Monday, July 27, 2009

The Princess and Her Court

Here's the princess:

And here are some pictures of her favorite people:

Main man: her big bro (who fell asleep at his Grammy's kitchen table with a ring pop in his mouth...all I could think of is "I Love My Nuki")

Her friend Hazel, who is 3 weeks older. Here's Hazel giving June advice for how to weather her 2 month doctor's visit next week. (Hazel's dad and Michael work together)

Here is Auntie Audrey holding her brother Joel (1 week younger than June) and June. She is the oldest of the 5 Wilkinson children and one of the only people that Owen lets "boss" him around. Thanks Addie for all your help with Owen at church and on play dates!

June meeting Ian Rose and comparing birth stories. "You were delivered by your dad on the way to the hospital? Man, I just came out backwards."

Here's are the rest of the Arnolds and Roses at the zoo this week. We hadn't seen the Roses since they moved to New York at Thanksgiving. It was a quick, but great visit.

Katie got called on to help with the show. She was so brave!

Goofy picture that reminds me that child photography is worth every penny because getting these goobers to really smile is an art. ;)

Whew! Finally caught up on pics! Now off to pack. WE'RE PACKING THE TRUCK IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Earthly Treasures (aka: "Oh, that bear?")

Our first big trip since June's birth...back to the homeland.

Here we are, Texas bound.

I'll ignore June's face that says, "Mom, wanna put on some makeup? You're about to see your mother!"

Jet lag...what a beating. The nice part about Texas being only 2 hours difference is that we usually stay on our CA schedule. Owen wakes up at 8:30 instead of 6:30 and goes to bed at 9:30 instead of 7:30. So, here we are, back in Fresno.

For all who've been wondering and praying: our trip was good. We did get the Apartment Life position, so now we are awaiting placement in an apartment. Michael declined one of the jobs he applied and interviewed for because they did not include the hours in the job posting. He would have had to work Sat and Sun from 7 am to 7 pm each week AND do 2 overnights a week (from 7 pm to 7 am). He made the call that it would be too disruptive to our family and church time to have such an odd schedule. I agreed and wonder whose body could switch from nights to days each week.

So, we're hoping he'll get some more call backs from the other places he applied. He'll continue to apply this week to other leads he received from friends while we were at home.

Owen and June did well, but on the return trip (2 flights and the drive back to Fresno from LAX), Owen started the "are we there yet mantra?" around Magic Mountain (no it's not really Magic; it's just how we know we are entering/leaving LA traffic). The last 2 hours were a test of his patience, but I thought that was pretty good considering we spent about 1.5 hours at Delta baggage claim trying to work out how to get Spooky Bear back to Fresno.

Security blanket

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"A security blanket is any familiar object whose presence provides comfort or security to its owner, such as the literal blankets often favored by small children." AND THEIR MOTHERS!

Yes, we left SB on the plane in Salt Lake City. I thought I was doing so well to help Owen keep up with these little Star Wars guys my mom gave him (c3po and r2d2) that I didn't notice that Spooky went under the seat after some cuddle time. Then on the plane from Salt Lake to LA, he got really sleepy and asked for the bear. It immediately hit me where he was, but I continued to look in every bag like the lady trying to find her lost coin. By the time I looked up to tell Owen (holding back tears), he had fallen asleep in his seat. Thank God for small mercies. Then, I started crying. Michael was listening to his iPod and holding a sleeping June when he looked over to find my tear-streaked face. Needless to say, he was confused.

The gate agent in LA was so helpful. He called both cities the plane had been in since we left (Salt Lake and San Jose), navigating the Delta system much better than I could have, and he finally located him.

He told me to call Salt Lake's baggage services to claim Spooky. We went down to LA's baggage services to get the number. In the meantime, Owen had not gone to the restroom since leaving the house in Dallas (6 am CST) and it was 2 pm CST. And he still was being stubborn. Michael "tricked" him into playing tag all the way to the restroom. After finishing their business, they ran back. Upon arriving to the baggage claim office, Owen immediately threw up all over one of our bags while I'm on hold in Salt Lake for 20 minutes.

Not a long distance runner on our hands. We cleaned up, and Owen immediately started playing again. Michael and I soldiered on to wrap up our phone call and then ride the shuttle back to our car. This whole time, I had managed not to let Owen be aware of what we were actually looking for.

