Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Okay, so now what?

It was Sunday afternoon, Jerry had Lily, and I had Jade asleep and was trying to do the same. Naps are rare, but I had actually drifted off...when "ding-dong" goes the doorbell...one of those loud ones where you could tell the person held their finger on the doorbell longer than necessary! It caused the doorbell cover to come off and tumble down the stairs, so needless to say...I was now awake! I laid there thinking it was probably just one of the little neighborhood girls coming to see if Lily could play...and decided to ignore it. After all, Jade had slept through the commotion thus far, so I should too. Then comes a "Bang, Bang, Bang!" at the door, I sat up knowing this was too forceful for any of the 3 year olds I knew, and decided to see who was unknowingly, yet rudely, disturbing my nap! I peek out the door and see no one, but a red truck parked at the curb. I open the door and something falls to the ground. I pick it up and am immediately thankful! It is a driver's license, and I am thinking one of us losers must have left our driver's license somewhere and this kind soul is delivering it back to our house! But then I look closer and realize it isn't either of ours. I see the address is ours, and the name is familiar...I recognized it as the previous owner's ex-wife. By now the truck is driving off and I am running down the sidewalk trying to flag the driver down...to let him know that this lady hasn't lived here in a couple of years! Well, no luck...I guess he didn't see me!

So now what? How do I return this license to someone who obviously hasn't updated their address in two years? I find that so annoying because having moved, oh, let's see, 7 times just since 1999, I've got the address change thing down, and it just really isn't that hard!! I am further annoyed that we keep getting mail for her ex-hubby and 2 daughters also. One of her daughters must be in some sort of trouble with the driving authority because we keep getting letters from TX Dept of Public Safety with her name on it. They come in pretty thin non-privacy type envelopes, so I must confess that I held the most recent one up to the light and learned that her driver's license is being revoked. We just put return to sender on them and hope they don't come knocking at our door looking for her one day!! I can just see myself explaining that to the neighbors!

I thought this same daughter must have been in love with the mail because she has etched into the mailbox '____ was here'....so nice....even nicer that someone else with etching skills must have come behind her and added '____ sucks'....I just love seeing that every time I go to check the mail. Thank God it is across the street at a little community box and not right on my front porch! One day the mailman actually stopped me and thanked me for picking up our mail so regularly...apparently they would go days on end without picking it up!!! Not true for me, as a stay at home mom, getting the mail is one of the highlights of my day! Jerry loves getting it too...he always asks when he walks in if I've gotten the mail...and on the rare occasion that I answer no, he is quickly back out the door to check it. You'd think we had some rich uncle lying on his deathbed somewhere.

Back to my problem. How do I return this driver's license? I can't find a phone number or address listed anywhere for this chic! I guess I'll start asking the neighbors if any of them keep up with her! Or maybe I could try to contact the realtor that listed the house...although that was her ex-hubby's agent. Who knows, all I know is that it feels weird holding someone else's ID. Just plain weird! Maybe its because we've both been victims of identity theft.......but that's a whole other blog post!!

Oh, and just to humor me...and to eleviate one of my biggest pet peeves, if you've recently (or even not so recently) moved and need to change your address...just click here...where you can do it right online!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jade is halfway to being ONE!

I know saying it like that makes her seem older than she really is, but hey, its the truth! I can't believe half of her first year has already passed. I honestly don't know where the time has gone!!! She is a super great baby. Sleeping, eating, rolling over, and even sitting up...for a few weeks now. I can't imagine being stuck on that airplane for 8 hours with any other child...not even my Lily...actually, ESPECIALLY not Lily!!! Not that Lily isn't great, but if any of you had to choose...lap baby or non-stop talking, climbing 3 year old....? It's an easy choice!

Here are Jade's 6 month stats:
Length 26.5 inches
Weight 18 lbs 7 oz

Both fall between the 75th and 90th percentiles. Let's just say her thighs had plenty of space for the shots!!!

Here she is making a fashion statement with her purple knee highs! Actually this is her mother's lame attempt at keeping her socks on! I have bought all brands of socks ranging from The Gap to Target to just plain Hanes...I can't find a size or brand that will stay on her feet!!!

I just hate waking my sleeping beauty, but I had to the other day to go pick Lily up from preschool. She was so deep in a peaceful sleep...so I grabbed the flash camera! The flash didn't even wake her up! Poor thing! That is the life of being the second child!

