23 August 2008

Our Time in New Jersey - Week 2 Recap

Two down, one to go. That's right, our time in NJ is two thirds of the way over. We've been having a great time, but I'll be honest, we are ready to go home. Keeping busy has been making the time fly, but it has also been wearing us out. Zeke and I are being hit the hardest I think. But, it's been wonderful seeing all the people we've been seeing and doing all the things we've been doing. So, without further adieu, here is week two!

Sunday we went to church at my old church, Scotch Plains Baptist Church, and it was wonderful. I truly felt like I was at home and it was great seeing everyone there again. I think they were prety excited to see us too. Deacon handed out smiles left and right (as is usual for him), and Zeke just flirted with Miss Anissa, who is absolutely beautiful, so I really can't blame him. After church we went back to my mom's house, had some lunch, put the kids down for naps. Then Josh's best friend, Steve, came over and spent the rest of the day visitng with Josh, while I went with my stepdad to bring the twins to camp and visit some friends up there. It was a good day for both of us, reconnecting with people who mean so much to us like that.

Of course, there was the part of the ride home from camp where my stepdad and I sat in traffic that had been stopped because of an accident. And when I say stopped, I mean stopped. Going in both directions. People were getting out of their cars, walking their dogs, letting their kids run around. It was crazy. But it finally cleared up and the usual 1+ hour car ride wound up taking 3 hours. Good thing we were in good company.

On Monday, after the boys got up from their first nap, we packed them up and headed over to visit Josh's grandfather. It was an interesting time visiting Grandpa Walter, as usual. The boys got antsy kind of quickly so I took them outside to play while Josh visited with his grandpa. Then my father came to pick me up for lunch, and Josh used that as his cue to bring the boys back to my mom's. Lunch with my father was a really good time.

Later, after dinner, we packed up the boys again and brought them to visit the Bible study Josh had started years ago at his friend's house. The only ones there were his cousin Evan and Evan's wife Aubrey. It was nice visiting with them, but then Deacon started throwing up a little bit (he ate WAY too many carrots at dinner) so I brought them back to my mom's, got them ready for bed, put them in bed, then headed back to Plasma, as the study is called, stopping at Rita's for Italian ices on the way. After study, led by Evan, Josh started up a pinochle game, but I was exhausted (it was 10pm) so I went home, and his friend Karl brought him home around two in the morning or something like that. He had a great time, and I'm so glad he got that time to spend with his friends and cousin.

Tuesday was a relatively uneventful day as our days here go. We took the boys to Target after they got up from their first nap and then to Applebee's for lunch. That was an experience and a half. I think it'll be awhile before we take them to a restaurant to eat again. Then we just hung out and after dinner we headed back to Josh's parents house for the next week.

And before I continue on, I'm not sure whether or not I wrote about this yet, and I'm too lazy to go back and look, but Deacon started taking steps while we were at my mom's house. He would take two steps here, three steps there, two steps over there, and so on. We wouldn't say he's walking yet (as of this point), but he's so stinking close.

Okay, where was I? Ah, Wednesday. Wednesday Josh and I ran to the mall down the road from Josh's parents house to look for clothes for my cousin's wedding next week. We didn't find anything. After we got back, we packed a bag, packed some snacks, dressed the boys in their suits and took the down the shore (Josh's parents live, literally, seven minutes from Seven Presidents Beach). We spent about an hour or so there, mostly playing in the sand, then headed back to the house for lunch and naps only to find...Aunt Linda, Uncle Jeff, and "brand new cousin" Sam were there! And let me tell you, that boy is TOO cute. I'm in love. And he just loves Josh too. Josh was talking to him about string theory (or something nerdy like that), and Sam just sat there staring at him the entire ten minutes he rambled, just totally enthralled. Sweet baby.

Thursday, Linda and I went to Mom's chiropractor. It was FABULOUS. Not only do they do adjustments there, but they massage you first (and I mean, seriously massage you, ahhhh) to loosen up the muscles and things where they're going to work, then adjust you. The doctor had me cracking up too. It was just great. Now my neck is realigned and feeling better, and my back feels a bit better, and it really was fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that when all the kiddos went down for their afternoon naps I took a nap too. I can't remember the last time I took a nap. It was sweet. That evening Linda and I went to Borders then did a Dunkin Donuts run. Yum, yum, Dunkin Donuts! Oh, and the Army came and took away all of the stuff that had been hanging out in our parents houses (and friends house) while we were in Germany. That should be in Oklahoma before we are. Good times.

