Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Frustration!

When Kate was about eighteen months old she learned her colors. We were so proud of her, and of course we wanted her to show off her new skill. Her favorite thing to do then… Everything was yellow. That green turtle—she called it yellow. The red fire truck—yellow. The black dress—yellow. One day her aunt asked her what color her shirt was (it was yellow, so we were sure to get the right answer, weren’t we?)—PINK!

Well, Kate finally gave up on that game, but now she’s using the same strategy on her letters. We know that she knows some of them, but she will say anything but the right letter. I was trying so hard with her yesterday that I had to walk away from it for awhile.


I know that she’s testing us, but sometimes the right solution eludes me at that moment. We made a new rule now. She has to do her letter work, just a few minutes, before she can play with her computer. It makes sense, because some of the games are letter related, so she needs to practice her letters anyway. It gives her a reason to work on what we want her to learn, and it gives us both a little power—I hold the keys to the computer and she can choose to work or not (but of course she wants her screen time).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Addicted?

I have to admit I have an addiction. I spent time out of our Christmas trip to visit our parents to feed it. I even did it on Christmas Day. When everyone else is spending time with family and friends…I was doing laundry.

I beginning to think there is some sort of elf that makes extra laundry around here. I washed three loads yesterday and the hamper is full again today. How does that happen? We’re not people who change our clothes several times a day. I’m not eternally changing sheets and towels out. Eight or nine loads a week. Really? Where did it come from?

Maybe next time I’ll write about the gnome who dirties all the dishes. Seriously…look at all these dishes.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Snow Driving

We left over a week ago to do our Christmas traveling. We checked the weather and decided not to drive all the way to Louisville the first night because they were forecasting freezing rain that afternoon. We’d had about two inches of snow here, but we were sure that wouldn’t be a problem. We’d just stop in St. Louis for the night. It would make for a longer drive the next day, but still get us to Ohio on time.

We pulled out of our driveway onto our snow covered road. As we turned onto the main road it wasn’t any clearer. We chuckled as we saw not one, but two of the city trucks with their plows up. It was just a couple of blocks to the interstate, where surely it would be clear, right? It was only a couple of inches and it hadn’t fallen that fast. Wrong.

The interstate was a mess. We couldn’t see the lines. People were sort of trying to stay in lanes. We decided we would have to turn around, but of course with traffic at a near stand still it took quite some time to get to the next exit. There the road was ever so slightly better and we had ruts to follow, where there was bare pavement. As we crossed into Missouri an amazing thing happened—the lanes had been cleared. We were very grateful for MODOT.

As the day continued our “short trip” to St. Louis took over seven hours, but the roads were improving. We even got caught behind some of those wonderful plows that had cleared the way. They were slow going, so we had to be patient, but we were so grateful for the job they had done.

Christmas Time

Christmas with children is, well, interesting.

We spent time with our families before Christmas, driving to Ohio to spend some time with Justin’s family and stopping briefly in Bowling Green on our way back. Kate handled the trip well. She did decide she needed to have the door cracked or a night light. The second night at the “Welcome Inn” (where we stayed while visiting his folks) we left the door cracked for Kate. A few minutes later she was screaming. Justin went back to check on her and she was yelling, “You did it! You did it to me!” The door had shut because the furnace kicked on. We used a shoe to prop it after that. Gabby started getting up earlier each day for the entire trip…culminating in a 4:55 wake-up on the day we left to drive home. Yikes.

While we were at Nan and Pop’s in Ohio Kate decided that she had three older siblings. I’ll call them the A triplets—she named them Axil, Axis, and Axin. While we were there, Gabby also started walking several steps at a time.

At Gam and PawPaw’s Kate handed out presents for the whole family. After she handed out the fifth present she said, “I’m going to be so sore tomorrow!” We all laughed so hard. Gabby was so tired during dinner the last night that she fell asleep while eating.

We got home on Christmas Eve at about six-thirty. It was a long drive, but uneventful. We got the girls off to bed so Santa could come.

Christmas morning brought packages and excitement. Kate had two favorites from her presents, an umbrella and a laptop with educational games. She spent a lot of time flitting back and forth between things yesterday and couldn’t seem to settle anywhere. Gabby enjoyed her booster seat, which she used as a stool to climb into the chairs until it was put at the dining room table for her. She also really likes the echo phones we got both of the girls. She wasn’t as impressed with the Cabbage Patch preemie I thought she would adore.

We had a family Christmas dinner of turkey and all the trimmings and read the Christmas story from Kate’s toddler’s Bible that afternoon.

It was not the day I pictured in my mind, but it was a good day.

I hope that you have had a joyous Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How Literal

Kate while playing with the Nativity set (specifically baby Jesus in the manger):

Animal voice: "That's our lunch."

Mary: "No, no, that's our baby!"

Friday, December 12, 2008

To Santa or Not to Santa

We’ve started talking to Kate about the poverty in the world and she gets it in a child’s way. The other day she wanted to know what we could do for someone in particular. When I started to answer her question, she stopped and me and said, “But she’ll get gifts from Santa.”

Hmmm. What a conundrum. I want her to enjoy the Santa myth. Goodness knows it took several years and a few “expert opinions” to convince my husband to go along with it. At the same time, I want her to know the need is very real. I told her that, “Santa can’t do it by himself.” The need is too great.

Perhaps that’s a good reminder to us. God expects us to do His work here on earth. It's easy to live our sheltered little lives, allowing ourselves to believe that Santa/God will take care of everyone else. We are His instruments. Just like Santa needs our help, God expects us to do good here. I won’t say He needs us. He is the creator of the whole universe. I think He can handle things just fine, but He expects us to do it. He blesses us to let us do it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Party


Last night we went to the annual Christmas Party. Poor Gabby was so tired she fell asleep for awhile, but Kate had a great time. She likes to mingle with people. She ate three plates worth of food, impressing one of Justin’s colleagues and his wife.

At one point she announced, “It’s past my bed time.” I guess she thought the party was going too long. Nevermind it was past her bedtime when we got there.

We played a game of Christmas movie trivia. Our table lost. We were trounced. We claimed ageism, since we were younger than all the other tables. We didn’t watch It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. I have to admit they tried to give ones for our generation, but none of us had seen Elf. Kate some how managed to get one of the prizes though. There was an extra one and the winning table let her take home a prize too. She calls it her present and she loves it.

