Sunday, April 30, 2006
This is my friend Katie and her little girl Emmy.
I think this has to be the best picture I have ever taken (or my favorite anyway). I am just a little bit bummed that it wasn't of one of my kids. But then again, my kids would never be that still and calm...and they would be reaching for the camera.
Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to adopt a child and I always wanted a red headed child. Whenever I see that ginger hair I get just a bit wistful because that isn't really in the cards now. My sister in law has red hair, so I might luck out with a niece or nephew.........one can only hope.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I had to get my shots for Africa today. Beyond the fact that I am a giant baby, they HURT. Also, I got many different kinds of live virus injected into my body. The worst one is yellow fever...Apparently it makes lots of people sick.
But don't worry, only 12 percent of those that get sick from the shot experience total organ failure and die.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
I took pictures of two little boys today. They are the children of my good friend here in Palo Alto. The older one, Nathan, is the Sunbeam in my story last year that refused to let me tell the story of Jonah--he kept bringing it back to Nemo and demonstrated speaking whale. This is the same kid that could sing every Primary song and tell you every scripture story his first week in Sunbeams. Very sweet and very smart.
Nathan also happens to be the subject of one of my favorite Jacob stories. When Cubby was only a few weeks old, I brought him with me to my Sunbeams class. The kids were interested in him and all took turns touching him. Nathan kept rubbing Cubby's head and finally he looked up at me and said "Sister Bingham, he looks JUST like my baby Ben". FYI, he looks NOTHING like his baby Ben (white hair, blue eyes). He said it with such vehemence and was so earnest. I will never forget the look on his face.
This is a picture of Cubby and "baby" Ben. Jacob just started going to Nursery and the very first day Ben literally grabbed him by the hand and stayed with him the whole day. They were either holding hands or playing together the whole time. Occasionally Cubby would lean over and give him a kiss (and he didn't even do that "kiss that turns into a bite" thing he pulls on me). I just love this picture because I think that it reminds me of their little relationship.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Have you ever wondered what it would smell like if you walked into a room that had a dead person under the bed that had been there awhile, then it rained and flooded the building but nobody bothered to clean up or remove the carpet, then another person died under the bed, then someone cooked garlic and curry in the room and served it to a dog that puked it all up and then peed all over the entire room? If you have, go to the Cadillac Motel in Lovelock, Nevada. Ask for room 6.
The kids and I headed out of SF on Thursday afternoon and made pretty good time. We didn't even stop for meals...we just kept on going. The kids were troopers (the DVD player helped) and we didn't have to make 8,000 stops for the bathroom. I knew we wanted to get farther then Reno (where we usually stay the night at Circus Circus) but wasn't sure if we could make it all the way to Elko. We got just outside of Reno and the kids started to loose it. I decided we would stay at the next big town, Lovelock. I called ahead and found that almost every room in town was booked (huh? there is nothing there.....) but a place called the Cadillac Inn had a room for $35. That should have been my first clue.
We pulled into the motel parking lot and saw 8 small buildings that were surrounding a small plot of land (more about that later). In the lobby, a 1,000 year old man checked us in. No computer, just filled out a piece of paper that had my license plate number on it. Names aren't important in a small town like Lovelock (whose theme is incidentally "lock your love in Lovelock".....does that make sense to anyone?). We walked toward the little room across the parking lot. On the way the owner pointed to the plot of land in the middle and informed me that it was the town's Chinese cemetery. He also told me that they had just celebrated "Ching Ming" (I'm not making fun, I swear that is exactly what he said) or Chinese Memorial Day. He also invited me to visit the Frank M. Chang museum of Chinese History, open 24 hours a day, in Room 2. (this intrigued me on so many levels...were people staying in Room 2 and you just said "excuse me, I wanted to see the museum" or did he sacrifice 1/8 of his income to dedicate the room to Mr. Chang? Intrigued, I tell you). I asked him why there were so many Chinese people in the town; had they come when the railroad was built?" Remember, this town is TINY and in the middle of nowhere. They have exactly one McDonald's, one bar and one gas station. TINY. It was hard to imagine anyone living there, let alone any kind of minority ethnic group. He told me that no, they hadn't come with the railroad, they were just always there. Hmmm. I am pretty sure that they weren't "always" there, what with it being in the middle of nowhere and all, but I can't imagine what else would have brought them to this town. In fact, I can't imagine what brought ANYONE to this town. I will need to do some more research on that one.
He handed me the key and by the time I had opened the door to the car, he was gone, the lights were off in the lobby and the sign on the door said closed. I pulled the kids out of the car and opened the door. That is when the special smell I described above hit me. I dry heaved, just a little bit. Well, a lot. I looked at Lauren and she looked at me and we bravely went in. I figured that the room had been closed up for awhile, so I opened all the windows and the door, I lit a few matches and sprayed perfume. I figured it would air out in a few minutes while I unloaded the car. I sniffed around the room and didn't find any wet patch of carpet or a place that was stronger then others (like, for instance, under the bed where there could be a decomposing body). I was hoping it was just a room that hadn't been opened for a few months.
