Sunday, January 26, 2020

An Uncomfortable Truth

This will be a short post about parents.  We love them, they set the foundation for our life's story, and hopefully make us feel "whole" in a way no one else can.  They value the special qualities that make each of us unique.  They also can be annoying, and make us feel guilty for choosing our own paths or possibly not meeting their expectations.  And, hmm - do they appreciate what we do for them?

As we get older, we realize the huge effort it took for them to raise us and appreciate everything they've done for us over time.  Good parents offer guidance as we grow into adults and plan for the future, recognize problems in our lives and help us think about solutions.  They provide support when we need it, whether we ask or not.  Moving sucks a lot, as Aunt Julie said to me once - drag your family into your move planning and logistics if you can.  Use your family support system especially  if you have your own babies and young children to care for!  And remember, Steve is outstanding as a father of teenagers and can share his tips & tricks with you.

We have to accept that parents know us better than almost anyone else.  Grandad once told me they "know us too well"....  they know our strengths and weaknesses, as well as some of our regrets, mistakes and bad judgments especially in our youth.  The comforting thought that goes along with recognizing this uncomfortable truth, is the odds are they'll keep loving and supporting us regardless.  That's what good parents do.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Thursday's Child

It's a snowy Saturday and I feel like writing.  It's occurred to me recently that while I've written about Alex's birth (Alex, I was shocked to look back and see that this was in 2011 - see the "15 Years Ago Today" post )....  I haven't written yet about Rob's birth.  Time to do it Rob, since you are already 17 !

This poem has been running through my head....
Monday’s child is fair of face,Tuesday’s child is full of grace,Wednesday’s child is full of woe,Thursday’s child has far to go,Friday’s child is loving and giving,Saturday’s child works hard for a living,And the child that is born on the Sabbath dayIs bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
I'm glad neither of you were born on Wednesday.  And obviously Alex hit the jackpot, having been born on Sunday.  Rob, you were born on Thursday...  and drat, I thought is was Thursday's Child who is full of grace!  Instead it seems you have far to go, as do we all.  I'll add a brief comment, Rob, that I do think you are full of grace.....  "grace" in its meaning as courteous good will i.e., being polite, having good manners (although not so much in the meaning of elegance or refinement of movement).  Rob, I know you are grateful for what you have, appreciate opportunities that come your way, and that you value friendships, volunteering to help others and treating all people fairly.

Well, on to my memories about your birth.  We were enjoying the summer weather of 2002 - I remember being incredibly hot at times at the end of the pregnancy, which I could only describe as being hot from the inside out.  It felt absolutely fantastic to swim in Grandma's pool.  As August came along, I was getting regular checkups.  Rob, you were measuring on the larger side and Dr. Ferraro wanted to be sure you would arrive around your due date - so scheduled me to be induced on Thursday Aug. 8th.  This meant I needed to arrive at the hospital Wednesday night, which we did around 7 pm after Dad finished work.  It turned out I was already having contractions - this made me very happy since likely I wouldn't have to have a medication like pitocin to speed up delivery.

Things were quiet overnight (Dad went home to get some sleep, then came back by 7 am), a bit later contractions started in earnest.  (It's quite a treat to watch the "contraction meter", which allows you to see one starting even before the pain hits.)  When it got really painful, I was lucky enough to get an epidural that worked perfectly.  Dr. Theresa Baseski, who I knew from Trinity Episcopal Church where we went at the time, was on call.  So she saw me, then unexpectedly Dr. Ferraro came in to check on us.  He decided my water should be broken, and after he did that the monitor over my belly showed your heart rate immediately dropped.  I had to roll on my side, then it came back to normal (what a relief!).  Dad was not in the room when this happened, I remember being so glad when he came back.  Around 4 or so, I felt the baby move lower but since Dr. Baseski wasn't in the room we just waited.  She came back around 5, checked and said "the baby is almost here"!  I pushed 3 times, and out you came!  We heard the exciting news - "It's a boy!"  I was happy (although I admit, I had expected a girl) and Dad was thrilled.  Both Aunt Pam and Aunt Julie told us they had "seen" you as a boy before you were born.  It was one of the very sweetest moments in my life.  You were born just before 5:30.  You weighed 8 lbs, 8 ounces and your first Apgar score was 8 (out of 10).   In combination with the date being August 8th, the doctor was amazed.  Then your second Apgar score came back as a 9, breaking the streak.  So 8 is definitely your lucky number.

