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Vegas, Baby… Part II

March 29th, 2007

Kenny loves Vegas.

Is it the casinos?   Nope – he can’t stand being strolled through those…  and that  makes  it pretty hard to get around here, by the way… Is it the showgirls?   Not that either, I don’t think he’s into the miniskirts yet… Could it be the exquisite restaurants and designer shopping boutiques?   Yeah, right.   Like he’s  not going to have a  lot to say about  me spending a lot of time in there…

No – It’s pretty simple really: our hotel room looks out onto the runway of the Las Vegas Airport.   He has spent hours with his tiny nose pressed against the one-way glass, pointing frantically every 14.5 seconds and yelling, “Nudder one!   Nudder a-plane take OFF!”   Oh, and it’s not just airplanes, but huge, gorgeous private jets (which he calls “little planes”) and helicopters galore.   “Copters!   Mama, COPTERS!”  

We’ve had a great time here.   Casey has been busy, and it’s been too cold to go to the pool, but we’ve spent many happy hours jumping on the big bed, dancing like silly-willies to the radio, playing with legos and watching airplanes.   And both days he’s napped long enough for me to get a decent walk on the Strip while he snoozes in the stroller.   Did you know that in order to walk the Strip with a stroller, you have to go in and out of various casinos (read: being trapped in a human pinball machine), then up and down on elevators at each intersection to get to the sky-walks?   It took me over an hour to walk two miles yesterday.   But my little angel did sleep long enough for me to go into a very nice shop and buy my first “real” purse that is neither a diaper bag, nor a pleather purse from Tar’jay.   He woke up as I was contemplating the matching shoes.   I asked him if he liked them, and he replied, “Mama Shoes!” so I took that as a yes, and pulled out my credit card.   Thank goodness he was ready to go home after that, or I might have rationalized a new dress to go with it all.

Vegas is a funny town, though, in the sense that all that you see and read and watch about this city is so way over-glamourized.   For example, last night Casey had a dinner party with his clients in one of the hottest clubs in town.    When you see  an ad for this nightclub, you imagine beautiful women in perfectly stylish dresses and men that look like Danny Ocean or James Bond.   I attacked Casey with eager questions when he got home, and he said, “Actually, there were just a bunch of guys there from some convention in wrinkled shirts and tennis shoes drinking beers.”     No super models?   No Hollywood hotties?   I was crushed.    And think of all the movies of the Vegas casinos… men in Aramani shirts and gold cufflinks and women in Versace dresses and Prada shoes… and yet every time I’ve walked through the casino here at Mandalay Bay (which is one of the nicer ones, I’m told), all I see is conventioneers shlepping giant messanger bags, Midwestern couples with University of Ohio sweatshirts and New Balance sneakers, and the occasional  teenage girl dressed like she’s watched one too many episodes of “Las Vegas.”   Of course, Kenny goes to bed at 7, so maybe I’m missing all the real action.   I hope so, because I’d hate to re-imagine Oceans Eleven with Brad Pitt wearing Gap jeans and an American Eagle t-shirt.  

So I’m here in the hotel room while my baby sleeps and the rest of the town is just preparing to think about where to go to dinner.   I have to admit, as much as a little part of me is itching to dress up and paint the town red, the bigger part of me is happy to be here in a cozy and beautiful room, listening to Kenny breathe and blessed to be happy and settled down with my baby and the man that I love.   And with that, I’ll say goodnight!

Vegas, Baby

March 26th, 2007

Tomorrow Kenny and I are setting off to Las Vegas!   Ok, we’re tagging along with Casey on a business trip, but as we’ll be on our own for the bulk of our time there, I’m starting to mentally prepare for the adventures of entertaining a 25-pound monkey for three days on the Strip.   Ok, we’re not going to be hanging out on the Strip.   We’re staying in the lap of luxury at the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay.   So we’ll be  eating $18 hamburgers and splashing our toes in the pool and trying to finagle Frosted Mini Wheats out of the Room Service staff while sipping orange juice on our balcony.

Actually, tomorrow is our anniversary (!), and our original intent was to arrive one day before Casey’s meetings, get there in time to put Kenny to bed, hire a babysitter while he was sleeping,  and go out on the town.   Today I contacted the Four Seasons to reserve a babysitter and found out all the “details.”   Details like, their in-house babysitting is $45 per hour, with a four hour minimum.   Yeah.   Right.    Needless to say,  we’re not getting a babysitter, because  it would cost more than our night on the town to have some middle-aged nanny sit in our delux (albeit, dark) room while Kenny snoozes.   So it looks like Kenny is coming with us for our romantic evening.   I somehow think that we’ll skip the ultra-trendy spots and stick to a noisy place that has high chairs and a free kids’ menu.

