Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Listening to Little People

I was taught a great lesson the other day by my son. He'd had a bad diaper rash since he had a poopy diaper on a little too long (we couldn't smell it - it's never usually a problem, you can see 'fumes' a mile away normally) and so I explained to him that he needed to tell me when he had a poopy so we could get it taken care of and have no more 'ouchies'. In response, he smiled his darling smile and toddled away. I thought no more of it, but he took it to heart. One afternoon when we were running a little behind, I was rushing out the door to get some shopping done. He is typically eager to get on his shoes and go, but for whatever reason that day, he kept running back to where we keep the diapers. He even went so far as to lay out the pad and lie down. Oblivious to his message I kept telling that we need to hurry up and go, after all I had changed him literally 5 minutes before. His stubbornness irked me but his behavior was so atypical, I thought I'd check. Sure enough, he'd had a BIG one. The entire time I changed him he kept looking at me with this cutie smile as if to say, "I told you so Mama!" I thanked him over and over for being truly helpful and gave him Yogo Bits (the ultimate special treat!) The sweetheart gave me kisses back. I think he took great pride in knowing he could help out. Now if I can only get him to change his own diaper! ;0)

Below are a few pictures of us at the zoo:

Isaac 'needed' to feed the turtles at the water play park.

When it came time to touch a real turtle he'd have nothing to do with it.

The curses of having a former science teacher for a mother. "Stamen, pistils ... can't you call on someone else for the answers! I need a sibling ..."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Symbol of America!

It's become increasingly difficult to keep a little boy happy in an empty apartment. We're both a little stir crazy and have gone to the Children's museum, twice, innumerable times to the park (in which mosquitoes descended upon us en mass) and shopping at whatever stores are open. He's grown tired of them and so have I. So in desperation I called up a friend for another possible source of entertainment.

What better than the great entrepreneurial miracle of America, a place whose symbol is known everywhere, despite language or culture - McDonald's!!! I hardly ever ate there in my childhood - I can number them on one hand, all of them birthday parties for other people. Some would say I was deprived but when our family went out to eat, we ate Chinese food, the REAL Chinese food. Fast food was never considered. So it was really not too surprising that I had never thought of those food chains with their toys and play places until someone suggested to me. You may think this silly, but because it was new to Isaac and I, I brought my camera to commemorate this great American experience.

Note how the giant food chain 'feeds' the minds and dreams of America - you can do more than just enjoy our food, you can be one of us!!! Isaac's first job!

Having never ordered a Happy Meal, I was a little disappointed to realize that I had to pay for Isaac's drink. In the end it was worth it: 1. He learned to drink from a straw, 2. pulling the straw in and out of the box provided him with 15 mins of entertainment, 3. the entertainment continued on the way home and well into the afternoon.

"This is a toy? More like some strange piece of blue plastic!"

All in all, it was an enjoyable experience for both of us. We killed and hour and half of time, ate lunch and Isaac got to laugh and play to his little heart's content. I did explain to him that this was a special treat and he seemed to understand that, taking his time to really enjoy his french fries, nuggets and juice. The sip of my milkshake topped the morning off nicely and for the rest of the day he was angelic. Will we go again, not likely anytime soon (all that grease has a soporific effect) but at least we can both say we are true Americans right down to our little 'arches'! ;0)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sanctuary, Sanctuary!

Isaac has been trying to pick up the rabbit forever. I think it's a dominance thing. We do it when she does something she's not suppose to, and we send her outside on the patio. If it's a lesser offense, we usually clap our hands loudly to get her attention so she stops. Isaac is quick to mimic that and then chase her while shaking a finger in the 'no-no' gesture at her. Thus far though, he's never succeeded in lifting her off the ground. I'm sure it's because the moment she feels his little hands even near her side, she takes off. No refugee for a rabbit!

But today was different. Isaac sat down by her and signalled that he wanted to feed her Cheerios - something he's never done before. So I happily complied and he was thrilled to see her inspect his hand carefully and take one from him. With two more in his hand, he moved so he was standing behind while still feeding her. Having lulled her into 'carnal security', he then quickly slipped his free hand under and grabbed hold of her fur and proceeded to lift her back end into the air. She kicked good and hard and got away, but in the end, she was missing a small tuft of fur from her underside. I doubt she will underestimate a determined little boy again.

The question Kent and I ask is: where did he learn to do that?

