20 December 2010

Anna’s grand entrance

cute Anna awake 12-14-2010 4-29-51 PM I stayed up too late on Saturday night. I’d been making a few freezer meals for after the delivery, and then I wanted to watch some of “North and South” with my husband. We’d finished the first two books and were down to the last. So I put the food away and relaxed for awhile on the couch. I’d been having false labor contractions for weeks, but that night they were more regular, about a half hour apart. Still, I was not counting on any action anytime soon when I finally got to bed around midnight.

But about 0300, I realized the contractions were regular and only ten minutes apart, and by that time they were strong enough to have woken me from sleep. So I started timing them, and I woke David to say I thought our baby would be born that day. I got up and started getting stuff ready to go to the hospital, just a few last-minute details (like posting on Facebook!). Sometime after 0400, we arrived – with Timothy in tow - in Labor and Delivery at the hospital. I was in pain but calm (which should have been a sign to me that I was not ready to be admitted yet). The nurse checked me and said I wasn’t ready to be admitted yet, that I wasn’t in active labor at that point. She kept me on observation for over an hour in any case, but nothing changed on examination, so she gave me Benadryl and Tylenol and sent me home “to rest.”

Rest.

Right.

By the time we got home from the hospital, I was in complete agony and screaming through each contraction. I literally worried about the neighbors calling the police because of my screaming. I tried to lie down and rest, but the contractions were so close together that the pain never actually went away between them, just grew and lessened in intensity. I stuffed a blanket in my mouth to deaden the sound. Somehow – due to the Benadryl, I suppose – I managed to close my eyes between each contraction for an hour or so. I had no idea when to go back to the hospital, since they’d sent me home. How was I supposed to know when I was in active labor? The contractions from the moment we arrived home already felt like they were only two or three minutes apart, but I was in so much pain I couldn’t even time them.

Finally, sometime after 0730, I told David we had to go back to the hospital. So we woke up Timothy for a second time and headed back to Labor and Delivery. This time, I had three contractions in the ten minutes between our house and the hospital, and when we arrived, I was moaning and putting all my effort into not screaming. The nice guy at the lobby desk asked me if wanted a wheelchair, but I couldn’t concentrate enough to say yes or no, so i just grimaced, walked past him to the elevators, and went up without the wheelchair. When I arrived in Labor and Delivery, it was the middle of a contraction, and somehow we got me into a bed in the triage room. I was still in my nightie and socks, wearing my glasses and everything (not like when Timothy was born, when they basically stripped me naked toward the end). The nurse examined me, announced that I was complete, and got some extra hands to rush me – in the bed - across the hall to the delivery room in the middle of a contraction. They got me into the delivery bed, the doctor rushed in, and after I screamed through another contraction, he told me the next contraction to push instead of screaming.

So I did. In the middle of the second contraction of pushing, at 0805, Anna emerged and started squawking right away. I had to ask to make sure it was a girl, since I’d been so paranoid that my baby would be a boy. Not that a boy would have been bad, but I was expecting a girl from the ultrasound, and I was just nervous that I’d gotten all these baby girl clothes for naught! :) From the time we entered the Labor and Delivery unit to the time Anna was born cannot have been more than fifteen minutes, active labor maybe an hour-and-a-half, and the grand total of painful early and active labor about five hours. Not bad.

So Anna was born at 0805 on Sunday, December 12, 2010, weighing 7 lbs 8.3 oz and measuring 20 inches long. Poor Timothy was there the whole time. He was out of the way enough to not see everything, but he experienced it nonetheless, hearing it if nothing else. He was a real trooper and has been great these past eight days!

But Anna was seen by a pediatrician right away and was sent for lab tests because of petechiae (little blood spots under her skin). That afternoon they told me her platelet level was dangerously low, and that she would have to be sent to a better hospital in Savannah.

Anna at Winn 12-12-2010 4-11-46 PMI was terrified. When they spoke to me, I was alone. They’d put Anna in the nursery, and I hadn’t seen her in five hours. My husband had gone home to rest. I just wanted to cry. I got to hold Anna later for a half hour before they took her away in a portable incubator on a stretcher, with all her monitors and wires.

Anna has something called neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, or NAITMommy & Anna 12-14-2010 4-30-25 PM, which basically means that her platelets have a factor from her daddy that mine don’t have, so my antibodies were attacking her platelets. If the platelets get too low, especially with the trauma of birth, she could have internal bleeding. What they really worry about first is bleeding in the brain, but her head ultrasound on Monday was clear, so her prognosis was good. And this week it has just been a matter of waiting to see if her platelet count would rise once my antibodies started to disappear from her blood. Although they went up initially and slowly, this past Friday they went down so low that the doctors had to give her IV immunoglobulin, which basically destroyed my antibodies to help boost her platelet count.

The treatment worked, and her numbers have been climbing again, today out of the extreme danger zone. Yes! If they keep rising consistently over the next few days, she will be able to come home, so that is what we are praying for. If they remain level or go down again, she may need more treatment. We just pray we are through the worst and that Anna can join us for Christmas. :)

snug as a bug in a rug 12-19-2010 4-30-51 PM

28 October 2010

A new place to live

Don’t get me wrong. This has been a wonderful place for us to live, a real blessing. I knew as soon as I got the email about it in June that God had prepared this place just for our specific need these past 16 weeks. I am truly grateful for the house and for our host couple next-door. That is absolute.

Having said that, and avoiding complaining in any way, I am definitely looking forward to certain features that our next home will hopefully have in contrast…or not have in some cases.

I’m looking forward to

  1. a home that is not already infested with 2-inch cockroaches.
  2. windows that open.
  3. being able to use curtains or blinds in my living room so that I’m not living in a fishbowl and can actually wear pajamas at night in the living room and kitchen.
  4. plumbing that does not leak excessively.
  5. air conditioning that cools down the whole house, not just the bedrooms.
  6. having empty closets, drawers, cupboards, and shelves so I can actually use that space myself.
  7. taking baths again instead of just showers!! (Timothy is also looking forward to this, to be sure.)
  8. a stove at countertop height instead of low-down for wheelchair accessibility.
  9. grounded outlets.
  10. having a carpet that does not show every single crumb that falls.
  11. paying my own bills and not feeling beholden to anyone.
  12. having doors that seal and thus keep out geckos and crickets.
  13. not constantly having to worry about Timothy’s damaging something that is not ours.
  14. getting regular Internet!

and 15. being able to decorate with my very poor taste and minimal skills, not to mention nonexistent budget! :)

Moving on again

I wish it were really true that rolling stones gather no moss. Somehow, no matter how short a stay we have in any given place, we always seem to accumulate more stuff! I think I really need to figure out a filing system and actually use it at our next house for all these miscellaneous papers… Too bad I can’t use a filing system on all this other stuff. Fortunately I have enough sense never to end up like one of the people in those Hoarders shows. I worked for a lady one day a week after college for several months, and she definitely could have been on one of those shows. I honestly think she needed a psychiatrist. She hired me in about September to help her pack for her move to Florida. Well, not only did she not have actual plans to move to Florida, but she also would not let me pack anything. Oh my goodness. It was a nightmare, every time, for perhaps six months that she had me come. There was barely enough room in her house to move around, between bookcases, portable closets, and heaps of papers and books. The kitchen was a mass of clean tins to be recycled, piled three high all over the counters. I will say this: She was not dirty, which is actually rather significant. But she would not throw anything away that could possibly be useful again to anyone. Oy! Lord, please keep me sane and remind me that I can’t take anything with me when I leave!

