Saturday, September 30, 2006

Back in Texas

The boys & I arrived safely in Texas today! We flew back, with no problems or delays at all with either of our flights. Now we're visiting my parents for a few days while my husband drives from Florida to Texas. It feels weird to be back--actually, it mainly feels weird that it doesn't feel weird. And it was soooo good to get one of my favorite burritos in the world again. But after only a few, interrupted hours of sleep on an air mattress last night, I am extremely tired! Anyway, hi from Texas.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

15 years ago today...

...I got married. It's amazing that it's passed so quickly! Here we are on our wedding day:

After the wedding, we went to the Bahamas, where my husband wrote our initials in the sand:

For our anniversary today, I gave him a print of a beach scene personalized with our initials in a heart in the sand. I hoped it would remind us of our whole 15 years together so far, from the initials in the sand back then, to our 8 months living on the Florida coast this year. While the kids were in school, we had lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant here, then went to the Ringling Museum, a Sarasota must-see we hadn't seen yet, featuring an amazing mansion on the sea, some circus collections, and a fine art museum, among other things. It was very hot and I didn't feel too good, but all in all it was a pleasant day. I don't know if we'll do anything special for dinner or not! It wasn't the trip back to the Bahamas I'd always envisioned for our 10th (when we turned out to have a 7-month-old) or 15th anniversary, but considering that I'm pregnant and we're in the middle of a move, I think it was better than might be expected!

So...Happy Anniversary, Honey, and here's to the next 15 crazy years!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's a...


Which means boy #3 for me. I never imagined myself as the mom of 3 boys, but I guess that's who I am! This one looked healthy, measuring 2 days ahead (weight around 12 oz.), and was very active. My other boys are so active and high-maintenance, I was hoping for a calm one this time, but the tech said, "Maybe one of your other children will get calmer." Umm...and maybe cows will jump over the moon! This one is breech right now, but she said he has plenty of time to turn in 20 weeks.

So now we are stuck for a name! We've had a girl's name (Kara) picked out for 8+ years, but don't have a third boy's name for sure. Anyone want to help with our boy's name? Here is what to keep in mind:

* His brothers' names are Ryan and Kyle
* His middle name will definitely be Nelson
* Our last name is Dellenbaugh

Here are the top contenders in alphabetical order: Alex, Blake, Grant, Logan, Luke, Scott, Trent. Feel free to comment or suggest other similar names!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

And the week moves on...

We made it through a guy from the moving company walking through our house to see how much junk stuff we have to move, and then a separate visit from an appraiser our landlord sent over to appraise the house. Now it's just a matter of, oh, sorting and weeding everything we own and being all ready to move in about 2 weeks! (Not to mention getting work done on our house in Texas and my husband looking for a job.) Eek. The movers still have all the records from our last move since it was only 7 months ago, and mentioned that we'd moved 58 boxes of books. And that was with over 200 regular books and 40 kids' board books we left behind in Austin to give away! And when we moved to our Austin home 8 years ago, we had given away another 18 feet of books, mostly from my husband's grad school days. Wow, we've had a lot of books. Fortunately, we only unpacked about 1/3 of the books here, but I'm afraid we have bought some more here!

And now... it's about 24 hours until my big ultrasound!! I'm praying that (1) the baby is healthy, and (2) the baby cooperates enough for us to tell its gender! So far, we have 2 boys, and I've been a little nervous about the possibility of 3. However, my husband reminded me one day that he is the 3rd boy in his family (4th kid). Then I realized that I've actually gone out with at least four 3rd boys, and one 4th boy! I've gone out with a couple of guys who only had one sibling, older or younger, but I don't think I've gone out with anyone who had a younger brother at all. Only the youngest brothers, and most often in families of 3 or more. Isn't that strange? So, I can't say it's a bad thing for people to have 3 boys! And of course, it may actually be a girl. We hope to see tomorrow!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A super-spectacular day

Back in 1980, when I was 12 or 13, I bought a copy of MAD Magazine that came with this really cool plastic "flexi-disc" record featuring a novelty song called "It's a Super-Spectacular Day." It had multiple tracks in parallel grooves, so it played differently depending on where the needle of your turntable started playing the disc. The first bit of the song was the same every time, with a cutesy happy intro about the great day ahead, but you never knew which one of 8 different endings it would play, each describing a different way the day would disintegrate into something horrific. The lyrics are here, and sound files of all 8 versions are downloadable here (I was happily amazed to find these online recently).

Anyway, that's about how I feel right now, without the cheerful part at the beginning. 

So, do wake me up when September ends. Preferably in Texas. And then tell me whether my baby is a boy or a girl.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Moving stinks

Moving really, really stinks. I wish my 8-year-old would hurry and invent that transporter he's always wanting to invent so we could just transport ourselves and all our stuff to Texas without having to do all this moving business. Ecch. We're trying to get out by the end of the month, so my husband said today that our theme song should be Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends." But I can't wish for that, because then I'd miss my big ultrasound next week!

