisses?" Even though I told her hugs and kisses would still be fine as long as they were gentle, she was still hesitant. At one point she ran over and snuck a kiss on his arm and ran back.
He showed her how his bed worked, his fancy pee bag, and of course his blood drainage bag. What a day.
Like I've said to many people, we all feel really excited after this surgery. It feels like we all have a chance to get healthy and to enjoy our lives. There has been a lot of pain and struggle lately, but God's hand is at work here. In my study recently I've been learning about how God works through processes, and that his work is never on my time table. It just feels like his work and his hand is all over this. I can feel him pulling us closer to him and to each other in a very healthy and genuine way. It feels like a great gift, a chance.
There is nothing we can do to earn this chance or make ourselves worthy. There is no perfection or number of actions required: believe in Him and love from the HEART, like he loves us...flaws and all.


I have really marveled at Natalie lately. I have been working too long and too hard that I am useless around the house and with the girls, I have fallen asleep on the living room floor in front of Sam's swing twice. I have been wearing my suck helmet for a long time now; both as a father and a dad. She gets home late, never complains and get dinner on the table and works to keep our day to day in order. She lets me vent about my kids or the new special educator I'm working with and smiles lovingly. Meanwhile, she is trying to adjust to going back to work, not being with the girls all day and finding enough sleep to keep herself running. I do marvel at her.

At the same time I want to thank my Mom who has been a huge help to us. Aside from keeping our girls safe and giving them a loving home to grow in each day, she has done all sorts of small things around our house that really help out. I just want her and everyone else to know how much we appreciate her time and her love.

The Belly Button Fairy

Spent the morning taking Ella to the release of Bonnie Hinman's new book, "The Belly Button Fairy." Ended up meeting Aunt Nenni and Johnny there. By the time we got there the bookstore was filled with little girls smacking each other in the face with their fairy wings and mother's yelling about getting their free cup.

Earlier in the morning we spent an hour at the library typing in titles, taking notes and then running around looking for books. We've really enjoyed our trips to the library and each time leave with a handful, which she likes to check out using the personal checkout station. This morning we checked out "Super Guinea Pig" and several bunny books, including a bunny comic book. She also's also digging an octopus, non-fiction book.
I feel like we know each so well lately, she makes me proud to be her Daddy. The night before I went back to school she and I went out to dinner at Olive Garden, just the 2 of us. She is unlike anyone I've ever know, amazing.

6 Grand Daughters

Natalie's mom called when we were about 4 hours out to let us know that Pamela, Kevin and the girls were going to stop by for the day. Pretty big news considering that all 6 grandaughters had never been together and 5/6 of them are a a pretty fun age.
Uncle Donnie holding Sam while Haley tries to help burp her. Kiana and Haley were very intersted in the baby and were always coming up with plans as to who would rock her in the swing, who would bring her blanket and who would give her the paci.
The girl gab at lunch. They were actualy quieter eating together than one of them is eating alone. While eating they made plans for what they would play afterwards. There were board games, card games, legos, Barbies, a doll house, pillow fights, hide and seek and some sort of baby game. Then we went to the playground...

Sam didn't get to play with the girls too much, but she had plenty of attention. Between Uncle Al and Claire, she was in good hands...and so freakin' old. Come on KID!!!

Skyler, Kiana, Haley, Ella, Sophia and Samantha (held up by Mommy). No boys...

Furnival Clan: Alex, Donnie, Skyler, Pamela, Kevin, Roger, Beverly, Thomas, Natalie, Samantha, Ella, Kiana, Haley and Sophia.

O - H -

For the first leg of our trip we stopped off in Ohio to stay with Charlie, Michele and Wyatt at their new house. Ella and Grams went to an Indians game with Aunt Kim and Asclyn(sp). It was Ella's first Indians game and it went 13 innings, they stayed for 11 of them.
The next night Mommy and Daddy went to an Indians game (Sandy Alomar Jr was put in the Indians HOF and it was Victor Martinez bobble head night, eventhough he was traded the night before) with Charlie, Michele, Mark and Kara.

