Saturday, November 22, 2008

The recipients of kindess and generosity

This is our new playset!! Some new friends in our small group at church offered this playset to anyone who wanted it (they needed to make room for a trampoline for their girls) so we said we would take it and it is ours! How nice is that? It is only a couple of years old and in perfect condition. They could have made a nice little chunk on Craig's List to put towards that trampoline but instead offered it up for free. It is so amazing to see they way God provides. This is not something we could afford but oh how wonderful it is to see our kids enjoying it so much.
This is one happy swing-a-holic. Claire LOVES to swing. That is all we do when we go to the park. It is all she wants to do on any playground. I guess it soothes her soul. I am happy that she can indulge herself whenever she wants to now and I don't have to make a big trip to the park (especially once Little Baby gets here). She was beside herself with glee today and stayed outside so long her hands were frozen and finally when it got dark we had to turn the flood lights on so she could keep on playing.
We will have to swap out one of the swings for a baby swing for Ford so for now he was content with flying down the big slide with Mommy's help and climbing up on the slide from the bottom, standing up and clapping for himself. Too cute.
He rolled around in leaves, fell on the grass and got really dirty - he loved every minute of it. I almost tossed this faded old popcorn car the other day (I got it at a consignment sale a few years ago when it looked brand new for $5 so I thought I had gotten my investment out of it). I'm glad I didn't! Ford became fascinated with the seat and stood there like this for a good long while opening and closing, opening and closing, opening and closing it with this very serious expression on his face.

It was a great day and now we have something else to be thankful for on this upcoming holiday! More than just the playset but for a loving God who cares about us and provides for us in special and unexpected ways sometimes. If you would have asked me if we needed a playset I would have said no that we had a slide and some other toys that were fine. But it turns out this playset is totally opening up our outside world and I am so excited to have an outlet for our growing children to be outside and relish some of the joys of childhood. If you need us we will be outside.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You little turkey!

Today was the Thanksgiving celebration at Covenant Day School! The Kindergarteners anchored the program with a play and each other grade sang special songs of thanks throughout the program. It was fantastic and so much fun to see our little turkey up there!
I was up in the balcony and I could hear Claire singing all the way up there! I was so proud of her. She takes everything very seriously and her performance today was no different. I was a little surprised when I got there 30 minutes before the program started and there was no parking and very few seats. I thought I would look over eager getting there half an hour early! These parents don't mess around. It was quite a scene. I even saw several parents carrying bouquets of flowers to give to their children after the performance. I mean this was turkeys, pilgrams and indians. They did a great job but it wasn't a Broadway debut. I think this must be an example of the "self-esteem movement" that I've read about in the news lately. Apparently telling children how special they are makes actually believe that they are more special than everyone else and that translates into pretty lame adults. That is why I am all about keeping score at little league games. It is important to learn what it feels like to loose for a lot of reasons but one of them being if you want to win then you have to work harder next time. Anyway, this was a little bit of a tangent but I've read a few blogs about it today and it's on the brain. I digress . . .
Here she is enjoying her Thanksgiving feast with her classmates. I was surprised to see her eating a turkey sandwich. She hardly ever eats meat and the last time I offered her lunch meat was more than a year ago when she ate some and said "No like turkey" and threw it all up. Anyway, apparently she likes turkey sandwiches now so she will find one on her plate soon!
She was so excited to have Mommy and Daddy at school with her. It is always so much fun to see her be such a big girl at school with her friends. They asked each child what they were thankful for and wrote it on a leaf that hung from a tree. I was happy to see her answer had been "Mommy and Daddy". We are so thankful for her too!
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There's a baby in my tummy.

A conversation from this morning:

C: Mommy! There is a baby in my tummy! (poking her tummy out)
M: Really?
C: Yes. She is little right now but she will get big today and then be born.
M: Really?
C: Yes. She is going to be born at Costco. I was born in China.
M: Really??

Monday, November 17, 2008

Paper chase

I've missed my blogging lately. At first my excuse was how crummy I was feeling and now that I'm starting to feel better (praise the Lord!) I'm trying to catch up on all of those things that I haven't done over the past 14 or so weeks since I started living in perpetual sea sickness. I still haven't made much progress on that list of things to do - some of which are pretty important - but I'm trying. But I figured I'd give myself a break today and ignore all the things on my list so I can blog a little bit. Ahhh. I feel better already.

I did run into a small problem. I haven't snapped a single picture in November. Pictureless blog posts are always less enticing so I try to always have some sort of visual even if it is random. So for today I decided to go back to November of 2006 since my November of 2008 folder is empty. One day I will think - what in the world happened in November of 2008?? So this is from our first little family vacation to San Diego when Claire was almost 11 months old. This is the first time she saw the ocean and stuck her little feet in the sand at La Jolla cove. She wasn't a fan. She still isn't a fan. Some things never change. What a wonderful trip that was . . .