Someone once told me that life always goes at the pace of your oldest child. I think that is so true. Life pretty much stopped for Lily's nap schedule. Jade, however, gets woken up on a near daily basis to go do whatever we've got to do...whether it's Lily's preschool, playdates, dance class or even church. At least Jade goes with the flow. Come to think of it, Lily probably would have too. I was just a Nap Nazi!

Well, here's to the next 6 months Jade!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wisconsin Trip: The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Ugly!

Note: A lot of this VERY LONG post is simply for myself...so I can remember the details/history, just so you know I'm not TRYING to bore you!

The "Good":

1. We made it!

2. It was so good to see all the family...this is my Dad's side of the fam...he is the oldest of 6, 3 boys and 3 girls. There are 10 grandkids, of whom Kelly and I are the oldest, and now 10 great-grand kids...ranging in age from 3 months to 6 years...so fun! It was the first time we had ALL been together since Christmas of 2004. We had been back in 2005 for my grandpa's 80th birthday, but not all the cousins made it. My grandpa died just a couple of weeks before our trip. I'm leaving that in the "good" category, because he was so ready to go HOME!

Jade connecting with her Great Grandma for the first time! Precious!

The 10 grandkids w/spouses and grandma! I think I need to find the time we did this pic 20 years ago...that is a whole other post!

Wearing red in honor of Grandpa....Jade didn't lack attention!

3. We attended a beautiful memorial service for my grandpa...fittingly, "Going Home" was played...a beautiful song by an all boys choir, Libera. To see a performance of this song, click here. The lyrics are beautiful too:

Going home going home
I am going home
Quiet like, some still day
I am going home

It's not far, just close by,
through an open door
work all done, care laid by
never fear no more

Mother's there expecting me
Father's waiting too
Lots of faces gathered there
All the friends I knew

I'm just going home

No more fear no more pain
No more stumbling by the way
No more longing for the day
Going to run no more

Morning star lights the way
Restless dreams all gone
Shadows gone, break of day
Real life has begun

There's no break, there's no end
Just a living on
Wide awake, with a smile
Going on and on

Going home, going home
I am going home
Shadows gone break of day
Real life has begun

I'm just going home

Thank you, Lord, that my grandpa was able to go to home to his cottage...before going to Your Home for eternity. I miss you so much grandpa!

4. The memorial service was held at the Lutheran church in N. Leeds. I grew up going to that church whenever I was staying with my grandparents. My biggest memory of it was the fact that it didn't have A/C! My dad was confirmed there and so many of our relatives are buried near there. It is a special place. It doesn't even take me all the fingers on one hand to count the number of funerals I've been to. I am new to this, but I was AMAZED at the crowd. Such a testament to my grandfather's life. The service started late for the sake of allowing everyone to make it through the visitation line. Last comment on this occasion: afterwards everyone headed down to the basement for food...yes, all the traditional casseroles, but the staple was (and always is!) ham and BUTTER sandwiches and the drink of choice..MILK! Only in Wisconsin! Being raised by two northerners (my mom is from Michigan), I still love ham and butter sandwiches, but I have to have my TEA...SWEET TEA at that! I think my Uncle Alan could down 3 gallons of milk in a week, possibly more. We just don't view milk the way they do in the "dairy state"!

Above: The church in N. Leeds Below: Lily being a little clingy at the service.

5. Although it was getting dark and we don't even know the current owners of the property, we drove to my grandparent's old farm in Arlington, WI and I hopped out to take pictures of the hen house, the milk house, and the grainery...old buildings that have lots of childhood memories for me! Glad I didn't get shot at! We also drove by their old Victorian home in Columbus, WI...but my battery was already dead in my camera, ugh! That didn't happen with my old film one! Anyway, as a child I was never impressed by the outward beauty of the place like I would be now, my memories there lie in the 3 levels, many staircases, and the laundry chutes! Boy, was that a fun house!

