Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Get Out of Town

Tomorrow ToolMan and I are getting out of town. Together. By ourselves.

We are flying over to Savannah for the day. A few years ago ToolMan built a two-seat airplane. It was a big project but ToolMan is always up for a challenge. I helped a good bit with the plane, especially when the project in our garage. This means if you ever need any rivets hammered, flush or round head, I am your girl.

In case you want to learn more about homebuilt aircraft like ours, check out our fellow RVer Dan Checkoway's site. One page that has some good tips is The Married Dude's Guide to Aircraft Building. It's a hoot, and should be required reading for any spouse undertaking any project of substantial size.

While in Savannah we won't be taking in veranda views or mint juleps. We are headed to a test day at Roebling Road to hang out with and help a great friend. ToolMan is not into any sort of race spectating, so one knows how great a friend this is for him to go. Tomorrow night we plan to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, The Shell House, before we head back.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thank you note

Dear Bono, the Edge, Adam, & Larry,

This thank you note is very much overdue, so please do not let its tardiness take away from my true appreciation.

Thank you for your music, and the understanding that it has brought me. Some may not realize that your band is a Christian band clad in rock star clothing and hip sunglasses.

I will admit that back in my carefree college, law school, and married days, Achtung Baby was a raw, sensual album that got a lot of play.

Life became more serious during our lengthy quest to have a baby. How long? How long must we sing this song?

When I was pregnant the first time, I heard a sermon at our local Episcopal church that discussed when bad things happen to good people. One of the minister's examples was the columns falling on Christians and heathens, killing both indiscriminately. I understood, and agreed with everything the minister said. Little did I know that later that week I would lose my unborn child at 16.5 weeks. Timely. Ironic. Horrifying. Incredulous. Heart-breaking.

Nothing was more hurtful for me to hear in my grief than "God has a plan." Oh really? A plan? A plan that involves lots of misery and pain, where my unborn baby becomes toxic and almost kills me? That does not make this easier. It does not feel, it will never feel "meant to be." I was very angry with God and this "plan" and then I even became angry and hurt by the people that wanted to tell me about it.

When my anger lessened, and I was just left with grief, The Joshua Tree became my album of recovery. In "I Still Have Not Found What I am Looking For" you discuss Jesus when you say "You broke the bonds, you loosed the chains, You carried the Cross, Of my Shame, You know I believe it, But I still have not found what I am looking for." Like you, I believe, but it can be hard to understand when things are not working. For me it's hard to be a Christian in pain, who for right or wrong believes what I do, in close proximity to the plan Christians. It is quite a turn-off.

Then through our challenges to have CRB after the baby we lost, I began to appreciate a different aspect of your music. Your lyrics to "Stuck in a Moment" helped me put a lot of pain in perspective. Stop wishing for better days, enjoy what you have today. I needed to hear that, over and over, until I believed it.

If CRB was to have an anthem my guess that it would be "Beautiful Day." I don't choose this song merely because of its immediate calming effect. As his mom, "My heart is abloom ..." What a great and wonderful thing our life is! Thanks for giving the world your music message to have in the good times and the bad times and all the times in between.

Much love,

Monday, June 25, 2007

Letter from Home

Dear Colin,

I heard that you are enjoying time with your grandparents and that you are very relaxed and are having a good time back as the proper center of attention.

I am glad that you are having fun but your family misses you. Since you've been gone, you would not believe what the floors look like. Cheerios, banana puffs you name it. I guess I will have to get off my booty and do some vacuuming or borrow a Roomba, or since you may be staying another week.

CRB looks for you all the time. He wants you to know that bathtime is lonely without your surprise jumping in, and that pool time on the deck is lame without you to attack the fountain and re-assign ownership of the toys. Tonight he spent some time with the three doggies next door and let them lick his toes.

I will have to say your Dad and I are sleeping better. Perhaps some little, stealthy yorkie has been sleeping in our bed at night….



