Archive for March, 2008

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

As I sit and watch my basketball team losing badly in the 2008 NCAA Championship tournament, I ponder the oddities of living in a place where there are still 3 feet of snow on the ground on Easter Sunday, which in this year falls on the third day of spring. A place where Easter egg hunts must occur indoors every year. A place where white shoes must be carried to church, and put on in the coat closet after the snow boots have been removed. Perhaps I should invest in a pair of white, high-heeled boots to wear for occasions like this. Do they make such things?

But lest I forget the import of this day, let me just point out that:

“He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluiah!”

We had a lovely service at church this morning. Even though I sometimes complain about playing the piano, I truly enjoy it most of the time, and the Easter morning service in particular. Easter music is so joyful, with an almost militant exuberance. Opening the service with “Jesus Christ is Ris’n Today, Alleluiah!” is absolutely thrilling. My choir sang a beautiful, simple anthem entitled, “That Easter Day With Joy Was Bright,” an old German carol derived from a fourth century Latin hymn. It’s one of my favorites. If I were clever enough, I would figure out a way to play the music as you read this blog entry, but I’m afraid I don’t have enough patience to spend the hours such an endeavor would undoubtedly require.

:::UPDATE::: I spent the hours, and have now embedded the mp3 file from our choir piece today into this very post! Simply press the play button on the link below once to activate the control, and again to play, and you should be able to hear it!

The children dressed up in their Easter finery.  Anna had a new dress from Grandma and a very cute little blazer to wear.  Technically, they are for her birthday, which is coming up in about 8 days, but we thought she could wear them today.  I discovered earlier in the week that all of her little white dress shoes are now too small, so we had to go on a shoe-shopping mission.  Fortunately, we found a nice pair that should last her through this summer.  Will wore his navy blue pants and blazer that match Baba’s. 

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After the service, the great indoor Easter egg hunt took place.  Both of the kids appeared to be professional egg hunters.  Makes me wonder why they can’t ever find anything they’re looking for in our house.  Anna had a brand new Elmo Easter basket, and Will had a Spiderman basket.  Earlier in the morning, the Easter bunny had visited our house and brought each of them a chocolate bunny and an Easter toy (Play Dough for Anna  and Mr. Potato Head for Will). 

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After church, we migrated over to Applebee’s, which graciously opens its doors every Easter Sunday to feed those of us who are disinclined to cook a magnificent Easter dinner.  We had a nice dinner, then headed home, where we spent the afternoon lounging and watching basketball games (some much better than others – at least OU made it to the second round this time for the first time in 3 years).  The kids are tired and cranky, even though I didn’t really let them get into their candy this afternoon.  They’re still working on their Valentine’s candy, for pete’s sake.  I don’t understand what’s wrong with kids these days.  They’ll eat tomatoes and broccoli all day, but heaven forbid they should eat a chocolate bunny. 

Taking nice pictures of the two of them is getting harder and harder.  I tire of the squinty eyed, toothy grin that comes with saying “cheese,” but this is what happens whenever I tell them to NOT give me the cheese face:

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Sigh.

Mission: Oklahoma

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Joe took himself off to Wichita the next morning, and the kids and I settled in for a restful week with Grandma and Grandpa.  It was colder in Bartlesville than in Vermont the first couple of days we were there, but it warmed up toward the end of our trip, and the kids got to play in the backyard a couple of times. 

Grandma orchestrated a get-together on Saturday for the Oklahoma relatives so they could meet Will and renew their acquaintance with Anna.  Aunt Ina, Uncle Jim and Aunt Jean, Uncle Don and Aunt LaQuita, and Cousins Lisa and Paul with kids Jonathon and Elizabeth all made the trip up for a lunchtime visit.  The kids got a variety of treats, including cute bunny sunglasses, Easter socks, Easter candy, books and coloring books and crayons, and a whole bag full of adorable little wind-up mechanical toys.  They had a ball!

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Dressed up for church:

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Outdoor playtime!

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Much of OK experienced a nasty ice storm at the end of last year, and there is a lot of clean up still to be done.  I didn’t really have much of a concept of the damage, because Bartlesville was not terribly affected.  But, as we drove toward Tulsa for a shopping expedition, you could see the level of destruction of the trees as we went a bit further south.