Friday, well, let me bring you back to Tuesday first. Tuesday evening, as we were driving down to Josh's parents house, I noticed that the battery light had turned on. Josh pointed out then that the battery level was really low. Weird, we thought. The Jimmy was running fine, nothing out of the ordinary. When I turned on the lights, it went down a little lower, so I turned them back off. By Friday morning, it had died. SO, Josh spent most of Friday morning running back and forth getting the car fixed. It turns out the alternater was kaput. This is also the day that Josh has declared that Deacon is officially walking. He toddled his little big self right across the family room and it's been so fun to watch him ever since. As for the end of the day, we ended it on a high note. Josh and I went on a date. Our first date, in I have NO idea how long. We went to dinner at the Olive Garden, and it was delicious. I love the Olive Garden and it was so nice to be able to eat dinner without having to shovel food at Deacon while listening to Zeke melt down in the next room (because that's how dinners have been going lately).

Then today, Saturday, Josh and I took the boys to the mall to go shopping for the wedding again, and to get some lunch. Josh did get a suit, which is being altered to fit him (mostly...he's just too skinny!), we had some Chinese food (not the best thing ever, but Deacon sure enjoyed it), and walked around a little bit more before heading home to put the boys down for naps. This evening we had a big "family" dinner. Josh's parents best friends, Mr. & Mrs. Schoepp (whose son and wife have our cat) came down for dinner, as did Josh's cousin Joanna, her husband, Pat, and their 2-year-old, Leah. It was a full house! But it was a lot of fun, and now I'm here, blogging, as the guys play pinochle and the ladies look at Linda's pictures of Sam. Who, by the way, is an adorable baby. I know I said that already, but it needs repeating. Really, he's great.

And that's it for week two. Is your head spinning yet? I know mine is. And I will tell you now that week 3 doesn't look to be too much calmer. But I will write ALL about it when I get back home to Oklahoma. Ooooo-klaaaa-hoooo-maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

20 August 2008

The Night Before

I have been meaning to write about this night for awhile now. What night am I talking about? I am talking about the night before we flew from Oklahoma to New Jersey. The night we spent in a hotel in OKC (Oklahoma City). The night I had to share a bed with Zeke. You know, that night.

It started out well enough. We walked across a very busy street to IHOP for dinner. The boys were pretty well behaved. Well, Deacon was fine once food was put in front of him. Zeke got a little rowdy after a bit, but he kept it pretty well in check once I shared my juice with him. Then we walked back to the hotel and then the fun started.

Upon arriving in the hotel, we got the boys ready for bed. The hotel had given us a pack-n-play for Deacon, but since they only had one pnp, Zeke had to sleep in a bed. We opened the wardrobe door to sort of block him off from the rest of the room, and for the most part, it worked pretty well. It was somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00pm.

As we put Deacon in bed, Josh laid down on one of the two double beds in the room and said, "I don't feel good anymore" and was done for the night. This left me to deal with Zeke and his first night sleeping in a bed that didn't have a way of "restraining" him, also his first night (since he was a month old) sleeping in a bed with me. Let me just say, it was an interesting experience.

We started off watching some tv, as I hoped that if he was lying down watching it, he'd eventually drift off and all would good. Yeah, not so much. Zeke spent probably the first half hour jumping around the bed, moving pillows, figuring out the bed and such. FINALLY, around 8:30 I turned off the tv, laid him down AGAIN and he was just about to nod completely off to sleep when Deacon started crying in his sleep and woke everyone up. Great.

So, I got up, soothed Deacon, put him back to bed, collected Zeke from Josh, and started the process all over. This time around I put on the Olympics for Zeke to watch. It was men's gymnastics. I figured, "How exciting could gymnastics be for a two year old?" How exciting indeed. After the first guy we watched had finished his rings routine the camera panned to his parents who were cheering and jumping around. In the spirit of the evening, Zeke jumped up on the bed and started cheering. Okay. So the next guy comes out and does his high bar routine. As he does his routine, as he flips around and around around and he flips around and around and around, Zeke started counting his flips. Zeke got all the way to twelve then kind of ran out of numbers so he started making them up. And of course, he cheered when it was over. Mayhaps I have a future gymnast on my hand? Anyhoo. After this kid does his high bar routine, another guy comes out and does his pommel horse routine. Again, Zeke counted the one move. However, as the guy did the move where he keeps his legs together and swings them around Zeke provided his own commentary. "Wee! Wee! Wee!" Zeke said every time the kid swung his legs around. It was very sweet. It was also making it evident that men's gymnastics was not going to be the soothing tv experience I was hoping it to be.

