Thursday, November 29, 2007

The best hug

I just wanted to post this before it became a distant memory. The following is the reason I can cope on the days my kids are driving me batty!
One day last week we were at Mom's house and I was cleaning up after a day of unpacking. As we were unpacking, Mom was placing things she wanted on Fred's remembrance table into a basket. Somehow one thing - a letter - got taken out of the basket (I wonder how, Sophie!), and I picked it up off the floor, and, being the ever-curious one, I opened it. It was a letter from me to Fred. The background of the letter is that when I found out Mom and Fred would be moving to NY, I just felt that I needed to let Fred know that he was important to me and that I loved him. I was glad he never tried to take the place of my Dad, whom I dearly love, but was grateful for the parental presence that he provided in my life, among many other things. I don't think I sent it to him until they had moved (chicken!), but I did indeed send it.
So when I read it that night, I got a little teary.
(Incidentally, but I don't think coincidentally, Fred had found that letter just a week before he died and read it again. No joke. Again the hand of God!)
Sean was in the room and asked me what I was reading. I told him it was a letter that I wrote to Grandpa Fred. He asked me to read it to him, and I told him that I couldn't read it to him just then because it made me sad, but that it said that I loved Grandpa and that he was special to me. Sean came over to me and gave me a BIG hug and said, "That's from Grampa Freddy."
He melts my heart.
Love you, buddy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hello, Goodbye

My mom is a pastor in New York state. She received a call to a new church (which means they offered her a job) and planned the move (3 1/2 hours away) for the week between Thanksgiving and Advent. We spent the past 2 Thanksgivings with my Mom in NY so I thought we should probably stick around here, but it was just sticking in my mind that we should go so I could say goodbye to everyone at the "old" church that had become the closest thing to a church family to me over the past 4 years, and maybe we could help Mom and Fred move and have an early Thanksgiving dinner and still get home for the other family obligations around here. I just felt I needed to say goodbye, and maybe say a quick hello to the new folks, who seemed very excited to have my Mom accept the position. I was able to get the time off work, and Sean out of school, so we hurriedly packed and left on the Friday before Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately I said more goodbyes than I wanted to last week. My stepdad, Fred, who had been battling lung cancer courageously, unexpectedly passed away on November 21.

Self portrait circa early 1990s...

Fred and Sophie at Easter time this year. I'm glad he got to meet her. They had an affinity for one another that was very endearing.

Fred's headshot for his acting career. Circa late 1980's.

We got to spend some quality time with him this trip, and perhaps in another post I'll go into detail, but he was in great spirits and very excited about the move. Moving would be a three-day process (packing boxes on day 1, loading truck and driving to new house on day 2, unloading at new house on day 3). The movers did most everything, but Mom was pretty busy tying up loose ends so Fred was around more. Fred's the kind of guy who WILL talk on the phone, but it's so much more fun to be around him because of the interesting topics of conversation that pop up. Just a few days before we made the trip, I called him because I was excited that one of his favorite local restaurant chains opened a new restaurant in our tiny town. I told him I was looking forward to eating there with him next time he came to town. But I digress. We had lots of fun with Fred those days, but while he was getting ready for his day on Wednesday morning, he had some breathing trouble that turned out to be a heart attack that took him so much more suddenly than the cancer were we expecting to suck the life out of him. I'm very glad it was quicker and more painless, but I'm in shock that it happened so much sooner than expected. He didn't act sick, and he didn't look sick to least as sick as that first few months after his diagnosis two years ago.
I've done a lot of reminiscing over the past few days, and a lot of crying. But I really want to honor him tonight, and just let the memories wash over and comfort me, and to say again, "I'm thankful for you, Freddy. Love ya!"
Hope you're raising hell in heaven! :)

The one before the real one

I just wanted to say "I'm back." It's been so long since I've posted, the two of you who read my blog (haha) have probably given up on me, but I'll try to be good again, now that the computers and internet all seem to be working again.
Hope to be here more often!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Welcome to November

October was a busy month for it usually is...but I apologize for not keeping better up to date on here. SO many technical issues had me frustrated, and I had extra work this month that needed to get done (and it MOSTLY is now), and we're packing and getting more ready for getting out of the house, and Chip's been interviewing a lot, and Sean had lots of Cub Scout activities (two times selling popcorn at the grocery store, a campout, 5 meetings, and earning rollerskating and math belt loops and Bobcat badge) , and Sophie got 2 of her 1-year molars...on top of 4 birthdays to acknowledge (plus several others...Danielle, Bret, Brenda to name a few...we SHOULD have acknowledged)...and Halloween!