You were beautiful, with a little fine blond hair and of course blue eyes.  Your nose was flattened a bit, likely from all the time you were "almost here".  That didn't last long.  By the next day, I noticed your very long blond eye lashes.  We had visitors of course, the first ones being Aunt Pam and Grandma.  Dad went home to get Alex, who came to see you later in the evening.  The next day came the problem of naming you.  I had picked out girl names, but not boy names.  I suggested naming you Jonathan Dodge after Edie's partner Jon.....  but Dad wanted to name you after his father.  So in the end we named you Robert after your father & grandfather Carroll, and Buchanan which is also the middle name of your grandfather Rivers.  Now and then we talk about our heritage as part of the Scottish Clan Buchanan via the McCausland family.

You were a good nurser from the beginning, and ate about every 2 1/2 hours (less at night).  You were also very sleepy the first week or so; after we got home you lost weight so I had to start waking you up to eat.  You were a cold baby, always needing to be wrapped up tight.  This was true even when it was in the 90's.  Oddly, if you were in air conditioning you would get a heat rash - which didn't happen if the AC was off.  You slept in a bassinet in the living room, and I slept on the couch for a while.  I remember taking Alex out to swim, and sitting by the pool holding you.  He did announce that watching you nurse was absolutely "disgusting".  Just a few weeks later, Alex started kindergarten.  It was special family time, since I wisely stayed home for the full length of my maternity leave until you were 7 months old.

Rob, you are now a junior in high school.  As you get older, it will be interesting and exciting to see just how far you do go to college and beyond.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Christmas 2019

While I can still remember details, here is the schedule plus a few highlights from Christmas 2019.  To be honest, with Steve and me working most of Christmas week some crankiness did set in...  But I'm happy with everything - all went as planned and we had lots of great family time.  The holiday season is wonderful, and good thing it is only once per year.

  • Dec. 22 - Aunt Pam's student piano recital at Trinity Church, which Rob and I attended.  Also, baking commenced (cut-out, sugar cookies).  Baking continued over the next couple days, then more on Friday night & Saturday morning.
  • Dec. 24 - 7:30 pm service at Wyoming Presbyterian Church.  Laura Lewis was retiring as pastor at the end of the month; also, Pastor Jim Thyren retired back in June.  We've always looked forward to church and other activities with them, and will miss them.
  • Dec 24 - 9:30 pm at Aunt Pam's house.  Delicious food including beef rolls with horseradish, crab dip and cookies.  Had a pleasant time with Norbert and Pam's friend Dawn.
  • Christmas Day - 12:30 pm present opening, once Alex came over.  Favorite presents:  Alex - mattress & box spring, which arrived about a month earlier, and hopefully a silver and red glazed shot class that Rob brought him from Monaco; Rob - Van Refrigeration (The Office) t-shirt, The World According to Mr Rogers book, and Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon DS game; Mom - black and white kitties crystal pendant; Steve - Sonos lamp with speaker from Ikea.
  • Christmas Day - 2 pm ham and chicken dinner with Aunt Pam, Norbert, Joe, Rich & Gary the dog (who was well behaved i.e., no pooping on the rug; of course, our feline companions stayed upstairs).  My pecan pie was excellent, with special thanks to the pecan shopper - see related posting on NCFE:  Pecans.  Unfortunately Taylor didn't join us, since her grandparents' Christmas dinner was at the same time.  
  • Christmas Day - 6 pm or so Kate (home from NYC), Becca and Chris came over.  It was a nice, relaxing time to catch up and open presents. 
  • Friday Dec. 27 - Korin and Alex came from Massachusetts to stay for the weekend.  Had a pizza dinner together on Friday, then presents on Saturday night.  We are pleased that Alex's room is completely in order as a guest room.  Korin's Alex said the bed was more comfortable than theirs at home  :-)  
  • Saturday Dec. 28 - Lunch at Montgomery Ave, then the "final" Star Wars movie from the original series The Rise of Skywalker at Movies 14.  Grammie, John, Fran, Noel, Larson and Paul Fejko (organist at Old Swedes church, think 'Lucia Fest') joined us.
  • Sunday Dec. 29 Mid-Day - Grotto party at Harvey's Lake with Brian Gochez-Kerr, David and Natalia Kerr, Alex & Taylor, Grammie and Grandad, Aunt Julie and Mark, Aunt Di and Uncle Lawry, Lou, Uncle John and Aunt Fran, Noel and Larson.  A happy time.  And more importantly, Alex's birthday!!  You turned 23 (wow!!), which was also celebrated with your friends the prior evening.
  • Dec. 29 - 31 - Continuing on to Ricketts Glenn, we stayed at Grammie & Grandad's cabin.  Walks, games, more presents and much good food (Aunt Julie's chocolate sauce was a big hit).  On Monday we took a drive with Lou through Lopez and Mildred, to Dushore which is in need of some general repairs and house paint.
  • Dec. 31 evening - Jan 1  Came home in the afternoon & thankfully, nothing on the schedule!  There was laundry and general recuperation, including couch time for Mom.
Here's a picture Steve took of our handsome boy Rambo, alongside a lovely Christmas tree.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Year's Song

