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Archive for the ‘life changes’ Category

Back At the Beginning

I am back where I started and it is a good place to be.

My first job outside of college was at the church which grew me through my formative years and took me back in after my wayward college years. When I most needed a job, I found one in the music ministry. It was not a glamorous job by any means, but no other job I have ever held has equaled it for benefits.

The people I worked with in that ministry taught me what it was to walk with the Lord. They showed me what being an adult Christian looked like and I was blown away by the honest truth of it. I found myself again during that time. It laid me on a path from which I would occasionally stray, but that I would never abandon.

I was just a secretary, but in that job I found family and friends and love. They taught me how to live life well and love others and to do so with joy.

I have had jobs since then. Jobs where I did good, but which were mostly about me. Jobs that I loved and that loved me back, but they were still mostly about what I did and what I could do. I was great at being a librarian, but I allowed my pride to take a large role in my life during that time and it was not a pretty thing most days. Pride never is.

I have been given the opportunity again to do something meaningful. To work behind the scenes and serve. I have a new job. I am the Women’s Ministry Assistant at my church. Yes, I am a secretary ten hours a week, but do not let the title or the small hours deceive you. It is a job in which all my efforts work towards the end goal of loving and serving others. All those benefits and I will still have time to serve my family and write.

I have the blessing of working in the family that has already been loving and shepherding me for many years now. My job will free the time of others to spend more time in service, something all believers are called to do. Love and serve.

I am back where I started and it is a great place to be.

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I wanted to have this post up earlier, but it has been busy around here. We are all adjusting, recuperating, and learning our roles all over again. Everything is so markedly different than last time. In many ways, we are parents for the first time again, since we have never really had a newborn at home before. Washington’s name was not a sure thing until we got to the birth center. I made an executive decision. We has been waffling between two names. We liked Washington, which was a unique first name, but not a name that was so weird no one would have heard of it. Nathanael is one of Ries’ middle names.

I prayed, and so did a lot of other people, that we would have a normal birth with a healthy baby and the Lord was very good to all of us. After a short 8 hours, Washington made his arrival on March 21st, the first day of Spring. We got to the birth center just in time, around 5:15 am and he made his appearance by 6 am sharp! I plan on writing a longer post about the labor and birth, but no today. Washington was born in the tub because that is where I happened to be!

Washington was helped into the world by the two ladies that were there for Gideon’s birth, Jackie Griggs and Camilla May, two wonderful midwives that have been huge blessing to our family. Ries was, as always, an awesome coach. Daddy was happy his son waited until the last basketball game was over Sunday night to start making his arrival known.

While I was being tended to, Ries took Washington out to meet his big brother and his Gammy and Gampa. Gideon asked why Wash was not talking yet. We stayed at the birth center for a few hours.


Washington and I were both fine, great actually, so after a few hours of rest and lunch, we all headed home. Here is a picture of us with Jackie before we left.

After getting home, Washington was surrounded by grandparents.

Washington and Papa


Washington and Oma

Gideon wants to hold, kiss, snuggle, and poke Wash at every opportunity. I know this will only get worse/better. Gideon is enamored of his little brother and does not seem too disappointed that Wash does not play with him yet. Gideon seems to be taking the addition in stride. He is enjoying having his Daddy home and the full attention from Daddy he has been getting. His tune may change when he is home alone with Momma in a couple weeks.

Our first day home, Washington also had visits from Aunt Katy, Uncle Keith, Cousin Kaiden, Uncle Christopher, and Aunt Sydney. We handed out bottles of homebrew to visitors and Ries toasted with a glass as well.

As I said in the beginning of this post, we are learning about newborns all over again. It has been fun having this tiny thing here with us. He eats like a champ, a marathon sucker like his brother, who thinks eating every 30-40 minutes is life or death. Good thing I am already used to that kind of eater. My milk came in yesterday, so Wash has been happily filling his belly.

He looks very different from Gideon at this age. I am looking forward to seeing his little personality as he gets older.

We have been very blessed.

There are more pictures on my flickr page here.

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Farewell to Puck

Puck was a special Sugar Glider. We named him after the mischievous sprite from Shakespeare. We had his parents, Samson and Delilah, when he was born. He looked like a hairless little, long-tailed mouse then. I once saw him leap into his mother’s arms. So precious. The three of them were the first “kids” Ries and I had.