So, we truly ARE the October family. We hardly even noticed fall sneaking in because of the great temperatures, and now it feels like winter already! Where did the time go?

I don't have pics on this computer, so I'll try to post again soon on another computer by tonight, after yet another birthday celebration. Despite the busy-ness, I did manage to take my camera along to several of the events. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Please stand by...

Reasons for not posting/posting pictures, number 28 (Sean's new favorite answer to questions - has he been talking to you, Trev?):
We got the desktop back up and running and it's quite nice, but I haven't gotten around to downloading my few pictures on it yet, and Chip hasn't run a recovery on the old hard drive for any old pics I could post. Also, once we got the computer back up and running, our internet decided to "crap" out on us...let me tell you a little story...
Saturday we go to Best Buy and get an awesome hard drive. Luckily there was a nice sale, so Happy Birthday To Us (and all I was hoping for was Amy Grant's new cd and biography), we get a "750 Glorious Gigabytes" (it actually says that on the box) hard drive. Chip gets home and installs it and our lovely friend Michael helps out. Things are going well, and we rejoice. Except for the fact that 3 of our 6 goldfish die. That's sad. I flush them, but sense that the other 3 aren't long for this world.
Sunday morning dawns and 2 more fish are dead. I leave them in the tank because one of them is "Goldie", the fish that Sean won at the school carnival that started the whole fish thing. The internet starts acting up - stick with me, these things really ARE related - but it works long enough for me to pay my cable bill online. Ironic, huh? Sean wants to bury the goldfish in the back yard. But...I'm squeamish and don't want to mess with any of the fish until the last one dies.
A few hours later, the last fish is dead. We turn off the TV and say we'll bury the fish after we eat supper (now that I'm telling it, that seems mean, but there were Steaks on the grill you see...we couldn't interfere with THAT). After a yummy meal, Chip kindly puts the remaining dead fish in a box and grabs the shovel and out we go for a lovely burial. Sean loves digging, and since we'll be putting in an egress window (that's a window so that you can have legal living space in the basement with an accessible exit in case of emergency) soon, Chip decides to let him dig over by the window. Sean's not very strong for that kind of shovel, so I have Chip demonstrate how to jump on the shovel to make it go in the ground. Sean likes that. We go inside.
Chip and Sean go play a video game and I turn on the TV, but there is no cable. I'm so upset! I spend 45 minutes on the phone to $(*%@#) Charter and am very upset that they can't come out to look at the problem until Tuesday. After all, besides all the fun I have online, Chip is looking for a JOB, and it's about the only way nowadays! I go to bed livid.
In the morning, I say to Chip, "I just don't understand how we turn off the TV to eat and when we come back we have no signal - especially since they were just here a week ago to supposedly fix everything!" Chip says, "You know what I far did they bury that cable when they re-wired it last May (you can see why I'm a bit frustrated with Charter - we've been fighting this since last March!!)?" I say I have no idea, but knowing Charter it probably wasn't very deep. So...out he goes. And sure enough, right where Chip had shown his skills with the shovel, there was our cable line severed in two.
Well, at least we figured it out before Charter came out and charged us $75. But it's still not working right. We can see TV at least, and the desktop has Internet access, but the laptops are essentially useless. Unless you want to play Zoo Tycoon. Or do actual work (yuck). No can do writing blogs while Sophie's sleeping on me and I'm watching Dancing with the Stars or LA Ink. No can do checking email while Sophie naps and I'm watching Ugly Betty or Big Shots.
Oh well. At least this computer works. Now if we could only find our Microsoft Office disks...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Is it contagious?