13 years, 3 months

ToolMan relayed some interesting news with me this afternoon: SCCA is dropping the minimum age required to get a competition (race) license to 14 years old.

If you could see the enthusiasm with which ToolMan was sharing this, you might understand my quandry instead of being horrified. Some dads-to-be and new dads eagerly anticipate playing catch in the yard, building a tree house, and helping with math homework. ToolMan will happily do those things, but I suspect racing may occupy a special place in his heart.

If CRB has no interest that will be fine with him. But if he exhibits any interest ...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend Reflections

I cannot seem to remember midweek (!) but I guess I can at least reflect on this weekend.

Friday I took CRB to the allergist. The doctor said that he did not think CRB felt well, but that he did not have an ear infection. He has put CRB on twice daily nasal spray and some singulair. I am concerned that my little boy is becoming more allergic. Genetically, he stands no real chance not to be, but I am so thankful that his ears seem to be resistant to infection.

Saturday morning we got up at 4 a.m. to leave for our "day trip" to Atlanta. We had three big missions. The first mission was to pick up the punch-line to a running joke between ToolMan and Wren – a crashed Suzuki GXSR 1000 motorcycle to use as a donor for the F1000 project. This motorcycle was recently run off a 20 foot embankment, its former owner having to crawl uphill for 9 hours with a broken body (he is doing much better). The bike is stout but is broken in half, telling what a big smack he took.

After strapping the bike (parts?) down on the trailer, we were off to our second mission - IKEA. I have wanted to go to an IKEA for a very long time. I love anything Scandinavian (I am a quarter Norwegian) and a trip to IKEA has been on my wish list for more than a decade. The Green Girl in me loves many of their company policies, along with the modern Scandinavian look of their goods, even if none of it will harmonize with my house. In case you catch a Cash Cab re-run the crashed motorcycle dude's dad said that IKEA is the world's most visited retailer. From my study of the catalog, I thought that the IKEA was going to be something special, and I was not disappointed. Any guesses to what we bought? Kid stuff. We got CRB some really neat things (play table with chairs, kid's picnic table for the deck, awesome green rocker toy, kool town map rug) for his first birthday or Christmas depending upon when he is ready. ToolMan humored me with lunch at the IKEA café and I got to enjoy some lingonberry punch.

After IKEA, we headed to our third mission: ToolMan's uncle's retirement party in Helen, Georgia. Uncle Wayne has had many interesting flying jobs – F4s in Vietnam, big iron to take people on vacations to exotic places, and lastly as an instructor at Flight Safety. CRB was the world's most hugged and kissed baby on Saturday. He THRIVES on attention, so he had a great day even considering he took only 45 minutes of naptime. ToolMan has an awesome family and we had a wonderful time! Again, I am reminded how we need to make big family gatherings a priority.

We got home around 12:30 am, and managed to be in bed by 3 minutes until 1. CRB giggled with delight when I put him in his crib. Home is good.

For more weekend reflections, vist Judi.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Photo Hunters: Shiny

The theme for this week is shiny. With all of my husband ToolMan's metal-based hobbies we have hundreds of pictures of shiny aluminum things, and I have decided to go with a favorite photo from 2002 (that's ancient!) This was taken in our two-car garage. Eventually the plane outgrew the garage and he built (yep, himself and the whole family and all of his friends) a hanger too.

This is a picture of the wings from his first homebuilt airplane, a Van's RV-7A. The shiny porcupine things are called clecos and are used to hold the pieces together during drilling and riveting.
To check out more Photo Hunters or to become a participant, click here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Too much estrogen in the mommy group

My lovely CRB has been a grumpy boy since Saturday. Today I briefly considered making him a doctor's appointment, but his problem seems to be all mood, no symptoms, so I changed my mind. Instead, in order to try to (exhaust) entertain CRB, we went to the pool this morning.