He was a sweet boy. He was small, like his mother. After Samson died, he was a solitary glider, but I do not think he minded so much. Our room is a lot quieter at night now, without him running around his cage. Puck traveled in his life. He visited Ohio and went camping once. He loved baby food bananas and squash. He adored cantaloupe and meal worms. He rode on Pullo’s back once, which Pullo was not too fond of and he put up with Wicket’s puppy curiosity with patience.

Last year, he had necrotic spots on his ears and tail. We had them removed and he has been fine since. The vet, an exotic specialist, said he was the gentlest and oldest sugar glider she had ever seen.

Puck would have been 12 years old in March. He lived 11 years and died in his bed of old age. We will bury him beside his parents in the backyard.

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IMG_4700

Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

Meet the newest addition to the Smith Zoo, Wicket, an 8 week old Great Dane. We got her from a local dane rescue group.

So far she is fitting in very nicely. She has some manners to learn and we are working on house training but she is a sweet girl. Gideon is very timid with her, as he is with most smaller dogs, and trying to figure out how to tell her no.

Pullo likes her, though he pretends to be aloof. He needed a big dog friend and she is already very feisty with him.

I am looking forward to being past the puppy stage, which is cute, but a lot of extra work.

Updated: I should add that the name Wicket comes from me listening to too much Slice of SciFi which discussed this character recently in a trivia bit.

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This picture features Gideon in his new Big Boy Boxer Briefs with a green Skittle in his mouth. That’s right folks. No more diapers!

We spent last week in Potty Training Bootcamp. We basically used the Three Day Potty training method which involves a lot of nakedness and who does not love a little naked toddler running around the house?

Here is our experience with this method.

Overall, it worked great. I say worked because after 1 week, Gideon is potty trained. No more diapers (except at night) and he is now wearing real underwear!

You spend three days giving your child lots of water and juice to increase urination and then whisking them to the potty when they start to go. We also asked Gideon often if he had to go to the potty.

With a couple of exceptions, you are mostly homebound for three days. We used a combination of praise and Skitttles. The first day was very successful because both Ries and I were home to keep an eye on him. The second day, Gideon had two accidents and it happened both times because I turned my back for a second. They say you have to watch them like a hawk and you really do. You literally can do nothing but pay very close attention to your kid for three days. It was the worst thing about this method. I was exhausted by the end of the day, even after taking a nap with Gideon.

We started on Tuesday and by Friday, Gideon was telling us when he needed to go, holding it during errands out of the house, and waking dry from naps. I still need to ask him often if he has to go potty, just so he thinks about it. I heard that kids will often say no when they mean yes, but Gideon says yes when he does have to go.

Gideon is doing great. He does have an accident every once in awhile, but he goes whole days without an accident. He even did pretty well during church yesterday, though he was out of his normal environment. If you have been dreading potty training or are sick of diapers, I highly recommend this method.

Hallelujah, no more diapers!

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Constellation is Dead!

In case you haven’t heard yet, today President Obama released his fiscal year 2011 budget proposal.  In this proposal he calls for a cancellation of the NASA Constallation program.  For those not familiar, that includes the Orion crew vehicle, the Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles, and the Altair lunar lander.  Altair hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet and Ares I has been under scrutiny from the beginning.  Orion is the program that I work on.  I left my job in engineering support for Johnson Space Center to come back to Lockheed Martin because I wanted to get in on the ground floor of the new program.  The Shuttle was going to be retired, that was sure.  The US had to have something and Orion was the only current plan (it still is) so I thought fairly certain that it would not get cancelled like so many NASA vehicles before it (Venture Star, Crew Return Vehicle, …).

Well, it looks like that day may have come and I am not sure what future lies for my career.  This is only the proposal and it has to make it through congress, which has stated in the past that it has a different view point.  So, we will see how this drama plays out.  Of course, we are still getting the “heads down, eyes forward” speeches from upper management, but what else can they say.

–Ries, have you seen my resume?

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IMG_1282

Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

When we went for our check-up in December, we walked by Pod C, where Gideon was when he was the most sick. It made my heart flutter to look at him, so big, and remember him small and hooked up to the ECMO machine. Here are my boys, almost two years later.

Sometimes, I can not believe what a gift we have been given. I know that God has plans for our family and we never forget why we have each day.

Every day is a gift from God.

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