Thursday, June 30, 2005

We're back!

Well, we made it safely back to VA after 4 weeks of being gone. Somehow, in my mind, we left the house neater than we did in reality. Bob's sister and family are coming this weekend, and frankly I am overwhelmed with the amount of work to do. It just seems like there is so much stuff to be put away and gone through--tons of mail, swim stuff, shoes everywhere, food from the car, etc, etc, etc. At least I unpacked all the suitcases last night when we got in. Probably a record for me! So anyhow, that is why I am here on the computer instead of doing something productive. I just can't figure out exactly where to get started, since there is just so much. The boys cleaned their bathrooms, and now they are outside playing in the sprinkler. I just want to lay on the couch and take a nap!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Worse Than Cankersores

I've discovered there is something worse than cankersores. It is brushing with Peelu toothpaste, one of those all-natural toothpastes made without evil sodium laurel sulfate. At first it has a nice smell of spearmint, but then it smells and tastes as though it were made of melted-down rubber. It is made of plant fibers, which giveit an interesting texture all of its own. I ran out of my old Doctor Burt's Lavender Mint toothpaste, so I ran to the local healthfood store and found Peelu. Well, I was pretty non-committal about Dr. Burt's before, but let me tell you, I have seen the light! Now I consider it a great toothpaste, and I can't wait to get back to VA to purchase some more! In the meantime, the Peelu makes me gag, so I have been brushing with Crest again, and I have a cankersore under my tongue.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Trial Post

You know I have been having problems with my "enter" key and making new paragraphs. I still am, but Anthony L. has proposed a solution, so I am going to give it a shot. (Drumroll, please . . .)

Did a new paragraph appear? If so, he is a genius! Actually, if not, he still is a genius, and I have some sort of problem! : )

Wow, I think it worked! Thanks, Anthony!! I owe you one! I think I shall have to learn more of this foreign HTML stuff! : )

Contentment

Amy made me a beautiful cross-stitch for our entry way. Let's just say it's an early Christmas present! : ) It has some Colonial houses, which are certainly very appropriate (actually it's very elaborate, and I am in no way doing it justice here), and it has the verse from Philippians, "I have learned to be content in whatever state I am in". Perfect for a military family, and it will go wonderfully in our foyer! This trip has made me think alot about contentment though, and I really am not content to live in whichever state I am! Visiting Colorado made me so want to move back there. It's so beautiful, and I love all the stuff there is to do out there. Visiting back here in Ohio has made me want to move back here. I so miss being able to see Amy and my parents all the time, and I miss our church! I would still like to have an assignment down in Texas, so we could see Dan and Melinda more often. The one place I really don't feel at home in is Virginia. But I'm sure if we moved from there, I would remember and miss the good things about there, like living so close to the L's, and also our great homeschool co-op. I guess really I'm longing for heaven, since I know there will be no place on earth that perfectly satisfies all my longings. in the meantime, however, we do have to live someplace, and currently the Lord has us in Virginia. But does he want us to stay there when Bob retires? I think this question is what is causing all this consternation. I kind of like having the Air Force tell us where to go, knowing that in a few years, we'll move. That way, if there are things I don't like, then we'll be going someplace different, and almost no 2 places have the same things wrong! Picking a place to retire has such an air of finality about it though. I think I'm afraid to settle down, maybe because I know there are so many other great places out there, and secretly I'm always wondering if one of them might just have all the things I'm looking for. Ahh, contentment . . . I'm off to go meditate on Amy's cross-stitch some more!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Nathan's Birth Day