For the first time ever he seemed petrified. He did not want to float in his float on the lazy river, and he did not want to sit in the baby pool anywhere but in my lap. There were lots of mommies there this morning, but with the exception of just one of the mommies, most of the conversations were just too much for me. I tried to just smile and nod but overall I felt like CRB did – get me out of here!

The topic of conversation moved to many areas. One mom was pregnant again, due in late September. Another mom asked if she was excited, and she said she was pretty scared, that last time she ended up on a ventilator for 24 hours. CRB became quite upset at that point so I did not hear the rest of her explanation, but her face or demeanor did not relax, making me concerned for her. The rest of the group was quite dismissive, and seemed to almost chide her that "nothing will go wrong" and that "God will make sure." I am not the best to ask on this subject, because in my opinion and personal experience bad things happen to God-loving-fearing people ALL THE TIME. I guess most people find that kind of talk comforting, but it does not work for me. I just cringed, and CRB to his credit, screamed.

Then the conversation went to scheduling babies. The general consensus was that it was just too hard. At one point, one of the mommies asked me point blank "Are you pretty rigid in your scheduling?" I laughed and said "Yes, he's supposed to be enjoying the pool for another half hour." If they only knew about CRB's bedtime routine, they would have shoved my Adirondack chair out from the umbrella shade of the mommy circle! (By the way, back on schedule tonight = happier baby + happier parents).

Later, another mom was asking if the group had heard about "Joanne" and how Joanne and her husband were adopting from China. The group had some horrifying comments along the lines of they could not believe how expensive it was… why they were adopting instead of having their own, i.e. who had the problem)… wouldn't be fun to be foster parents instead. I guess that could be pretty easy to think like that when those mommies have their "forever family" already.

Works for Me Wednesday: Furniture Polish

I really like the Method furniture polish. I purchased it at Target trying to find something I could use without cringing on CRB's wooden (bad choice) high chair to remove sweet potatoes and banana puff residue. It does a great job on the high chair, and it does great on dark wood antique furniture without leaving that tell-tale oiley streaky mess.

The Method company sells a great number of cleaners that clean without the use of harsh additivies. I have used many of them, so if you have a question let me know.

I enjoy so many of these posts that I decided that I need to participate. To find this week's Works for Me Wednesday participants, click here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CRB’s Bedtime Routine

Of late, I have been causing myself, ToolMan, and CRB (probably Colin too) extra grief by my desire to deviate from the bedtime routine. When we do not adhere to the plan, CRB does not fall asleep easily and this is bad for everyone.

Here's the routine that works:

5:30 pm: dinner for CRB (veggie, cheerios, puffs, & juice)

6:00-7:00 pm: active play with blocks, cars, stacking toys

7:10-7:30 pm: walk around the neighborhood with Colin and CRB

7:30-7:45 pm: bath, clean onesie and diaper

7:45-7:55 pm: bottle

7:55 pm: iPod stereo on (Jack Johnson or U2)

8:00 pm asleep baby

Probably when most people think of a bedtime routine, they think of the minutes surrounding the act of actually getting into bed, not what happens in the 2.5 hour leadtime. Lately I have been trying variants that include removing the bath, less active play (i.e. going to the grocery instead), not a onesie, not taking Colin on the walk, or no music. I am not sure why but each of the elements listed above seems to have tremendous importance for his sleep process.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Weekend Reflection

Monday we had a great evening by doing a cook-out for five of ToolMan's cousins. Everyone ate a lot and had a great time. We should have more days like that.

Tuesday and Wednesday were difficult days for Colin the yorkie. He had a seizure on both days. Thursday he had another, but much more minor episode. ToolMan thinks that over-exertion may be a partial trigger of the seizures so we have been trying to limit Colin's activity. We also think Colin seems anxious, and perhaps has just figured out that CRB is here to stay. It may seem that Colin should have figured this out long ago, but Colin is the dog that needed almost two years to figure out that the treats are kept on the top of the deep freeze.

