Wednesday, August 31, 2016

10 Tips for doing a Drive Move with a Baby

1. KISS: Keep it simple silly. Eliminate (pack) everything you don't need. Make a list of what you need with a dear "why" sentence. We brought two bottles, one sippy cup, two bibs and a handful of spoons from the kitchen. The packers filled two boxes of baby stuff from the kitchen. One went to a shelter and the other with us. One blanket, one stuffy, and a handful of diapers, and all nine-month onesies. They packed everything else. He got one shoe box of toys in the car. Diapers can be bought clothes washed, and the trip provides entertainment.

2. Plan well. We planned a stop for every hour of the journey. We did not take them all because the baby was still asleep. The more research before and during, the less stressful it will be.

3. Call hotels directly. Skipping the cheap hotel sites may raise the price a little, but it ensures that you have a crib in the room upon arrival. Even if you do book through a third party, call them to double check that they know you need a crib. Remember, be courteous.

4. Keep the little routines. Make new ones if you have to. We took a favorite stuffed animal, and we watched "his show" (Power Puff Girls) before bed each night. The routine helped him and us. (More on tv and babies later.)

5. Sit with the infant. Sit in the back, you and the driver can still talk, but the baby is stuck looking at the back of a seat with limited communication abilities. It wasn't a hardship at all to sit in the back. We had planned several get out and stretch stops so that I could take pictures of the scenery.

6. Don't worry about the little things. Everyone said, "pack extra onesies!" I did. I didn't use any. I was lucky; he didn't have any blowouts. On the other hand, I did not feel the need to change his outfit when he got some green beans on it If the baby isn't complaining, and he isn't allergic, have him in the dirty clothes until you get to the hotel. This is not true if the mess is huge, or harmful.


7. Plan meals for flexibility. Several times we used mall food courts. The hours are good, and there was variety. Also, some had play spaces for the baby, while others let us stretch our legs and walk.

8. Set shorter drive days. It will take longer and cost more but vastly reduce the stress involved. Our longest day was six hours; most were four. Remember, your extra breaks will eat up time too, so the days may still be long.

9. Let the "standard" go. Keep routines that you need, but be willing to change it up. Henry got a bowl of mashed potatoes because that restaurant didn't have fruit. It may not have been the "perfect mom" thing to do, but it allowed us a relaxing lunch and provided him with a treat.

10. Treat it like a vacation! You may have to move for work or because of a change in your life, but the journey is not the destination. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip. We knew our finances were tightening, but we found fun places to eat and cheap things to do.

Monday, August 29, 2016

An Overdue Update

Last family photo from Texas
A lot has happened this summer. We moved from Texas to the Midwest. Robert is settling in at a new school. Will is too. Henry and I are getting into a new routine. Life is settling back down to a new normal.

During the move, my mouth began acting up. So, I recently had my first root canal and all my wisdom teeth pulled. Luckily, that seems to be my only current health issues, but it does bring me up to three surgeries for the year. I am praying that I am done for now.

Hopefully, I can also get back to blogging on a regular basis. Several posts are in the works.

Robert's football season is starting, he made both JV and Varsity. I hope to share quite a few pictures from games. Right now it looks like we can make most of them. Art Splash and Reverence are also both coming up. I hope we can go. Also, I have been reading an interesting book that should prompt a couple of essays. Also, some exciting new arrangements for some of my settings in my stories. Those, articles and stories, should begin to appear on my blog.

With more people under one roof, there is more conflict to resolve. Conflict is always a source of writing inspiration. But, I don't like sharing the details so this would result in poetry to post.

A lot has been happening and will continue to happen. Hopefully, I can escape from reality to share it with you and use the blog to help me grok it all.

Monday, July 4, 2016

An Aunt's Visit

My sister, Henry's Aunt, came to visit for a day or so. We went out to eat, and took Henry to the pool for the first time. Of course, we got pictures too. Henry still gets most of his nutrients from formula, but when he sits at the table while we eat he gets a teething cracker, a mesh binkie filled with some fruit or vegetables, and some very watered down thing to drink.

This picture is breakfast at IHop. He's got a blueberry purple carrot cracker, some honey dew in his binkie, and about one and a half ounces of orange juice in an eight ounce bottle, with the rest being water to water it down. His onsie says "I'm just being awesome like auntie." It's very true.

