Sunday, April 29, 2007

We had a great trip. Amelia was the perfect little travel buddy, and did very, very well on our adventure. On all of the flights, we had an extra seat available for her, and that made all the difference. She sat and played, charmed everyone she could see around us, and even took naps on the plane both ways!

My time with Amanda, Andrew and Esly was also wonderful. Nothing too complicated or exciting-- we just spent time together, ate some nice meals and checked out Boise. Their little babe is so sweet, and it is beautiful to see two friends become a family. I'll share the rest with pictures.

It has been so neat to watch Amelia develop into a secure, warm and trusting child. She will go to anyone, and readily accepts attention and love from new people. It is also really wonderful to see other people showing her love and enjoying her charismatic personality.

Although I was initially pretty nervous about travelling and parenting alone for four days, it was better than I expected. And I was pleasantly surprised by the new closeness I feel like I share with Amelia. I think that on a daily basis, I am looking forward to Jeff coming home and taking over parenting. Sometimes I am more in a damage control mode than really trying hard to relate with Amelia and work together with her. On this trip, there was no "off" time in sight, and so I think that the way I approached her was more long-sighted, really trying to ease any frustration she was experiencing, doing everything I could to help her feel her best for as long as possible! This was a great experience.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We're going to Idaho!

Amelia and I are taking a trip tomorrow to visit and encourage a dear friend and new mama in Boise. This will be Little A's fourth round trip flight already! I'm a little anxious about travelling alone this time, but there will be help on both ends and our flight times are in the middle of the day-- perfect! My main concern is that Amelia will have a rough transition, especially in the sleep department, and will keep the exhausted new parents awake even more than their own little babe. If you think of it, please pray that Amelia will adjust well to the new surroundings and have mercy on us all! I am so excited to spend time with a friend and to meet this sweet little one. We'll be back on Saturday.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Some Garden Pictures...
The weather is pleasantly dreary today, but it puts me in the mood to look at something bright and cheerful-- maybe you want to, too!

Sweet Pea
Hmm... Squash?

By the way, Amelia is ten months old today! I can't believe it's time to start thinking about a birthday party...
She happily sits and watches while I work in the garden.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

OK, I just can't help myself!
I have been so repressed, now I have to just share all kinds of pictures, especially of Amelia.

Amelia now has seven (almost eight) teeth, and clamps down on everything and everyone she can. Definintely some consolation points here for no longer breastfeeding!

She has learned to "make" a smile-- rather than just letting her face take over, she squints her eyes, wrinkles her nose and shows us her teeth. Her forced "cry" also looks a lot like this, accompanied by some funny, fakey sad noises.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hah! Guess what?

I found our camera. I had looked under the bed about ten times, but I guess I didn't realize that I couldn't see all the way over to Jeff's side under there. I am so elated to finally have a camera again-- we lost it after Thanksgiving. I swore that it was somewhere in the house, but I was beginning to lose hope. I'll put up a silly picture of Amelia that was on it still.

I think I'll also show you my latest project. H. Shack should be particularly interested in this one, since she encouraged me to do it about three years ago! I have an old Danish modern style chair from Uncle Elmer's. I had actually covered the gross plastic cushions with material and scotch tape and a couple of thumb tacks (!) for the past few years. It's kind of embarassing. Anyway, I FINALLY bought new foam and some materials to upholster them with, and it is amazing how much better that chair looks. I was walking past it just now to find some place to sit, and I stopped and went back to it-- I hadn't really thought of it as an actual functional chair! I snapped a smug picture of myself enjoying my handiwork (with hot chocolate from Filipino pure cacao!)

More pictures DEFINITELY to come!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

So do we look like a Northwestern family? Can we pull it off?

I'm sure you've all been waiting for the report about our trip up North. I've been putting it off because it seems like it would take too long to write it all down, but I need to just get it done! I think I will interview myself for you.

Q: How were Jeff's job fairs?
A: Well, he almost missed the first one, since getting a flight there was quite a fiasco. In the end, we were scheduled on three different flights, had to go to three different airport terminals, and ended up with a layover on the way to PDX. The fair ened at four, and Jeff got there (straight from the airport) after 2:00. But all's well that ends well, and he was able to visit the districts he wanted, and even got a couple of on-the-spot interviews. Most importantly, he went back the next day to interview for a really great position he had been interested in, and he feels like he aced that one! This position is exciting because it is not a classroom teacher job, but he would be working as an autism specialist. He would visit schools and help teachers work with their students with autism, teach inservices, work with students one-on-one, and in the end, train other autism specialists. I think it would be very challenging, but I also think Jeff would excell at these tasks and be very fulfilled in his work.
Q: Any downsides to the job?
A: For starters, I have a crazy fact to share: Almost any job in OR or WA, even if it is a step up careerwise, would entail about a 15K pay CUT. YIKES!! I'm not sure how that will play out, but we are still planning on moving and making it work. The other thing is that this particular job is based in Salem, not a city we had ever considered living in. On the other hand, given the pay situation, Salem may be one of the only cities we could afford to buy a house in!
But that is not the only position we're thinking about. It was such a boost for Jeff to get phone calls from a lot of different districts in both states, telling him how great his resume looked and how much they'd like to have him in their district. Jeff is applying for a teaching position in Longview, WA, with the plan that we would live in Vancouver-- in between Portland and Olympia. Housing also looks affordable there, plus no state income tax is always nice. There were some other interviews and more possibilities continue to open up, but I won't mention them until they become more significant. In a month, there will be a lot more clarity, and I will let you know where we're at in the game.

