27 February 2009

One Horn, Or Two?






































And, by the way, Josh has made it safely to Anchorage. He will sign in today and hopefully we will know something more about what's next for the rest of us sometime next week! We thank you all for your prayers during this time. God is SO good!

24 February 2009

Maybe I'm a Little Bit Biased

I'm just going to put it out there. I think my boys are just the cutest EVER, and I am going to take this time to share some pictures that just make me smile. Feel free to "ooh" and "aah" and "aww" right along with me.


<--There's how Deacon decided to watch a movie the other night.



Here's Deacon. This is him. -->
All the time with the smiles (and the food).








I bought the boys some new boots for when it rains. Zeke's has dinosaurs and Deacon's has frogs. I think they like them. In fact, Deacon wore his around the house the entire time "Finding Nemo" was on.







<-- I've decided Zeke drinks too much juice and started giving him more water. This is him going through withdrawl.


This -->
is how I found him yesterday after his nap. ON the books.







On Sunday, I thought the boys looked SO handsome that I took some pictures. Sadly, the pictures really don't do the boys any justice.
(But they're still cute pictures.)








AND! As you can see by my fabulous map, Josh has made it to Juneau. He gets back on the boat today and will (hopefully) make it to Anchorage on Thursday!





Okay, that's all I have for now. Thank you for indulging my whim there. You guys are the best!

20 February 2009

I Bet You Didn't Know Canada Looked Like That


OR, Why I Should NEVER Be A Geography Teacher by Me
In an attempt at helping Zeke understand a little better about where Daddy is and why he's not home, I made a map showing where we were, the states Daddy was driving through, and where Daddy is headed for...



As you can see, not only did Canada wind up looking like one giant rectangle (I modified the one edge a little), but I completely forgot that Alaska is actually attached to Canada. I mean, doesn't everyone know that Alaska is actually an island way out there by itself? At least the boys are only 3 and 1, so they don't know any better yet. I also printed a picture of me and the boys to put in Oklahoma since, you know, that's where we still are...


Sorry it's blurry. I couldn't get the camera to find something to focus on since it's really just a picture of a piece of paper. But there we are. And here is Josh, in his car, getting ready to get on the boat, which is getting ready to head across that vast amount of ocean between Washington state (which I almost left off entirely when I first started, as well as Oregon) and Alaska...
I had a lot of fun making it though, and it seems to be helping. Zeke hasn't really asked for Josh since I put it up and explained it all to him. On another note in the same tune, I woke up this morning with the song "If I Had a Boat" by Lyle Lovett, as covered by Dave Matthews, in my head. I started laughing as I thought about the words to the chorus and how, by switching some words, I was able to apply it to Josh. These are the original words, with the "more applicable" words in brackets after the correct words...
If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony [car]
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony [car] on my boat
This conjured all sorts of funny images in my mind as I thought about it. Josh on a pony. Josh on a pony on a boat. The little pictures I would draw to illustrate this song back when I was in college. You know. But, Josh's boat leaves with the evening tide tonight and I guess I won't hear from him until he lands in Juneau, AK on Monday. If you think of it, please pray for him this long weekend, for his safety and that things would be uneventful and smooth the rest of his journey. I appreciate it. I'm sure he does too. And now, I'm going to go. Enjoy your weekend!

18 February 2009

Which Way to Washington

Today, special guest blogger Josh, is coming to you live from Bellingham, Washington. That sounds stupid but give me a break I have been driving for 4 straight days and well, as it says I am kinda "special". So, Beth asked me to post about my travels and provide some pics. I took a bunch of photos as I went, mostly through my windshield so don't judge my talent, I was focused on making my driving goals each day. That being said; below is an abbreviated account of how things went down.



I actually got started on my journey around 10AM Saturday morning. Oklahoma flew past and before I knew it I was in North Texas hill country. I missed a good photo opportunity as right after the Welcome to Texas sign there was a "Don't mess with Texas, littering $1000 fine" sign. The weather was beautiful and I made good time. After cutting across the Northern part of TX I made my way through most of New Mexico. I visited Red Rocks, NM before calling it quits for the day in Gallup, just shy of the Arizona border. New Mexico was stunning, and possessed an austere beauty I did not expect.




Day 2 started with me crossing into Arizona shortly before sunrise.




I stopped by the Petrified Forest, it was closed. That saddened me but I pushed on making great time through the eastern desert. The landscape was much the same as NM until I climbed into the mountains around Flagstaff. In the higher elevations there was a lot of snow.



