Thursday, October 30, 2008

Every girl loves to be surprised

Today, I got a call from the office inbetween classes, and the secretary (who I have TOTALLY won over because she's from KY too and who is TOTALLY chummy/girly with me) bubbled over in telling me that I had a flower delivery. The kids who had already arrived in class and overheard me say, "Flowers, FOR ME?" into the phone, went nuts.

"You got flowers, Mrs Arthur? Who do you think they're from? What are they for? Did your husband do something he needed to make up for? Hey, wait... where's your ring (see nect entry on where my ring is)? Are you still married? Are the flowers from your boyfriend? Do you have a boyfriend now?" It was quite annoying and quite cute all at the same time.

So my 12 roses sat on display on my desk the rest of the morning and came home with me. I'm looking at them now. My dear husband went gushy and romantically surprised me on our anniversary day. Since we are technically celebrating our anniversary next weekend (more on that later), I was sort of planning on treating today like a normal day. Boy, do I feel badly! I'll make it up to him tonight by taking the family out to Fazoli's. Yeehaaa.

Prong didn't last long

I must be rough on my jewelry. Actually, I KNOW I'm rough on my jewelry. In the first few months of being engaged, I had to take my engagement ring back to the jeweler (Reuben, who was our favorite little Romanian guy in Cleveland) to get more substantial prongs. The diamond had become loose.

So when I noticed it jiggling nearly 4 YEARS LATER (more on our anniversary today later), I found another hole in the wall establishment in the phone book, "Wayne's Fine Jewelry." I am all about supporting local businesses (and thus potentially knocking off some of the cost from big jewelry store's overhead), but this guy's store shop could have very easily been the most mungy, cluttered, musty place in which I have spent time. Wayne's beard and grey hair was long enough to donate to Locks of Love, he was wearing black leather pants, and several framed posters throughout the room boasted, "I am the toughest Harley-Riding Dude you'll ever meet" or "I [heart] Harley's." More power to him! Rock on motorcycle dude!

But when he told me the cost to add more white gold to the prongs to secure the diamond, I was further encouraged to shop around. He did add, "Take that ring off NOW, because you are asking to lose that diamond!" So for the past week, I have been walking around at the grocery, school, and the neighborhood looking VERY much like I am having this baby out of wedlock. People who don't know me when I run into the store with a raggamuffin scrubby pair of sweats on and a belly buldging may have a mental label: TEENAGE PREGNANCY (because despite my nearing entry to the third decade of life, I still look 17 in sweats - baby face AND height from my dad!).

Anyway, bottom line: I took my beloved ring to an established jeweler here in town, who quoted the same work for 20 bucks cheaper. Yeehaa. So I handed over my wedding diamond, the symbol of my commitment to Scott, 4 years later to the day that he put the set on my finger. Ha!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here he is!

Once we got over the fear of this harmless giraffe's beady little eyes, Jackson was totally cool today in our "trial run" dress up party. I had this brilliant idea, in light of this family's theme for 2008 (Moving for MAYO!), that Jackson would be a surgeon for Halloween. I had a great mental image of what his outfit would look like and how I would piece it together, home-created. But then, when friends here offered a selection of costumes previously worn by their kids, I caved and took the lazy aproach.

Giraffe he is! I love trick-or-treating and hope he does too!!!

Catching up from the weekend

Quarry Hill is an awesome nature preserve with cool paths and a neat-o learning center for kiddos. We realized, upon committing to the "Creatures of the Night" event last Sunday, that Jackson was FAR too young to appreciate the guided tour, which featured story-tellers in costume and WHOLE LOT OF LISTENING (yeah right). But it was a ton of fun anyway!

In Rochester, the waste management companies are too lazy to provide a yard waste service (which we were spoiled by in Columbus), so taking our leaves to a community compost makes for a weekend family field trip. Moments like these bring back a teensy eensy beensy bit of sorrow for having let go of the mini van. But when when we plopped back into our sporty little Saab after delivering the VERY compressed leaf bags, we lost that sorrow and were thrilled to be driving the peppy thing!