So last week I decided I HAD to tackle one of the more pressing issues on my list and that is getting passports for the kids for our upcoming travels. This officially went on my list in early September when I actually got their passport pictures taken but the ball stopped rolling then and now here we are staring at December with no passports in hand. The problem is in addition to the pictures and the application in order to get passports for children both parents have to appear in person with the children with various forms of identification and documents. Scheduling has been difficult because true to government form the passport office is open M-F from 10-3 with lunch from 12-1. That would be challenging for most people but add into account that my husband has a job that requires him to actually be at work during the day and two small children who nap at 1pm and it seemed impossible. Finally Rhett had a hole in his clinic schedule last week and we were going to meet him to get this all settled.

I got out the applications and started assembling the documents (all my friends who are adopting are either laughing or rolling their eyes at all of this considering their definition of a paper chase). I went to my filing cabinet and pulled out folder clearly labeled "Claire's Documents" and voila! there is her birth certificate, SS card, immunization form and every single update from each pediatrician appt. since she was 2 weeks old. Nice work. Everything I need in one place. I love when I do that. Next I look for Ford's folder. And look and look and look. Nowhere. I turn the office upside down then every other random place I could think of in our house where I might have stashed his folder. Gone. So now I have to tell Rhett that our plans are off because I can't find the documents that I need. He was a little frustrated considering this was the first day in months he had been able to work out for this to happen but his frustration added to my frustration equaled me in tears feeling like failure and Claire asking why I was so sad. Bad day. We regrouped and I just planned on replacing everything I needed as fast as I could and just doing the best with rescheduling.

The first chance I had to do all of these paper chasing errand was a random Tuesday in November (better known as Veteran's Day when all the places I need to go were closed). Ugh. Thank you Veterans (Dad) but I really need to get this done! It ended up being a good thing that I waited for a Golden Wednesday (the only day that both of my kids are in school and I have 4 hours all by myself) because this was not the kind of a day when kids could have kept up. First place I needed to go: Jefferson County Health Department to the Vital Records office to replace his original birth certificate. I despise the Health Department. When I had a positive PPD (TB exposure) a few years ago I had to go there to get a chest X-ray and monthly for my treatment. It is a yucky governmental place and I do not like it there. The marquee out front said "Syphillis Outbreak in Jefferson County! Have you been tested?". This just reminded me that Rhett has STD clinic there and gave me the willies. I waited for 10 minutes for a parking spot in the deck then went to get my birth certificate. The woman said it should take 15-20 minutes. Great. I had an appt. to get a flu shot just down the street in an hour. There were 2 other people in the waiting area when I got there. 40 minutes later we were all still there and had been joined by about 10 others. Finally about 50 minutes into my 15-20 minute wait I got my copies and got out of there. Good riddens! I barely got to my OB in time for another 20 minute wait for my flu shot.

Now I'm pushing it to get my last errand done before I have to pick up my two kids at two different places by 1pm. I type in the address of the Social Security office into my handy dandy GPS and it sent me on my way through downtown Birmingham. Through the medical district, into the financial district, past some familiar museums and then into the rougher outskirts. I hadn't been in this part of town before and the numbering of the streets confuses me so I was glad I had my little guide. Like I said it is a little rougher area with mostly abandoned houses and a few small businesses then I see it, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, one of the biggest, brightest, newest buildings in all of Birmingham. Surely that can't be it? Please tell me the government did not spend upteen millions building that magnificent structure to give money away in. I mean seriously ya'll it is ridiculous. But they had a free parking deck (thanks Uncle Sam) so I parked and went in. First stop security. I place my mom purse in the x-ray machine and head through the metal detector. The security guard standing by the entrance of the x-ray machine pushed my purse through the machine and out the other side. I retrieve it. Apparently Casper the invisible security guard was manning the screen that ACTUALLY SHOWS WHAT IS INSIDE! Typical. I feel safer already. I follow some signs and end up in what I think is the correct place. I stop at a desk and finally find an application for a social security card in English and fill it out. I get a numbered waiting ticket and round the corner to the waiting area. There is a HUGE waiting room filled with rows and rows of chairs filled with people. Seriously probably about 200 people. I haven't come this far to give up so I find one of the last empty chairs and sit down. Babies are screaming, people are hacking and hobbling around on walkers. I looked at the lady next to me and said "This is quite an operation they have here" she just kind of half smiled at me. I guess she had been waiting a while. There are huge signs prohibiting any cell phone use or picture taking. Otherwise I would have taken a picture with my phone of this scene. Maybe that's why they don't want you to take pictures. They don't want bloggers to disuade people from making the trip down. Anyway, I wait for them to call my number so I can go to one of the 30 or so windows that encircle this mass waiting area. It seems like they are calling a number every minute or two so I start thinking that it might actually happen!

