Saturday, September 27, 2008

Christmas Card Update...

So...I had good intentions to send out Christmas cards last year, but I didn't get around to it. Life intervened a time or two around that time of year. After the first of the year, I was at a Hallmark store and found "Happy New Year 2008" cards on sale for 75% off and thought that would be a good way to redeem myself and send some out. They only had 1 pack, but I bought it, thinking I'd be at another Hallmark soon and get more. Well, I never found more, and then we were dealing with 4 months of negotiations with everyone and my brother (well at least conversations with him), and time got away from me. Then we moved, and I thought I would send them out as a funny as "Christmas in July" cards and an update with our address and everything, but I never seemed to have the time. I realized my good deal was about to go to waste, so a few weeks ago, I finally picked 18 people/families to send them to (sorry if you weren't one of them - I either didn't have your address or I keep in touch with you more often...or you're one of the 6 families who I just mailed to since I ran out of ink and stamps for that many and had to wait until payday) and got them out as "Happy New SCHOOL Year 2008" cards. :-) Aren't I clever?
Anyway, here's what I said. If you got a card, please skim through again - I've updated a few things (in purple); if you didn't get a card, I still love you and wanted you to know this stuff, too!

I mean – Happy New SCHOOL Year 2008. :-)

Ok, so I’m a little late with my 2007 Christmas cards…let’s just say I had a bit on my mind last Christmas. I apologize. Please don’t take us off your address list for this year’s cards (but maybe update the address…)!

So most of you now know that we are officially “The Florida Wiberts”. This week we even filled out our voter registration paperwork and finalized our car insurance info. Next we tackle license plates! Other than trying to cram 2,800 square feet of junk into a 1,200 square foot apartment, we are settling in nicely and enjoying it here. We and Goodwill have become good friends. We made daily donations for a while! The palm trees have a relaxing effect every day (at least it hasn’t worn off yet), the swimming is wonderful, and the hurricanes have skirted around us – so far – so we’re happy!

Changing my job location has had its challenging moments, being away from anyone who knows “what I do”, but I HOPE I’ve also proven adaptability, and I’m getting pretty good at phone, email, and instant messaging conversations. We also get some chances to “watch” each others’ computers with a thing called NetMeeting, so that’s helpful, too. I miss my friends, but it’s nice to know that I didn’t have to really “leave” them. The office I'm in is going through some changes and we'll be consolidating to one floor soon. I get an office - with a door and a window! (to the inner office) - that I will share with a very nice co-worker, and I am excited about the coming year and opportunities I may have to show my worth.

Chip was employed less than 2 weeks after we moved here, and it’s nice that he is finding his way at “The Happiest Place on Earth” (Disney). We all like the benefits, of course, and you can reap some of them too, if you come visit us – call for details!!, but it’s nice to see Chip feel like a valued employee again. It’s tough work - a lot to remember and it’s different for Chip to sit at a desk all day, and for 10 hours at a time, at that! – but he really does seem to enjoy it. I think once the schedule bids come up and he gets something a bit more family-friendly, he will feel more comfortable.

Sean is really enjoying his new school. There are only about 15 kids in his 2nd grade class at Walden Lake Elementary, so he’s getting more teacher attention, and also getting to know his classmates a bit better. He even was just named "Student of the Month" in his class for September for always being respectful and doing his best work and was told "how lucky" the class was to have him move to Florida, so we felt very proud of him. Sad to say we didn't get a bumper sticker, though. His new school is really great. They do some neat stuff there, even though the fundraisers from there and daycare are already in full force (I’ll try not to beg too often – promise!). Boy Scouts have an open house in a couple of weeks, so he’ll start that back up, too (started Sept 22 - the transfer was smooth and it's going to be fun...except Dad misses the first couple of camping trips). It’s even on Dad’s night off, so that’s great! We’ll have to work on planning to get the homework done a bit differently, though! Luckily, they send it home on Fridays so we can get a head start (I don’t know about you, but I think I turned out “fairly smart” without having homework until 5th grade. I think it’s getting to be a bit much!). Sean is enjoying anything about SPACE right now (we hope to visit Kennedy Space Center soon), and loves playing with his new friends KJ, Tyrus, Ty, Desiree, Kayla, and sometimes Dillan, Matteo, Austin, and Megan (when they aren’t fighting).