I was impressed by Flagstaff and the surrounding area. I took some time there to remember my late Grandmother Walter who grew up around there and used to tell stories of the hundreds of stairs she had to climb each day to go to school, I didn't believe her at the time, I do now. After descending the roughly 6000 ft back down to the desert I drove westward toward the California border. Due to holiday traffic, I skipped the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam and crossed the Colorado River into California and another new time zone buying me an extra hour of driving time. After successfully negotiating the California Agricultural inspection station I made my way through the Mojave Desert.



I was surprised by the amount of life there, while at the same time given the impression of solitary desolace. I don't know if that makes any sense, but anyway, it was a long haul through there. I finished day 2 in Fresno, and yes I had my first In and Out burger (It was not as impressive as I had been led to believe by certain people, but the people were very friendly, so I was satisfied).


Day 3 was supposed to be my easy driving day. I say supposed to because I woke up to severe weather warnings on the radio, they sounded like the bad stuff was supposed to hit South of where I was so I saddled up and pressed on. My first stop was Modesto, CA to visit the parents of my friend Jim, and let me tell you it was a stop worth making. Mama S. cooked up a meal for me that was fantastic (chicken apple sausages, scrambled eggs with diced peppers and onions, toast with butter and pomegranate jelly, and fresh coffee, delicious). We had a nice visit and it was good to have some one to talk to for awhile. I set out from there rejuvenated and with the goal of making it to Oregon by nightfall. The weather caught up to me in the Sierra Nevadas, north of Sacramento. There was some rain on top of recent snowfall, fog, and snow flurries combined with gusting winds, which made for a bit of white knuckle driving before getting through the pass and starting the descent into the central Oregon valley. (insert snowy day 3 photo) I finished the day about 30 miles into Oregon at Medford.





Day 4 was largely uneventful. I had no specific stops planned, and made good time through Oregon. The countryside was beautiful, like something out of a fairytale, not at all like the Oregon Trail computer game I used to play in school. I made my way to Portland and crossed the Columbia River into Washington. It rained on and off till I hit Washington, then it just rained. WA is, I'm sure, a beautiful state, however heading straight up route 5, it gave me the impression of dreariness. Traffic was terrible from Tacoma until about 20miles North of Seattle. On the whole, the drive went well and I arrived in Bellingham shortly before 5PM, 2 days ahead of schedule.



Updates to future travel plans: I was able to switch my ferry bookings, so I will be landing in Whittier, AK (70miles out side of Anchorage), instead of Haines, AK (700miles from AK). I will take the ferry on the 20th to Juneau, spend a day there then catch the ferry to Whittier, landing some time around the 27th a good day or 2 before my report date of 1 MAR.
All told, the trip was 2,387 miles. I am glad that most of the driving is behind me, and I am sure Beth will keep you updated as I start the next leg.






17 February 2009

Food & Follies

Where to begin? I've been meaning to blog each day as it happened, as Josh emailed me pictures of his day's journey, as things go on, but I haven't. So now I have to catch up a little. This post is just going to be about us. Tomorrow (or the next day) I will put together a post on Josh's drive to Washington, complete with pictures. Until then, let me entertain you with some stories from the boys.



Yesterday, I was cooking dinner and thinking about Zeke's speech. I was specifically thinking about how he doesn't pronounce S's when they are on the front of words ("Hammie" for Sammie, "nomen" for snowmen) and I was wondering if he could say them if they were at the end of words instead. So, I thought long and hard for a word that ended in s, and said to him, "Hey, Zeke. Can you say kiss?" He looked at me, yelled, "YUCK!", and then took off running through the house repeating the word yuck over and over.



For those of you who don't know this, whenever we say goodbye to someone, we don't just say bye and that's all. No, my boys say, "Bye. Tchuess. Ciao." (Tchuess, which sounds like "juice" but with more of a "ch" sound in front, is bye in German, and Ciao, pronounced "chow", is bye [and I think hi] in Italian, and really lots of European countries.) So, Deacon loves to say this. He has also started to learn how to count and can make it all the way to three. Also, whenever a helicopter flies over our house we say "Bye. Tchuess. Ciao Harold!" Harold being the helicopter from Thomas the Tank Engine. So, the other day, as a helicpoter flew out of sight Deacon waved and said, "Bye. Tchuess. Three!" And reading that here makes it seem sort of "So?" but I assure you, it was funny in the moment.