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with my sister-in-law about the unfortunate loss of all her pictures from an external hard drive. I was saying how rough that would be to lose so many memories and thinking I was glad my stuff was backed up.

I think it was two days later when our computer started acting up. We thought it was a cable issue (which it was, at first), but then because the internet wasn't working, we tried to fix some other things and the whole computer went kaput. Blamm-o. No more hard drive.

That's when I realized that I only had my pictures backed up to early July, and I didn't have ANY of my documents backed up. I think I have a copy of my resume on another computer (or at least in my email somewhere from when I sent it to myself), but other than that, everything's gone. No recipes (and sadly, although I never used them, I had quite a collection), no records of bills paid, no password reminder files, no fun games, none of my video files that I spent days recording from old video tapes...

Today we bought a new, really BIG hard drive. That is, lots of storage space, and now that the computer's back up and running, it's going very fast. Of course, that might change once we find all the discs for the stuff we want to re-install. But even though it's the same old screen, same keyboard, same card reader, same mouse, it FEELS inherently different. And traitorous. I don't trust that my things will be safe on here anymore. I may be glad I recently bought some DVD-RWs, as I'm sure I'll be backing up "My Documents" much more often than I had been doing.

But, since it works for now, here are a few pics from recent days. Enjoy!
Here is Sean in his Cub Scout uniform.
He's had a few additions since this picture,
but this was the first time he wore the hat and shirt. Sophie and Dad at Muskegon's Walk to Remember. More about that some other day...but isn't this just a precious picture?
Here are Sean and Sophie enjoying the personal cakes Gramma Christie made for them. Sean's is a hill with a couple of dirt bikes riding on the path, and Sophie's is a butterfly. They made messes of them in quite a hurry, much to their delight, and much to the chagrin of some others!
We had the opportunity to shop for the kids' presents without the kids last Saturday night, and after they were asleep, I brought Sophie's inside. I forgot to put it away when I went to bed, so first thing Sunday morning when Sophia woke up and I took her out in the living room to change her diaper, she pointed to the box and said, "Dis?"...."'Dis?" (that means, "what's this?"). I said, "No, Sophie, that's your birthday present - you're not supposed to see it yet!" To which she responded by pointing at it again and saying, "'Dat?" ("what's that?"). I laughed very much! Needless to say, she got her present a couple days earlier than I had intended. The good news is that she likes it very much!Here's Sean enjoying his "Cars" cupcake. Not very good quality photo, but I have more I'm saving for another post. I'll try not to keep you waiting too long for that one!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm still around

Hey, I'm still here, but we haven't had internet access for a week. We're sorta back up and running, but I'm using my laptop from work, and I have no way to download (technically upload) photos from my no photos.
Life here is the same. I'm still working hard. Chip's still working hard to find a job.
Sean had a birthday yesterday, and it was "my worst ever", according to him.
He's a cub scout and tonight was his 3rd meeting. He's already almost done with the requirements to get a Bobcat badge, and next will be his Tiger Cub patch and then elective beads. He's working towards everything now...and would you like to buy some popcorn from him?!? They are so nice to let you know that you don't have to buy the popcorn - you can just make a donation.
Sophie's birthday is tomorrow, and at least she can only say "hot" and "up", so she won't tell me it's her worst ever.
That's about it for now. Hopefully I'll find either my card reader or my camera's USB cord soon so I can show pics of the birthdays...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Brotherly Love

Haven't been to Philly lately, but I have been thinking a lot about my brother. Don't know why. Probably because it's been a while since we've seen each other (since he's seen anyone but Kesia *smile*). Probably because I've been hanging out with my dad and doing family history stuff. Probably because I've been reading Trev's blog (The Next Thing, see link to the left)...
Anyway, my thoughts of him led me on a trip down memory lane through my photo box. Yep. I still have one of those. At least it's not a shoebox!

So I just thought I would share some of the memories with you. Not that I really have any TRUE memory of these events, but the photos are very familiar to me!