Today was a quiet day, while we recuperated from holiday festivities including a couple nights at the cabins.  It's our first New Year's at home without Alex, which is a little sad for me.  Also it's my birthday, which I could conveniently forget as I'm now eleven lustrum (you may have to look that up).  Although one good reason to be glad for my birthday is that Steve got us tickets to a show - Fiddler on the Roof, which is coming to the Scranton Cultural Center in April (!)  I do love musicals.

We just got back from our annual trek to see the Christmas lights at Nay Aug Park (this year we did not drive up & down Fireman's Hill aka Olive Street, where Rob has said he would like to live some day).  We had a delicious dinner at Fratelli's restaurant too.  The stars are out tonight :-)  When we got home, Rob played a lovely version of "Over the Rainbow" on his phone.  It's a song about hopes and dreams for the future.  And it's just a little melancholy which I sometimes feel during the holiday season, thinking of Chrismas's past even as we're enjoying our kitties (like Rambo under the tree, and Jean Luc lounging among the presents as you opened them), family time, gifts, lights, decorations, cards from friends & family and too many cookies. 

Happy New Year!  And best wishes for everyone in 2020.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas is Coming!

As a quick follow-up to the last post, here is a picture of our front porch.  Steve was in charge of outdoor lighting.  He was also the  main arranger of interior lights and assembler of our Christmas tree, after which Rob and I worked on tree ornaments.  Rambo does chew on tree branches now and then (though no sign of ill effects), while Jean Luc is being a good boy all the time (as it would be a great deal of effort to do otherwise).

Glorious Kingdom

From earlier posts, you can tell that I like choral music including gospel music.  Rob, a couple weeks ago I dropped you off for a Key Club activity at Butler Street Park in Wyoming.  Our old stomping grounds!  I took you to play at the park many times when you were young boys.  Seems like the Wyoming Recreation Board was hosting a Christmas/holiday event starting at twilight, and I happened to hear this wonderful song (which is new to me) on my way home.

So lovely and obviously everyone singing enjoyed it very much.  Maybe you will like too...

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019 (minus the turkey)

This year we went out to Thanksgiving dinner - for the the second time (the first being 2 years ago at a restaurant near Hershey, where we met up with Aunt Di, Uncle Lawry and Lu).  Here's a semi-focused picture from that pleasant day:

As you know, we normally spend Thanksgiving with Grammie and Grandad - and I'm sure we will again.  We did in fact see them....  Rob, you Steve and I went down the next day and went to the Museum of the American Revolution downtown in Philadelphia, wandered the Willow Grove Mall and had dinner with Aunt Julie and Mark (newly returned from a visit to Oman and Doha), Meagan and baby Julian.

Really, Thanksgiving was was ssoooo nice.  I didn't have to cook, except for baking a couple pies which I enjoyed.  We had a reasonable, 45 minute drive up to the Hazleton area to a lovely restaurant Top of the Eighties.  I have always wanted to go there, and have always noticed the view from the top of this hill overlooking the Conyngham Valley.  Aunt Pam joined us (we missed Taylor, who went to her grandparents' Thanksgiving dinner), and we had a table near picture windows overlooking a country club and picturesque hills, homes etc.  The room wasn't crowded, everyone ordered meals other than turkey, appetizers, deserts and coffees with liquor for several of us.  It was relaxing, and we hope to go again sometime.

It was also very nice to have Kate, Korin and Alex and Becca and Chris over later on.  We had pie and caught up on everyone's news.  (Korin just finished her dissertation and is now officially Dr. Korin Albert - wow!).  As you can tell, it was a good day.  Here's a picture from Top of the Eighties to help us remember.  Rob wore his Hawaiian shirt with plaid flannel shirt for the occasion.