Advent




Advent at our house this year has been great! Kate loves it so much. We’ve structured our evening times to really celebrate this year, since she’s really at the age to “get” it. Every night we light our advent wreath over dinner. After dinner we read the verses from a card that I got a few years ago that go along with each of the candles. When we all get situated back in the living room, we open the box my dad built for us. We pull out the item in the drawer and discuss its significance to the Christmas story. We’ve been using a little nativity set pieces and I have some little ornaments, plus a set of bells for Sunday night—we’re going to be caroling and I though the girls might enjoy ringing along too. After that we sing some carols. Favorites this year have been “Go Tell it on the Mountain” and “Joy to the World.” Baby Gabby even said Jesus one night when we were talking about him.

The girls also love playing with the Fisher Price Little People Nativity. They’ve been evangelizing on our pirate ship too. Maybe that’s how they made their trip to Egypt?!? Probably not, but hey.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Just fun!




You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe



But don't think plain - instead think, uncomplicated

You're a low maintenance kind of girl... who can hang with the guys

Down to earth, easy going, and fun! Yup, that's you: the friend everyone invites.

And your dependable too. Both for a laugh and a sympathetic ear.

Home again

Long time no blog…

The girls and I took a three week trip to visit my parents (Gam & PawPaw), so that’s why no posts for so long.

It’s odd to leave your home for that long with just a few suitcases and your daughters. Oh yeah, and your husband too. Actually we were apart for only two weeks because he came with us to go to a wedding and he came back in for Thanksgiving.

We were able to be at one of Justin’s high school buddies wedding in Evansville, be there for my mom's birthday, attend a family reunion for my dad’s family (including a birthday party for my Grannie), attend a 50th anniversary party for the minister who married us, take Kate to an advent workshop, have Thanksgiving with our families (Justin’s parents came too), meet Justin’s parents for a hiking trip, and so much more. It was quite a full trip.



Gabby took her first steps. She took two steps toward Justin on his first night back. She hasn't walked since, but we'll be there soon enough.

Of course Kate had some great quotes while we were gone…

While out to lunch with my sister:

Kate: I like chips

Holly: Mmm-Hmm.

A few minutes later…

Kate: I like chips.

Holly: Okay.

Kate: Sometimes my Daddy shares his chips with me.

Man she’s good! And she got some of Holly’s chips.

*********

"I see my 'flection," when looking at Holly's new laptop.

*********

“I’m a little grown-up.”

*********

Then the other day in the van…

“I want to be a little girl forever.”

“But Kate, we all grow up.”

“But then I won’t have parents.”

So sweet. Not true--since she'll always be my little girl, but still so sweet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Kate-ism

You know that it’s time for an election to be over when your three year old (who listens to very little radio and watches even less TV) is saying, “I’m John McCain.” We haven’t gotten her to say, “And I support this message,” but I bet if we had to hear another week of political ads that might be in there too.

Happy Election Day! I've voted, have you?

Halloween:Trick or Treat


Kate was so excited about Trick or Treating this year. We had her and Gabby ready and headed over to the university so she could trick-or-treat in the dorm. She had so much fun. Everyone thought that it was really cute that she carried a treasure chest to collect her bounty.

She also got to play a couple of games in the lobby. She won a pumpkin that’s supposed to expand in water—it didn’t work though. Bummer. The didn’t get the concept of the Yo-Yo walk (like a cake walk except you got a yo-yo) or hot potato though.

Then we headed off to the mall for a little more fun. We were really surprised that some of the scary costumes didn’t phase her, since she’s been terrified to visit certain corners of major retailers where they have their Halloween stuff, particularly the ones that move or make noise. I guess she thought the candy was worth it!

Gabby did a great job playing the accompanying parrot, but of course was left out of most of the festivities. She was a good sport and let Kate enjoy the spotlight.

By the way, we had ONE trick-or-treater. I guess percentage wise that's a huge jump though, right?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Day


What is it about Halloween that gets kids so very wound up? We haven’t even gotten into all the sugar yet. We haven’t done treats here at the house today, knowing there would be plenty of goodies tonight. And who really needs that much sugar?

Our day started off out of the ordinary. We took treats to Justin’s classes at the university. We stopped in and dropped off goody bags to his eight o’clock class, just before they let out. Then we gave goodies bags to his nine, as they were arriving.

Kate also insisted we give a bag to Dr. Matt, one of the other professors. Disaster almost struck, as we stopped by his office and he wasn’t there, but the tragedy was averted, as he came by when we were looking for the mailboxes to leave it for him.

We’ve had an otherwise normal day, but as the afternoon wears on Miss Kate is getting more and more antsy. She’s so funny. Running in circles and talking a thousand words a minute.

Of course pulling out the trick-or-treat candy, was quite helpful. She wasn’t all interested in the Twizzlers or the gigantic strawberry on the package. Not to worry though. Last year we didn’t have one blessed trick-or-treater, so we’ll probably have plenty for her to get into tomorrow. There are a ton of kids on our street so I bought five huge bags of candy. In defense of the shortage of trick-or treaters, we hear that the previous owners were quite odd and anyone who new about the “new owners” would have also known we had a less than two week old baby.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

She's One

She’s one! I can’t believe that it’s been a whole year since she joined our little family (Yes, as a matter of fact, I consider a family of four to be little.).

She’s gone from that itty-bitty, bunched up, little ball to a beautiful, intelligent girl. She’s grown by more than inches and pounds: she’s learned to smile, laugh, crawl, pull up, cruise, blow kisses, use a cup, and steal hearts. The girl can even say a handful of words, a major accomplishment in a house with Kate—even I have trouble getting a word in edgewise. She’s my baby girl and I love her.

In this year, we’ve never been apart more than a couple of hours. It’s been such a blessing to be home with my girls. While it lasts, I hope to enjoy it to its fullest. I’m not quite sure where all that time has gone, but it passed quickly.

Thanks be to God for providing for our family and for the blessing of this darling little girl, and for her health, intelligence, curiosity, and playful spirit.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The story of Gabby (part III)

I was over due with Gabby and Kate had the stomach flu. As much as I was ready to have the baby, I was petrified I would go into labor and be all alone at the hospital. There was no way I was just handing my sick gal over to someone with a “Good luck!”

Thankfully God postponed my labor. I had my nonstress test on Tuesday and scheduled an induction for Thursday morning. I had been having contractions throughout the test, but nothing of any import. I called my mom, so she was going to fly out to keep Kate.

That afternoon though I started vomiting and have consistent contractions—three minutes apart. They weren’t very strong though. I called my midwife and she told me to go to the hospital in case this was it. I called to have my mom reschedule her flight, have one of Justin’s colleagues come and get Kate, and Justin came to take me to the hospital. So much for the schedule! After sitting in rush hour traffic for an hour we were glad I wasn’t in active labor. We checked in and I was hooked up. The contractions had intensified and my nausea was still present.

