Saturday, May 30, 2009

living a miracle - part 2

This picture is just because she's so dang cute.

A lady from church called us up this evening and asked if we would like to stay at her house for the month of August. Her family goes on a long vacation, and they need someone to a) live there, b) hang out with the dog, c) tend the garden. "Would you be interested?" she asked. I replied sincerely and humbly, "It is an answer to prayer - to many prayers. Yes, we're interested."

You see, our lease ends on July 31st, and my husband won't be done with school yet. We had no place to go, and now we do. As added blessings, a) she mentioned we could stay even after they got back, because they have plenty of space, b) they have a dog which will be a thrill for Kiddo, and c) my husband has lamented more than once that we have no garden, and now we will.

Wow. Prayers offered, answers came.

Friday, May 29, 2009

182 pages - check

I finished the writing today, for real. I sent my dissertation out to my committee for review. I plan to clean the house this weekend, and take a nap with my daughter on Monday.

On Tuesday I will start preparing my presentation for the grand finale of my PhD, but for the next few days, I am trying out the no school routine. I expect to enjoy myself, or at least be better rested.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

living a miracle

I walked home from school today feeling great. I was amazed at the work that I had accomplished so far that day, and for the first time this week felt that I could actually get this dissertation off by Friday. In all seriousness, although it's the plan, it would be a miracle. And I thought: "I'm living a miracle, right this moment. This week is a miracle."

That euphoria was tempered by various hurdles that popped up tonight, making that goal seem distant at best. But I can't help think: "if it was true this afternoon, it must be true tonight."

There is nothing that promises that blessings, or even miracles, will go smoothly. They just happen, and turn out right in the end. And I still know I'm living a miracle, right now.

meeting the girls

My mom has a friend who has chickens. They started out as a child's science project, but became so much a part of the family that they stayed. We brought Kiddo to meet them, and maybe touch them. She wanted to, but was pretty nervous about the face. Eventually when we turned the chickens she was able to pet its side. From this picture, it appears that I was nervous too.

Chickens are really soft. Who knew?

no time

Last night as I was brushing my teeth way after bedtime I thought: what will I do next week when my dissertation is handed in? I'll have so much time, what will I do with it all?

Oh, the list is long. But I've been dedicating every spare (and not spare) moment and every thought to this project for so long that I'm not clear what I will do without it. I'm willing to figure out though.

Monday, May 25, 2009

all home

Kiddo and I returned home late Saturday night. She is an excellent traveler, even if she stays awake the whole time. Thank goodness for movies on Apple products. On both legs returning we had an empty seat next to us. She spent some time on the seat, which was a nice break for me, but was mostly happy to be in my lap, which made me grateful I hadn't paid for a seat for her too. Saturday afternoon is a much better time to travel than Friday afternoon.

This is my final week to write my dissertation. I pray for the clarity of mind to get it done, and appreciate my husband putting his work on hold and spending time with Kiddo. After all, who wouldn't want to spend time with her?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

half home

By now my husband is back to our home, without his wife and baby, but having completed his job interview. Things went well. Given the nature of the organization it will be a while before we hear back, but we are in the good place where my husband has done all he can (except more prayers of course) and we can "stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see ... His arm to be revealed."

Good Job Sweetheart!

love-hate relationship with the jack-in-the-box

One of my best friends came to visit me this afternoon while I was on Kiddo-duty (my mom was teaching piano lessons). She brought her two little boys, ages 4 and 2. The 4 year old found the jack-in-the-box in the closet, brought it out, and loved it. His brother quickly caught on to the fun, and the two of them loved startling themselves with the "POP!" each song. Kiddo of course needed to see what was going on, and figured out it was lots of fun. The three of them laughed and giggled through each song for at least 5 minutes (an eternity in little kid time).

This wouldn't be worth noting if she didn't have her own jack-in-the-box at home that scares her enough that it stays in the closet far out of sight. Will she like hers when she gets home? It's not clear.

Monday, May 18, 2009

first family home evening

My mom was determined that we should family home evening with Kiddo this week, and since I feel only guilt about not having it yet with her, I of course agreed. We have many excuses as to why we have yet to start holding FHE with her, all of which come down to we just haven't. Like everything I'd like to do in life that isn't my dissertation, I will get to it SOON.

My mom reminded me that for her age, all we need is an opening song, an opening prayer, a quick story (preferably with a spiritual message, this week: Heavenly Father made animals), a closing prayer and a treat. So we had FHE yesterday morning before church so my dad could be there too. I am remorseful that Kiddo's dad wasn't there for her first time, but that's how it goes.