So Nathan is 8 years old today, hard as that is to believe. He was actually born on a Tuesday, at 5:24 PM, at the Air Force Academy Hospital in Colorado. Bob was the aide for a 3 star admiral at the time, and he was scheduled to be TDY Sunday through Tuesday. My due date wasn't until July 2, so the Navy considered that to be very far away, and besides, none of the other men in the office had been around for the birth of their kids, so what did it matter if Bob wasn't? That was the attitude, anyhow. I was nervous to have Bob be gone so close to my due date, but I was praying for peace. Sunday morning after church, I started having contractions, which did not make me feel peaceful! Bob went off a few hours later to go TDY, but at the last minute a guy from another office who was also on the trip stepped in and told Bob he would do his duties as well so Bob didn't have to go. Whew! But then we both kind of felt under pressure to have this baby before everyone got back, or else they would think I was just making it all up! I kept having contractions throughout Monday, but they were never strong enough to make me think we should go in. I didn't sleep much Monday night though, and we went to the hospital around 7:30 AM. My parents were on their way, driving out from Ohio, and they were supposed to arrive that afternoon. When I went in to be examined, the nurse told me she thought I wouldn't be dilated very far, since I was so calm and it was my first baby. She was quite surprised to find out that I was 6 cm dilated! I still wasn't feeling anything too much, so I visited a good friend of mine who had just had her baby 2 days before. Once I got to 9 cm, things just kind of stopped for awhile, and the doctor actually asked me if I was waiting for my parents to come! I was given some pitocin, things started up again, Mom and Dad got there, and Nathan was born at 5:24. Praise the Lord! The only bad thing was that then just a few short hours later, visiting hours were over, and Bob had to leave me alone with this tiny scrap of humanity, who was now totally dependent on me. I was terrified! And since it was in a military hospital, a tech came around and gave me this raft of forms to fill out--when I nursed, how long on each side, bowel movements, wet diapers, etc. And he gave me one of those nose aspirators and told me how to use it. I asked how I would know if I should use it, and he replied ominously, "Oh you'll know." I was so scared. I was sharing a room with a lady who had just had her third baby, and she breezily told me that she never slept well in hospitals, so she always just kept the TV on all night. Hope I didn't mind! That was not a very restful night, but thankfully she left the next morning. I was so glad to go home a few days later, where our wonderful neighbor Pam had put up a "Welcome Home" sign on our house, and even better, had put the "Noah's Ark" border all around Nathan's room! It's amazing how far I've come, but I so clearly remember the feelings of helplessness and incompetence that I had those first days (weeks?) as a new mom. One thing that really helped was our good friends the L's moved to Colorado right after Nathan was born, and they actually lived with us for 8 months while waiting for their house to sell. It was wonderful to have Elizabeth's calm and competent self around all the time to help me feel like I could handle things, or, more importantly, know that whatever Nathan was doing was perfectly normal. I guess that won't work for many other people, but it has made me really try to reach out to new moms to help provide some of that same support I got from Elizabeth!

Blogger Woes

I have refrained from posting because I wasn't sure my entries were posting at all--I can't get anything to show up past my "Track Meet" entry, no matter how I refresh the browser. But my brother assured me that he could read newer entries, and in fact, I have comments on them, but I can't see them by simply opening up my blog. Another frustration is that I am apparently the only person in the world who can not make new paragraphs while posting. It's not that I ALWAYS can't--just sometimes. Like now. When I press "enter" the cursor just disappears. Now I am at my parents' house, using their computer, so it's not just a problem with my home computer. Grr. Well, with all that in mind, the boys and I are still at my parents' house. Bob got a TDY to Dayton next Tuesday, so he was able to catch a hop back to Andrews this past Wednesday, and then he will fly back in here Monday afternoon. We'll celebrate Nathan's birthday that evening (although it's actually today) with a little party in the park, and then we will all drive back to VA together next Wednesday. It's so nice to be able to have the extra time to visit with my family and Amy. I've really missed them the past few months. And the boys are having a great time at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We're just prolonging the vacation!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Aslan tales

I read an amazing story this morning in the Dayton Daily about a 12 year old girl from Ethiopia who was abducted and beaten by a gang of men who wanted to force her to marry one of them. But then she was rescued by 3 lions who chased off her attackers! She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said."They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," Wondimu said. I said yesterday that we had been listening to "The Chronicles of Narnia", which of course feature a huge lion named Aslan who is a type of Christ. This news story so reminded me of "The Horse and His Boy" which is the story of an orphan slave boy who is escaping to Narnia with a talking horse. He finally meets Aslan and he tells him what an unlucky life he's had--he was washed up on shore as a baby and doesn't know who he really is, he was a slave, he's been chased by lions a few times, etc. Aslan says to him that he has really had a fortunate life because Alsan was the one who pushed the boat to the shore so as a baby, he didn't die of starvation. Aslan was the lion who chased off the jackals that were going to attack as he hid outside a city. Aslan chased his horse to make it run faster so they could deliver a message in time, and so on. In every part of his life, Aslan was there watching and protecting. It's a really beautiful scene of the book, and it's such a wonderful allegory for how Jesus is in our lives, even if we don't understand what he's doing. Those lions in Ethiopia sound like relatives of Aslan. I pray that the little girl in the story will some day be able to find Christ. He must have had a reason for her life to be saved in such a dramatic fashion.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Beautiful Colorado