Well, Timothy’s birthday cake is out of the oven and smells great! Several months ago he requested a Mickey Mouse cake for his birthday, and someone had suggested I go to Dairy Queen or Baskin Robbins to order one, but in my usual procrastination, I realized yesterday I still had not done so, and his party is tomorrow. Boy, am I grateful that there are other idiots out there like me. There must be, for there in the party section at Walmart – where I was gathering balloons and favors all at the last minute – was a disposable Mickey Mouse cake pan set with a plastic overlay of Mickey’s face. Perfect! Timothy preferred that to the idea of cupcakes, so we grabbed it. I only got Timothy one birthday gift this year, so I figured we could pay a little extra for a cake he really wanted to take to a party that will be very brief anyway.

(He also asked for a pinata, but having seen how little ones handle a pinata at my cousin-once-removed Madeline’s birthday party last year, I thought maybe we’d wait a couple years for that.)

So we are having a very low-key 3rd birthday party tomorrow, a week early. Why? Yes, it’s because we’re moving again next week. And I figured Timothy would rather have a tiny party here with the few friends he has made (mostly adults, sadly enough) than celebrate on his birthday in a motel somewhere. With whom? Daddy is not a real birthday person. And with what? I couldn’t have made a cake in a motel. So we’re going to the park tomorrow to meet a handful of friends for an hour. I can’t say whether the other kids will have a good time, but I’m pretty sure Timothy will. All he needs is some cake and a playground to keep him happy. Oh, and the “Happy Birthday” song, of course. We’ll see what happens anyway.

We’re moving to a town about an hour away from Savannah, Georgia, where we can hopefully stay for at least a year (unless God has bigger and better plans for us, which is our constant prayer!). We leave Wednesday and will get to visit my grandma on the way, arriving Friday evening – on Timothy’s birthday. I should be packing and concentrating on how we’re going to fit everything into our car (and throwing out everything else), but I’m trying to get through tomorrow first with a lot going on besides Timothy’s party. One thing at a time, right? It’s not as though I’m packing up my whole house, since we’ve been living in a furnished place.

…And actually, I’m going to write another post about this furnished place – or rather, the things I’m looking forward to about being somewhere else. :)

16 September 2010

Class reunion 2010

reunion group clear For the Labor Day weekend, I took Timothy on a road trip to Las Vegas for my 10-year high school class reunion. As soon as we got home, we both came down with colds, so we’re still recovering – ten days later!

I’d originally planned our trip to take three 7-hour days each way so Timothy and I wouldn’t go crazy in the car, but at the last minute, I was invited to an event Wednesday evening, the day I’d planned on leaving. So we left Thursday morning at 5:20 AM and drove 15 hours to Gallup, New Mexico through West Texas. I hadn’t gotten as much sleep as I’d wanted – leaving much of the packing to the last minute – so it was a long day. Timothy was amazingly good, just entertaining himself and watching a couple movies in the backseat. He is such a great traveler; I am so blessed by that! We also had plenty of snacks, so we didn’t stop for lunch or dinner, just to fill up on gas. We paid $3.09 at a Shell station just east of Moriarty (one of several reasons I don’t usually buy from Shell), and I felt completely ripped off. (Little did I know that I’d have to pay $3.29 on our way home in somewhere, Arizona.)

We finally made it to our motel right when the sun was going down. I’d “cleaned” our windscreen at the Shell but discovered once we got off the freeway in Gallup that I’d only made it worse. The sun was shining directly into my eyes – too low for the sunshade – and glaring on the yuckies of my windscreen. For a few minutes I considered pulling over and waiting a half hour for the sun to actually set; that’s how bad it was. Then the road turned, and I literally thanked God! We checked into our motel and were both so exhausted we just ate some fruit for dinner and crashed. The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast downstairs in the motel before heading out.

And between Holbrook and Flagstaff, Arizona, I got my first traffic ticket. It was just an overall bad experience, so I won’t go into it, but needless to say, it ruined most of the rest of the day for me! After that I was pretty ticked off when we had to go on a long road-work detour that added almost an hour to the trip. The cool part was that we got to see Hoover Dam!

Laura and me - reunion We pulled into the hotel parking lot in Las Vegas around 4:30 PM but had to wait for almost a half hour to check in because the line was so long. Poor Timothy was so glad to be out of the car that he was running all around the tiny check-in area, driving Mommy crazy! After finally getting checked in, I had just enough time to take a bath in the huge bathtub before we left for the airport to pick up my BFF from high school, Laura (above).

Timothy and me at MGM - reunionAfter I got Laura, we met up with our friend Linda, who drove us to join our classmates at the MGM Grand (left). Because of Laura’s flight, though, we’d missed dinner with the group, so the three of us (and Timothy) never did get dinner.  I ate someone’s leftover pizza before the plate was taken by a waiter, and I did end up buying Timothy a pretzel dog downstairs, which he hardly touched. The rest of that night is a blur of exhaustion and hunger. I think the others got drinks, and then we went over to the Golden Nugget for more drinks. I don’t drink anyway, and of course I had a two-year-old in tow (fortunately in the stroller that I’d foreseen would be my salvation), so I never did get to sit down and visit with everyone…the whole weekend, actually. That night Timothy and I sat and watched the shark tank for an hour or so and chatted with two of my classmates, Becky & Meaghan. We were both so tired, but we had to wait for our ride back to the hotel. Finally, I couldn’t sit down any more without falling asleep, so I pushed Timothy round and round the shark tank pool in his stroller. We finally left around 12:30 (2:30 Texas time!). By that time I just wanted to cry!

Saturday we slept! Timothy didn’t sleep long enough, but Laura was awake in our suite, so she took Timothy into her room and let him watch cartoons while I slept another hour. (Bless you, Saint Laura!) Linda and me - reunionOnce we were all up, we grabbed Linda (left) and went to the nearest pool for a little swim before noon.  At lunchtime, a bunch of our classmates decided to go to the food court at a mall.  This was a great idea so we could all choose our own food, and it was ideal for Timothy especially. lunch at the mall - reunionWe had a nice lunch there, but Laura and I had the hardest time finding my car when we were leaving and so were told to go to the Venetian and wait for the others, who would be coming there to shop.

We took Timothy to the Venetian and loved the shops inside with the canal and all. Such a fun atmosphere! I’d promised Timothy we could get him ice cream, so we found a Haagen Dazs and got him a cone. He took about four bites and then was finished. Timothy and me at HD - reunion I hadn’t brought the stroller, just his harness, so I spent the next 20 minutes (while Laura and I ate our ice-creams as well as Timothy’s) holding onto the harness for dear life and dealing with an obstinate child. At first he just played on the chairs, but then he tried to crawl away and ended up lying facedown on the floor and crying. Oh yes, I got lots of fun looks from people. I would have felt bad if it had been a quiet place otherwise, but it was so noisy that Timothy’s crying couldn’t have been much of a bother to anyone. I think they were just shocked that I let him lie there and cry. He hadn’t had a nap and by this time it was late afternoon, so I completely understand his losing it!

