Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Great Mouse Caper

One night, When Willon was about 5 months old, after the kids went to bed I had caught a mouse in front of the refrigerator, under a bowl.  I left it there trying to think of a way to get rid of it then forgot about it. The next morning the kids were roaming around while I was otherwise occupied.  When I came out into the kitchen all I found was an upturned bowl and a limp, newly dead soaking wet mouse. EW!  I called the doctor and they had me call the health department - lol - but all I got were not very well stifled laughs and a few I don't knows, wait and sees.

Hence, he'll be a mouse for Halloween.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Son

Willon, my sweet baby boy. After having Rhetta I couldn't comprehend how I could possibly have more love in me for another child. I am so in love with this baby. It's a love I've never felt before. * Sigh * He's so squishy! And he's such a happy baby, quick to smile and laugh. And it's true what they say, it's going by so fast.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A First for My Girl

Rhetta's entire life she has never looked at a camera. I have dozens and dozens of pictures of her smiling toward the camera but I have had to trick her every single time. I used to make silly noises and she'd turn and smile * click *. I'd focus, hide behind a doorway, sneak around and say "Peek-a-boo!" * click *. It really worked well that first and second year. Year three was all about making her laugh one way or another * click *, * click *, * click *! This year, year four, has been the most frustrating of all. She insists on being behind the camera so she can watch her hand on the LCD screen on the digital camera. A director in the making. No number of "Look at Momma!"s have had any affect on her except to draw her attention to the camera itself.

Tonight we were carving pumpkins. I tried everything I could to get her to look at me. All my old tricks didn't work and my new ones flopped. I got so frustrated I just said, "Would you please look at the camera and smile, Rhetta?" And she DID! SHE REALLY DID!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Got Separated on the Road

This is a story about our trip to New Mexico last month.

We left out Saturday morning a day early thinking we'd get to my cousin's house near Los Alamos, NM and spend the night. I drove my truck with Willon and Rob drove my car with Rhetta. Had a difficult day getting through Colorado then come afternoon we separated in Alamosa, CO on purpose. He went to a lumber yard to deliver some business cards and I went to the highway junction we agreed on to stop and nurse the baby. I nursed the baby, took a few pictures of him and then we sat in the cab of the truck to wait for Rob and Rhetta. We waited some more, I got a snack, talked to some women walking by, keep watching the road... waiting... waiting...

Now, I don't have a watch but I know it's been too long and Rob hasn't shown up. I'm getting worried and I have to go to the bathroom. I put Willon in his seat and go to the nearest service station to go to the bathroom then go back and wait some more. It starts to get dark and I'm freaking out. It's been three hours so I go back to the station and luckily there was a policeman right there. He and his guys go all over town looking for my husband and 45 minutes later decide he is not in Alamosa and must have gone on, thinking I had done the same. Hmmph.

So I head South with no other real options. About 8 miles out of town he passes me going back to Alamosa. He had gone all the way into Tres Piedras, New Mexico before deciding I must be back in Colorado. Neither of us can figure out how we missed each other because I parked in a huge vacant lot and I watched the highway like a hawk.

Here's the funny part. I'm looking at the pictures from the trip the morning we got back. Check out the very first picture I took...

Guess who that is driving by behind Willon's head...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Willon's Birth Story

It all started on...

Wednesday, January 17th ~

We were down to Home Depot that afternoon to get the parts and tools needed to fix a broken waterline. You think that would have been my first clue.

On the way home we decided to stop at the new chinese restaurant to have a birthday dinner for Rob a day late. I was able to comfortably eat three heaping plates full of food and would have gone back for more had we sat there any longer. That should have been my second clue.

Thursday, January 18th ~

1:30am: The alarm goes off and Rob heads into work early to make up for having to come home early to do the plumbing. I have enough trouble going to sleep so going back to sleep wasn't gonna happen. I saw him out the door then went back to bed to read my book.

3:06am: Yeesh! He's poking my cervix again. I swear he's got little horns. Ouch. Why am I peeing in the bed? Oh.

3:08am: I'm posting an "I think my water just broke" thread on APU with a towel stuck between my legs.

