Monday, September 24, 2007

And this is how exciting my life is

David got on a plane yesterday for a business trip. Of course, this means that I ended up in the ER with one of the kids yesterday. These things always happen when David is away. Always. Without fail. If it's not one of the kids, it's something with the house or car. Sigh.

I have been working at Blaine's school for the past 2 weeks. Because of the Ramadan holiday, the Muslim workers leave by 2 PM, so they need people to help out. I am working in the school library (ah, a library - my favorite place to be!). Yesterday I get to school and I stopped in the cafeteria to buy some lunch tickets for Blaine and on my way out, I run into Blaine's class on their way back from recess. The teacher's assistant says "hey, glad I ran into you! I just dropped Blaine off in the nurse's office. He fell on the playground and bumped his head and is bleeding and we can't tell if it's his nose or his lip". I run to the nurse's office and there is my poor boy, standing at the sink with the nurse, covered in sand and blood and crying. He fell off the rope ladder and did a face plant in the sand. We get him cleaned up and determine that he had a bloody nose, not lip, and we ice his head and all seems fine. Once he is calm, I walk him to class and tell him I will come and get him as soon as school is over and he can hang out with me in the library and we will ride home together.

45 minutes later, I head down to his class to get him and, as we are walking back to the library, he tells me that his hand hurts. I look and don't see anything wrong. No swelling or bruising. During the 30 minutes we are in the library while I finish my work, Blaine complains again and again about his right wrist. He's holding it with his left hand and keeps saying "It hurrrrrrrrts". So, we head out and instead of going home we head to the local ER to get it looked at. The doctor orders x-rays. Blaine is excited at the prospect of having pictures taken of his skeleton.

5 x-rays later (3 of his hand, two of his head because of the size of the lump on it) we determine that he is ok. No break, just a slight sprain.

Blaine is now more concerned about the absence his brain on his head x-rays. "Where's my brain? It's in my head! Where is it?" All complaints about his wrist cease because of the new missing brain dilemma.

Ah, my life. One excitement after the next.

In other news, I have posted some new videos of Kyra talking and signing. I am trying to keep track of her progress as we work with her so that I can gauge her improvement. She's doing pretty good, picking up new signs every day. In the videos she only does one sign "please". She also repeats her latest favorite word "spiderman". David and I didn't teach her that one. Guess who did? Oh, and she also looks at me like "what? I don't know that" when I ask her to say "Love you!". Yeah, like we never, ever say that to her.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Secret Recipe?

Last night I stopped in at the local Kentucky Fried Chicken to pick up some food for my kids. As I was standing at the counter waiting for my order, I glanced over and saw a big dry-erase board behind the manager's desk. This board was in full view of anyone who came into the restaurant and it was a list of all the things that needed to be done that week. The third item on the list, written in bold red ink, in all capital letters, with extra exclamation points read as follows:


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Adventures in Oman, part 3

Remember how well David and I planned our previous adventure? No water. No food. Touring around on day when most shops and tourist attractions are closed. So, naturally, we decided to do it again. This time we brought plenty of food and water, but we still went out on Friday (for those who have not read the previous entry, Friday is like a Sunday here). Not only did we go out on Friday, but we went out after 1 PM. What's the big deal about going out after 1? Most shops here in Oman take a siesta during the hottest part of the day - usually from 1 to 4 PM. See our brilliance now? We go out on a Friday = most stuff closed. We go out after 1 PM = siesta for those businesses that were actually open. You know you want to come visit us and go for a tour with us. We can take you great places - and you can look at them from the outside and try to imagine what the inside would have looked like. FUN!

Onto part 3. We had so much luck previously with the Five Forts Tour, that we decided to repeat the exact route. Crazy, right? Some friends of ours had heard about the tour we did and wanted to go see the forts, so we all loaded up and they followed us off the beaten path to the first fort, Sur ar Rumays. I didn't even get out of the car at Sur ar Rumays because Kyra was sleeping. And it was hot. So while David and Blaine took our friends exploring, I sat in the air conditioned car with Kyra. I will be applying for Mensa membership shortly.

Our next stop was the Barka fort. Barka was the fort we skipped last time in order to feed our children. This time we actually stopped, got out of the car, turned the cameras on...and the fort was closed. Yes. Padlocked tightly.

We asked a few locals who were hanging out in lawn chairs near the fort when it would open. Our thinking was that maybe it was closed for siesta and would be open again in another hour or two. Their answer? Sunday. We decided not to hang around until then. But we did let the kids play with the cannons!

After checking out the outer walls of the fort and the cannons, Dave and Kyra sat down to plan the next leg of our journey:

We left Barka and headed for Nakal fort. Nakal was open, but we took no pictures as we had taken plenty last time we were there. As you may recall, Nakal was where we ended our tour last time because it was so hot and late. Well, Nakal was the last fort on our tour again this time, but it wasn't our last stop. Just a few kilometers from Nakal Fort is Ayn ath Thuwarah (say that 3x fast!). Ayn ath Thuwarah is home to some beautiful hot springs with a lovely picnic area. We stripped off shoes and socks and went wading. Well, David, Kyra and I went wading. Blaine went falling. Multiple times. He kept saying "I slipped!"

Poor kid ended up having to ride home in a t-shirt and underwear because that's all the dry clothes I had for him in the diaper bag (brilliant planning strikes again! I wouldn't have even had those if not for the fact that I haven't unpacked the diaper bag since our flight here almost 2 months ago. Moral? Procrastination pays!).

With a few more pictures of the hot springs, including the beautiful waterfall and the picture of the lady doing her laundry, we packed it up and headed home since it was getting dark.

Next time we head out, we have vowed to start our journey with a new destination. We have also vowed to pack better, plan better and to travel on a Thursday. It could happen.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Girl

If anyone had tried to tell me 2 years ago that my second child would be so absolutely different from my first child, I would have laughed. Really, they are just kids. Babies. How different can an infant/toddler/young child be? Sure, when they get older, when they are teenagers, there will be differences, but when they are young? No different. That's just crazy talk!

Then Kyra joined our family. And I learned just how different 2 kids can be.

Blaine was a difficult baby. Not colicky difficult. More like "oh my God why won't he sleep and why does he eat all the time" difficult. He wasn't unhappy - he was a happy, happy baby. He was just always hungry and never sleepy (or so it seemed). Kyra was the exact opposite. From the moment she was born she was a good sleeper. By the time she was 3 or 4 months old, she would only get up once a night. By 6 or 7 months, she slept through the night (unless she was teething). She had her own feeding schedule and she stuck to it. So easy. I felt like I had paid my dues with Blaine and was rewarded for my sacrifices with Kyra.

Blaine walked at 10 months - never crawled. He fell quite often and usually was sporting road rash on his face or knees. But, he never got into stuff. Well, not much anyway - and usually only if it was completely accessible - right in front of him begging him to mess with it. He didn't climb nor did he open every cabinet, closet or door he could. I never needed baby gates with him. Kyra is the exact opposite. She didn't walk until she was 1, but from the moment she could move, she has climbed. And climbed. But she's so careful that she rarely falls. Oh, and does she ever get into things. Childproofing has reached a whole new level in our home since Kyra has been able to move.

But man, I would not trade her for the world. She is awesome. I am so lucky to be her mom. She's sweet and funny and she laughs and laughs and loves and just makes my world a better place every single day. She loves to say hello to everyone she sees - waving furiously and repeating "hewooo" until the person she is waving at waves back. She loves to say "buhbuh" and wave again before moving on to the next person she wants to say "hewooo" too.

She doesn't talk much. We had a preliminary speech evaluation done with her, since she is 19 months old and likes to scream and point as her primary means of communication. Her hearing is fine. Her receptive language is top-notch. Her expressive language? Not so great. She babbles a lot but she doesn't have many words. We have gone back to basics and we are teaching her sign language. She's picking it up quickly - please, eat, more - and man it's making our life so much easier. The screaming is less because, without words, she can tell us what she wants. Hopefully in the next few months her language will improve, but if not, we will have a full speech evaluation done and start therapy.

The most important person in her life is her brother. Her dad and I are in the top 5, but I don't know that we will ever replace Blaine - "Ba" - as the center of her universe. She does what he does, loves what he loves, and wants to be with him all the time. The first day he rode the bus to school she cried and cried because she wanted to go too. But when he got home, she looked like this:

She's perfected the Blaine Cheese Face. And I love it. And I love her.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

How to tell you are not in America, part 3

If doing the laundry involves a trip to the local hot springs, you might not be in America.

On another note, the picture above was taken at the hot springs just a few kilometers from the Nakhal Fort. That trip will be the subject of the next installment of "Adventures in Oman". I'll get around to writing it soon. I hope. Maybe after my laundry is done (and no, I don't have to tote it to the stream, thank God).

Saturday, September 1, 2007

This is how we roll

Well I asked if someone wanted to come and help me split 7 pans of Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. Since no one hopped on a plane, I am afraid that Blaine, David, Kyra and I are going to have to suffer alone.Oh, the tragedy. I will never, ever, make these again. Because if I do, I will be one of those people you see on TLC's Big Medicine. Seriously. These things are so good, I expect to have them all eaten in 2 days, tops. I will also be in a diabetic coma. I told David I was going to take some to friends and he said "1 pan Jen. You can only give away 1 pan. I will eat the rest." Fat chance, buddy. Blaine and I have a head start.