Q: How do you feel about the move?
A: Well, I am so ready to start setting up shop in a new home. I love our apartment, but I have made the mental break away from it, and am itching for some permanence, not to mention new paint, hanging things up, starting a long term garden, etc. etc. When I think of moving, this is what I think of the most, and I am excited to turn a new space into home, and the idea of actually owning something seems too nice to even think about. I have about three more months here, and although I am a "live in the moment" person who rarely daydreams about the future, I am beginning to make a peaceful separation with my life as I know it now, and have put the brakes on investing and putting roots down for the moment. So as far as I'm concerned, I might as well make the move tomorrow so I can get on with it!

Q: How was Amelia on the trip? Did you get to take some naps?
A: This was not Amelia's best week and a half. She's never really been sick (she's had some vomitting episodes as an allergic reaction, but never even a cold,) and she was SICK for about a week at the start of the trip. She had a fever for three days, a body rash, diarrhea, etc. It could all be traced to teething, but she has never teethed like that before! She was completely out of sorts, and cried a lot at night. One night, she didn't sleep more than a couple 45 minute naps, and other nights she couldn't settle till after midnight, and woke up about every two hours. Poor baby. I was so disappointed because I didn't feel like our family we visited got to see her shiny little personality that we love. Plus, I think ten days is too long for a little one to be in a new environment, although she did love having so many new people around all of the time. She was back to her old self as soon as we got home-- maybe even happier than her old self! All in all, she was a real trooper, and I think she has a newfound contentment with being at home! Oh, and yes, I did take some naps-- but I have to admit that I needed them a lot more than usual. Oh, well.

Q: When is your next trip?
A: I don't want to talk about it. No, just kidding. I think in the next month or so, we will go up again for final interviews and city scouting. Then hopefully we won't need to go up until we move, but you never know.

Q: So when is it that you are actually moving?
A: Mid- July. The plan is that Jeff's dad (Phil) will come down here, and Amelia and I will fly up and stay with Jeff's mom (Amy) while the boys get us moved. I think this is a great arrangement! Jeff's school year ends in late June, and we will be focused on packing up in the following weeks.
By the way, if you live here and are feeling sad about us moving, why don't you call and make plans to spend time with us? Or just Amelia, if you insist! We may be "checking out" in certain ways, but we would love to spend as much time with people in the next few months as possible. Don't wait until our last week!

Any questions I didn't ask or answer?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

You've Got Photos!

Bathtime at Grandma's House.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This next week should prove significant for our family's future. We are going up to OR and WA tomorrow for ten days so that Jeff can attend a couple of education job fairs. We have definite plans to move North mid- July, but we have no idea where to! We are hoping that this will give us some good leads, and, eventually, a destination. If you think of it, please ask for key connections and clear direction on our behalf this week.

I'm really looking forward to time with several different family members, and a change of scenery. I can also hardly wait to let some other people fill Amelia's social needs. She has an amazing capacity for social activity, and loves everyone and every moment of interaction (except when it's just boring ol' Mama in our boring ol' home.) Apart from the new sleeping situation, I really expect her to enjoy the whole experience. And I am looking forward to taking some naps!

In other news, the garden is doing really well. Right now, there are a lot of sweet peas and ranunculus blooming, and I can't get enough of those colors. Also coming along quite nicely: asparagus, rhubarb, broccoli raab, strawberries, sugar snap peas, beets, carrots, and onions. I am doing a "voluteer" garden plot again this year as well, and so far I have identified cilantro, spinach, black bean and pumpkin seedlings. Can't wait to see what else shows up. The tomato plants that completely took over the whole area last year are starting to pop up, and I have been pulling most of them up. By the way, if you know someone who wants to plant an avocado tree, I have a couple of seedlings that have been growing for almost a year that are hoping to be adopted by a nice big yard.

Still no camera, but I sent an older one in for repairs... I am hoping to get some pics of Little A while we are with family and post them for you.