3:09am: I called Rob.

Funny, I was very calm considering I didn't have anything packed, Rob wasn't home and Rhetta was sound asleep. I just kept telling Willon to take his time, no need to rush. I called my OB and she told me to go on in. I had to wait for Rob to get home though, where the heck is he already?

I am a master at packing for an overnight so I busied myself doing that and emailing/calling family and friends in between changing all the necessary things you change when you're gushing out of your nether regions.

I was just thinking I might wake Rhetta up and get her ready to go when Rob pulled in the driveway. He had taken twice as long as usual. I had already warmed up my truck just in case he didn't make it home so I met him at the door, dutifully bit his head off, gave him a kiss, and drove myself to the hospital.

I never did go back to sleep.

Our hospital is brand spanking new. State of the art everything. Why then, after decades of progress in all other things, have they not been able to improve on hospital food? I ate my rubbery breakfast and walked the second floor with my book.

Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk... nothing, no contractions except what I'd already been feeling for a couple of months. Rats. All morning Rob and Rhetta were home fixing water pipes so that turned out to be the most peaceful time alone I'd had in 7 years of marriage. I wasn't complaining!

I walked until my lower back wouldn't let me walk anymore and decided to rest in bed. People had been calling throughout the morning. I was surprised and delighted when I answered the phone and it was Shellee on the other end! That really made me feel connected to APU. Shellee, you're a catalist for joy. Margaret stopped by on her way to work and Tish dropped in with a bag of goodies for Rhetta to help keep her occupied and distracted. My sister called, my dad called... ho hum. Not once did I turn on the TV. Bliss!

My contractions were progressing but slowly. I had walked as much as I could. I had soaked in the whirlpool, nothing. I agreed to Pitocin drip. Sorry, little dude!

By then Rob and Rhetta were there keeping me company. Rhetta enjoyed sitting on my bed and sipping water from my straw. She played with finger paints and read books. We ran her a bath and she was enamored by her reflection in the chrome fixtures. She really did well keeping herself busy, my girl! Rob brought her supper and we ate together, side by side. Then the contractions intensified enough that I needed some attention.

By the time they started the epidural Rhetta was really easy going. Daddy took her for a walk around the first floor and when they came back I was able to mask my discomfort so she stayed calm.I was worn out! I'd been up, by then, over 20 hours on 2 hours of sleep. We were all pooped, really. Daddy passed out in a chair and Rhetta and I crashed side by side on my bed. My last sleep with just my girl. Wahhh! I was 3cm.

We laid there for about an hour but my sleep was fitful. I never really relaxed completely and it was looking like everyone might sleep right through the birth leaving me on my own. But then a nurse came in and said, "Your sister is here from New Mexico."

Huh? Who? I don't have a sister in New Mexico. What? Who? Whit?

The room was dark, the only light coming from the open door and a dim light above my head. I turned to look, quite puzzled, when in walked an angel. It was my best friend from childhood, Joleen. She had come up as a surprise. She came into the light and her face was all blurry. I was gushing tears, blubbering really. I didn't know what to say! I looked at Rob and he was smiling. He knew, the turd. I had no idea but I have never been so happy to see anyone in all my life. I couldn't stop crying for like an hour. I was there 14 years ago when her son was born and here she was for the birth of mine. Just, wow.

Rob bundled Rhetta up in some bedding and got her settled on the recliner in my room. I had forgotten to bring even one of her blankets or a pillow but she was fast asleep and didn't seem to care. They kept telling me it was going to be awhile so Joleen and I visited like old friends do while Rob and Rhetta snoozed. She brought Lana, her almost 12 year old daughter, who has seen everything under the sun born except a human. I was a little worried she might not handle it well but I didn't say anything. Joleen knows best what Lana can handle. We laughed about people we know, asked about each other's families and caught up on hometown gossip. We were about to break out the playing cards for a round of canasta when my doctor came in and said to the nurse, "She's a soft 9. (9cm)", then to me, "Let us know when you feel like you want to push." and walked out again.

"Um, 'kay." I wasn't feeling like doing much of anything, really. I was ready for a long winter's nap! Push? Um, 'kay. I'll let ya know.

