Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Love Story - Asked and Answered

Tammy of Family Doin's and Midlife Mom asked me to tell the story of my courtship with DC. I am always glad to tell this story.

I didn't date much in high school. Not much at all. And it wasn't because I didn't want to! I thought for sure that going to a Christian college was going to solve that problem. Freshman year I met a guy at a week-end retreat and we clicked. We dated the rest of freshman year, and I thought we were going to get married. The thrill went away when I began to realize he was not going in to study when I went in to study. He was totally wasting his time and flunking out of school. I was a very serious student, and that didn't set well with me. Then I discovered he couldn't manage his money. It wasn't going to work out for us - my idea. But it was hard anyway.

I went through the rest of college being lonely. When you graduate from a Christian college without an "equally yoked" partner, the future seems pretty grim! That is, if you want to get married.

My college roommate (who was in the same boat) and I moved to a small town in southeast Kansas to teach school. I posted about this during my Job Saga series. I was not happy there, and ended up moving back home with my parents. It was not a good time. My heart was broken during this period of time by "the rancher".

It was at this juncture that I was one of a very few "career young adults" (read single and lonely) in our church. There were several other small evangelical churches in our town, and we did a lot of things together for great fellowship. My dad and his best fellow-pastor friend asked me to try to get some activities going for all of the "career young adults" in all of these small churches. I thought that was a great idea and ran with the idea.

Now - I happened to know that Dad's good pastor friend had a son who had just recently graduated from college and moved to our town to work (his dad had come to pastor here after the son had left home, so it wasn't really "home" to him). I learned that he had a new friend who had just moved to our town from the Midwest. I remember writing down their names in my little notebook and beginning my quest for more people to join together for some "career young adult" fellowship - badly needed by me, at least.

The bad news - I didn't really unearth too many people who seemed to need or want this organization. But I had a core group - these two guys and me! I had to figure out a way to meet these two. It was my new mission in life. Because my dad's pastor friend refused to introduce me to his son - didn't want to get involved in something that might backfire on him!

I began to go to everything that might possibly bring these two guys out. I didn't know how, but I KNEW I would KNOW who they were when I saw them.

We had a small, but good group of this age group in our church at the time, and we enjoyed fellowship in our Sunday School class. But there were more gals than guys, and none of the guys were of interest to me. But we did have good fun every Thursday night when we played volleyball together. Suddenly a great idea DAWNED upon me! I presented the idea to my class - let's invite the "career young adult" class from the church these two guys attended to play volleyball with us. They thought it was a great idea, not even suspecting my ulterior motive.

I have a confession to make at this point - I really hate volleyball. I have never enjoyed any activity that had the possibility of a ball hitting me in the face - it goes way back to elementary school when I was stuck out in the far outfield during baseball games at recess. And I can't serve a volleyball over the net to save my soul. But I went every Thursday night because I was desperate to get out of the house - I was back in a small bedroom in my folks' house after having been on my own for quite awhile.

Wonder of wonders - the other church group agreed to come and play. Of course, this was something these two guys would show up for - it was a sport! I went out and bought a new slack and top outfit and watched all the other girls show up in their grubbies. Not fair, I suppose, but isn't all fair in love and war??

My heart was in my throat as these two really handsome guys showed up first - I was the only one there from our church (p.k., you know - we were always the first ones to any service or activity). I introduced myself. And began to shamelessly flirt with the son of my dad's friend. I spent a lot of time on the floor - I told you I am REALLY bad at volleyball (or most any other sport). I did not pay much attention to the other young guy, the one who had moved out recently from the Midwest.

That was a Thursday night. On Saturday I was taking a trip to visit my college roommate - the one who had left me and moved back closer to her home in western Kansas. I had really been looking forward to this trip, and suddenly I didn't want to go - what if one of these neat guys called me and I wasn't home? Would he ever call again??

Bad news - nobody called! But - on Tuesday, the OTHER one called me. We talked for a long time, getting acquainted on the phone. He had such a great voice, and I really really liked him. He asked me to go for a ride in the mountains on Sunday.

Now, remember, there had been a REALLY LONG dry spell in my romantic life. The very next night, the phone rang - it was a guy. The son of my dad's pastor friend! I could not believe it. We didn't have a long conversation, just enough to make a date to go to the Icecapades on Saturday night - yep, the day BEFORE the ride to the mountains with the OTHER one.