Friday we went to a retirement party for one of our secretaries. It was a nice party and CRB was well-behaved. He even got to have a tiny bit of cake.

This week ToolMan and I discussed how I am ready to let CRB go to church nursery. This is a big step for me. I also put CRB on some pre-school lists late this week.

Saturday we arrived at the university pool when it opened. It was not crowded at all and we had a wonderful time. We made some more new friends, too. Saturday afternoon I got to do a little shopping with Kerri. We had an awesome time!

Today, I baked some cinnamon rolls and brought them to ToolMan as breakfast in bed. He enjoyed his cards and he was excited to hear about his father's day gift. I tried to spend some time in the shop with ToolMan as he has said he misses that. This afternoon, I put the baby pool out on the deck. Colin was determined to participate. He got and out of the pool many times before CRB did. He had the best time retrieving tennis balls and removing all the toys from the pool. I am thankful that CRB thinks that Colin is playing with him as opposed to understanding the real motive – steal all the toys. With his love of the water, sometimes I think my yorkie must be part Lab, a Labra-dor-kie perhaps?

ToolMan made a piece to fit in the little sprinkler I put in the pool. The piece makes a water fountain out of the sprinkler using an unbelievably low trickle of water.

I am making some progress on my sleeping, but I am still plagued with nightly nightmares: cancer, drive-by shootings, smurf-blue snakes, ToolMan setting fire to different items in the kitchen, ToolMan removing the Start button from the microwave,… it goes on. Many times in the past we have noticed that Colin has experienced major anxiety whenever I am anxious. Here's hoping for a little less anxiety next week for the two and four-legged folks.

For more Weekend Reflections, click here.

Happy Father's Day

Object in motion (baby!) appears blurry but it may be the happy tears coming through my camera lens.
Easter 07

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Photo Hunters: Hair

My yorkie has beautiful hair!

Check out his hair in puppy days (10 weeks):

Then at 1.5 years:

Favorite Grown-up Photo (taken by Kerri) in Dec 2005:

For more photo hunters. click here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Too much

I am slightly less zombie-fied. I am still having vivid nightmares, the kind that are quite frightening that stick with you all day. Colin the yorkie has had a rough week health wise, which bothers me more than you might believe possible, and I am quite upset about my friend with cancer and in general worried about my father-in-law.

Good news on the sleep: Last night I only took 40% of an Amb*ien, and tonight I think I might go with a quarter if I can manage to slice it that small. I have been pretty good about my Internet cut-off time and I have kept up with my distance learning students to keep my work-guilt at bay. I have not managed to go to the gym, but I have had lots of pool time and walking time with the boys so that may be helping.

I have had an extraordinarily boring day today and as such I have done way too much surfing. As always, I seem to feel very out of place in this world. One group of women where I occasionally lurk seems to be on a rant Dennis Miller-style about their husbands. I truly cannot imagine thinking or writing many of the things that were said. Most were quite unpleasant to read. I should not be too judgmental, but truly many were over the top.

I never post much about ToolMan but that is largely due to how private a person he is, and is not reflective of my interest in him. I think I may have to reconsider, as some sort of personal war to prove/show Husbands Can Be Awesome.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Battle for Captain Floaty Boat

Colin and CRB had a bunch of fun this afternoon on the deck. Colin delighted in stealing Captain Floaty Boat (a little people figure) and Admiral Sinker (captain of the other boat that won't float).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

One Rainy Wish

The year to date drought for our town is over 19 inches now. I am not sure why, but our town has not been placed on water restriction yet. We need some rain. Badly.

Other than my wish for rain, I thought I would update my week's sleep progress. I am doing much better but honestly I am not sure if it is a change of routine, willpower or Amb*ien. My guess is the Amb*ien but perhaps I am getting my sleep routine back in order.

Two minutes to ten, so that's all folks.