After several hours, the painful contractions were still there, but I was being released, without a baby. It’s hard to leave the hospital, overdue without a baby--walking past the empty bassinet. It turned out I caught Kate’s bug and had become dehydrated.

Justin’s colleague brought Kate home and I crawled into bed. My mom arrived and I just lay awake until the contracts stopped at about three in the morning.

Finally Thursday arrived. We walked into the hospital loaded down with a pillow and bags for our three day stay. I was settled into my room and after over an hour and three nurses, including the supervisor my IV lock was in—after all that we didn’t even use the crazy thing. After two doses of Cytotech and eight hours I had only made two centimeters progress (for a total of four). I was disappointed and torn—I was afraid I would get stuck on Petocin again. The nurse and midwife told me that breaking my water at this point would speed things up, so with some trepidation we did. I immediately felt a difference in the contractions. I was allowed out of bed for the first time (the Cytotech protocol required constant monitoring). I told Justin that the labor was worse than it had been with the Petocin—he thought I was crazy. When the nurse came back to check me, I had gained FOUR more centimeters!

They grabbed the delivery cart and the baby nurse ran in. My midwife was delivering in the room next door. The baby nurse got a call on her cell and as she walked out she said they were really busy and that she might get to catch a baby. Lindsey made it in just in time. She told me to push before she was gowned and the nurses were still trying to tie it on when she caught Gabby and we finally found out we had a baby girl. It was really only an hour and a half of real labor after nearly four days with my last delivery.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The story of Gabby (part II)

We were actually able to keep the secret of this baby to ourselves for a little while, unlike with Kate where everyone knew as soon as we did (or even before Justin). We made a great plan. I had a shirt made for Kate that said, “I’m going to be a Big Sister.” We took a picture and planned to email it to Justin’s parents, but they were having trouble with their internet, so Justin told them by phone.

I took Kate up to visit with my parents, and she was dressed in the shirt. It was a fun way to see the reactions as people read it and it sank in. My mom asked, “Really?!?” It was kind of funny—no I just thought I’d put her in that shirt for no real reason. :) That’s how my sister and both of my grandmothers learned the news too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The story of Gabby (part I)

I suspected I was pregnant and told Justin. He dismissed it out of hand. We’d tried for Kate for years, there was no way it would be that easy. Later that day we got word that Justin’s dearest friend from high school’s mother had passed away after a long battle with cancer.

We packed our things and headed off to Indiana. When we were there, a friend announced her pregnancy and something inside me screamed, “Me too!” A few days later, upon arriving home I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.

Kate and I went shopping for baby socks. I put together a cute little box with the test in the middle and a pair of pink socks on one side and the blue on the other. When Justin came home, I gave him the ‘gift.’

He opened it up and looked inside. “What is it?” he asked looking perplexed.

Getting a little nervous that my cute little plan wasn't going to work, “I asked what does it look like?”

“A pregnancy test?” he questioned.

“Yes!”

He was not quite as excited as I had hoped, but to his defense in the past week we found out that his job (and therefore health insurance) would be ending in mid-summer. We would have to figure something out with a baby on the way. That was certain.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Theology from a Three Year Old: He Runs

The theology lessons with a three year old are so interesting. They look at things with innocence and at the same time with an understanding that is beyond that of adults who look at things through the foggy lens of busy-ness.

Last night Justin and Kate were talking about life after death. She’s learning the Apostles’ Creed, so it’s a natural question coming from that. She asked, “When we die, Jesus comes to get us?”

“Yes,” Justin answered.

“Does He come in a car?”

“No, Kate.”

“He runs!”

Yes, Kate, He’ll run to you.

It reminded me of this song--click to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gotcha

Gabby’s started teasing us. She’ll hold up something to give to you. Then when you reach for it she pulls it back. She grins from ear to ear and twists back and forth like she’s saying, “Ha, ha I gotcha!”

She’s also added a couple of new words to her vocabulary: “duck” and “Wha’ dat?” She’ll point and ask that one. She’s growing so quickly. It’s hard to believe that she’ll be one next week!

Friday, September 26, 2008

HaveYour Cake and Eat it Too!




Here's Miss Kate's cake. When I was growing up, my mom always made our cakes, and they were beautiful. I have to admit, this was a bigger project than those cakes my mom made for us, but it was so worth it to see how excited she was when she saw it! Thanks to my mom who taught me how to make cakes--I'm sure my girls will have you to thank for years of yummy, pretty cakes!

Three


I can't believe that she's THREE!

In the past year she's grown and changed so much. She can say her entire alphabet, count to twenty, and recite The LORD's Prayer. She is starting to peddle the trike we got her last year. She is a backseat driver--she knows what the traffic lights mean (I sure didn't at two). She is potty trained (YIPPEE!). She became a big sister and Mama's little helper. She goes from being rough and tumble to a princess in a matter of seconds. She's my girl, and I love her.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The story of Kate (part II)

How fast time has passed. Three years ago today my labor with Kate started. Nope, today’s not her birthday. Tomorrow isn’t either. Okay, so time didn’t pass that quickly then, but it has since!

I was teaching classes when the contractions started. That was pretty standard. They had been a fairly frequent visitor for weeks now, but the difference was that day they didn’t stop after a few hours or a lot of extra water. At the end of the day, after we got the students onto their busses, one of my assistants asked if I had had a lot of contractions that day. I laughed and got the paper from my desk with all the times I’d been jotting down all day—nearly a hundred of them. The poor football player who was our peer tutor nearly passed out. The poor kid was always afraid I was going to have the baby right there and he was going to be called upon to help, no matter how many times we promised he wouldn’t.

The contractions continued into the evening, usually running about five minutes apart. We put the hospital bags put in the hall expecting to get up in the middle of the night. The next morning came, and though I hadn’t slept very much, we were still home and the contractions still didn’t warrant a trip to the hospital. We went to a pancake breakfast as a fundraiser for my school.

Then we went home to start the bathroom vent Justin had planned to put in that weekend. Justin rented an extension ladder, by the time he got home the contractions were closer and harder. I told him to go ahead and start working. It would be hours I was sure. Then he needed my help to steady the ladder. I would wait for a contraction to end and then I would steady the ladder as he climbed up. I’m not quite sure how we managed it, but we got the vent in and he returned the ladder. The contractions spread back out to about seven minutes apart.

We went to eat spicy Mexican food. Surely tonight we thought as we climbed into bed again. Another sleepless night and we were up again. We decided not to go to church for fear my water would break in the middle of the service. We went for a long walk. The contractions grew harder and faster, but again they slowed when we got home.