We signed our kids up for a 4-hour kids' night out thing at a craft place so we'd have time to work on the house uninterrupted tonight. So my husband just took them there...and it was last night. D'oh! All my fault, and I have no idea why I got confused about it. 


Friday, September 08, 2006

Writing & reading

Since leaving Austin, I've really missed the SCBWI group there. Here, the only thing I could find for children's writers was one critique group that met at a time when I couldn't go. There, I was used to large monthly meetings, many critique groups to choose from, and a couple of conferences or retreats per year. Here, the only conferences are in other parts of the state. In general, I've felt pretty cut off from the writing world since I've been here, apart from the Internet, though much of that is my own fault for not settling in more quickly or sitting down to write! But anyway...I'm going back, with a new appreciation of everything offered for writers in Austin. And since I'm having a baby soon, which will probably put me out of commission for a while (at least in terms of attending events), I decided that, income or no income, I'm going to the Austin SCBWI conference in October. It's just a one-day thing, but I expect it to be a breath of fresh air for my writing! I sent off my registration form last week.

Speaking of writing, I've read some this week. On the way back from Orlando on Tuesday, I started reading a novel called The Boy I Loved Before by Jenny Colgan. It's a British, chick-lit type thing, not something I'd normally read, but it has kind of a YA element, as the protagonist is a 32-year-old woman who wishes she were 16 again, and then magically is. (A bit like 13 Going On 30 in reverse.) But instead of going back in time to when she was 16, as she expected, she becomes 16 in the present day. It's a bit odd, since her parents also become younger, but no one else changes, and her old self no longer exists for most people, but several people she was close to still remember her the way she was.

At any rate, I read a few chapters of that, and then when we got home, I found in the mail an old YA book I'd ordered from an Amazon reseller--The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations, by Ellen Conford. It's from 1976 and I remembered reading and liking it as a teen in the early 80s. I sat down and read it through immediately! I still enjoyed it quite a bit. It turned out to be episodic, with each chapter based on one idea or theme from the school handbook, rather than having one plotline running all the way through. But for a 30-year-old novel, I was surprised how modern it still seemed. I'd think any YA reader today could relate to most of it (and to my surprise, there was even foul language--mainly the "s" word!).

After I finished that, I went back to the first book and read until I finished that one, too! So, two books in one evening. The Colgan book was a fun read, and I was surprised that there were actually several points of overlap between the 1976 YA book I had just read and the 2004 adult novel. There were a few similar characters and situations, and just general riffing on the mindsets of idealistic young people.

The Colgan book ended up similar to Back to the Future, in that the protagonist, once restored to her regular age, finds she has changed the timeline in such a way that her whole new history is different (an accountant at the beginning, she discovers at the end that she's now a teacher), and of course everyone around her has a newly happy ending. I have some trouble with this. Yes, it's happy that she now has a life she likes better than her old one, and seems to be ending up with the guy she really wanted, blah blah blah, but wouldn't it be a little freakish not to know your own history, and for everyone else in your family and circle of friends to have a different memory of your life and theirs than you did? I'm not sure I could accept that so complacently!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A last hurrah in Florida

When we moved to Florida, we promised the kids a lot of things. Of course we would go to Disney World, Universal Studios, the Nick Hotel, and a whole lot more. All in good time. And now our time here is up, and we hadn't done those things. This week, the kids were off Monday for Labor Day and Tuesday for a teacher workday. Wednesday, there was supposed to be a space shuttle launch. We realized it was probably our last chance ever to see a space shutte launch, and since the kids' school here has already had 9 more schooldays this year than the school they're about to change to in Texas, we decided we'd let them miss school Wednesday to see it. Without income, we couldn't swing Disney or Universal. And probably shouldn't have done anything, but figured we'd have one last hurrah, and took them to the Nick Hotel in Orlando for 2 nights before the planned launch. Since they are 5 and 8 and Nick cartoon addicts, they had a blast. We stayed at the hotel the whole time, except for a short excursion one afternoon to the big Lego store at the Downtown Disney shopping area. The pools were really cool, they saw a lot of people dressed up like Nick characters (they know they are costumes, but are still drawn to hug them...), and we went to a show where my husband got picked to go on stage, get dressed up like a big baby, and have water balloons thrown at (or rather, to) him. It was a hit.

The weather looked like it would cooperate for the shuttle launch, for once (our first day at the hotel, the kids had to swim in the pouring rain!), but of course, the morning of the scheduled launch, it was called off for technical problems. Sigh. So for the second time, we had driven across the state to see a launch that didn't happen. Instead, on our way home, we decided to stop in Tampa and visit the Museum of Science & Industry. They let us in free with our local science museum membership pass--a good thing, since their ticket prices would have cost us more than we paid for this pass!

And now...we're home, where we have to get ready to move. Considering that we moved here just over 7 months ago, and half our stuff is still in boxes in the garage, you'd think it wouldn't be that hard to get ready. But it is. Is it ever! And I've been putting it off like crazy. I wish I were an organized person. Maybe after this move I will be? Ha.

I have more to say, on the topics of reading & writing, but I'll save those for another post.