This is Christmas 1976. The first in the "new" house which I live in now...for at least a little bit longer. (and yes, Tena, the spelunkers seem to be visible in this shot! So typical, eh?)
This is in Holland MI at "Tulip Time". I'm guessing this was prior to the photo above...we look so young!
I'm not sure of the occasion, but I swear to you I was just asking my dad less than a week ago if he remembered this Safari toy set, and now I have a picture to prove WE really had this! Or maybe it was Trev's and I just played with it against his wishes...who knows? I just know I played with it a lot in our tire sandbox out back!
(footnote: please ignore the fact that I'm in my underwear. PS - Thanks, Mom (or Dad)!!)
Here we are in Storybook Gardens in 1977. We are supposed to be Goldilocks. I think Trevor was whispering to me that the bear was going to get me or something. But this appears to be before his lovingly vindictive years, so maybe he was reassuring me that the bears were fake.
Here we are going over Niagara Falls! No barrel or anything! Weren't we BRAVE?!? Trevor appears to have started his love for surfing earlier than I had remembered, and I my fear of the water! This was on our big trip to NY to visit my dad's uncle LeRoy. We went with my mom and dad, my aunt and uncle, who, perhaps weren't even married yet?, and the two of us in...oh, what was that car?...I think it was a Datsun. Yes, that's it. A tiny Datsun. And I do have a few sketchy actual memories of this trip - heat rash and chiclet gum from a gumball machine at the clothing store where my aunt worked. YUM!
I hope you enjoyed the memories. Perhaps I will get some more of these pics scanned and post them later on. Until next time...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

9 years ago today...

9 years ago today, my whole life changed. I guess it started the day before, really, when I went to the doctor for my 13 week checkup and they couldn't find a heartbeat for my precious baby (above is the xray they took to confirm the worst. She's there in the middle. No more life in her).
But today...September was the day my baby was ripped from my womb with the instruments of torture that most pro-choice advocates have never had the pleasure of actually encountering. It wasn't the pain of those that hurt the most, though - they gave me drugs for that. No, the real pain came from the resulting emptiness.
Not just in my womb, but in my heart.
I remember so many details about that day. Isn't that funny? I can't remember many of the joyous days since, but this day, I remember the sights, the sounds, the words, the expressions, the ache, the pain, the sadness.
I haven't done too much dwelling on this in the last few years. For some reason, it's really getting to me this year.
I want to write about all the good things that have come because of my experience - and many things have, surprisingly - but today all I feel is the grief, the empty arms, the heavy burden. Maybe I can write about the good things tomorrow.
Precious Rachael Elizabeth, Mommy loves you. I look forward to hugging you in heaven.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Berets, Keys, Remotes, and Prodigals

Every year in France there's a beret throwing contest. That's a hat, for those of you who aren't in the know. The object is to see who can throw the beret the farthest. So, it's that time. People have come from all over Europe to watch the event. The crowd is screaming in anticipation- they all are rooting for their favorite beret-thrower. Suddenly, a hush comes over the crowd as the first beret thrower steps onto the field. He warms up a bit - pretend throws, arm circles, that kind of thing. He winds up; he throws. The beret fetchers run out to the place where the beret lands with their measuring sticks. It's about 200 yards. Wow! That's quite a ways for a felt hat! The beret fetchers walk back and give the beret to the next guy (this is a very special beret - it's not like they have these on every street corner). This guy looks confident. I bet he makes it farther than the last one. Sure enough, after a few warm-ups of his own, he tosses it 220 yards. Amazing! The beret fetchers run the beret back this time (the French are an impatient bunch). But then out comes the third guy. He's a big guy, so it's possible his throw could be the best. He doesn't even warm up. That's a bad sign. But off the beret sails. Into the wild blue yonder. Sails effortlessly...we watch in slow motion as it goes 200 yards, 220, then...wait! What?!? Where did it go?! He threw it so far...he lost it!

I guess it loses a little in the writing, but this was my favorite joke when I was a kid. I laughed so hard. I mean, he lost it! Are you kidding? Hilarious! And yet so sad...he lost it. It was the special beret that was only used once a year in the contest, and he LOST it!