Our friends never did show, so we finally went back to the motel to lie down for a bit before meeting the rest for dinner at 7 at a Timothy and me at KR - reunionKorean place. I made sure I drove this time so that I’d be able to leave whenever I wanted. Dinner was yummy! We cooked our own food at our tables (after being shown how), and even Timothy enjoyed it. It was a little awkward that while I was the second person to sit down at a table, I was only joined by Laura and the guy I liked in high school, while the other tables were overcrowded – two tables for four seating at least six. Is it me, or is it Timothy that makes people not want to talk to me? It’s probably me. I was never popular in high school and was always one of the smart, prudish “good girls,” so I guess that hasn’t changed at all. At least the food was good!

us ladies - reunion After dinner we all headed out to do karaoke. I was kind of excited about

that, never having been to karaoke before in my life, but it ended up being a bust for me. I’d already decided I wanted to leave wherever we were by 10:30 (for my sake as well as Timothy’s), and even though we got to the pub by about 9:45, they had just started the first song when I left at 10:30. So I had to miss that. But there are lots of photos of it on Facebook.

Laura left early Sunday morning, so Timothy and I were on our own. We went out to a buffet lunch with the others, but I didn’t feel great, and Timothy was restless. Even with help from Linda, I still went crazy with Timothy. Everyone got to sit and eat and chat, and I ended up leaving and fighting with Timothy for a half hour because he wanted to play arcade games, and I had to go to the bathroom! Finally I couldn’t take it anymore, so we went back to the hotel and stayed there the rest of the day. In fact, we didn’t leave again until we checked out the next morning. I was just so fed up! I cried and cried and had a good chat with my husband to cheer me up. And Timothy really wasn’t being bad. It was just frustrating for me to have to handle him by myself in an unfamiliar place where I had hoped to get a chance to actually talk to people.

Now I know why my friends with kids stayed home or left the kids at home. There is no way I could have left Timothy at home, so maybe I should have not gone. I don’t know. Part of me feels like it was a waste of time since I was still an outsider and didn’t get to talk to many people. But another part of me is glad I went, since I did get to spend time with Laura and Linda. I don’t know. I guess it was an ambiguous trip!

We did take three days to drive home, and it was so much better that way! We missed a huge tropical storm we’d have had to drive through if we’d done the drive in two days, and I’ve never been a fan of driving in the rain or on flooded roads! Better yet, because we took our time, the power was back on when we got home, after having been off for 30 hours. So we could forget about the dead cockroach in our motel room in Lubbock – almost.

Even though this is not really home, it was still nice to get back to our house here (except for the weather) and take David to dinner. Timothy has free rein in our home, which just makes life so much simpler!

21 August 2010

You know you’re the mom of a toddler when…

…you fall asleep with Disney Silly Songs running through your head.

…you take a bite of ice cream, find a gummy bear in it, spit it out, and give it to your kid.

…you carry baby wipes in your purse, even if your child is potty-trained. (They are so useful!)

…you can sing the songs from Dora the Explorer and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but don’t recognize a single song on American Idol.

…you plan to meet your friends for a play date instead of coffee.

…you can recite Good Night Moon, among other books.

…you speak of yourself in the third person (as “Mommy”)constantly – sometimes even when you’re with adults.

…the last movie you saw in the theatre was rated G.

…you have a potty in your bathroom (perhaps even a singing one).

…most of your dishes are plastic.

…your pantry is stocked with graham crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars, and goldfish.

…you’ve got sing-a-long CDs in your car.

…you can name all the characters in Toy Story.

…you plan your day in terms of naptimes and bedtimes.

…your bathtub has more toys in it than loofahs and shampoo bottles.

…you feel like your life is completely out of control but love your kids to pieces!

17 July 2010

The end of our grand adventure

Okay, technically, we’re not “settled” yet. Although we are finally in San Antonio (well, Converse), we will only be in this home for about two weeks before moving to our more long-term house in the city. So even though we’re not on the road anymore, we’re still living out of suitcases for awhile and have the car mostly packed. I’m hoping that even though we aren’t moving into our house until August, we can at least unload our stuff this week, since no one is living there right now. It’d be nice to have our car be less of an eyesore (and a temptation for twisted people who want to steal strollers, potty chairs, toys, and clothes).

So we are here in Converse, Texas, and we have done some exploring this morning already, thanks to our [albeit silent] GPS. We’ve been to Office Depot and the grocery store already. Sadly, our printer is giving me an error message I don’t know how to deal with - “Remove and check cartridge” – aside from doing what it says, which hasn’t helped, and since I have no idea who can help here, we might be looking at buying a new printer. *cringe* These things happen. And now that we’re in one place, I might send in my GPS and see if I can get a new one or get this one fixed.

We are so thankful for all your prayers as we’ve been on the road these past three weeks! It’s such a relief to be in one place for a little while, maybe get to know people at church and all. We definitely still need prayer as we make this our home for now and get to know the city a bit. I’ll have to find a doctor for prenatal care, which doesn’t sound like fun to me. Maybe I’ll be able to write more about Timothy’s & my adventures as we explore!

15 July 2010

Our grand adventure – Days 17-18

Day 17: Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We took our time getting off on Wednesday, since I was not in any particular hurry to leave my aunt’s house. But leave we did, after I checked the oil and added a good deal of coolant to the car. (It seems to me I may need this checked when I get to Texas. Should my car be needing coolant refills every week? Maybe so!) The girls all pitched in to help get the car loaded and Timothy ready. The car’s seats were a bit wet, but Timothy’s carseat was dry, since it had been in the garage during the night’s thunderstorm. So we set out anyway. Somehow we made room for another box of diapers (unpacked into its two packages) and some more food (including some of my aunt’s fresh banana-blueberry muffins with the blueberries we’d picked ourselves Monday). We didn’t get off until almost noon and had an uneventful drive to our motel in Greenville, Alabama. I have an alarm on my phone set for 2:30 PM every day to remind me to pray for a friend, and yesterday it went off twice – once in Eastern time and then again in Central time. :)

We got to see some cool lightning just south of Montgomery, although Timothy saw much more than I did, since it was off to our left. He immediately connected it to Lightning McQueen. (My cousin Alyssa had bought him his own toy McQueen at Walmart the previous day.) Smart kid! The motel in Greenville was decent, but the Internet was wretched. It was on just long enough for me to chat with my sister on Facebook before it quit entirely. It’s a good thing it’s free because otherwise I’d have demanded a refund. Good grief. I stayed up late hoping it would work, but finally gave up sometime after 11, after Timothy had been in bed an hour or so.

Day 18: Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today we planned to drive to Sulphur, Louisiana, a 7+ hour drive, so we got up around 8 AM and ate the motel’s free breakfast before heading out. (Okay, Timothy actually woke up at 7 AM, which doesn’t make any sense since he was up so late! But I told him it wasn’t time to get up, so he lay in bed, kicking his legs and singing to himself for an hour. Thank goodness!) We headed southwest toward the Gulf and then turned west to follow the I-10, which will take us the rest of the way. We stopped at a rest area on the border of Mississippi and Louisiana around lunchtime and discovered it was also a NASA visitor’s center. I was tempted to visit the NASA area, which was separate from the rest area, but with Timothy, I thought it might be just too much. It’s a really nice rest area, though, if you’re ever heading either way on the I-10 at that border. It was hot today – 96 or so – but in cooler weather I’m sure it would be delightful. There are lots of shaded picnic tables under trees, and I think it’d be a great place for a picnic lunch. Plus there’s free coffee if you go inside! We stopped shortly afterward for lunch at Subway. (I only recently discovered you can get tuna sandwiches at Subway – yeah!) Timothy had fun running around and playing peek-a-boo with a young man at a nearby booth. :)

One thing I noted as we drove today was that we drove extensively over water – more than I’ve ever done before. I guess in this part of the country, when the signs says “Mobile River” (or whatever), it actually means “Mobile Delta.” I kept wishing we could pull over and look at the trees growing out of the water. Such a cool phenomenon!