Also last night, I was putting laundry away in Zeke's room when I heard him in the living room yelling, "HUP! HUP!" I walked back in and saw him throwing raisins and peanuts in the air like he was Scrooge McDuck and his snack was gold coins. And, of course, this meant there was raisins and peanuts all. over. the. floor. See?


Lovely, yes?

And then today, I got home from MOPS only to find out that I had left the house without my house key and the boys and I were locked out. I called our landlady, who was out taking care of business. Perfect. Luckily, and I truly praise God for this, Zeke is occassionnally (I can never remember which letters get doubled in that word, so I just go for them all) fascinated with the locks on his windows, and it just so happened that the last time he played with them, he left them in the unlocked position, so I was able to remove the screen, open the window from the outside and open up the door to let the boys in (they were safely in the garage, not just wandering up and down the street or anything).

And Zeke about broke my heart last night with the manner in which he asked for Josh, but I will spare you and your heart strings that story. Just know that Daddy is sorely missed by his little boy.

Now I am off to clean up the aforementioned raisins and peanuts (no, I didn't do it last night, shame on me) and to relax a little while the boys nap. I shall leave you, though, with some videos of the proper way to eat macaroni and cheese. You know, in case you were confused. Bye! Tchuess! Ciao!


video




video

14 February 2009

And He's Gone


And I'm doing okay, even though I'm sad. Of course, I didn't sleep well last night, and I'm extra hormonal for "womanly" reasons, so none of that is helping me out either. But Josh left this morning. A mere two hours ago to be exact. He is off on his great adventure to Alaska, and boy does he have a lot of driving ahead of him.


He took his own Volvo, since mine has not gotten fixed yet. I do have an appointment to drop it off on Monday to get taken care of, but we waited too long and so he borrowed a nav system from the Starlings (thanks Jim!) and is making his way towards Washington state. He figures it'll take him about four days to get there, assuming he goes at least 600 miles or so each day. Fun. From Washington he'll get on a ferry. He just found out two nights ago though, that the ferry will not be taking him to Anchorage as we originally thought. Apparently the Army chose to book his passage on a vessel that will drop him off in a different part of Alaska, thus requiring him to drive another 700 miles to Anchorage after a three or four day boat ride. Sigh. But, once he's there, he'll work on getting lots of things settled and hopefully in the first week of March we should know more about when the boys and I will be packing up and leaving Oklahoma behind. (By the way, this is a picture I took of Zeke giving Josh the biggest hug ever this morning. As if he knew or something.)

In other news, Deacon's top two molars have broken through a bit and it looks like his two bottom incisors (or whichever they are that come next) are also going to make an appearance soon. Perhaps this explains his ickiness last week? He has also been terrible about being dropped off in child care lately. I mean, screaming and crying and the saddest little faces EVER. It's very unlike him. Josh took him to church last week while I stayed home with Zeke (Zman had a bit of a fever the night before), and had to pick him up from the nursery because Deacon wouldn't stop crying. It's terrible. I have no idea where it's coming from either. He usually LOVES being dropped off and playing with the other kids. (Don't worry, I've cut their bangs since taking this picture.) Deacon has also started using more and more words. It's very exciting. I think he'll catch up to Zeke vocabulary-wise very soon.


And then there's Zeke. I think he's growing some more. Someone should really put a stop to that. I think I'll be removing the harness from his carseat and using the seatbelt with it soon, since his shoulders are way above the last spot for them. And I know that sentence proabably didn't make much sense to most of you, but trust me, that it's time for an upgrade of some kind. We also bought him a booster car seat since he fits in the car without one pretty well, but I want to try fixing his car seat first. And I will close, since nap time is over and I can hear Deacon calling, with a story. The other night I woke up at 3am to Zeke coughing. I laid in bed for a minute to determine if he needed me or not, and when he stopped coughing and it was quiet, I decided he didn't. Then I heard a light banging on the wall. Intrigued, I got up, went into his room and found him putting the last of his new favorite "comfort" toys, I guess, in his bed (I snapped this shot the next morning)...

It's the books. Those books are the Little Critter books that Linda got for Zeke for Christmas two years ago. Those books are "it" right now. Zeke always has them either in his bed with him, carries the stack of them around, or has them on the floor next to his bed. And this has been every day for the past week or two. It's fabulous.

