Saturday, February 28, 2009

What a morning - beautiful perfect very early spring morning. I look out my window and see the earliest green buds on Danny's tree. Strong breeze has everything in motion and the sky is that delicate breath of blue that comes only with chilly late winter early spring mornings - so pure and soft, striped with white clouds. The red bud across the street is in full beauty now - a cloud of pinky purple blossom. And last night the waxing crescent moon set like a boat in the west with Venus uncannily bright right at it's corner (side by side) according to Star Date. I don't think I've ever taken in this configuration of moon and planet in this way - so brillint and beautiful.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Yesterday was an exhausting work day - mostly because the building was being reroofed and I had to keep moving- with clients - to different office to avoid the worst of the noise. It all worked out fine - but was tiring in process. Work is so secure for me - my safest place where I feel most competent and most able to keep things functioning from day to day. Oddness at the office gets to me more than oddness elsewhere - which I guess I [pretty much expect.

Today is good - warm - will get wintry again tomorrow. Bob has to stay tomorrow morning in COrpus to coach a few kids on writing so I want to get groceries in right now and cook tomorrow morning - so food purchase and preparation won't mess up our weekend. Tomorrow night we take K.K. and Ian with us to the symphony to hear the Galways play flute with the orchestra. I think we're all excited.

All is well with babies. Little Liam to back - is surprising us by flipping, already, from front to back - not supposed to be able to do that for a couple of months. I need to get my hands on both sweet little ones - and my bigger grands too this weekend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

There is a new food option near my office - a trailer kitchen from which two young men sell fish tacos, breakfast tacos, and fish and chips. They use fresh ingredients and my breakfast taco was delicious and cost only $1.75. These guys both have a sweetness about them, an eagerness about their new business. Both have numerous facial piercings and tattoos - looks that would not appeal to me, but I like these guys and want them to succeed. One of their friends who lives in the neighborhood talked with me a bit. He says he is making his living helping people move out of the big houses they can't afford into smaller houses. Signs of economic distress are more visible here now - office space to rent, a few closed restaurants, but mostly people's stories about reduced wages and hours. I still feel hopeful in face of our President's recovery policies. And I found two optimism quotes I like on a friend's blog today.

Winston Churchill said, "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Thomas Jefferson said, "I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm so glad I had the organizational ability to get myself home from work in time to plop down and watch President Obama's State of The Union Like speech to Congress all the way through. What a speech! There were (according to PBS) 52 interruptions for applause in 50 minutes, and much applause came from the Republican side of the aisle, which pleased me. I know I like this President, voted for him, want him to be the leader we need as a nation to climb out of the scary economic hole we are in - and to act with greater conscience for the common good. I was predisposed to like this speech, so I tried hard to listen with some balance. Still, I really liked this speech. I liked the seriousness, the degree of detail, the resolve, the hope, the avoidance of talking down to us, the personhood and role both evident in the man. I liked the level of detail he shared in talking about jobs saved, the commitment to transparency - who is working on what when and where and why. I felt led and like I'm willing to be led (which is a stretch for me since I'm never much good at following). I sat on my couch and cried and also felt truly thankful that we elected this man at this time. That says something about us as a people, not just about the man - something I need to believe about our willingness to make sacrifices, make changes, care about and for one another. I feel strongly patriotic tonight.

Here are exerpts from the speech:


While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.

"The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.


We have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.

Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.

Barack Obama, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Signs of spring are evident - hints appeared two weeks ago- a single white blossomed fruit tree, a chorus of birdsong as I trudged to the bus stop early, wrapped in my big coat. That evening I forgot my coat at the office for the first tie this season, just didn't need it walking home. last week spring began to sprinkle more signs, wisteria, mountain laurel, the first of the red buds, still barely visible, pinky purple against the sky if you look at the right angle. in a week they will take my breath, so bright, and in two weeks, green will be replacing the flowers. I also saw my first wildflower of the season this weekend, a Texas prickly poppy - big, white, delicate, overblown - Welcome back signs of spring.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This weekend has been overwhelmingly rich in love - so full of love. Ruth and Chris really centered us as a family/community with Liam's naming ceremony. Ruth has the text in her blog (Thank you Ru)

