Monday, June 30, 2008

Wall-E (review, no spoilers)

We took Braeden to see Wall-E Saturday - and it did not disappoint! Only Pixar can produce a flick that is simultaneously adorable, thought-provoking, and sends a message - all without being overbearing and in-your-face.

The first 45 minutes or so have no dialogue -just two little robots squawking back and forth at each other. It's remarkable to me that such life and personality can be given to an otherwise inanimate object. Wall-E is the most endearing robot since R2D2 (incidentally, he bears a remarkable resemblance to Johnny No. 5).

When humans finally appear, it's an interesting commentary on what our technology might eventually do to us. Man has become so fat and sedentary that he can't even remember how to walk! I can't seem to stop thinking about it - the picture Pixar painted of our future health just doesn't seem so far from the truth.

Anyway, the movie is precious. Braeden chattered questions nonstop - "Is Wall-E hurt?" "What's dat robot?" "Where are they going?" - and with a theater half full of preschoolers, he was certainly not the only one. It held his attention beautifully, and I would venture a guess that kids as young as 3 would sit through it, no problem - even without dialogue at the beginning.

I loved, Jeff loved it, Bebo loved it. I'll leave you with a glowing review, and a couple of pics of our day out.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's Official....

This cum laude college graduate is about to go back. After nine years of wistfully thinking my management degree would ever get me anywhere, I have decided to totally shift gears and pursue something I never dreamed I would - nursing.

You heard me. I am going to be a nurse. Hard to believe, isn't it? It seemed in college that all my roommates were into nursing or some other medical-related field. I used to get so grossed out at their textbooks. I thought I would get a break from the grossness, and then I married a guy who eventually decided to be a nurse!

After a few semesters of helping him study and being his dutiful little secretary, I developed an interest in what he was doing. That, coupled with hours spent watching Babies: Special Delivery on Discovery Health made me decide to be a labor & delivery nurse. I also want to spend time in NICU and pediatrics. (Although Jeff tells me I'll have to start as a floor nurse first. Guess I have to pay my dues.)

Anyway, since I already have a bachelor's degree, the only extra classes I need are a handful of science courses. I registered for Anatomy & Physiology for the fall. I'll do night & online classes so I can keep working, then when Jeff graduates, I'll quit my job and start full-time in the nursing program.

I'm excited about it - but I'd be lying if I didn't wonder if I might also be a little insane. I'll be 35 by the time I graduate. I'd love to be a SAHM, but I don't know if that will ever happen. At least with nursing I can work a couple of days a week and not miss too much.

So here goes. . . jumping feet-first back into the old school days groove.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Recent Braeden-isms

In case you needed a chuckle...

- He came into the computer room with a can of Spaghetti-Os. "Mommy, children like Pasgettios!"

- When we go for fast food, he calls the drive-thru the "around" and the inside the "park it." Jeff was horsing around with Bebo, wrapped him up in a big bear hug, and said, "Bebo, you make the world go 'round." "Uh-uh, Daddy. I want the world to go park it!"

- He brought me a granola bar. It was close to supper, and he knew I would probably say no. I told him we would be eating soon, and he said, "No, Mommy, this one's for you." Then with a sneaky grin, he pulls a second granola bar from behind his back and says, "this one's for me!"

- Sometimes Peepop sits in the foyer during church to monitor the front of the building. Braeden likes to go with him, because he doesn't have to sit still during the sermon. After one of these evenings, he told me, "Mommy, I only had time for Peepop tonight. I don't have time to sit with you."

- I told him to pick up his toys, and he didn’t want to.
“Mommy, God doesn’t like you.”
“Braeden, God loves everyone. He also says that he wants children to obey their parents. So pick up your toys.”
“Mommy, God isn’t here!” (obviously thinking that if God wasn't watching, he didn't have to pick up his mess!)

- He was dressed in a black hoodie (hood pulled up) and black sweats. Jeff was about to take him to the store. I asked if he was going incognito, and he said, "No, Mommy, I'm going to Wal-Mart!"

Friday, June 20, 2008

Family Trees, Bad Casseroles, and VBS

I am having so much fun piecing together my family tree. I've gathered all kinds of data, and solved a few mysteries in the process. Larkin Church (Senior) was in the civil war. For years I thought his tombstone denoted a Confederate regiment, because he was in Arkansas and that was a Confederate state. Then a couple of years ago we discovered it was actually a Union regiment. The pieces still weren't making sense, though.