Needless to say, I had a hard time keeping my mind on my work for the next two days. On Saturday night L. picked me up for the trip to the Icecapades. I had always wanted to go to the Icecapades, and we had a really nice time. Nothing heart-stopping. Just very pleasant. He didn't book another date.

The next day, DC picked me up in his beautiful brand new Monte Carlo - I think I fell in love with his car before him. We had the greatest time - we drove and talked and drove and talked. We had so much in common. He practically planned up the whole summer doing things together. I was in heaven. I remember telling my mom that L was really nice, but DC was ready to settle down!

We did begin to see each other and/or talk most every day. L didn't seem to notice. By the time he got around to asking me for another date, DC and I had really developed a relationship. DC had to tell him - L didn't mind. He truly wasn't ready to settle down, and he was happy for DC and me.

This was in April. Things got serious really quickly. In June I went on a trip with my sister and a friend, and I know I bored them silly with DC's name in every other sentence. When I got back home, we began to seriously talk about a permanent commitment. I couldn't believe it was going so fast. But I realized that we both were older and had lived independently, knowing what the other one would bring to a marriage. We had been hurt and knew what we did and did not want in a partner. We were both eldest preacher's kids and had been reared with a tremendous sense of responsibility. We both loved the Lord. We had saved ourselves for each other.

It wasn't long before we were looking at rings. We found a beautiful diamond with a minute flaw. We chose it and decided it would remind us that, no matter how beautiful, nobody is perfect and no relationship is perfect. We chose a set of rings that involved the stone being sent to Kansas City for setting. It took much longer for it to come back than I imagined.

It was a beautiful October Saturday. L and DC were watching football in DC's apartment - he had a large console colored t.v. I had gone fabric shopping and found the perfect off white velvet that I wanted to use for my wedding gown. I stopped by DC's place to tell him we needed to tell our folks we were engaged pretty soon - and I really needed to buy this fabric, because it was on sale until Monday! How romantic is that??!!

We were going roller skating that night with DC's sister and her husband. Now, you know how I feel about sports. I'm a lousy skater, but I was game to go. It was the couple's skate - they cleared the floor of single skaters, lowered the lights and put on romantic colored ones, played "Ebb Tide." It was great. As we were skating around (I was okay as long as I was hanging on to DC's hand), he began to ask me interesting questions. The one I remember the most was, "When we get married, will you sometimes do what I think is best, just because I am the husband?" I immediately agreed! I have to say I didn't think that one through too carefully. Then he somehow managed to stay up on his skates while pulling something out of his pocket - my ring had arrived that afternoon after we talked! He had made a quick trip to the jewelry store 15 miles away, picked up the ring, stopped by to ask my Dad's permission (so romantic and sweet!), went back home to get ready for our date, and picked me up on time.

I must say - I was so shocked when he pulled out the ring, after the conversation we'd had that morning, that I literally ran into the wall! At least I didn't fall flat on my face. I excitedly put on the ring and began flashing it in front of my SIL. She was so excited for us!

We set the date for December 28 - two months hence. His folks had been out in August, were coming again for Christmas, and we figured they would have a hard time coming again in April, which was when I really wanted to get married. I made my dress, my going away dress, my sister's bridesmaid dress, my mom's dress, worked full time 50 miles drive one way - and got it all done in two months. It was a very low budget, but beautiful wedding. And 35 years later, we're still going strong. We've been through a lot in the last few years, but God has brought us through and made us stronger.

INTERESTING FOOTNOTE: L and my sister met that July when my sister came home for a brother's wedding. They instantly hit it off. She was not at all eager to meet L, because she had been "set up" for so many dates that she was pretty gun-shy. At our wedding in December, he told her he loved her. They got married the next November. We've been best friends and family ever since. So awesome.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Twins - 3 Weeks Old - and More Answers

Three weeks already! Where in the world has the time gone? Here it has gone very fast, with keeping up with admissions, running to the hospital every day at noon. Kristen has been going up twice a day to feed both girls.

Kate has become the star! She is eating so much and growing so fast that they were predicting a Wednesday release - but I think they've changed their minds on that. She's at 4 pounds. I got to feed both girls today, because I was the only one there. Kristen went to the mid-afternoon slot today. Kate is out of the isolette, and both are wearing fetching little stocking caps. Kristen is wondering why they aren't wearing the ones she made for them. We'll have to remind them.

This was before I fed her the bottle - notice no more feeding tube!

Full tummy - very contented!