I am delighted by our community - the way people come through for each other. Kneeling in front of Ruth and blessing Liam Chaim to sleep was precious for me - a moment I will always remember, as was the moment of wrapping Chris and Liam Chaim in Chris' prayer shawl. I think at this point I am out of words to try to wrap the emotion more strongly. I grew up without people I had genetic ties to, and without a strong faith tradition or community. I grew up with values and sense of family mission and purpose, but not with a group who could sit in a circle and pass a baby around for blessing. I am just so improessed that both of my daughters have found/created such groups for their children. AND BOTH OF MY DAUGHTERS HAVE CHILDREN!!!!!! Life is good. TOmorrow I might even write something political. Or something. We'll see.

Friday, February 20, 2009

OK, I said I was going to get less baby focused in this blog, and I will. But it's just too strange that the writing prompt on Poetic Asides this week was to write an ode - a poem of priase and celebration and -duh- do I have an obvious topic or what? Thank goodness there is a free form style of ode. I don't think I could manage iambic pentameter.

Ode To New Grand Babies

Oh new grand babies
I do love your tiny fingers and toes
unique precious noses, wide eyes,
smooth skin, warm necks, soft hair.

Oh new grandbabies, I do love
to see your parentts beam, snuggle
glow, feed, wrap, unwrap, carry,
rock, sing to nurtur, love you each.

Oh new grandbabies, I do love
to revel as I watch you each unfold,
unique, to plan outings, travel, play,
work, meals, together for years to come.

Oh new grand babies, I do love
your presence, unexpected, longed for
You will carry genes and values on to
future generations, hope beareres, blessings.

Victoria Hendricks,
February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Liam is a whole week old and Andrea a day old - and in a few more days this blog will no longer be obsessively about babies. I think I am going to start a separate blog or web site or something for my Grandma role and keep this one more general.

But today is all about babies (even though I am suffering Liam withdrawal.)

It was a very good day on the Andrea front. I met held cuddled kissed and was photographed with her. Her brothers, who fell asleep before they could get to hold her last night, held and loved on her today - adorably tender with her, as was K.K. (who did get to meet her last night.) I didn't realize she shared your daughter's birthday Sue. Good to know that. She is a sweetie - little crying, enormous round light brown eyes, a surprising amount of black soft hair, and a precious little rosebud of a mouth. Joanna is sore and tired, but doing well. They should go home tomorrow Ruth and Chris even got to visit today - not sure they would manage it with Liam so young, but they did.

The hospital here has reinstated an old tradition of providing a fancy meal for two (in Joanna's case vegetarian style) the evening following a birth. I remember reading about this in older books, but our hospitals weren't doing it when I had babies, or when Joanna had her older kids. Joanna and Tracy really enjoyed their meal tonight, including coconut cake. I had a treat of going to dinner at an ice house near both the hospital and my office with the older kids. We stuffed ourselves, even had cinnamon chocolate milkshakes (as Danny, K.K. Ruth, Chris and I did the evening Zachary was born six years ago). Tonight we had an especially good time because a local band provided live music - Irish fiddle music mostly, which the kids and I all really enjoy. It's the kind of place where informal dancing is find, and we all joined in - FUN! K.K. and I also free associated on words about babies and wrote fifty of them on a napkin. We could have gone on and on but Tracy came to bring me home and take the kids to their house. Good night here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

and all is well. I know she is six pounds thirteen ounces and SO BEAUTIFUL according to her proud Daddy. I could hear Joanna cooing in the background as she nursed her. Tracy complained (not seriously) that Joanna would not let go of her. The kids and I will go meet her in a little while after she has been cleaned up. Exciting night! I'll write more after I know more.

