Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Wednesday, April 1 was our official "MOVING DAY." Lesson to all of you: never plan a big event, such as a move, on April Fool's Day. Not a great idea. We were definitely the victims of some ridiculous cosmic april fool's gag ... read on ...
Our trouble actually started a little bit last Friday, when Wes was loading up our (first) Penske to make the trip with all the stuff. He was moving a metal filing cabinet and almost sliced off the tip of his pinky on a jagged part. I never knew so much blood could come out of a pinky finger. Wes went into shock. He was feeling ill, curled up in the bathroom in the fetal position. He really did turn green. It was bad. I called our friend Spencer, who is an ER resident who happened to be off work at the time (thank goodness!) and he came over, numbed Wes's finger and stitched it up. Three stitches in the pinky. Poor guy. Anyway, after the stitches, that trip went okay.
On Wednesday (Moving day ... April Fool's!) we started packing up early in the morning, hoping to get on the road in the early afternoon. We got on the road a lot later than expected, of course, like always. Wes had the remaining junk from our house loaded up on his truck and on a trailer that he bought on craigslist for $300 (Dixieland Special ... GRRR...) We pulled out of the driveway around 7:00 pm; Wes had to run to the church to do one quick thing; we picked up dinner in the Chick-fil-A drive thru, and we were fed and on the road around 9. Smooth going at first: Wes, Lillie and Harlan were in his truck, pulling the crappy trailer, and Sophie and I were in the car, which was also packed full of stuff (bedding and such), following behind.
The next sign of trouble came around 10:15, when I watched in horror as one of the junky old tires on the junky old trailer blew apart and shredded to junky bits in front of me. Luckily, we had borrowed CB radios from our friends (same guy who stitched up Wes ... they are great!) and I started screaming into the radio for Wes to pull over. We also felt very lucky that the blowout didn't cause the trailer to swerve more than it did, which would have caused the crappy trailer ... and the truck ... to flip over.
Wes pulled over and told me not to worry, that the tires were the same size as the ones on his truck, and he would have it changed in a jiffy. He was actually surprisingly cheerful. But after an hour, he had the spare off his truck, but the wheel on the crappy trailer was rusted on and he couldn't get it off. He had to find his hammer in our Clampett-style mound of junk on the back of the trailer and use it to pry the wheel off. Then he realized that his spare wouldn't fit; the holes were in the wrong places. I emptied the back of my car so he could get to my spare, hoping it would work. It would not. We called AAA, which would only tow us (not possible) or change our tire for us, had we had one. At that point it was after midnight. Something had to be done. Wes's mom booked us a Penske for the next morning so we could just do the 'safer' thing and leave Wes's truck in Jackson (to pick up at graduation time) and put only a few things on the crappy trailer to pull behind the Penske. I voted to dump the crappy trailer, but Wes wouldn't do it. We took enough stuff out of the car so that Lillie and Harlan could get in there with me, and we piled said stuff on the side of Hwy. 55 next to the truck, with a tarp over it. Wes spent the night in his truck near mile 173 on I-55, and the kiddos and I drove the 72 miles back to our empty house to sleep on the floor. The kiddos and I got home at 2:30 am.
I woke up at 6:30 Thursday and called our friends Jason and Christy, who were nice enough to alter their plans (and Spencer and Sonia were nice enough to also alter Spencer's birthday plans) to make it possible for Jason to help us out. He went all over the place searching for a new rim for this crappy old trailer that I just wanted to ditch anyway, but Wes wouldn't agree. Finally, Wes remembered that the guy he got the crappy trailer from had an extra wheel, which he gave us for free. While Jason had been running all over Jackson, MS and calling every dump and salvage yard looking for a wheel (yes it was that old and crappy), my best friend's husband Tim was helping me get our remaining junk together at the house. Around 11, we went to pick up the Penske, and Tim drove it back to our house. There was no way I was getting behind the wheel of that thing. (Phobia of big trucks, you know.)