Finally that evening, the contractions stayed close together even as I rested. They were also stronger than they had been during rest before. We finally made the trip to the hospital.

My labor was long and petocin augmented, but finally ended with a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I decided my labor must have been especially difficult when the nurses, who weren’t mine, came to congratulate me on making it without an epidural. Kate was “sunny side up,” which is what caused all the delay, but she was worth waiting for.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The story of Kate (part I)

About four years ago Justin and I started the adoption process. We filed the paperwork with our agency and began to complete the steps to bring a child into the U.S. from Guatemala. It required passports and paperwork with the government.

In January were set to have our home study, but then it began to snow. The social worker called and asked to postpone it. I was so sad. I wanted to hold a baby in my arms and this was still another set back to that. We rescheduled for a week later, hoping for better weather.

The following Tuesday morning, I’m not even sure why I did it, I took a pregnancy test. For the first time, it was positive. I was so excited, my head was spinning. I rushed to get myself ready for work, so I could wake Justin and tell him our news. Then he wouldn’t wake up. He didn’t budge. It was getting late and I had to get to school.

I was standing in the copy room, when Justin’s best friend Joel came through. He asked how the adoption was going. I can NOT tell a lie to save my life, so I looked around and saw we were alone and spilled the beans, and the fact that Justin had no idea! I told my dear friend Margie that day too. How I kept it from everyone else that day I’m not quite sure, but I did.

Justin got home that evening and was heading upstairs to work on the remodeling we were doing. I kept trying to get him to sit down in the kitchen to talk, but he insisted he had to get a few things finished before the home study. Finally, he sat down. I gave him the news. He was completely shocked. We called our parents to share the news with them.

The next morning I sat the girls in my room down and asked if we could switch our coffee to de-caf. One of them asked why and I said because all the caffeine isn’t go for the baby. The screams of joy and excitement were heard down the hall, though no one knew what they were about, at least not yet.

Kate came as a surprise, a shock, and a joy all at once…and that was before we even met her. It has not changed since!



Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kate-isms

Recent conversations with Kate...

While Kate was playing horsey with her Daddy, who fell over:

Who’d you call, Kate?


I had to call someone to help the horsey.

Oh, the vet?

No the horsey!

I know, the vet.

No the horsey!!!

* * * * * * * *

Daddy told me what to do.

He did?

Yeah, that’s dangerous.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Favorite Stage



People ask me what age I think that my girls are the most fun. I always struggle with that. From the time Kate was a three months old and I went to work for awhile people were asking that and, “What she was doing now?” The lady that was in charge of the day care she was in, down the hall from my classroom (awesome arrangement by the way), said she really liked the way I handled each phase of development. I didn’t push her forward and I didn’t hold her back. I guess that’s because for the most part my favorite stage is now. That’s where I can enjoy it, why wish for what was or dream about a tomorrow that my kiddos may not be able to live up to or that could be more wonderful than I can imagine?

Sure Kate didn’t walk until she was nearly a year and a half old, but before that she was saying fifty words. That was her and I wasn’t worried. Gabby doesn’t talk as much, though who could with Kate around, but she may walk a little sooner (or later). I try to take each day as it comes and be thankful for these beautiful, wonderful girls that God has placed in my care.

Besides, right now gives me these pictures!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Disconnected

It's amazing how much my life has come to revolve around this little contraption. Last weekend Justin installed a new update on our computer, when we didn't like it he tried to do system restore. Evidently that's a big no-no when you've done an update. Our poor computer can't even load Windows. Oops.

Luckily there is a service at the university that will fix it for free. The only problem is we thought it would be a day or two, but now I've been out of a computer for several days and we got a promise of next Tuesday. I think I probably could have fixed the problem by then, but alas, it's out of my hands (literally) now.

I can't tell you how many times a day I start to head over to the desk to check my email, the weather, or just to use it as a reference for something. Thankfully Justin has this laptop for school and I can use it in the evenings. For that I am very thankful.

Until then I'll have to grab my computer time when I can, and be grateful for that.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

When I grow up...

Kate has decided what she wants to be when she grows up. I have a feeling that she won’t actually do it. I know that she can do what ever she puts her mind to, and all those wonderful platitudes. It’s not that I won’t gladly support her, even in this endeavor. But it’s not like she wants to be a doctor, lawyer, or even an astronaut.


I want to be a trash collector.


Why does she want to do this?


So I can get lots of stuff.


It’s trash.


Lots of trash!


No offense to any sanitation workers, but this kiddo freaks out if her hands are dirty in the middle of eating a sticky bun. I just don’t see it happening. I suppose we’ll see in a few years though. Maybe she’ll stick to this career choice, after all one man’s trash may be Katie-Kay’s treasure.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Don't Underestimate...

Justin and I had long struggled about what to do for Kate’s window. We put up blinds almost immediately after arriving here. I had spent quite a bit of time trimming them to fit exactly and working to be sure the cord would be out of reach to keep her out of danger. To our dismay, Kate bent some of the slats the very first day. There’s been a valance up for months, but no real covering.

Finally I figured it out, the perfect plan. I made a curtain. It was essentially a flat panel with yellow on the inside and a white canvas on the outside. Then I sewed ribbons that could be used to tie it up, using Velcro tabs. I but pretty little bows on the ends. I didn’t hang it on a curtain rod—not with my little girl. We staple gunned that sucker to a board and screwed it into the window frame. Justin said he can hang from this. Finally, a Kate proof covering.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I went into Kate’s room to get up from her afternoon nap. She shredded one of the little bows. One of the bows that I attached to the curtain with the sewing machine. That is stapled to a board. And screwed into the wall. As in, it’s almost impossible to repair. I asked Kate why. Do you know what her answer was? “It’s because I’m two.”

She isn’t kidding. If you’ve never had a two year old you should borrow one for an afternoon. You’ll be amazed how they can entertain themselves. The more boring you consider your house the better. They will find all sorts of things to entertain you…just don’t leave the child alone with you child proof curtain. Never underestimate the power of a two year old.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Perseverance

My husband has taught me a lesson in perseverance. He’s been working on his PhD for seven years now. That’s well over half our marriage; it’s even more than half the time I’ve known him. I’ve asked him why he kept going when his advisor was so difficult. He had earned his Master’s degree, why not take it and move on. I wondered when we moved to Alabama and he kept working nights and even driving the seven hours back to Cincinnati some weekends, why he didn’t give it up. In the middle of our messy move, he went to stay in Ohio so he could drive two hours each way to Cincinnati every week day for a month to squeeze in some more research. Then we moved to Kansas, eleven hours from Cincinnati, and he still didn’t throw in the towel. He spends hours pouring over his research notebooks and plotting data on the computer. Today he got the first part of the pay off—his advisor emailed him. Publish the dissertation. He has to finish writing it up, defend, and he’s done. All the work will have ended in his PhD—he’s going to have his dream come true.

