Author Archives: Tara

A Plethora of Photos

Photos from Cody’s birthday, visits from grandparents, and miscellaneous.  Click through the photos for informative–and occasionally entertaining–captions.  🙂

Oh, and I’m sure this seems silly, but I wanted to take a moment to record an ode to my recently departed alarm clock.

She may not even remember this, but for my 13th birthday(pretty sure, or it might’ve been Christmas that year), my Aunt Susie gifted me an alarm clock called the Wacky Wake up Alarm clock.  This week (approximately 17 years later), it finally gave out.  Started lighting up in all the wrong places, making numbers that don’t exist for half the day and flickering when I tried to reset it.  If you know me very well, you probably know I’m not overly sentimental: I cull and purge physical and even digital items regularly and with ruthless determination, which works well for our lifestyle.  However, I’m not completely black-hearted, and some objects, if they’re really useful or I’ve had them around for a really long time, work their way into my heart.  The Wacky Wake Up alarm clock was both.

The numbers the perfect size and brightness that I could see them without my contacts or glasses, but not be blinded, as is the case with my current stand-in.  This alarm clock faithfully woke me up and informed me of the time for over half my life, although I have not used an alarm clock since Cody was born except maybe that one time we had to go to the airport really early.  But what really made this alarm clock special was that everyone else hated it.  See, instead of beeping or ringing like a normal alarm clock, the Wacky Wake Up cycled through colorful humorous phrases and obnoxious sound effects, most of which, I’ve realized in adulthood, are examples of cultural stereotypes.  For example, there’s a lawyer voice that said, “If the alarm don’t quit, UP you must get! My client cannot be expected to wake up in these circumstances.  They are deplorable, they are intolerable, and un-quintessential.”  Then there was a red-neck voice that said, “I’ll teeell you what.  You hit that there snooze button one mo’ time, and I’m gonna open up a can of Whup- (beep beep), and you know I’m gonna do it too, doncha?” There was an Italian voice that said, “Bongiorno…why don’t you treat me with no respect?  You can get out of bed, or I can come in there and get you out of that bed, capiche? Now, where’s my canoli?” Then there was a sort of frantic Indian voice–I imagine it’s how some cab drivers in NYC sound– that said, ” Oh my goodness it’s time to get up.  Yes, you, you, you got to get out of bed.  Get out of bed and drop de pee-low(pillow).  Drop de pee-low!”  And one or two others that escape me right now.  You’d think I’d remember after 17 years, but I guess the lack of use in the past three years has tarnished my memory.  Anyway, you could cycle through the phrases for fun by holding the snooze button, so I would play it for other people sometimes (perhaps I’ve played it for you) and I can’t remember anyone who didn’t say, “That is terrible.  I would hate waking up to that.”  But I thought it was hilarious, and I loved it.  Perhaps even more so when other people said they didn’t, because I’m obstinate like that.  I had that alarm clock in my parents’ house, three dorm rooms, three apartments, and four houses.

I can’t tell you how sad it made me to realize nothing could be done and to place it gently in the kitchen trash this week.

Update: for interested parties, this is the exact alarm clock I had, so you can hear what it sounds like and decide if you love it or hate it! (And you can hear the phrases I forgot, mixed up, or didn’t get quite right)

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Grace

Hi All,

Thought I’d go ahead and share some pictures I’ve been excited to share, and I’ll give an abbreviated birth story, too.  (At least, abbreviated is the plan)