So, here's the scenario: We are sitting in my driveway, Jason and two missionaries from our church in the Penske, the kiddos and me in the car. We are loaded up and ready to go. There's a storm coming our way in less than an hour with predicted tornado watch and golf ball-sized hail. Wes is sitting on the side of I-55 with some of our stuff piled up on the grass next to his truck. Then it starts raining huge drops. I have to go save Wes! And we CAN'T LEAVE until the cop finishes his report!
We finally got to leave, and we drove to Wes. He had been sitting on the side of the highway for 15 hours by then. We loaded the junk from the truck (and most of the junk from the trailer) into the Penske, hitched the trailer to the Penske, said goodbye to Jason and the missionaries, and were on our way around 2 or so. We were exhausted, though, and falling asleep. Not safe. We decided to stop at our friends' house in Oxford (Sherry and Les Driggers), where we were sure they would let us take a nap and help with the kiddos. We walked in the door, and the kiddos immediately ran upstairs to play, and I immediately crashed on their couch. Wes went to buy another tire for the crappy trailer so we could hopefully avoid another blowout. (These tires were $100 each, by the way.) The Driggers convinced us during dinner that we should stay the night and sleep in their RV. It was my first night in a bed in more than a week. Very nice. We woke up at 4:30, and after Sherry stuffed us all full of toaster strudel and packed a huge bag of snacks for us, we hit the road. It was about 6. Friday, day three. We had two new tires (and a spare from Les) and we were good-to-go ... we thought ...
A little while after getting out of Oxford, the trailer started bouncing. It was small at first, and we figured Wes was just going too fast. He kept slowing down, and it kept bouncing. Then a trucker got on our CB and advised us to slow down more because the trailer was bouncing all over the place. By then we were going 45 MPH. Wes pulled off at the first exit ramp (Coldwater, MS), got out of the truck, and looked at the trailer. And I saw a look of disbelief come over his face. Why, you ask?? Because the trailer tongue had broken a little bit with each bounce, until it was hanging on by a thread. Literally. On one side it was only connected by about an inch of metal. On the other, maybe 4 inches. I estimate that after 5 more minutes of bouncing (or less), it would have come completely off the truck and smashed the kiddos and me ... and whoever else happened to be driving by ... into a tangled mess of metal. I am serious. THE CRAPPY TRAILER ALMOST KILLED ME.
We were only 175 miles out of Jackson at this point ... a day and a half after we first tried to leave. And it was all because of the crappy trailer. Sherry and Les came to our rescue, yet again, and helped Wes move everything from the trailer into the Penske. That was when Wes conceded to dump the crappy trailer. His mom found the number of a local salvage yard for us, and Wes talked to a guy there who said we could leave it in a nearby parking lot (since we couldn't take it very far without risking injury) and he would pick it up. Wes and Les took the tires off (thanks for the two $100 tires we can't use, we'll take them) and we left it there.
After the crappy trailer was history, it was blue skies and smooth driving. We arrived in Columbia at 7 pm on Friday, a full 48 hours after we had originally anticipated. For pictures of the crappy trailer, etc ... visit here:
Monday, March 30, 2009
... Strength. This is where we had our Sophie, where I cried when life got too hard to bear, where I thought to myself frequently, with a husband in medical school, living on welfare, three tiny kiddos, the hearing loss, and other challenges, "I can't do this anymore. I'm just not strong enough ..." I hyperventilated when Wes informed me at the end of his first year that he would no longer be able to drive Lillie to school for me. I panicked because I was 8 months pregnant, and I couldn't imagine ever being able to get 3 kids ready and out the door by 8:20 a.m. to drop off one of them at school. But I did it! And now I get 3 kids ready, dressed, backpacks and lunches and snacks packed, and out the door by 7:45 to drop them all off at school. This is where I found out that I am stronger than I ever realized I could be.