We're back in Ohio after 2 weeks in beautiful Colorado without any computer access. Did we miss anything while we were out of www contact? No. But now that we're back in the realms of civilization, I figured I would tell a little bit about our trip. The boys traveled very well. It took 3 days of driving (about 1700 miles to get there), and our friends let us borrow Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre presentations of some of the Chronicles of Narnia. Wow, are those spell-binding! We listened to "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", "Prince Caspian", and "The Silver Chair" on the way out, and that made the miles pass by so quickly. In fact, we visited Focus's headquarters while we were there and bought the entire set so we could listen to the others on the drive back. We also bought "Anne of Green Gables", but I just now made the disappointing discovery that somehow I bought the cassettes instead of the CDs. Gee, I wonder how I could have made a mistake like that, considering all I had to be distracted by was 4 tired kids (one of them, Jonathan, fussing and squirming to get out of the stroller!) who were ready for lunch after the tour of the admin building! Oh well. I am recommending these series to any and everyone, though--they are really well-done. [paragraph break--more trouble with "enter" key here] The first week we were there, the boys and I went to a lot of museums in Colorado Springs that Bob and I had never been to while we were there. We visited the Mining Museum, the Money Museum, Pioneers' Museum, had a picnic at Memorial Park, and of course went to the Air Force Academy and Garden of the Gods. We also did some shopping at places like Media Play, which they don't have in Ohio or Virginia, and I also got the boys' picture taken at Kiddie Kandids. The pictures turned out really well. I have always had good experiences there, and I so wish they were back East too! It's a challenge to get 4 young boys to all smile at the same time, but the photographer we had did a wonderful job. Bob had his class every day and got back to the hotel around 5:00 or so. He enjoyed it, so it was a good TDY for him too. We did things like walk around Manitou Springs in the evenings, and on Saturday we went to the Rock Ledge Ranch, which is a living history place with volunteers who dress the part and do things the old-fashioned way. That was really interesting. Then our good friends the L's from Virginia got there too, and we had a lot of fun the second week with them. We went to the North Pole Amusment Park Sunday, which was Nathan's big wish. The clouds kept coming in and going out, and it sprinkled a few times, so there weren't very many people there. The boys could ride whatever they wanted and stay on for another ride if they so chose, so really it was a perfect day. We visited the Ghost Town Museum, the Van Briggle Pottery Factory, and Focus on the Family with the L's the next week, as well as the Flying W Ranch for dinner. We actually ate outside there for the first time ever. It was a gorgeous night. Wednesday night our family went to the Ringling Brothers'/Barnum and Bailey Circus. It was Opening Night, and tickets were only $10.00! The boys were transfixed by all the action and excitement. It started at 7:30, and Jonathan was mesmerized for about 45 minutes. Then he just was tired and wiggly, so I felt like I wrestled through the last half of the circus to keep him on my lap and quiet. Actually it didn't much matter if he was quiet or not, since the whole place was so loud! On Friday, our last day in Colorado, the boys and I hiked with the L's. We hiked to the Crags, which is one of my favorite trails. It's only about 1.8 miles one way, but at the end you are on a big rocky promontory, and you have views like you are at the top of Pikes Peak, even though you are only around 11,000 feet. Of course, I didn't really pack for hiking, so I didn't have a baby packpack or anything for Jonathan. Ed carried him most of the way up, with some help from Jessica, and Anthony carried him (and my regular backpack!) most of the way back down, while Jonathan took a nice nap (Thanks, Anth!). Caleb was a real trooper, but he conked out about half-way back, and Ed stepped up to carry him the rest of the way. Caleb's quite a chunk--Bob wasn't so sorry he missed the hike when he heard about all the heavy lifting he missed! : ) I was thankful to have all the help though--I had just assumed I wouldn't be able to go all the way to the top with the little boys. It was a beautiful, cloudless day, and I must say it was the perfect way to end a wonderful vacation in Colorado. I will confess that after being there a few days, Bob and I were both thinking about ways we could get back out there to live! I think those mountains just stay in you after you look at them for a few years. I bought a new "mountain-y" calendar for next year. At least that way I can keep a reminder of the mountains in my kitchen!