Thursday, February 28, 2008

Daddy's Home!

Rhett is home! We are so happy that he is safely back where he belongs - in the chaos of our family! We planned a cute arrival "Welcome Home" for Rhett but as we were waiting for his plane to land his flight disappeared off the arrivals board. I knew from checking the website before we left for the airport that his flight was about 20 minutes delayed. I could see his gate from where I sat waiting for him (gotta LOVE the Birmingham airport - it is wonderful- the perfect size!) and I hadn't see anyone disembark yet. I decided to wait another 15 minutes before I tried to track him down. About that time I saw a few people start to trickle from the gate so I told Claire to look for Daddy. In about 2 seconds she took off running as fast as her little legs can take her into the "DO NOT ENTER" zone. Before I knew what was going on I saw Rhett as Claire practically tackled him!! She was so happy! On the way home she said "Daddy you're not in the jungle anymore!!". Ford was excited too in his own special way. He just kind of stared at him for about a day. Daddy brought us lots of cool gifts from Iquitos - including my gift a beautiful hand carved bowl made from Boa wood. Much to my surprise Rhett actually took lots of pictures while he was gone. You should look forward to seeing those soon!
Rhett says he was expecting Ford to have changed a lot but he didn't expect Claire to change so much. Apparently she went through one of those language explosions while he was gone. She also has to do EVERYTHING by herself now. We're talking butter her toast, put on her pullup, zip her jacket, climb into the car, buckle her carseat, wash her hair - you name it she insists on doing it. Don't try to help you'll get a firm "NO! I do it myself!". I've actually learned that even though it takes 2-3 times longer she can do quite a few of those things herself which is awesome because that is less stuff that I have to do! She's really grown up a lot in the past few weeks. I feel like she is definitley no longer a baby and completely a 2 year old now. If only her hair would grow so she would look like the other two year old little girls. It has thickened up a lot so I'm hoping a hair growth spurt is coming next.
Speaking of growth spurts: Ford weighed in at a hefty 16 lbs 8 oz at his check up last week. That's the 80th percentile. I don't recall how long he was but it was the 95th percentile! He is enjoying his exersaucer and jumper too. He has his first little cold which is no fun. He is now intimately familiar with the bulb suction and saline. When my children get ill I treat them like they are in the hospital - agressive suctioning, CPT and humidity. It is my attempt at keeping the OUT of the hospital! Hopefully he will get over this little bug and thank his sister for strengthening is immune system!
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Friday, February 22, 2008

Good times with good friends

We had a wonderful visit with our good friends the Mareks over the weekend. Besides being great friends to us as a bonus our children get along fabulously which makes for an even better time for the parents! We just relaxed and let the kids play and get dirty all weekend which we all loved. Claire drove for the first time and we hypothesized that the knowledge of how to steer is carried on the y chromosome. Claire had no idea how the whole steering thing worked so Shanan had to teach her but interestingly enough the first time Cole got behind the wheel he just took off knowing exactly what to do. Do not get me wrong - I am in no way saying that women are bad drivers!! The top picture is Cole (2 1/2), Claire (2), Mason (1) and Ford (4 months). Ford just observed this time but his was taking notes and will be ready to jump in with the big kids soon!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Snake wrangler

Rhett sent me this picture from Peru yesterday. Awesome. Not only is my husband riding around the jungle on a motorcycle with no helmet but he now has large reptiles wrapped around his neck. The good news is now that he has more experience with enormous snakes he can wrangle the ones in our yard. If you remember our little nightmare from last summer - this snake could be our snake's twin brother.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Claire's quotes for the week

Anyone who has kids is constantly amused by the funny things their kids are saying (even if no one else is amused by them!). This blog is becoming quite a great record of our life so I thought I'd try to keep up with the kids are doing as a means of memory keeping for us. Sorry if you are bored by all the details present and future.

Today we were going through the drive thru at Chickfila and Claire said "Go black car! We're hungry!". My mouth dropped and I laughed at first then I realized she had probably heard that somewhere before - oops.

Yesterday we went out the door on the way to school and unfortunately I had not checked the weather report. The day before it was 65 I had on flip flops but apparently things had changed because it was 27 outside with snow flurries! Claire walked out ahead of me (with no coat on I might add) and she started singing "Baby, it's cold out side! Baby it's COLD, OOOUTSIIIIDE!" in perfect tune. I asked her where she learned that song and she said "PaPa taught me!".

We got a Valentine from Mac today and she was looking at it in the backseat. She said "That's Mac! Awww. I love Mac." It was so sweet! I told how nice that was and she said. "I love Mac. I miss him. We'll go see him tomorrow." I told her we weren't going to see him tomorrow. She said "We'll go see him in a couple days". Once again I told her we weren't planning on seeing Mac for a while and she said "We'll see him in a few weeks". I left it there but I wanted to drive to Atlanta to see him this afternoon!

I am amazed at how much she is learning at Community Bible Study this year. The children's program is incredible and they do a wonderful job. I can't describe the joy in my heart when I hear her singing scripture like:
"God loved us and sent his Son, sent his Son" and my new favorite "I am the way, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one can come but by me!".
They focus on hiding the truth of scripture in their hearts so it will always be there and they can lean upon it and build upon it.

In other news all of Claire's babies (Sadie, Lily, Addie, Rosie etc.) now all have baby brothers (various stuffed animals and smaller dolls). Now I have to keep up with which one is little brother to which baby! I am quickly corrected if I'm wrong, mind you. Luckily all of the baby brothers are named Ford!