Emma after her bottle - making the same face her big sister, Care Bear, made as a teeny tiny baby.

Now - back to the questions!

Diane at Diane's Place asked, "What's your favorite meal that your Mom prepared - including dessert? Any special memories attached to the meal?" That brought about so many happy thoughts. My dad was a poor preacher - now I don't mean that he was not a good speaker - I mean he was paid very little, and had 7 mouths to feed. We never knew we were poor, and we had such great times.

Mealtime at our house would have been good for the commerical that we see on t.v. often these days - about how important the family table is. As if they just figured that out! Oops - I've gone to preaching myself. Back to the topic at hand - we didn't have a lot of grocery money. We all went to the store together on Saturday. Though there was a tight budget, one of us 5 kids got to take a turn picking out a bag of candy for the week - which lasted till later Saturday night!

Saturday night was hamburger night - when we finally got a t.v. set, we watched Perry Mason while we ate. Sunday night we ate after church, because Dad couldn't preach on a full stomach. But it wasn't a real meal - it was very snacky. Fun memory. It must be why I have never been able to bring myself to fix Sunday evening meals.

Sunday noon - ah, that's where the best memory is. No matter how much we had to scrimp on food for the rest of the week, we almost always had roast beef with all the trimmings for Sunday dinner. What good memory is involved? Aside from yummy food after Sunday morning church (roast; mashed potatoes and gravy - Dad makes the BEST mashed potatoes; either peas, beans, or corn - Dad's only acceptable vegetables; I don't remember what else filled out the menu), the best memory is waking up to the wonderful aroma of the meat searing in the pan before Mom put it in the oven on low. The very best memory in this regard is the year we lived in the tiny two-story apartment attached behind the platform of the church - the size of a tiny two-bedroom townhouse - 5 kids, as I mentioned before. Toward the end of the sermon, our dinner would start reaching the olfactory senses of all of us in the congregation. I wonder if Dad cut his sermons short every Sunday while we lived there??

As for dessert, we had something almost every meal - most likely the reason all of us fight our weight! Most likely something chocolate. Most often chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Nadine of Just Being Me asked, "If there were such a thing as a time machine what time period would you like to visit?" That was a tough one. I really think God knew exactly what He was doing when he put me on earth in a period in history when life is pretty cushy. I'm not very adventurous. I can't even fathom myself surviving the trek across this huge country in search of a better life. Or worse yet, one of those Swedish immigrants trying to get to the land of opportunity on one of those wretched ships where many died during the crossing. Or during the Civil War. Or having to wear long, hot dresses every minute of the day. I thought seriously about the period during World War II. Though it was a terrible time in our world's history, it was a time when our country was very patriotic and everyone worked together for a common cause.

I like the 50s and 60s, at least as they're portrayed in books and movies. I lived then and it seemed like a more innocent time, though I know there was a lot of political unease at that time as well.

I love fiction based on history. I love Maude Hart Lovelace's writings of the Betsy/Tacy/Tib books - they took place in Minnesota in the early 1900's. I think I could have enjoyed living then.

Myrna, of Cherish . . . the Word asked, "What is the best book (or author) you have read in the last five years? Why?" Oh, my goodness - that is a tough one. I have read so many books. Most of them were for pure pleasure, not with any higher purpose than for escape. I read about 10 different "light mystery" series. I like so many of them, but I think I need to choose Earlene Fowler as the best of the lot - every book is named after a quilt pattern . She's a Christian, the plots are well written, and I get lost in them and look forward to every April when a new one comes out. I am also very fond of Jan Karon and the Father Tim series. I love Rosamund Pilcher's books, because they take me to England. So - that's a round-about answer to a simple question.

Two people have asked me about my romance with DC. I thought I'd written that story, but in searching through my archives, I don't find it. So I will be glad to do that in the near future. I also have been tagged for a meme about my quirks - me, quirks??

Any more questions?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Asked and Answered

Two days ago I joined in the "ask me anything" game, but I kind of snuck it into the midst of a post. I have two questions so far. Feel free to jump in (or not, if you don't have a need to know!)

My dear friend and prayer partner, Nancy, from "Daily Blessings," asked me "How are your son and daughter-in-law doing?"

When I first began blogging, in June 2006, Kevin was just coming home from Teen Challenge on the East Coast. Diane from "Partners in Prayer for Our Prodigals," threw him a Welcome Home party. What fun, as I met so many new friends around the globe - especially those with prodigals in their lives.