On the drive back to Fresno Owen finally asked for him as he was getting sleepy again. The dreaded moment where I admit my failings and say he was lost...but Michael jumped in and creatively told Owen that Spooky decided to extend his vacation and catch up with us in a few days in Fresno. Owen was amused to think of Spooky flying by himself on his own trip instead of crying thinking about him being lost alone on a plane. Same thing: bear alone on a plane, but I guess it's all in how you frame it. The question is: were we trying to save him some anguish or ourselves? Both, right?

I remember when our friend Mary was distraught for DAYS over the disappearance of Luke's "Duck". I never mocked her (I mean, my blankie is sitting in my chest of drawers right now...30 years later), but I did not understand the depth of guilt she was feeling. Now I do (and Duck was found later, so Mary AND Luke recovered fully).

I finally talked to the Salt Lake baggage claim office, and the lady said, "Oh, that orange bear? We have him. We were just making fun of that guy." OUCH. If she only could empathize.

Spooky is set to arrive FedEx tomorrow. I seriously will not forgive myself if I have lost that bear for good, so I'll be a little off until he arrives on the door step. Makes me wonder who is more attached...

One More Question...

Of all the tricks to extend bedtime, Owen does employ the "I have one last question" bit often. Tonight, he emerges after 20 minutes of radio silence to announce his "last question".

"Yes, son?"

"I have one last question: I have not given all my love to my June yet." Pause. "And I have a lot of love to give."

Aw, come on! It wasn't a question, but, man, that made up for a long, long day with the O-man. And he got to stay up for 3 more minutes (we're such suckers)!

The object of his affection:

Monday, July 13, 2009

4 months later...

4 months after my blog vomit, look how God is tying things up for me in the questions department:

*Are y'all going to be in Fresno next year? No. We are moving back to the D/FW area mid-August. Michael's internship is done, and I've resigned from my teaching position here.

*How many job prospects does Michael have in Fort Worth? He's applied for many and has 3 interviews this week.

*Will you be teaching next fall? The time to accept a job is getting smaller...this is a big step of faith for us that God will provide an income for our family without me teaching full-time. I am planning on only teaching Owen and June this fall, so until I am shown otherwise, no.

*If you do, who will watch the baby? And Owen? Crossing that bridge if we need to come to it later.

*If you move, when will you be moving?
Last date in our Fresno apartment is Aug. 16th...then the cross-country drive. We actually don't know WHERE we will be moving yet. Hopefully, that will emerge this week when we are in town.

*If you don't work, how will you afford to stay home if Michael is just starting out? Prayer and perhaps 2 jobs at once for Michael. Older friends will remember my teaching/tutoring/PartyLite days if they begin to feel sorry for Michael. He can do it.

*How much will those student loans be when he's done? Let's just say those payments will be a monthly feature in our lives for years to come. And I praise God for them because they made Michael's vocation possible.

*Really, you still have the red truck...selling it anytime soon? No sale'll have to fight your temptation to covet once again! Ha! In fact, it's getting some repair work done today in preparation for another year of service. My heart is longing for bigger vehicle, but nostalgia and finances say "it's an oldie, but a goodie." Pray "travel mercies" over it as we come home.

*What date will Michael be defending his dissertation? Hey, it's done!!!! It's receiving its final edit before printing this week, in fact. Then it can make itself useful by propping up a wobbly kitchen table or sit on a shelf as a reminder of our journey. ;)

*Will you be going to his graduation June 13th if the baby is due June 9th? Isn't God faithful down to the details. June was born June 2nd, so we got to go (you saw pics, right?).

*What if Michael doesn't pass his licensure exam this summer? Turns out, he has a year to do it and can work under a provisional license. This is a HUGE burden lifted. Now, he just has to study and prepare (in his spare time, right). With family closer to us, it should be easier to have set aside some time to study without Owen and I feeling all alone on the weekend.

*What are you doing for Owen's birthday April 8th? Wow, I was really worried when I wrote this, wasn't I? We had some families from church over (SUPER low key) and went to Disneyland a month later.

*When will you be posting pictures of Owen on your blog next? This question is a constant from the family. But since they'll be seeing Owen on our visit to Fort Worth this week, I'll be posting pictures for the Fresno folks who might(?) be missing us.

*When will be your last day of work before taking maternity leave? I took off 4 weeks before June's due date (hoping that the lack of teenager stressors would help turn the baby out of a breech position). That didn't work but 3 weeks later, she came. I am thankful for every spare minute I had to relax before blooming into a family of 4.