After the breakfast we went home so Henry could have a nap. Will went to the game store, and after Henry woke up and ate Gwen, Henry, and I went to Gwen's hotel to swim for a little bit. Before we could go swimming we had to put on sun screen of course. Henry was very concerned and confused about several things. The biggest was the sun screen. I covered him very well, and his shirt has SPF as well. Technically the shirt is for an eighteen month old, but we didn't want him to burn.

When we first got into the water he was a little nervous and didn't want to get into the floaty that we blew up. I held him, and swirled him around in the water. We splashed and played until he was laughing. Then we tried putting him into the floaty. This time he was ok with it, but was unhappy that he couldn't splash the water with us.

We only stayed out for about half an hour, because we didn't want to burn or over tire Henry. Yes, we all had sun screen on, but we didn't want to push it. Since Robert took the rugged camera off to Philmont, we didn't have the good waterproof camera, but Gwen was nice enough to get some pictures with her phone and share them with Mom and me.


Over all, it was a successful first time in the water for him. Will and I plan to take him to the pool on post on Thursday. There probably will not be pictures from that, but I'm hoping that Henry continues to enjoy the pool, and I would love to find some Mommy and me classes at our next location.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Traditions

An apple pie, a hot dog. These are things
That used to symbolize America,
A place that always... It together brings
A varied lot, without replica.

A give and take of culture made us - us.
But more and more we pull and twist the place
To limit new, disallow old. We fuss
When "others" enter what is our home base.

We went from melting pot to salad bowl
And now each dish must never touch it's mates
A state against American Soul.
Let's go and add more cultures on our plates.

Let's mix and mash. Who cares who cooked what? Blends
Of flavor are the only upward trends.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June-July Update

At the beginning of June I said I wanted to write fifteen blog posts, five thousand words on my WiP, and ten poetic pieces. Now it is the end of June, so I am holding myself accountable.

Writing Accountability

Including this post I posted eleven. That's not bad considering how busy this month is. For July I'm aiming for 13 posts. Hopefully, I can get there. It will also be a busy month with some hurry up and wait involved.

I wanted to write ten poems, but I only managed to write three. I posted all of them. Next month I'd like to try to write six poems, and only post three.

My WiP started the month at zero words. Now, I am at 9,347 words. So, while I did not make my goal in other areas I did make my goal in this one. I almost doubled it. However, I'm no where near my goal for the whole piece.  That number is 150,000, because then I can edit and cut without having to worry about losing a novel length. I might even end up with two separate stories. For July I'm keeping my goal at five thousand, because I want to try to meet my blogging and poetry goals as well.

Family 

Rober is camping at Philmont Scout ranch. He won't be home for at least a week yet. Then he unpacks, washes things, and packs them right back up to go stay with my mom. He won't be around much, but hopefully he will bring me back some beautiful stories and pictures to share with you.
Robert is off

Henry is doing great. He has his fussy days, and he is definitely doing less sleeping during naps. However, he still uses the time to play quietly and recharge until it's time for his next meal. He has been "eating" teething crackers and using a mesh binkie for awhile now. So he is progressing toward solid foods. I have a meeting with WiC this month. Hopefully I will be able to post about that then.

Will is almost done with work. He has a few more days before he can home home and wear what he wants while he helps me get the house ready to move.

Overall, we have progressed along the time line, but we are still in limbo. We are now waiting for the moving company to contact us. We will continue to speak with the offices until we have a final date. We have also spoken with the rental company and they know what is going on as well. They did say that we could push the date back if we need to without penalty because we have orders.

In Case You Missed It... 

I talked about what I need to turn a house into a home. Since we are moving, this is even more important. The other one of my favorites is about our Summer read, Frankenstein. There wasn't a whole lot of stand out posts this month.