Not yet - No ANdrea. But soon I hope. All is proceding just fineas far as I know. OOne more therapy session and then home to the big kids.
I dropped in at the hospital almost two hours ago and Joanna was laboring - but not intensely - wished it was going faster - tired but fine. Tracy was providing good support. We await Andrea with love. I'm working - so don't have long.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Good day. I scrubbed most of the surfaces in my house, removed piles from desk - organized, like the way it feels. I know I'm not pregnant, but I still can feel the urge to clean, arrange, prepare, with babies arriving. Tomorrow this time I probably will have kissed, touched, held Andrea. Such a treat in store. Didn't see Liam today, just pictures - precious pictures. I'm obsessed with these babies.

It will make a good story that Joanna and Jeanie and I went to the Women's Baseball Dinner at UT the night before Andrea's birth - and Joanna sat next to a very pleasant woman named, of all things ANDREA.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Liam is in his fifth day of life! Amazing. He was a mystery a week ago, and now he is still much of mystery, so much still to unfold - but I've held his hands and kissed his hair, nuzzled into the hollow of his neck. He went through a whole sleep wake cycle yesterday in Bob's arms and another in K.K.'s. I held his hands and cooed at him while he cried through a diaper change. I put one sleeper in the dirty clothes hamper and brought another sleeper downstairs. In short, he's home, healthy, here and I got to help take care of him and it doesn't get much better than that.

Joanna looks good - though I know she's tired of being pregnant. Andrea will be induced Tuesday morning if she doesn't come before then. All was well at that house too when we took Valentines (mine handmade and Bob's balloon tradition which he started when the girls were little and which they and the KDZ adore).

Bob and I walked at McKinney Falls today - late winter - cool and still gray world, but with tiny green touches here and there, not spring yet, but the palest promise. I saw my first hints of red buds yesterday.