Eventually I turned off the tv. After about a half hour of tossing and turning and throwing his stuff around, Zeke finally fell asleep (with his feet on my chest, by the way) at 10:30pm. Oh yeah. Once I was sure he was asleep, I got up to go to the bathroom, only to return to the bed to see that my little boy managed to take up two thirds of the bed. I'm still not sure how he did that, but I was left with the foot of the bed. At least that's where the blankets were so I wasn't cold. I also wasn't able to get much sleep.

There were sweet moments though. Such as when Zeke would put his pacifier in my hand, move my hand by his face, then hold onto my hand and his pacifier. Yeah. Those moments almost made it all worth it. Almost.

Oh, and Deacon has started walking. He's been working on it for the last week, and is starting to get a few more steps going here and there. Very exciting times.

18 August 2008

Our Time in New Jersey - Week 1 Recap

I can't believe it's only been a week since we got here. We have been so busy and have done so many things that it really feels like it's been longer. We are having a great time though, and the boys have been wonderful and friendly and really seem to be enjoying everyone they meet and see. Here's a little recap of what we've been doing so far...

Sunday we flew to NJ. To see how that went, you can read the post before this one. We spent the first few days with Josh's parents. His mom made a delicious ham dinner for our first night there, and after dinner we pretty much put the boys to bed, and I don't think I was too far behind them.

On Monday, I bought the boys new car seats since Zeke's broke beyond repair (it was missing a piece coming out of the baggage claim conveyor belt) during the flight to NJ, and Deacon was still using his infant seat carrier. So I figured it was time for Deacon to get a new one while I was out buying one for Zeke.

Tuesday morning we packed up the boys and took them to the beach! It was great. We drove down to Long Beach Island to visit the mission there I used to serve on. It was so much fun watching the program from the outside. What was even more fun was watching the boys play in the ocean for the first time. The timing really worked out perfectly because it was low tide, and so that made almost like a kiddie pool in the ocean for them to play in. I took Zeke a little further out so he could play in some tiny waves - which he loved. He especially liked it when they would knock him over. After we "swam" for a little bit, we left the beach (to much protesting by the wee ones) and went back to the team house for lunch (where the team members of the beach mission live and eat and plan and such). That was a lot of fun and it was really great seeing so many friends again.

Wednesday we drove up to my mom's for a week. My sister Katherine had her last night of work at the movie theater in the mall nearby, so she got us free tickets to go see Batman. What an awesome movie!

Thursday, Josh's cousin, Evan, came for a little visit, which was great. He and Josh went for a walk and spent some time catching up while the boys and I played in the backyard. That evening we went to have some Chinese food with my step-mom and brother. I tell you what, no one does Chinese food like New Jersey.

Friday I had lunch with my best friend from college, Karina, while Josh drove down to Stockton to pick up my sister from college (she had to go down for two days for cross country). After the boys woke up from their afternoon naps, we packed them up and headed to the local 4H Fair. Zeke had a great time seeing all of the animals and playing in all of the puddles that formed as it POURED down on us. We managed to make our way to the food tent for most of the storm. This made most of us happy. But as soon as it cleared, we headed for the cars and headed for home.

Saturday we drove two hours into Pennsylvania to my cousin's house for a family party. It was a nice day, and it was good to see most of my aunts and cousins and my Grammie. The boys had fun playing with all the other kids, even if they didn't have fun when "the adults" tried to get a picture of Grammie with her great-grandkids.

So, as you can see, a busy week, but a good week. Stay tuned to see comes next!

13 August 2008

Just wow.

That's all I can really say about today's posting on http://stuffchristianslike.blogspot.com. It is a really moving entry and I have decided to share it here because I think it's something that we all need to hear and be reminded of every once in awhile.

11 August 2008

Sleeping Beauties

We made it. We have arrived in New Jersey and I fear the state may never be the same again. I jest. We made it in once piece (or four separate yet whole pieces, whatever), and while it was a long day, it went really well. The best part of the day was probably the first hour of the second flight when BOTH boys and I slept! Granted, we had all been up since 4:30am and none of us really slept that well the night before (more on that later), but it was glorious all the same. And in case you don't believe me, here are the pictures to prove it...

The first flight I got a touch of the motion sickness. And by touch I mean I was rendered practically useless, was thankful the bathroom was right next to my seat, and thankful that I was the only one who used the bathroom during the hour+ flight. But I made it, and my color changed from green to a more natural color as we sped walked from one end of the airport to the other to catch our second flight (the one pictured above). The boys were fabulous. Obviously there were mini melt downs, but they were few and far between and short lasting. And Deacon would just smile at everyone and make them fall in love with him, so I don't think too many people really minded.