We had breakfast with Grandpa and Grandma Ruth and stopped in to visit Kara and Mark on their guinea pig's birthday. Ella was very excited to go to a guinea pig birthday party.
It is safe to say that Kara is still terrified of babies and will stick to raising guinea pigs for a while, eventhough Ella loves her and she always does a great job playing with her.
After our visit we stopped off to have family dinner at Olive Garden. When Ella said our prayer we started talking about our "daily bread" and we told her that she was our daily bread. She was the gift that sustained us each day.
During dinner we shared the bread, talked about how to break her bread and use it to wipe up the salad dressing off her plate and we just talked. She wasn't asking when she had to go to bed, what we were doing next, she was just Ella. She asked to wipe her face while she was eating, passed things bag and forth, talked about how delecious her meal was and was amazing. She was polite, loveing and helpful; everything that we know she is.
What made it even better was that she had just come off a Time Out in the store we were in before: she handled it, hugged me, listened and we all moved on.
While we took no pictures it was a simple meal at Olive Garden that we will remember and are very grateful for. Our daughter is amazing.
Ella, you are our daily bread...

The Camera is Back

Yippee, the camera is back. After Ella dropped it in the hospital and bent the lens, Canon was nice enough to return it to us fixed up and ready to go (we simply sent them $130 to fix the $180 camera, seems resonable).
During the Canon's abscense we tried to take pics with the old Sony, which also took a spill and seems to take very blurry pics.
So first thing I like to do when I get the camera back, torture my daughter. Actually this is one of Daddy's special burping techniques. I don't do it right after a feeding though and always try and point her the other way.
Check out my red tan, worked very hard on that. Who says pasty white dudes don't get color over the summer.

Can't believe she is digging the gym already. During her awake time, she kicks and looks around for about 5 minutes.

Check it out, already looks so old to us. Today she was 9.5 lbs. Only 5 weeks ago she was 6.9 and could barely open her eyes. One thing that hasn't change are the massive and stinky poops, not ladey like!
BTW: I tried to get Natalie to put up a few posts since the profile is her and the blog was her creation (I even threatened to create my own blog) but no dice. I recon if she continues to feed the kid I will update he blog, I have no interest in swapping jobs.

Ohio Trip

In the process of moving Charlie to Ohio I dropped the girls off at the Land of Humphreys where they were tickled to find toast with jelly corner to corner, something called a Cookie Witch and a new friend for Ella to play with. Sam expressed her join over the visit with her usual grunts, squirting farts and milky burps while Mommy made her oldest daughter take a picture in an old chair from their college apartment that I've named "Chair O' Many Plagues."

BTW: check out the new link to our Picasa on-line album. It should be easier to view and download than the old Mobile Me one.


I want to give a quick shout out to our friends here in Maryland. God has placed an amazing structure of love and friendship around us.

A few weeks ago Danny offered to help me remodel our bedroom while Natalie was away for Alex's graduation. On Friday night his Dad came into down unexpectedly, but Danny still stayed and worked with me until well after 7:00. The next day he had his bachelor party and then the following day he was back in the house helping Ella and I finish the room. Not once did he complain or fuss.
Last week he and Lisa were married down at Rehoboth Beach, while I was invited I told him I didn't know if I could come because it was so close to Sam's birth. He left it open, never made a big deal and when I called the day before to ask if I could bring Ella they welcomed her with no worries. Ella and I loved attending their wedding on the beach (like Ariel and Prince Eric) and then going to their "ball" afterwards. It was some Daddy and Ella bonding time that we needed. While we were there she danced all night with Ali, who didn't care that they were the only 2 people on the floor dancing.

Ella and Ali dancing to every song, no matter what for over 2 hours.

Ella and Ali sharing dinner after a long dance.

A few days ago Elizabeth stopped by with dinner made by the Barnaba family: shrimp and crab pasta with caesar salad and rolls. She came back from the beach to see the baby and bring us and awesome meal. She held Sam for almost an hour. Natalie said it was one of the best gifts we've ever received.

Seriously, shrimp and crab pasta....OMG!!!

On Wednesday and Thursday Jeff and I golfed 24 holes and attended the opening day of the AT&T National Tournament at Congressional Golf Club. We walked the course and saw Anthony Kim, Fred Couples, Boo Weekly and even saw Tiger Woods practice on the range for 45 minutes only 20 yards away from us. It was relaxing, chilled and the perfect father's day gift from Natalie.

All in all, despite the Ravens...Maryland is Good People!!!

Missed a Few Days

Wow, so you miss a few days with a newborn on a blog and it is hard to get caught up...Here is the run down.
  • Came home on Friday morning, June 26
  • Feeding: every 3-4 hours
  • Jaundice: pricked and checked her 6 times, all is good now
  • Papa gave her a pacifer for the first time
  • Poops are constant, loud and seem to squirt (just ask my principal who got a yellow poop shot up the arm as a good-bye)
  • Mommy: Feeling sooooo much better than last time, actually went to a breast feeding class this morning where I'm told it was an entire room of screaming babies and boobs
  • Big Sister: does amazing with Samantha when they are together. She reads to her, gets her blankets, brings her toys, helps with diapers. At night, however, Ella is feeling pushed out and is resorting back to a lot of her old bed time behaviors. She gets so angry with us so quick, it is hard to see and hard to be a part of. We are trying to give her as much special attention as possible. It makes it hard for me to enjoy my time with Sam as much because my other daughter is not herself.