And I realized that perhaps my greatest pet peeve of driving is tailgaters, especially when they are semis. Yes, I am a slow driver. I go the speed limit. But I have to pass vehicles, too! Usually I try to do so when it doesn’t inconvenience anyone else, in other words when I don’t see speeders coming up quickly behind me in the left lane. And sometimes I do speed up to pass other cars. But seriously, I pray God has mercy on these drivers who follow five feet behind other vehicles going 70mph. Don’t they have any idea how dangerous it is – both for them and for the vehicle in front? Obviously not. It’s just idiocy in my opinion.

Anyway, we made it here to the La Quinta Inn in Sulphur, Louisiana (thanks, Priceline!), where there is air conditioning and high-speed Internet, as well as free breakfast tomorrow. Yeehaw! Timothy and I had leftovers and fruit for supper and have gotten to relax this evening. I am so wiped out after almost three weeks of traveling. But when we get to San Antonio, we’ll only be in one place for two weeks then will move to our more permanent residence. So it’s not “home” yet! Oy! I guess I’m really learning flexibility as well as the fact that we really are strangers in this world!

So tomorrow: San Antonio! We’re aiming to be there by around 3 PM, so we’ll try to leave between 8 and 9 AM. (Ha ha.) Here we go!

14 July 2010

Our grand adventure – Days 12-16

Day 12:  Friday, July 9, 2010

Last Friday Timothy and I slept until 8 AM, which felt like sleeping in after being up much earlier the previous two days to get to activities on time! I started our laundry going, and we lazed around while it got washed. I had to wait an extra half hour to put it in the dryer because someone was using both dryers for his stuff. Grr. While it was drying, we dashed out to Walmart for some lunch food and an extra suitcase so our laundry (clean or dirty) didn’t have to be in a plastic shopping bag. We got back, got laundry sorted, packed everything in the car, and barely made it to noon check-out with literally a minute or so to spare. Yikes!

We got on the road right away and drove the 2-1/2 hours to my friend Laura’s house in Duluth. With no sound from my GPS, I did get a little turned around, but thank goodness it “recalculates” quickly. :) It was great to see Laura again! Timothy ran around the backyard for awhile until we all got eaten alive by mosquitoes and decided to go in and start supper. Good timing, as it started to rain shortly afterward! We had a nice taco supper with Laura and Laura’s grandmother, cousin, and aunt, then Timothy had a bath and went to bed so Laura and I could visit. We stayed up pretty late, but I knew there was nothing pressing in the morning, so it was fun! It was so nice to just sit back and chat! Thanks, Laura!

Days 13-16: Saturday to Tuesday, July 10-13, 2010

On Saturday morning, Timothy woke me up, and we lounged around until breakfast with Laura and her grandma. Afterward we packed our things and hit the road again, this time heading to Appling to visit my mom’s sister Brenda and her family. It was another short drive (a real relief!), and we arrived with plenty of the afternoon left to visit and for Timothy to play. Aunt Brenda has lots of toys! We enjoyed a home-made dinner with the family and visited into the night.

Sunday we spent most of the morning and some of the evening at church. (My uncle is a pastor.) What a delight to meet so many friendly people who love Jesus! Okay, and it was admittedly also a delight to put Timothy in nursery for several hours! :) Actually, that was one of the nicest things about being with my aunt’s family: having two cousins to play with Timothy! I dearly love my son, but sometimes it is nice to get a break. That night after Timothy was in bed, my cousins, uncle, and I played Taboo together – the first time I’ve played in probably a couple years. And my uncle and I won! :)

On Monday, we got to go blueberry picking! We all piled into my aunt’s van – my aunt, my two cousins, two little ones my cousin was babysitting, Timothy, and I (me?) – and drove to the farm. The bushes were full of ripe berries, and many of them were within easy reach of the two little boys. Although it was overcast in the morning, the sun came out while we were picking, and I quickly got too hot to pick any more. Timothy had long since stopped picking, preferring to run around with the boy my cousin was babysitting. But we all had fun! Between all of us, we picked 14-1/2 lbs of blueberries, which ended up being 10 quarts. By the time we left, we were hot, sweaty, and ready for naps! My poor aunt spent much of the afternoon washing the berries and packaging them while the children slept. I got to read for several hours, which was a real treat! Timothy was upset when the little boy went home after nap, not least because the little boy took his toy Lightning McQueen with him. :) But he got over it quickly. Timothy’s bath that night was nightmarish. David called while Timothy was bathing, to talk about something that required me to leave the bathroom briefly. While I was out, looking for some documents, Timothy got out of the tub, picked up his bear from his bed, and brought his bear with him into the bathtub. Oh no! The bath lasted much longer than usual because I was talking to David and just let Timothy continue to play. So it was already late, but then I had to take the bear downstairs and run him in the dryer before I could put Timothy to bed. *groan* What a night! My sweet cousin Alyssa played with Timothy and read to him to keep him occupied while his bear was in the dryer. Thank you, Alyssa!

On Tuesday morning my cousins, aunt, and I took Timothy to see a free showing of The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything at a theatre in Augusta. Although there was some technical difficulty, we had a good time, and Timothy loved the movie. Afterwards, we had lunch at Chick-Fil-A, and Timothy got to play in the play area for awhile, even though he wouldn’t ever climb up the structure so never did get to come down the slide. We ran some errands at Target and Walmart and got home in time for a late nap for Timothy. After supper, when Timothy was finally in bed, my cousins and I decided to play Monopoly. I hadn’t played that in ages, either, and I was awful!! I would have been a real embarrassment to my brother. :( But by midnight – after several interruptions – we finally called it quits when I went bankrupt on Boardwalk with three houses (or maybe it was Park Place). Ha. I got totally creamed. But it was fun! It rained while we played, and we all discovered the person who had come to fix the roof on Saturday hadn’t succeeded. My poor uncle’s closet had a constant drip from the ceiling. It made me feel right at home – just like in Nigeria! :)

All in all, we have a relaxing visit in that part of Georgia and were glad to see such encouraging friends and family.

08 July 2010

Our grand adventure – Days 9-11

Here we are in Columbus, Georgia!

Day 9 was pretty uneventful, actually. It was an hour shorter than I’d calculated because I’d forgotten to figure in the time difference. Cool! I let Timothy sleep in, and then Timothy and I had a nice “continental breakfast” (what does that mean, anyway?) at the hotel before we started on our way. We drove through more rain, though not very hard, and the GPS took us on smaller roads through the Alabama countryside rather unexpectedly. Even though we had to go 40 mph for about 20 miles thanks to road work (we did not actually see a single sign of active road work), we still made good time, only stopping once for gas in Selma, Alabama. It was good to get off the freeway as far as gas prices, but it was a little unnerving, too, not knowing when the next town would be – bathroom, gas station, food, etc. Timothy and I snacked in the car for lunch so were starving when we got to Columbus.

When we arrived, we unloaded our stuff and only afterwards realized the air conditioner in our room wasn’t working right. So we had to ask for a new room and then move all our stuff to a room without a microwave and fridge. Oh well. A/C is much more important! (Yesterday’s high was 97F.) The downside was that I couldn’t buy us milk and fresh fruit, which we have both been craving. We went to Walmart to get me a swimsuit and find Timothy some swim diapers, since I have no clue what I did with the ones we had, but they didn’t carry swim diapers – at least not that I could find. Good grief – and in July!! I thought there’d be a McDonald’s at Walmart (like in California ones), but there wasn’t, so we were really hungry when we finally got to Pizza Hut on our way “home.” But I wasn’t feeling good, so we split a personal pizza and still had leftovers. Very bizarre. I will be glad when I have a regular appetite again. The nice server lady gave Timothy some kids’ activity placements and a chalk marker since she didn’t have any crayons left. We had fun. It was about 8:30 when we got back to the motel, but I let Timothy watch a Wallace & Gromit before bed.