Forthcoming

I will continue to write about our adventures in moving. I also hope I can post something from Robert's trip. In addition, there will be some posts about Frankenstein. Independence Day is this month, so hopefully I can post some fireworks pictures. That post should also contain Henry's reaction to fireworks. And of course those three poems, and an update at the end of the month.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Obsessed with Frankenstein

This summer the family is reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I tried to persuade them that we could skip this year because we are so busy, but they were having none of it. I've never read Frankenstein, so this is a whole new book for me. So far, I have read the letters and am on chapter five. Victor Frankenstein created the monster. However, at this point in the story, I am taking away that the real monster is Obsession. Both narrators thus far, the letter writer and Victor Frankenstein, have their obsessions. The passions seem very different on the surface of things, but in reality are the same.

Robert Walton, the letter writer, and the man recording Frankenstein's words is obsessed with adventure and exploration on the high seas. He lives an acceptable childhood but is disappointed when not allowed to pursue his dreams. Eventually, he makes them happen, but in a letter to his sister before embarking he wishes that he had a companion with a similar mind along.

Victor Frankenstein is obsessed with returning or creating life from death. He too had a decent childhood, but his mother died. Frankenstein goes to school and learns that most of his previously favorite authors have been disproved and are now ridiculed. He has to start his studies again. This time, achieving what he wanted.

Adventure on the high seas and the horror of life from death sound very different on the surface, just to genres in the library. But what Robert and Victor's desire is the same thing. Glory. Robert writes to his sister about the possibility of finding a new passage, or the "secret of the magnet." (I think that sounds like a Nancy Drew novel.) He goes on about how awesome it would be if he could bring that back. Frankenstein, to Walton, says "what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame... " (page 34).

So, the real antagonist so far is not the monster, but the obsession that each of them feels.

Another aspect of the novel, versus the well-known movies, is how Victor Frankenstein brings his creatures to life and his reaction afterward. The movies always portray a stormy night and a big contraption to capture the lightning to jump start the body on. However, from the description in the book I picture a tiny attic garret, stuffed with equipment and possibly Dr. Frankenstein (who may not be a doctor in the book) doing both science and something arcane to achieve his goal.

Also, the mad scientist is overjoyed in the movies and often cackles amidst the thunderstorm. In the book, he is excited until his creation works, and then he panics and has a nervous breakdown. His obsession had kept him going, but once achieved he fell apart.

It's a good book and keeping me interested. When I finish, I know that I will need to skim it again for quotes and essays to write. I also see several reflections of Frankenstein in pop-culture where I had not before. The only the comparison I can draw of the apparent discrepancies between Shelley's Frankenstein and that of the silver screen are those of Burroughs' Tarzan vs. Weissmuller's Tarzan. (For the record, I'll take Burroughs).

As I start chapter five, I do have one major question: What did the monster do all winter, while his creator was recovering? I guess I better go read to find out.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

And He's Off...

Robert is heading to Philmont Scout Ranch, and we dropped him off yesterday. He has a long drive ahead of him. Then he has a lot of hiking. The route they are going is a minimum of eighty-four miles in ten days. More if they want to go see things or do things, or if they get lost.  He had a lot of packing up to do to make sure that he had just what he needed and no more.

He then had to cut down from there. However, he has lots of ways to carry water. He has a camel-back from his aunt. That's the blue straw you see sticking out of his back pack. He had to take the bladder out in order to cut down on weight for the trip, but it seems to be working for him. He also has a nalgene bottle from his grandparents. That's in the army green case on his right. Both the army case, and the second nalgene bottle are part of his extra money he got to blow at MCSS for Will getting out. (He was very smart, and chose all things that would be useful either on this trip, or in the long run).

He has several other gifts in his pack that you can't see from both sides of the family.


This is the whole group that is going to Philmont. They have several boys going as well as several parents. Yes, even one mother is going. She already has the "no-stop" thing down, she's a go-gettem soldier.



They left taking two trucks and a minivan on the drive through West Texas to New Mexico. The drive is about ten hours, and they drove all of that yesterday, but it's the last day they get to sit down for more than a week.

Henry is already missing Robert. We grabbed a family photo before they left, and I intend to get another picture of us when he gets back. Even if he is stinky.

Mr. T, one of the regular Philmont Trek leaders from the troop says that the boys come back changed. So this is the last photo of Robert pre-trip that you'll see.

He has a camera and was told to take lots of pictures. He also has three fully charged batteries, and an empty SD card that is large. Yes, the camera is a rugged one designed to survive this type of thing. Hopefully, I'll be able to share some of his pictures when they get back.