At church today we heard about the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. If these are important to the shepherd and the woman, respectively, and they go to what some would call extreme measures to find their lost items, just imagine how important the lost people are to God and how hard he "searches" for them.

I'm quite familiar with loss. Aside from the babies that were never born here on earth, I'm prone to losing things. Most would argue that of all things I've lost, it's my mind they miss the most. Haha. But seriously, every day it seems I'm looking for something that I haven't seen in a few days. You would think some organization would help, but my attempts at organization tend to just make compacted piles of junk to look through.

I'm sure some of the lesson we are to learn from the Bible is in working your best to not lose things - to organize things and to teach people so as to prevent loss in the first place. But let's concentrate on what we do when things are beyond help and they go "missing."

Three years ago, we bought a used car. We had to drive separately to pick it up so we could drop off the trade-in. The next day, my keys were nowhere to be found. I know I used them to drive us home, but I hadn't seen them since. I searched for days. Chip even helped. To no avail. I had new keys made and decided it would be ok to not have the others, even though I had some irreplaceable keys on them (so I don't scare people, I won't say how many of their house keys were on the ring!).

Two years ago, I was working. My cousin babysat Sean for me while Chip and I were at work. Somehow in the course of one of those days, she and Sean were playing while watching TV and lost the remote control. This was a special remote control that we got when we signed up for cable, and it was $50 to replace it. Well, we couldn't find the remote anywhere! We looked high and low, moved furniture, and ransacked the whole house for it, but that remote was gone. Figuring it got thrown out with the trash, we ended up buying a cheap universal remote that luckily worked with our cable system.

The point is, I mourned these losses. Just about every time I used my new keys or my new remote, I thought about the missing ones and wondered where they could be and how I could possibly have lost them so easily.

I'm sure you have some stories like that...things just go missing and there's no finding them.
My replacements, while useful, didn't seem good enough. The features weren't as good or as easy, and I couldn't get into some places...and my cute pig key chain was gone!

Since you probably think my sense of humor is terrible, let me redeem myself with another story.

My friend wanted to ask his girlfriend to marry him, but he wanted it to be memorable. He booked a cruise for the two of them across the Atlantic, a trip she'd always wanted to take, and then they would spend some time in Europe. Once on the boat, he worked out a plan with the kitchen staff to put the engagement ring in the lobster one night at dinner. It was her favorite meal, and he thought it would be a perfect surprise!
The night finally arrived, and they got all dolled up for the "captain's meal." He told his girlfriend how beautiful she looked in her red dress (I'm sure he also graced her with a low whistle - do I read too many romance novels?), and escorted her to dinner. He had butterflies in his stomach knowing that this would be a real moment of truth. He thought she loved him, but would she take the plunge? Would she agree to marry him? And if not, it was a smallish ship...what would they do then? She already knew so many of his flaws...
But there were no flaws with the dinner. The champagne was wonderful, the Hors d' oeuvres, exquisite (gosh, I had to spell check that one - I like calling them horsie doovers better!). The salad had just the right amount of dressing, and no yucky cukes. Now, though, it was about time for the lobster course, and he was sweating and shaking during the conversation. His girl even asked if he might be getting a bit seasick or something! The waiter arrived just then with the lobster. It looked so yummyand perfect! He waited while she cracked open the lobster...and then fainted. Because the ring wasn't there. But there was still something...could it be? Yes, it truly was! The beret the guy lost!

Oh, in my youth it was a grand thing that I had such a strong bladder or I would have wet myself I laughed so hard at that! My sense of humor is definitely warped, and I know I probably didn't redeem myself, but I couldn't help it.

I do have a point, though.

About a year or so ago, I was looking for, well, I can't remember what now, I think maybe some jewelry or some money, and I looked in an old basket. I saw something shiny and pulled it out - and it was the key ring I had lost! I laughed and laughed, thinking of the beret joke, and then I celebrated the return of my keys! I think I'm still dancing over those!