I think I only waited for about 30 minutes when they finally called my number but just as they did someone behind me started hacking and I couldn't hear the window number I was supposed to report to! What? Say it again!! Help! What if I loose my turn? A lot of the windows were covered by partitions so I couldn't see which ones were open. OH NO! Finally someone pointed me to a window they thought was correct and lo and behold it was! I sit down at a desk about 6 feet across from a lady and a computer. She says "May I help you?" without looking up or taking a break from typing. I explain I need a replacement SS card and hand her my application and all of the documentation I need for that. She looks at my paperwork and keeps typing - kind of like those people who work at the airport counter who just type and type and type and can never really help you. Anyway, she is looking at my Driver's license and typing in the information as my proof of ID. I see her get to the expiration date and I kind of cringe because it expired in May. It's one of those important things I haven't managed to get done. She looked up at me for the first time and said "I can't use this it is expired." I quickly replied that I realized that so I had brought my passport along as a back up just in case and I slide it the 6 feet across the desk to her. She looked at me and said in a nasty tone "So you aren't driving anymore?" and this point I'm afraid she is apart of Obama's new civilian protection force or whatever he calls it and is going to turn me in the the real police for driving on an expired license. I just smiled and told her I was on my way there next. I finally get out of there with my son's social security number and the promise of a new card in 2 weeks and somehow made it to get my children from school in time. Not a fun day. I did feel like I was doing some sort of penance for loosing all of Ford's stuff. I now have his folder carefully arranged and once we get the passports I will make copies of those, birth certificates and SS cards and send one to each set of grandparents for safe keeping. I can't imagine what I would do if we lost all these documents when we were overseas. At least I'll know where two sets are if that happens.

So the story has a happy ending. We went to the post office today and got the applications turned in and hopefully we should have their passports in 3 weeks. It did cost us $170 and they are only good for 5 years so that isn't so happy but we will get what we need to travel and will be on our way in a few short months. By the way, if anyone has any tips for traveling internationally with children I'm all ears. I'm most concerned with how I am going to keep a very busy 15 month old little boy on my lap during the 9 hours of flight time that we have. Yes, I know about Benadryl. I've given it to him a few times as an antihistamine and he has had a difficult time with it (as in reverse reaction -NOT drowsy) so that is on the shelf for now. Luckily Rhett and I have traveled overseas quite a bit and are familiar with the drill but since we are going to be gone for 9 weeks we are going to have a whole lotta stuff and two small kids and a preggo mommy. Sounds like fun doesn't it?? I told Rhett about my anxiety about Ford on the flight and his response was classic "Megan, it is just going to be a really, really long day and then it will be over". Maybe I should have that printed on cards to be handed out to everyone sitting around us. So my question is if we take a car seat on board for Claire to sit in would the flight attendants let us kind of swap the kids in and out of the car seat? Claire would be fine to snuggle in our laps and take a nap but Ford not so much. If he could snooze in the car seat that would be great. I'm wondering if they would be sticklers about who was in the car seat during the cruising part of the flight? Just one of the bazillion questions I have but we will start there . . .

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My favorite moments this week . . .

My first favorite moment this week was hearing a very strong healthy heartbeat at my Doctor's appointment on Monday. Even though I'm throwing up everywhere and my tummy is already growing that moment of waiting to find that little heartbeat is gut wrenching. But, praise God, Little Baby was healthy and that little heart was just a beating!
My second favorite moment this week was when Claire and I were grabbing a quick shower and I looked down to find her on her knees, hands clasped and head bowed saying, "Dear Jesus, thank you for this shower. I love you Jesus. Amen." First of all, I was happy to see her praying all on her own and secondly, I was happy that she was expressing thanks for something that most people take for granted. Then I started thinking about it and kind of chuckled because I thought she doesn't know how thankful she should be for this warm, never-ending shower because very soon this will not be something that we enjoy every day. I kind of filed that away as something I wanted to blog about so I could remember that glimpse into her sweet thankful spirit. Then . . .

The next day I was checking a blog that I read of someone who lives in one of the places that is on our short list of places to move next year. I started reading how they are experiencing an extreme water shortage. Some parts of the compound were completely out of water and others had crucial levels available. There were strict restriction in place regarding water usage one of them being 2 minute limits on showers (when you HAVE to take one that is). I thought that it was "interesting" that Claire was on her knees thanking Jesus for our shower when the people we may call friends in a place we may call home are dealing with this problem right now. Another one of the ways our life will change in a short time . . . I have to admit I linger a little longer in the shower (when I can) just knowing that this luxury is fading!

