Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Remember This

We don't see Chris's family that often. Before our recent trip to Oregon, we hadn't seen his parents since Ben was six months old. That's what happens when you find a husband two thousand miles away from where you live and force him (willing or otherwise) to transplant himself to the snowy tundra of Wisconsin. We had four solid days of family time. I'll tell you what I will (or want to) remember, in no particular order. (Photos from our trip at bottom of post.)

1. Their dog, Mitzy, got so jealous about having kids in the house. She actually spent a good deal of time on BJ's lap, which isn't something she does normally. Ben wasn't mean to her or anything like that, but the kids definitely stole most of her alloted attention time.

2. Driving to Ashland, OR, to see the beautiful Lithia Park. That little town is so darn adorable to begin with. Add to it a top-notch, gorgeous park that looks well-loved by the community, and I'm swooning. The permanent structures weren't new or modern. They looked ancient and well-preserved. Definitely the kind of place I'd love to have in my own community. A park that won't change from generation to generation.

3. Meeting the uncles and cousins and learning the family history. It's a complex story, and I got a lot of the names and connections sorted out in my head thanks to BJ. Quirky, amusing and kind. That's how I'll sum them all up. The kind of people who would become my best friends if I lived in the area, and that's saying a lot, considering how few friends I let in my life.

4. The breast issues. I learned a lot about what causes breast pain. The yeast infection may not have been yeast after all. I finally lanced a large blood blister on the tip, and a chunk of dried milk the size of Anna's pinky nail squeezed out after the blood drained. It was messy and disgusting and not advised because you should never drain a blister, but the pressure relief was immediate. By the next day, the pain was minimal, and I kept swabbing on the gentian violet to keep it from getting infected. Last night, the scab finally came off. Oh, and gentian violet stains everything it touches, especially fabric of any kind.

5. Ben woke up Friday morning very grouchy and clingy. He didn't want to do anything but cuddle, and he was hot to the touch. Despite this, we bundled up the kids and went out for breakfast. Ben vomited while we were looking at our menus. After Daddy cleaned him up, we ate hurriedly while Ben sat cuddled against Daddy, wrapped in Daddy's sweatshirt. A l.o.n.g. nap and an entire jug of pedialyte, and Ben was up and running (literally) by dinner time. He was also eating everything within reach.

6. My dear husband beat me at Scrabble Sunday night. I forgive him, and we agreed that it was only because Uncle John helped him. It had been years since I played because no one will play me around here. When various family members tired of pinochle, we started playing Scrabble. It was a rousing game, and the competition was fierce. I tied for first place in the second game, but only because I went out first and gained all of the points left over from the other players' tiles. I wasn't in top form, and I'm ashamed. Seriously. Chris beat ME at Scrabble. The man who doesn't know there's a difference in spelling between since and sense. What the heck is the world coming to?

7. Date night with Chris was Saturday night. We intended to go to a Thai restaurant, but since the place looked dead, we decided not to risk it because we figured that if the place was any good, it would be hopping. We blackberried driving instructions to a recommended Chinese buffet place, and we eventually found it. The line for seating extended outside the door. Good sign. The food wasn't any better than what is available around here, but it was fun to have such a variety of things to try. We avoided anything fried and loaded up on the veggies. We couldn't find a grocery store (what is wrong with that town?), so we ended up raiding a chocolate shop in the mall for dessert noshes. We each picked out a little bag of different chocolates, and we took a bite of each kind before throwing out the bag. That way we got the experience of all that chocolate, but with fewer calories. We decided afterwards that cheesecake would have been better. Believe it or not, chocolate was a disappointment.

8. After we walked down the street to visit his grandparents, Ben had a wonderful time running around the house with a couple of dogs. They were chasing each other from room to room. So cute. Dixie's house was full of so many beautiful things to look at. I could have spent hours there, just exploring her walls.

9. Chris's aunt was the Anna whisperer. She had such a way with my kids, Anna especially. You know how Anna has her ultra-fussy times in the evenings where nothing makes her happy? Young managed to calm and soothe her time and time again. She's like baby valium.

10. The feeling that my kids are growing up too fast. We know that we probably won't see them again until Anna is a toddler and talking and Ben is in pre-school. Knowing that this time in their lives is so brief makes me cherish each of them even more. It makes me want to memorize every detail about what they are like at these ages. It makes me want to hold tightly to them, hug them more, shower them with kisses, and get on the floor and roll around a bit and enjoy their babyhoods.


Anna at five in the morning in the airport before we flew out of Wisconsin. It's impossible to be grouchy about getting up early when you get to see that cheery face.

Ben playing at the kid spot in our local airport before we went high in the sky like a bird. We kept the monkey on his back even when we weren't walking. He didn't mind.

This is Grandpa Jack trying to make Anna happy during one of her fuss fests. It was a valiant effort.

Home is where the "guck" is. Though Ben enjoyed playing with the toys that Grandma and Grandpa had, I think he felt more secure in a new environment when he could fiddle around with some toys from home. We surprised him with a little Lightning McQueen on the airplane, and he hasn't really put it down since.