Last weekend, I couldn't find my camera. Did I mention I lose things a lot? I wanted to take some pics to post on my blog because Sophie was being adorable. I knew it was home because Chip had used it to show someone some pictures a couple of days before (when the house had been clean). But I just wasn't having any luck! In a moment of weakness, I offered Sean a dollar if he found it. He was ecstatic - woohoo! a whole dollar! So he started looking and I sat down for a minute. I could feel him messing around near the back of my chair (recliner). In just a couple minutes, he said, "Well, Mom, I found something, but it wasn't a camera!" and held up his prize. I turned around, sure I would see some kind of crumb of food - perhaps popcorn - and burst out laughing! For in his small little hand was the remote control we had searched so diligently for almost two years ago! I laughed and laughed...and gave him TWO dollars for that find!

Oh yes, and about an hour later, I found the camera. Luckily I didn't have to wait years for that to re-surface!

How much do we rejoice when the inconsequential things we "need" so badly in our earthly lives are found?
I dance. I laugh. I sing. I jump around. I party!
And yet, so much more rejoicing happens in heaven when God's missing sheep are found. When we give up on ever touching a lost soul, God keeps searching. All resources are used. We may not see the behind-the-scenes efforts that take place, the angels sent for a purpose, the love lavished. But one day, when it's least expected, when you're looking for something else, perhaps... the soul finds his or her way HOME! What a feast awaits! A party! Invite everyone to celebrate, and maybe they'll be found, too.

You could be one of the behind-the-scenes efforts for someone God loves. Are you open to taking the time for a search-and-rescue mission? Have you given up? Or do you have more pressing things to search for, like a remote?...

That's what I got out of today's message, even though it quite possibly wasn't even the direction the paster took - sometimes it doesn't matter if you're listening, as long as you get some meaning out of it.
Right, Mom?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Baby Steps

Earlier tonight, we all went for a walk. Well, except Sean. He drove his Hummer!
Sophia even walked! She didn't want to stay in her stroller!
Dad was a big help with her wish to walk, since she's just a hair shy of being able to do it on her own...for more than 3-4 steps anyway.

Am I adorable or what?!?

This was sort of an action shot, as she was trying to walk to me as I was taking the photo.
This was Sophie having a fit because Dad picked her up to put her in the stroller for the return walk. She was not having any of the stroller, and she screamed and screamed. Dad and Sean got to continue their walk to the gas station for a slushie, so I walked back by myself. Luckily about halfway home, after alternating between having her help me push the stroller, carrying her screaming squirming self, and letting her scream IN the stroller, I remembered the cracker sticks that I had packed and she quieted right down! I think she was even close to sleeping by the time I finally made it home with her. After I got her in jammies, she settled right down and was out!

She's not really enjoying the fact that I'm back at work, I don't think. Her naps are rather sporadic, and she's into screaming much more lately. But it's nice to come home and see her face light up and her reach for me for a great big hug! Sean even likes to see me when I get home...for about 3 seconds!

Here's a picture of HIM on tonight's outing. In my defense, the walk was to the playground, so he did actually exercise!

Hoping for a dreamless sleep

Have you ever had a dream that was so real that it affected your day, maybe your week, maybe even your year? Last night I had that dream. I don't know for how long it will affect me, but I know it was real enough to really spook me.
I wish I knew what brought it on. I dreamed about an evil person in my life who came back and haunted me as a ghost. Odd enough, this person claimed to be haunted for years by a ghost. I really hope I am not a new generation to be haunted. In the name of Jesus, get thee behind me! Seriously. I thought you had no power over me. Is it an odd fascination/horror for the unexplainable that has me dreaming this? I don't know. Perhaps it was just a bit of undigested beef, a bit of mustard, or an underdone potato. I did eat at Culver's the night before. Hmmm...
Anyway, I just thought I would get that down. I mean, it was in color and everything. And I haven't seen The Sixth Sense in years! Why last night? Why was the person just staring at me? At least there was no gore.
Where was I? Freaky. I think I'll turn on the lights a minute. There. That's better. But I still think it's better to go on to a new topic. Let me make a new post. Don't want to tarnish pictures here.
Here's to sweet dreams tonight!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

soul sisters

Sophia & Jes

Even though they are only technically cousins,

Sophie and Jes are sisters of the soul!