You may remember Cody was born at 41 weeks, so all along I was convinced this baby would be born past the due date, though not all the way at 41 weeks.  I’d been having contractions for months, gradually getting more consistent and, in the past week, more intense.  Thursday was Grace’s due date and I told everyone that a due date is just a day, not a set appointment or anything and that it would probably be several more days.  Cody and I went to music class in the morning and the pool in the afternoon.  During dinner, I started to feel some regular contractions with the same intensity I’d been feeling for a week or so, but by 8 pm, they kept coming one after the other and building ever so slightly in intensity and I said, “I think these might be labor contractions.”  We started timing them, and about 9:15 we decided we would finish putting the hospital bag together and contact our neighbor who would stay with Cody.  Our neighbor arrived around 10 and we made the five minute drive to the hospital, where they determined I hadn’t progressed since my last prenatal visit the previous day (already a 4, whoo hoo).  We opted to walk the halls for an hour, contractions building in intensity until I was having to breathe through them and they were getting into my lower back and I prayed “dear Lord, please let the labor be progressing so we can call the anesthesiologist!” Thankfully I’d changed about a centimeter so we got admitted, IV inserted, blood drawn, and called the anesthesiologist.  I think by that time it was about 1: I felt like took forever while the nurse dug around in both my arms trying to get the IV in (I am still swollen and bruised.  Ouch.) and waiting for lab to come and then wondering how many more contractions I’d endure before the epidural would be in place.  I was about a 6-7 at that point and they were pretty intense.  What was promised to be 20 minutes of waiting was about an hour, but at last the angel of mercy arrived and by 2:45 we fell asleep.  Woke up about 6:40 kind of feeling some pressure, and I was nervous the epidural might be wearing off, which it did twice with Cody, but when the nurse checked she said, “Nope, you’re complete and feeling the pressure of the baby.  We’ll get things set up and get ready to push.” They wheeled in all this stuff for the delivery and for the baby and called the doctor, etc and at 7:15, I pushed through one contraction, then my doctor arrived, I pushed through another contraction, and he said “Don’t wait for the next contraction; push now” and out she came at 7:27!  All in all, less than 12 hours from when I said, “I think this is labor,” and really only 10 of “Whew, this is definitely labor!” so significantly shorter than my first labor of 40 hours, although not nearly as fast as some of the anecdotes about subsequent children that get told!

Anyway, Grace is well, I am recovering well, Cody is loving on Grace all the time and Caleb is loving on Grace AND me AND Cody all the time! Sooo thankful he gets as much paternity leave as he does; I don’t know what I would do without him! Also, forgot to mention what a wonderful and tireless birth support partner Caleb was, first time and this time.

Thanks very much for all your prayers and well wishes! Stay tuned for more pictures.

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Catchup

Hope everyone is enjoying summer! 😀

Thought it was about time to post some photos since a bit of a backup was starting to form with finished pictures on the computer, pictures sitting on the camera…time has gotten away from me this summer!  I guess we’ve been busy with some little trips and trying to take care of a number little things before August!

Anyway, today we have a few pictures from our Memorial Day overnight camping trip, a few from Caleb’s IM softball championship and a few randoms.

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Niagara/Graduation

Just got back from sort of our “last big hurrah” for a while: we wanted to attend Caleb’s sister Julie’s college graduation in Pennsylvania this last weekend, and decided to go out a little early and spend a full day at Niagara Falls!

Cody has been driving me crazy eagerly anticipating this trip for quite some time, not only because he likes seeing family (he does!) but because we told him he would be going on an airplane.  I think the experience lived up to or surpassed his expectations.  Some highlights, none of which I photographed, oops: seeing a plane whose captain was retiring go through a fire engine water arch(apparently an aviation tradition; news to me!), getting crackers AND juice (diluted, but still had quite the effect) on both flights, and watching planes taxi in and get pushed back from the window, and having the captain of a plane getting pushed back spot us and wave!  Cody has become a master at spotting jets in the sky, usually before we do, and always asks what airplane it is–and he’s looking for make and model, folks, not “jet airliner” like we tell him when all we’ve got to go off is a contrail.  He’s also lately interested in the make and models of vehicles and the names of the streets we drive on.  An inquisitive mind is great, but leads me to treasure his silent nap times all the more.

We pushed our bodies to opposite limits last Wednesday and Thursday: first we drove 4.5 hours to Dallas, sat for a two hour flight, then a 4.5 hour drive to Niagara.  The following day we walked around for four straight hours.  Whew! Achy legs aside, we had a great time just kind of walking around the area and staring at the falls!  We stayed on the Canadian side because of better hotel options, but walked over to the American side for the boat ride.  In spite of the attractive blue plastic ponchos, we got quite soaked, but what an experience!  Cody just howled the whole time we were on the boat in front of the falls, but calmed down eventually.  We agreed a sunny, windy day like we had is ideal for this experience.

Friday we drove back to Pennsylvania and spent some time chatting with our grad before a wonderful picnic dinner.  The big event took place Saturday morning, about 20 degrees colder than forecast, and cloudy, but no rain, and the nice red plaid blanket Julie had in her car made up for my lack of preparedness.  Thanks for sharing, Katie! We were very happy to get to witness this auspicious moment in Julie’s life, and the commencement speaker was Vice POTUS Mike Pence, so that was exciting, too!  Had another lovely picnic lunch after photos, and then started the journey home, which was delightfully uneventful!