Update from Peru: Rhett is doing great! The last English speaker left yesterday so he is on his own with Spanish from here on out. I imagine it can be a little lonely not being able to just relax and talk without trying to piece together a conversation. Thanks for all of the support and prayers they are being felt and answered.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Update from Peru

A lot of people have been asking me for updates about Rhett and how things are going here soooo . . . I'm happy to report that things are going well on both fronts! Rhett is settling into his temporary home in the jungle while we manage without him here at home. We appreciate everyone's prayers for Rhett's safety. This is still my biggest request and fear while he is gone. It doesn't help that he is driving a motorcycle (a real motorcycle that requires one hand for clutch, another for gas, one foot for gear and another for breaks - so all 4 limbs must communicate effectively to avoid disaster). Did I mention that there is no helmet involved at any point here? Not to mention no traffic signals or laws for that matter. Special prayers for the motorcycle are especially appreciated. I understand that when you are in the developing world you see things (especially safety and transportation issues) differently. I've been there. I rode in the back of a small pickup truck with 27 Haitians (I am not exaggerating - we counted). There have been times I have just closed my eyes not wanting to see the scene playing out on the road in front of us. We rode on a bus in Haiti that had people stacked on top of it. We were inside luckily instead of hanging on for dear life on the roof but a chicken did have diarrhea on Rhett's shoe during the trip so we may have fared better on the roof. There are no such things as seat belts or carseats in these places and I know and understand that completely. It's just difficult to change gears from being the lady who doesn't back down the driveway without a seatbelt on to being one of 27 in the back of a truck. But when I was in those situations it didn't really seem crazy or particularly unsafe (definitely uncomfortable at times) it was just what we needed to do to get from point A to point B. I understand that is the mindset that Rhett is in so I am trying to deal with likemindedly.
He is learning a lot about the culture and language. He's made a lot of Spanish comprehension progress this week and hoping that his speaking ability improves as well. This isn't an area where people speak even a little bit of English - he's definitely immersed. His role in the research (doing the clinical sampling) starts this weekend so in the mean time he has been visiting different clinics and rounding with an infectious disease doctor at the hospital. Overall he is having a great experience.
We are hanging in here without him. My parents were here for a visit which was wonderful. Claire got lots of attention and I got lots of help and treated to several meals out which is always yummy and fun. We will be visiting friends this weekend and plan to have Rhett's mom here next week at some point. Everyone has been so supportive of us. Claire just misses her Daddy and I miss my husband/best friend/biggest supporter. Ford is blissfully unaware which is nice so that someone around here isn't affected by Rhett's absence. I can not imagine being a single mother or being a military wife. It's just sort of lonely after a while. But everything is in perspective. As I was driving Rhett to the airport I imagined if he were leaving for war. It was difficult enough saying goodbye knowing that chances are pretty good that we will see him again. I can't imagine if he were going into combat. I know that many, many wives and mothers have had to say goodbye under those circumstances throughout history. It's just excruciating to imagine. So I will happily say goodbye for 3 1/2 weeks just thankful it's not 3 months, 3 years or forever.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mardi Gras!

I know this is my third post tonight but I'm trying to catch up. Rhett took the laptop to Peru so I've had to go back to using our older desktop. I'm frankly spoiled with the new technology and haven't wanted to deal with a computer that is "so 4 years ago" but I decided that I would suck it up for all of you faithful blog readers!
One great thing about Birmingham is that just about everyone celebrates Mardi Gras here. Back in Georgia years would go by without be even thinking about it or I thought it was just a wild New Orleans thing. I guess since Alabama is a gulf state there are a lot of big ole parties celebrated here which I think is really fun and cool. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't even know what a King Cake was until 2 years ago. Claire has had King Cake three times this week. She walked around chanting "Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras!" for several days. We went to a Super Bowl/ Mardi Gras party (King Cake #1), they had King Cake (#2) as a snack in Spanish class - talk about cultural diversity!, and the made masks and had cake #3 at Busy Bees. We even caught a little bit of a parade and got some beads. Whew! What a fun and sugary week!
All my friends seem to be putting potty pictures on their blogs so I thought I'd join the bunch. (Don't adjust your monitor - our bathroom really is pink and yellow!) Claire looks like she is catching on to the basics of going to the potty for girls - always take your friends and your purse(s)!!

Roly Poly

Ford's newest accomplishment - rolling over!! Yea Ford! Claire and I had the joy of watching him do it for the first time and we clapped and cheered for him while he smiled and basked in the glory of his feat! It was so sweet to see her so excited for him and cheering him on. I hope she will continue to do that for him his whole life. She yelled "Do it again, Ford!!" and was so genuinely thrilled for him. I was so proud of both of them at the same time.

Best Buds

Well, Rhett is gone to the jungle and I am here doing an experiment in single parenting. So far everything is going fine but we miss him terribly. Claire is doing a lot better than I expected (why do we always underestimate kids?) and she seems to understand a lot more than I thought she would about Daddy being away (underestimated this too!). We are able to talk to him although we have to shout into the phone and there is a 3 second delay which can be annoying/difficult at times. We are thankful for modern technology so we can be in touch via phone and email every day. Thanks to everyone for your constant support and prayers while he is gone. The countdown is on for him to come home!

I have a calendar that I need to put a picture in every month so that means once a month I have to struggle to get a picture of both of the kids together now. This is the best I could do for February since Ford can't sit up and Claire, well, we all know about Claire and pictures!