And Days 10 and 11 have been days with David! If you know why I’m here, then you know where we’ve been and what we’re doing. If not, this is part of our not-making-our-lives-public thing. Needless to say, it has been good to see David again and for Timothy to get reacquainted (and get a haircut). :) Tomorrow David goes off again, and Timothy and I will head up to the greater Atlanta area to visit my best friend from high school, Laura. Saturday we’ll drive up to Augusta and spend a few days with my aunt and uncle & cousins there before heading back westward to San Antonio.

So our trip is not over by any means! In fact, we are only a little over halfway in the grand scheme of things. And for whatever reason, my GPS has stopped talking to me, so I’m rather anxious about the rest of the trip without a navigator. I guess maps will just have to suffice until I can get the thing fixed. Maybe you can all pray that it will miraculously start working again!! I can still use it; I just have to look at it a bit more often than I’d like to need to when I’m driving.

Thank you for all your support! We’ve enjoyed our trip so far and have really loved being in Columbus these two days! But we’re looking forward to getting to San Antonio and having a home again, even if it’s only temporary. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m tired of eating out!

05 July 2010

Our grand adventure – Days 7 and 8

Day 7: Sunday, July 4, 2010

I’m able to write this from Pearl, Mississippi, where Timothy and I are bivouacked for the night.

The past two days have been nice and easy. Yesterday we attended church at Scofield Memorial in Dallas, Texas, with our dear friends Uncle Dick and Aunt Meg. Timothy enjoyed the toddler room so I could finally be a grown-up for awhile! In church we prayed for the parents of my college roommate and dear friend Heather. I’d forgotten they are supported by Scofield!

After church we had a yummy Sunday dinner courtesy of Aunt Meg, and everyone spent the rest of the afternoon resting. (For me that meant chatting on Skype to my dad and sister, and booking this hotel room. For everyone else it meant napping. For some reason, I’ve found that if I nap, I always am nauseated when I get up, so I try not to let myself sleep during the day.)

After naps, we went swimming! It was deliciously warm and humid outside, so the warm pool felt perfect. Timothy loved getting wet and even learned to kick his feet a bit while in the blow-up ring. Someday I’ll try teaching him to swim, but for now it’s just getting his face wet that we’ll work on!

We played with toy cars all evening and then went on a wild goose chase with Uncle Dick and Aunt Meg for fireworks. We got to see a few but missed the big shows. Oh well! It’s more than we saw last year. :) Timothy and I finally got to bed sometime after 10:30PM.

Day 8: Monday, July 5, 2010

I took the car to an open Pep Boys this morning at 8 AM for an oil change and just to ask about the water leak. The guy I talked to assured me that a somewhat large puddle is normal if you’ve been running the air conditioning a long time in humid weather. Well, now I know! I guess I’d lived in California drought too long!

Once the oil was changed, I drove back to get Timothy (whom I’d left asleep at “home”) and our luggage. We packed up, I wolfed down some cereal, and we got underway. I figured we’d refuel and eat lunch somewhere near Shreveport, Louisiana, and it was a quiet drive there. I noticed two guys on motorcycles without helmets (my friend Ruth would cynically refer to them as “organ donors”) and realized the Southern states must have relatively lax helmet laws. Timothy is of course fascinated by motorcycles at his age. I just hope I can train him that they are evil and dangerous!

We had a nice lunch at Exit 33 on the eastbound I-20 in Louisiana. I recommend the stop if you happen to be going that way. The Pilot gas station is nice and has great prices (today a full 20 cents a gallon cheaper than the Love’s just a few miles down the freeway). Their mini mart has friendly cashiers and lots of food, including fruit. The bathrooms are clean, and there is even a diaper changing station! Plus there is an Arby’s. When I was pregnant with Timothy I craved Arby’s curly fries but couldn’t get any, so I enjoyed them today. :) I hope Baby AJ liked them, too. Timothy wouldn’t even try them. He had a hot dog instead. He sure does love hot dogs. The cashier at Arby’s took a fancy to Timothy and I think told all her other cashier friends to come see this white chick with the biracial baby. Timothy didn’t pay any attention to the ladies trying to love on him, though. He was busy watching the lights of one of those electric-claw-toy game things like in Toy Story.

Once we crossed the Mississippi River, I knew for sure it would rain soon. And boy did it ever. All of a sudden, without any showers of warning, the heavens dumped buckets on us. I slowed down from 70 mph to 60 but kept having to slow down; it was that heavy. I finally was down to about 40 mph and following another car in the right lane at a very safe following distance – just close enough so that I could see its taillights. I turned on my emergency blinkers, and the car in front of me turned on its emergency blinkers. There we were, quite a pair, for the next 5 or 10 miles (who knows in that rain how far we went?), crawling along and blinking. I felt oddly fond of this car that was being so careful in contrast to the [in my opinion foolish] drivers who flew past us with such low visibility. I may not be the world’s greatest driver (to which my sweet husband can attest), but I consider myself definitely on the safe and conservative end. I don’t speed (except in the city, and then only to keep up with traffic, never in the fast lanes). I like driving with my lights on. I look over my shoulders probably more than actually necessary. And I’ve never been in an accident or had a traffic ticket in eight years of driving. How many people can say that? (Okay, I did go off the road once in Zeeland, Michigan, when I hit black ice on a bridge overpass, and it is only by God’s grace that there were no other cars around for me to hit as I spun several times before going down into the median and getting stuck in snowdrifts. But there was no damage done, a good Samaritan helped push me out, and I will always, always be careful on that particular bridge in the winter from now on!)

Anyway, we did weather the worst of the downpour (praying the whole time, while Timothy slept blissfully in the backseat, reminding me of “Jesus, Take the Wheel”). and it was only another half hour of light rain before we arrived at our hotel around 5 PM. Again, if you happen to be traveling this route, I’ll recommend the Jameson Inn in Pearl, Mississippi (just east of Jackson on the I-20). It’s not cheap, but we got our room on Priceline for better than we’d have paid at the nearby Motel 6, plus we get free Internet and breakfast, and it’s a much nicer place in general. We’re happy here! We had a nice dinner at Waffle House (my first time at the chain), and I welcomed myself to the South with a sweet tea. Mmmm! No offense, but Yankees just don’t know how to make iced tea!

And now it’s time for bed. Tomorrow will be a slow day, since we only have another six hours to Columbus, Georgia, if all goes well. We can sleep in and take our time. I accidentally left my swimsuit in Dallas, but actually, it was a size 16 and quite a bit too big for me anyway, so I’ll probably bite the bullet and get another one when we reach Columbus. The question is, should I buy my first ever two-piece (albeit a very, very modest one) so that I can fit into it when more pregnant, assuming I do get bigger – since I didn’t get big at all with Timothy – OR get a regular swimsuit and risk not fitting into it in a couple months? I wouldn’t care at all normally, but there is a chance we will live in a house with a swimming pool in the backyard in San Antonio, in which case I know I would spend much more time in the water than if we were in an apartment with a more public pool… Ah, such a quandary! And just think: there are people starving to death all over the world, yet here I am blogging about buying a swimsuit. For shame!

