Saturday, November 21, 2009

We have definitely kept ourselves busy in the past week.  Heidi was still on driving restriction, so I got my fill of driving and another glimpse into motherhood helping them get around to all their various destinations, this week.  This is why, after Colton's soccer game last Saturday, we took the rest of the day to be as conventionally unproductive as we could...especially since Sunday was also quite eventful, what with church, chili-making, and our church's Golden Ladle Chili Cook-off.  It was great to get to hang out with some of the people from The Well (our church.)  A lot of them live in Lancaster or Palmdale, so it's not as easy to get together with them...and the spirit of competition made for some good entertainment, as well...both with the chili recipes and tasting AND the coincidentally unscored game of Taboo.

Through out the rest of the week, I spent a lot of time with Heidi and the boys doing various things: taking Colton to and from preschool, getting the boys their H1N1 flu mists, going to the Commissary, desert at Foster's Freeze, story time at the library, going to the grocery store, taking molly to the groomers, and going to Thanksgiving dinner on base for families of deployed military.  In between all that frenzy, I somehow found time to make a dent in our two week (or so) overdue laundry, Adam and I made it to the dentist for fillings and gum cleaning, we caught up on our TV shows, played some Wii Resort, and found time to go to bed pretty early on a couple of those days.  

Heidi's family is now in town for the next she won't need me to play taxi-driver.  While I will have a lot more time on my hands, I don't really think I'll have too much trouble filling it.  For one, I decided order to make the house homier and easier for me to spend my days in it, I'm going to try to add some color by trying to churn out some paintings to brighten the walls.  We were going to go to Michael's tomorrow, in fact, to check out the canvas selection.  I also thought about removable decals...but those are pretty expensive, so I am going to look into colored contact paper that I could cut into my own designs and see if that might be comparable.  There's also the violin that needs to be learned, the guitar that also needs some work, and the piano that hasn't been played much.  We have a book that we've been reading from and discussing at our Sunday school at church that we haven't dug into other than the 45 minutes of Sunday school each week.  Adam bought me a book for my birthday...and there's plenty of other books here that I haven't read, either.  Lacy undoubtedly would love more of my attention (and George, too, for that matter) after the lack of it in the past few weeks.  The wedding album is inching closer to completion, as well...all the photos are uploaded, so now it's down to editing, ordering, and mounting them.  And somehow, there's there's still a few more loads of laundry to be done...and will probably be a few more by the time I'm done with those.  The house could use a little t.l.c., too, after being somewhat neglected for longer than it should have.  Now all I need is eternal motivation to accomplish all that.

Today, however, we tried to escape our to-do lists and the overwhelming nature of such and heading out into nature.  Adam actually made an appearance at Colton's last soccer game of the season, first...then we had lunch and drove to Devil's Punchbowl County Park in Pearblossom, California.  It's actually less than an hour away and amazingly quiet, peaceful, and great hiking.  We brought Lacy with us and spent the afternoon enjoying our surroundings.  Here is a link to the pictures from our trip:

We are definitely looking forward to going back in the future.  Lacy loved it and it's always nice to have somewhere were we can enjoy taking her with us.  We are all pretty exhausted, but hopefully we'll be better prepared next time and can make it a bit of a longer trip.  It was definitely a nice note to end our week on (especially since tomorrow's excitement includes taking the car to Sears to get some tires replaced :)).  For now, it's time to further wrap up the week with a good night's sleep.  

Friday, November 13, 2009

Well, here we are...November 13th.  I'm no longer only a quarter of a century old.  An abnormally large amount of things have happened in year 25, and I'm still unsure of where all of it is taking me.  It's been a good day, so far.  In the past, a birthday by myself without many plans or family and only a handful of friends around would be somewhat depressing to me.  However, the peacefulness and quiet of today has been a gift in itself.  As you know, the last week has been rather hectic for both of us.  Our good friend Heidi had a hysterectomy on Monday.  Her husband is deployed in Iraq, making Adam and I instant parents of a couple very active two and four year olds for the better part of this week.  I knew from the get go that this experience would be challenging, and it wasn't actually as hard as I thought it could be, but it was definitely an exhausting adventure. 