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Just when Kent and I were feeling like life was getting back to 'normal' again things happen to make me both irritated and grateful. Our apartment complex has been quick to get repairs started which meant all the third floors had to be inspected for leak damage. We had been lucky, due to some advice from Sheri, Kent's sister, we poked holes through the ceiling drywall to get the water to leak through. Other apartments had the entire drywall collapse inward. While ours didn't look so bad, the damage was still considerable since the walls were even soaked. The company came by on Thursday and I arranged to be gone all of Friday for them to pull our the drywall from the ceiling.

We camped out at Emily and Dane Roberts place ... incidentally, they now have power, as of last Wednesday ... (a dance of joy to all those electricians!) We went to Costco (Isaac and Eden held hands on the way, it was darling! - sorry, no camera) shopped, ate pizza and shared a sundae, took naps and played. Isaac had so much fun. I even got to see Zia walk several steps!

Things were great until we got home and saw nothings was done! Apparently they need us to move out for several days since walls needed to be pulled down too. I grumbled and complained as we quickly moved some bare essentials to an empty apartment. As many of you know, I don't deal well when I feel like I don't have a 'home'. I was irritated to no end.

Then we went to church today.

I guess I needed some perspective. I knew we were blessed to have our electricity and businesses open nearby and I had forgotten how others might be doing. There was still no electricity at church, we had a generator operating a mike and 2 fans and the windows and doors were propped open. Bishop mentioned needs and opportunity for service the next coming weeks - in fact, it sounds like every Saturday people in the ward will meet and go out and help clean up. When asked who still did not have electricity, the show of hands was considerable. Many only had the power come on just last night. Apparently a sister in our ward even had her baby and the height of the storm that early Saturday morning in her own home. Thankfully she is an obstetrician and her husband a doctor. The baby is well. When all was said and done, what had I to complain of, inconvenience was the small in comparison to so many others.

So now when I'm tempted to wonder when they'll finally have all the traffic lights working, I'll think of those in the area who still must be without power. When I complain that the stores I usually go to are not open yet, I will think more about how hard it must be for them to be unable to earn money and that I have the freedom to go about my life normally when they cannot.

Below is a picture of Isaac in 'Little Mexico' at the Children's museum.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Belated Mid-Autumn Festival

Hooray, a party ... after all we've had, we could use a small party! Emily, Dane, Eden and Zia all came over today for a 'Lets-Cook-the-Meat-Before-it-Goes-Bad and have A-Late-Mid-Autumn-Festival-Party-While-We're-at-it' party. I'm sure it's one of the first of it's kind ... we're such trend setters! ;0) It was great to have them come and share in our blessing of electricity... it's true, it's always more fun to share with everyone! Isaac was elated, the apartment had been very dreary and one can only go wandering the area for acorns and beechnuts for so long. It was nothing of what we had originally planned for, but it was nice all the same. Thanks you guys for coming over.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Fishers, Roberts and Us

For AZ people, I just heard from Julieanne, she and Matt are not sure how much of the house is left and are thinking of driving to UT to be with family until things settle down a bit. They are all doing well otherwise.

For Albuquerque people, Emily and Dane are well, though still without electricity. Thankfully the temperatures have been fairly low and it's bearable despite the 95% humidity.

We're again so grateful to be near the Medical Center. Until today when we went out, I didn't realize how quickly we got electricity back in comparison to others. For old time residents, some say it takes almost 2 weeks. Many had driven quite a ways to get to somewhere where the stores were open, just to have some AC running. Others were making use of outlets avaliable to recharge phones. The raining has been tedious since our ceiling looks like Swiss cheese (we've had to put holes in it to help the water drain in a particular spot, rather than along a line throughout the room) Only one room is really usuable, the bathroom is safe and most of the kitchen area is good. It is livable conditions considering what others deal with and while it's not fun dealing with the leaks, if it were hot, other's would be roasting without AC. We spend alot of time with Isaac outside just to keep him out of the water.

Kent is due back to work tommorrow, which will be good in someways .... the inactivity is killing all of us.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

May I Kiss the Electrician?

We're alive, we're well, and best of all, we have electricity!!!!!! Gratitude for the smallest things cannot be expressed! Soooooooooo.... here's the story.

Power was going on and off starting 9:00pm. Once Isaac when to bed we headed off to since we knew it'd be a rough night. Prior to putting the little tyke down, Kent gave him a blessing of comfort and put him in his playpen in the bathroom (something I think was inspiration). True to his blessing, he did sleep through the night, waking 3 times crying briefly for a minute or two and passing out again. Thank heavens, otherwise what followed would have been just awful!

