Friday, February 3, 2017

Things my kids say (and other life updates)

I know that it can be irksome--especially when one doesn't have children--to read FB statuses which are full of kid anecdotes.  So I'll put it in blog form and that way you can avoid them, you grinches.  (Just kidding.)

Yesterday, while Max and I were waiting in the hallway of his school for his preschool classroom to open, he saw a classmate wearing a shirt emblazoned with superheroes.  Max said with his usual enthusiasm, "Oh, hey, I LOVE your superhero shirt!  And guess what?!  I am wearing my superhero underwear today!"  The other boy looked nonplussed, which Max took as license to continue on.  "I also got NEW BLACK UNDERWEAR!!!"  (For some reason, he really digs black underwear, apparently.)  After a moment's reflection, Max said, "I bet he'd like to see my underwear!"

This, of course, is when I reminded him that even in the unlikely event that the boy would like to see them, it was not appropriate.  Max smiled wistfully and said, "Yeah, I know, but I bet he would anyway."  Well, no, probably not.  Oh well.

Ben, a sturdy 3 year old nowadays, is completely and utterly anti-potty.  Cries just sitting on his little potty.  Since I've been getting nauseated just being in the bathroom for the last few months of this pregnancy, I haven't made any serious attempt at the potty training, although it sure would be swell not to have two kids in diapers again come summer time.  Lately, Ben has taken to whining at me while I'm wiping his bottom during diaper changes that "Mommy, you're hurting my feelings."  Spare me, son.

We also know now that his language therapy last year paid off big time. 12-18 months ago he was nearly non-verbal.  Now he doesn't STOP talking.  When it rains, it pours!

Speaking of, January was a rough month, folks.  Here in the greater Portland area was categorized by an unusual amount of snow and ice, and our city is not equipped to deal with it whatsoever.  Thanks to environmental concerns (and, to be fair, a general lack of snow in our climate), Portland doesn't salt roads, nor does it have enough snow plows. So the city's plan is to just wait and let the snow melt on its own.  The highways do get cleared fairly quickly, but almost any other road, including other major arterials, get nothing.  The snow gets packed down and slick and accidents abound.

Allen was the victim of one such accident. The second week of January, a lady spun out on some ice and smacked him head on.  He walked away unhurt, thank God, but his truck was seriously messed up.  It's taken almost a month but we finally got word that the truck was considered a total loss and we will receive insurance compensation  so Allen can buy a "new-to-him" truck soon (another gratitude; Allen was also deemed totally not at fault in the accident.)  So he's been truckless for most of January.  Thankfully, we still had the Toyota Echo sitting around in his mom's driveway, so he was able to use that (and for a week and a half he drove a rental car which was partly covered by insurance).

 Still, being truckless put a crimp in his usual scrap-gathering routine, which is doubly unfortunate because he's been temporarily laid off for most of January with no end in sight.  Thankfully he's had a remodeling side job to keep money coming in, but that is soon going to be drawing to an end.  It sounds like he can apply for temporary unemployment once the side job stops, though, so that will also help.  And if all else fails we do have a tax refund coming our way soon.  Providence is real.

Healthwise, January was rotten.  Upon returning from our otherwise great trip to see my family in St. Louis, I came down with the flu.  Not the throwing up kind (although I was already doing that thanks to morning sickness); just the aches, chills, fever, and general lethargy kind.  It spread through the family. Then at the end of January a nasty 48 hr diarrhea bug went through the household too. Ugh.  As you can imagine, that didn't do any favors for my nausea and throwing up. Between weather shutting down school and kids being sick, I think Ruby may have only gotten to school for less than half of the month.  Yikes!