Kevin and I journaled his journey together, and it appears on my sidebar, if you're interested and are new to my blog.

Kevin is married to Sema (her blog name), who is a beautiful Kenyan girl that he met when he spent a semester in school in Nairobi. They have been married for six years. She stayed with us while he was in Teen Challenge and achieved a second degree. She finally got the job she really wanted in the large office of a gastroenterology practice. Kev is in the second semester of his junior year as a social work major, an undergrad in the same office where I work with grad level social work students. He's not sure what he wants to do yet, but he knows this degree will be a good launching point for his future. He loves languages - in fact has the gift of languages and can learn them unbelievably easily. He and Sema speak Swahili together. He is taking Arabic, and has a heart for such places as Somalia and Afghanistan. Please continue to pray for them as their future unfolds.

Linds, of "Rocking Chair Reflections" asked these two questions:

What are you looking forward to most about your retirement?

What is your favourite holiday destination in the USA?

Retirement - it is sounding better every day. After 14 1/2 years at my job, which I have truly enjoyed for the most part, I am finding myself with "short-termer's mentality." For me, this means that I am beginning to get impatient with situations that haven't bothered me before. The thing I'm NOT looking forward to is the preparation I have to make before I can leave - I have to create a Desk Manual, which delineates everything I do, with processes and time lines. I don't have time!

But that wasn't the question! What am I looking forward to? Not setting an alarm. Of course, I can never sleep in anyway - my bladder won't let me. But at least I can go back to bed. If I want to. Which I probably won't. I'll probably be up early, fixing DC's lunch (he plans to work a bit longer so that we can do some major overhauling of our house while he can draw Social Security and his salary - long overdue). I plan to have my devotions in a more leisurely fashion. I plan to go to the gym in the morning instead of in the evening when I'm exhausted. One huge project - getting approximately 10,000 pictures organized and put into albums. I will probably be very involved with the grands - but hope I have a bit more flexibility than I do now in that regard. We hope to travel. We hope to someday do some short term mission work.

My favorite holiday destination in the US? As I thought of this question, I realized that I have been blessed to have visited some wonderful places. The west coast from north to south; the east coast from Boston north (much too briefly); Washington D.C. - full of history and absolutely gorgeous in the autumn (the two times I've been there - would love to experience the cherry blossoms in the spring); the midwest - Minnesota and Wisconsin are green and lush (and full of relatives); I discovered the beauty of Georgia this past spring; Arkansas has a beauty all its own; Idaho has a gorgeous lake I never knew about until our last family reunion; Arizona - the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Wickenburg and the high desert (Phoenix, not so much!); Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in northern Wyoming; and of course my own back yard, Colorado.

But my favorite? If you've been reading my blog recently, you can probably imagine my answer - the place we keep wanting to re-visit - The Big Island. We hope to try other islands, but this place has a special spot in our hearts.

Nobody asked this question, and it's not about spots in the USA, but, after reading Linds' posts in the last year, I definitely need to get back to England (to visit her and my brother and his family), and to Switzerland and New Zealand!

So - any more questions?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Twins - Day 17

I went to work an hour early yesterday so that I could get to the hospital in time for Kate's feeding and not miss any work time. As I've mentioned before, I'M SO FAR BEHIND! It turned out to be a wonderful 2 hours - Kristen and I were the only ones there with the girlies. We had such a nice visit and it was so peaceful.

Both girls nursed. They're doing so well with both nursing and bottle feeding. They're still getting tube feedings in between the two times that Kristen is there, or to supplement what they get from nursing or bottling. They are growing like little weeds - each gained 2 ounces since yesterday. Kate is up to 3 lbs. 9 oz. and Emma is at 3 lbs. 4 oz.

Right now there are FOUR sets of twins in the NICU. One set was a month early (boy/girl) and weighed 5.5 and 6.5 pounds. They look enormous compared to K&E, and when I realize that Care Bear weighed 5.5, it seems strange - she seemed so tiny at that time.

The nurses have so much fun dressing them up in cute outfits, and taking pictures. Last night, they moved them into the same "house" (which is what they call the isolettes). They have taken off their little fabric covers so they can get used to being in more light. This is the first time they were out together.

Kate was pretty in purple. She didn't stay awake too long, but she nursed really well.

This was the first time I got to see Emma with her eyes really open and focusing. She looks like she's smiling!