Power was out for us at around 10:00pm and consequently water since it's pumped by electric pumps. I could hardly sleep for all the noise, a low rumble, a wall of force that just kept pushing the walls. About 3:30am we hear a loud trickle, our ceiling fan was leaking copious amounts of water all over our bed. Once shifting our mattress to the front room we found lines appearing all over our ceiling, water was beginning to seep through the joint .... la, la, la .... anyone want a bath in the front room? The next hours were a blur lit candles and used everything available to catch the water, alternated sleeping and emptying out pans.

The rain and leaking stopped early afternoon. In the meantime, we were a little stir-crazy and took Isaac to the weightroom to wander for a bit. Below are pictures of the damage in our complex, relatively small compared to what could have happened

Who says we don't have running water?!! ;0)

Isaac gathering acorns, his latest collection!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quick update

It's 9:30 our time and we can tell the power will be out soon by the flashing of lights. There only mist for rain and the winds have definately started to pick up. We're fine, a little tense but okay. The sky was a beautiful purple tonight, such strange color, pictures don't do it justice. From emails we've been told the storm should be 'over' by midmorning tommorrow. Hope to be blogging again then.

Certifiably Crazy?

If we started doing this in Arizona we'd be certifiably nuts, but funny how circumstances change the meaning of crazy. - Kent

I'm kinda proud of our work! - Flo


The storm is set to hit tonight or early tom morrow morning. Kent and I have the mixed blessing of not having cable to watch the news. It's a different thing in the weight room with two massive flat screen TVs. Pictures from the coastal areas look bad, especially since flooding has reached such high levels and the storm is still 12 hours away. I think I'm better off not seeing it, after all, we've done all we could.

We're trying to keep some semblance of normalcy so we took Isaac to the park this morning. Strange, the sky is still blue, getting cloudy, but aside from the fact stores are closed and houses boarded up, everything seems pretty normal. I met a girlfriend in the park with her son, it was busy. Everyone has the same idea of getting out while we can and enjoying the freedom of it. Isaac had a blast with the rocks and twigs. He just loves seeing other little people. Kent's catching up on his reading for work and this afternoon I'm finishing off cooking what needs to be cooked and I'll freeze it. Hopefully with everything we've got, we won't need the 72hour kits.

It's funny to me the responses I'm seeing. Some people are stressed, calling everyone and their dog, others are taking it like it's a party. I ran out last night to grab some more children's Tylenol and overheard a conversation of a man with several packs of beer. I guess they've been through ones just as bad, so they pull out the food, water and beer and settle down to the longest card game using food as 'money' to bet. ;0) We're feeling pretty good, the outing this morning helped and in talking with a few of our neighbors, we don't feel so alone anymore. We've got a few things left to do this afternoon (taping windows, cleaning and filling the tub and sinks, moving furniture) and we should be good by this evening. Thanks for all the emails that you guys have sent ... we're even hearing from people we haven't heard from in years!!! Is this what it takes to get you to keep in touch?!! ;0) J/K Love you all!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ike's Might

Since moving here, I've been frequently asked by non-Houstonians, how I feel about the hurricanes. I must admit initially I was rather upset at the idea of facing one, especially given that Kent is required to work during them - he is essential staff- and as such must work during or the days immediately following a hurricane. But I did my prep work and asked alot of questions when we first arrived. I've been told that evacuation can be almost worse than 'hunkering down' (A Texas phrase apparently) since the traffic is absolutely insane and people often find they run out of gas and their only shelter when the rain and winds hit are their cars. Fortunately we don't live in an area near any waterways, the flooding risk is much less than most of the Houston, let alone Galveston. We also live extremely close to the Medical Center as well as on a third floor. Given the many disasters one could face in a lifetime, I'd take a hurricane anytime ... I have advance warning (days of warning) and so long as I am prepared I need not fear.

So in the weeks we first got here, I double checked our 72 hour kits, got a large supply of water, made sure we had lots of batteries, candles and matches. I have even just purchased a stove that uses sugar cane as fuel so there is no worries for carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately, I'm sure the stoves will arrive after Ike. ;0) But we have all our bare essentials.

This morning Isaac and I went to the grocery store to pick up more duct tape (for windows and such) I was a little amazed to see how incredibly busy it was. I'd heard from our bishop's wife that water would be gone in the first few days of warning, let alone canned goods. It was 10:00 in the morning and things were moving fast, I was grateful that we had such things in place long beforehand.

Most likely Kent and I will stay at our apartment. I took inventory today and we have an enormous amount of food for the days to come. It will be interesting to try and live without electricity, something so easy to take for granted. Hopefully it will not be too long. Another nice blessing is that Kent has been assigned to the 'recovery team', meaning he'll work after the storm leaves. I'm told that the 120 mph winds are rather freaky to face alone, so it will be nice to have us all together.