As we gathered together, my daugher had NO desire to be in the room we were in, in fact she actively desired to be somewhere else. She protested when I guided her in, and was distraught when I closed the door behind her so she had to stay in. She spent the first few moments of FHE wandering around fussing about being here. Just before I grabbed her so we could get started, I thought "this does not bode well for the future of our FHE."

But then we sang a song, and from that moment on she was hooked. 10 minutes later (she is only 17 months old) we were done and she was on her way again. There was no treat.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

flying with baby

There were two legs of our trip to grammy and grandpa's house. The first was to leave at 6 am. Thankfully, it was out of the local airport, so we only had to leave a few minutes before 5. The road was foggy as we headed to the airport. My husband helped us in, and stayed with us until we went through security. He should have stayed longer.

That fog kept us at the airport until about the time our connecting flight left Detroit. We were the lucky ones though. Of the three flights that leave our little town around 6 am, the other two flights boarded, then sat on the runway for 60 - 90 minutes. We only sat in the terminal. That was a tremendous blessing because it allowed for Kiddo to run around, not be confined to my lap. While we certainly did plenty of tours around the waiting area, she also stopped to rest plenty, and laid herself in the middle of the floor. Finally, around 8 she was tired enough that I rocked her for 20 minutes, then she fell asleep in my arms, which was more than a little miracle. I found a chair in the corner, and sat down with her. She shuffled, and made it clear she was not into sleeping this way, so I put her on the floor, and she napped until boarding time. Yes, that made twice in one morning that I had to wake my daughter from a sound sleep.

She's a good sport, and the flight was uneventful. In Detroit we had a long way to go from one gate to the other. We got to walk down a long tunnel, ride a train, and go on moving walkways. She loved it all (except the parts where I made her hold my hand for safety - I am no fun). We went to McDonalds for lunch, where we found that she loves sweet-n-sour sauce (mmm, high fructose corn syrup), and is okay with mcnuggets. She also learned that if you dip your fingers in the sauce, then wave your hand around you can really get the sauce to fly. She only got to practice that once.

By some strange twist of fate we sat next to the same person on the second flight as the first. I'm not clear how she felt about that, but she didn't noticeably cringe.  The three hours on my lap for the second flight were much harder than the first, but with lots of stories, some quiet music, and some iPod movies (thanks to my mother-in-law's generosity) we made it through.

At the final airport, there were so many people that Kiddo couldn't really run around, but that's okay, within minutes of strapping her into the carseat, she was out for the duration of the ride. 

Although I didn't mention it, there was plenty of singing in every place we were.

time away

Yesterday Kiddo and I flew to visit my parents so my mom can watch the baby while I do my tough edits all week. It held many adventures, which I intend to chronicle soon.

Monday my husband heads off to a job interview. Prayers would be appreciated. It would be nice to have a job waiting for us once he graduates.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


There are easy edits, like typos, and rephrasing, and adding and subtracting things. Then there are the hard ones that involve changing orders of paragraphs, and writing new paragraphs, and trying to figure out how to say that sentance when you couldn't figure it out the first time, which is why it reads so poorly anyway.

I wish all my edits were easy ones.

the soundtrack of our life

Yesterday I found myself once again hiding in the woods singing.

Okay, so it wasn't quite that bizarre, but it feels that way. There is about 10 feet of woods between our house and the park, criscrossed with paths of people trying to find the fastest way between two points. Within these paths is a small statuette of three frogs on what appears to be a shovel handle. Why is it here? Who put it here? Does the person who put it here still want it? still live here? These are my thoughts as Kiddo once again navigates straight to the frogs, cries out with joy to see them, and shoves her little fist into her other palm, which is her sign for "sing the frog song!"

So we stand there, and I sing about "three little speckled frogs, sat on a speckled log, eating the most delicious bugs. One fell into the pool, ooh, it was very cool, now there are two little speckled frogs..." (Mom, you can work on memorizing these words in preparation for our visit in two days.) I feel vaguely ridiculous, wondering what people who walk by must think, as they can't see us, only hear the repeat of the song over and over until I convince Kiddo that we can go play on the firetruck.


There is a mildly busy road near our house. Kiddo would walk up and down it all day if I let here, because it has two of her favorite things. First, every single house has a door! That means we can practice (from the safety of the sidewalk thank goodness) going rat-a-tat-tat, just like the doctor in Miss Molly's story. (Words available by request.)

Sometimes we can pause in our recital of Miss Molly's dolly's illness when a car goes by, because cars have wheels! (as do buses and trucks) and then we can sing about "the wheels on the cars go round and round."

Then we see birds, and then we can sing about how "we will find a little nest, in the branches of a tree..." or "in the leafy treetops..."

