Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another run-down of recent events

  • Emma squeals, brings her hands together, smiles A LOT, rolled over 3 times in a row (only one night, though), has outgrown all of her 0-3 month clothes, has fat legs now, is only taking 3 naps a day, is sleeping through the night from 8/9-ish at night to 7/8-ish in the morning, and she loves to be held, talked to, and played with.
  • We have finished school for the 2008/2009 year, except for a few books(novel types) we're still reading. We'll start back up pretty quickly as we'll be taking a long vacation this summer, and we'll continue with Math and English throughout the summer.
  • I took the kids strawberry picking last night. Since Karl is gone right now I left Emma with the babysitter. We met some friends at a local farm and had a great time. We came home with a flat and a half....$30 worth of the best berries I have ever eaten! I froze most of them today, but we did keep some just to eat. We had them with every meal today. ;) I think we may have to go at least one more time before the season is over. We also stayed afterwards to enjoy some of their yummy strawberry shortcake and pet their goats.
  • I've begun working with Corbin on reading 2 and 3 letter words. He is somewhat familiar with the letter sounds but is not very confident yet. It will take some time but he is on his way. I feel sure he will gain confidence as we work more together.
  • Logan has been writing on his blog fairly regularly, a series of stories....about Bionicles of course. Please check it out. I am pretty proud of our boy. :)
  • Hailey had her first piano recital a couple of weeks ago. She was the first student to play, and did her first piece perfectly. She did make a couple of mistakes on her second one but got back on track quickly. Everyone there did a great job, and I believe Hailey was proud of herself. I know we are very proud of her for being so brave and for doing so well.
  • The kids will complete their baseball season on Friday. They have all had a great time and have learned a little bit about the game. It's been fun to be there each week, watching them play and talking to other parents about various things. I'm glad we decided to do it again this year. Once Emma is old enough to play (5) we will have a child in each 'league' and will spend our time traipsing back and forth across the entire park, which is made up of about 15 fields I think! LOL

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Crown "Royale"

A couple of weeks ago I had to go to the dentist to have a crown placed on one of my molars, and I have to do another on the other side in August. I have to tell you, I have been dreading this event since I first learned it needed to be done when we were still in Florida...it was a "you're going to eventually need a crown there" kind of thing. The reason I have been dreading it is because I've had one done (in FL) and it was very unpleasant. I could still feel the grinding and it HURT. They gave me Novocaine but it did not work very well. So, I was extremely nervous about this second one...and the third still to come. SO much so that my hands were shaking and I thought I was going to be sick by the time I sat down in the chair. You would think after having two babies with no pain medication I could take dental work without a second thought. Not so, as it's a different kind of pain and I guess not such a wonderful reward at the end...though I do value having healthy teeth, of course. ;) As the doctor came in he asked me how I was doing. After a less than enthusiastic response (I'm sure he deals with that quite often from his patients) he assured me that he would do everything possible not to cause me pain and told me to let him know if at any time I felt pain. As he and his assistant began to work I could feel that my body was very tense. I kept expecting to feel pain and I couldn't relax. After a bit my elbow began to hurt, I guess just from lying still and putting pressure on it from the way I was positioned. The dentist saw me moving it around and guessed my problem, so he got a pillow for my arm. Later, still pain-free in my mouth, he saw me moving my head. The back of my head was getting sore from pressure as well....it's strange but I guess I don't lie still on firm surfaces; not really something I would think would be a problem. Anyway, they then got me a pillow for my head. Such great service! ;) In the midst of this I was thinking about various things, expecting at any moment to feel like I had before...I kept wondering if they were almost done, etc. Eventually, I began to relax and started thinking about how I would blog about this...the 'royal' treatment, the lack of pain, the kindness of both the dentist and his assistant. After about two hours we were finished....I made it through the entire thing with no pain at all and I am so thankful! What a difference there is when pain medications work and things can get done that need to be done with as little discomfort as possible....

I came home and went about my day as usual. The only thing I really had to deal with was a numb face for a few hours, and a little soreness in my jaw and in the tooth they worked on. About 6 p.m. I was sitting feeding Emma when the phone rang. Who could it be? Usually Karl calls once he's leaving work so I assumed it would be him. However, it was a number I did not recognize. I answered to hear my dentist, him personally not a receptionist, asking me how I was doing! He just wanted to call to make sure everything was fine and that I wasn't feeling any unusual pain. I think I was in shock for a while. I have never had such personal service from any provider once I've left their office and I am very impressed with the care I received. Karl and I joked later that I better receive high quality, personal service because of how expensive they are...but seriously, it was really nice. I am no longer dreading my visit back there in August. And I am willing to refer anyone who may need a dentist locally.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Heading to Mongolia

How many people can say that?
Here's my letter of invitation.
I thought it would show up larger. I just found it interesting that the only letters in our alphabet used in this document are in the words "RF Link" and my name. I have no idea what this thing says. I hope it's closer to "this guy is ok. let him in." and not so much "full cavity search reccomended."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Emma news...