Sophie’s doing well, too. She’s not too fond of daycare when we drop her off or pick her up, but during the day she does fairly well, even though she doesn’t always nap well. She actually naps every day with one of the ladies, and the good news is - she babysits after hours!!!Considering she was never in that kind of setting before, and that we’ve had to move them to a second facility (the first one wouldn’t take part-time kids unless we paid full-time price!), I think she’s doing ok. There seems to be a lot of adult attention, and several kids her age, so she’s learning to adapt. Her big thing now is writing and drawing. On anything and everything. I was tired of cleaning walls, so I got out Sean’s easel the other day and that’s been about the only thing she’s played with since, but she likes her “babies” and her Fisher Price Little People and Dollhouse (that I was finally able to un-earth from her toy pile the other day when I was looking for more Goodwill and Lisa donations!). She has discovered the joy of board books, too, so we visit the library fairly often for new stories. She usually falls asleep best if she uses one as a pillow, too. Don’t ask me why. I think it could be reading by osmosis. She is working on potty training herself (no kidding! - I think she has some examples at daycare) and is singing her ABC's very well, which I hope to post on my YouTube account soon.
We're looking forward to Birthday Week around here next week. Sean and Sophie don't know it, but we're taking them to Disney World and staying for a couple of days. Trying to make up for the guilt for not having anyone we know around here to celebrate with, I guess.
We're going to the special "Mickey's Halloween Party" where the kids get to dress up and the park is open late and there is trick-or-treating, so I hope they have a great time. I think Chip and I are going to buy their costumes this week while they're in daycare before we go so that it's all ready and a total surprise when we get there in the evening.

So…while we miss all of you terribly, we really are doing well here. Glad to have money to pay the bills and to have had great luck with the area we found to live and to be hanging in there. We are still just a phone call, email, or webcam/Skype chat away, so feel free to check in on us when you have a moment. I try to be good about posting stuff at &, too – including videos. Please drop in there sometime and say hi (I really enjoy posting the pics and videos for you all to see), especially if the moments you have to catch up with us occur at, say, 4 am.

Much love ~ Chip, Katy, Sean, and Sophia, a.k.a. “The Florida Wiberts”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A new experience

There are lots of things in life I've never experienced, and really have no desire to do so.
Things like car accidents and house fires and getting shot and terrorist attacks are things that I'm happy to be in the dark about. But I still worry about them. I think the fact that it could be ANY of us at any time was pointed out to me all too well today.

I must admit I got a bit obsessed with 9-11. The way everyone in those towers or in those planes or in the Pentagon were cared for, prayed for, was very special. The horror stories and the photos and the videos were horrific and still bring very strong emotions. I'm touched by the heroism and the horror. Even though I had no ties to any of those people, I have dreams - really - that I experience some of those moments.

So, even though the ACTUAL experience had virtually no physical effects on my life (other than the interruption of a normal work day), the process of scurrying down the stairwell at work today with the alarms blaring gave me an emotional surge that immediately brought that day 7 years ago to mind...and even if it weren't 9/11, I'm sure I would have still thought those thoughts, but the fact that it WAS 9/11 just gave me the creeps.

The real event was that in my 4-story building the elevator motor either overheated or caught fire (I'm sure I'll know more tomorrow) and we were evacuated for 2 hours.
Before we evacuated, we didn't notice any smells and most people thought it was a drill or some crazy person pulling a prank (even more creepy to think about on 9/11). But once the emergency vehicles arrived and the road was closed off and the hoses were uncoiled, we all started believing there might really be a problem.

Luckily it was around lunch time and the alarms went off early enough so that everyone was safe. But I hear there was smoke billowing throughout the building, and it smelled quite bad when we were allowed back in.

Who knows what tomorrow holds?
Today, I'm thinking of the families who were affected by 9/11, the people who jumped - thinking that was preferrable to burning up, those who survived and feel guilty, those who have the horrible smells, the sights, the sounds burned into paths in their brains, those who fought courageously but lost the battle, those who still fight courageously...and I'm feeling grateful to all of them. For what they have taught me.

And I'm feeling very thankful that today was no worse than smoke damage. And I'm hoping for "normalcy" tomorrow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Train De-railed

Well, I was putting Sophia to bed and got a great idea for something to post, but that train of thought quickly de-railed when I got on the computer and decided to change my blog layout.
So...maybe it will come back to me tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fiction is powerful

I like reading books. I read a lot of them. Sometimes too many. I don't always remember every detail of every book I read because I have too much in real life to think about (unlike Chip, who can still keep all the Stephen King plotlines separate and repeat in detail), but I enjoy a good read.
A few years ago, an aunt got me "hooked" on Christian fiction by Karen Kingsbury ( She writes about tough topics (read: tear-jerking) a lot of the time, but it's good to have an excuse other than my pitiful life, right? :-)
Anyway, there's been a few series of her books dedicated to one family - the Baxters. I'm halfway through the "last" series. So...if any of you are behind me in reading, this post is about "Summer: Baxter family drama, Sunrise series #2". Read no further. Spoiler ahead. For the rest of you, I just finished writing this letter to the author:

I don't think I can even find the words I want to in order to thank you for Summer. I lost two babies to miscarriage in 1998, and it began a long process for me of healing through helping others who were hurting from similar losses. Through that process I have heard countless stories of the preciousness of life, but the one closest to my heart next to my own is the story of my aunt who gave birth to her precious baby girl, Kristy, over 25 years ago. Kristy with anencephaly. Kristy who changed many people's lives, through her very presence, and through the ministry of my aunt's story. (side note...Carol and Mimi and Diana and Pat and Cindy and Angie and Nicole and Renee and Missy and Kelly, and so many others whose stories touched me, along with those who wish to remain anonymous...all of you were in my thoughts and prayers during the reading of this book, too)
To be honest, when Ashley (the character in the book) started out praying for a miracle after her diagnosis, I was pretty annoyed. I know God is bigger than all of our problems, but I didn't want her miracle to happen. I wanted the pain. I wanted it so others could know that there was more to the pain. That complete joy of her few hours with Sarah. I also wanted it because I wanted people to know that you CAN live through something like that and come out with faith still in tact. That you CAN ask God the questions Ashley asked in the cemetary. That the miracles do happen, but not always in the way we want them to. Of course, it would be wonderful if parents could pray and the miracles you expect would happen, but when God has other plans for that baby than our earthly expectations, it's nice to know that it was all still a part of his wonderful (and scary!) plan for our lives. My faith journey wasn't as easy as Ashley's, but it's a different faith. Not a Santa-Claus faith anymore. And ten years later, although I still miss my babies and hurt that I haven't met them on earth, I feel blessed to have met the people I did and to know their stories and to have done my best to give others a place and a time to heal and remember and honor their babies.
I thank you for letting characters so close to your heart, and to your readers, go through something like this to help show that every life matters to God. A person's a person, no matter how small - we had that Dr. Seuss quote that was in your book on our "Walk to Remember" program every year. 2 cells, 8 cells, 4,000 cells. No matter how small.
Very powerful thing, fiction. I thank you for using it for good and the glory of God.

So I don't often spout my views on life because I'm not big on conflict, but I'm VERY VERY passionate about the fact that abortion kills life. I know. I didn't use my "right" and yet the life was still torn from me. I heard heartbeats. I saw toes and fingers. I felt LIFE. (see September 2007 posts for a picture)

A mother (A woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child is the definition I prefer, but you can find more that are politcally correct and sure to incite riot in those of us who "merely miscarried" if you search on your own) is a vessel, not someone with the RIGHT to destroy a baby for convenience - even if it is to spare the pain of having to deal with something - anything - that will be hard to deal with emotionally. I know you will all say, "what about in the case of medical necessity?" My answer - choose life whenever possible. I've heard that there aren't many truly medically necessary occasions, but I wouldn't want to be the one to choose between my child and my life. Most mothers I know would gladly give up their own life so that their child may live. If both are in danger, wouldn't a C-section be more prudent? I'd like to know more about the stats of the actual cases before I would say that an abortion is the only option and reason enough to make it legal and create all kinds of loopholes.
Killing a baby in the womb is not a RIGHT anyone has. It's not right for a boyfriend to stab his pregnant girlfriend and kill the baby. Why should it be ok for the girlfriend to choose that on her own? Who's rights are we protecting? A privilege, maybe. The privilege to kill without feeling entirely guilty because it's not illegal. Yeah, I suppose it's a privilege. But then maybe we could also have the privilege on the books of not having to obey the speed limit on the highway when you're late or in a hurry because it's more convenient. If the argument, "Whatever is best for you is the right decision" works for you...please consider other times that advice could be given and see if you would have the same answer: "It was best for me to drive home drunk because I didn't have a way to get back to my car the next day". "It felt best to me to go 50 in that school zone because I was late for a really important meeting (sorry about hitting your kid)." It was in my best interest to kill that guy - he was hurting my friend." (a side note...isn't it interesting that "Earl had to die" was pulled from radio play, but "Gunpowder and Lead" and it's clear 'pre-meditation' is played at least a few times a day?!? They're fun songs to listen to, but do they really inspire those kinds of actions and renegade justice? Who knows...I prefer to remain cautious and just listen to them in the privacy of my own home. I don't think Chip has anything to worry about...*smile). "It was really in my best interest to take Meth - I needed it to make it through the day." I could go on, but you're probably already not reading because you're mad at me.
Well, once every 10 years, I should probably make my opinion known. At least in this non-invasive forum that most people I know stopped reading long ago, anyway (thanks for being faithful Lana! Hope I didn't just make you a former reader!!).
Giving women the right to take lives out of their womb totally removes the right for me to grieve for, and love, and cherish my babies and to praise God for their brief existance, and for my friends to do the same. And I refuse to give THAT right away!