* * * *

In celebration of this we went to Steak ‘N Shake. What can I say, we’re poor and we had coupons. ; ) We head up the Interstate (the fast route) and promptly stopped. We were at a near stand still for 45 minutes. Evidently in an effort to improve the interstate they decided to close two of the three lanes on a busy stretch of road. Poor Gabby was starting to get a little fussy. Then I hear Kate say, “Boo!”

Giggle. Fuss.

“Boo!”

Giggle. Fuss.

“Boo! She likes when I do ‘dat.”

Kate took care of the baby and kept her entertained until we got there. Justin's perfect day was preserved, or should I say it persevered?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Level Jesus?

I’ve got the level Jesus, level Jesus, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay!

While it might be good that Jesus isn’t tipping over I think my two year old has misunderstood “love of Jesus.”

Saturday, August 9, 2008

According to Kate...

Kate has gotten into telling stories—most of them fictitious. One of her favorites is to say that she had a cappuccino last night. Evidently, the divisional secretary that Justin works with sneaks into her room at night and gives it to her, because on further questioning it’s always Theaddea who gives it to her. Here’s what we heard over dinner tonight.

I cooked myself in a pan last night. Then I stepped into the oven. Then Daddy told me to get out of Mama’s kitchen, so I did.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

George is Back and Other Fun

My parents came to visit for a few days. We had a nice time. They enjoyed Kate’s ever growing conversation skills and antics and the baby’s happy quiet nature. Kate is very interested in how everyone is connected; like that her Aunt Holly is my sister. She’s also very interested in people’s names versus what she calls them. Last night she asked what PawPaw’s name is and we told her that his name is George. She laughed and said, “No that’s Gabby!” (See here if you haven’t enjoyed that story.) That sent us all back to the restaurant and the very amused waitress.

There was also the other night over dinner as she was asking about daddies. We told her that PawPaw was my daddy. Then I said her daddy was my husband. “He’s my husband too,” she said matter of factly.

“No, sweetheart, he’s my husband.”

“We share.”

Oh my!

She’s also decided that she is prettiful. She uses it as an adjective, like beautiful or pretty. Maybe it’s somewhere in between? I don’t know.

As for Gabby, she played quietly, slept little, and pulled up for the first time. Of course none of us saw her pull up. She stood up in her crib one of those times she was supposed to be taking a much needed nap. Gabby is enjoying the new world of table food too. After our visit last week she’s had all sorts of new things. My parents were enjoying that too, including her decision that egg is not for her. Stick it in, spit it out. Stick it in, spit it out.

We enjoy having company out here on the plains. It was nice to have people visit, especially those kinds of people who hook you up to a wireless router, go grocery shopping with you, and enjoy your kids as much as you do, even when your eldest daughter decides she can’t go to sleep because (and I quote), “My foot can’t wanna go to sleep.”

Though I must admit, I think it may have gotten to them, check out these pictures… she's a princess, he's eating the baby and torturing the oldest--look at the fear on her face! : )

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nine Months

It’s hard to believe how quickly time passes and how quickly our children grow. It seems like yesterday that Kate was a teeny-tiny bundle in my arms. Now her baby sister is busy chasing her all over the house. God has richly blessed our family with two beautiful, healthy girls. They are such joys—and teach us such patience! It’s truly amazing

The little one had her nine month well visit today. She’s grown three inches in the past few months! Good gracious. I knew she had gotten longer and thinner, but I wouldn’t have guessed a whole three inches. She’s gained a little less than a pound, so she’s really changed how she looks.

She’s crawling, saying a few things (mama, dada, sis, buh-buh), getting up on her knees, learning to use a sippy cup and having an over all great time. She’s a fun little gal, pretty content and adores her big sister.

With our visit we also learned that they have totally re-written the guidelines for what little ones can eat. Everything is up for grabs except honey (due to botulism) and anything that she can choke on. I guess we have some new foods to try!

Love you Gabriella!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A peaceful Sunday Afternoon, Or Not

Two thirty. So, it’s Sunday afternoon. Kate gets up from her nap—Gabby has yet to have one. We make a mad dash to the store. I hate to go to the store and the weekend and try not to patronize businesses on Sunday as much as possible, but I goofed. I was sure I had ground beef in the freezer, but I couldn’t find it. This would normally just mean a change of menu, but we had invited guests for dinner.

Three forty. We make it through my grocery list—no need to come back tomorrow, right. We get through the checkout. By this time, I’m holding the baby who is tired of sitting. She likes to fall over and be held like a battering ram—I don’t know why, but it makes completing a transaction and pushing a cart of groceries (and Kate) rather difficult. As we walk out the door it hits me—I forgot the beef. It wasn’t on my original list. I sigh, look at the cart full of groceries and my girls. There’s no way. Besides there has to be beef in that freezer, right?

Three fifty. So we get home. I put the baby to bed. Run out and get the perishables, the rest can wait. Dig through the freezer one more time. There it is. Ugh, I wasted over an hour, but at least I can make dinner. I put the beef in the microwave to thaw and start cooking. Justin calls to say that his new colleague’s power is off. They’ve been unpacking as I’ve been preparing dinner. He’s on his way. I pop the lasagna in. We should be good to go. The power flashes. Ah, I thought the power company must have turned on the power for our friends.

Four forty-five. Justin runs upstairs to get the baby because he woke her up when he got home. He says it’s hot. He always thinks it’s hot. It is a bit warm. He pops his head out the back door the air conditioner isn’t running. The blower is though. I check on our lasagna. It’s not bubbling yet, soon I thought. Justin calls the home warranty company to request service for the air conditioner. The lasagna is still not bubbling. Something is wrong. He cancels the service call. I call the power company. Two to four hours their message predicted—if only.

Five fifteen. We call our dinner guests. We decide to go out to dinner.

Six thirty. We get home just before the electrician. He was a nice fellow. He chatted with us as he checked the lines. 110 on the left 110 on the right. He jokes, “I didn’t go to MIT, but 110 and 110 should equal 220.” Yep. He says he’s never seen anything like it—that’s never good. They teach you that in home ownership 101, by the way.