We've been having Emma spend some time doing what we call 'tummy time', which is just what it sounds like....lying on her tummy some to play. I have to admit she has not really been a fan, but her displeasure has become less vocal over the weeks since we started. We have our routine...feed; play with Mom, Dad, or siblings; play alone; sleep. During her time with one of us or when playing on her own we will often place Emma on an activity mat. Tonight I did this, putting her on her tummy first. Almost immediately she rolled over onto her back! Of course I had to make her do it again....to see if it was just a fluke...nope she did it again...and a third time for Daddy. By this time she was not happy with me for continuing to turn her back over onto her tummy, so we ended the 'fun'. We're so proud, and excited....now maybe her hair will re-grow where that bald spot has developed on the back of her head! ;)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Treasure seekers: a day in the life

Back to complete my report on the visit with the “newcomers” at the Bantar Gebang Landfill. I’ve had a pretty full plate the last several weeks, and I type sloooow, so let’s just make this a photo essay. We’ll start with a day in the life, and move on to my visit with the kids while Jonathan talked water quality with one of the family leaders.

In a previous post I included a picture of a man with a green basket strapped to his back. What he and hundreds like him will do is climb one of the active hills of trash and fill this basket. Once the basket is full he (or she) will walk down the hill to a wheelbarrow of sorts and unload the basket. Lather, rinse and repeat until the cart is full. They then take the whole thing back to their shack and unload, sort and bail the plastic to sell to someone that I never saw. Below is a row of these home made carts being filled at the base of one such hill.
This was pretty interesting. On this hill a dump truck was unloading at the base as a line of track hoes moved the new trash incrementally up the hill.

Now check out this shot taken at maximum zoom from the same location. You probably can’t tell on this shot that was compressed for the web, but there are over 30 people visible in this picture of the middle track hoe (from the shot above) waiting for the new stuff to make its way up the hill. The track hoe operators went about their business as if no one was around. The responsibility to not get injured rests completely with those on the ground sorting through trash as it is passed from one track hoe to the next up the hill.
All day, every day, for $0.02 per kilogram. Anything that these people can do to save money is worth trying. If Jonathan is successful in bringing clean water to these people he will not only immediately improve the health of these families, it will give at least some small hope to Mr Pak that his daughters will be able to get an education and make better lives for themselves than what he is currently able to provide.

Pak Misnan is one of the newcomers who appears to be respected among the people of the encampment where we stopped. Jonathan met him, I guess, a few months ago and they have developed a pretty good rapport. He is just barely getting by, but he is doing all he can to keep his daughters in school. In the shot below Jonathan (blue cap on the left) and Jason (the other white guy) talk with Pak Misnan (red and black shirt on the right) about...well I'm not sure what. I don't speak Indonesian.
When we arrived Mr. Pak invited us to have a seat and Jonathan gave him a bag of dried beans that was immediately given to Mr. Pak’s wife, and each child was given a small container of Milo. This is some sort of vitamin drink for kids. I think it’s chocolate flavored, so that was a big hit. I was a little nervous about breaking out my camera, because although I was sitting in the middle of a landfill I was in someone’s home, but after a few minutes, I guess Jonathan asked permission and then told me that it would be ok. It turned out to be a blast for everyone. While Jonathan talked with Misnan and one of the landowners I began taking pictures of the kids, who immediately began mugging for the camera.
The younger child on the left is a real ham. He made sure that he was in every single picture.

After each shot they all clamored around to take a peek at themselves on the LCD.

The kids were great, and so very happy. I’ve found that wherever I go people are people, and of course, kids are kids. These children have no regard for the living conditions that they are in. This is all most of them have ever known. They run, play and laugh just like any kid in the states would do. Sadly, most are malnourished. Notice in the picture below that the little girl on the left is beginning to loose her hair. A few others were missing teeth.
Although it was a seemingly small gesture, the dried beans and Milo may save a life out here. Clean water definitely will. But you wouldn’t know it from the faces of these children. They were so happy to have a new person to play with, and to have their picture taken. What a joy it was to spend an afternoon playing with these little ones.
I finally realized that I was once again spending all my time behind the camera, so I finally turned it on myself for a parting shot. Of course my little ham had to join in as well.

Before putting this one to bed, I'll throw one more shot in for the cause. If you would like to contribute financially to Jonathan's work in Indonesia, I invite you to visit my May 16th post for instructions on how to do so.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Things of interest (or not)

  • It is 52 degrees this morning, with a predicted high of 68.
  • We have watched baby birds hatch this year (robins, in a nest under our deck)-we just discovered yesterday there is another nest with babies and eggs in a tree behind our house.
  • Karl and the kids cleared some weeds out of the tree line behind the house. Now the kids can get back there and play-there's even a tree with branches low enough for them to use for climbing.
  • Emma has gotten a little more vocal, cooing at any of us who talk to and play with her, and 'talking' to her toys. She is officially sleeping through the night, with an occasional night-time feeding. She has discovered her toes....can't reach them yet, but shows great interest. Emma also sucks on her thumb and fingers whenever she can get them to her mouth. She's still working on keeping them there; hasn't quite mastered control of her arms. She 'blows bubbles' now, too. ;)
  • Corbin mastered riding his bike without training wheels in one day. We are in awe of his agility!
  • Hailey has been spending her time catching toads, selling lemonade, and getting dirty(she says she likes it). Logan has been reading many books, writing a Bionicle story on his blog (check it out), and talking to/playing with friends.
  • We still have 2-3 weeks of school left to complete.