Thursday, January 28, 2010

Great-Grandpa VDG

This morning Great Grandpa VDG passed away quietly after having a massive heart-attack yesterday. He was also battling cancer.

We remember him as a kind grandfather that was determined to help people all he could. He established a clinic in Calexico, CA where he made it possible for children in Calexico and Mexicali to receive free medical care. Here is an article with more about him:

We miss you already Grandpa! Grandma, you are in our prayers. We love you both!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Philadelphia Dedication and Introduction

Welcome to the novel-- Philadelphia, M's day with children while W is taking a test.

I'd like to dedicate this novel to you and your dog (or fish--or plant, whatever you have). Sometime you'll think of going site-seeing in Philadelphia with three kids and only one adult. You'll read this and consider bringing a few more adults. :)

It really highlights that my version of motherhood is delightful and somewhat chaotic.

For example, we went to McDonalds and S assumed that T would like to finish R's chocolate milk. She proceeded to give him a drink he didn't want and it ended up all over his shirt (her shirt had also been chocolate milk decorated from moments before). She's got her arms folded in a couple of pictures to shield the art from the eyes of the picture viewer.

Oh and don't forget I was running on three hours of sleep from the night before (crazy, I know).

The tree and carolers was from the pizza and pastry cock roach place. S really liked the girl in green because her head and music moved. S kept trying to grab it. Which of course I couldn't allow.

I like the photo of the kids taking their oath. . .it looks like the other guy next to them wants to be a junior ranger too. They must have been telling him he was too old.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Philadelphia Part 2

We went to see the Liberty Bell. Security there is no joke. They look through all and every bag (even the see-through kind) and they have everyone open their coats so they can see inside. There is no way they will let you out the entrance way. They were wholly unimpressed by my kids being junior rangers (rats!).

It was really neat to see the bell. I think it would have felt more awesome if everyone in the place were using their inside voices, but hey, it was still neat. I love being in places where what has happened there seems to seep in and speak to your soul, especially when extraordinarily wonderful things happened there---the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, a bell standing for life, liberty, and happiness.

It seems to be another testament that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us so much to give men the insight, determination, and courage to stand for liberty and establish a government based on good, true principles. Each morning growing up saying the Pledge of Allegiance each morning it felt as if I was giving the whole country a big hug--because most days ;) I meant every word.

Hunger stuck like a clapper in a bell. We went to the building nearby that boasted a food court. We got pizza. R had suddenly reached the end of his patience (which happens to all of us when we are crazy hungry or tired). He decided that he would sit on the ground by the pizza place with a huge frown on his face.

Determined to let him have his moment of self-time-out I sat with S and T at a nearby table. He sat there for a good 10 minutes and I had gotten T out of the stroller to eat. I saw the pizza man looking down and talking to him. R gave him an instant of eye contact and no more. Realizing this could be hurting the man's business I reinstalled T into the stroller (pathetic tears and all--can't have him run away while I talk to R) went over and talked with R. He told me he was hungry and that I didn't listen to him. He said I only paid attention to S and T and never to him. :( He said I hadn't even asked him what he wanted to eat.

I determined with him that I would pay more attention to him and he just needed to tell me what he really wanted to eat so I could see if we had money for it. We went and ate a little pizza and some pudding. Then we walked over to the shops. I only had $2 cash on me at that point. I told him that is what he could spend.

He went, of course, to the pastry shop. We looked at the pastries for a good 10 minutes before we noticed something crawling on some of them. There was a cock roach in with the pastries (a baby one albeit). We told the lady at the counter--I don't think she really understood us well at first. Finally when she figured out there was a bug in there she took out one small column of pastries and attempted to get the roach with a rag. We coached her (which helped but may have made the poor lady feel even more uncomfortable).

R had apparently decided the roach meant nothing, but after seeing it crawl over half the pastries in the window I had determined it may be better to get something elsewhere. We discussed the fact that we were not interested in eating a stray bug (or it's tracks) and went back to the Independence Center, got a toasted bagel with butter, and watched the Independence movie.

During the movie S decided she needed a bagel too, threw a small fit, and fell promptly to sleep in my arms. T decided it was time to run and ran around the theater (I attempted to get S into the stroller so I could capture and hold T but it was nearly impossible. Some guy was standing close to the stroller and I was a little worried about leaving S and my purse. T was in eyesight, so I wasn't too worried. Sorry for our family rudeness people watching the movie with us.