-- Hendrix tune for my classic-rock challenged folks

Monday, June 11, 2007

To sleep, perchance to dream

To me it's rather incredulous that I cannot manage to sleep. Back in the spring, on nights before my classes, I had a hard time sleeping because I was overwhelmed with the day that was ahead. I understood that, it made sense. Also, no doubt some of my sleep problems then were the on-call nature of a new mom. But now, what gives?

Unlike last week, I am home, and unlike last night, no relatives are in health crisis. Why am I up and completely awake at 1:30 am?

Around 11:40, CRB stirred and began crying. This is a rare event at our house, but it was no problem, I was already up and awake. (I will try never to ever blog about my child's to good to be true sleep habits though I do have a few thoughts on the subject.) He was fast asleep again after a quick bottle.

Lately ToolMan has been in the same state as I have about the sleep problems. Like many other kinds of problems, people with similar sleep problems can compound each other's problems. Tonight we resolved again to do better. We each took some sinus medicine. ToolMan is asleep, but nothing here. As I have mentioned before, it's imperative that I fall asleep first, but once I fall asleep I can sleep through almost anything. ToolMan understands this, was really concerned that I could not sleep again tonight, tried to stay up, but understandably (and thankfully) fell asleep before I could.

It is time for me to make some sort of radical lifestyle changes. I am not sure where I can get the smarts to do this (lack of sleep = dumb bunny) but obviously it is past time. This has been going on for weeks. I spend a great deal of thought and energy perfecting CRB's schedule, I need to do the same for me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend Reflection #1

As what seems par for the course lately, this week has been filled with some extreme ups and downs, but some good news this morning has our scales tipped up.

CRB's first trip to the beach was enjoyable. I learned that if you eat sand, you poop sand. My parents really helped so much while we were on the Coast. Pops taught CRB some really funny mouth movements (like a fish, some sort of popping one) that CRB is enjoying doing. I am grateful that my son has four grandparents that get to love him. Also, I am thankful that CRB has managed to keep his awesome schedule even with our traveling.

Mid-week we had some sad news. Our friend with pancreatic cancer has cancer in her lymph nodes. We have not heard about her treatment plan yet as we are trying to give our friend and her spouse some space. I have resolved to contact her Tuesday, when Nanny comes.

Friday Nanny came to spend the day. As always we are so glad to have her. I am grateful that I can afford to have her come, and that I can afford to give her a paid vacation day as I did this week.

Saturday, CRB and I headed to the pool and we had a great time. He floated on his back some (!) and had a great time in the kiddie pool with Gabby and Emily, whom he has played with before. The university pool is so amazing, and we are meeting some great new friends. I am so happy that we can go there.

Before we left for the pool we had a nice conversation with ToolMan's parents. They had planned to come to see us Wednesday, but Saturday night we received a call from them from the ER. ToolMan's dad had some severe bleeding and they were waiting to see a doctor. Around 1:30 am we had a call that he was scheduled for surgery this morning at 8 am. The procedure revealed some "clumped up" blood vessels in his bladder. The doctors and nurses were able to take care of the problem. He will have some intensive monitoring this week, but the news is good. I am so grateful and thankful my father-in-law was able to receive care and is recovering.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Competitive Mommy

I met her at the pool today. She told her baby "Look at that baby. He's much younger than you."

I said "Hi baby! This is CRB, he's 8 months." CRB is delightfully splashing. Sizing up her babies alertness (see I am way-competitive mom, Competitive Mommy stands no real chance) I decided her son was at best 6 months, but probably younger, but I did not tell her so. I offered instead "Your son is doing a great job sitting up in his float."

"Oh your CRB is so small! My baby is 5 months and so much bigger, so I thought CRB must be younger. Maybe it's because my husband is 6'5"." edited to add: She continued on with a lot of this and that about what her pediatrician said about how he was so developmentally advanced and such.

This is the first time ever CRB was called small. I replied "Well I am enjoying his smallness as long as possible… trying to savor every moment."

I saw the light click on in her head. We were pals after that.