I’m obviously tired and need to join Timothy in the king-size bed. There were so  many pillows I put two on Timothy’s side edge so he wouldn’t roll off (which he did in Arizona), and another one between us so he doesn’t crowd me off the bed (which he kept almost doing in Texas), and we still each have a pillow to sleep on. Perfect! And we have our own thermostat, so I’ve set it at a comfortable 78 (instead of the freezing 65 it was at when we arrived). The portable DVD player is charging, and Mommy is sleepy. Good night, world!

03 July 2010

Our grand adventure – Day 6

I’d set the alarm to ring this morning at 6:30 again, but at 6:28 when I woke (it’s funny how that works, but I’m glad it usually does because I don’t always want Timothy to wake up when I do), I thought, Why do I need to wake up now? There’s no rush to get to Dallas. So I rolled over and kept sleeping intermittently until Timothy woke up at 7:45. Much better! We packed up the car and left as soon as possible. Did I mention that our non-smoking motel room reeked of cigarette smoke? It’s such that when I got ready for bed tonight, I could smell the smoke on my pajamas. Avoid the Motel 6 in Tucumcari, NM! (They also only had a shower, not a bathtub, so I couldn’t give Timothy a bath.)

We ended up not eating a sit-down breakfast, but I kept thinking we could stop around lunchtime and get breakfast then. Well, that didn’t happen either. It was raining at lunch time, so we kept driving – not owning an umbrella – but finally got desperate for some real food so stopped at a Dairy Queen in somewhere, Texas. :) Not great but decent. I realized we were in the South immediately by our server’s accent (duh). And also, when we were standing in line, a little biracial boy about ten came up and started playing with Timothy. He asked me how long I’d had Timothy. I said, “He’s mine. He’s 2-1/2.” The boy asked again, “Yes, but how long have you had him” I would have assumed this was just because we were in the South, but I actually got asked the same question in central CA once by a woman who assumed I’d adopted Timothy. Are healthy biracial families so rare?

The bathroom at DQ was yucky enough that I didn’t want to change Timothy on the floor (and of course there was no changing station). So I hauled him back to the car after lunch for a diaper change. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it was raining quite so hard, so we both got rather wet while I was changing his diaper in the driver’s seat of the car (the only available spot in the whole vehicle). Ugh. So we had half the trip left in wet clothes. Oh well! It was still better than having to haul out his potty in the pouring rain every hour or two! Diapers are a go!

Just outside Wichita Falls, we stopped for gas, and I noticed that something was leaking from under the car. Great. So I parked the car and popped the hood. I had just checked the coolant level and discovered it was almost completely empty when a man came up to us and asked what the problem was. I pointed out the leak, but he didn’t seem to think it was a problem. I then told him about the coolant, so he went inside the minimart and bought me coolant, then helped put it in. We then checked the oil, which was only a little low but was dirty, so he recommended I get it changed in Dallas if possible. When he went back to his car for wet wipes for our hands, he noticed the puddle under the car was quite a bit bigger, and he agreed that it might be a problem. But it just looked like water to him, and that seemed odd. He said he thought we’d make it to Dallas but recommended we get it looked at.

Great. Unfortunately, we’re leaving Dallas on Monday, which is of course a holiday, so I’m praying really hard and hoping God will get us safely to our stop in Mississippi and then help us find a reliable mechanic there who can at least give it a once-over on Tuesday. I’m very thankful to God for kind strangers who help pregnant moms with toddlers traveling alone when they need help!

We continued on our journey and hit a great deal more rain, but I was listening to The Lord of the Rings so didn’t bother much, just drove more slowly and carefully. (And no, I did not use cruise control.) We arrived in greater Dallas around 7 PM or so and enjoyed a breathtaking full rainbow as we drove into the city (before hitting harder rain). So nice! We finally got to our friends’ house in Garland around 8 PM and have enjoyed visiting and a much-needed bath for Timothy. :) Tomorrow we will rest here and enjoy the Fourth of July with these dear friends who might as well be our family! On Monday we’ll head out toward Georgia and stop somewhere roughly halfway, probably in the middle of Mississippi. No plans, no reservations. We’ll just see what happens. THANK YOU for your prayers!

Our grand adventure – Day 5

(Friday, July 2, 2010)

I woke up at 6:30 again this morning (if you know me very well, you’ll understand that this is a major chore, even more so in the midst of pregnancy) and struggled through my usual morning nausea to get the car packed. Mom’s cousin was kind enough to feed Timothy while I loaded the car, since I couldn’t stand the thought of food. *shudder* We were on our way by 8, heading northeast on a simple highway. It was beautiful country, especially at first, through pine trees and mountains (with lots of “watch for deer” and “watch for elk” signs again). I have to admit one of the few things I dislike about driving is that I can’t enjoy the scenery quite as much as if I were a passenger. But generally, I love driving long-distance. It’s just…liberating somehow.

Anyway, we got to the I-40 in Winslow, Arizona, and made it safely through Holbrook without incident. (I was once stuck there for a week with car trouble and ended up spending well over $1000 between car repairs and motel room costs. So I am not a fan of the town, although the people were very friendly.)

We loved the 75mph speed limit most of the day, and we just breezed along. In Gallup we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch, and Timothy played with some other kids who were there. We got approached twice by panhandlers outside the place – the first time by two kids who wanted a quarter (to buy something inside, as it turned out) and the second by an adult who wanted spare change. Hm.

We left behind mostly Spanish-sounding names and started seeing mostly Navajo names on the signs along the freeway.

Oh, and I’m also developing my multitasking skills in having to pick up Timothy’s toys, bowl, pacifier, etc., that get dropped onto the car floor – all while driving. I know it sounds really safe, but I’m always careful to see that no cars or trucks are nearby, and I never take my eyes off the road. You can do a lot by feeling.

I also started listening to a dramatized version of The Lord of the Rings today (thanks, Kathy & Ron, for the loan!), which definitely helped keep me awake.

We arrived in Tucumcari, New Mexico, at about 6:45 PM and checked into our motel, which incidentally does not have Internet as I’d thought. *sigh* So now Timothy’s watching Ice Age on our DVD player since there’s nothing age-appropriate on TV, and I’m avoiding the thought of having to find something for Timothy to eat for dinner. Maybe we’ll be okay with granola bars, cherries, and grape tomatoes. :) Perhaps tomorrow we can eat a real breakfast at Denny’s before we hit the road if I’m not feeling too sick. Poor kid needs some substantial food after staying two nights with a very strict Vegan. I do, too, for that matter. I know it’s healthy food, but considering most of it is stuff Timothy and I don’t like, we didn’t eat that much…besides granola bars and cherries!

So when I do get Internet (hopefully tomorrow in Dallas), I’ll be able to tell you how many miles we’ve traveled so far.

Total time on the road so far (including stops) = 27 hours

01 July 2010

Our grand adventure – Days 1-4

Timothy and I have begun our long journey from southern California to Georgia and then to Texas!

Days 1-2

Timothy and I started our trip on Monday in San Diego, where we’d been staying with friends for several weeks. I was in no real hurry to get off. Timothy was playing with our friends’ grandchildren, so I could load the car in peace. We finally got off around 11:30 or so but had to turn around within 15 minutes, as I realized we’d left Timothy’s Pippin Bear behind. Now that would have been a disaster. On our way back to “Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Ron’s” house, we were in a near collision with a young man in a nice VW something-or-other. I won’t go into details, but it was not in any way our fault, and no one got hurt, so we left our phone number (although I knew he would never get insurance to cover any damages since he’d run into the curb himself and we were not at fault) and kept on. After retrieving Pippin Bear, we finally got on the freeway at 12:02. Whew!