Monday, November 03, 2008

And then there were five . . .

Five total that is (three littles)! Yep, little #3 is growing fast and working on his/her May 16th arrival date! In case you are counting, yes, that is 3 under 3 1/2 years. In case you are wondering if we have lost our minds, well, no we haven't we just really like kids and are so thankful for each and every one of them. While we knew we would have been thrilled to have another child it was a little complicated considering we are spending 10 weeks this spring in Peru and leaving at some point next summer to live overseas for 2 years. We had discussed the possible risks and decided that it we would be fine with welcoming a baby overseas but God's timing was even more perfect and our littlest little will be joining us on American soil before starting this wonderful adventure with our family just a few months later.
The past 8 weeks (I'm 12 weeks now) have been really tough since I have been quite baby-sick and tired. I am starting to see the possibility of a light at the end of this tunnel so I feel a little bit of hope that one day I won't feel like I live on a very rocky boat. I spend a lot of time just praying that God will give me what I need to make it through each day as a good mom and wife.
One fun thing is that we aren't going to find out the sex of this little one! Everyone says it is so much fun to find out at the birth so we are going to go for it with this one. This is probably our last pregnancy (but don't worry not our last child) so we are going to go all out and do it the old fashioned way! It is already quite exciting wondering if we are adding another precious boy or girl to our family.
Claire thinks it is a sister and has named her "Emily Elizabeth". I keep trying to prepare her that it could be a brother and she said "I already have a brother - she is a sister". She told Rhett that she had 5 baby sisters in her tummy! She is so sweet about "Little Baby" and says sweet things like "Little baby, quit making Mommy so sick!" and loves to rub my tummy and talk to Little Baby already and plan for when he/she "gets big and comes out". Of course precious little Ford has no clue and probably won't until we bring the little bundle home from the hospital since they will only be 19 months apart. Whew.
Looking back I have been continuously pregnant or breastfeeding since April of 2005 with no end in sight. So if you run into me and think "Man, she has really let herself go" please take everything in context. I'll be back one day (I find myself reminding Rhett of this rather regularly). There will be a day I am not in maternity clothes or "big girl" clothes and there may actually be a day I don't wear a nursing bra (they still make those non-nursing bras don't they?). Anyway, I'm savoring each nauseating moment of making this baby and watching my other two grow so quickly my head spins just thankful to God for these children and the privilege of being their mother.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Date Night

A few weeks ago I saw a commercial for "Disney on Ice" coming to Birmingham. I commented to Rhett how much Claire would enjoy going to something like that and he said "well, lets go". I asked him if he wanted me to take Claire and he stay home with Ford, if we should all go as a family or if he wanted to take Claire on a date. He said rather quickly "Yeah, I want to take her on a date!!". So the next day he came home and said "I bought the tickets for Disney on Ice. I had to buy the $55/each tickets." What??? I'm thinking they must have been sold out or something. Nope. Turns out he just wanted to make sure his little Princess could see really well. Hmmm. I don't quite remember the last time we went out on the town and spent that kind of money on a date for us! I could see where this was headed.

Ever since then Claire has be talking about her "date with Daddy". My parents asked her if she wanted to go back to Disney World and she said "No. I want to go on a date with my Daddy". She would look at me at random times and say things like "Mommy, when I go on my date with Daddy I want to wear curls". We talked about what she would wear all the way down to her panties! She wanted to wear her Cinderella dress - fitting for a Princess! She decided on pancakes for the dinner portion of their date - her personal favorite. We waited with much anticipation for date night to come and she got all dressed up and waited for Daddy.
It was a little reminicent of prom night with all of the excitement and picture taking!
This is the one date where lots of kissing is OK!
So off they went. I have no pictures from the actual date since I wasn't there to take them :) But the report was that they had a wonderful time. They were right on the ice and Claire was captivated by all of the characters the whole time. More importantly Rhett planted some very special seeds in her heart. He is teaching her the standard by which she will judge all other boys. She will remember how special these early dates with her Daddy were and how special they made her feel and not accept anything less. He is teaching her how she is valuable and a treasure and should be treated that way in every circumstance. Rhett was pretty choked up by the whole experience. He loved every minute with his little girl. The next day he said "Claire we had a great time on our date last night didn't we?" and she said "Yeah, you are my Prince". Enough said.
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3rd Annual Costume Parade

Here is Dorothy, Toto and the Lion all ready for the costume parade!

The little Lion on the prowl!
The very long parade line at Homewood Park!
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