Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Morning--a pumpkin with a pumpkin

I found a pumpkin.....

hmmmm, what can I do with it???

uh oh, mommy is still watching me....


oh well, time to roll the pumpkin anyway!!!




What say you? Change?

Let's say you know someone and there is room in their life for change. What if by making some changes, they could not only improve thier life but also improve the lives around them. Should you hope for that change? Should you ask for that change? Should you encourage that change? Or should you just accept that this person will not change, not even ask them to change, and not even hope for a change?

I want to hear what you think...

Let me give you another tidbit of thought before you respond....
What if nobody had ever asked for change in the way slaves were treated? What if nobody ever challenged racist comments or actions? What if nobody had ever stood up for the protection of abused children? What if one person had not stood up and asked one other person for a change of mentality on those things? What if you see a need for change, but choose not to ask for it--have you done anyone justice in that situation?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dragging my feet....

I know, I know...I owe EVERYONE some pics. I have had several ask for birthday boy pics...and I will do my best to get them on here soon. Its been quite a busy week at work and such. Oh, life! Last weekend didn't feel so much like a weekend...but I am not complaining. I am just saying...my brain hasn't had much down time. Even my dreams have been crazy...and involved Ep and my mom buying a million dollar house for a "steal"!

Anyway...as for the hiccups I mentioned in a previous post...they were in reference to things like Kale discovering he can open/shut doors and cabinets (thus we needed to install the babyproofing stuff), discovering the toilet paper roll (and unrolling it), and just the general stress/mayhem that comes with planning your childs first party and wanting to get it right and not miss anything along the way. Oh, parenthood!

Kale is doing fine and we still can't believe he is a one year old. We have done a lot of reflecting lately. Ep has even mentioned a couple of things that tells me that he has been doing some reflecting as well. A year ago yesterday, we finally brought Kale home for the first time. A year ago today, I was holding my breath in pure fear...new preemie baby that wasn't supposed to even be born yet...and no nurses to hold our hands...and no monitors to beep at us...and oh the joy but oh the fear! A year ago today, we were still in completel awe that our little boy was at home with us and that the doctors/nurses actually let us take him home! A year ago today, we had no idea of the giant hurdle still in front of us (although my instincts were trying to warn me). A year ago today, we were still loving the task of changing dirty diapers. A year ago today, we were excited when Kale drank more than a few ounces at a time. A year ago today, we were thinking he needed to add a little fat to his body. My oh My, how times have changed. Funny what change a year can bring! Everyday, we continue to thank God for the blessing of Kale!

Oh, one other thing...I made a video of pictures that we showed during halftime of the hog game on Saturday night. I called it "365 days of Kale George Fletcher" I will do my best to either link it on here or something...but that is going to take some time. Maybe it will be before he turns 16....

Monday, October 27, 2008

there aren't enough words...

There just aren't words for all the thoughts and emotions right now. Its Monday, and I am already mentally just wiped out.

The party went well. It had its hiccups...I will leave it at that. Overall, it was a good party and lots of fun was had by all who attended.

The Hog game was a exciting disapointment. We lost. However, I think this is justified to say...he recruited our current players and didn't recruit his current players. Basically, he can win with players that he doesn't recruit...but couldn't win with players that he did recruit. Give us a couple years and I bet we wax his hiney about the same time that the Ole Miss fans wake up and realize the roses they thought they were smelling were never really roses at all! Moving on...

My dad was with us all weekend and that was really nice. We really, really enjoyed him being here. I was glad he went to church with us on Sunday morning. I know that the format of the church we attend doesn't exactly mesh with what he prefers, but I was happy to have him with us for church.

Sunday night was a good "old yet new" experience. We joined a community group, which is a small group of people from church that meets every two weeks. Its a newly formed group, so Sunday night was devoted to just getting to know each other and deciding on how we want our group to work. I say "old yet new" because Ep and I have been part of a community group before through a different church in a different city. So, we kind of know the function and what we have to look forward to with the group. Child care isn't provided, so Kale stayed at home with MemaNana and Papaw. Since MemaNana won't be here most Sunday nights, we are now in the hunt for a babysitter for Sunday nights...every other week for a couple of hours.

By the time we got home, Kale was sacked out in MemaNana's bed. We picked him up and transported him to his bed...where he stayed for a whole hour before waking up. He was NOT happy about being in there and let us know...but not nearly to the extent that he let me know last week. Tonight, we will try again. His daddy can get a real taste of his temper...

It was a hard weekend of bad news....first the death of Anne Presley and then the deaths of two UCA students in Conway. Our society needs to get off its haunches and grow a backbone. Its time to bring some real punishment to those who do such awful things. I mean, really, is giving someone their own space with heat/air, tv, internet, blah blah blah really a way to punish someone for such violent acts? If they catch the people who did these things....will they sit forever in jail or be turned loose? Last week, a lady who has 10 DUI arrests was turned loose because she is considered a non-violent offender. Really...not violent...she has been driving impaired and caught 10 times and not caught no telling how many times...and by the grace of God has not yet killed anyone...at the minimum, she is a threat to her own life...and by most standards, she is a threat to everyone else on the road as well. I am tired of the "system" that is so busy protecting criminals that the good outstanding citizens become the ones who are neglected. Enough is enough. Ok, I better get off my soapbox now...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Its Friday!

Whohooo, its finally Friday!!!! Or maybe I should say...uh oh, its Friday???

We had to get up early and caravan with Ep to drop off his truck. It was a three vehicle ordeal because he didn't want to come all the way back home. Fair enough. We got breakfast out of the deal. By the time we got back home, one of us had fallen asleep and another one of us was wanting to fall asleep. But sure enough, I put the car in park and the sleeping giant awoke. After quite a fight and a bottle, he and I finally settled in for a good nap.

During our nap, I think Mema finally gave up and took a nap herself. She disapeared into her room and is still missing in action. Not that it hasn't gone unnoticed. Kale woke up asking for her and hasn't stopped. Oh and the whining....WHERE did he learn that???

You know how it just seems to happen that the ONE toy that is so annoying and loud turns out to be a kid's favorite toy? Well, that is surely the case around here today....twice over.
  1. this one is a "handyman shop" toy...it makes the noises of sawing, cutting, etc. And oh my, its annoying and loud and it squeals. Ugh, enough already. Mema had the toy at her house and HAD to bring it back to Little Rock because she want to sell it on ebay because its so annoying. Um, I think she should have just thrown it in the pond at her house because now Kale has decided he likes the annoying thing!
  2. the second is a one that I actually like....its ball shaped and vibrates so that it rolls and flops its way all over the floor. Oh the entertainment. But its loud. I have a headache. Loud+headache=want to throw it outside (but I won't).

Ok, time for a late lunch...and then round two of Ep and the trucks....only this time Mema doesn't have to go....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This week....

So far this week:
  • I officially got my promotion.
  • Ep got waitlisted for the national tournament...if just one guy says he isn't going, then Ep is in...and the tournament is in a few weeks. We will find out by Nov 1st (I think).
  • Kale had his birthday cupcake and wasn't impresssed. He is more enthused by the balloons...er, um, actually more by the string that hangs from the balloon.
  • Our house looks rather destroyed at the moment...I was gone for two weeks, Ep was gone for one week and Mema was gone for a week....so WHO made this mess??? There is much cleaning to do....acgghck.

This weekend holds the following:

  • Cleaning, Cleaning, and more Cleaning on Friday for Marcia. Kale might help.
  • Saturday is the party...mommy, daddy, and immediate family will be celebrating. Kale won't know what to think....but we are looking forward to seeing and spending time with everyone. Maybe we can manage not to drop the video camera this time during the "cake".
  • I would like to sqeeze in a visit to a pumpkin patch somewhere....I was aiming for Sunday afternoon, but Ep has scheduled a golf outing (which should be interesting, given that he doesn't own any clubs at the moment and isn't BUYING any between now and then). So, either we will go without him...or maybe if I get all the cleaning done early then we will go early Saturday...BUT seriously, all the cleaning has to be done first.
  • Sunday night is our first community group meeting with people from church. I hope they will change the night they plan to regularly meet...but if they don't then we will just have to find a different group because we don't have a babysitter for every Sunday night (Mema will still be in Alma).

Thats all I can think of right now....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Big Secret...

The secret is....

I got an unexpected promotion! With that being said...I purposefully am not putting any identifying informaiton about the place where I work...because they have this thing called google alert that lets them know when something is posted with the name of the organization where I work...and they don't need the info about my personal blog, thanks very much! :)

Anyway....I have been at my job for 4.5 years now...and there was very very very unofficial conversations about a possible promotion...but that has been nearly a year ago and also in better economic times. Getting a promotion is not supposed to happen quite the way it did for me...its supposed to be a very quiet thing until its official and I had absolutely no idea that it had been in the works since JUNE! Due to some policy changes and new staff, it really took 3.5 months for them to get it done! However, since I didn't know it had been "proposed", thats no big deal to me. My pay increase isn't much, so it wouldn't have mattered that much financially if they had done it quicker.

I found out about it as we were zooming along a mountain road in Slovakia. I seriously will never forget this promotion or where I was...it was that shocking! I was in the car with a member of the Poland office staff and the boss of my boss (R). We were on our travel day, which included a visit to a mountain lake, which is where we were headed at the time. Randomly, R says to me "I got an email from .... about your promotion and its approved." He had NO IDEA that I didn't even know a promotion was being currently considered. You can imagine the shock and I somehow managed to feign that I knew exactly what he was talking about as I manged to spit out "Thats good news." Meanwhile...my brain was whirling. Huh? We are getting email after email about budget cuts and the world news is nothing but recession and financially hard times. And I get a promotion? Huh???? Did NOT see that one coming at all! We got to our destination and R makes the same announcement to my boss, who was in another car. She looked at him with complete disbelief and then at me. At that point, I laughed and I wasn't sure if she was going to congratulate me or kill him. So, instead of my boss pulling me aside into a quiet meeting and giving me the good news....I got it riding along a mountain road in Slovakia from someone else. The whole thing was just hilarious. And because it was soooo far from what SHOULD have been happening for an approved promotion....I was stunned into disbelief, which is part of why I have kept it secret until today. Now, it is official. I will pretty much do the same thing I have been doing, with a few added tasks that I already know how to do but just haven't HAD to do. :) My pay will go up a little...and the rest of my benefits stay the same. I am happy with it all. I know, that in these troubled economic times, that I am blessed to have what I have.

And each day, with each new surprise...I am reminded that God is Good!!!!! :)

Birthday Time!

Well, we had our first round of birthday celebrating....and it went well.

Kale wasn't so sure about it all...he took a late nap...and we let him get awake enough to know what was going on...and then stripped him down. It was cupcake time. We lit the candle and sang to him...and then Ep "helped" him blow out the candle. We pushed the cupcake closer to him, but Kale wasn't sure what to do. For a boy who gets just bits and pieces of cake and sweets...he was overwhelmed with whole entire cupcake!!! By the way, the cupcake is strawberry to keep a family tradition! Ep and I both prefer strawberry cakes for our birthday cake...so I decided to give Kale his own version this year...by next year, we will know what HE prefers. :) All of this was recorded, but then we knocked the video camera off the high chair and the first part of the celebration was apparently lost. Don't worry, the best part was caught on the second round of the video anyway! Don't worry, the second round of video is still capturing the FIRST cupcake! (which he really only nibbled before opting for supper instead! such a daddy's boy!) As you can see towards the end...he got his fill and then definitely did not want anymore cupcake!

Ok, here is the video....



video

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to Kale!!! We can't believe its been a year.

Ep got home last night after Kale was already asleep. We quickly dozed off together...all three of us snuggled in the bed. It was a pretty good night...with Ep commenting that I was trying to freeze him out of the house and that Kale kept him warm!

As soon as Kale started wiggling this morning (he is NOT the fastest "waker upper"), I went ahead and turned on our lamp. I sang Happy Birthday to him and he sqawled at me at the end. He had opened his eyes by this point, but not enough to really know what was going on. Then he opened them...and saw his daddy. He looked at Ep and then at me...as if to say "are you really BOTH here???". It ws great. He then gave Ep a round of Da Da Da Da and then proceeded to smack Ep in the face. Nope, he wasn't mad at him for being gone! It was truly his own version of take that Da Da...and if you leave me again there is more where that came from. We let him get away with that hit...its his birthday! He then proceeded to show Ep all of his new tricks...and we just hung out in the bed. It was wonderful. Then, we got Mema to join us on the bed...and that was good too.

After Ep took a shower, Kale showed him that he knows how to open the cabinet doors...good thing I bought the child proofing stuff yesterday. Now...we need to install it.

Kale has already delivered his morning stink and now is ready for a rest.

Our day will include getting Kale's gift...maybe having lunch with Da Da...and getting some cupcakes and balloons. Other than that...who knows! :)

I will update more later tonight...or in the coming days...and let you know how the big cupcake celebration goes tonight!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mixed posting...

This is your warning...this will be a mixed posting...it will include current stuff and reflective stuff...ok, there was the warning...


I can tell Kale is very glad I am home. He wakes up smiling at me and gets all excited to realize that he has been sleeping in the big bed with me. However, he is beyond ready for Da Da to come home. He continually asks for him. Tonight, he will be home. More than likely, Kale will be asleep...so the best present he will get for his first birthday is BOTH of his parents being home with him for the first time in two weeks. Not such a bad gift when you are only turning one and the french fry container from Sonic outrates your other toys. :)


Kale and I enjoyed a blueberry yogurt in bed this morning around 4:30am. I had been up since 2:30 and to say I have jetlag is an understatement. He woke up to find me eating the yogurt and was very happy when he got to sample some as well. Since we were both awake, we went to his room to play. He crashed back out around 6am...and I followed around 6:45am...and we slept until 8:30am. He promptly stunk up his diaper and while I was picking out something for him to wear, off he went. So, I grabbed the camera....this is the wild haired morning look of a little boy who is 364 days old (otherwise, still known as zero years old).

His newest thing is to stand up on our bed and hold onto the "chair rail" that runs along the wall above our bed. We don't have a headboard...so he grabs the chair rail. Sometimes, this results in a faceplant on the wall because he misjudges the distance. He doesn't like that so much.
He also performed a first today...he did patty cake all by himself...he is still working on doing all three parts together...but he can now officially do all of them without help. Most times though, he only does 2 out of the 3...clap...roll...throw.
His other new thing is to extend his pointer finger while keeping the rest of his hand closed. He doesn't point, but will try to use that extended finger to push buttons or touch things. Its quite cute, and a great start at the new task he has to learn after today...to hold up his one finger when people ask how old he is!!!
Today, Kale is not a year old. This time last year, he was still bumping around in my belly and both of us were unaware that tomorrow would be his birthday. I had no idea of the horrible night that was about to be upon me. I was doing my best to convince my body to be a nice host for him as long as possible. My body didn't listen so well...and a year ago at 7:30am tomorrow...we found out we found out we were meeting our little boy that day. My mom had stepped out of the room...so it was just me and Ep when they told me. After the doctor left...we had a few minutes alone....there were tears (of fear, frustration, and yet more fear), prayers, and the quick decision that the leading name on our list would be given to the little boy who would soon arrive. I can't believe its been a year since all of that and all that followed in the next few days and then coming weeks. I look at the first pictures of my very angry and yelling son...all 4 lbs, 11 oz of him at birth...and wonder how he has already grown into this crawling, babbling, loving, sweet, quick tempered, stubborn, Da Da obsessed, and amaze-us-on-a-daily-basis little boy.
I think back to how scared I was a year ago today...just trying so hard to be calm and keep my body from doing things it shouldn't. I was praying and hoping my little boy would be ok...I knew he would be in a NICU at birth as there was no way to avoid that. Nothing prepares you for what we experienced...and nothing could prepare us for the journey that still was ahead of us. I still don't understand why any of it happened, but it did. God has a reason for it and we may never know. I still pray that He will eventually show us the reason. But, until then I will be content and thankful and joyful about this little boy who crawls up to me and clings to my pants as I sit here typing...all the while greeting me with a big "HI!" and then using the drawstring of my pants as a chew toy, which by the way apparently taste good because he just gave me a big "ummm". It must be time for a snack.
Thank you God for this gift that is Kale George Fletcher. He is a such treasure and a blessing!
Here is a message straight from the star of the show....yes, Kale can type....I hope you can read baby babble....
k,e5fvb gjvb b b b b b b b b jjc vrcg 35vv c

Friday, October 17, 2008

Home

Ok, I am home. Its been an ordeal to get here....and here is the summary. I am blogging as a way of unwinding before I go completely crash into the bed. (Note...I didn't finish this when I first started...I got about five minutes into it and went to bed.)


  • I couldn't sleep last night...for a variety of reason, which more resembled a small circus than actually going to sleep. I forced myself to stay in bed and rest. However, between the hours of 10pm and 2:45am, I only slept for 45 minutes. Nice.
  • By 4am, I had mananged to lug my suitcase (all 49 pounds) and my carry on down two different flights of stairs without waking the dead and was waiting with my boss on the curb for out taxi.
  • By 4:30am, I was checked in, my luggge was checked, I had cleared security, and we were just waiting to board our planes (she was on a separate flight and separate carrier because she had arrived five days later than me).
  • At 5am..normal take off from Kosice, Slovakia...but I couldn't chill out enough to sleep. That was fine...I had another flight and then my trans-atlantic (and in a bulkhead seat) to sleep. Oh, if I had only known.
  • My flight from Prague left at 7am....our flight arrived at 6:35am. No worries...until I find out I have to clear security AGAIN. I was pushed to the front of the line because by the time I got to security it was 6:50am...and the man said...your flight will close in four minutes...and then a pushy grandma appeared from nowhere. She was in the same position, just a different flight. She literally elbowed me out of the way. I still made it through and RAN all the way to my flight. I got on the plane panting. Somehow I had scored a three seat row to myself. Yippee. Until we got on the tarmac and made a U-turn. Until they cancelled our flight because of mechanical issues. Once back in the terminal, it was an all out self preservation event. You could tell who knew what to do....and those of us who did, were running to the transfer counter. I was sixth in line....with around 160 people behind me. All the tickets had to be re-routed...and then had to be hand written. So, instead of flying to Amsterdam and Detroit....I was now going to Paris and Atanta...with hand written check in cards. Oh joy. My flight from Prague left at 10am....I know, for a fact, that if I had been further back in the line that I would still be trying to figure out how to get home...and I tried to call home...but my method didn't work and then I remembered that it was 2am at home....so I would wait for Paris
  • I was sharing a three row seat with a guy from Prague to Paris. He got up before take off and never came back. We had some kind of plane problem with luggage....I nearly started laughing. We finally got to take off about 30 minutes late....I crashed. I woke up right before we landed. And the running began again.
  • I had an hour to figure out where I was supposed to be going and how to get there....only to discover that I have to clear customs again and secuity again. Let's just say its Paris...and Europe...and they do things how the want...and sometimes without regard to whether it needs to be done quickly. They had one guy working the customs line for all passengers going to the terminal for outbound international flights. I cleared and got on my bus...and am pretty sure I rode halfway around the airport. By the time I got to my gate, we were boarding. I frantically looked for a phone because by the time that my plane landed in Atlanta, my mom and Kale would be in the Little Rock airport wondering why I haven't shown up. I nearly cried right then. My next option was to find anyone speaking American English on a cell phone. Score. God sent me an angel. I found a lady and just stood in front of her. I said "I will give you $10 if I can please just call my mom to tell her my original plane got cancelled and to come to the airport later" Please? She wouldn't take my money....she let me call and leave messages with both my mom and Ep....hoping that the two of them could get it figured out.
  • Then, I moved on to boarding my flight and told the ladies that I had no idea what my next flight number was...could they please help. It was hand written (remember) and was pretty illegible. They looked me up and printed a boarding pass for me for my flight from Atlanta to Little Rock. That small gesture probably made the difference with me getting on that flight. For my transatlantic flight...I got to sit in the dreaded seats...the ones that don't fully recline as much as the other seats because they are right in front of a wall. That flight was like a circus as well....more on that later...probably in another post. We took off...I ate a few pieces of my food and then did my best to sleep...that lasted 1.5 hours. Ugh. As we finally approached Atlanta rain and fog delayed everything, but we finally got got our turn and landed.
  • Run, Run, Run...down to customs....cleared....over to baggage claim (hallalujah, my bag somehow made it!)....took back to recheck it and threw it on the belt. Then, get in line for security again. Cleared...and took off running. They were working through the stand by list when I got to my gate. They asked if I had an assigned seat and I said yes....gave her the card and she said you are good. By asking about my ticket in Paris, I had fully secured my seat on this next flight. I nearly cried walking down the corridor to my plane. I am certain that I would have been bumped had my seat not already been assigned.
  • It was a quick flight...and my little boy was on the other end of that long hallway. We had a joyous reunion. And he was very taken by all the activity of the airport as well, but was looking around and asking for his da-da....and I told him that he would be home in a couple of days.
  • Then, the final snag of the journey....my luggage, which had somehow made all the transitions with me throughout the day, did not get put on our plane to little rock. Wouldn't be suprising if it was only me....but half the plane didn't get their luggage. I was just laughing. Everyone else in the line was whining and moaning and griping. I wanted to tell them to shut up...seriously...and mom started asking me questions about my flights. I answered truthfully and some of them shut up a bit. I mean, I had been in airplanes or airports for 24 hours....got cancelled, had mechanical issues that delayed, had rain/fog delay, and had run through three different airports....and cleared customs and security in all of them. Some of the mumblings started to die down. I guess something about me smiling anyway made an impact. And my luggage will get delivered today, hopefully.

Kale was so wound up by the airport and all of its activity, that he promptly sacked out on the way home. He is sleeping with Nana tonight. My body is telling me I need sleep right now but my brain says its 11am (well, it is in Slovakia anyway). So, I have taken some medicine to crash back out. It seems to be working...and thats all for now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One more night....and all day....

I have one more night...and not even a full night....I have to be downstairs for a taxi at 4am. Then, I will be traveling all day. I am seven hours ahead of the Arkansas right now. 4am here will be 9pm there...and my flight will leave at 10pm Arkansas time. I get in at tomorrow afternoon around 5pm Arkansas time. I CAN NOT wait. Of course, my seat on the flight into Arkansas is near the back of the plane. But, I am really just praying I make my connection in Prague, as I only have 30 minutes there. Ironically, or blessedly, I got lost there TWICE when I was coming to Kosice...so now I really know to pay attention and watch where I am going there in the morning. God works in your favor if you let Him. I laughed out loud when I realized the way that He had made sure to let me know that I need to pay attention and not miss my gate in the morning.
Ok...here is a summary of my day....
  • The morning started with a meeting and the meetings were concluded with lunch. Everything went well and by 1:30pm we were on the road.
  • The Slovakia (Marta) took me and my boss to a cave....yes, a cave. Oh yea...um, not really. I still feel like I have walked all over Poland and Slovakia....and we had to walk around while we waited 45 minutes for the next tour...which consisted of the three of us and a Slovak couple. Did I mention that after you enter the cave, they lock the door....nothing like being locked in a cave....with bats. Seriously, they had to unlock the door on the other end of the tour to let us out. Then...we drove back to the town where we had spent the last couple of days...and kept driving. So, yes, we drove a full hour out of our way for this cave.
  • Then, as we traveled to Kosice (where we will begin our flights tomorrow), we got stuck on the side of a moutain...in a traffic jam...because a Hungarian semi truck had somehow managed to break down in the middle...yes, middle...of the road. I am guessing his clutch failed....because we had to wait 45 minutes to get past him...and by then I am certain they could have stopped traffic enough to let him roll backwards to either of the TWO places on the side of the road which were plenty big enough for his park. But no...the middle of the road it was....
  • We got to Kosice and it only took us about 20 minutes to find our hotel, which was much better than the 2 hours it took me and Piotr to find our hotel in Krakow. We enter the hotel, or so we think, only to find ourselves in an unlit corridor...and we can hear music that only continues to get louder as we continue down the corridor. We open the door to "reception" and get blasted by music. Yep, I am thinking...this is so not going to be good. We find our way to the steps that lead to reception...again, no elevator and I am literally cursing myself for packing so much. Ugh. Turns out the celebration is supposed to last until 10pm...oh goody...that will give me 5 hours of sleep...before traveling for 21 hours straight. They are celebrating 60 years...of what, we don't know. We asked if it was an anniversary and they said no. So, 60 years of something is being celebrated really well by a group of people who are ALL old enough to be my grandparents....and did I mention that the music is loud and is hip/hop and dance music. Its not necessarily old European music either...its current stuff, like what is apparently in the clubs.
  • The flip side is that I am in a GREAT room. I have cable internet...which it took me a bit to find...a long hallway that leads to my bedroom...the other side of the bed is actually made...meaning I can spread out on something that doesn't equal a twin bed! I have a tv, but haven't yet been able to turn it on...oh well. Then, I discovered I have a portable fan. In all of my travels to Europe...which now includes 8 countries....and several hotels (um, six on this trip)...I have NEVER had a portable fan in my room. Most of this area of Europe doesn't even have air conditioners...much less a portable fan! I hooked that sucker up and then tried to figure out how to open my windows. They are ceiling windows...on a slope. I can just reach them to turn the handle....but if I push them up, I won't ever be able to close them. So, I got smart and hooked a clothing hangar to each handle....and pushed them slightly up. Thank goodness, the windows have strong hinges that hold them in place. :)

So, I am going now...the next time you hear from me, hopefully it will be from the United States...much love and hugs to everyone...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

its a new day

Its a new day, and my second to last day here. However, today is better. Just wanted to get that out there....

Here is a Kale report. He has my brother wrapped around his finger...and has also taken charge of his former crib. So, Kale is giving a safe and sturdy 24 year old crib the good "once over" this week. Too bad he doesn't know he is supposed to sleep in it. For now, apparently its a good place to jump up and down while holding onto the rail. Oh yes, that boy is all mine. He still isn't sleeping all night, no big surprise there. For that matter, neither am I...so he and I will be good bed buddies when I return.

To my father in law....I am glad to know that you didn't fall off the earth...that you do get to go cruisin'....and this secret will have to be just a way that God is growing your patience...ha! :) You will know soon enough...and just in case you were wondering and you know I don't lie...no, the secret is not anything related to pregnancy!!!

Ok...back to the meething....hope ya'll are sleeping well!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

hitting the wall

Today, I have hit the wall. Its been...well...a day. Its too much to type...so here are the bullet points...and it will just have to do! I am tired, and I am sure that will be evident here....
  • I had to go on a hike...only about a mile or so...around a lake. It was for fun. I like nature...and it was pretty, but hiking a zillion miles an hour around a lake is not my idea of fun. A slow leisurely walk around would have been fine...but I am just tired of all the walking this week....I know, I should just get over it...and see it as a literal push to start walking at home...
  • I got some REALLY good news today...but I can't share it yet...not because I was told not to share it, but because I need to confirm a few things first before sharing.
  • I got to ride through more Slovakia mountains with someone who thinks that driving down the middle of the road is very appropriate...even with curves ahead...or hills....or even oncoming cars. Did I mention we were in the mountains and that there were some steep drop offs??? At one point, we literally were three wide (car/big semi truck/our truck) on a two lane road....going about 60mph. I was ready to get out and walk...but then...see above...I was already "walked" out.
  • I am tired of people talking in languages I don't understand...and also tired trying to figure out the "English menu" which is usually only really partially in English and most of the time in phrases that make no sense at all.
  • I have hit the wall...and am ready to come home. I miss my husband. I miss my son. I miss home. I miss fast food. I miss everything. Ugh. I miss my mom and everyone else as well.
  • I am thankful, really thankful, for the emails. For those of you who sent them yesterday and today....you have no idea how helpful they were. So....thank you, thank you, thank you.
  • Then...when we got to our hotel...a group of us arrived together....somehow the receptionist assumed that I was with the boss of my boss....as in rooming with him...so she gave me a key to his room. I headed up...completely unaware. She waited on a few other people...I get to my room way before he arrives (thankfully) and am wondering what I did to get such a good room...its two rooms...living room and bedroom...bigger than what I normally get (which is about half the size of a normal American hotel room). I am unloading my bags and ready to head to dinner when one of the Slovakia staff members shows up at my door and tells me there was a mistake. Then my boss's boss shows up. It went downhill from there...the jokes were horrendous. Ugh. I grabbed my stuff...moved to my room...which had been eroniously assigned to someone else as well...who got moved. I am not sure how you could get downgraded to a room smaller or less than what I have. Thats not a complaint, just an observation. But, this poor guy who is a part of our larger group got downgraded. He, like me, got to briefly see how the "higher ups" get to live. I feel bad for him. I hate knowing that HE knows he got downgraded....and that we are in rooms better than his. Ugh, again.

Ok...its time to go to bed. I haven't made it to bed before 11pm any night since I have been gone....I just can't chill out. I get tired, but can't wind down. Even with the medicine...my body and brain still fight it. Anyway, time for bed. Two more days. I can do this. I can't wait to sleep in our king size bed...cuddled up next to my son...and after a few days and when he returns....that goes for my husband as well. :)

On the road again....

On the road again....we are headed to a site visit this morning, then to some tourist attraction, and then onward south to our destination for the next two days. I got to sleep in this morning, which was nice until the church bell tower started "gong-ing" at 6:30am. I did managed to drift back off to sleep. I needed the sleep after the stress that was coming yesterday from my work back home. Apparently, the whole office is in some kind of financial panic and they are trying to cut a budget that had already been cut once...

We went out to eat last night...and a local plum vodka was served. To be polite and to get a certain person at the table off my back (who happens to be the boss of my boss), I finally drank some of it. Holy cow! To have not had any alcohol in almost 2 years and then take a shot of 104 proof (52% alcohol) was quite a jolt. After that, we walked back to our hotel....about 1/2 mile at least....and uphill....it might have been 45 degrees, but I was sweating!

I enjoyed a quick chat with both my mom and Ep....and got some noised from my favorite person ever...Kale. Mom told him to talk to me, and he just looked at the back door. I can't WAIT to see him. I broke down and asked my mom to park in short term when she comes to get me at the airport...that way she can bring Kale inside. Note to mom...not the short term where we parked when you dropped me off...short term surface parking....you take a left before you get to the area where you dropped me off.

Ok, gotta go...I have three floors to descend with my luggage. oh the fun!

love and hugs to all....and WHERE are those emails? I am pretty sure my father in law must have fallen off the face of the earth....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rambling and its been a year

Wheee, I scored the computer again tonight. Even better, I figured out how to make the European keyboard act like an American one! yippee!

I promise to ramble in this post...so there is your warning.

A year ago yesterday, I was put on home bedrest by my obstetrician. Wow, can't believe that its been a year. Oct 17 will be a year since I managed to flunk home bedrest and Oct 20 will be year since Kale was quickly brought into the world. I really don't know where the year went. Well, I do...it went to bottles, middle of the nights, naps, wearing baby puke, playing, learning to sit, learning to crawl, working, teething, and learning that no matter how hard you try not to miss anything...you are going to miss something. Its been a year of trying to figure out how to process what happened and wading through the delayed emotions. Its been a year that led to me realizing that my God is a loving God...and that I can figure out that I am angry with Him for allowing so many difficult things to happen to my baby boy...only to be led down a path that has me contemplating how God does control everything but that sometimes he does not get in the way of bad things happening because then we would not have free will and love and other such things. I am still trying to figure all of that out. At the same time, I have realized that just as quickly as I discovered I was angry with God...that the emotion has changed....and now its just more of a feeling of being let down or disapointed somehow. I still have the guilt and frustration that comes with the situation I experienced....there is no rhyme or reason to the condition that ailed me...there is no exact cause...so there is always this nagging notion that maybe I somehow caused it to happen. That is a hard thing to carry and I have carried it for a year now. I am trying to let it go, but its not like an object you can just put down. The important part is that I am trying. Its also been a year of finding a church home and getting to know someone that can help talk me through some of this. Its also been a year of fighting my emotions. Still, as I sit here now, I am fighting them. I know I should let my emotions flow, and that when they do...oh boy, stay out of my way because I will be a mess. I need a good cry, but somehow there is never a good time to just let myself cry it out. Even here, with a huge body of water and half a world separating me from EVERYTHING on this earth that is important to me, I still have not found the time to just let it all go. I will, eventually.

Now, changing directions....man oh man...its pretty here. There is HUGE church about 200 feet from my hotel window and during the day it has the amazing background of the Tatra mountains. There is a flower garden in the patio at this hotel that my mom would love to have. I have taken pictures for her. Its a nice and relaxing setting. My job here is mainly to observe, and that is what I did today. It is what I will do again tomorrow. Tuesday will be a day of visiting a field project here in Slovakia while also moving south to attend the next event. I will be coming home in five days...it feels like forever....and feels like I have been here forever...and reminds me of how MUCH sympathy/empathy/respect I have for missionaries, soldiers, and anyone else who has to travel away from their normal life...

Tomorrow is our second wedding anniversary. Ep and I have been together for nine years, but only married for two...it seems like longer than that...last year, since I was on bedrest we could not go out and celebrate...this year, I am in Slovakia and he is in Kentucky. There is always next year...

Given my October last year...and my October this year, I might just go into hiberation with my family next October! :)

I have some news about Kale....I have managed to talk to my family every day thanks to Skype. Oh, God BLESS the person who created Skype! Anyway, back to Kale. He currently knows how to climb up a stair (everything at my mom's house is only one stair, so no worries about him falling down a staircase). However, he has NOT figured out how to climb down a stair. Word is that he will let you know when he is up on the stair and wants down....hmmmm, wonder how he does that...yelling maybe??? :) Surely not. Its been reported that he has also discovered the toilet paper in the bathroom....and that if you mess with it enough, it unrolls. Oh goody. When I talk to him on the phone, its a one way conversation...he just wants to play with the phone, but when he hears my voice he starts looking for me...he just hasn't figured the phone thing out yet. Mom said she has been showing him my picture....to which he replies Da-Da. Great. Maybe he is wondering why momma is in the picture but not DaDa? Who knows. Its also been reported that he has asked for me...which makes me want to yell at the top of my lungs...I will be home, I love you, I miss you....and I just might not ever leave you behind again!!!!! :)

I also heard that my mother in law, Ryn, got some good news from the doctor. So, it seems they will continue to be "crusers" and get to go on the month long cruise to the Panama Canal. So, that makes me happy for them.

Ok, maybe that is enough for now. I hope everyone else is doing good. Send me an email...its much appreciated!!!!

update from Slovakia...again

Howdy,

I have traveled back to Slovakia and am in the area in the outskirts of Poprad. We are in a little village, sort of anyway. I have hijacked the directors computer for a bit. So, no new pics for now.

Since my last blog, I have seen Wawal or Wawel castle in Krakow, Poland as well as the market square--which is a very busy place. It only took us two hours to find our hotel. Oh, and I also so St Mary's church (or maybe cathedral?) in Krakow. It was huge...and I heard the buggler (bugle player) a couple of times, as he plays his bugle to the east, west, north, and south on the hour, every hour.

I have also traveled through the Tatra mountains, which are the tallest mountains in the area. The VP of my area team at headquarters was driving. He is native to Poland. It was a TRIP. Oh, and we stopped for a break and while he was in the bathroom, I managed to set off the car alarm....twice. I set it off once when getting into the car, and then again while I was sitting completely still inside the car...not sure why it went off. O well. He came out of the bathroom laughing....and asking what I did. O well, such is the life...this is a normal day for me over here.

I forgot that most European hotels don't have elevators. Let's think about my luggage for a minute...I am hauling 12 days worth of cool weather clothes. At my current hotel, I am on the third floor. FUN!

Ok...well, time for lunch....more later....eventually....

Friday, October 10, 2008

and then there was Poland....

I made it to Poland yesterday. I visited two different projects and several farms at each project. It is all kind of running together now. However, I do remember being licked by a cow, making a six year old boyfriend, picked an apple from a tree and ate half of it before sharing it with a horse, and seeing a 2 day old calf. Not bad for my first day in a country. Oh, I don't know the six year old's name--we didn't get that far and he was supposedly shy.
My day started at 8am with breakfast and then I went outside with my luggage in tow to wait for my ride to Poland. I didn't read the information correctly (email) and my ride was supposed to be there between 9-9:30...and was delayed about 10 minutes by fog. So, I basically stood on a Slovakian street for over an hour. The country director walked by the hotel on her way to work and so she joined me....and then caused a fiasco for my Polish colleague in all her worry about where he might be. O well. We loaded the SUV and off we went. Oh, and we went. We reached 95 mph at one point...(I asked). Did I mention that we were on two lane roads and going up hills and around corners and such? Did I mention that its not odd to find tractors on these roads....slowwwww moving tractors....anyway....
We got to the hotel around 7:15pm and I was delighted to find out that internet was available in my room....without having to hijack wireless through an open window! Yea! My room was about the size of a single dorm room and had a twin bed. Ironically, the bathroom was almost as big as the main room. After some internet phone calls and instant messaging with Ep and my mom, it was time for bed. Oh, I should mention that Kale sent his first instant message. My mom put him in her lap and before she could push the keyboard out of the way, he started typing. Not sure what he said, but it involved a lot of m's and j's. :)
Now, back to going to bed....it was like sleeping in a dorm...you could hear everything. If I could understand Polish....I would have been able to understand every single word my neighbors said. As it was, I finally fell asleep to the sound of a very heated conversation (which lasted for hours) between two men and a woman next door. Oh, and maybe there is an elephant that was in the room above me? Whatever it was, it had some heavy things to drop on the floor.
I wasn't ready for my alarm clock to go off this morning. But it did....and maybe thats ok, because they are doing construction downstairs in the hotel....apparently right under my room, so I wouldn't have been able to sleep much longer anyway!
Today, we are off to the east...to visit another project (pigs) which should be interesting. Then, we will drive way west and go to Krakow for some "down" time. Piotr (Peter) had promised that he will do his best to show me the main sites. I am kind of excited about that. I will have seen enough farms by then!
I hope to have internet in my hotel in Krakow...but again, I never know until I get there and get hooked up...
The rest of my journey is the following:
  • Eventually to Krakow today and spend the night
  • Wait on Rafal (director) to arrive by train and then he will drive us back to Poprad, Slovakia. Piotr will get on a train back to Warsaw. Wish me luck, Rafal likes to drive fast.
  • Spend Sat, Sun, and part of Mon in Poprad.
  • Leave Poprad and visit project site on our way to Rushnava and have dinner that night with project holders.
  • Tues, Wed, and half of Thurs will be project holder meeting.
  • Friday morning, at 2am, we will travel to the airport so I can be there by 3am to check in....and my flight leaves at 5am.....and off across western Europe and the Atlantic I will go.
  • I will arrive in Little Rock around 4 or 5 pm on Friday....which will be between 11pm and midnight here....so that will only be a 21+ hour day. Yippee!

Ok, gotta run....much love to everyone. Kisses and hugs to Kale and his da-da...and mema-nana too. I am off to explore more of Poland!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

7am....and off to Poland

Well, I am up, showered, dressed, and mostly packed for my journey to Poland today. I would hope that all of you are in bed and sound asleep, thus no phone calls or such this morning (night). No matter how many times I travel over here, it still boggles my brain a bit that you have just gone to bed and started sleeping just before I wake up for the morning.
I am not sure what kind, if any, of internet access I will have for the next 36 hours...but I do expect to find internet access again when I get to Warsaw on Friday.

I hope everyone is doing well and got a good nights rest. I must go now....my love to all of you, especially to the Big Smackey who has become the Big Sleepy! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008







Just in case anyone is wondering....this is the one I miss the most...
sorry everyone else...he wins by a landslide!!!! :)




This is a walking street in Kezmarok, Slovakia.
I am staying around the corner and down the block from here.....




This is the window in my room, which must be open and my computer must be sitting on that ledge for me to get internet access, and even then I still sometimes lose my connection.

If I sit down in that chair and put the computer in my lap, the connection seems to literally fly away out the window! Oh, the joys of international travel! Otherwise, my room is fine.



Proof that it really is fall here....and the mountains in the distance have snow on them...I couldn't get a good picture of them because it was an overcast day and there was fog in the mountains, but I could still see the snow...

Arriving....

Oh wow...where should I begin? Let me say this part...I will give you more about where I am and what the city/country is like later....for the moment...this is all about me...sorry...but thats what you get with this post.
I finally got to Kosice, Slovakia last night and then we had to drive on a winding two lane road in the rain. It looked as though the leaves are turning, so I am sure it would have been a beautiful ride in the daylight. We stopped for dinner before all the places to eat could close (9pm) and it was a good dinner (penne pasta, bread, sauce). I was SO exhausted. We got to the hotel around 10pm and got checked in. I want to cuss myself everytime I have to carry my 49lb suitcase up stairs when I travel Ugh. The only hotel staff was a lady who didn't speak English, which wasn't a problem until my host left. Before my host left, she explained that the hotel did not have internet. However, she said that it was easy to pick up a signal from other wireless networks. I trusted her.
When I got to my room, I put down my bags and said goodbye to my host. I closed the door and immediately went for my computer. MUST HAVE INTERNET because with internet, I can literally call home from my computer...I can chat...email, etc. My first attempt was successful just long enough for me to get Ep on his phone and hear his voice. And then I went though an hour or so of just pure frustration. Did I mention that I had only slept 4 out of the last 36 hours. I was soooo determined to talk to Ep or chat online with my mom...and if I was really lucky, hear Kale's voice. So, for two hours, I tried to get a connection. In the middle of that time, I briefly gave up and tried to do anything that would help me relax enough to doze off to sleep. I get about 10 channes on the tv....only Eurosport (with little racing cars) is in English. I actually watched that for abou t 20 minutes before I had to stop. So I moved on to the movies I brought with me...and found out that my computer's DVD player suddenly doesn't want to work. GREAT! I decided to literally use the phone and call home. Its not usually cheap, but I needed something to help me chill out. Oh wait...I need the lady at the front desk to help me because none of the information in my room about the phone is in English. Oh wait...the lady at the front desk doens't speak English...and that was the end of that idea.
So back on the internat prowl I went.
I decided that maybe an open window might help....its 45 degrees outside...but I opened my window and quickly bundled up. Brrrr! BUT, I got my connection! YIPPEE! I was able to call and talk to Ep, mom, and Kale. And finally relax. I had taken some sleep medicine before calling them and after I got off the phone, I picked up my computer and literally wobbled to bed. :) Ahhh, finally, sleep. I just woke up a bit ago...I feel a little sleepy still, but ok. So, I am quickly adjusted. I will want a nap later today...and might indulge. It wouldn't be wise, but I would like to get some more sleep. I would call home, but calling home at 2:45am would probably scare them.
Ok, I think, after all my traveling...its finally time for a shower. I guess I better shut my window!

Send me messages!!!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Greetings from Amsterdam

Well, as the majority of you sleep, I just completely skipped breakfast and moved right on to lunch! My flights thus far have been great...on my flight to Detroit, they had to change my seat so and I ended up with a coveted exit row seat and had the row to myself. Great chance for a nap but I missed it because my brain was not slowing down. ugh. I got to Detroit in time to grab some fast food and get to my gate just in time for them to start boarding. I ate a 1/4lb cheeseburger in record time. As I waited in the never ending line to board, I squeezed in one last chat with Ep. Back in Little Rock, I had asked if any bulkhead seating was available...you can't reserve these seats online and I expected them to all be gone...but oh, the surprise! I got a bulkhead seat! Yippee! I managed to sleep for about 4.5 hours of the 7 hour flight...not bad! So, I am just rested enough to make sense, but still feel pretty tired.
For the moment, I am not focusing much on who I left behind...otherwise, the tears will flow. I will allow them to flow later...but not yet. Tomorrow, I will have the chance to adjust. All I can say now is that I awoke from my nap on the plane aching pretty bad for Kale...and there come the tears...so no more about that for now.
This is going to be a long 12 days....full of exploration (on many levels) and growth. More on that later...
To my fellas and my mom....miss you all terribly. Somebody give bubba pants a hug and kiss for me. Sorry I don't have time to send an individual email....I only bought 15 minutes...and only have 3 minutes left.....

I will do my best to call when I get there...only two more stops to go....

Friday, October 3, 2008

Finally Friday...

Ok, I admit it, I started my week with way too many things to accomplish without enough days to get it done. Yes, many of us are guilty of that every day of every week, but I was off the chart with it this week. As a result:

  • I am nowhere near packed for my trip....and am certain I will forget something I will need.
  • I have my passport in my possession, but only because my loving husband went to get it while running another errand (THANK YOU!). I guess he was worried I just wouldn't go get it and thus would not end up getting on the plane...hmmm...or maybe he just loves me enough to help me! :) Yep, thats probably it.
  • I have a MAJOR project at work that will not be completed before I leave. I will miss the deadline. Maybe nobody will notice. Seriously, its possible nobody will notice.

So, now for my BIG request of you (whoever reads this...I never know if anyone is reading this!).....send me some emails while I am gone. They are my lifeline to normalcy when I am overseas. They help me feel still feel connected to home. You can send them to chaoticfun@gmail.com because I never know if my work email is going to cooperate overseas (usually it does). Send me just the normal stuff...what is happening in your world....you know, the day to day stuff. Seriously. Please?

Ok, gotta get back to work....