It was an uneventful drive up to Visalia, only stopping for gas. And once we got to the Valley, we were sure glad our air conditioning had gotten checked! We arrived at our friend Heather’s house at 6 that evening, just in time for Timothy to play a bit with the kids before bed. Yay!

The next day, Timothy and I met friends at the park. After playing in the playground for awhile, we were glad when the fountains turned on at 11 so we could get wet! Timothy had a blast getting soaking wet, and I even drenched myself a few times (drying out each time much too quickly) to cool off. It was nice to see friends for one last time before our real trip began. After a picnic lunch we went back to Heather’s house. Timothy played there with the kids while I went to our storage unit to repack the car. It reached 102F that day, but the storage unit was – thank God – pretty cool. That evening, we picked up a double stroller at our friend Marcie’s house, Timothy played with her son Evan for awhile, and then we finally went home to rest for our trip.

Days 3-4

I woke at 6:30 yesterday and started getting ready for the day. Timothy kept sleeping while I ran the double stroller to our storage unit (it wouldn’t fit in the car with everything else), and when I arrived back at 7:30 or so, he was awake and rearin’ to go! We said goodbye to Heather et al and got underway (by way of Costco for gas and McDonald’s for breakfast) around 8:30.

It was challenging learning a few new driving techniques, such as how to control the car with its luggage carrier on top in the midst of high winds. I’m also having to learn how to use my side mirrors efficiently, not being able to see out my rearview. I’ve hardly ever used my side mirrors, since I don’t have great peripheral vision with these glasses. But I’m learning! We stopped in Needles (among other places) to get gas and experienced the 113F heat. Again, so glad to have air conditioning! We went next-door to McDonald’s so Timothy could get down and play a bit in the air conditioning (and if we also got a milk shake, so what?). It was getting dark when we reached Flagstaff, and I was paranoid about all the “watch for elk” signs we were seeing. I figured by the time I saw an elk, it would already be destined to end up destroying my car and itself. Sorry, but at 75 mph in the dark in a downhill grade, there is no way I’m going to be able to stop for an elk! I prayed with Timothy as we drove so God would keep us safe from hitting an elk. He must’ve heard!

The other interesting thing we saw was a sign that had the mileage to the two nearest towns in kilometers as well as miles. How odd! I would have loved to have stopped to see the London Bridge, but I didn’t know how far it was from the freeway, and we were already behind schedule, so we passed on that particular tourist spot.

We finally got to Camp Verde, Arizona, at about 9 PM, and I chased around a devil child before we finally settled down for sleep. We had a restful if warm day here today in Arizona with my mom’s cousin and are preparing to travel tomorrow to Tucumcari, New Mexico, where we’ve booked a motel room. Yeah! We’re definitely on our way, and we’ve only lost one pacifier so far! I have no clue what I did with Timothy’s swim diapers, though, so a trip to Walmart is in order. :)

Thank you for your prayers! Wish us well!

27 April 2010

A new path

When I started this blog four years ago, I was volunteering in an AIDS treatment program in Nigeria. Now, here I am in the States, forging a completely different path through completely different terrain. Is it time to close this blog and begin another? Or reshape it to fit the times?

Part of the issue is respecting our family’s need for privacy. So many of you, though, have asked that I keep you updated with specifics as often as possible. How do I balance these two? I’m not sure yet. I may start a new blog that is password-protected, or make this one password-protected – only for invited readers. Or I may send out a regular email. In any case, if you’re interested in hearing more about our adventures in a less-public arena, let me know with your email address, and I will figure something out.

And if you are entirely clueless, I do apologize, but as I said before, I am trying to be respectful of privacy and so can’t divulge our latest plans in such a public place. Email me! :)

Until then, happy trails!

27 March 2010

Snow day in Sequoia

Last Friday, my parents took all three of us up to the snow in Sequoia National Park. It was about a two-hour drive from our apartment to the snow area, but on the way we stopped to see the famous General Sherman, a Giant Sequoia tree. Timothy loved walking in the snow and throwing snowballs with his bare hands. The trail to see the tree is at an incline, so we stomped and slid along, as the trail was a little icy in places.

General Sherman is as huge as ever! Although it’s not the tallest nor the widest tree in existence, it is the largest in volume. It’s easy to believe when you circle it and look up into its branches. Some folks were lying down on the cleared off bench, taking photos upwards of the tree, and they just kept saying, “Wow… wow.” Its circumference at the base is about 31 meters, so you can imagine a tree around which it takes more than 30 grown men to circle. Because it was snowy, we could get much closer to it than we would have been able to in summer, with its being roped off and all. I joked with David that it would be a nice place to build a several-story summer home – in the trunk, that is. The walk back to the car was slippery, and Timothy raced ahead of the rest of us, plowing into strangers who thankfully thought he was cute and didn’t mind. One part of the trail goes through a fallen tree trunk, and that was pretty cool. There were even icicles hanging from the tunnel’s edge.

We piled back into the car (after Timothy ran into the street and scared me half to death – how am I going to get him to stop doing that???) and drove further on to the snow area. Having never been to Sequoia in the winter, Dad & I half-expected it to be a tourist attraction like Yosemite. Alas, no. Although there was a sledding hill, there were no shops open (only in the summer), so we were glad we’d brought our own lunch! Mom had made us a picnic, so we enjoyed eating in the car before we traipsed out into the snowy field.

Some of the snow was pretty deep. David and I on separate occasions both went down almost up to our hips in snow. At one point I thought I would have to ask Dad or David to help pull me out! Timothy had a blast jumping in the snow, throwing it, and especially kicking it. We none of us had on snow clothes, but I’d brought a dry set of clothes for Timothy, so I let him go ahead and get soaked. I put on his mittens and my gloves, and that made everything much nicer. He had fun with Grampa, sliding down into a small gully on his bottom and then climbing out again. We started to make a tiny snowman, but Timothy kicked it, and snow flew everywhere. I climbed halfway up the snowy roof of the summer snack shop before I realized if I went further I’d have to slide down on my bottom. So I climbed down again, leaving that for some day when I’ve got on snow pants. :) David, Timothy, and I set off to the sledding hill and got some great exercise walking in the snow before it was time to go. We even passed a little creek into which Timothy wanted to jump, right after I’d heard read to me that there are so many drowning deaths in the mountains! No way were we getting near that creek, even though it was literally barely deep enough to cover my shoes if I’d had to go through it. It looked freezing and very slippery. Brr!

All in all, we were only in the snow for a couple of hours, but we all had a great time – Mom in the car listening to an audiobook and the rest of us in the snow. By the time we were done, around 2pm, Timothy was soaked, and I was glad I’d brought dry clothes! But it was a warm, sunny day – I wore short sleeves and felt fine – and we enjoyed the snow! I hope there will be pictures soon to follow.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a great snow day 2010!

02 March 2010

0600

Something woke me up at 0600 yesterday. I’m guessing it was Timothy’s whining from his bed. Maybe he was thirsty; maybe he was cold. Who knows? I pulled his covers over him more closely and patted him, and the little guy went right back to sleep. David was in the living room on his computer, wide awake, enjoying the quiet morning. He had been awake since 0400 and would go back to sleep around 0700.

I got a drink and went back to bed.

I realize that many people are up by 0600 on a regular basis. In fact, I know someone who gets up at 0500 every day and walks her dog.

Not me.

No way.

I’ve never been a morning person. In college, I avoided taking 0800 classes after my freshman year because I knew I was more likely to fall asleep in them. And when you’re sitting front and center, falling asleep is a particular problem. I remember one evening as a freshman, going over my notes from my 0800 Intro to Anthropology class and trying to read miniscule writing that drifted off the page. It was during that semester that I did my experiment with drinking four cups of coffee at breakfast before class.