Around 10:00pm they came in and were getting things ready for my little one to arrive. We were joking with the nurses and talking about names. I said, His name is Willon Robert and he's going to be a lawyer. This brought much laughter. I said, No really! Then I told the story about the Wal-Mart greeter named Bob who thought Robert was the perfect name for a baby. I had said, Oh! His dad's name is Robert and his middle name is going to be Robert. He asked me what his first name would be. I said, Willon. He said and the last name? I told him R___ and he said, Willon Robert R___, he's going to be an attorney! More laughter. We were having fun.

I kept peeking at the clock and made a comment about how glad I was that he'd be born on the 18th because I have this thing about even numbers that are divisible by three. It's nothing I can explain, it's just one of those things. We talked about who all has their birthdays in January (there are a lot in our circle of family and friends) and that we were just filling in one of the blanks. The 18th! Yes!

Around about 10:40pm I decided I could start pushing. They had adjusted my drips so I'd feel the contractions enough for them to be helpful. And I started pushing. I pushed again, pushed some more, still pushing... After an hour I was seriously out of strength. I started to get anxious and nearly passed out once or twice. Rhetta started to wake up and was very disoriented, poor thing! Rob was holding her, Joleen was mopping my face and supporting my back. Just when I thought I couldn't go on, my hands found a new hold and out popped my brand new baby boy. Amid the cheers I took a quick look at him and said, What time is it?!

12:01am on the 19th.

Rhetta's Birth Story

I can hear your thoughts, honey, and I understand. It's nice and warm and safe in there but we're at week 41 and they want you out of there...

We were living with my IL's in Morro Bay, CA. I invited my mother to be there during the week I knew we'd induce so she'd be able to be a part of it. I was very emotional and couldn't stop the sobbing fits but I made it through somehow. I asked both my mom and my MIL if they wanted to be there for the actual birth and they both said yes.

7am on the 24th of January, 2003 we walked into the maternity ward at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, CA. The nurses were so nice they made me cry with joy. My morning nurse braided my hair and made sure I was comfortable. I was feeling very confident and strong. My OB came around 8am and broke my water. I asked for no meds and no moniters (those things they actually stick in the baby's head). They were all for letting me make these decisions. I didn't have a plan before hand really, just was gonna go with the...

FLOOOOOOOO-WOW! Contractions started almost immediately...

I don't remember much of my labor. I must be blocking it out. It was very intense. I had brought my own pillow and would bite into it when the pain was unbearable. Rob was very little help - lol - but I don't blame him. He was more scared than anything.

My afternoon nurse was very wonderful. She massaged my back and made sure I had enough of everything I needed. I spent as much time on my feet as possible because it seemed to stop the spasms in my back muscles better than anything else. I absolutely could not lay down so when I did get tired of standing I would kneel down on the floor and rest my head in Rob's lap.

My breathing exercises were a waste of time. I couldn't catch my breath during a contraction. I cried a lot...

14 hours later I was dialated to ten and waiting for my OB to come from another hospital birth at an entirely different hospital. By this time I was singing my way through the contractions and my mom was gently rubbing my feet. Rob held my hand but I think he needed that more than I did. I had witnessed numerous births. He had never even seen a kitten born.

In came my OB (the nicest one in my life by far) and she said something like,"Blah, blah, blah, blaaaaaahhhh, blah, blah" and I said, "UUUUUngh!" and about 10 seconds later I could see Rhetta's head! One long push later and out came her shoulders. One very quick push and out came her legs and she was in my arms before I could take another breath. She was very quiet but she opened her eyes and looked around. I kissed her and named her and then they cleaned her up for me. She was always within my reach - I liked that. They measured her and weighed her, 7lbs/15oz and 22 1/2 inches long! My mom managed to keep the scribbled notes the nurses made on a paper towel and I have that in her memory box. I impatiently pushed the placenta out - like a pro according to my OB - LOL! Then they gave her back to me and we started down that long road of life together.

Rob held her while they moved me to a pretty room all to ourselves. MIL ran down to the car and woke up FIL who came up and was the first of them to hold her. He was crying and afraid he might drop her so he handed her off to my mom who was blubbering about her baby having a baby (hee hee) and then to MIL and then to my breast she went.