6. There was snow a plenty! They had been getting snow all December, but got 6 or 8 more inches just when we were trying to fly in (see the "bad" below). It was beautiful. Breathtaking really. Deep, fluffy, snow. Not icy, and no grass and leaves poking through the way they do here when we get a rare light snow. We were most fascinated with the snow covered trees. They were gorgeous. The family had rented a local girl scout lodge for a family get together and right outside was the perfect hill for sledding. I was really envisioning old fashioned wood sleds with metal runners. My cousins laughed about that! I guess people don't use those anymore! I went down on some plastic thing I think they called a saucer or maybe a donut...I can't remember...again, my cousins are laughing. I can ski any day, but that thing was fast, wild and out of control! I ended up going down backwards and couldn't even stop myself...YES, I tried! Lily had a blast sledding though! Over and over again...she didn't even mind pulling it back up the hill. It was classic seeing my dad's baby bro give him a huge push down the hill. My sister and I even made snow angels. Lily had the sincerest tears when it was time to come in. She loved it that much!

7. We had great hosts. I think the last 4 times we've been to WI, my Aunt Janeen and Uncle Chuck have hosted us. It works out perfectly because they have 2 daughters and 5 grandkids, so they are used to hosting couples with kiddos! Jade had her own private nursery and Lily had the perfect kid's room...built into an attic dormer. They call it "Addy's Annex" for their oldest grandchild! Not only are Chuck and Janeen warm hosts and great cooks (I think I need another eggnog latte, UC!), they have a FAB house. In fact, it was featured in a local paper's home living section last month. I wish I could find an electronic link to the article because it is so interesting, but you'll have to just enjoy a few of the pics I was able to scan in below. In a VERY brief summary, the original owners of their home converted it from a carriage house and barn after facing a housing shortage in the area after WW II. I would have included a picture of them here, they are a lovely couple, but you'll understand why when you read "the downright ugly"! Not that they are ugly, but the situation sure was!

The "Bad":

Jerry and I were on different airlines, with different flights, and different schedules...but we were all supposed to land in Milwaukee within 15 minutes of each other. Only in a perfect world! Why, you say, were we separated? We had limited miles to use, limited funds, and I have flight anxiety! We started to use all our miles to ride together on American, but we had to get on a small plane in Chicago for the last leg, and well, let's just say...I don't do small planes. So Lily and Jerry did that route and I rode with Jade as a lap baby along with my sister and Avery on a "bigger bird"! It was all going perfectly until it snowed, snowed, and snowed some more in Milwaukee. Jerry and Lily left Dallas early and got out just fine. Our plane, however, was delayed from the start due to "zero visibility" in Milwaukee...really, that is what they said. Somehow the forecast changed and they put us on the plane...bad idea. A couple of hours later we are circling over the Milwaukee airport and the captain comes over the intercom and says something like....we have bad news. the airport is CLOSED for arrivals due to the snow. (what? airports CLOSE?) he continues...the plows can't keep up with the snow, they were letting some lighter aircraft land, but we have a heavy fuel load and cargo as well, so we couldn't safely land. we'll circle here for a bit longer while they re-plow and then I'll give a new update.......OKAY, at this point my sister and I are wondering why they even put us on the plane under these conditions and I am reaching for some more XANAX. Yikes! I don't like flying anyway, and then hearing things like the airport is closed and we're too heavy to land on the snow....well, I was a little nervous you could say. The later update wasn't any better...the snow was just coming down too fast...I think they got 6-8 inches in a two hour period...the plows couldn't keep up, so we had to be rerouted. 45 minutes later, we land in Des Moines, Iowa. Great! Just in time for the Iowa Caucuses! No gate for us there...just got to sit on the the jetway, yes the jetway, for who knows how long. The pilot wasn't sure if we could make it to Milwaukee or not. People are talking of hotel stays, the works. For the first time since quitting nursing, I am really doubting my decision to stop, I had only packed enough nursery water and formula for what I thought was going to be a two hour flight!

During our stay on the jetway in Des Moines, I got in touch with Jerry. He and Lily were stuck in Chicago. News reporters were even there reporting all the traveling woes. He has his own nightmare story that includes phrases like: cancelled! poopy accident(s)! no more pullups! airport only has size 2 diapers! no access to luggage! wait for a bus! miss a bus! finally, ride a bus to Milwaukee! Jerry has literally travelled the world...courtesy of his old "job" in missions...he has travelled under all sorts of conditions and issues but he now says this was his worse travelling experience ever! That says a lot!

Lily looking out at the snowy Chicago airport...thankfully this was her 7th time to fly...so she understands delays....sort of! She liked the bus ride...no car seat and huge windows!