One lady started clapping during the movie when Abigail Adams said we women need rights to voice our opinion and that they had better put it into the Constitution and that if they did not we would be stubborn and brutal so we would get our way eventually (which I am grateful for). I did not clap. . . I felt grateful.

Oftentimes when I see women fighting voraciously for womens rights and such they make we women seem like men--I love our rights--I would fight for them too, but I don't want to be a man. I love being a mother and I feel like women can do more good as mothers than those that are out spending their entire lives fighting for gallant causes. Motherhood is the most gallant cause ever. I feel like many of these women look down on mothers that don't work full time or engage in politics as subordinates because we don't see things as they do. . . and then there are women who claim to be for womens rights that are just ducky with pornography and such---which makes a woman seem an awful lot like an object of lust--not a person that values herself.

Stepping off the soapbox, pardon me.

W called soon after that to inform us he was finished (delighted cheer). I stopped my mind when into autopilot and I assumed T was in the stroller for a brief minute as I talked. Suddenly I realized S was in the stroller and T was nowhere in sight.

My brain screeched, "Noooooooooo." My eyes searched the entire place. I had been watching the doors so I know he did not exit the building. Up the ramp. . . . .RUN. . .T had run about 200-300 feet ahead of us laughing and giggling. . . why is it toddlers never sense the seriousness of the situation? Do not let those little legs fool you, they can run like the wind.

I did not put him down until we got to the car. . . silly autopilot needed rewiring. I blame it on the lack of sleep. Three and a half hours of sleep with a 2-hour-drive, sight-seeing, lunch, fits, etc. and any body's autopilot may need an overhaul.

I got one after we had walked the eight blocks back to the car, loaded, up and left with W (I got to sleep for 45 glorious minutes). We got home and I relaxed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Philadelphia Part 1

Today Wayne took one of the major tests of medical school. We were really worried and he studied very hard and we prayed exceedingly fervently. We will not find out the test results for awhile, but until then we will continue praying.

We got up at 4 am. For some odd reason I still am having a bit of trouble getting to sleep at night until a very late hour (well after 12, usually). Last night was no exception and I was the designated driver. Yay!

The kids of course woke up the minute I got them into their coats with the prospect of the bitter cold (feels like 8 degrees F). S talked to me all the way to the car. Pretty much we put them in the car in their jammies. They stayed awake for about an hour and chatted with me until we got to the part of the highway where it splits and I got into the wrong lane and had to wait for about 100 cars to drive by before I could get into the right lane.

It started out with a lot of excitement but by the time we actually reached Philadelphia (about 1.5-2 hours) they wanted to go home.

We had a glorious time waiting at 7-11 until Wayne was ready for his test.
We dropped him off. T started wailing the minute W started getting ready to go. W walked up the steps and R turned and said to me, "Mom, he's done."

I acted like I totally believed him and I said, "He is?!?"
Then S said, "Yes--with the steps."

After that we went to find a place to park and ended up driving around all of the historical district. We went to breakfast at McDonalds (which I don't normally do). S had to go the bathroom immediately and at first they told me there was no way they could let us use the bathroom unless we had purchased food. I promised faithfully that we would buy food, but she didn't believe me until she saw S (she was probably dancing).

It was the dingiest Golden Arches I have ever been in. It had a sign on the wall that said something towards the effects of, "Loitering is prohibited. Paying customers may stay 20 minutes." It is almost as if they are saying, "Welcome to our restaurant. Please leave."
Please leave."

After we made a stop at the Kmart to pick up some more snack food we headed to Independence Center and Hall. R and S had a glorious time doing the ranger booklet. R was thrilled to receive a golden badge that read "National Parks Ranger" "Independence." S patiently wrote a lot of the things and then had me write a little. Normally they don't give packets to 4-year-olds so she felt pretty special.

When the lady ranger handed R the badge he was beaming, until he noticed it was plastic. To which he replied to the ranger, "I want one like yours."

She smiled disconcertingly--shocked at his supposed ingratitude (he believed from the beginning he would be a true ranger--after all he took the oath). Then she said, "You can get one like this when you grow up."

When we walked away he said, "Mom, you need to do one of those booklets, then you can get a badge."

I explained, "Would you want me to live and work here while you lived in Brooklyn?"

He looked at me perplexedly and said, "No."

I continued, "They don't give grown-ups badges unless they are going to work here. We can get more of the badges you got today at other places around Manhattan and Brooklyn. OK?"

I do not think our conversation alleviated much of his determination. I asked him if he wanted to work as a ranger when he grew up, he said, "I don't know, maybe."