She has been there ever since.

My Daughter

My daughter. My first true love. She is the most frustrating, wonderful being to ever come along. I don't know how to cover the last 4 and a half years without neglecting my life for at least that long.

Everything about her is different. I LOVE that she's different! The way she acts, the way she thinks, the way she talks, the way she draws, the way she sees things in her mind, the way she hears, the way she learns, the way she loves, the way she plays, the way she sees herself, the way she listens, the way she doesn't listen, the way she likes to make her brother laugh. She's so busy all the time, even when she's doing nothing. Her mind is constantly whirling, cataloging, inventing, creating, studying, concentrating and imagining. I can't keep up but I keep trying. She is challenging in ways I never expected a child to be. She has really opened my eyes to how individual a person can be.

Rhetta has autism. I can't stop announcing that to the world, but it's not an apology. It's not an excuse. It's just a fact. It helps make her who she is. It helps me think outside the box, that's for sure.

Rhetta has autism and I'm glad. Otherwise she wouldn't be nearly as interesting.

I am so lucky to be your momma.

I love you, Rhetta.

More about Rhetta as it flows from my brain...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fall 2007 Family Newsletter (Rob's turn)

Greetings Friends, and Family, and welcome to the Fall 2007 edition of the R___ family newsletter! We hope you are enjoying the change of seasons: the cool weather, the beautiful colors, and the harvest of all your summer efforts. Our tribe is recovering from one trip, preparing for another, and coping with a less-than-stellar harvest.

Our biggest summer projects are behind us, and still there seems so much to do. The outside of the house is painted, and the entire garage cleaned out (we didn't even do that when we moved in!). October is here, and we're Fall-Cleaning, getting everything ready to ride out the long cold. After that's finished, we'll decorate the house to scare the four or five trick-or-treaters we might get (hey, that just means more candy for us!). It also means we can cruise the residential neighborhoods, taking truckloads of pre-bagged leaves for our compost. Har-har! Two years ago, our street had a bear adopt us, he lived next door eating mulberries for about a month. Last year, and early this year, there was a skunk family taking up residence. This year, we have a large turkey seeking refuge in the bosque that surrounds us. We're not sure how much longer he'll be safe, but he struts around up and down the street like he owns the place. We've also spotted foxes this year, and there are deer tracks in our yard again. I really enjoy our local wildlife scene.

Rhetta Jae (4 1/2), our first-born most beautiful and talented daughter, started attending preschool three afternoons a week, and we are seeing lots of changes in her social interaction. She is still greatly interested in the arts, and is drawing increasingly more complex and imaginative things. Music and dancing are also high on her list of favorite things to do. Late this summer, she has started reading and writing in earnest. We are stressing phonetic pronunciations first, so there are some humorous mis-steps. But, we figure it's best to get down the rules first, and address the exceptions later. Otherwise, it gets confusing. She now takes every opportunity to read signs and large labels all around her. Sometimes, she labels her drawings with an important word, and at school, she often signs her artwork.

The newest R___ intern, young Willon Robert (9 months), is about the smiliest baby you ever did see. Really, it's amazing how happy he is every day. And he wakes up so well, grinning and glad to be awake within mere seconds of opening his eyes. Come to think of it, whose kid IS this, anyway? He stands with some assistance, but doesn't yet walk. He has two and a half teeth, now, and we think another one on the way, and so he babbles quite a bit, and drools a lot. He waves (sometimes), and says things like “mom-mom,” and what sounds a lot like “hi,” and “hey,” and just the other day started saying “hi, da-da!” No foolin! He sure has a lot of red in his hair, but otherwise resembles his old man quite a bit. Sorry, dude!
Farm news: this year's yield is a tad disappointing. The beans seem as good as last year, the squash is the biggest it's gotten so far (but still has far to go), and we seem to be getting decent carrots. Our peaches were at once too numerous to eat before they started going bad, but instead of preserving we frantically gave most of them away. But it was one tasty week! Yum! The beets were overwatered, and the corn did not get enough. Tomatoes did alright, and the peppers came in well. No apricots or plums this year, and the apples are still quite small. Turns out our apple tree produces something resembling Golden Delicious apples, though slightly more bitter, and really tasty. Overall, we decided we need a new approach to watering. We have tried a different system every year, and just don't feel like the plants are getting what they need. So, we discussed it, and we think next year we will pare back to about half our current planting, just the essentials, while we figure out something new. This will also give us time to re-tap our well, and get an appropriate-sized well pump specific to the system we design. Then, in aught-nine, we should be cooking with gas. Our plan to expand into small animals this year did not yet materialize. But we're still hopeful that next year will be the Year of the Chicken. Mmmm. I can taste those fresh eggs now.

