Monday, July 26, 2010

I Lead a Rich Fantasy Life

As indicated in my previous post, Kevin is finishing school. Which we are mostly excited about. We are a little not excited because the "What's next?" question terrifies us.
You see, for the last few months, we've been tempted by fantasizing about what our lives could be like if we weren't starving students. "When we have a washer and a dryer...when we have a yard for Stellan to play in...when we get our new computer...when I buy new clothes that are actually new..." is one of our most favorite games. We like to look around the house and snub our noses at the stuff we can't wait to get rid of.
That is what we do when we feel optimistic. But lately we feel that way less often. Kevin has been actively looking for a job for about 6 months now. He's sent out dozens, probably hundreds, of applications; he's done a handful of interviews; positions he has applied for have been dropped about as often as he has been rejected. He hasn't heard back from anyone he has interviewed with. What that means is that, in all likelihood, he'll be jobless when that research stipend money FAU has been sending to our bank account stops coming in a couple of weeks.
So instead of the "When we have a washer and dryer..." game, we play the "When we're living in our car..." game. We dream of the day when, while surfing the web on wi-fi stolen from the McDonald's parking lot, we hear about a hurricane coming straight for us. And we cheer because, since we (and everything we own) now live in our car, we can evacuate before anyone else in the state of Florida and beat the traffic.

I liked the old fantasy life better.

P.S. Don't feel sorry for us, and please don't start a fundraising campaign. We'll be fine, we've got some money saved up and many relatives have offered to house us if we need it. Oh, and we really do believe that Kevin will find a job sometime soon. This was not a call for pity, simply a peek into my twisted mind.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Big News

Why is Kevin so happy? Because of what's in the box:

This is Kevin's thesis. It is no longer is his possession, it now belongs to Florida Atlantic University. That is to say, he's done. I'll say it again: he's done! He walks at graduation on August 10th. This is the proudest accomplishment* of his life. Go Kevin!

*The only exceptions are his 2 wonderful children and the fact that he has stayed married to me for 8 years without killing me or going insane.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Great Awakening

Rachelle is an awesome baby. Here's what I mean - she already sleeps 5 or 6 hours at a stretch at night, she almost never fusses, she is generally content to be plopped down somewhere protected while she's awake and she conks out whenever we take her anywhere.
That said, I've been looking at older babies (you know, 3 or 4 months old), and getting excited for the time when I get to know her a little better. She must have felt my yearning, because a couple of nights ago, she started really acting like a conscious human being, and less like a floppy cute tiny doll that squeaks every once in a while so you won't forget it's there. She was waving her fists and feet around madly, and looking all around like she'd never seen anything in our house before. She looked me in the eyes and I felt it - there's a real person in there somewhere!
As a postscript, I would like to add that she smiled for the first time this morning after her 4 AM feeding. That's right, I got her first smile all to myself. Not surprisingly, it was not like her brother's first smile, while was bold and seemed to take up most of his face. Instead, it was just the corners of her mouth and her eyes, but her face just lit up and it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
Welcome to the world, baby girl. May you never stop discovering it.

Give the People What They Want

I have had requests from several people (OK, mostly grandparents) for more photos of Rachelle. Here you go!

P.S. Contact me if you want any of these in full resolution f0r printing purposes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grandma Karen Comes To Town

We were lucky enough to have Grandma Karen (my mom) come to visit us for a week. Her work schedule is pretty busy, so it was amazing that she managed to get here for Stellan's birthday. In addition to celebrating the big 3, we also took her to the beach, went to Jaxson's for ice cream, spent a morning at Monkey Joe's (a warehouse full of inflatable wonder), went swimming, made her babysit while we watched some World Cup to celebrate our anniversary, and enjoyed some hands-free time while Grandma enjoyed holding Rachelle.
In fact, she was so good at holding sleepy Rachelle that she adopted Rachelle's way of life. Within minutes of cuddling up with her anywhere in the house, they would both be fast asleep. I said, "I'm sure your boss won't mind if keep this schedule up when you go back home. Just let her know you're going to nap from 10 to 1, and 2 to 5, but that you promise to wake up if you get hungry or poop your pants."
Thanks for coming, Grandma - we miss you already.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Stellan!