Then there was the last part of the second flight. The boys still did really well, but there was a storm over the airport we were landing in so they had us circle around about a half hour out until the storm passed the airport, which took about a half hour. Then, when we got there, there was a line of planes now waiting to land, so we had to wait our turn there, another twenty minutes or so. It might not have been so bad, but they made us strap the boys in, and that they objected to for such a long amount of time. But, like I said, we made it and we're here and it all went well. And since it's getting late, and I'm getting tired, I'm going to get going. More news on TSW (Tropical Storm Walter) as it occurs.

09 August 2008

This Just In...

It appears that Tropical Storm Walter is beginning to make its way towards the East Coast - New Jersey to be exact. Local residents are being advised to prepare themselves as what is now merely a tropical storm could, in fact, escalate into Hurricane Walter. More news from the site as it develops.

That's right, we're leaving for New Jersey today! Well, really tomorrow, but our flight is ridiculously early in the morning so I thought it best to get a hotel for tonight right outside the airport. Now I'm questioning that decision as I did not account for the fact that we're not bringing our pack-n-plays with us this time around so we won't definitely have beds the boys will sleep in tonight. It could be a VERY long night. I'm just saying.

All this is to say that I will try to post a blog every once in a while during our trip, but they will probably be few and far between. Not that I've been stellar at keeping up with the blogging lately, but that's because of moving, and not having internet in our house until this past Tuesday, and trying to catch up on other things. And now the laptop won't read my camera so all of my pictures are stuck on there until I get to NJ and can get them off and onto my memory stick, which means all of my pictures from August won't be on Flickr until we get back in September. Hopefully by then all of our stuff will be here too and I can just use my regular computer and it will be fabulous.

As for what we've been doing here since landing in Oklahoma, well, really we've just been hanging out. We found a great video rental store, and have been trying to catch up a little on some of the movies we've missed over the last five years. Any suggestions for when we return? And we've been making almost daily trips to WalMart (stinkin' WalMart and its convenience). Now, we're just packing up and getting ready to go. Oh, we've also been playing a bunch of pinochle, but I keep losing, so I don't think we're going to be playing that any more. And that's really all. (Can you tell I'm procrastinating?)

I need to finish packing, but the boys are napping, and the rest of their clothes are in their rooms so I really can't finish packing until they get up. So really, I'm just taking care of other things until I can get to the things I need to get to to finish what I'm supposed to be doing. What's what? No, that's not Zeke in his room talking to himself because he's actually awake and ready to get up. Why would you think that? I'm not sitting here blogging trying to put off getting him up and getting things done like I probably (okay really) should be. Sigh. I guess this means it's really time to go and get this show on the road, both figuratively and literally.

Until we meet again, have a fabulous weekend! And if you're in the NJ area and want to get together, leave a comment, and we'll do our best to work it out. Tchuess! (That's German for "bye", it's kind of pronounced like "juice" but with a "tc" instead of a "j".) Oh, I did put up most of my pictures from July on Flickr if you want to check them out. Have a good one!

02 August 2008

With a Random Picture in the Middle

Talk About Culture Shock

So, the other night I was finally working on getting our suitcase unpacked when Josh said to me, “You should go to WalMart and buy a new DVD player.” (Keep in mind it was about 7:30pm.) My eyes got all big and I said, “Now?” “Sure,” he replied. “Why not? I mean, it’s not like we’re in Germany anymore where everything closes at 4pm.” And that just blew my mind. So I finished unpacking the suitcase because I REALLY wanted to get that done, and I drove across the street to WalMart. And wouldn’t you know it, I was NOT the only one in there! In fact, there were tons of people there as if it were 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I felt like I was in some other dimension. A weird universe where people do things like go to WalMart at times when they should be home getting ready to go to bed or something. I don’t know. I do know that it was a taste of what you all call “life in America”, and it truly was something else. I guess I have been away a little too long.

How Did That Happen?!?

Josh and I are officially adults. We bought ourselves a brand new washer and dryer last weekend. Crazy! But I tell you what, I LOVE THEM! It’s so nice to get a load of laundry (and a big load at that) done in a half an hour instead of three hours. That’s right, back in Germany, it would take almost two hours to wash a load and then another hour to hour and a half to dry one. Now, I can get the kids up in the morning and know that I can have their bedding washed AND dried before they go down for their naps a few hours later. It’s a beautiful thing.

Kids, cars, washer/dryer, what’s next?

Oh, and, Deacon got his eighth tooth the day after we landed in Oklahoma. You know, for those of you counting along at home.