Archive for June, 2008

11 months old!

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Yesterday I had a fairly relaxing but productive day.  I fixed our stereo–I guess the dust from the Lubbock windstorms circa 1997 had finally gotten to the CD lens.  I cleaned up random papers that we no longer needed.  I installed Jackson’s swing in our apartment play area.  I baby proofed our apartment a little more (the last time Jack was here, he was barely crawling).  And I even got in some soccer watching (Russia vs Netherlands).  But the soccer got interrupted by a wedding I had been invited to.  So I got all dressed up and went to the church, where it appeared I was the only invited guest.  In fact, it didn’t even appear the bride or groom had decided to show.  I was finally able to find someone in the church and ask what had happened to the wedding.  Turns out, the wedding wasn’t until today.

This story along with thinking about weddings and marriage reminded me why I got married: so I wouldn’t show up to other peoples’ weddings on the wrong day.

Kristen and Jackson are back in Bogota on Sunday, so if I can just avoid being invited to any more public events, I should be fine.

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Jackson and I are still in Houston for another week and a half.  Seth is holding down the fort at home, trying to dodge tear gas at the embassy and scrounging up meals as he can.  We miss him so much!

Life just isn’t the same without him…

-Seth must be the person that keeps the toothpaste tube clean and not gooey. I have discovered that since he has been gone, it is a mess!

-Whenever I pick up the phone Jackson says, “Dada?”.   Seth is so involved in Jackson’s daily routines that he has really missed him and Seth him.  I am going to have to video when he sees him again because I think he might go a bit crazy. He might try to skip naps for a week to catch up on lost time. Jackson that is.

-Cyber-parenting is the new norm in our family. We try to have Seth and Jackson visit every day if possible via webcam. We laughed the other day when Jackson headed for the electrical outlet and Seth said, “Jackson, NO”. Jackson turned, furrowed his brow, and huffed at Seth.  I don’t think cyber-parenting will work when spankings are necessary but in the meantime it is working!

-Even if home overseas doesn’t feel like home sometimes, it feels more like home when you are away for a long time. I miss our home. Our things. Our routines. Our market. Our time together as a family. You get the idea.

-Saturday morning “daddy son time” is special to all of us..especially me!! I miss getting some rest while Seth and Jackson bond. They usually walk down the hill to get bagels or croissants while I get to sleep a little extra.  I am looking forward to the next daddy day!

-Our lifestyle involves SO MUCH packing! I am in the process of repacking us right now! People have asked lately how many children we want to have. I was driving along the other day and thought…Take the number of kids we might want to have and multiply that number by 3..that is the number of pieces of luggage…2 suitcases and 1 carry on per person. That’s right…if we have 2 kids that equals 8 suitcases and 4 carry-ons for our family (10 bags total), and for 3 kids it’s 10 suitcases and 5 carry-ons (15 bags!) and yes, for 4 children it would be 12 suitcases and 6 carry-ons (18 bags). There are quite a few years until Jackson will be able to pack or carry his own luggage (car seat, toys, snacks..you get the idea)!  We are going to have to start renting a city bus to get the the airports when we go on home leave.  Don’t misunderstand…we are NOT planning on having 4 or 5 kids at this point, and we would NEVER choose not to have kids because they would require more luggage! However, Seth might have to start investing in those big flat carts with an attendant at the airport!

That’s all for now.

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random summer pictures

(Left) Jackson with Tina and Uncle Graham

(Right) Seth forgot to teach Jackson that girls prefer gentle hugs rather than pit bull tackles.

Chillin’ in the pool

It took Jackson about 10 mins to realize that playing in the laundry basket was a tactic to slow him down for a few minutes while I caught my breath. He thought it was amazing to sit in his toy basket.

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While Jackson (from what I’m told) is saying all sorts of sounds and “words”, his actual first word was Balk. Which, as we all know, is a baseball term. And it’s quite amazing that while Jack and I talk about baseball, I haven’t gotten to the point of explaining the balk to him. Yet, he instinctually knew that a pitcher intentionally deceiving a runner is wrong. (To see just how bright our son is, I’ve included the exact rules on what is a “balk”, which he apparently already knew.) I told Kristen that I think we either have a pitcher or an umpire on our hands.

Of course, Kristen thought he might have been trying to say “bock” since they were working on the sound a chicken makes. We’ll let her keep thinking that.

8.05 If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when—
(a) The pitcher, while touching his plate, makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery;
(b) The pitcher, while touching his plate, feints a throw to first base and fails to complete the throw;
(c) The pitcher, while touching his plate, fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base;
(d) The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play;
(e) The pitcher makes an illegal pitch;
(f) The pitcher delivers the ball to the batter while he is not facing the batter;
(g) The pitcher makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch while he is not touching the pitcher’s plate;
(h) The pitcher unnecessarily delays the game;
(i) The pitcher, without having the ball, stands on or astride the pitcher’s plate or while off the plate, he feints a pitch;
(j) The pitcher, after coming to a legal pitching position, removes one hand from the ball other than in an actual pitch, or in throwing to a base;
(k) The pitcher, while touching his plate, accidentally or intentionally drops the ball;
(l) The pitcher, while giving an intentional base on balls, pitches when the catcher is not in the catcher’s box;
(m) The pitcher delivers the pitch from Set Position without coming to a stop.