*What will you name the baby? June Lightfoot Arnold.

*Is it a boy or a girl? One benefit of a breech baby: you find out the gender quickly and then can push some more with that new tidbit to tide you over until you hold your baby. "It's a girl! And if you want to see her, you better keep pushing." LOL.

So, have I learned my lesson? Well, I have a new list of questions, but I'm trying to do better about giving them over to the One who has sustained us so far.

Thank you, blog friends, for lifting us up the past few months. When I've been a doubter, worrier, and full of anxieties, you've reminded me to let go. That being said, a big week coming up for us as we interview for a position with "Apartment Life" ministries and Michael interviews for counseling positions.

AND, most importantly, June's first time in Texas. A big hair bow is probably waiting at the airport with her name on it already. :)

As the Master Oogway says in Kung-Fu Panda "The past is history, the future is a mystery, and today is a gift...that's why they call it the present." So, I'm off to enjoy it (and remind myself to limit my viewing of full-length animated films).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Catching up on Family Pictures

Quick update: doing better with the whole 2 kids thing. Thanks for all your support!

June sends greetings!

Our good buddy Joe came to Fresno for a day (next time longer, eh?). Michael and Joe had a man-date to see Transformers 2 and get some bromance hours before we move back to Texas. But we also know he wanted to see his little "niece".

June and Joe...

Remember Owen and Joe? Remember our old plaid couch? I miss Joe (and the couch).
Here's June in her first ruffle britches. (I think it's so funny how all the girls' clothes have ruffles on the rear. She appears concerned.)

She has a tendency to look serious, just like Owen, with her expressive eyebrows.

But she's starting to smile at Owen. (and he LOVES it!)

Out and about at the park on Michael's lunch break. Owen and I are conflicting on our sports loyalties...he's got his Fresno Grizzlies on and I'm sporting the Cowboys. June has the "ragdoll" neck. I always feel badly about that, but I guess she's relaxed, no?

Owen with his "stank-face" playing Guitar Hero. He's mastered the green button. There should be a name for that level.

Forgot this pic of June and Bert. He's a mush for babies.

Oh, I forgot last time:
Here's Owen at the Dodger's game. Oh, Michael and I look so young! (Especially compared to our most recent pics at the Grizzlies' game)

One Year in Fresno

The July 4th weekend reminded us that we had spent a full year in Fresno. We went to the Fresno Grizzlies (AAA team for the Giants) on July 5th, exactly like we did last year (comparison pics to follow). On the way home, Michael and I were commenting on what a difference a year makes. Last year we were a family of 3 just arriving in town. This year, a family of 4 preparing to leave town. Who knows what the Lord has prepared for us this next year? But for now, we enjoy each day.

Pregame cuddles (June is like "enough, dude!")

Our seats at Chukchansi Park

Zoned out in '08

Zoned Out in '09
Meeting Parker in '08

Reunited in '09

Our friends Rae and Bert came to town from LA for the weekend. After a batch of homemade ice cream, we hit the park.

Bert doing his "Weekend at Bernie's" impression. Come to think of it, June is doing her's too in the sling.

Auntie of the only people Owen does not practice "out of sight, out of mind" with...he asks about her and Bert often when we don't see them

Bert and Michael taking a break from movie trivia and impressions to smile for the camera. June is bored with it, but they really are pretty good.
This was Bert's first baseball game in 30 years!!!!! (is that un-American??) Too bad the Grizzlies lost.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Aah, humility...

Our friend and pastor Matt was kind enough to send me a Facebook message asking how I was doing adjusting from working outside the home to life at home with a 4 year old and a newborn.

When I first read the message earlier in the week, I thought "well, I am a stay-at-home mom every summer, so this is not TOTALLY new to me", but I hadn't replied yet because I was busy with my parents being here.

Today, after they returned back to Texas and I was alone with a napless Owen and appropriately needy baby June, I thought "Lord, you didn't need to humble me so quickly!" It was brutal, and I left this pathetic "COME HOME NOW" message on Michael's voicemail at work.

So, to answer his question, I'll be trying to find a rhythm for the next couple of weeks. Since I'm guessing he's not the only one who's been concerned on my behalf, I'm putting it out there:

Amusing stories to let me know that I'm not alone?

Make me laugh so I don't cry, please.