I FINALLY got to hold Emma. She was so pretty in pink.
There used to be a "rule" that the preemie had to weigh 5 pounds before going home. Now it is a combination of eating entirely with breast and/or bottle, and able to retain their temperature without the help of the isolette. They predict a couple more weeks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kona Adventure - Part 9 - Paradise is Not Perfect

Once again, Thank You So Much for your prayers for Kristen. She is doing so much better than she was yesterday and the day before. You bless us every time we need your prayer support!

I got to go and see the girlies today, but no pictures were taken. The nurses took some pictures of Kate and Emma that I hope to get copies of tomorrow - I know we're all needing a K&E fix! I will tell you that they are each gaining an ounce a day, which is fantastic. Kate was able to really nurse today, and I know Emma will soon.

I hope you're intrigued with the title of this post. I have given a lot of thought to this part of the story, trying to decide whether or not I should share it. But it is reality, and I try to be real!

Which leads me to another subject - I'd like to join in the "ask me anything" show that's going on. So - Ask Away! I'll work answers in among the Kona Adventure and the Twin Drama.

The first thing we noticed when we got off the plane that Friday noon was the horrendous increase in traffic since our last visit there ten years ago. Any of us who live in a growing area know that traffic is worse every year, but it is not as noticeable when it happens day by day. Kona has become a very popular spot to start a new chapter of your life - don't think we haven't thought about it ourselves! But the City Fathers have not done a great job of keeping the infrastructure up with the growth - there is a single lane of traffic from the airport into the city because of a long-term road project. Not fun on a Friday afternoon! We found the traffic to be somewhat of a problem throughout our stay - it seems as if the locals have not really adjusted well to this influx of cars, and we had several close calls. Gas cost $3.65.

As we visited with business owners, we learned that, as is true in our town, the Big Box stores are hurting the mom and pop shops. The economy is struggling - high prices and low wages. There is a huge disparity between those with money and those without, in the way they live.

And of course, there is the great in between.

I noticed gang tagging this time, that I hadn't seen last time. Maybe I just didn't notice. As anywhere else, drugs are a nasty part of their lives.

As we talked to the coffee growers, we learned that a huge controvery is alive and well on the Big Island. There are many coffee makers who advertise their product as Kona Coffee, when it is in actuality no more than 10% Kona Coffee. The coffee farmers are really up in arms about this, and have lawmakers working on a bill that will force the blend to be at least 50% Kona Coffee to be able to have that title - preferably 75%, but they'll take what they can get. As a non-coffee-drinker, I have learned from others that the 100% stuff is fabulous. The 10% not so much - as good as Folgers or Maxwell House, but nothing to write home about!

We saw quite a few people who appeared to be homeless - one with a huge load of bags on his recumbent bike. Most of these people were sporting dredlocks - a hairdo which requires very little care once it is achieved! One looked like John the Baptist, in a white robe, kneeling down by a guardrail on the side of the road, patting it with water from a plastic bowl. We were in a really nice shopping center when we saw a lady with a grocery cart - her left leg up in the air as she picked a scab. She was using an upright Pepsi bottle as a "pillow," and she had her right leg resting on another Pepsi bottle on the grocery cart. The picture would have been priceless. I wish I could describe it better.

Kona is a real place. It is not just a vacation spot. People live, love, work, go to school, go to church, struggle, enjoy, swim, Boogie Board, wait on tourists, and probably wish some of us would go home! But it was a wonderful experience - MORE TO COME!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Kona Adventure - Part 8 - The People

UPDATE: Kristen is on her way home from the hospital in a few minutes - after numerous tests all day long, they have come to the same conclusion that the Urgent Care doctor did yesterday afternoon - inflamed muscles. We don't know how or why, but it seems better than pericarditis! Thanks for your prayers again - please continue to pray that the pain will disappear, no matter what is causing it. She can't take anything besides anti-inflammatories because of nursing.
BREAKING NEWS: Kristen went to the ER last night with chest pains, which she'd been having off and on since Friday. They admitted her with a diagnosis of pericarditis (inflammation of the sack around the heart). What next??? Please pray!

When we're on a trip, DC and I like to really absorb the culture of the place we're visiting. We tend to run the other direction when we see a tour bus coming. Of course, we do visit the shops to pick up little things for the grandkids, and we do some of the packaged excursions that take us to places we couldn't go on our own, but mainly we tool around on our own, exploring and discovering. Because of this, we meet very interesting people - other travelers, people who have moved to Hawaii from the mainland, people who have lived there forever.