They have lots of fun together,

and we are glad she lives so nearby so she can visit often.

Too bad she doesn't get to come here for school this year...

Kids and Kittens

I'm not sure why kids and kittens think this is so much fun, but I do know that I need to keep the bathroom door closed from now on!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Week in Review

It's been a busy week. Here's an update:

I started a new job a week ago. It's part time, but every day, and I'm doing a lot of online training at home, too. I'm working a lot in Excel and I feel like I'll be pretty proficient in that program before long (the temp agency thought that I did well in the initial testing - 84 or something like that - and I knew so much less then!), but it's a lot of work doing the tutorials and looking for ways for the new learning to fit into what we do there.
It's a neat job. I've never really been in "corporate America" before. I'm right in the heart of the city and have to worry about parking, and the company is one of the top ten accounting/consulting firms in the country with offices all over. It's cool, but I feel a bit like a fish out of the tank. Glug, glug. Everyone I've met is nice, but I'm really glad I'm getting along with and getting to know the two gals I work with/for most. They are great!

Chip passed his test on Thursday, so now he's officially a "Certified Project Manager" and hopefully someone around here will hire him because I don't REALLY want to go so far away from family, and I really like my job and all my co-workers...but if I have to go, I guess Tampa's not too bad, and not much more than an hour away from the happiest place on earth (which I could use a bit of right about now!).

Sophie's taking more and more steps on her own (but she likes to dive into us better than walking to us), and she's taking after me more and more each day, which of course you know is not a good thing! :) She is very LOUD. I'm going to have to start wearing earplugs if I don't want damage!!
Her chatter makes people laugh, though. It's so adorable. She says many of the same sounds over and over again, so we know she's trying to tell us something. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to post a video here so you can hear her, too.
Besides her volume, her hair also seems to be from my side of the family. It is growing longer and is still fine, so it sticks up in all directions a lot of the time.

Sean started first grade this week. Tuesday was good; every day after that he asked us to call him in sick! Friday he even had specifics - "My head's hot!". "Yes, Sean, it's 90 humid degrees. Of course your head's hot. Get out from under the covers and get dressed. In your shorts." He's a real card. We're working on the bedtime and hoping that's the issue. Of course, they're also reviewing the alphabet, and numbers up 'til 10, both of which he's known since he was 3, so boredom is quite possibly an issue. He said his Tuesday Spanish class was "stupid" because he just listened and then drew a picture of his house (he didn't even laugh when I said No - you drew a picture of your CASA!). Gym on Wednesday was boring because he only got to do "rubberband warmups" and didn't get to do anything fun. He liked music class on Thursday and says he has a silly teacher who tucked the banjo back into "bed" when he put it in the case, and talked to it and said it could come back out soon. He must have had a special class on Friday, too, but I don't remember what it was. I'll have to ask and keep you posted. "Oh, it was art", he says. "It was stupid. Actually, it was fun. It was fun stupid. It was fupid." His exact words. "We just drew lines with black paint. Zigzag, curvy, strait, and diagonal." "The teacher said we had to carry our pictures by the corners to the drying table, because it was by a fan and if we didn't hold the corners, it would fly into our faces and get black lines on our face."

We've also had grandmas on both sides go to the hospital this week. One is home and doing better. Gram "Kraaker", however, just seems to keep getting weaker and weaker. If it's not one thing, it's something else. Her visits are getting more and more frequent, and sadly, it seems she may have lost her fighting spirit. I think we'll see if she's up to visitors sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My First Grader