12 February 2009

There You Go

It's finally finished. I got as many of the pictures from Sara and Lily's visit (and my dad and Karen's visit) as I'm going to get up on Flickr. You can see them (as well as the rest of my pictures there from January) by clicking HERE. You know, if you're interested. And since that about wore me out, that's all you're getting here, for now. Enjoy the pictures.

09 February 2009

Far and Away

Far and away, this was my favorite Christmas card that we recieved this past holiday season:

It came from my dear friend, Tracy, and I just wanted to share it with you all since I enjoy it that much. If you are interested in seeing more works by this artist (Anne Taintor), and all the various objects you can get them on (cards, messenger bags, magnets, etc) you can click here, and be taken right to her site. You now have an assignment. Go to the site linked, click on the "Find Your Favorite Taintorette" option. Pick your favorite and either leave a comment with your favorite caption or post your favorite on your own blog. It'll be fabulous! Just like this card.

07 February 2009

First Born


Here you go Moms (and everyone else reading this) - a different kind of survey for a change - it's all about having your first born! My friend Julie did this on her facebook page and tagged me with it. I thought it actually kind of cute, so here I am doing it here on my blog instead of my facebook since I don't actually enjoy using facebook all that much. So, if you have a child and want to play along, feel free (either on your blog or your facebook, whichever).


1. WAS YOUR PREGNANCY PLANNED?
Yes. Mostly. We didn't really expect it to happen so quickly when we decided to "see what happens."

2. WERE YOU MARRIED AT THE TIME?
Yes. For about two years, I think.

3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS?
Excited, shocked it happened so fast.

4. WAS ABORTION AN OPTION FOR YOU?
Not at all!

5. HOW OLD WERE YOU
25

6. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT?
home pregnancy test, then the blood and urine tests at the clinic.

7. WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST?
Umm...I can't remember. I think Josh's parents? Either Josh's parents or my mom. Is it terrible that I don't remember? I think it was Josh's parents because we were headed to NJ (from Germany) about a week after we found out and thought it would be fun to wait and tell everyone in person, but he was on the phone with them the weekend before we left and just couldn't wait anymore.

8. DID YOU WANT TO FIND OUT THE SEX?
Nope.

9. DUE DATE?
January 21st. Or the 25th. Sometime in there.

10. DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS?
I don't want to talk about it. Okay, I do. My "morning" sickness lasted ALL. DAY. LONG. For TEN WEEKS. It was awful. I lost 9 pounds my first trimester.

11. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE?
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

12.WHAT IRRITATED YOU?
The smell of meat while it was being cooked.

13. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CHILD'S SEX?
A boy!

14. DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING?
Not at all. I always wanted my first to be a boy.

15. HOW MANY POUNDS DID YOU GAIN THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY
40/45 pounds or so. I blame the German hospitals and their giving you bread and cheese for two of the three meals every day.

16. DID YOU HAVE A BABY SHOWER?
yes

17. WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW?
I knew.

18. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY?
I was put in the hospital on bed rest for the two weeks before Christmas because Zeke was threatening to come too early. It was about 32 weeks into my pregnancy.

19. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH?
St. Elisabeth's Hospital in Bad Kissingen, Germany


20. WHO DROVE YOU TO THE HOSPITAL?
Josh, at about 11:30pm

21. WHO WATCHED YOU GIVE BIRTH?
Josh, the midwife we named "Grinchy" because she strongly resembled the Grinch, and the doctor.

22. WAS IT NATURAL OR C-SECTION?
Natural

23. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN?
Unfortuantely, no. There wasn't really enough time.

24. HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR?
Umm...3ish. The lighter contractions started around 9:30pm. They broke my water and "real" labor started around midnight and he was born at 12:34am. SO, three hours? A half an hour? Take your pick.

25. HOW MUCH DID THE BABY WEIGH?
7 pounds 14 oz

26. WHEN WAS YOUR CHILD ACTUALLY BORN
January 3rd, 2006

30. WHAT DID YOU NAME HIM/HER?
Ezekiel Xenophon Walter


And there you go. Now he's an active boy who loves dragons/dinosaurs/etc, trains, balls, jumping, running, WALL-E, penguins and all sorts of things. And to end with a story, I built a train track for him the other day. When I finished it, he looked at it and said, "Wow. Look at this. This is a good job!" He's too sweet sometimes.