He says something about the lines melting together. Melting doesn’t sound to good either. He makes a call. Hooks our meter back up (which isn’t spinning by the way), so we have lights. He leaves us to take another call. No offers from the company to allow us to take our two small children to someplace cooler, nothing. Just an, “I have another call, we’ll be back in a couple of hours.”

Seven forty-five. Inside, it’s 82 degrees downstairs and 87 upstairs; I put the girls to bed. Gabby drifts off. Kate plays quietly and asks for three cups of water.

Eight thirty. Eventually we let Kate come down. The baby is sleeping peacefully in her diaper. Kate breaks beans with me. I hear a truck out front. They are back—it’s after nine. Justin asks for a heads up before they pull our power.

Ten-twenty. It’s still 87 degrees upstairs, but I really want Kate in bed before the power goes off, so we read a book, sing a song, and off to bed she goes.

Ten-forty. They are taking us off line. We grab a flashlight and head upstairs. We may as well get ready for bed. Pretty soon we should be cooling down.

Eleven. Our power is back on. The air runs all night recovering from the past seven hours of heat building up.

Three (AM). The baby wakes up. She finally got cold enough to need her pajamas.

Seven. Kate was up before her alarm too because she wet the bed—imagine that after three cups of water. But it’s cool in our house and our oven works!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

As a parent there is a fine line we walk. We have to demand our children’s obedience without becoming impatient. There can’t be a lacksidaisical approach, at least if you have a two year old like mine who pushes every limit.

Our minister offered a lesson in patience this past Sunday and I’ve been trying to examine my discipline through the lens of that sermon. There are some gray areas. There are times that I must demand her immediate obedience. These are times that it’s hard to determine, even in my own mind if I am being impatient or expecting what is necessary—to keep her safe, the baby’s needs met, etc. There are times I meet her opposition with love and grace. Times that I am completely in control, even when she is out of it. There are other times that I must admit I am impatient. I know I need to discipline her to do as she is told, but that should be done in a sense of love and duty, not frustration. That can be difficult with a hard headed two year old.

He offered that we should each put ourselves in a position to have our patience tested—anyone need some practice? I’ll lend you my two year old for a couple of hours. Just kidding.

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace;
he will bring delight to your soul.-Proverbs 29:17

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. –Hebrews 12:11

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Colossians 3:12

Hostage Crisis

So the other day I went to pick up Kate from the child care center at the gym. Someone else opened the door and the little booger took off. She ran the whole length of the gym and back, darting between the equipment every time I got close. People watched and laughed, but no one tried to help. I finally caught her, held her hand firmly and escorted her to the car. There I had a firm talking to. I refused to talk to her the whole way home—a punishment worse than death. Then I took a hostage. Henry, the female lamb, went up on the top shelf. Then I told her next time she could get him back if she stayed with me. She got him back yesterday. Today we have to go to the bank—Henry is up for grabs again. ; )

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Life without Advil

After months and months with pain, I am finally living without Advil. It’s a cause for celebration. Since Gabby’s nursing I could never take anything stronger, even when the pain was at its worst.

I had tried all the stretches that the physical therapist and later the chiropractor gave me. I even tried some online resources, but every time I did those things I felt that my mobility was actually lessened by the pain it caused. I quit them for a few days and noticed a bit of improvement. Then I started dealing with things in my own way. Walking. I didn’t have the ability to stand for more than a couple of minutes and walk for just a couple minutes longer than that, so I started walking for four. Yesterday I walked for an hour on the elliptical at an incline and with the resistance turned up.

I’m not completely pain free, I’ll admit, but I have my life back. The pain is very minimal and I can chalk it up to getting a little older. I can go to the store and wait in a long line without tears springing to my eyes. I can play with my children. I can push them on the swing set. I could walk for hours.

I watched my grandmother loose much of her independence and mobility to sciatica. I was so afraid that I would be in the same place she was, with two little girls who needed and wanted me to be able to move. I am grateful that God has seen fit to heal me.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Independance Day

I took a little time to think about the holiday yesterday. Most of our past 4ths have been spent celebrating with friends, food and fireworks in Evansville. There were 8 years of that for me. Even after Justin’s parents moved away we were able to meet up with friends there for a few years. We enjoyed that, but time has come for a break from that, at least for awhile. Last year we were in the middle of ‘the big move’ and didn’t make any plans, which was to our advantage, since we held my grandmother’s funeral that day. This year I took some time to read The Declaration of Independence. It had been quite awhile since I read through the whole thing—if it’s been awhile for you, you might ought to take a look (here) too. We are truly blessed to be free. It was to be a quiet evening at home.

Well, that was the plan. Just as the potatoes were wrapped to put on the grill we got a call that the new professor needed help unloading. It wasn’t what I had in mind, but we packed up the girls and headed over there. We both helped for awhile and when the girls got tired of waiting patiently I stood with them and waited. We did a Gatorade run for everyone too. Justin invited them out to dinner, unfortunately we didn’t have enough food planned for them too. We were late getting home and collapsed into bed last night.

I hope you had a good Fourth and you had a little time to be thankful for what was done for you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kate-isms


Kate loves food, so of course some of her funniest Kate-isms come from food…

This tastes like candy! (While eating watermelon)

I want a cheeseburger for lunch. What do you think about that?

I’m eating Sponge Bob’s house! (While eating pineapple—for all you non-Sponge Bob lovers “…he lives in a pineapple under the sea. Sponge Bob Square Pants!”)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Visiting

We’re planning a short trip to Missouri to visit with some friends. What a blessing to get to see friends, when we’re out here all by our lonesomes (I know it’s not a word.). They are so much fun. They are truly godly people, who have a marriage that really is a blessing to observe. They have two little girls too. It will be fun, since the last time we were together we were expecting our ‘second round’ of babies. Now those kiddos can play together.

Justin met Mike when they were in school together. Some how more than thirteen years later these guys can meet up once a year or so and pick up where they left off. I’m not sure how they do it—there’s a whole group of these guys. They have all been married, some of us have children (six girls, not a blessed boy in the bunch), but we all still keep in contact. We’ve moved several times and we always manage to work it out to see at least some of these guys once a year.

I graduated a couple of years after Justin and I have only managed to keep in touch with one of those girls, and we have only seen each other a few times since I got married. I wonder what the difference is. Really it doesn’t make sense. I’m often the one that talks to or emails the wives. I wonder why it didn’t work out that way with me and my high school girl friends. I just some how left that part of my life behind and I didn’t even mean to.

Well, thanks for letting me join your group guys! I love you all. And I can't wait to visit with you all soon.