3-16-08-14.jpg Relatively normal appearance of trees in early March

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We got to spend one more session outdoors in the backyard before coming back to the frozen tundra that is Vermont.

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3-16-08-21.jpg Here’s Hop-a-long, back from Wichita

3-16-08-22.jpg Matching chairs

3-16-08-23.jpg Apparently, they’re slippery!

3-16-08-24.jpg Anna helping Grandpa figure out his camera

3-16-08-25.jpg Our young photographer framing her own shot

While we were gone, our housesitter had to deal with flooding in our basement due to snow melt and rain, and our practice manager had to deal with flooding in the clinic basement for the same reasons.  We learned that we’ve been making an accounting error over the last year that is going to significantly impact our AGI for 2007 and means we will have to come up with a huge amount of money to pay our taxes next month.  It will probably also eliminate our eligibility for the adoption tax credit for Will and also our share of the famed “economic stimulus package” that will be distributed in May.  Never have I felt so penalized for running a successful business.  I’m starting to feel we should never actually leave home again, because these things never seem to happen while we’re here.  Except for the broken legs, of course, and the abscesses on fingers, and the backing into innocent volunteers’ cars in my own driveway.  Sigh.

Will had a difficult time on our trip.  He had been making a lot of progress with his behavior at home, learning how to share, how to cooperate, how to help mama, how to dress himself, etc.  He regressed quite a bit while in Oklahoma.  He found it necessary to test all his boundaries with Grandma and Grandpa, and I often caught him looking at me after one of them issued him an instruction to see if he actually needed to do it or not.  There were a lot of toys there to play with, and he had much difficulty with community ownership and sharing.  He found it impossible to creatively entertain himself and spent the entire week annoying Anna by waiting to see what she was going to do and then trying to horn in on the action or even take away the toy she was playing with.  She has the patience of a saint sometimes.  He had the terms “Grandma” and “Grandpa” completely confused, and even after a week of constant correction, still called each grandparent by the wrong term essentially 100% of the time.  He sassed Grandma so badly on the last day that he spent most of the day in his room cooling his heels.  I know 4 months is much too little time to have fixed all his problems, and we will keep soldiering away at establishing ground rules and setting boundaries and teaching self-respect and encouraging creative play.  Anna couldn’t play by herself at this time last year, either, and we have come such a long, long way with her. She is such a bright little girl, and a true delight to be around most of the time, and we have high hopes that Will can achieve that as well. 

The trip back went smoothly as well, even though our flight didn’t get into Manchester until about midnight and we didn’t get home until about 2:30AM.  The house was in good order, and we were able to fall into bed as soon as we got home.  We probably won’t take any more flying trips for a few months, but I may make Joe carry those crutches along every time.  They don’t preboard families with small children anymore, so the handicapped preboarding was a real treat!

Mission: Fly to Oklahoma

Monday, March 17th, 2008

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Oklahoma isn’t really this boring.  This is what happens when a little boy gets put into timeout late in the afternoon when he’s refused to take a nap. 

By and large, our travel to Tulsa was without major incident.  I had to work all day the day before we left, and Joe was teaching in the afternoon, so preparations were horrid.  The kids got a decent night’s sleep, but Joe and I were up all night.  But, we left Wednesday morning in a timely fashion.   Simply because it was us traveling, there was an ice storm brewing, and by the time we got south of the notch, driving became treacherous.  Numerous cars were off the road, and we saw some pretty spectacular accidents.  But, slow and steady, we kept going, and by the time we were south of Tilton, the roads were mostly slushy.  We made it to the Highlander where we park our car just about 70 minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave, got parked, got to the luggage check-in at the curb, left our luggage there (yay!  Mama didn’t have to carry all the bags to the check-in counter!), raced to security, fumbled through (they even made the kids take off their shoes and jackets – can you just see me shepherding the three ring circus that is 2 toddlers and hop-a-long Joe with 2 laptops, 4 backpacks, blankies, purses, crutches, through security?), hobbled to our gate, left Joe to get a preboard authorization while I raced myself and both kids to the potty, ran back just in time to preboard, and then finally sat down and relaxed for our flight to Chicago.