Incredible but true, Stellan is now 3 years old. He was lucky enough to have his Grandma Karen in town to celebrate with him, and we did quite a bit of celebrating.

Monday, July 5, 2010

When It Rains...

Stellan, Rachelle and I went for our first trip to the park today. Stellan rode his bike there while Rachelle rode in style in her stroller. As we were leaving the house, I had the good sense to get a blanket to cover the stroller for sun/bug protection. We had a lovely time playing, and although it was definitely hot, the ocean breeze made it bearable.
A hour or so into our trip, I noticed some big dark storm clouds coming our way. I showed Stellan and encouraged him to hop back on his bike so we could head for home. (Why does it always take three times longer to get home from the park than to get to the park?) However, he didn't really grasp the urgency of the situation and dawdled quite a bit.
Before you know it, those clouds were right on top of us. I had finally coaxed Stellan onto his bike and we were on the path out of the park. Then we felt some sprinkles. I grabbed the stroller and headed for a covered picnic table area. Stellan was taking his sweet time until the sprinkles turned into big fat drops. Suddenly we were in the middle of a huge downpour. Rachelle's sun/bug blanket was a rain shelter, which was lucky for her because it was also windy and the rain was coming down sideways. Stellan and I were pretty much soaked within a few minutes, but tried to have some fun. We sang all the songs we could think of with the word "rain" in them. Then we put in a call to some grandparents for more rain songs.
Oh, we also called Daddy, who had the car, to come and rescue us. Unfortunately, he had just started a very important meeting with his advisor just as the rain started. We ended up waiting about an hour in the rain until Daddy arrived. By then, the sidewalk was so deep that Stellan was wading knee-high to cross to the car. Rachelle stayed nice and dry, but was a little cranky and hungry.
I wish I had a picture of that time sitting in the little shelter with the rain pouring down all around us, singing songs and counting the time between lightning flashes and thunder claps. In the end, we all escaped unscathed and had a good time doing it. But next time, we're leaving before the rain starts.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Gone But Not Forgotten

We have experienced a heavy loss: our friends, the Hendersons, have moved. Jeff finished dental school and is off to Alaska. That means that he is taking Olga, Erik and (gasp) Elsa with him. Stellan has been going through heavy withdrawal; Kevin and I, though we don't throw tantrums about it as often, miss them too. As a little tribute to the friendship of Stellan and Elsa, here is a slideshow of the two of them over the years. Tear...

Friday, July 2, 2010

It Makes My Brain Hurt

This post is not about my family. It is a rant. It is a rant against the local news here in South Florida. So don't feel obligated to read it; but if you do, you can feel free to laugh, and then maybe cry a little bit.
It turns out that most South Floridians don't know this, but it seems unique to the region that the local news media will hound victims and perpetrators of crimes, as well as their families. For example, if there is a knife fight at a school and one student is wounded and now fighting for his life in the hospital, you can expect to see footage of the reporter lamenting that she was not allowed in his hospital room; you will then see her outside the house of the alleged attacker's family, saying something like "Unfortunately, they don't seem to be answering the door right now, let's go talk to their neighbors." It's disturbing.
But the proverbial straw came two evenings ago as Kevin and I were watching the teaser for the 11 o'clock news: "Will LeBron join the Heat? We contact area psychics to get the answer."


First of all, I pointed out that there must be bigger news that this to report - a hurricane in the Gulf, a recession, Iraq, Afghanistan, the World Cup...I could go on. Even more importantly, can you really use the term "news" with psychic proclamations? Kevin was quick to add, "What really gets me is that they are not just reporting what the psychics say - they were the ones to contact the psychics! Is that what goes for investigative reporting around here?" Apparently it does.
By the way, it seems that LeBron will stay in Cleveland for at least the next two seasons, where he will lead the Cavs to a pair of National Championships. You heard it here first, folks.