Pic


Here's my favorite picture I've taken of the girls lately.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Motherhood

There are no words adequate to describe being a mother. You can go from pure joy, to amusement, to embarrassment, and even anger in milliseconds. My children bring me such joy and such trials all at the same time, and often they are all mixed up in each other.

There is the snuggliness (I know it's not a word) of picking up a warm baby after a nap. There is the excitement of each new first, tinged with the realization your baby is quickly growing up. While you are happy that all is well with your little one, you sometimes want to hold them there, just for a little while longer. There’s the anger when they blatantly ignore you. The embarrassment when they declare to the world, what is altogether obvious, but social moirés demand we ignore. There is the total panic when, even if just for a second, you think they are lost or hurt. Then there’s the contentment in holding them safely in your arms.

I am grateful for my little blessings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Heaven Help Me, I Laughed

We frequently talk to Kate about God and we pray before meals and at bed time. She asks lots of interesting questions, like “Does Jesus have a house? What is God’s name? And what does the “Holly” ghost look like?”

Last night really got Justin though. They were getting ready to say her prayers when she declared she wanted to pray to Koko—the signing gorilla we have a book about. He tried to distract her, but it didn’t work. She started praying, “Our Koko who art in heaven, hallowed be Koko’s name, Koko’s kingdom come…” At that point he couldn’t get her to stop and left. I think it’s pretty impressive that she can recite the Lord’s Prayer, but that she could make the appropriate substitution amused me. She’s only two and doesn’t have a clue that what she did was sacrilegious. It does show that we still have our work cut out for us, as we teach her to be a woman of God.

And don’t worry she was back talking to God today. She even made her Veggie Tales toys say grace before they “ate.” I wonder what they eat—other than chocolate bunnies of course (see Rack, Shack and Benny).

What Kate's Been Saying Lately

I’ve been amused at some of the more grown-up comments that are coming from our little girl’s mouth. They are perfectly common phrases, but they are either stumbled upon by accident or things she’s picked up that are really funny coming out of such a tiny girl.

I’m thinking…(fill in the blank).

You frustrate me.

Actually…

I can’t calculate yet. (It fit perfectly into the context too.)

I’m a people person. (This came during a discussion that she was actually just a person, not ‘a people’—so funny and so true.)

My goodness gracious! (I’m guilty of teaching her that one.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To Induce Vomiting...

WARNING: a tad gross

Did you know that eating straight salt and pepper induces vomiting? Of course you don’t. Who would ever even think about such an odd thing?

This morning I was playing with my really neat new camera that my mom sent me. Gabby was down for a nap and Kate was playing quietly at her play table. I looked over to check on her and she looked really ill. At first I thought she was choking. Her color was off, but she wasn’t turning blue. She came to me and then puked into my hands. I carried all the barf that I could hold and walked her to the bathroom.

So after getting her cleaned up a bit and the vomiting subsided I asked her the obvious question, “What did you do?”

“Salt,” she answers.

“No, Kate did you eat something.”

She looked confused and said, “Salt,” again.

I shook my head and went on, she obviously didn’t know what caused this. Then I walked to the living room and found that she had indeed taken the salt and pepper shakers from the kitchen table and poured more than a healthy dose onto some of her play food. She had actually eaten straight salt.

Only a two year old, only my two year old.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Property Rights

"It's mine, that's mine, every thing's mine!" -Kate

Happy Anniversary


Justin and I have been married nine years today. It doesn’t seem like it’s been nine years since the dress, the candles, the music, and the cake. Sunrise, Sunset, The Wedding Song, Cannon in D, One Hand, One Heart, the Bridal March. All the careful planning, it was a short but beautiful wedding with a small reception at the church. My mom made all the food, which I somehow forgot to eat while we were busy visiting.

Last night we were talking about how we spent the night before our wedding. He was hanging out with the guys at our apartment. They watched Veggie Tales and Life of Brian—they didn’t even finish the six-pack some one brought. Wild night! My night was so much more exciting. I dipped strawberries in chocolate with my friend Heather and my mom. Then we sat and visited with my sister, a couple of cousins, and another friend. I guess we’ve never been the wild party, staying out all night type.

Our celebration this year looks to be similar to that night in several ways, quiet and unpretentious. We’ll have grilled pork steaks and go to our small group meeting with people from church. No crazy night out or grand gestures. It’s just enough to know that we’re with each other.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Growing Up

Good gracious Gabriella. This has been a week of firsts. You really took off crawling on Sunday afternoon. You still sometimes do some scooting, but you can really get around. Sunday night we, you and I, slept through the night for the first time. I think it’s been a year since I stayed in bed for a whole night. Must have been the crawling wearing you out, huh? Then you pushed yourself up to sitting on Tuesday. I went in to get you up from you nap. I thought maybe it was a bit of a fluke, since you were in the crib, maybe you pulled yourself to sitting, but you did it again that afternoon. I’m proud of your growing, just promise you won’t walk on Friday, okay?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Two's

They don’t call it the terrible twos for nothin’. Little Miss Kate gave me a run for my money yesterday. First it was a potty accident. Those used to just be a bit annoying, but now they are truly maddening, since she used the potty flawlessly while we were away for two entire weeks. This was quickly followed by her telling me to be quiet when I scolded her, which of course went over well… She lost her beloved Sesame Street, which of course means I lost my beloved hour. We both survived though. She picked and fussed until nap time. Ah, what a wonderful time of day that can be when we’re having a rough spot. It’s a break for both of us and a new start.

The afternoon was marginally better. She dumped the bin of toys I gave her sister, stole Gabby’s plastic keys, and refused to pick up her puzzle that she dumped while I was trying to quiet Gabby down. She wet her diaper—twice. I took away two toys. This is war. As I always told my students, you can be stubborn, but I’m better at it and I will win. I even left her with Justin when I went to the grocery. The girl loves to shop.

She finally fell asleep after my bed time last night. She kept crying for the Welcome Inn—the place we stayed when we were visiting Justin’s parents. At first we thought she was missing her Nan and Pop or the constant on the go life style, but we finally found out that she liked that the room had two twin beds (one for her and one for Gabby, when she gets bigger) and that her mattress was put on the floor because we didn’t have a bed rail for her. There was nothing we could dothere's not enough room here to put her mattress beside the bed and even if there were it was just silly. We hugged, kissed, and comforted to no avail. So we gave up and eventually so did she.

It was a long day.