05 February 2009

Hodge Podge

So, it's been awhile, huh? Sorry about that. I wish I had so really good reason for not writing in so long, but I don't. I've just been lazy. That being said, this post will be a hodge podge of stuff that I've been meaning to write and know I won't come back to writing any time soon (which means breaking it up is out of the question). So, bear with me if this gets a little long.

Last month, I know, I know, I took the boys to the doctors for their check-ups. For those of you still playing along at home, Zeke weighed in at 34 1/2 pounds (just over 75% for his age) and was 37 inches tall (just under 50% for his age). I'm sure he's taller than that now as he's been growing like crazy. I am surprised his height puts him so "low" on the scale since everyone tells me "he's SO BIG for 3!" Deacon, on the other hand, weighed in at 25 pounds 4 ounces (just under 50%) and was 33 inches tall (just over 75%). Zeke was kind of a pain during the appointment. He cried every time the nurse came near him. He was great with the doctor though. Talked and talked and talked to him. At one point, it sounded like Zeke said, "I try really hard." To which the doctor replied (while patting Zeke on the back), "I know you do." Deacon was fine. Didn't enjoy his shots too much, but who really does? So that was our visit last month.

Let's see...what's next? How about Alaska? Here's the plan, as we currently know it. Josh graduates on the 12th. He will be driving to Washington state with one of the cars (it was originally going to be my car since it has a nav system and all, but it still needs to get fixed from when it got hit -OH...I better go call the garage, hold on a sec!....thanks.). Josh will then take the 4 day ferry ride from Washington to Alaska, which should get him there a day or two before he has to report on March 1st. So, he will report, and inprocess and get us on the housing list (if there is one) and figure out when he can come back to Oklahoma to move our stuff and the boys and me to Alaska. So, hopefully mid-March we will all be heading out the "last frontier". Of course, he was contacted by them the other day and was told he has to go out to the field for a week or so the end of March/beginning of April. So, maybe we'll be in Oklahoma until the middle of April. Who knows? But that's where we sit with all of that.

Zeke has started building his own train tracks lately. He's been doing a pretty good job of it too. He has also started clasping his hands together when he asks "please" for something. I'm not sure where he learned that from. He just started doing it on a day that was like any other day. He has also started punching the chair and making this noise that sounds like crying, but isn't, whenever he gets really excited about something. I keep trying to catch it on video to show you, but it's an unexpected thing and hard to get. I'll keep trying because it really is something to behold. He LOVES the movie WALL-E, and has started humming the song that runs through most of the movie while building his train tracks or coloring or whatever. He also likes to walk around the house yelling, "E-BA!" (The girl's name in the movie is Eve, but Wall-E pronounces it "Ee-vah" and Zeke isn't too good with his b's yet, so it comes out "Eeee-bah!") Also, his emotions/hormones/whatever seem to have equalized, and he is once again a pleasant boy, not the emotional rollercoaster that he was a month ago. He does have a tendancy to throw Sammie down if she upsets him in any way, but we're working on that.

And then there's Deacon. Last night Josh said, "That kid is like a better looking version of me." Great. Because what the world really needs is two Joshes. He loves to wrestle. He loves to read. He loves to stick his fingers in the lids of the markers as Zeke colors. He also has some weird sick thing going on. Monday morning, he didn't eat much of his breakfast, but was pretty much okay otherwise. Until he threw up curdled milk on Zeke's rug. Nice, I know. The rest of the day he was okay, but a bit on the cranky side since I wouldn't give him milk the rest of the day. Tuesday he woke up fine, didn't really eat breakfast again, but we went to MOPS and he did fine, and came home and all was good until he threw up some apple juice he was drinking around 2:15. And he couldn't/wouldn't poop. So his tummy was extremely tight, he was not happy, and he snuggled with me through most of WALL-E that night. Yesterday he spit up some of his morning milk almost as soon as he finished drinking it. He had two enormous and enormously nasty poops (I'm not complaining though because at least it's all making it's way out) throughout the day. Still didn't eat breakfast, or much lunch for that matter, but he did eat dinner both last night and Tuesday night, and kept it all down. Today, he didn't really eat breakfast again, but none of his beverages have been seen again either. So, we're staying home from PWOC (sad!) so he can rest some more and hopefully kick the rest of whatever it is that's making him so cranky and clingy and whiney and sick and then extremely happy and joyful and then sickly and cranky and then happy and then you get the idea. (Talk about emotional roller coasters, huh?)

And I think that's all the latest and greates from Walterland. I'll try to be back again soon!