I've also been warned the worst part is what comes after a storm, the possible injuries, looting, lack of clean water, etc. Hopefully it will not come to that but just in case I've cleaned our apartment and clothes from top to bottom. It sounds silly, but when I want to use my bathtub as an additional water storage and I just want a clean set of clothes, I'll have no worries. Isaac is running a fever, I'm sure there will be other things on my mind as the time comes.

Keep us and others in your prayers. For those who know Julieanne and Matt Fisher, I called yesterday to find out their plans. They're headed to San Antonio Air Force Base as soon as Matt gets off tonight. If traffic is such they can't make it, I offered them my place to stay. Julieanne seemed to be doing well despite having only a 2 week old boy and 2 children. For those who know Emily and Dane Roberts, they've decided to hunker down as well. We were set to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival together, but it looks as if we'll have to postpone for later. As for us, I feel relatively calm. I've done absolutely everything that I can and we rely on the Lord for the rest. Perhaps in the days to come my tone will change, but I can say this much is true ... if you are prepared, you shall not fear.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Enriching Experience

I've been so busy I haven't had time to write, but I have a calling!!! I am the Home, Family and Personal Enrichment Leader ... something I've never done before. I recieved the calling 1.5 weeks ago, and we held it tonight!!! Thank heavens the sister who had it before me, Heather Ridge, took care of things until I was called. Needless to say, being the usual spastic me, I gained a great deal more respect for the sisters who have run it in the past ... it is ALOT of work!!! Tiny things you never think of that need to be in place for it to run smoothly. Thankfully our 'Lula' went well tonight. There was plenty of food and the sisters had a great time laughing and getting to know one another.

We're in an interesting ward that takes up much of the medical center. In other words, half the ward moves out every year and the other half is known as the 'oldtimers'. Despite how difficult this can be, the Maplewood 2nd ward does great! Kent had a calling within a week of being here - Elders Quorum teacher- I have a visiting teaching route within a month and we have hometeachers as of last week! Most of all, the people here understand what it's like to move from one place to the next, so everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming. I couldn't have asked for more. And because everyone is so helpful .... and despite being a worry wart most of the time ... I have a certain confidence that my calling will go well. Not because of me, mind you, but because I feel a sense of 'sisterhood' already with the other women in the ward and I know (from the experience tonight) that we will all help each other where we can, when we can. I love the Relief Society!

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Day in a Busy Boy's Life

I've got places to go, things to do, so much to see ...

Lets see, I better fill up the car first ...

People I'm waiting, we're on a schedule here folks!

Now we're having people over to dinner, some cut up melon would be nice, I know Mama likes that ...

Oh garlic and mushrooms are on sale, that's a must have!

Do I have enough garlic and mushrooms.... hmmmmm.

Okay, the guests are here ... everyone ready to party?

Mama: It was great to go to the children's museum so late in the afternoon today. Typically there's this pandemonium of kids and Isaac is a little glazed over as he tries to take it all in. Today it was as if he was re-enacting my life right down to the details of what I buy when I go grocery shopping. (mind you, I do buy more than just garlic and mushrooms usually) Did you notice that all the pictures are blurred in some way, the kid doesn't stop moving - a little like me .... I'm just afraid that one day I'll see him doing something that is all too familiar in me that I never knew he noticed!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Chosen Ones

We recently had friends who had an infestation of bed bugs ... yes, nasty blood-sucking little pests! My friend went into her baby's bedroom when he was crying uncharacteristically at night and found them crawling all over him! They've babysat for me once or twice and Isaac had a few too many 'insect bites' lately, so I went crazy (as all moms do) and washed everything out and bagged up all his stuffed animals. It turns out we're clean, but Isaac had a fit .. all his favorite blankets and stuffed animals were nowhere to be seen! How could I expect him to sleep without all his 'chosen' friends! Exhaustion prevailed finally and he did sleep, but when all was restored to him, he wouldn't let it out of his sight for the day!

Incidentally, bed bugs are making a 'comeback' all over the USA. They were almost eliminated back when DDT was in use, but since then infestations have shown up all over the USA, especially in college and university dorms. Cleanliness has nothing to do with it, you can get them simply by being in a hotel room that has one or two and bringing them home in a suitcase. Crazy! If you don't have the hebbie jeebies by now, take a look at the following picture! This is one reason it pays off to stay at a nicer hotel, who wants stowaways anyhow!!