Never again.

But at least I stayed awake!

I had to get up at 0630 when I worked in San Diego, since I had a 45-minute commute and had to be at work at 0800. Sometimes we would get there at 0730 so we could leave by 1630 instead of 1700. So yes, I do know what it’s like to get up early regularly. I can do it if I need to.

But it’s not for me.

In high school we were always encouraged to get up early for quiet itime before the day really began. Honestly, I did try. But every time after the first couple of days, I would drift off back to sleep as I was trying to pray. Call it spiritual warfare if you wish.

I don’t think so.

No, I’m definitely not a morning person. And at this time of my life, I can afford to sleep late. In fact, I need to sleep late. Since I work from home, my best work is done at night, when Timothy is asleep. And I’m obsessive about getting my work done early. If I have 40 papers turned in between 0700 on Monday and 0700 on Tuesday, by Tuesday morning I will have already done at least 15, even though I have until Thursday night to finish the lot. I’m usually done all the grading by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. I just like to work that way and not feel last-minute pressure. And it’s so nice and quiet when Timothy’s asleep. So I stay up until 0100 or 0200 to get my work done. It’s no wonder I don’t wake up at 0600!

No sir, not me!

The other great thing is that Timothy is not really a morning person. Some days he wakes up between 0700 and 0730, but even when he does, he plays quietly until 0830 or so. I’m spoiled; what can I say?

I love sleep.

But I know that at some point in my life – perhaps sooner, perhaps later – I will have to regularly get up “early.” Whether I’ll have to work or wake up with Timothy, I know the day will come when 0600 becomes the set alarm on my phone (unless of course by then I have a real alarm clock).

Boo.

So for now I will enjoy sleeping in while I can, having a routine that allows me to get up at 0900 five days a week and pad around in my bathrobe for awhile. Call me lazy if you wish. I don’t care. It’s just the way I am.

And sometimes I like being me.

14 February 2010

Revisiting high school

My ten-year high school reunion is coming up this summer, and I’m starting to think about seeing some of my old friends again. We were a small graduating class – 27 of us – and by the time we graduated, I think it’s safe to say we’d all become friends. Sure, there were our spats and rivalries, typical teenage stuff, but I’d like to think we all got along pretty well.

In the past ten years, I’ve seen many of my classmates in different venues – weddings, funerals, spring break road trips, etc., – but there are several I haven’t seen since graduation. Just this weekend, in fact, David, Timothy, and I went to Las Vegas to visit a high school classmate who just had her first baby. I hadn’t seen her since we’d parted ways that eventful evening in June 2000. It was wonderful to meet her husband and son and to catch up a bit. I doubt either of us could have ever imagined that we’d be where we are today.

And I realised that she is the first of my classmates that I’ve seen when she is a mom. In fact, I’ve hardly seen any of my classmates since they’ve been married; the ones I have most often seen are the singles. I guess that’s typical, considering travel costs are double for a couple, let alone a whole family (some of my classmates have three kids). Admittedly, I would love to do more traveling than I am able to now, both because of finances and because of the stress of going anywhere with a toddler.

So it has been a long time since I’ve seen most of my class friends. I have tried to keep up, and Facebook has been a real boon there, but it’s impossible to keep intimately involved with every single person as time goes by. So who are these people in my class?

We are moms, dads, marrieds, singles, teachers, lawyers, doctors, speech pathologists, business partners, students, unemployed, nurses, administrative assistants, store  managers, IT wizards, graphic designers, and more!

And although I know we won’t all 27 be at the reunion, I also know that several people who did not graduate with us (who had left before 2000) will be there. It might be an awkward weekend, but it might just as well be an amazing one. So here’s to the Hillcrest Class of 2000: see you soon!

13 January 2010

Dead ends

Once again, as I’m writing, I’m crying. why would anyone want to read my posts when they are so depressed and discouraged?

We had been somewhat excited about a possible opportunity for David, which would help with career advancement and education, but we realized today it was just wishful thinking. Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.

And so we are literally back to square one. Neither of us in the past year has gotten any useful education, and neither of us is particularly employable. And once again we are living off my part-time salary.

I’ve been given an ultimatum that I must either get a full-time job or take classes so that at some point I will be able to support us financially. After all, if I’d done this a year ago, we wouldn’t be in this predicament. I am obviously selfish and don’t care about my family.

Call me what you will, when I think of dropping Timothy off at day care every single weekday, my heart breaks. The thought is just devastating. I was really lucky to have a stay-at-home mom who was always there.

But you know what, I’d be willing to sacrifice and get a job if I could find a job. I’m willing to move anywhere in the country if I can just get a worthwhile job. I’ve applied for so many jobs and have only had one interview in the whole past year.

And I’d be glad to take classes, but for what?? It would need to be something with a good job market. The only thing I can think of is a health-related field, but I’d have to start from scratch, having only taken biology and chemistry in college – and not even a full year of biology at that. My English degree is only useful for teaching and publishing. If I were to be forced into a teaching career in K-12 (for which I’d have to get my MA in Teaching), I would lose all faith in a loving God, since that career would be for me a living hell. And the job market for English teachers in institutions of higher education is dim at best. So that leaves publishing. Well, unfortunately, the publishing industry is also headed into oblivion.

Everyone says there are jobs out there great for English majors because we have better communication skills than most. But where are those jobs?

People keep telling me they are praying for us, and that God has a purpose for our lives. Yeah, well, He’s not being very helpful in leading us to anything right now. It’s just been one closed door after another – Bam! Bam! Bam! Am I doomed to bag groceries for the next three or four years, just so we can pay our bills? if I could even get a job doing that?? What was the point of my $100,000 education? What is the point of education at all if you can’t get a job??

Okay, enough ranting. Tears alone will have to do for now.

07 January 2010

Looking forward to people

Anyone who knows me would tell you that I’m not a very social person. In most places I’ve lived, I’ve had a small group of close friends but have a hard time making new ones. I’m not big on parties or functions with lots of people. I once had a panic attack in a crowded auditorium foyer. I’m terrible at conversations and can never think of the right things to say, especially on the phone.

But even an introvert like me needs to be around people. My parents were here for three weeks over the holidays and have now been gone for five days. It’s been a really rough week so far. I got so used to having them around all the time to talk to, laugh with, sing silly songs for Timothy with. Now the house is empty and quiet, and I’m shocked to discover how much I want to see other people! Our routine social activities from the fall haven’t picked up again yet. No Bible study, no MOPS, no small group. I was so glad that my friend Heather and her kids were free for us to spend some time with on Tuesday and Wednesday. I still never know what to say, but the only way I’m going to learn is by trying, right? It was fabulous to get out of the house and be around people I like! Thanks, Heather!

And next week, finally, our activities will start up again, so Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays Timothy and I can look forward to being around people. Our little apartment gets lonesome pretty quickly with just the two of us – even worse in some ways now that David is home with us! The other thing about next week is that it is supposed to be sunny – or at least sunnier – so we’ll be able to go for a walk or to the park without my worrying about Timothy’s freezing! Yay! I live and enjoy a sedentary lifestyle for the most part, but even I need to get out and walk sometimes! Maybe we can even kill two birds with one stone – invite someone to walk or play outside with us!

After all, I’ve begun to realize that without something to look forward to, I will just melt away into a depressed oblivion. So bring on the activities! Let me immerse myself in doing so I don’t have to think about the worries of my future!