 It was a better month for morning sickness relief, probably thanks in part to getting a Zofran prescription and thanks in part to moving into the second trimester.  But I still have nausea and alas my Zofran refill is caught in jnsurance limbo right now so I don't have any at the ready.  :(

But at the end of February we get to find out the sex of Cook baby #4, and I'm excited for that.  If old wives' tales can be believed, this just has to be a girl.  The sickness, the acne, the cravings for all adds up.  And I have a girl name picked out that I just love: Ivy Anne.  Ivy because I like the sound of it and it fits with our other kids' names well and there's a nice C.S. Lewis character by that name; Anne for my mom's middle name and St. Anne (and "Anne with an e" of Green Gables, of course.)  But we'll be happy with a boy, too, of course.  If a boy, we're thinking Samwise (Sam for short) Pio. Samwise for Frodo's loyal companion in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Pio for St. Padre Pio and for "pius Aeneas" from the Aeneid.  I would also be happy with a middle name of Chrysostom, Athanasius, Cyprian, or Jerome for some older-school saints.  Samwise Cyprian is a nice alliterative name.  I guess we're not as settled on the boy name yet because I just feel so sure it's a girl!  But time (and ultrasounds) will tell...

Quite a mixed bag month (and that's not even getting into politics and nation & world affairs!!!), but not without blessings and Providential outcomes. Deo gratias. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The things left behind

I got an email from Amazon suggesting that I might want to purchase a refill of printer toner. What Amazon doesn't know, of course, is that I used to buy it on Roger's behalf and have it shipped to his house, since he was none too tech savvy. 

I won't be needing to place that order again, since Roger (my husband's grandpa) died in a car crash last July. It's odd and bittersweet the way little reminders come back to you months (and years, I suspect) later.  

Allen just received some of his possessions, including his very trusty travel mug which went everywhere with him...and it even had his plastic flexi-straw in it. Funny story about that: it wasn't the kind of straw that comes with the cup, just the regular kind that is meant to be disposable. Except that this is Roger we're talking about, so he didn't dispose of it. Waste not, want not. I don't even know how old that straw is. And Roger's beverage of choice in his travel mug? Hot water. Roger was quite a fellow. Allen's keeping the straw, though not to drink with. I think he's going to put it up in his shop somewhere as a little reminder of his grandpa.  

Again, it's odd and bittersweet the things that call forth the memories. Why a drinking straw? Why not a piece of art or something more distinguished and destined for permanence? For some people, those would be the kind of mementos which most evoke their presence. Roger, though, was a man of pragmatism. He found beauty in utility and hard work. "Work makes life sweet," was his mantra, adopted from his German-from-Russia forebears. He truly loved working. Teaching, administrating, manual labor: it was all good. Allen is the same way. He'll never retire; well, maybe someday he'd quit a "day job" but then it would be onward to other things. It runs on my side, too. When my own maternal grandpa "retired" it was to start a Christmas tree farm and to be a commercial fisherman. He worked at mowing and farm upkeep until physical frailty prevented him in the last years of his life. My paternal grandmother was the longest serving state employee in Connecticut with over 50 years of teaching at the state college/university. They did what they loved until their bodies couldn't keep up. 

Had Roger not been in the car accident, he'd be maintaining his busy pace today. He was going to go hard till the end, because what else was life about? And you can bet that drinking straw was going to get used until it was too full of holes to function as anything but a sprinkler! His frugality, his work ethic, and his salt-of-the-earth nature somehow are perfectly encapsulated in that humble straw. So although it may be a strange, strange souvenir of one's grandfather, it seems quite fitting to keep it.

What, I wonder, of mine would be treasured and kept? Would it be my writing? Artwork? Or would it be something I can't even predict because it seems too mundane? How much of a say do any of us have in the things we leave behind? Some, to be sure. We live a legacy, for good or ill. But as for the tangible leftovers--the sacramentals, if you will--which will bring a smile or a good thought to loved ones who remain...I don't think it can be planned out to a full extent. That is as it should be. I can stipulate in a will or estate plan if I want certain things to be given to certain people. But I can't dictate the memories of me which people will hold, nor can I control which objects will evoke such memories. In life and in death, we never have complete control.  

Could Roger have imagined that this cup and straw would become an esteemed possession? Likely not; but I think he would be quite pleased that it was still working hard.

Rest in peace, Roger (and Roberta, too). Your work is ended; enter into the joy of rest for a change! ;)

Roger and Ruby, 2011

Roger and Max, 2013

Roberta, Karla, Roger, and Ben, 2013