I suppose I did it to myself. I named her after my most stubborn student and what did I get? I just hope that this tenacity will serve her well as she grows older. She can use it to hold on tightly to those things she values and those she loves.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Old Friends

Okay, so I’m sure I’m not alone in loosing track of people over the years, but it’s really been on my mind lately. I’m not sure if it was looking through all the old pictures for the slide show I’m making for my Grannie or visiting with Justin’s old high school buddies, but I’ve been wondering about getting in touch with some old friends.

I’ve kept track of a few close friends, but for the most part those people I spent my high school and college years with have faded from my life. I find myself wondering about them from time to time. I’ve even tried ‘Googling’ some of them. I missed my ten year reunion because it was held the weekend that Gabby was due, so that added to my disappointment. I had so looked forward to meeting up with everyone and reconnecting, even if it was just for a little while.

It all came crashing in today though. When I was in middle school the high schoolers boarded the bus first, and we had to find seats where ever they were available. I was shy, timid, and quiet, so having to search for a seat was torture. I often got stuck in the back with some rowdy boys who thought that it was fun to speak lewdly and make general nuisances of themselves. One day a guy who sat up front offered me the seat next to him. He was courteous, kind, and four years my senior. We became friends and talked about everything—his girlfriends, grades, politics, families, religion.

I’ll never forget the day he showed up at my door step though. I had accidentally left my report card on the bus and he ran it over to me. My mother was worried that any young man that was willing to do that would be interested in more than friendship. In all honesty a year later he asked what my parents would say if I were asked to prom. I knew they would say no, so he didn’t ask me formally. We kept in touch after he graduated from high school and joined the service. He came by to visit and talked with my family. He even called me and told me that he had met the girl he was going to marry. It was bitter sweet. I was so great to know he was happy, that he cared enough to tell me, but then again I had thought perhaps when I was grown our friendship might be able to blossom. That was the last time we spoke. I tried to find him two years later when I was engaged, but couldn’t find him. Over the years I’ve tried a few times, but not had any luck. It can be quite hard to track down someone who has a common name and serves in the military, thus moving frequently. Today I found out where he was. His obit was in the local paper where we grew up. So in memory of my friend Ron, I think I’ll send out a few extra emails and try to stay in touch.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Home Again






Vacation. Justin and I used to be able to pack up on a whim and run off to visit some friends or go camping. Now that we have two beautiful little girls it’s a bit more challenging. We took our longest trip ever and had the two little people with us. Two weeks away from home. We planned, schemed, and made lists. All in all, I don’t think I forgot anything of any importance, a pretty grand accomplishment.

Two weeks ago we left in the wee morning hours to drive to Kentucky to visit my parents. The girls did great on the drive over. It’s about eleven hours over, including all the stops for the bathroom and eating. The time there is spent mostly hanging around the house and scanning an obscene number of pictures of my dad’s side of the family. I’m getting pictures together for a reunion for the fall and I literally spent hours scanning in old snap shots. I spent a quiet evening with my dad’s mom going through all of her photo albums. It was nice to have a visit with her, just the two of us, even if I did have to sneak out of the house after the girls went to bed.

My little sister was able two be with us three of the evenings. Our last night there was so fun though. Kate talked Aunt Holly into playing hide-and-go-seek. It was Kate’s first attempt at the game. As most two year olds are, she was horrible at it. We all laughed so hard. First we’d hide—she’s okay with seeking, but it was even better when we had her hide.

“Is she out on the porch?” Justin asked in mock shouting as he searched.

“No!” called a little voice, “I’m in the kitchen. Under the table.”

Then we traveled to Ohio to see Justin’s parents. We had planned to stop just outside of Cincinnati to see an old friend of mine, but her step daughter had gone into labor causing a change of plans. We still ate in our old town at Justin’s favorite chili restaurant. Kate thought it was odd, but she eventually ate some of her chili cheese sandwich.

We spent our time in Ohio going from one activity to another. There were parks to visit, pools to swim in, and paths to walk. We were able to visit with Justin’s grandmother while we were there too. With our family of four we couldn’t comfortably stay with his parents at night, so we had a little house in the village where they live that we stayed in. It was really nice. I enjoyed having a place where we could retire at night and put the girls down.

On our way back we were able to see my friend Miss Margie and have breakfast with her. It was so good to see her. We weren’t able to visit long, but it was wonderful to spend some time with her. Margie and I had worked together for several years and we always had a great time. She’s a wonderful lady. We chatted about the school where we used to work and her new grandbaby.

We drove on to Evansville to visit with some of Justin’s high school buddies. One of them has two little girls that are each a year older than Kate and Gabby. The girls got to play for awhile, before we headed off to dinner with Ryan and the littlest one. Then we met up with another fella and his fiancé for ice cream. Miss Emily was a big hit with Kate. Kate demanded to sit with Emily and hold her hand as we walked back to the car. We’re so happy that our friends are doing well and are happy. It had been a long time since we had been with everyone. We got back to our hotel and put the girls down at about ten-thirty that evening. We would have loved to have spent more time visiting, but after two weeks we were anxious to get home. We had a long day, but finally made it home at about five-thirty yesterday evening.

Then came the crazy part of being away… When we pulled up, our driveway has been cordoned off. The city tore it up to replace a water line a few weeks ago and they had newly cemented it. We couldn’t pull in to unload and Justin’s car was stuck on the driveway. We get inside and the clocks are flashing. We wonder if everything in our fridge and freezer need to be tossed. I opened our mail and found a notice that we owe over $700 in taxes to the state of Kansas. Next as I’m carrying things upstairs and find that the shelf that holds my jewelry box and some books fell off the wall and dumped it’s contents all over the floor. Great. Well, my dad says that we can drive over the concrete, just not park on it tomorrow. We talked to the neighbor and found out that the power was out for just a couple of minutes. The state of Kansas, who has already deposited our check, must not have correctly credited the check I sent—because that’s the amount we already paid. The only one of our little disasters that didn’t work out as soon as we discovered it is the shelf. I’ve cleaned it all up. Now to find the other half of the three sets of ear rings that seem to have disappeared and our return home will have been a success.

********

Some of my favorite quotes from Kate while we were gone…

Justin was trying to get Kate to let him give her a bath (she always wants my mom to do it). “Maybe she needs a break,” Justin quipped.

Our little fireball squared her shoulders and looked him in the eye before she said, “You need a break.”

Gam gave the bath.

***

“Kate, are you holding Gabby’s hand?”

“No, Gabby’s holding my hand. She keeps it safe, like a band-aid.”

***
As we were preparing to go out, Nan wasn’t moving fast enough to suit Kate, so she went and got her sandals for her. As she handed her one, Nan asked, “Is this a hint?”

Kate didn’t miss a beat. She handed her the other sandal and said, “Here’s another one.”