I dropped the kids on the bed and unloaded. After 10 minutes, the smell was not getting much better. The only thing that had changed was that the room was much colder and there was a top note of smoke and a bottom note of perfume. By this time it was 11:00 pm, I was beat and the kids were zombies. I figured I would just put them to bed and we would all go to sleep--you can't smell in your sleep, right? If I sprayed enough perfume and lit enough matches, eventually the smell of perfumy smoke would overpower it, right? We all jumped into bed and turned the lights off. It got WORSE...is that possible? If you were very, very still it was tolerable, but if you moved your head at all you got a little bit of a whiff and the dry heaving started again. (Let me take a minute to tell you that I have been accused of having bat senses by my husband. I am what is called a "super smeller". I smell EVERYTHING even when others can't. Pregnancy was a treat). I was kind of hoping that it was just me that was so bothered. The kids didn't seem to be too bugged by it. I just tried to go to sleep.
After about 15 minutes Lauren poked me in the arm and said "mom, if you just put your nose under your shirt and smell your breath it isn't as bad". That was when I decided that we needed to go. Then next town was over an hour away and I was tired. What to do? I decided that instead of ending up like the last 12 minute of every horror movie ever made (surely there was a dead body in there somewhere) I decided to split. I dumped everything in the car and headed over to the office. The guy eventually opened (believe me...I was NOT leaving until I had talked to him). He acted like I had told him there was a three headed monkey living under the bed. "Smell? what? I didn't smell anything? No one else has complained." End result--he wouldn't give me my money back. Honestly. Rather then fight and possibly kill someone over 35$ (wouldn't THAT be a good Dateline?) I just left. We peeled out of town and left Lovelock in our rear view mirror. I truly hope people do more then lock their love in Lovelock. I hope they lock their smelly, disgusting motels with their history museums and dead people under the bed. Lets leave all that stuff in Lovelock, shall we?
Since it was over 100 miles to the next town I stopped at the gas station and bought a six pack of Coke (I needed the sugar AND the caffeine to keep me awake), a dozen Krispy Kreme's and headed across the desert. The good news is that you can drive as fast as you want in the desert at night (I didn't even let those crosses on the side of the road marking where previous drivers had died bother me). The kids were covered in donut glaze and crumbs by the time we got to Winnemucca and crawled into the first motel (a Holiday Inn Express, very nice--good breakfast). The lady on the desk felt so bad for me she gave me the government rate without me even asking for it. I tell you, show up at a hotel in the middle of the night with sticky, crying children and looking like hell warmed over and it can really save you some money! :-)
We eventually got to sleep; but not before Jacob fell off the bed twice, the people in the next room watched Letterman so loud they could hear it in Lovelock and Lauren cracked her head on the dresser. I was looking forward to a long sleep and felt certain that the kids would sleep in. I gave up on that notion at exactly 5:47 am the next day. How do my children live on such little sleep? We ate the free breakfast and headed out the door again.........
Stay tuned for part 2 (AKA "Just because you leave at the crack of dawn does NOT mean that you will arrive at your destination early")
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
We spent 10 days in Utah. I drove the kids out by myself (an adventure...but not because of the kids). I met lots of blog friends and took TONS of pictures. Thanks to all who helped out. I am editing like crazy and should have them all up in the next few days.
In the grand tradition of having drama come to us in spades...here is a quick recap of the last week. We got stuck in a blizzard coming over Donner's (yes, in April) and rushed straight to the ER, where Lulu was diagnosed with pneumonia. We had a birth mother on deck that was planning on placing her baby with us, the baby was due today and she had it yesterday, at the last minute she decided to parent (such a familiar story now). This was one more "sure thing" (the birthmom was 12, birthdad 13..the state was going to take the baby away..at the last minute her step parents decided to take custody). That was sad. At least this time we found out she decided to parent BEFORE we flew out.
I will fill in the details in a few days--after the pneumonia goes away.
Soon, soon, soon.....
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Lots of things happen to us in the first week of April (we got engaged, we closed on our house...) but there are two new very important dates for us this time. One is a big day for Jacob.....we finalized his adoption one year ago. That is the special anniversary of his legal day. He had already be ours for 6 months, but it was nice to have it all legal (I hate this picture of me...my gut......BUT, to be fair, I had just lost an almost second trimester pregnancy two days earlier...my body still thought it was pregnant....I am going to have to airbrush that......) . This is us with the judge that finalized the adoption. Jacob just wanted to rip his glasses off his face the whole time we were taking this picture.
The other date is special for our whole family. We were all sealed together as a family one year ago too. This is our new family anniversary that we will celebrate every year. It works because my daughter had the nerve to be born on our ACTUAL anniversary so that day is all about her birthday. It was pretty powerful to mark the new addition to our life by being sealed together. For those of you reading that that don't know what having a child sealed to you is...it is basically like another wedding ceremony but it is for the whole family, it is the religious ceremony that seals the new (adopted) child to your family. It was in the temple (our highest house of religious worship) and all our family and friends were there. Many of the same people that had been there when Derek and I were sealed (married). I remember looking at the faces of my two little kids and thinking how blessed we were to be their parents.
So Happy Anniversary to us. I told the kids that THEY were in charge of planning the party this year.....I hope they take us to a fancy dinner..................