The picture with Scott in front of [just a small section of] the community compost doesn't do it justice. People are entering and exiting by the droves to cut open their bags and dump them here. It's really quite amazing. We're talking the biggest leaf piles you ever done seen. We laughed our heads off about how silly, yet sensible it all seemed.

The next few are at the orchard, where we went with probably our best couple friends, Michael and Heidi. Their girls, Michaela (sp?) and Emily are so darling. We have a ball together.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The 26th

A really blessed, really reflective, really melancholy, really joyful weekend this past one was.

Let me start by saying that Scott and I both admitted feeling strangely light and relaxed when we visited Duncan last weekend while in Columbus. We told him we loved him, then stood silently over his grave for a short while, then departed as peaceful as when we had arrived. It was special and important to be with Duncan, yet not at all filled with sadness or grief at thinking about the nearing anniversary of his death. In fact, we smiled more than we teared up at the thought of Duncan.

And we spent the whole week between that weekend and this past one in the same way - surprisingly upbeat and forward-moving. We entered into the weekend without much could we know exactly what would be our experience of this anniversary? Our plan all along for the 26th was to purchase a dogwood tree, much like the one my special friends planted at the Park of Roses in Columbus, and to plant it in our own back yard as a place to honor Duncan.

For both of us, Saturday afternoon was when "something" hit. It's really hard to explain... all the memories and thoughts about Duncan that meant something, but previously were experienced unemotionally... those memories and thoughts starting Saturday were experienced in a more attached way. That's the way anniversaries work with me. I don't consciously build them up in any way or attempt to overdramatize them, yet the anniversaries themselves do the work... it's like all memories and thoughts are heightened.

We went to a fun orchard with another family here, raked and bagged leaves, and went to a fun nature preserve for a Fall hike. It was a full and good day, with a melancholy-ness to it as well. Sunday we went to church (which just happened to be All Saint's Day) and then we did get the tree, although blustery winds and SNOW *that's right I said SNOW* prevented us from planting it... we're thinking that'll happen this weekend when dear friend Becky Smith visits. I individually journaled a TON and Scott individually processed in his way - and last night we had the most wonderful conversation about Duncan. What we remember about him. What we love about him. What ripples (only the ones we KNOW about) he has made in our lives and others. What conversations and holy moments happened that night one year ago with the people who surrounded him in that hospital room at the end. What absolute peace we had then and still do have about the way that last day happened... and that last one is what I thank God and Duncan for almost daily: Scott and I were gifted with 17 hours from the time that we were called to the NICU in the middle of the night to the time Duncan passed. When it became clear to us that his condition was as shaky as it was, Scott and I began, on the spot, requesting for DUNCAN to let US know if and when he needed to go. Yet again, this is a hard thing to explain, but it was as if he at that point became ageless and it was his spirit (slash God's spirit - all one and the same for us then) that we requested this guidance from. So when Duncan left, we felt he left on his own terms - we didn't intervene medically to keep him with us longer than his soul wanted to be and we didn't feel as though we "gave up" too earlier. That kind of peace - releasing the authority to Duncan's soul - is what we thank God for daily. It made the departure how it should have been.

So this was our experience of the 25th through the 26th... As always, we feel so blessed to have had the kind of support over the last year to encourage the kind of healing bringing us to now. The cards and calls and emails from our Ohio/Kentucky friends provided such bright spots to our weekend and we even were gifted a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a couple couple friends here in Minnesota who wanted to show their support... a sure sign that we have several homes, and this is becoming one of them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weekend in Ohio a HUGE ball of fun

Text isn't really necessary with the pictures below to prove how amazing our weekend was. We celebrated an early Turkey Day, enjoyed our bestest buds from OC during homecoming, enjoyed relaxing family moments, and had a heck of a time telling folks of our new news!

Bag has been evacuated by cat

Well... it's about time to share blog-style the news that our family is expanding!!! We are nearly 17 weeks pregnant and due April 1, 2009 (but, trust me, this baby will be no fool... I cannot tell you how many times I've repeated that joke).

Scott and I are totally pumped. Jackson is totally clueless. And Lilly the cat couldn't give a rip.