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Every so often it hits me that a little over a month ago we were told that Jackson had a deadly cancer that could require amputating his leg, meds that would cause him to never be a father, and the worst, possibly not responding to meds at all. That was our reality for a short time. It’s hard to believe.

The day before Jackson’s surgery to remove the “tumor”  we finished at MD Anderson early and decided we wanted to go to lunch just the three of us before we started what we thought would be a long journey. We decided to go to our favorite restaurant in Houston, Lupe Tortilla. You have to check it out if you are ever in town. They have the best queso and fajitas. Anyhow, when we arrived I put our name in and let the hostess know that we needed to sit at a table that would fit the stroller next to it. She asked if Jackson could sit in a high chair and I explained that he couldn’t because he had just gotten out of the hospital and was pretty dizzy. She asked more questions and quickly rushed us to a table because she didn’t want him to have to wait.

Yesterday, my friend Kima was visiting and we decided to take her to Lupe. When we walked in I told the hostess, “this is the baby you met before he went in for surgery, I don’t know if you remember us.” She replied, “Oh yes, it’s Jackson, right?! I have been praying for him every day since I met you! She was just thrilled to hear that Jackson’s thought to be cancer ended up as a benign vascular malformation.Her friend walked by and she hollared, Mary (don’t know her name but let’s just say Mary), this is the baby I told you about. You know, the one who had cancer, It’s benign!!”

I think in my own life God will be revealing his power through other people’s reactions for years to come. People from around the world prayed for Jackson by name.

On a side note, Jackson is trying all sorts of new words these days…he says “hola”,  “quack, quack”, and now nods and shakes his head for “yes” and “no”. He made attempts at other animal sounds today but I can’t say they much resembled the animal sound. Cute for sure, but not quite there yet! By the way, chickens in Colombia say “pio, pio” and dogs say “wow, wow”. Who knew that animals in different cultures produce different sounds?! My friend Kima (from South Africa informed us giraffe’s don’t say anything!) Anyhow, Jackson is growing up so, so fast!

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This is a short video that we caught of Jackson “dancing” at Johnny Rocket’s. We went this afternoon with my friend Kima so she could get a taste of what we American’s love to eat. Jackson has a real love of music and for those of you that aren’t familiar with JR’s it is a diner that has dancing and singing wait staff. It was empty when we went because it was afternoon, but Jackson got a show!

I am thinking that we will go to Johnny Rocket’s instead of Disney in coming years. He just loved it! I was laughing so hard that I was crying. Every time a new song started up on the juke box Jackson started the jive again.

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Ah, yes, Bogota

I’m back in Bogota, while the rest of my family is in Houston, enjoying friends and family.  One of our South African friends (actually, they’re really our only South African friends) is in Houston with Kristen right now, stocking up on baby stuff.  As pretty much all our readers know, baby gear is very expensive.  But it’s even more expensive overseas.  She’s told us that a stroller in SA costs about $600.  And we’ve seen firsthand how much baby clothes and toys cost in Bogota.

Anyway, a couple of days after I returned, I tried to start our car, to no avail.  I guess the battery had died during the month-plus that we hadn’t used it.  On Saturday I was meeting with some friends and asked one of them to come back to my place to jump my car, which he did.  Knowing that I now needed to drive around for a while, I took the car out for a spin.  Actually, it’s never quite a “spin” in Bogota traffic.  Nonetheless, I drove it for about 10-15 minutes and then went to get the oil changed.  I turned off the car to see if the gas station could change it (there are no Jiffy Lubes here), which they could in 20 minutes.  So I turned back on the car to fill it up with gas.

Uh oh.  The car wouldn’t start.  I tried to start it a few times, at which point it finally turned over and I pulled up to the pump.  Everything is full-service here, so someone filled up the car.  When I started it again, yep, wouldn’t start, but finally did, so I parked it while I waited for them to change the oil.  I asked if they sold batteries there as well, and they did.  But for whatever reason, they didn’t have one that would fit my car.  Bummer.  But he referred me to a store about 20 minutes away.  They changed the oil, and that guy referred to me a store much closer.  He gave me a specific address, as since the car was barely able to start again, I figured I better go now to get a new one because who knew when I’d have another chance.

Off I went, and of course, there were no stores that sold batteries at that address.  I went a few blocks down to a store that had pictures of car batteries on the storefront, but that guy said that they didn’t have any batteries today.  I’m not sure what that means.

I kept on driving, asked someone else who referred me on to another store, which did have batteries but none that would fit a Honda CR-V.  Meanwhile, I’m having to shut off the car and go into the store each time I go into a store.   (I thought about leaving it running, but that is not a safe thing to do.)  Sometimes it would give me trouble, but the last couple of times, it was starting right up.

I got referred to another store, which although it was only about 8 blocks away, took about 10 minutes to get there.  I pulled up in front, turned off the car, and thought maybe I should try to start it again to see if the battery was working again.  Started just fine.  Turned it off and started it again.  Just fine.

So, I decided to drive all the way back home hoping that the battery was now fully charged.  I got home, turned it off, started it again, and, graciously, it started.

I haven’t tried using the car again, but I’m hoping that it needed more than 15 minutes to charge, and is now working.  We’ll see.

Nevertheless, I was clearly reminded about just how bad Bogota traffic is and how everyone tells you what you want to hear.  They speak authoritatively, but most of the time, don’t really know.

Lesson relearned.

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