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CO/Mother’s Day

Lots of pictures to share today!  Which is ironic, because at the end of our recent trip to Colorado, I thought I’d completely failed at taking pictures because I only took the “porch pictures” on my camera, but I borrowed and compiled shots from my mom’s camera, Caleb’s phone, and my phone and ended up with a pretty good photo summary!  Our first couple days in CO were very cold, wet, and windy, so we ran errands and took Cody to the library to play and helped my parents go through and set up some of their things, as they are still getting settled in their new house! The pictures begin on day 3, when the sun came out and Caleb and I headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park while my parents graciously cared for and entertained Cody. Without further ado:

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April

Lots of fun pictures to share from April!

First we had Caleb’s birthday, for which we had a little dinner with friends and I made this Butterfingers Ice Cream Cake.  That was my first time making an ice cream cake, and I’ll admit I was kind of thinking, “this seems like a lot of work when we could just eat ice cream” but I must say it was very good.  It’s a graham cracker crust, vanilla ice cream with crushed Butterfingers, more crushed Butterfingers, and whipped cream frosting.  The recipe called for one layer of plain vanilla ice cream, but the quantities given in the recipe did not match up at all with the 9″ Springform pan I used (in case you want to give it a try yourself).

Then we have a few pictures and a video from Easter, always one of my favorite holidays, and a couple other random pictures.

Enjoy! Hope you all are enjoying your April, and maybe some warmer weather?

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KC Visit

A few pictures from our recent quick trip to Kansas City!  We really enjoyed staying with and seeing my Grandma, who is having some trouble with her vision but otherwise is doing quite well.  I think we are all in awe of her. 🙂 My cousin and his family made the trek from Tokyo, which was the main reason for the timing of our trip!  Great to see them, and my Aunt Susie, Uncle Mike, and Aunt Dony.

(We also enjoyed visiting my old friends Crate & Barrel and Target but I did not take any pictures there 😉 )

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Family Visit

Hi Everyone!

Things have been pretty routine around here, with the exception of a recent visit from Caleb’s parents!

I didn’t take very many pictures, but I’ll share a few.  I forgot to take my camera the day we went to our children’s museum, but that is always fun.  We also got to see Caleb flying in formation; practicing for a flyover in San Antonio the following week.  Amazingly, in six years, this is the first time I’ve stood on the ground and watched a plane I knew he was flying.  And it was a first for Caleb’s parents, too, so that was fun.

Here’s what I got from Caleb’s flight. Not my best bit of cinematography.  One of those times where it was tough to see the screen and try to make sure the far-away objects stayed in the picture.  Anyway, hopefully you can get the idea.  Caleb is in the plane second closest to the camera in the first pass, or second from the right once the formation is past us.

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Thanksgiving

Immediately after yesterday’s post, I realized I completely skipped over the pictures I have from Thanksgiving!  Some of them were used for Christmas cards, so I was holding off until those went out, but no need to wait any more!

Since we were already in the south over Thanksgiving, we were excited to be able to drive up and spend it with Caleb’s family! The whole family was able to make it; the first time we’ve gathered since our niece was born in May.  I can’t believe I didn’t grab my camera when Cody and his young cousin were interacting!  Next time.  In addition to the big feast at a family friend’s house, we enjoyed time hiking, walking, and playing Ultimate in the great outdoors, and just relaxing and chatting and playing games with family!  We also took Cody through the Bristol Speedway in Lights, which is tough to explain if you’ve never done it, but basically you drive through their property and complex and on the speedway while admiring their elaborate light displays!  Fun for all.  And of course, I know at least I had fun with our big family photo shoot, the results of which are shared below.  Belated thanks for a great visit!

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December

Hello!

Apologies for our lengthy radio silence!  I’ve had these pictures sitting on my camera for weeks and weeks now.

Once we returned home from our Southern excursion, we were busy trying to cram an entire season of preparation into one week: hanging lights, selecting and decorating a tree and the rest of the house, baking for the office and the neighborhood, assembling Christmas cards, purchasing, wrapping, and shipping gifts, etc.  We had  lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services here and shared a Christmas Day brunch with some neighbors before preparing for a jaunt to Colorado to spend some time with my family.  After the Colorado trip, I did a little math and found in 7 weeks we’d spent about 70 hours and 4300 miles on the highways and interstates of 8 states.  I think I’d nearly recovered from the exhaustion of all that when I became completely paralyzed by the cold weather (it gets or at least feels colder than you might think here!!); unable to tear myself out from under the blankets on the couch.

So that’s why we’re now seeing pictures from December! Also, I think I’ve been procrastinating because now that these photos are done, there’s nothing to prevent me from doing our annual family photo yearbook.  I love having the results, but it takes forever to create!

 

 

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