I'm still holding my breath a little until Andrea is safely among us - still tired and overjoyed and focusing on hope not worry.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Liam and his parents are safely home. No Andrea yet. I'm so happy - not profound. Still tired from the emotion of the week plus work - building up another burst of energy for another new life.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I just got back fro a long blissful hospital visit. I held Liam this time - sweet boy. He is perfect. Ruth and Chris are perfect. Old friendships and new friendships sustain me through joys and sorrows - no sorrows tonight - but I am a sleepyhead.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bob is walking by the bay in Corpus, waning oon on the water - GORGEOUS - just noting that on the first night of Liam's life.
Just a quickie - Joanna's appointment was routine - all well. We celebrate Liam and await Andrea. I think I'm beginning to feel sleep deprived and had better finally listen to y body - but still keyed up too - SO HAPPY.
Liam is absolutely gorgeous - sweet. six pounds 3 ounces, I think. He has dark hair , a little more of it, and slightly deeper skin tone than Joanna's babies, All systems go Ruth and Chris both look great and the whole family is getting what looks like super care at the birthing hospital they chose. Joanna (newly and delightedly Auntie Jo Jo) and Bill Woodburn and Ruth's good friends Brynn and Todd visited shortly after Liam was born - stayed a bit - then let them all rest. I am overwhelmed with feeling now - joy delight relief. What a beautiful ittle family they make. Joanna and I had lunch at Super Salad and then she brought me to lunch, where I hope I will function adequately and not get up and dance in the middle of somebocy's serious session. Jo has an obstetrician's appointment right now, but expects it to be routine. We figure Andrea will come when she comes.
LIAM IS HERE!!!!!!! Chris called me about ten minutes ago. Ruth is fine. Liam is fine - THey were still weighing and measuring when Chris called. He has light brown hair and I heard his sounds. He was holding Chris' finger - as the daddy proudly and so sweetly reported. HOORAY!!!!!!! Joanna called me at the time of the csection and we talked on the phone all through it - felt good to hold metaphorically onto her. HAppy birthday LIAM!!!!! I am over the moon ant the moment. Need to finish dressing to go meet my grandson.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Storm blew through hard and loud - but fast. Should be a beautiful brisk oring to greet Liam - now if we can just do some sleeping here (Who me - excited? No way.) Thanks Mary and Judy, and everybody else keeping baby watch with me.
It is literally the calm before here - big storm expected during the night and baby Liam in the morning. I feel calm - which is probably all a defense mechanism, but I'll take it. I plan to get off the computer earlier than usual, watch some taped news shows on TV (Bill Moyers' Journal, NOW) and do some crafting - then go to bed early. Last night I felt calm, but just kept putting off going to bed - which was dumb. More self discipline in order tonight. Tomorrow night I'll share my first encounter with sweet Liam.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I had a great day cleaning with Joanna, Tracy and the kids. They - with a little help from me - are really deep cleaning the house. It is just sparkling in preparation for Andrea. Everything shines and smells so good. It really is a a time of new beginning for the whole family. I read in Ruth's blog that she is feeling fully emotionally excited about and present for Liam's birth Wednesday morning.
Quick happy post. I'm hurrying to get ready to go over to Joanna's and help her clean house. It will be fun. She feel good - contractions finally stopped altogether and she got a good night's sleep. I'm looking forward to a bus happy day with her. And to meeting Liam Wednesday around noon. Exciting.
I just talked to Ruth and they had the sonogram and Liam is still definitely transverse and not about to turn - all healthy but can't be born naturally in that position. So they are having a c section at 7:30 Wednesday morning. They sound calm and ready and I feel the same. I will ride out tho the hospital with Ruth's friend Brynn as soon as they call me - canceling Wednesday morning at work but not Wednesday afternoon. I'm excited to meet our boy. It's not as clear when Andrea will come. Joanna was feeling much better last night when Ruth and Chris took them enchiladas. I think she and I will spend some time together today and I'll help her a little with house work. So it's happening - but not right now as far as I know. THe babies are coming. So much mystery in birth.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Joanna visited Seton Hospital one more time today because she was concerned that Andrea wasn't moving much - but Andrea of course started moving and kicking as soon as Jo got to the hospital - and heart beat and all such were fine. Bob and I took the kids and some comfort food out to Round Rock and saw her right after her hospital trip and she seemed good - strong - was going to eat and then go back to work for a little while. Tracy was working on laundry and moving some furniture they don't use now out into the garage. KK had homework and the boys headed out back to shoot baskets - seemed very normal, which I found comforting. I will probably spend part of my day off out there tomorrow to help with nesting activities.And Ruth has her ultrasound tomorrow which will result in a decision as I understand it, about whether to plan for induction or C section. Bob just headed back to Corpus, after taking me out for Indian dinner - yum!. I'm calm at this point really loved having him for an extra day enjoyed the kids, especially making valentines with them.
My elder daughter is back at work! EEK! I know it's good for her to have more maternity leave after Andrea comes. I just hope and trust all will be well. The boys have made their valentines and are at library story time with Bob. KK is making a few valentines while I type and cook a little. We'll take the kids back home in an hour or so - and then who knows what will happen net regarding labors. I do think Joanna slept some.
No news on the baby front. I am not expecting Ruth news today and AM epecting Joanna news of some sort - but am letting her be (hopefully sleep) for now. I figure either labor will rally start up or really back off and she will either have her baby in her arms or be more comfortable. Bob and I are hoping today will be Andrea's birthday so he can meet her before going back to teach tomorrow. I'm relieved I have tomorrow off to be helpful. Right now, I want to get back to making Valentines with the boys, a beloved family tradition. It's kind of sad that K.K. is too old for the first year for class valentines. She still makes some special ones for special friends. And it's fun to think I will be able to teach this new baby crop about home made valentines.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I just talked to Joanna on the phone. She's still at home, still stalled out in labor, but resting and eating and drinking orange juice as instructed - exhausted, hoping she can rest a little, then labor will pick up and Andrea will be here. Her labor is reminding me of my labor with her, which was stop and start from Friday night to tenish Sunday morning. Bob and I are having a really good weekend withthe kids. They are such a sweet part of our life. It's hard for me to imagine what it will be like to have this new pair of grand babies, a whole new phase, extension of roles, set of adventures. At this moment I'm more excited than nervous.