DC loves to snorkel. I am aquaphobic, but not to the extent that I can't enjoy an excursion ON the water, fortunately. He's willing to pay for two tickets in order for me to go along on the snorkeling adventure. I sit in the boat and read, or just watch, or talk to the captain. Mostly that's what I did this time. (Getting in and out of the boat did pose a challenge, though, with my injured foot and knee!)

Captain Chuck led us on a wonderful day trip to Captain Cook's Cove, where the other 5 people snorkeled in a beautiful setting.

That's DC out there - hope you can see him!

Chuck had lived in Hawaii for 27 years and had a great knowledge of the land and the water. He took us into sea caves where there were tremendous blow-holes. He took us into little coves that many do not get to see.

He fed us a delicious snack of fresh fruit and cookies, then created a little souvenir for each of us from palm leaves.

When DC made our travel arrangements, the agent got us a deal with our rental car that included two nights at Uncle Billy's Hotel. We had already made our own housing arrangements, so we just ignored that offer. We were walking down the street in the shopping area on the beach of Kona when we happened upon this hotel. We'd walked by it several times before, but had never noticed the name. When we realized it was the place we could have stayed for two nights, we were glad we hadn't taken them up on it - it was a bit run down, and way too close to the "action."

Several days later we were having a fruit smoothie at one of the little shops in this area. We were greeted by an elderly gentleman who rolled up in his wheelchair and engaged us in conversation. He had on an "Uncle Billy" cap, and we thought it was a souvenir type cap. We had such a great conversation with this gentleman - he was quite the entrepeneur and he told us great stories of his long life on the island, beginning in Hilo and ending in Kona. He owned the whole shopping center, and had lived in a nice apartment above the shops, overlooking the sea, until he could not care for himself any longer. He was Uncle Billy himself. He told us all about his family. He told us about the planting of trees in Hilo years ago along the main street through town, all of which had been named for a famous politician or military person - many of whom were there to be honored. He planted one of these trees himself. He was a really interesting and delightful man.

Another day we were looking for DC's major souvenir. DC is addicted to koa wood - a tree that is native to the islands. The wood has the most beautiful color and grain. We happened upon a little shop in a tiny town up above Kona, near where we stayed. He fell in love with a hand-carved miniature canoe paddle. The shop owner and his wife were the artists - he was the carver and she was the photographer and painter. The painting depicts his work, her work, and their wedding hats. The picture of Mel is autographed for DC. The small round piece is a tiny oil lamp which we found in another little shop.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Trying to Catch UP!

It is a very cold morning in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I am wearing a very warm sweater that I have no recollection of having. But I really like it and it fits!

It seems that "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get." I am taking a few minutes before beginning my work day to write a bit. I am in the throes of that terribly busy time of the year when there is not enough time in my half day of work to do all that needs to be done. So, as usual, I am parked in front of my t.v. in the evenings, figuring grade point averages on dozens of applicants. It is tedious, but can be done with about 75% of my brain - which allows 25% for what is playing on the tube - I don't think you even need that much, do you??

Yesterday I left work early to go see the teeny ones and take some pictures that would truly show you their size. I was NOT happy when I came out to my car and found a catering van parked illegally, perpendicular to the back end of my car. When they came out and learned of my displeasure (I'm afraid I wasn't very nice), the young woman came rushing over to my car to assure me they were leaving soon - as soon as her boss went back in to get his keys. Then she came back over to tell me that her boss was a Ph.D. in engineering (made me wonder, since he's using his degree to cater?) and that I could easily get out of there with the correct angle. I informed her that I had been trying for quite some time - I really didn't want to hit their red van with my white one. Finally they left and I rushed to the hospital, only to find that Kate was under the blue lights again - her bilirubin was a bit elevated, so they slapped that headgear on her again and laid her on her tummy to "blue light bathe." Nothing alarming, but she was tired, so they weren't going to get her up again for awhile.

I decided to come back today instead of waiting for Emma. I did get this shot, though, of the big sisters in their new shirts sent to them by Kristen's cousin, who works as a social worker in a NICU. Big Brother also has one (in blue, of course), but he was at school.


Then I decided to go get a bowl of soup at my new favorite place - Culver's. It has become my new routine since visiting the hospital at the lunch hour, before heading home. BUT -- can you understand the condition of my brain when I tell you that I locked my keys in the car for the THIRD TIME in two weeks?? Once at the hospital, once at the dry cleaner's, and yesterday at Culver's. Good grief!!