The end of September took us to Albuquerque, New Mexico for some visiting, but also for lots of cleaning, sorting, and packing stuff from Grandma's house. In only a week, we accomplished quite a bit, and the trip went off smoothly. We saw family, we saw friends, we saw dinosaurs and had a wonderful time. Explora!, a fantastic new children's museum, was especially fun for the kids. We only hit snow once on the return trip. For Colorado, that's pretty good. November will see us travelling again, this time to Kansas. To see what we could see. So to speak.

The genealogy project has just about fizzled out. It appears all leads are exhausted at this point, and the search has been fruitful. The report should be finished this fall, and our hope is to figure out a cost-effective and visually stimulating way to publish this info online. There are many examples of other people who have done this, and everyone's is different.

The little white car is still amazing us by getting 40+ miles per gallon, pretty impressive for it's age and odometer reading. The purple car just got a new clutch, and is now limping along on a wounded transmission. The injury is not critical at this point, but definitely will require surgery in the forseeable future. The pickup just got a brand new exhaust system, and is running pretty well. Good, strong truck, and very reliable. Farm-worthy. Go, Chevy!

Well, that's all the news from Lake Woebegone, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Once Upon a Time

There's this guy. He's in my science class. He is sooooo funny! I have never seen him before. I wonder who he is. Where did he come from? Why is he wearing that stupid bandana around his head? Oh! He's looking at me. Nice smile. He's laughing, the teacher is laughing, I'm laughing. What the hell are we laughing about? I have no idea but I keep laughing because he seems to like it. Wait, they're laughing about something on the Periodic Table of Elements. He is such a geek. He's kinda cute, though. I wonder what his name is.

Okay, that was 1984 in my freshman Physical Science class. I had a hard time concentrating but I pulled an A nonetheless. I saw that guy around school from time to time. He grinned like an idiot every time he saw me. I didn't see him again for 5 years then again another, I don't know, 3 years later. He was still grinning but then so was I. Like an idiot.

We really hit it off as friends. He was just as funny as ever. Why, then, did I leave him to fend for himself for another 6 years? I have no idea. I think I went away to find out but never got a clue. We did our best to stay in touch. We wrote letters, sent funny comics, talked on the phone for $400 every month and still I had no clue. And then he was gone POOF disappeared.

Finally, at the end of my sanity, he found me and saved me from myself. I asked him to marry me before I wasted another 16 years and he said yes. It is because of him that I am on the upswing of things.

I love you, Rob.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Beginning

Since I have never blogged before it feels a bit weird to start in the middle of my life without writing something of how I got to this point so here is a bit of background just to make me feel like I'm starting somewhere.

I was born at an early age in one of the waning months of 1969. I remember very little of that moment. In fact it's all a big blur. Nearly 38 years later and it's all very much the same blur.

My life then was full of adventure, experimentation, promiscuity and illegal everything. The 70's, my childhood, were very fun. The 80's, my adolescence, sucked the way only the 80's could. The 90's, my 20's, were one huge mistake after another. Put that way my life sounds cliche. Really, it was unique. I swear it. I was different!

But I have this life now. Marriage, homeownership, motherhood... to be succinct. But it's so much more, more than it ever was before. Well, more than it was after I turned 8, but I've sort-of gotten back to the me I was at 8 only wiser. What makes me so wise? I don't know. Experience? Maybe. The ability to wipe my own butt? Maybe not. What I do know is that I am happier with my now than ever.