Ruth is still believing her labor won't just start on its own, but of course it could. She and Chris are enjoying an evening at home together. It has to be strange for her to be done with work - without Liam in arms just waiting and seeing about the next stage in her life.
Baby pins and needles here. Joanna went into the hospital last night to be checked because she was having hours of contractions ten minutes apart, but was sent home. I hope she's OK. I hope Andrea's OK. Keep praying if you pray. Nothing's happening out of the ordinary. Waiting is just hard. We have the big kids, who are sweet as can be. KK is about to go to jazz class.

Friday, February 06, 2009

All's well with Bob. Normal blood pressure this morning - good even 106 over sixty something. His doctor is not worried at all and we are looking forward to a good weekend - maybe babies. Still at work, just updating.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I didn't post last night because I was a little nuts - both Joanna and Ruth had baby appointments which showed babies in positions which would require c sections and Bob wasn't feeling well. Today I've calmed down - Joanna's Andrea was turned - I'm sure difficult for Joanna, but at least turned and hopefully ready to be born soon in the normal fashion. Joanna is home resting. Ruth doesn't know anything new about Liam, but she seems steady (as does Joanna) and I'm trying to be the same. BOb was right in guessing that his blood pressue was up and is coming home tonight for a doctor's appointent in the orning to check that out I'm playing wishful thinking and believing he'll be fine in the morning, that it was just a stress reaction. So much has been going on. I know that if there is anything off with his circulatory system it is better to know. I'm just scared. But not crazy tonight.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"We must strengthen the activities of the Federal government as we protect the American people from terrorism...We must restore the credibility of this Department, which has been so badly shaken by allegations of improper political interference....and we must reinvigorate the traditional missions of the Department. Without letting down our guard in the fight against global terrorism, we must embrace the Department’s historic role in fighting crime, promoting civil rights, preserving the environment, ensuring fairness in the marketplace, and protecting the interests of our fellow citizens."

Eric Holder, Attorney General of The United States of America, February 3, 3009

Monday, February 02, 2009

Quiet day - good day. I think I'm hibernating, waiting for babies to come, afraid to stir around to much, just hoping all will be well, afraid to count on it.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bob and I had a sweet, quiet, restful weekend, which I think we both needed. A highlight, yesterday, was seeing RUth and Chris for a few minutes, both of them glowing after their "pregnant" photo shoot. Pretty soon they will be photographed with Liam in arms! So soon now! And for Andrea too!

Yesterday we got him replacement glasses (for a pair whose frame just spontaneously broke) - got two pair, progressives and readers on a good price deal. I felt very thankful to be able to buy the glasses, buy a few jewelry supplies at Micheal's, a book at Barnes and Nobel and then go out for Chinese dinner at a place we've never tried (good orange beef and General Tsou's chicken which we happily shared). We walked a little in beautiful weather, but not as much as we sometimes do. Yesterday K.K. called her teacher Grandpa twice for homework help, which he easily and quickly provided - more sweet oments.

We slept in, both days. I think I slept better and longer than I have in months. We hung clothes together and pulled them in off the line together, cooked, talked, cleaned the kitchen. We also watched an unusual amount of TV -highlights being an hour on the rise of Barack Obama's political career, a documentary about the convergence of the habitats of polar and grizzly bears, and especially, the film The Golden Door which is a superb piece of magical realism about the experience of Itallian immigrants coming through Ellis Island. It was gorgeous visually, and really caught me, even with subtitles.

This afternoon, I helped Bob edit a proposal for a grant for "Step-Up-To-The-Plate-Back-Packs" to provide back packs full of books and games for parents to use at home with their fourth graders. Each segment of the grant proposal was allowed to have only 100 words and I had an inordinate amount of fun condensing - one of my quirky strengthe. Give me a detail oriented writing task and I glow - a hard enough math problem, well, I might just hide under the bed and give e a mop to put together and I'll end up wailing!