I have come across documents that helped me fill in some of the blanks. In 1862, he enlisted with the 3rd Arkansas Cavalary, a Confederate unit. In the summer of 1863, he switched sides to fight for the Union. In March of 1864, his name showed up on a prison roster (Confederate) in Morristown, Tennessee. At some point before 1864, he wound up back with the Union regiment and stationed in Memphis, not too far from his home. He took a leave, and was killed near his home by Confederate guerillas - quite possibly some of the same people he'd fought with earlier in the war. Interesting, huh? I just wish I knew why he switched sides.

In other news. . . our church is preparing for our first one-day VBS. It should be interesting to see how it goes. We're trying a lot of new things, and we don't know how well it will all work out. I volunteered to write skits (something I love to do), and on Saturday I'll be the one sticking a camera in everybody's faces. (I know how that shocks you.) I hope this goes well. I really, really, really do.

Finally, have you ever had high hopes for a new recipes, only to be so disappointed that you wouldn't even feed it to the dog? Yeah, I thought so. I found this great stovetop tuna recipe. It had great ingredients, and looked to be kid-friendly, quick and easy. Somehow, it just didn't do it for me. It might have been the whole wheat yolk-less egg noodles. Jeff insisted it was the pack of mixed vegetables I cooked with the noodles. (He's not one to eat his veggies, but since I cook almost exclusively one-dish meals, I have been trying to sneak them in as much as possible.) Or it could just be that the flavors simply didn't go together well. I am a fairly good cook, so I know I didn't do anything wrong - it just wasn't good. Ah, well. At least I got that package of egg noodles out of the pantry.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Knew?

I have scrapbooked so much since the first of the year that I ran out of things to scrap! Well, sort of. I have piles of photos that need to be scanned before I can work with them, but the lack of a functioning scanner is prohibiting that at the moment, so I decided to turn my attention elsewhere for a couple of weeks.

If you have never delved into your family genealogy, you really should try it sometime. It's amazing what you can find. It turns out I'm a distant cousin to Booker T Washington, George W Bush, Audrey Hepburn, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Pretty cool, huh?

There are Revolutionary War heros, a former governor of Connecticut, Union soldiers (who lived in the South), survivors of Indian attacks, participators in the Oklahoma Land Rush, British nobility, and even families who were in Salem at the time of the Witch Trials.

My family, no matter which branch I trace, has been in America for a long, long time - some of them pre-date the Mayflower's voyage. It's fascinating to me to imagine the life my ancestors led. Apparently Christmas Day was a popular wedding date at the turn of the 17th century - I lost count of how many couples married on December 25! I can't help but imagine the fear felt by those living in Salem in 1692. Would they be the next to be wrongfully accused? I actually know about the Land Rush, because my great-great-grandmother left behind a memoir of sorts, and she tells of the Frenchman who rode by their side in the race to find a homestead, and the Indians who sometimes visited them.

I wonder what it was like for the Union soldiers who lived in Arkansas and Kentucky at the time of the Civil War. One of them was even killed by Confederate soldiers when he was home on furlough. Someday, if I ever visit Connecticut, I'm going to see the Robert Treat Hotel, founded by my governor/ancestor. He is even considered the co-founder of Newark, New Jersey.

One of the most intriguing parts for me is when I find an ancestor who came from Scotland or England, and it's a town I've been to. When I think of my great-times-10-grandmother walking the streets of Edinburgh, or the hills of Stirling, I get a little excited to think I've been there, too.

Interestingly, there are monuments and graves close to where I live now. I look forward to photographing these places - there's nothing like having a tangible connection to the past. In fact, my search has yielded photos of family I didn't know existed. It's such a thrill to see the faces of family from more than one hundred years ago.

In that spirit, here is a photo of Hezekiah Rose, my great-great-great-great-grandfather. He lost part of a leg in the Civil War (Confederate side). I love this picture - his eyes have this sparkle that makes me think he would have been such a fun person to know.

I hope that I get to spend time with these relatives in heaven. I'd love to hear their stories - and I am determined to leave mine for future generations!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good news!

The pediatrician called, and Braeden's big 24-hour test came back fine. There was a teeny bit of protein, but not enough to cause concern. Thanks for the prayers - we are all quite relieved!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Because when life gets too serious, sometimes you just gotta laugh...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Grandma Gates

Here's a picture of Grandma from the last time I went to see her:

Eye Updates

I had an appointment to see the optometrist today, even though my vision had returned to normal. He couldn't find anything wrong, and speculated that it might have been a fluke. However, he suggested I have a complete physical (something I haven't done in years, if ever), and especially check my blood sugar levels. So I guess I'll be making another appointment on Monday.