So Sam's jaundice levels have gone up just a touch since the morning. The Dr would like to keep her overnight and have her checked in the morning (yes, that means sticking her with a needle for the 3rd time). The Dr will be in at 7am to discuss the results. We'll be coming home in the morning, we just don't know if we'll be brining one of those cool glowing blankets for Sammy to wear or not.

Ella and I still plan to attend Danny's wedding. It is on the beach in Rehoboth at 7 pm. I told her it is like Ariel and Prince Eric and then afterwards we get to go to a ball. We're just driving down for the ceremony, eating and then driving back.

Uncle Al will be in to visit Friday night...yipppeeee!


Mommy and Sammy after a feeding.
Nice she has started to feed really well Sammy has been sleeping pretty well on her own.

So.....we don't know what is going on. After the lab woman came in a made a mess of Sam we found out that her jaundice level is a little high (12.4). We thought we would be heading out soon, but now the Dr. wants to redo the test at 7pm to see if her levels are going up or down. Normally the highest time is 48 hours after birth, which was when they tested her. A test tonight will show if the level is on the rise or not. If it is above 12.4 then she'll get one of those glowing Billy blankets, if it's not up then she's good to go. I wonder if it is the same?

We'll either be going home late tonight or tomorrow in the morning.


Things are going so well with the girls that they're looking at sending them home today. Natalie is still having gas pains in the shoulder, but she is suppose to walk that off. She'll be getting to take a shower today which will get rid of all the itching she has. The last nurse even said they might look at removing her staples today. If we do leave, it will be late today.

Samantha's temperature is perfect and since she has started to feed for up to 40 minutes at a time she is sleeping very well without having to be held. Her blood type is AB+. They'll be taking the clamp off her belly button the next time and checking her jaundice level.

All of the nurses love the blanket and doll that Aunt Nenni made for her.

I would post pictures, but during Ella's last visit she dropped the new camera and bent the lens. Hoping to find a camera repair shop, I love this new camera.

Feeling Better

Natalie has had her pee bag removed and was taken off the all liquid diet. Last night she walked around the room and took care of Samantha. This morning she had a real breakfast and we are hoping that when the nurse comes in they'll take out the IV line.

Ella will be coming up this morning to take Mommy on a walk through the hospital. Natalie says she feels great, but her insides hurt. Which makes sense, at one point during the surgery her uterus was sitting on her stomach...I did not take a peak at that, even though they told us about it while it was happening.

The Boob Milk Doctor came in and gave her a few tips for helping Samantha and the feeding has been going great. Right now she is feeding and has been latched on for 20 minutes. This morning Samantha's weight was down to 6.5 lbs, but that is a normal drop in weight. I was surprised it wasn't more considering the massive slime balls of poop she has been producing.

Family Visits

Coming to the sunset on our first day with Samantha. The texts, Facebook posts and visitors have been amazing. We love our family, we love our friends and we love where we find ourselves. God is amazing!!!

Aunt Nenni, Johnny and Grams

Johnny and Pops

Uncle Shawn

Uncle Chuckles, Aunt Shell and Wyatt

Baba Bevy and Princess Big Sister Ella

Princess Big Sister Ella

First Diaper Change

Holy enormous poop Batman...
Daddy here...So I'm holding her and she starts grunting and turning red. No way she could be pooping already, right? Not so fast my friend. Let the dark sludge ooze out. The good news is that there was some pee. That is 2 items off the checklist...nice job Sammie or Sammy or Samie or Sam or Samantha, we'll have to figure this out. If she really does have red hair and it stays red we will need to come up with some new red head nicknames...any ideas?

Samantha Adair Redhead and Healthy

All is very well and Samantha Adair Dennison is in the world.
6 pounds 9 ounces
18 inches long
Everybody is doing well, Mommy and Sam are in the recovery room for another hour, but both look great and are recovery very well. Mommy has already feed Sam and the latch went well!!! The nurses called her "pumpkin head" and Ella said she knew she would have red hair. Ella and Baba Bevy will be by after lunch to meet her new sister.