The flight was uneventful, but then we were faced with a 4 hour layover at Midway – cheap tickets are wonderful, but they come with a few downsides.  Joe tried to hobble down the corridor to our next gate, but one of the gate agents took pity on him and called a wheelchair for him.  We arrived at our gate, and settled in for the long wait.  It was a challenge keeping the kids under wraps, but we left Joe there and wandered around quite a bit.  Finally, we decided to go to McDonald’s and get some lunch.  I took both kids and we negotiated the moving sidewalk to get there.  We stood in line, ordered our meals,  and picked them up. Now, start visualizing our situation:  a mama, 2 toddlers, a tray with 4 drinks, a bag with 2 adult meals, and 2 happy meal bags.  I made the kids carry their meals, and both of my hands were filled with drinks and food.  With constant exhortation, I managed to keep them close to me as we began walking back to the gate.  Then, we reached the dreaded moving sidewalk.  We always use them, but I usually have hands available to pull the kids on and off.  So, Will walked on, I walked on, and off we went, only to turn around and see Anna standing at the beginning of the sidewalk, afraid to step on.  Aaaarrrggghhhh!!!  I had to turn around with my hands full of drinks, walk really fast in the opposite direction to get back to Anna, hope Will stayed close, shift everything to one hand, and then grab Anna and drag her onto the sidewalk with us.  Amazingly, it worked.  Will didn’t even disappear on me.  So we got to the end, limped over to the baba, and ate some of our lunch.  In other words, Joe and I ate our meals, the kids ate their french fries, Will picked at his burger, Anna didn’t and I ate it instead.   After recovering from lunch, I decided I needed some coffee.  I left Joe with the kids and wandered just a little down the hall to find a place that served Starbucks.  I ordered my coffee and headed back.  As I neared the gate, I could see Joe sitting in his wheelchair and just a blur of electrons running around him and much of the gate area.  Significant yelling and grabbing ensued, and the electrons finally settled into their lowest energy orbits.  Thankfully, we boarded soon after that, and had a flight with 2 short hops, to KC and then on to Tulsa.

Naturally, since the kids had no real opportunity to nap in the afternoon, they both fell asleep on the last little flight to Tulsa.  For those of you who don’t know Anna, you cannot wake this child up early from a nap without wailing and gnashing of teeth.  I had the kids, their little backpacks, my purse and my 50 pound carryon.  Joe managed to get himself and his backpack out in the aisle after we landed and he headed out.  I woke up Anna and she just dissolved into a boneless pile of tears.  Will also dissolved, but at least he could walk.  I put his backpack on, and then tried to figure out how to carry all my carryons and pick up Anna who had collapsed on the floor where I had to walk to get out into the aisle.  Bless the little grandmother who was right in front of us who volunteered to help me carry something.  She wanted to try to carry Anna, but I knew that would never fly, so she took my big carryon, enabling me to get Anna off the floor, and carry her and yank Will out of the plane.  I would like to point out that not a one of the 200 businessmen on the plane even thought of lifting a finger to help me get out of there.  They just stood in the aisle and sighed and looked irritated. 

Somehow we made it up the jetway, and then they found a wheelchair for Joe so I could throw all the carryons in his lap and carry Anna and drag Will to the potty.  Turns out Will had wet his pants a little during his nap, and that’s why he was so upset.  When I reassured him that was OK, he got over his snit.  Anna took a little longer, but she finally snapped out of it about the time we collected our luggage.  Thanks to masterful engineering and creative use of luggage straps, I was able to daisy chain our two big suitcases together, pile the soft bag and the box containing Will’s booster seat on top, and pull the whole mess down the hall to the car rental desk while leading one kid by the hand and praying the other one didn’t disappear.  We got the car rented, and then they gave me a car seat to pile on top of my mess, and we navigated to the car.  At least we didn’t have to ride a shuttle to get there.  We got into the car, and made it to Bartlesville in time for a nice dinner, bath and then off to bed for all of us. Whew.

Your reward for staying tuned

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Our lives have been in pretty severe disarray since the baba decided to practice his nonexistant tumbling skills in our driveway three weeks ago.  Many things have been happening, but I have found myself with neither the time nor the energy to sit down and engage in heavy photo editing and timely image uploading (yep, still on satellite internet here – better than dial-up, but no competition for high speed internet), and without the brain power required for my normally exceedingly witty commentary.  I am not promising any witty commentary today, either, but I think I have some cute pictures, so perhaps that will make up for it.