I'm relieved to know that he couldn't see a thing wrong with my eyes. I probably overreacted, but I have always said that my sight is the one sense I really don't want to lose. I am just too visually oriented, ya know?

Tomorrow we start doing the 24-hour urine collection for Bebo. (Sorry, I know that's kinda gross.) This means I'll have to keep a very close eye on him - because we're supposed to collect everything, and it will probably drive us all insane in the process.

Final update - Grandma's funeral will be Monday. I will not be going, I'm afraid. I am glad this world's journey is over for her. She lived a long life, and now she doesn't have to worry about arthritis or bad knees or anything else. I'm glad we got to see her last summer, and that she got to see her great-grandkids.

PSA, folks - please don't forget to tell your story. My grandparents are all gone now, and I would dearly love to sit down with them all and hear their stories - about their military service, their homes, their dreams, their lives - all of it. It doesn't matter how you choose to go about it, but for the sake of your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, find a way to leave behind your story. You may think it's the most boring thing in the world, but somebody will appreciate it for the gem it is.

Just think about it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Last 30 Minutes

A series of events of the last half hour, as follows:

1) I left a pot of water boiling on the stove, forgot about it - and now I have a ruined pot.

2) My Cricut burned out, and I can't possibly replace it.

3) I lost my peripheral vision in my right eye. I have been sitting at the computer, and suddenly was getting a "flashing" in that eye. When it finally stopped, I had completely lost my peripheral sight. It seems to be coming back slowly, but my family has a gene for retinitis pigmentosa, so I won't lie and say I'm not worried.

4) Mom called and told me Granda passed away. She died peacefully, but they didn't make it there to see her before she died.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now, to say the least.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Prayers, please

For two things:

First, my only living grandparent is very ill. Doctors have given her "15 minutes to 72 hours." She's been bedridden for a while, and is lonely and tired. I know she's ready to move on to greater things. Please pray that her remaining time is peaceful and that she can be surrounded by those she loves.

Second, we took Braeden in for his school physical earlier this week. They found a small amount of protein in his urine, and requested that we do a second analysis when he first wakes up to double-check. The second round has come back with the same results. Now we have to collect all the urine for a 24-hour period. At this point, we don't know what it means, though it likely indicates some sort of kidney problem. Please pray that we find out the answer quickly, and that it can be easily healed. I'm not worried yet - not until I know have cause to really worry. His boundless energy belies any physical problems.

Thank you!

Nine Years

I've been married for nine years. . . and completely forgot our anniversary was today. I admit, it's mostly because we planned to celebrate next week, so my mind has been geared seven days behind schedule. But there's also part that just forgets these things. It's one of my lesser qualities.

Nine years. Happy anniversary to us!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wall-E & Bebo

The movie isn't out yet... but we've been talking about it for months now. Back when the teaser preview was just that - a teaser - Bebo has been begging Jeff to watch it on the computer. He just loves Wall-E. Jeff & I can't wait to take him to see the movie. It will be as much a treat for us as it is for Braeden.

On Monday Bebo had to go for his school physical exam. Jeff promised him a "treat" if he'd behave, and after suffering through a Hep A vaccine and excessive poking and prodding, they went to Toys R Us. The first words out of Braeden's mouth when they got home were "Wook, Mommy! I got a Wall-E!"

And so he did. Just barely 3 inches tall, Wall-E has become quite a celebrity in our house. Last night Braeden, in his utterly sweet manner, decided Wall-E needed to take a nap. I'm hearing a lot of "Mommy, come wook!" lately, and this time I arrived to see this 3-inch tall toy carefully laid out on a Mommy-sized pillow, with a Thomas blanked pulled just up to his head. Being the good mommy that I am, I grabbed the camera. :)

Braeden helped me pose Wall-E - in fact, he demanded that I take "wots and wots of pictures of Wall-E." And that is exactly what we did. I used the opportunity to practice some perspective shots. Braeden was happy, Mommy was happy, and I think Wall-E was probably happy, too.

After the photo shoot, Braeden made another "bed" for Wall-E on Jeff's guitar case. Then he said prayers for Wall-E. And hugged Wall-E. And told Wall-E good night.

I love my boy!

Here's some of our little photo session - scrapbook page soon to follow, I'm sure. :)