Back to us...two hours later we were in route to Milwaukee, yet again. Yippee. Good thing they hadn't let us off that plane. I think Kelly and I both would have driven back to Texas in a heartbeat! 45 minutes later, we are descending and the plane is quiet and tense. Even the northerners among us were a bit nervous on the landing. The snow was still coming down as we made contact with the runway. Once we were all sure we weren't skidding off, the applause erupted! I am sure it would have been a standing ovation if it weren't for the darn seatbelts! I let Jade stand and clap on my lap!!! We had been on the same plane for 8 hours! And we weren't exactly landing in Maui! All things considered, Jade did amazing on her first plane ride!

The "bad" continued: OUR LUGGAGE......LOST!!

We had been smart, so we thought, and sent all our luggage with Jerry. He could take more with two tickets and I'd have Jade in my arms...not much I can haul around other than her! Well, somehow the luggage didn't make the transitions, and ended up in Madison. Madison? None of us were even scheduled to land there, so I'm not sure how that happened, but it did! Great, we have no clothes, nothing for the girls...like PJs, formula, diapers, wipes, pull-ups, you get the idea...and we don't even have any of the gifts we bought for the 2 exchanges that were going on the next day. No snow gear...hats, gloves, boots....etc! What a disaster! Good thing my Uncle Chuck knows his way around a Target store...he was on it instantly...picking up all the essentials for us. Jerry borrowed some clothes from him and I did from Kelly. Still though...NOT FUN!! Our luggage did get delivered though...late the next night. I felt so bad for my cousin Allison, she has a newborn plus 3 other girls, and probably lots of better things to do than pack up all sorts of clothes for our girls...we didn't end up needing them after all! Thanks for your effort!

The "Downright Ugly":

Let's rewind to the cheerful and safe landing of our plane. Shortly after that my niece gets sick. Ugh, let's make that really sick. Not just a little throwing up. Poor thing, it was outright projectile vomiting. All over her clothes, coat, shoes, her seat, the seat in front of her. And it smelled. Poor Kelly, too. Through all the craziness I had decided to take another anxiety pill and I just sat there holding Jade and looking at Kelly not offering a whole lot of help....a bit dazed and confused I think. Thankfully, the crowd on the plane had gained quite a bit of camaraderie through our whole ordeal, and someone passed back a spare change of girl's clothing....size 4T...perfect! As we were getting off the plane, the attendant was calling for someone to clean "that area" of the plane...yucky, stinky, throw up....everywhere......even after the cleaning....I felt sorry for the unsuspecting passengers that we passed walking out through the terminal...waiting to board our very delayed plane!

Our hopes of just a little motion sickness vanished as the vomiting continued...once more in the airport terminal....3 more times at the airport restaurant (we hadn't eaten since breakfast!), and on and on. Avery had a virus. Being such close cousins as they are, Lily just couldn't stay away from Avery...they may not be good at sharing toys, but viruses? No problem.

4 AM the next night...we hear a cough, cough....Jerry, is that Lily? Quick....we fling open the door to her room and she is puking everywhere. Mind you that my Aunt and Uncle are collectors...collectors of antiques, old books, antique toys, teddy bears from their own bear company a while back...so, I, the loving mom that I am, quickly start moving anything that looks of value to the opposite side of the room! Then we start stripping sheets, finding blankets/towels, getting new PJs, changing her, and brushing her teeth. Back to bed.

5 AM repeat above.......

6 AM repeat above.......

The ugly gets uglier:

The adults staying at the "Finch Nest", as we refer to their house (it's on Finch St.), are so far happy that "the virus" seems to be staying among the kids....which is true of lots of viruses. Until the next night when Kelly comes down with it. Then in the middle of the night we hear my aunt coming down with it. The phone rings the next day with reports of others who have been struck. The healthy among us...basically Jerry, me and Uncle Chuck feel like we are walking targets. The running joke among the cowboy fans is that maybe it will make it to Bret Favre by the playoffs! I start praying....Lord, please Lord, if I am going to be struck with this yucky virus...Please Lord, just not on the plane, not while flying with two other sick people and a lap baby! And please not Jerry as he's trekking across the country with Lily. The Lord honors my prayers....we make it home healthy...and then it strikes...later I found out that Uncle Chuck, my dad and I all got it the same night. Fever, chills, the runnies, vomiting...people must have thought we had really partied hard for New Year's!!! I guess it did get us started on New Year's Resolutions for weight loss! My dad said he's down 8 pounds and little Avery lost 5...she's tiny to begin with!