I do not enjoy Mario Brothers.  Pardon the randomness, but I'm not sorry for any disgust you may have for this confession.  I played it once, this week, because I was asked to...but I did not enjoy it, nor did I engage in it again.  My reasoning is this...I do not like to engage in activities that I am not good at.  It's draining to me in a whole different sense of the word and leaves me frustrated and feeling bad about myself.  There are video games that I can succeed at, even if they are somewhat challenging to me, but once they become frustrating to me, I do my best to set them aside and be done with them until I'm ready to go at them with a sense of fun and not defeat.  I tend to be a person who puts my whole self into what I'm doing...which is part of why I don't like to do things I'm not good at.  If I put my whole self into something that frustrates me, I leave not only drained, but defeated and feeling like I have lost more than I have gained.  

I'm not sure where I'm going with all this, except to say that I think I learned a lot, this week.  While our time with the boys was frustrating at points...I think it's fair to say that we're both good at it.  Unlike playing Mario brothers, even when I felt drained and defeated, I felt like I just needed to step aside for a bit...even if all that I could afford was a few minutes while they were momentarily distracted by a video or their imagination.  Most of the time, I had given so much of myself that, once Adam got home, I needed to not be a parent, anymore, and just absorb myself in my own little world for a while.  

Our week was anything but boring.  I woke the boys up "early" on Monday to get Colton ready for school.  After explaining to Jack that his mom was at the hospital and had not run away, breakfast was made...books were read...clothes were changed...and we successfully got Colton off to school.  Even though Jack is only 2, he is far more easily entertained than his brother.  He spent a better part of the time his brother was at school watching Kidsongs and "helping" me clean up the house...though it took us a considerable amount of that time to walk back to their house and return to school (Jack's sense of urgency leaves him on foot).  We spent the afternoon and the rest of the evening adjusting to our new lives together, playing with Lacy, having dinner, and ultimately getting all of ourselves to bed.  

Tuesday, Jack felt a little more comfortable in his two-year-old skin and pulled out the "Why?" card.  After spending part of the morning back at their house with their dog, we decided to head back to our dog and take a LONG walk.  As educational as it can prove to be, answering "Why?" questions for hours can wear on a grown person...but somehow, sunshine and exercise not only diminishes the quantity of questions, but the sanity of the answerer.  However, I had somehow forgotten about the lack of speed the pedestrian Jack possessed, so I was as ready to be done with our walk, in the end, as I was to begin it.  After a nap, a game of chess with Colton, and some quiet time for both of us while Jack slept, Adam and I embraced parenthood and took the kids to Tom's where kids eat free on Tuesdays.  Pretty worn out from the day after all that, we headed home again and crashed for the night.

Wednesday; our last day of our temporary parenthood.  With our "Welcome Home Mommy" banner already proudly displayed and Colton off to school, Adam, Jack, and I hung out with Molly until it was time to pick Colton up.  Having Adam by my sidea made the day SO much easier and made me all the more grateful to have him as a partner.  The day dragged quite a bit, though, with the knowledge that Heidi was coming home, and all of us pretty ready to have some sort of normalcy restored to our lives.  The hours got harder to bear as the day wore on and there was no sign of when Heidi would be coming home.  As we waited for the telling phone call, everyone became increasingly worried that she wouldn't make it back within the day.  Sometime around 6:00, we finally got the call that Heidi was ready to come home and a sense of relief filled the anxiety the boys had when they overheard me tell someone I wasn't sure they'd let Heidi come home tonight.  After over an hour of waiting for Heidi's medicine and Adam's adventure changing diapers and giving two little boys a shower, we were all finally reuinted....and horribly exhausted.

I stayed the night at Heidi's and through all of yesterday to make sure that Heidi didn't need my help to get the essentials done, but also didn't overdo things too much.  We didn't anticipate how mentally exhausting and hard this experience would be on the boys, but yesterday was more trying, I thought, than any of the other three days without Heidi home.  Thankfully, she was on major pain killers that kept her pretty mellow through the intense emotional outbreaks and massive hunger the boys had for her attention.  I'm not sure I was much help, myself, as I found it hard to pry myself from the comfort of the couch for the majority of the day other than to drive us all to story time at the library.  I didn't want to desert Heidi, though, if she needed me...and even when she admitted that she'd probably be fine on her own, I didn't have the heart or energy to make myself go home.  By the end of the day, though...I was more than ready and grateful to know that today would be more peaceful and eventful than the last four...and my bed felt more comfortable than it ever had in the past.  