... Self-discovery. When I was 19 and joined the LDS church, I thought I had to fit into some cookie-cutter mold of what a typical 'molly mormon' was supposed to be like. And I gave up some things that were a vital part of me. When I moved here, I realized that I had a chance to rediscover who I used to be. That I could be outspoken about my political views and my taste in music, and not be ashamed of that. That although 'mom' is my main role at the moment, I could also be other things. After six years of trying to change myself to fit in, I had the chance to try to remember who I was before. And I realized that I could live my values and hold my beliefs ... and still be ME. The question was ... who was that? This is where I have begun trying to figure that out. I'm definitely not exactly the same person I was before, but I am better! And I'm still working on it!
... Confidence. This comes from the first two. I am now happy in my own skin (stretch marks and all). I don't care what others think of me anymore. I go to lunch alone sometimes, or to the cafe for a hot chocolate, or to the movies, and I don't feel awkward about that. I don't feel the need to explain myself as much. Now that I know more about who I am, and I know how strong I can be, you can take me or leave me, but I won't change.
... Our house. Not just the cabinet space, private fenced backyard, corner lot, and other qualities I'm trying to sell to others at the moment. We bought this house and transformed it. We have painted every room. The plumbers had to bust open the slab to replace a huge section of pipe. Wes had to create a backyard out of a neglected, snake-infested garden plot and randomly placed sections of fence. And the memories ... oh, the memories ...
------10-month-old Harlan using a plastic shovel as a spoon to eat mud in the backyard.
------Lillie's mud and sand pies.
------Bringing Sophie home, and how Harlan wouldn't take his hands off her as Wes carried her down the hall to her crib.
------Meetings with Charlotte, the parent/infant coordinator at Magnolia.
------Birthday parties -- and our annual September "Hearing Parties" in the backyard.
------Lillie's "Art Festival" birthday party in the art room.
------The windows with the diamond-shapes on them. (I don't know how to describe this.)
------Wes's quest to find the perfect TV, and bringing home progressively bigger ones until he settled on the 55" (despite my better judgment).
------The Tree Swings!!! The delight of my kiddos, neighborhood kiddos, and missionaries alike!
------The mailbox outside the front door, and getting to know Mr. Don (our regular mailman) and Mr. Mailman-Tim, the substitute mailman for Don's off days. It is rare to have walking mail people anymore.
------The water slide, may it rest in peace.
------Hanging the wet clothes out on the clothesline to dry after Hurricane Katrina.
------Watching huge oak trees bend and sway during Katrina.
------My grandparents coming to visit, and living close enough to go visit them.
------Neighbors. Kim, Sherry and Jules ... Patrick and Elizabeth ... Terry and Jeremy ... Mr. and Mrs. Smith and her thousands of porcelain dolls ... and the other amazing neighbors we didn't get to know as well but whose dogs we love to pet when they walk around the block ... Linda ... Mr. Steve ... Tony and Sam ... Susan and John ...
------When we bought this house, the 93-year-old man who had lived here since 1961 (it was one year old when he moved in) told us, "Be good to the house, because it's been good to me." I think I need to pass on the same advice to the person, whoever that may be, who buys it from me. It's a great house.
It's long, but I said it was a suitcase ... maybe more like a moving truck of memories!
Friday, February 6, 2009
We are moving in less than two months. This is hard. Packing five people is hard. We have to sell our house, which is hard. We already have a contract on a house in Columbia, Missouri (contingent on Wes matching there, of course), and that is hard. Waiting is hard. Stressing about money is hard. And now I sound whiny.
OK, change of tone here ... Things to be excited about ... If we match in Columbia, MO (which we are 99% confident about, obviously) ... it's a very cool town. It's a pretty good-sized college town, which means that it has all of the character and diversity and intelligence we are looking for, but it also has conveniences of a larger town, like Indian restaurants, Best Buy, Chuck E Cheese's, Michael's, Macaroni Grill, etc... and there are a ton of families with little kids, so there's a lot for us to do. Also plenty of walking trails and a state park right there in the city. I have never lived outside MS (unless you count that 2 months Wes and I stayed with a friend in Seattle right after we got married) so this is a big deal for me.