So sorry to all my WI relatives that also were struck with the fun virus. We sent a care package to my aunt and uncle with sanitizers, cleaners, gloves, etc...so they could decontaminate their house after our visit...let me know if any of the rest of you need a package!

Wisconsin Trip Slide Show

Here are some pictures from our recent trip to Wisconsin. I'll be adding details soon! The fact that you are seeing them means I figured out how to upload them from the camera....wow, I'm really moving up in the technical world! It's embarrassing! Although, I do miss my film camera! That thing was awesome! I'm sure this new digital one is too, I just have to learn all it's features!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Parenting First

This morning I heard Lily crying and fussing so I ran to her room to see what was the matter. Poor thing! She was visibly in pain and though half asleep kept saying "my arm is hard"..."it's not moving"...huh? Thankfully I had been up working already, so it didn't take me long to realize that her arm must have fallen asleep. It never dawned on me that in three years she had never experienced this weird and sometimes painful sensation! I explained to her that her arm must have fallen asleep and she was definitely confused by that! I felt so bad for her because there really wasn't anything I could do for her until the circulation got going again. Thankfully soon enough the pain had passed and I was able to convince her that was was still the middle of the night (it was 6:30 am) and that she needed to go back to bed.

I really hate that helpless feeling when it comes to my kids. It reminded me of this summer when Lily was trying to quit sucking her thumb. This child was a huge thumb sucker...if one got blistered, she would just switch to the other...it was awful...and definitely not a habit I felt like tackling with a 2 week old baby, potty training her and moving her to a "big girl" bed! But, the dentist had other plans. When we went in for her first appointment we were thankful that the thumb hadn't done any real damage yet, but we definitely got the low down on the necessity of her kicking the habit. The dentist, who we absolutely love, told her that if she sucked her thumb it would ruin her new princess teeth. Something about those words resonated with Lily and she became terribly conscious about putting her thumb in her mouth from that point! We were so excited! Throughout the morning if she accidentally put it in her mouth for a moment, she'd come running over to us asking us to check if her princess teeth were still there. It was so sad and precious at the same time. Then nap time came and neither Jerry nor I were sure of how it would go...she always fell asleep sucking her thumb! We laid her in bed and reminded her about her pretty princess teeth. Then we went downstairs and listened through the monitor as she whimpered and cried. We finally went up there to encourage her and found her laying with her arms behind her back! She was trying so desperately not to suck her thumb that she was holding them underneath her! It was heartbreaking. She had slipped up bit, but after reassuring her that her princess teeth were still there, she was up for the challenge again. We returned to the downstairs couch and weeped and prayed for our little girl! It was so hard to see her struggle like that. She pretty much cried herself to sleep that day, but was later so proud of her princess teeth...she even started those big toothy smiles to show them off. It was a real challenge for her and we hated seeing her struggle with it.

We are such softies! I realize these are such minor things! I guess we just love them so much and are really just learning for the first time that they will have pain and challenges to face that we can't keep them from. I take comfort in knowing no matter how trivial a trial may seem that we can carry it to God in prayer...and as our kids grow and the trials have more consequence, we can again approach Him in prayer...because He, as the ultimate Father, saw His Son face unspeakable trials and pain and even allowed Him to die...for us, FOR US!! Amazing!

On a lighter note: Thumb or no thumb, I love this pic of my Raggedy Lily!

And, it looks like we've got another one with a habit to break!

Well, they do come by it naturally! Ahem, not from my side of the family though!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Christmas 2007

The annual reading of "The Christmas Story" Lily transformed into Jasmine!This is such a late Christmas post! Please forgive me! I won't list all my excuses here...I'll try to post about our Wisconsin trip soon and then you'll understand why I'm just now catching up!

In summary we had a tremendous Christmas! We have some awesome shoppers in our family who are really good at spoiling not only the girls, but me and Jerry too! I won't even attempt to list the biggest hits here, you may see some in the pictures though. Probably the funnest gift we gave was to my Dad and Kim....you'll see us sporting our baby blue retro bowling shirts...even Jade has one! It was my Dad's b'day on 12/23...five candles on top...nine on bottom...he's officially 59 and holding!
Enjoy the slideshow...I'm sorry to those of you who can't view these...but it is honestly just the fastest way for me to get all the pictures on here!
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