None of this is to say that I, in any way, regret the past week.  Heidi has been one of the biggest blessings to me since we've been in California, and I would do anything for her that she needed me to.  I've struggled a lot with purpose since arriving here and have accepted that providing for Heidi and her boys is a big part of my purpose here.  I know she would do the same for me if I was in her position, and we were glad to do what we could to help.  I don't think I would feel right if we hadn't done all that we did.  That being said, I think the biggest gift they have given me TODAY is understanding that I do love them all a lot...and I definitely would do anything and drop everything to help them...but as selfish as it sounds, I needed today for myself.  

I haven't done much of anything productive, today.  In fact, when I went to the store to pick up last minute supplies for my birthday cake...I went in my pajamas...'cause it's my birthday and I could.  Up until this entry, I spent the rest of the day laying on the couch watching TV shows I missed this week, smiling at post-its Adam left for me and eating the lunch he made, and being grateful for all the birthday wishes that have been thrown my way.  Like I said, in the past, such an uneventful day alone would've been more of a downer for me...but today, I appreciate every moment for what it is and am grateful for all I have.  Tonight, I'll have dinner with Adam, Heidi, and the boys, open presents, and be grateful to have people that love me around...but for now...I'm grateful to know I'm loved enough to have the day to myself without feeling like I have to do anything.

It's been a good week.  I'm glad Heidi is home and that she's recovering well.  I'm glad that things will go back to normal.  And I'm glad for this experience to make us all appreciate more, especially on the days when normal can seem less than ideal, all that normal is.  If nothing else, this week has taught me that, whether we realize it or not...everything happens to teach us something.  In this case, that would be to embrace what I have, respect what I don't, and know that everything happens in time for a reason...and we should embrace each moment of that in the meantime.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just a quick update to say that Heidi is home from the hospital and doing well.  The boys were THRILLED to see her and have her back home.  Everyone is exhausted, but we had a good time with the boys.  We'll still be helping out a bit while Heidi recovers, and she can't drive for a couple weeks, so we'll be helping her and the boys get around a bit, too, so that will keep me busy.  I'll try to give a bit more of an update about our brief parental experience later on, but for now...I'm gonna shower while I still have some time and energy to do it.  Peace.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's going to be a pretty busy week for us, so I thought I'd update while I have the chance.  It's stayed pretty warm here as far as highs go, but it doesn't stay warm for that long.  It takes a good part of the day to reach the high, and then it only stays that warm for a half hour or so.  The house stays really cool inside, though, and I've found myself opening most of the windows not only to get fresh air and sanity, but to stay warm.  I'm sure that won't be the case soon.  

I'm hoping we've resolved the cat issues.  We made an emergency trip to Petsmart Thursday to try and remedy, once and for all, the cat peeing fiasco.  Adam's convinced that George was peeing on things out of spite.  He's really only ever peed two places here (once in our clothes basket and several times RIGHT outside of his litter box).  We decided to take the shower door off the shower in downstair bathroom and put the litter box in there.  So far, it's worked out fine.  We've also beein feeding him more.  We both had agreed that he ate too much in the past, so we had taken to feeding him less and less often.  Maybe we'll just let him be fat and happy if that's what's going to keep him from peeing....we'll see how the theory pans out.

Earlier in the day, Thursday, I set forth to bake chocolate chip cookies...moreso (as always) because I was craving chocolate chip cookie dough than anything.  Luckily, I realized before adding any of the wet ingredients that we were out of sugar...a fairly important element of cookies.  Luckily for me, our friend Elizabeth mentioned she was going to the store and was gracious enough to pick me up some sugar.  I used the recipe off the bag of Hershey's chips and am quite pleased with the results.  As a result of that, I have consume many more chocolate chip cookies in the last several days than I probably should have.  Adam brought a bunch to work Friday, though, and put the rest in the freezer (as though that's actually a deterrent for me :-p).