Photo Hunters: Shoes

Kerri and I have a thing for flip flops (I actually have a thing for all kinds of shoes, but since Kerri did flip flops I will too!)

Last summer, from July on, I spent my life in flip flops as that was the only kind of shoe I could manage to get on my shockingly swelled feet. By August my feet swelled so much I had to actually buy some flip flops in a larger size (8 when I wear a 6 now.) I bought that weird green pair (center) and the brown Reef shells pair. As I am quite particular about shoes, it was pretty strange to have 2 pairs available, and I never came up with much very cute to wear with the green.

At one point my feet swelled up so much I could not even get the size 8s on and so I had to go to my doctor's appointment bare footed, but I carried my flip flops with me, so people would think that I merely lacked good judgment as opposed to being trashy & overly-pregnant.

Last year I swore that I would not wear any flip flops this year. My resolve against flip flops lasted until March.

  • best overall flip-flop: Keen

  • super-comfy: Keen & pink and orange Crocs

  • most disappointing flip-flop: old navy cheapo pinks

  • did not hold up as I would have liked: Teva criss-cross

  • wearable most anywhere: Keen and brown Cobian

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

My Little "Coconut"

CRB and I came back from the beach early this morning. We had a great time!

Here is my favorite photo of Classic Rock Baby from the trip. The full-size view is worth the click:

Here are a few more pictures that my dad took. The first one is a photo of the photo above.

Today's song is from the Space Wrangler album:

Sunday, June 3, 2007

We Made It

[this is one of my more boring entries but oh well… I promise to include some pictures later.]

Yesterday the skies in Alabama were full of smoke. ToolMan and CRB and I ventured out around lunch time and CRB started that wheezy coughing. As an asthmatic I know what to look for and it was nothing over-the-top serious. For awhile we considered calling our allergist, but soon the plan was that I would go ahead and head to the beach. We studied the wind pattern and decided that the air down at the coast had to be better than in upstate Alabama. It was!

Since I decided to leave rather quickly, I did not print out my list but I did pretty well with the packing. I managed to take my car (disclosure: it's really a small SUV) and I had a ton of room to spare. I left the bumbo and took the Chicco seat. I forgot the detergent, Shout spot cleaner, and dish towels but everything else made it.

CRB did quite well on the way down. We spent about 1 hr 20 minutes hanging out at the Thomasville WM (it was our gas, food, and eating stop.) We hung out at the employee picnic tables so CRB was very distracted and it took a long time for him to eat his supper. The worst part of the trip occurred when he grabbed my Subway cup. He started going Ooh, Ooh. Finally I realized that he had spilled the whole thing, ice and all, in his nice floopy seat. So we ended up changing his clothes and diaper on the asphalt of the WM parking lot as I did not have a good spot in the car, and there was no way I was going to go back inside with drippy baby. That was the low point of my trip, other than the screaming when he realized his nighttime bottle was late and we had 45 minutes to go on our trip.

My mom and dad borrowed a 60s porta-crib and had it set up with a sheet and the 99 cent Goodwill bumper I found. He loves it! I guess it is more like his regular bed than the pack n play. He did great sleeping last night and is approaching hour 3 of the afternoon nap right now. Cheers to you, porta-crib!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Pack-a-palooza 2007

I have gotten some comments, all appreciated, through the blog and in real life, about my packing. The general consensus seems to be "well that's why people drive big SUVs." Gone are the days of traveling in the Mini - gone is the Mini even.

The stuff that I am packing is for my own sanity. If we were not going to be gone so long and/or if ToolMan were going to be there, I would not be quite as stressed about what I need. The times that I have not packed well usually end up with a late night run to the 24 hr pharmacy. (Thanks totally scrappy for reminding me about the baby Tylenol, I'll add that to my list plus baby soap & lotion and Benadryl.)

Mom called me on her way to the commissary to get a list of food for him. I thought that was super-thoughtful.