After Joe’s discharge from the hospital, we added essentially a third, much more cranky toddler to our household.  One that couldn’t get up and down the stairs by himself or get his own clothes off or get in the bathtub by himself.  One that weighed a heckuva lot more than the other toddlers.  One that not only could not look after the original toddlers but that could not really look after himself.  Thus. we were very grateful to accept the help of friends and family to babysit the whole crew while I went back to work.  The Tuesday morning shift was ably handled by our pastor and his 3 children, who drove over during the early stages of a snowstorm, and then endured me backing into their car as I left my garage.  I’m still exasperated at myself for that one.  Crumpled the rear corner of his car.  Just made a little dimple in the plastic of my rear bumper.  Fortunately for me, I drive a tank.  Pastor and Lori have dubbed my Tribecca the “Civic Killer.”  Ah, well, I have been paying exhorbitant insurance premiums for many years.  Perhaps it’s time they helped me out a bit. 

More snow fell, and on Wednesday, my associate Priscilla volunteered to come over and watch the kids all day, which was wonderful.  I should have let her work for me instead, but I was itching to get out of the house.  When I got home, I was faced with a foot of new snow to shovel from our steps and the walkway between the house and garage.  The piles of existing snow were already well over 6 feet, and I discovered that it is difficult to throw snow that high.  I, by the way, have never shoveled snow before in my life, and I never had any intention of learning how to do it.  Why else would I have a husband?  All I can say is, thank heavens he will be recovered by the time the lawn needs to be mowed. 

Thursday, Joe’s parents, Kay and Raoul, arrived to take over kid duty for a couple of days.  After a full day of babysitting on Friday, Kay was worn out.  I was a bit disappointed in Will’s behavior.  We had made great strides in cooperation, and he was really starting to step up to the plate to help mama out while baba was incapacitated.  Unfortunately, with new people in and out of the house, I started to see him testing his boundaries again, sassing people, refusing requests, making faces, etc.  Apparently, I am the only adult he has developed any respect for at this point.  I guess much more work will be required in that area. 

Joe was able to watch the kiddos himself on Saturday morning while I went to work, and I took them to church on Sunday.  Joe had his first doctor recheck on Monday, and got an excellent report.  The doc said not only could he fly to Oklahoma, but he could drive a car!  So, he put a short cast on Joe’s leg, gave him strict restrictions, and sent him on his way.  Meanwhile, I had developed a weird lump on my ring finger on my right hand, directly beneath the ring I wear on that hand.  Red, painful, about half a pea-sized.  By Sunday night, the knuckle of my hand had begun to swell, too, and knowing that we were probably going out of town, Joe managed to wrangle me an appointment with our doctor’s office at the same time as his recheck.  Turns out I had an abscess, which required lancing, antibiotics and a tetanus shot.  Woohoo!  So two little kiddos had to sit and watch their mama having minor surgery on her hand.  They were wild indians in the exam room, but watching me go through that in the treatment room sobered them right up!  Unfortunately, the tetanus-diptheria-pertussis vaccination leveled me, and I spent the next 36 hours with a fever, sore joints and a headache while I tried to work and perform surgery, etc.  Fun, fun, fun!

I guess I have no photos from this week, so I’m going to end this post here and start up another one with our trip to Oklahoma.  Off I go to orchestra rehearsal, so I’ll try to get back to the blog tonight.

Stay tuned

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

I know an update is horribly overdue, and I will try to get to it, or at least pieces of it, in the next day or two. Quick notes: Joe was discharged from the hospital on the Monday after his surgery. We had a variety of baby sitters in over the next week to watch him and the kids while I worked, and then the following Monday, he had a recheck and got a cast put on. We traveled successfully to Oklahoma last week, and Joe traveled on to Wichita for his consulting trip. We’re back now, and various exciting mishaps have been dealt with, but overall, we’re surviving. Miss Anna is dealing with a mysterious viral infection causing horrible fevers overnight, so none of us are getting quality sleep, but it should be over soon.

Check back in for the details and photos from our trip!