Sean began his first day of 1st Grade on a good note...we got lost. Well, we technically knew where WE were, but we couldn't find his teacher. I guess they think that after Kindergarten, parents automatically know where their kids are supposed to go. We walked in with such confidence that the ten or so "helpers" didn't even bother to ask us why we were wandering around inside while all the other kids were outside. We're just goofy. But at least we finally found his teacher's line, and we got to get a picture of him in front of his room while we were looking for everyone!
He says he's not a first grader anymore - he's a pre-second grader. Isn't that great?! One day in class and he figures he knows it all.
Oh, and in case you wonder, the lovely flame-covered item in the photos is Sean's test divider. Since the kids sit at tables, they need a way to have privacy when taking tests. Sean picked out his own fabric to cover it (and boy was that an ordeal...he wanted one of each fabric (especially fond of ones with skeletons, and the flaming skeletons especially - I told him the girls at the table would be too scared to take tests with that cover) and then he wanted me to buy fabric for a blanket...maybe next time). Of course, he had some help from dad, but I think it's pretty cool.
The highlights, according to Sean:
*He didn't get to eat his pudding because they wouldn't let him have a spork since he didn't pay for hot lunch (never fear, he ate it for an after-school snack!).
*Math was easy - 1+1, 2+2, and 3+3
*Taylor (one of his female tablemates) called him "a turd" (I really wish I had been there to hear why, but I'm laughing anyway...)
*The fire truck on the playground was "cautioned off" because too many kids were getting stung by bees
*He made a calendar
*The teacher kept getting Hannah and Anna confused (poor teacher!)

That's about all I know about it - he was too busy playing to find out much more. He seemed to be having a great time, and I'm excited to hear more each day.


The post below where I finally figured out the picture thing features photos taken on August 24, 2007 at our "local" Children's Museum (which, for the record, we love a WHOLE TON more than the Mid-Hudson in Poughkeepsie - no offense). Sean and Mom got to enjoy special time together (and Jessica came along, too) while Dad and Gramma Marcia took Sophia to the library.
Sean had great fun, and I enjoyed getting to spend all my energy on him.

Picasa unwrapped?!?

Is this my early birthday present? Did I finally figure this thing out?
It took me a bit of rearranging and things, but I think I've finally gotten the hang of "embedding a slide show" into this blog. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

NOT My Friend Flickr

This is even worse than picasa, because the "code" I'm supposed to copy is full of HTML errors, and I am definitely WAAAAAY out of my league trying to fix it! But, the link may possibly still take you to the pics I wanted you to see if you feel like clicking on it. I am way too tired to deal with this any more tonight (today) and I hear Sophie crying, anyway.

*original post*
I trying it out! I hope it works, but I'm still looking for something better. I need to check out "CompassPointe" again (see link on top left of my blog) to see if I can find out how she does it!
In the meantime, enjoy Sophie and her first "stand on my own" moments from a month or so ago. She was standing long enough to clap, even. Now, of course, she is standing a lot (she likes to do "look ma, no hands" to us), and she's even taking a step or two a day. I'm too tired to work on this anymore, but hopefully I'll be back later today.

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from seasawmama. Make your own badge here.

So here's another option with "regular" Picasa photo software. I'm still working on the web album, but this is kinda fun, too. Click on the photo to enlarge and see all the frivolity at the fun center in (or near) Kinderhook, NY.
Here's my description of each photo, left to right, top to bottom:
Sean checking the lie of his ball, Dad and kids, the Water Tag sign (it was too warm for Laser Tag, but I believe Sean will agree that we had plenty of fun shooting water instead of laser beams!), Dad with Sophie eating our golf balls, Sean enjoying tag with me, Sophie still enjoying the golf balls, go-kart riding (he got to ride a double one with Dad, too), everyone except me, Sophie eating the golf club, more fun water shots, Dad golfing (does he get a handicap for holding the baby?), and then for some reason, the top row again. What fun. I'll figure this out SOMEday!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gram "Kracker"

I was working on the web albums thing again (still having difficulties with Picasa, thinking about Flikkr or something else soon if I can't debug!), and I found these wonderful pics that Grandpa W took...

I'm not sure if Gram "Kracker" (great-grandma to Sean and Sophie) would appreciate these photos being available for anyone to see, but I think they are very special! Gram isn't doing so well these days, so it's nice to see these pics from this summer when she was feeling better. She had a wonderful time with all the grandkids, and they had fun with her, too. Eyes lit up when they saw each other across the room. Truly wonderful.

Speaking of truly wonderful, look at this sibling moment.
She's got a big stick and she's not even beating him with it!