I thought the second time through, all the pregnancy "novelties" would be ho-hum. How wrong I was. That first ultra sound with the heart a beatin, that first pair of maternity pants I had to bust out, that first flutter and subsequent THUMP inside my belly... it ALL makes my heart melt as though it has never happened before. SUCH a crazy thing, pregnancy. I love it.

You'll all appreciate how well I kept the secret... we wanted to wait until this past weekend, when we were in town celebrating an early "mock" Turkey Day, to share the news face to face with folks. 16 weeks is a LONG time to keep news like that under wraps! We had five sets of visitors here in Columbus during that period of time the cat wasn't yet out of the bag. I wore lots of sweatshirts, let's just say.

But some suspicious parties were not convinced by our hiding. Stacia noticed I didn't change the cat litter once (what 17 year old pays attention to cat litter removal??). Diane and Ricci said the tiredness was a dead give away (after all, since when does Tricia need to rest in the middle of the day?). Dad and Nancye were for the most part stunned... but I think they had some instincts supporting my prego state. Grandmom and Grandad noticed I had picked up some weight (but, thank goodness, made no attempts to share this observation with me)... and Scott & I did, in our weakness, end up spilling the beans while they were here. KK is too darn smart to out-fool. So when she visited early on, I had no choice but to share (when I went running from the kitchen at the normally welcomed smell of chicken pot pie, who wouldn't have guessed?)

So there you have it. Our new kiddo is growing like he/she is supposed to. Fun fun.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When to jump?

As much as I'd like to think that my carefree, relaxed personality doesn't need structure, the reality is (I thinK) we all appreciate it. I've been getting myself into quite a swirl of mental chaos this past week... and it took me awhile to figure out why. Here goes: Because I do not know what to do with myself from 11am - 5pm.

I remember feeling this feeling last year when I was off work altogether, but Sophia's role in my life a couple days a week and the strong commitments to exercise regularly (THANK YOU KK!) and engage in that spiritual studying time (my own little Religion 101 class!) kept me feeling productive and balanced. Not to mention, plenty of friends offering social structure!

Well, here I am starting from scratch again. And although the morning hours contain HEAVY DUTY structure (up at 6:15, Jackson to Cassie's by 7:00am, to school by 7:15am, kids filter in at 7:25am, teach until 10:13am, plan/copy until 10:45am, pick up Jackson by 11 am), my stay-at-home stretch from that point until Scott comes home is WIDE OPEN at the moment.

You know how when there's no routine, all the things you finally have the time for seem like great ideas to get done, but then they DON'T?!?!?! Welcome to my 11am - 5pm life. So over the weekend I re-evaluated my at-home priorities and think I've come up with a daily "plan." But then I didn't start Monday. And I didn't start yesterday. And, wait, I guess I haven't really started today. (but, in my defense, Jackson's been a sick little dude this week... so out the window my structure went!). But I like what I have on paper. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it. Really I am.

But then, let's also target the non-at-home priorities that could/should provide structure for my life... you know, all the things I love to do: volunteer, become a leader in some community projects, get involved in church, take Jackson to art lessons, swimming lessons, blah blah. Here's the thing; I feel as though I, in particular, but also we, as an entire family, are circling the pool. It's like we KNOW once we get in, we'll be excited to be apart of the water-fun. But right now we're pacing. Trying to decide whether we want to commit or not. I, for one, am very cautious about what to dive into, because Lord knows I have a history of saying yes and regretted it later. Plus, I still haven't assessed everything there IS available to me in Rochester quite yet. What if I get my plate full and then discover ONE MORE thing I shoulda put at the top of my list? The one way in which I see my identity/structure/commitment firming up is finding a church home. Scott and have been BUSY Sunday morning shoppers these last three months. We're on to one, I think. We'll see.

Call me an over-analyzer, but that's the mode I'm in: CIRCLING THE POOL.

I'll tell you when I jump in.

Is it Wrong...

.. to take pictures of my child naked and post them? Cuz it sure is fun. At least he has one item of clothing on: that snazzy hat, knitted by sister in law Susan. What fun!

PS. Although it appears we make it a regular habit of letting our baby boy's parts roam free, this pic was taken directly post-strip and pre-bath.