Friday morning, I had the boys for a while so Heidi could go to her pre-op appointment.  At first, Jack was abusing the 2-year-old "Whhyyyyy???" card and driving me nuts, but eventually, lunch and a walk through the desert took care of that.  They boys surprisingly liked walking through the desert.  We saw cactuses (which ironically were definitely there as a part of landscaping and not actually native) and various pieces of interesting garbage.  Jack found a couple pine cones (which he left here)...and thanks to the less than swift pace of return, we came back to find Heidi enjoying her new book on our driveway.  Once the boys had left, I set forth cleaning and preparing the sunday school lesson.  By the time I was done with those things, Adam was on his way home from work.  Adam made some delicious turkey burgers with sun-dried tomato basil cream cheese and then we headed to Fosters for dessert with Heidi and the boys.  

After we returned from Fosters, we got an interesting visitor.  After proclaiming how cold it was outside (it wasn't) and asking us not to kidnap her, she asked to come in so she could sit down at our table (she ended up standing by the door).  She told us several different inconsistent stories (She was having a contest...boys against girls...and needed our help earning points; she was doing a career related activity and wanted to know what cool jobs we had; she was trying to win a trip to Bermuda; etc.) but finally admitted to selling magazines.  It seemed a little shady.  Adam gave her our address, though (she could've figured that out pretty easily) and told her we didn't have a phone number.  After a very interesting conversation where she didn't help her case with her aviation revelations and trying to name drop, we ended up giving her 10 dollars and sending her on her way.  I then text messaged the neighbor since this salesgirl claimed they referred her to us as the cool neighbors and I asked her what she bought.  Strangely enough, she said nothing....even though the girl told us she bought subscriptions to donate to the troops.  Oh broke the ice with the neighbor and we're getting together Tuesday.  That's something.

Our goal for Saturday was to try and be as productive but relaxed as possible.  We slept in until 8:30 or so (fairly late considering we had gone to bed shortly after 10 the night before).  We didn't actually DO anything until much later, though.  In fact, when the man from Lancaster Baptist was going door to door inviting people to his church's Veteran's service Sunday, Adam answered in a t-shirt and boxers, and I hid.  We played Wii for a while, that afternoon, had lunch, cleaned up a bit, and eventuallllllllllly made it out the door for a hike in the mountains with Lacy.  We ended up hiking for over an hour and came home for dinner.  Adam picked up an acorn squash at the store out of curiosity.  We cut it in half and on half put garlic, salt, and butter...and on the other half put cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter.  I thought it was pretty good, but Adam wasn't too impressed with the texture.  We'll see how the spaghetti squash we got at Trader Joe's goes over, tonight.  (Which got me to wondering what my parents ate before they had kids...).  After dinner, we just vegged and watched a couple shows and a movie while consuming wine, crackers, salami, and Brie.  We watched "The Calcium Kid" on Hulu...which had Orlando Bloom in it, but probably wasn't one of his proudest moments.  It was entertaining enough, though, considering we didn't pay for it.

Today has been a pretty productive, yet not too tiring (yet) day.  We went to church this morning, followed by lunch at Panera and shopping at Sam's Club and Trader Joe's with Heidi and the boys.  Since then, we came home, vegged a little, cut hair, and now are gearing up for our spaghetti squash.  We're heading back over to Heidi's around 7 since I'm spending the night there (she has to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. for her surgery.)

In case you had missed the memo, Heidi is having surgery this week and will be in the hospital until Wednesday.  We will be taking care of Jack and Colton until she gets back since Jedd is deployed in Iraq.  I don't have any qualms or regrets about offering to do this for her...and honestly feel like it is and has been my purpose here to serve their family, so this helps me fulfill that.  I think that while it will be incredibly tiring, and possibly trying at times, will not only be good practice for the future (we're talking years down the road here, people...don't get any ideas :)), but it will be great to have her have one less (and pretty HUGE) thing to worry about while she's gone.