The kiddos are awesome. Lillie is so big and inquisitive. She loves archaeology and geology. She asks questions about EVERYTHING. There's no 'because I said so' with this girl. She NEEDS to know why, why, why!! We're still reading the Little House on the Prairie series together. Now we're in the middle of book #3, Farmer Boy. We should be done with it by now, but I got lazy for a little while. We're better now, though. And we WILL read all nine books, no matter how long it takes! She is an awesome reader, very intellectual, and physically AWKWARD. She is clumsy and she takes forever to do things. And although that sounds like I might be griping, I actually think it is quite endearing. See, in this way, she is just like me. And so I understand and I love her more for it!
Harlan exudes cool. Cool radiates from him so that everyone around him can feel it and know someone awesome is near. Super-coordinated, he can go the full length of the monkey bars with no problem. He is not clumsy. He loves punk music, and of every single song on the Ramones Greatest Hits album he says, "This is my favorite." He has great hair, perfect for his silly personality. He has decided recently that he wants to take a break from gymnastics, and I say ... whatever, kid. You're 4. I'm not forcing you to do something you don't want to do. Let me know when you want to pick it up again, and we'll make it happen.
Sophie is a princess in every sense of the word. Somehow, ballet dancing seems to be a natural thing for her. She is a graceful dancer, and she points her toes and even runs around the room, arms out, on tippy-toe. I mean it, she is GOOD. And a disco song came on the radio the other night (on Harlan's alarm clock radio ... they were dancing before bed) and she didn't hesitate. She jumped up and started dancing, and I tell you, she could have been on a 1970s dance show or something. She also loves the Beatles ("Good Day Sunshine" is now required on the drive home from school, and if it's a pretty day, she wants her window rolled all the way down so she can yell the words at the blue sky. She did this today. We were both yelling the words. She was so happy.)
Wes is excited about residency, obviously. We are all dreading the first year, which will be hard. (There I go again. Everything is hard over here.) But years 2-4 he won't work as much, and I think he is really going to love what he'll be doing. His specialty is 'physical medicine and rehabilitation' so if I haven't told you all about it already, and if you're interested, you can look it up on aapmr.org .
Another thing to be excited about ... we are planning to move at the end of March, and I was really sad that Lillie would not be able to participate in kindergarten graduation with her friends. I mean, she has been attending that school for 4 years, and she's known some of these kids the whole time! So I asked the director of the preschool if we could come back for Lillie to "walk" and she said that would be fine. We will come back into town in time for her to practice the songs and dances a few times with her classmates, and her graduation is on the 19th. Wes's graduation is on the 22nd, so it works perfectly. Lillie's teacher even said that she would print out the words to the songs so we can practice them, and I'll go and film one of their dance practices before we leave so we can work on that together, too. Exciting!!
When we move, Harlan won't be old enough for kindergarten, and I'm not paying for a preschool for 2 months for him, so I'll be having him at home with me! I'm excited about it. And I think he will need the extra attention. He's already having some behavioral issues that I believe are related to the move, so I know this will be a good thing. And Sophie's school will be paid for by the Missouri Health Department, so she will go from 8-12 each day. That means she will get out almost 3 hours earlier than she does now, so I'll have some more time with her as well.
And now I've stopped complaining and I'm just rambling. So there is an update on pretty much everything. And here are some pictures. We took them on one of our recent trips to Columbia.
The kiddos with the statue outside the YouZeum (children's museum) in Columbia.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Every night before she goes to sleep, I tuck her in and sing "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. My mom very rarely sang that song to me when I was little because it made her cry. I'm beginning to understand why.
In case you're not familiar with the song, here are the lyrics so you can think of your own children (if you are so blessed) and cry with my mother and me:
Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older; When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday When they were small?
Swiftly fly the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears