Saturday, October 31, 2009

and the moving details are in...

This week we received some clarification on the when/where details of our relocation. We are headed to the only state in the US whose state flag is a pennant shape: This place is also home to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame:

Birthplace of the traffic light:




Also known as: "the Buckeye State."



Yep, we're headed to OHIO. Though we were told the stay in Massachusetts would be a year long, and initially felt dismayed at the thought of uprooting so soon, it feels increasingly good to move at this time. We are grateful for the opportunities Jerry will have working for a different division of his company.


We have just been told the exact start date for him in Ohio is scheduled for December 16th, which means we are moving out of Massachusetts shortly before that day, most likely about a week prior. Despite all the encouragement we got from you faithful readers over the prospects of flying with Little Tam, we have recently decided it is safer to brave the wintry roads than take a 5 week or so newborn into the germ factory of an airport during (H1N1) flu season. So a-driving we will go. Good thing I lived two winters in Canada and feel pretty secure about winter driving. The trick, I have found, is to just go exceedingly slow. And to stop driving for a bit if needing to wait out bad weather. So please don't worry too much about us, Grandma Ellie. =)


In other news, Little Tam is still appearing quite comfy and happy to stay in my belly. I am lovingly patient (but will start serious chats with him about coming out as soon as Halloween is safely out of birthing day range).


Happy Halloween, everybody.



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Boston Birth...Day

Hee hee...Sorry to have yet another tantalizing title line. It isn't Little Tam's birthday yet, but I had mine this week, so I figured it would be ok to call this a "birth" day post. In honor of our location, I chose a Boston Creme Pie to light up instead of a regular birthday cake, and it was a delicious indulgence. Still have most of it leftover sitting in the fridge calling my name...oh dear. Also, we went to Boston Bay Pizza for dinner to continue with the Bostonian theme. This restaurant gives a whole 12" gourmet pizza FREE to the birthday guest--no purchase necessary. We loved it. It struck us that dinner that night at Boston Pizza might be our last time to eat out without having to bring along Little or schedule a babysitter...crazy to contemplate. Big life changes on the way. But we are so excited of course. I have my 40 week app't. with the midwives tomorrow. This is a bit of a rambling post...guess I'll sign off now...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Little's First Costume

Conveniently I have a nice round belly this Halloween season. I figured it would be an easy choice for a costume. I put on a few vinyl cut outs stuck to a regular orange maternity shirt to make the face on my belly. This photo is from our church Halloween party last night: week 39 belly, jack o'lantern style, and we are calling it "Little's first costume," though if he comes in the next few days we might end up giving him a different one that he could actually wear in time for the holiday itself. We'll see.


There were so many fun costumes at the trunk 'r' treat, but I am trying to be judicious in using face photos of other people's kids...So sadly we will leave out most of the really interesting photos and just share a few car shots.
I loved the theme idea here--and that is one huge pot of candy. This sweet sister is getting baptized in just a couple weeks. Yay!

Here we have the humble trunk of the Tam Fam. We seriously underestimated the amount of children that would be at this activity, so our two bags of chocolate bars ran out quick--oops.
Anyway, this activity was one of the best I have ever attended, with a dj, dance party, plenty of games and good food, and a million neighbors and friends of other faiths who joined the "regulars" of the congregation.





Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waste not, want not

Since our condo is now officially on the market (the owner would prefer selling it to finding new leasees), we have started getting calls from the assigned realtors to schedule viewings. Yesterday morning after getting a request for a short-notice viewing later that day, I did a quick walk-through to determine how a stranger might perceive the place. What cleaning or re-arranging might be most useful at this last-minute stage? I asked myself. This lamp stood out to me during my walk-through. It was a bargain we purchased several months ago at the local thrift store, and at that time had a beautiful ceramic base--which promptly got broken through a mishap during the moving of our couch. As we Tams are not prone to waste anything that still has a semblance of useful life remaining, we found a way to make the base-less lamp keep functioning. It now sits on our bedroom dresser, balanced by a "cast" or splint of sorts made from taped pieces of cardboard, and a couple hand weights to keep it from tipping. Later we had to add string to balast the sides, so the whole contraption is currently quite a sight to behold.

I decided against dismantling it just to appease inspecting tenants or realtors. But I can imagine it might get a few raised eyebrows. Also, I am choosing to ignore the makeshift "curtain" we put over the window above the kitchen sink (duct taped washclothes hung by twine) and the cardboard box that functions as a wastebasket next to our bed. Instead, I will keep the counters wiped, the floors vacuumed, and the air smelling good, etc.--hoping that if the house is clean enough, our frugal decorating quirks can be overlooked.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A bit sooner than expected

We knew our move to Massachusetts would be less than permanent. However, due to the normal flux of the manufacturing business world, Jerry's next rotation has been expedited. While details are still in-process, it seems we will be settled in a new location by January 2010. Still pending on exactly when/where--though Jerry has interviewed successfully with a division that has talked about sending us to either Ohio or Georgia. Also, this past week we gave notice to our landlord that Dec. 16th is our final day. The lease is proving a bit worrisome because we are cancelling early, so we will all breathe easier when replacement renters are secured. Therefore, anybody in who lives in our area (you know who you are): feel free to pass along word to relevant parties that our most amazing condo is up for grabs. Email or talk to us for more info/pics. Thanks.

Oh, and if anybody has tips for flying/moving with a newborn...?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Leafpeepers

This past weekend we went on a Sunday afternoon drive along the Mohawk Trail (which I think is in the Berkshires?) and thanks to the expertise of our local buddies Roger and Nieca, we saw some beautiful color. Actually, Roger kept claiming last year was so much better...but since we newcomers didn't know any different, we thought this year was great! Some of the most interesting views happened when we ventured on a mystery little winding road coming home, but we didn't stop for pics on that road. So here are a few photos from the main highway stretch: I made Jerry wear that shirt so he would match the trees. He's such a good sport. He told me, "But your shirt doesn't match any trees." meh. Maternity wear gives me scant options...=)
This valley looked more clear in real life, of course. Coming from a desert upbringing, I am always so amazed at the density of the trees out here on the east coast.

Biker gangs. They have the right idea--it is so much easier to stop and gaze at the foliage when you don't have a big car to worry about parking somewhere.
Note the bare branches in the background. I suppose we were just a few days past peak at this particular area. Actually, the color is best right here in our neighborhood--no driving needed! lol. We are grateful to get to live in Mass. at this time of the year.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Heading into Columbus Day Weekend...

Ahoy, ahoy. Columbus Day is a public holiday in Mass. which is nice, so we are currently headed into a three-day weekend for Jerry. It was never a true "holiday" aka "day off" in the state where I grew up, though I do recall making construction paper ships of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria for it in elementary school. We are going to Connecticut again this weekend for our birth rehearsal. When we went there two weeks ago to meet with our doula and hypnobabies instructor, we took time to stop by the Mystic Seaport. Jerry shot the photo above at the Seaport's dock; I think it looks like a painting! I always love Jerry's photos. The Seaport is a recreated, "living museum" of a colonial coastal village.
It might be difficult to discern, but there is a fluffy white jelly fish scooting along by this dock. We were entertained by it for awhile, as well as delighting in the tiny silver fish that kept leaping out of the water. There were hundreds of them, whole schools that would rush by every few moments. The world of water intrigues me--I could stare at the ocean all day.

Belly shot on the boat. We were laughing about how I barely had room to squeeze between the helm and the navigator tool behind me.


And another horsie shot. It has become some kind of tradition that we take pics with all the horses we stumble across in our travels.



A fitting way to end our journey: lay anchor. This baby is HUGE! Maybe twice as tall as me? I should have stood next to it for scale.
The Seaport was relatively interesting, though it is probably a lot better during some of their special events. For instance, they have demonstrations of New Foundland dogs doing water rescues, antique car shows, seafood festivals, and murder-mystery games set up for families to enjoy. If we go again, or were recommending it to others, it seems best to plan a visit during a special event since the Seaport itself is just a museum (albeit a good one).




Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Science Experiments

videoWe visited the Springfield Science Museum recently. It felt like we were the only patrons there that afternoon, which meant we felt free to fully unleash our silly sides as we played with the exhibits. This video shows a special two-way mirror (?) which blends the facial features of both Jerry and me...giving a sneak preview of what our children will look like when they grow up!

Okay, so maybe our kids will look a little scary. Toward which end of the spectrum does this face lean--feminine or masculine?

Speaking of frights, Jerry was casually opening drawer after drawer in the children's room, finding collections of rocks, seashells, and other inanimate objects...when suddenly he leaped back with an involuntary, startled reaction.

These critters had "jumped" out at him, because somebody dislodged them from their pins. I was laughing so much. (maybe it was one of those times that ya just had to be there!)



The funhouse mirrors gave me an extra good belly shot. I'm in week 37 now, by the way! woo hoo!



This turtle was incredibly social, following us along the edge of his "river" and begging to be cuddled.




This turtle, on the other hand, did not move at all. He was actually dead. Gross?!





The water part also had cute mini habitats of various water systems in the world, like rainforests, coral reefs, and of course, our local New England Coast. Sorry the picture quality is a bit blurry--Jerry took all the photos and videos that day on his phone because we forgot our camera.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Renewed!

The conference center in Salt Lake City...estimated 21,000 members of the church gathered?

Last night for family home evening, Jerry and I shared our 179th Semi-Annual General Conference notes and insights with each other. General Conference is the twice-yearly occurrence in our church during which normal weekly Sabbath/sacramental services are suspended. During these conference weekends, people worldwide can view and listen to the living prophet and twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, as well as other church leaders. Millions of people who are not able to attend in-person at the conference center in Salt Lake City participate through television, internet, or satellite broadcast in more than 6,000 meetinghouses in 85 countries. This latest conference is being translated into 92 languages, with video and print archives available online. I look forward to continuing to review the messages over the coming months as I apply them into my life.


On Saturday, Jerry and I ended up staying home to experience the conference message online, while on Sunday we spent one session at home, and one session at the church building. I like both ways of watching conference, because I tend to get varying sorts of benefits with different locations. For example, at home I feel more free to change positions (especially helpful now that I am enormously pregnant), and I can get a snack or drink of water in between speakers--thus aiding my overall alertness. But at the church building, watching on "the big screen," I often feel moved by a sense of community and love among those gathered in the chapel. We unite in our dedication to hear God's word through living revelation, and I catch myself taking notes more frequently because each time someone near me jots a word or two, it makes me realize, "oh yeah--something noteworthy just got said!"

A few personal highlights:


  • Obviously as Jerry and I soon embark on the thrilling (and at times unnerving) responsibility of parenthood, we have sought direction from the ultimate source of knowlege in this area: our Heavenly Father. Elder Oaks' talk on Saturday reminded me, "there is no area more in need of--and more likely to receive--heavenly guidance [than raising children] because this is the work of eternity." I feel confident the Lord will help me be a successful wife and mother. God cares about families.

  • I have worked to practice positive thinking through self-hypnosis during this pregnancy. Through this process, I have grown to believe increasingly in my capacity to control my emotions. Sort of a "spirit rules the body" type of belief. President Boyd K. Packer's reference to this idea at Saturday afternoon's session thus resonated with what I have been learning lately. He said, "You can invent a 'delete' key in your mind [...] You can control your thoughts." I love that image--a "delete" key in my mind! I will incorporate that into my hypnosis practice, and even use it elsewhere in life to choose to feel happiness when circumstances might try to convince me to feel otherwise.

  • Sometimes I wonder if I am making much progress in my quest to live a Christlike life. Change comes slowly, and admittedly on occasion I slip backward. During Sunday afternoon's session, Elder Dale G. Renlund shared a metaphor relating the Christian's journey to obtain a mighty change of heart to a modern, medical heart transplant. In each case, the natural inclination of the body is to reject the new heart, and the process of conversion requires frequent assessment, maintenance, and early intervention if rejection does start to occur. Hearing this comparison made me recommit to the small but simple acts of maintenance I do on my spiritual heart--if I have been blessed enough to receive this new opportunity at life, I will follow "doctor's orders," keeping in mind, Christ is known as "the Great Physician." It is vital that I not only study and learn His gospel, but ACT on it! Or my heart will fail me, like a beneficiary of a heart transplant who fails to take his medicine after surgery. I could never throw away a gift made possible by the sacrifice of someone else's life.

I could wax on for another 10 pages...obviously I love conference! It feels great to have access to the words God wants me to hear at this time in my life. I encourage all to study these conference talks with a sincere heart (note the language link above)--I promise you will feel a deep sense of purpose and renewal in life. You will find answers unfolding to address any question, and will feel comfort to lighten any burden that comes your way.

Writer's Block

Usually the act of writing (or typing, as oft turns to be the case with me) frees up my mind to make sense of clamoring thoughts. Because it brings me comfort and satisfaction, I regularly journal, write letters, blog, and just overall tend to garner a sense of order from my writing hobby. However, the past week has found me with--albeit much thoughts--a hesitation to put my thoughts in tangible form. I have a blue sort of feeling that leaves me with a nagging doubt: no matter how I rearrange them, right now for some reason, letters do not have capacity to convey what I want them to.

So...even though I suspect the results will be shoddy, sometimes it is important to fling words out there just to do it. Breaking through the writer's block.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Insomnia

Counting Sheep, by Karen Aune:
As a child, I never had trouble staying up late at slumber parties, chatting with friends until the wee hours of morning. However, I concurrently remember the predictable loneliness of always being the first to wake. Amid sleeping bags strewn like caterpillars knocked out by insecticide, I would roll over feebly, the only survivor. My eyes would blink into the lightless room and wish desperately for the sun to rise so I could justify my growing alertness. 5 or 6am, no matter that we had finally laid to rest around 3am--my body just liked to rise early, I thought to myself back then.


WELL, here I am at 3:39 am and have done enough research since those childhood sleepovers to know that I have some type of tendency toward insomnia, a sleep disorder, not just a mere early-set internal clock. Sometimes if I have a full schedule the next day, I actively combat my insomniac brain. Other times, I am lucky enough to catch my husband being awake at the same time as me and we are alone together during our mid-night wakenings. He is not up with me this night. But for now, knowing I have nap time available the next day, I am enjoying the insomnia. Alone time is sometimes good for the introvert at heart. And besides, I know there are others in the world awake with me. I hear sounds of night-traffic outside my open living room windows. Don't worry; the blinds are drawn so I am still safely out of view from wanderers of dubious intentions. And Jerry set up our alarm system recently, so my sense of safety is higher marked still.


I feel cozy in the light of a cream colored lamp shade to my left. I have a belly warmed by both wriggling child and--in a different compartment of that belly--digesting pieces of buttered, strawberry spread toast. Since waking this night I have: done one session of self-hypnosis; studied a chapter of scripture; emailed a few friends; and now notice the slightly drooping eyelids that signify my body will perhaps cooperate with yet another attempt to sleep.


So I am signing off. Thank you for joining me.