If you're one of my regulars, you will remember that it was a cold day last winter when I did that here at work - with the car running. I had to stand outside the car, watching students come and park and go on, wondering what this crazy lady was doing standing by her car with it running, in the very cold morning. After DC came to rescue me that morning, he did rush right into Ace Hardware and purchase one of those magnetic key holders for me, and had them make me a spare key. The good news is that there is actually still some metal on the underside of my car to attach it. The bad news is that there is a lot of mud that hits the underneath of your car in a day's driving (at least in the wintertime around here), so getting the thing open is a challenge - not to mention the grime that is on the fingers when that is finally accomplished. Oh, my word!

So - here I am at work, hoping my brain functions this morning, and that I can get pictures this noon, and that nobody will be parked behind me in the parking lot so that I can get there on time.

It is now 2:15 p.m. - I am attempting to complete this post and get it published.

Kristen's new routine is to go up to the hospital twice a day to nurse Kate and Emma. They are fed and changed every 3 hours, but can only be handled every 6 hours. So, with school schedules, etc., that means she tries to get up there at 11 - Kate's hour is at 11 and Emma's at 12. That means she goes back for the 5 and 6 feedings. Very complex! But Kate is figuring it out. Emma's a bit tiny yet.

Today when I was there, I didn't get to hold either one, but I did get some shots of Kate. Emma seemed to be a big overstimulated for some reason, so they didn't even let me touch her. She's fine, but they have to be super careful because she's so tiny. They've each gained back to within an ounce or two of where they were when they were born. I caught a picture of Kate with the hugest yawn - almost as big as she is! She's not crying, just yawning!


I held her hand for quite awhile, and she clutched it and actually pushed on my finger - she's strong. She is doing great with the pacifier almost as big as her head.


I brought a Cabbage Patch Doll and a Pound Puppy up with me, to do comparison photos. I only got to do the doll, and then not as I had hoped, with Kate out of the isolette. But here's what I did get. She seems to be sucking her thumb.


I wasn't able to get any shots of Emma this time, but will definitely keep trying! She is so active in the evenings when her family is there. I'd like to see that sometime.

The Twins - A Week Old Already!

True to my word, I was able to go up to the NICU to see the precious little girls. I was there by myself, and was a few minutes late for Kate's ministrations (during which time they can be held) and early for Emma's. I had hoped to hold both. The nurse on duty (who is Care Bear's kindergarten teacher's sister), decided that she could let me hold Kate after all. What a blessing - what a peaceful half hour of holding and rocking that sweet little baby, watching her sleep, seeing her open her eyes and check me out for a few seconds, listening to her cute little sounds, praying for her.

I didn't get to hold Emma, because I had to leave for an appointment. I was sad, but at least I got to see her without her being snuggled up in her blanket. According to Erin, the nurse, she's "a lot wilder" than Kate. They have the glove from physical therapy lying on her to keep her from moving around too much. According to Kristen, Kate is much more laid back. Now that would a nice change - a mellow child in our family!!
They are both still a bit below their birth weights, but there is no alarm among the staff.
Several people who saw the real Wee Pee diaper said the picture was deceptive - they didn't realize how tiny it really was. So I took another picture of myself holding it so you can see it in proportion.
National Delurking Day was sometime last week and I did not get to mention it. Lurking is defined as "visiting and reading an online journal, or 'weblog' without making your presence known to the owner of the blog". I have noticed an increase in traffic here since I've been talking about Kate and Emma, and it has been such fun. I would love to know who all of you are - please de-lurk, at least this once!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kona Adventure - Part 7

It has been four weeks today since we came home from Hawaii. The adventure has been of an entirely different sort since we landed at home. I might call it the Twin Trauma. God has been good.

Many of you expressed hope that I was getting some rest this week-end. I have spent much of my time here in my recliner, dozing. It has felt good. I have not made it up to the hospital, but will definitely be taking some pictures tomorrow around noon, when I get off work. I will also most likely be bringing files home to figure grade point averages for the MSW hopefuls.

I decided it was time to go back to Hawaii in my mind - a bit of vacation. There are so many more things I want to share with you, but decided today to just show you some of my favorite shots of flora and fauna.

I love these Norfolk Pines
Monkey Pod Tree
The Spreading Banyan Tree
Rainbow in the Distance
Snow on Mauna Kea