A couple prayer requests for the week:
-Adam is AWESOME with kids (no matter what he might lead you to believe when he's NOT around them), especially with Jack and Colton.  Sometimes, though, he has a hard time understanding and coping with 2 and 4 year old personality traits.  He's doing a better job understanding the correlation between tiredness and crankiness, but sometimes little things get to him.  The boys absolutely LOVE Adam, so when he's around them, he gets little time to himself.  Pray that Adam can have the strength, stamina, and understanding to get through the next few days gracefully...and that everyone's love for each other stays intact :).
-I, too, love kids.  I've realized lately that I am a lot farther down the road from being ready to have some of my own that I had initially thought, but saying that I don't mind being around other people's for periods of time is more than an understatement.  It has been almost 5 months, though, since we met the Lucas', and the closer the boys grow to us, the more free they are to be themselves (not that a 2 year old is ever inhibited from being himself.)  This means that while they love us more, sometimes we become more parent like figures to them then "idols"...and they tend to mind us more like parents at times, as well.  Not that I'm saying kids don't or shouldn't listen to their parents, but I'm fairly sure than anyone who has kids at some point realizes that they listen to and act better for other people sometimes.  Please pray that the boys and I can thoroughly enjoy our time together...and while I'll be getting a LOT less sleep than I normally do...that I can maintain the same level of patience and understanding that I would if I had the same amount of sleep I normally get.
-Finally, pray that Heidi's surgery goes without a hitch, that her nerves can be kept calm, that she doesn't get too lonely at the hospital (there's no wi-fi and children aren't allowed...though a couple people are definitely stopping by), that she heals quickly afterwards and doesn't have complications, and all the other things you can think of that go with having surgery.

I am actually really looking forward to the next three days.  I think it will be fun to get to spend time with the boys on a more "intimate" level and get to experience real life with kids (without breaks or being able to give them back :)).  We already have a play date scheduled with the neighbors on Tuesday and are possibly taking the boys to dinner 'cause kids eat free on Tuesday's at Tom's. As worn out as we will be when Heidi gets back, I'm sure she will be too, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be able to help out in any way we can.  

And that is why I may not have much time for updating this for a while.  Even after Heidi's back, she won't be in full working order for a while.  I'll try and keep track of the highlights of our pseudo parenthood and update when we do get the chance...Until then...thanks for your prayers, and have a great week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Leave us some comments...

In addition to updating the look of the blog, I also changed the settings so that ANYONE can leave comments without having to have an account.  We like comments (hint, hint) :).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The days have gotten dark I figured it was time to amp up the blog a bit to try to compensate...It seems that this has become a weekly post, at best, so I'm going to declare that the new case and let you feel more excited when the bonus posts show up :-p. It's been a good week, thus far. When asked how we're adjusting to being back in California from Illinois, my general response is that A. I was never completely adjusted to life in Cali, anyway...and B. we were barely in Illinois long enough to have it factor much into the adjustment levels :-p.

Some of last week has already escaped me. I do remember quite clearly, though, being overall pretty tired. I think one of the highlights of the week was going to Old Navy for the stuff and save sale. If you know me well, you know that I DEPISE shopping! (especially when I don't have a goal in mind). I think it's more that the idea of spending money stresses me out quite a bit. Adam even does most of the grocery shopping because we probably wouldn't eat half as well if it were up to me to buy the groceries. I usually end up guessing the amount he spent fairly close to the actual price, but by that time, it's already spent and not up for debate. In any case, Old Navy did what they set out to do with the sale by getting a very unexcitable customer up and in line before the store opened to get my 50 percent off...not to mention the 50 percent off of clearance. I ended up spending less than 100 dollars and significantly improving my winter wardrobe...and Adam's! I was pretty proud of my purchases...and it doesn't hurt that I got several compliments about one of my new ensembles at church on Sunday. Friday evening, Adam and I decided to go play some baseball before eating dinner. It didn't last too long, though, since Adam twisted his ankle...followed by my best pitch ever being hit quite well by Adam directly into my shoulder. Unfortunately, the bruise wasn't half as cool as I had wanted it to be. We then decided to come home, eat, and try our luck at Wii Baseball, instead.

Saturday was a pretty fun day for us. It was both Halloween and Heidi's birthday, so we had a full day of festivities. We slept in a bit that morning, and then got to carving our pumpkins. With only one carving knife between us, homemade patterns, not gutting the pumpkins before carving them, and all the other events that come along with pumpkin was quite the adventure. Our pumpkins both turned out how we wanted them to, and while after one night of candle heat, my poor Charlie Brown cooked too much to keep his face intact, we got one good night of pride out of our pumpkins.