And if I'm super lucky, she'll have a duck somewhere on her clothes, and we can sing about ducks.


Midweek grocery trips are a good opportunity to break the budget. But occasionaly we go to the grocery store to buy one or two things (or just for a break from the house), and if I'm feeling like there is time, I let Kiddo walk. She heads straight for the deli section. The deli section? Yes, because a flag hangs there with a star on it. Then the two of us can stand in the deli section with me singing "I am like a star shining brightly..." while she really dances. Tears accompany us each time I drag her away. (They're hers, but one of these days may very well be mine.) And if I make the mistake of putting her down again, she heads straight back.


At the end of the day, when we're all tuckered out from the exciting events of the day, just before bed, we brush Kiddo's teeth. She lets us (or we insist that we) help for a few moments to actually brush. Then we let her have the toothbrush. She points excitedly at the handle, because Elmo is there. And he has his very own song. So as she holds the brush in her mouth she also dances to Elmo's song. And she'll let us sing as long as we can stand it.


But on Sunday, at church, while singing the hymns of Zion, I heard a little off-key voice from the little body next to me. She's starting to sing herself, slowly, occasionally, but she's there. So I guess we can sing some more.

Friday, May 8, 2009

update on the never ending saga

Yesterday my friend came over to watch Kiddo so I could get some work done, and I got some great work accomplished. I opened up my file later than evening and found, to my horror, that the file was corrupted. A few phone calls later to my tech support (husband, mother-in-law and older brother) confirmed my disappointment, the work was gone.

The good news is that I am pretty compulsive about saving (although clearly not compulsive enough) so I only lost the afternoon's worth of work. But it was a good afternoon!

The better news is that it took me much less time to recreate the work, thus I was still able to finish writing. I am now simply polishing from here to defense time. I'm not so anxiously waiting the first round of feedback from my various committee members. Have you ever seen brownish dull looking old silverware, and you are supposed somehow make it actually shine? We're talking that kind of polishing, without the magical chemicals.

Come what may, in five weeks you can call me doctor.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I was talking to my mom on the phone this morning, and was paying my daughter minimal attention. She had already talked to grammy a few times, and seemed content. This is what we always do.

About 20 minutes into the conversation, she walked up to me, announced "bye-bye, bye-bye" and reached for the phone and started to close it. I quickly explained to mom that we must be done talking, and Kiddo continued to say "bye-bye" until she closed the phone, and walked off with it. This time she did not talk into the phone, so she realized that we were done with the phone. So nice that she can do so many things.

Monday, May 4, 2009

unexpected charges

I checked our credit card bill on Friday, as I do often, but especially at the end of the month when it's time to reconcile the bills. My heart dropped when I saw two charges that I knew NOTHING about. I called my husband to see what he knew. He knew what I knew, which was nothing.

I quickly called my bank, who connected me with the fraud department, who took care of the matter neatly and quickly. But the questions remain: how did they get the number? will they get the next one? who is this person who thought it was okay to use my credit card number? how did they get the number? will they leave me alone now?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

a quiet Saturday

Kiddo got a tutu from her mom. Right now it's a little daunting for her, she won't let her arms touch it if she's wearing it. Yesterday we didn't do much school work, but instead took care of errands and just spent some time at the house and in the park. It was nice to not have the day jam packed with things to do, but just to have some family time. My husband used it well.


Kiddo has added a new word to her vocabulary, "uh-oh." She uses it mostly correctly. Sometimes it is to indicate that she's fallen, or she's dropped something, but sometimes it is because it is just plain fun to say. I agree.

She is also learning how to march, thanks to her love of Disney's Robin Hood. She hasn't quite got it yet, but she will soon.

It's finally nice enough (some days) to go out to the park. Kiddo loves to pick dandelions. She also loves the space, and to climb on the park equipment. She actually loves to pick up most anything, then carefully hands it to me. She's young enough not to ask me where all her treasures went, because I throw them off to the side almost as soon as she gives them to me. How many wet sticks do I need? A lot, according to her; none, according to me.

worth saving

The smoke detectors started going off at our neighbors through the wall (the other half of our duplex) this afternoon. They kept going off for a while. I finally mentioned that I wasn't sure that they were even home. After a minute or two, my husband decided to go check. As he was walking next door I thought: what if it is a fire? We'd have to get out too. What would I grab?

The answer was obvious: my thumbdrive. Everything else could be replaced or we could live without, but to lose the most recent version of my dissertation would be heartbreaking. That needed to come with me. (To my credit, I also determined that our diaper bag was packed, so I'd grab that for Kiddo.)

It was just a smoke detector going off, and the neighbors were home.