After carving, we took Colton and Jack to Albertsons to pick out flowers for their mom, went to lunch with Heidi and the boys, gave her our present, and shared a pumpkin pie twister at Fosters Freeze (delicious!) It was nice to spend some time not thinking about Halloween and focusing on Heidi's birthday. I think she had fun, too. However, afterwards, we had to head home...get out some energy playing Wii, and devote some time to our amazing costumes :-p. Originally, I was going to try to be Amelia Earhart. I have a hat from Gap that looks somewhat like a pilot's helmet, so I was going to go off that...but I wasn't happy with my options for the rest of the costume. Therefore, in true Erin last minute costume style, I threw together "Roadkill" instead and Adam creatively pulled together a baseball player costume.

Fully adorned in our costumes (and amazed that, at 80-90 degrees at the end of October, we didn't need more clothes to stay warm) we headed to Heidi's to pass out candy while they made their rounds to Wayside's Fall Fest and trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. We were somewhat disappointed in the beginning at the lack of kids, but we ended up running out of candy by the end of the night, so that made up for it. We also frightened a couple neighbors that had asked if we were new to the neighborhood with our less than well thought out responses of "No, we're just borrowing the porch to hand out candy....But we do know the people that live here." Oh well...we don't live there :-p.

Sunday, we headed to The Well. We hadn't been in two weeks, which felt like a lot longer, so it was nice to see everyone again. Afterwards, we stopped by Petsmart and Trader Joes, made it home long enough to make a shopping list for groceries, and then Adam headed to the store while I worked on roasting pumpkin seeds.

I spent most of the day on Monday fighting with my computer again trying to convert our wedding video to a readable format. I had bought a program when the trial version seemed to be what I needed but would only do 5 minutes of our video without paying for the full version. Of course, when I bought the full version, it only did the first 18 minutes of the video, even after multiple tries, and I am still fighting with the very elusive company (no contact phone number and broken english email responses) to get my money back. After they sent me a different program that only converts files to the format it's already in and them asking me to email them the file that was too big to have on anything other than an external hard drive and thus impossible to transfer by email, I have now threatened to get other parties involved if he didn't comply with my numerous requests for them to return my money. I'm really not expecting that to happen, but it can't hurt to try. I have since resolved my issues of video conversion using other means and hope to have time and motivation to do something with the videos...and inspiration of what the final format should look like. That evening, we decided to do something different together and ended up playing the board game version of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" We both eventually were able to say we were...after 7 times playing (although Adam is pretty upset with the accuracy of some of the answers to questions involving weight, density, mass, etc. He says he's TOO smart to be a 5th grader, apparently.)

Yesterday, I had yet another appointment with the dentist to get my other half of my mouth cleaned. This time, they gave me a lot more medicine to numb my mouth in the beginning than last time since I ended up needing more last week. Even that amount, though, needed supplementation. It seems that I inherited my mom's gene's for high tolerance to pain medicine. Thanks Mom. In light of dental work, the afternoon was spent doing some laundry and making rosemary, parmesan, garlic bread and heating up some Trader Joe's Butternut Squash soup. We had a very filling dinner! After some Wii time (we've been doing a bit more of that, lately) we headed to Heidi's. She invited me to go out for margaritas with some of the neighbor ladies on the street...and Adam graciously watched the boys so we could go. I had a good time, and while I don't see myself being very close with the other ladies, it's always nice to have opportunities to meet new people. I was really impressed, when we got back, to find Adam, Colton and Jack doing an art project at the table. Adam was really tired to begin with, but knew that opportunities for me to meet people are times to cease, so he agreed to hang out with the boys. They LOVE him, too, so they will take any opportunity to spend time with him and run with it. I have to admit that I like watching them interact, too. It makes me smile to see how good Adam is with kids...and as much as he won't always openly admit it, how much he enjoys spending time with them.

It's hard to remember that it's November here with the weather as warm as it is. I'm not enjoying it getting dark so quickly, so I'm doing the best I can to savor the sunshine (not that there's any lack of it.). We'll get to try out our parenting skills next week. Heidi is having surgery and will be in the hospital for a few days, so we'll have the boys for all of Monday-Wednesday. I anticipate both of us being VERY tired by Thursday! Adam's on his way home, now, so I'm going to make a frantic last attempt to get some things accomplished in the next half hour. Enjoy your week!