Kenny, by the way,  is becoming ever-more the character these days.   He will now officially repeat everything I say all day long.   Here’s an example: on Friday, I took Kenny to the outdoor shopping mall to look for a pair of shorts.   He asked to “WALK!” so I left the stroller in the car, and he was on his best behavior, holding tightly to my hand on the sidewalk, and letting me hold him in the stores.   In Ann Taylor, while I had a few items in my hand to try on, he started getting squirmy, so I said, “Kenny, Mommy needs to try these things on, so we need to go to the dressing room.   Let’s find someone to help us.”   To which Kenny started shouting, “HELP US!   HELP US!”   At least twenty heads turned in alarm, as I, blushing, asked a sales lady to show me where the dressing rooms were.   As soon as we got in there, Kenny started spinning around, calling, “Dressing Room!   Help!   Help, Mama!   New pants.   Mama, new pants!   Dizzy!   Nooooooo dizzy, Kenny!”

At least he helps me get in and out of a store quickly…

In Praise of My Better Half

March 25th, 2007

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Tonight I need to write a little about my husband.   He is my best friend, and I have been so caught up in the chaos of the last few weeks that I haven’t had much time to reflect on what a huge blessing that he is.

Casey is a man who truly seeks to honor, love and cherish me, his wife.   He constantly goes out of his way to praise me, lift me up, encourage me, humor me, challenge me and protect me.   During the week before my miscarriage, when I was bleeding and trying to rest, he took nearly the whole week off work to be there for Kenny, so I could be off my feet.   He cooked, walked Dudley, folded laundry and took care of all that needed to be done.   Then the week after I miscarried, he did the same.   But more than that, he held me while I cried, and sometimes cried with me.    He let me talk about it as much or as little as I wanted (and still does).   He fielded calls from friends and relatives, and went with me to all of my doctor’s visits and checkups.

So you might say that he was a hero for me during our recent tragedy.   But he’s not just an occasional hero.   He walks in the door every night with open arms, letting Kenny tackle him, and letting me cook dinner without a one-year-old clasping my legs.   He spends his weekends hanging out at the park, or going on walks, instead of hitting the golf course or watching the Big Game.   He rubs my head and massages my shoulders when he knows I’ve had a rough day.   He bathes Kenny every night, and then goes on a wild hunt through the dark house with a flashlight for Kenny’s “Baa” (a stuffed sheep) with him every night before bedtime.   He surprises me with little gifts and he calls me just to say hi even when he’s busy at work.   He spends time reading the Bible at night, and initiates time for us to pray together.   Today when I mentioned that I needed some new clothes, he talked through what I wanted and then “commanded” me to go shopping!   (He said, I don’t want anyone calling you “KMart Kristjana.   Get good stuff!”)   He enjoys going out to fancy breakfasts instead of dinners, so that our time out is easier with Kenny.   He gets up in the middle of the night when Dudley whines to go out.   He picks up the dog poop in the back yard, and takes out the trash.

He is an amazing man.   On top of all that I mentioned, he is successful and respected at work, and in return works hard for what he has achieved.   And in the midst of a high-level job, he has managed to move us to Arizona for two winters in a row now, to protect me from my Renauds Syndrome (which is very debilitating to me in cold weather – my hands swell into red sausages and are extremely painful).   He plans crazy vacations  for us, and dreams about all that is in store for our future together.   He is practical about investing for the future, and generous about having fun with what we’re blessed to have.   He delights in giving money away, too, and we dream together about what we could do for other people if someday we woke up rich.

He puts toothpaste on my toothbrush in the morning, and remembers to bring me a water bottle at bedtime, in case I wake up thirsty.   He raves about my cooking and compliments me when the house looks nice.   He encourages my writing, and always remembers to read my blog.   He tells me I’m pretty and flirts with me everyday.

I think if I were to sit down and write out all the things I wanted in a man, I still couldn’t include as many qualities as Casey already has.   I am in awe of him.   And I just needed to write about that.

I love you, Casey!!!

Thinking Things Through

March 22nd, 2007

Tonight makes two weeks since I lost my baby.   I’m slowing getting to the point where it’s not the first thing I think about every minute of the day.   But I am still crying at odd moments, still crying as I fall asleep, and my heart still aches when I wake up.   Watching Kenny today as he trundled race cars across the living room floor, it hit me once again that not only have Casey and I lost another child, but that Kenny lost a sibling.   I see the way his face lights up at the park when he sees other little guys, and I want so desperately for him to grow up with a whole gaggle of little brothers (or sisters).

Casey was taking to a friend on the phone today who gave him a new perspective on what has happened to us.   This man told Casey that his wife had masicarried in between the births of their second and third child.   Apparently they had always planned to have three children, and so after the birth of their third child, a girl, they realized that she would never have been born if the miscarriage hadn’t  have happened.   He said that they remember that all the time; that without losing a baby, they never would have had her.

It’s an interesting way of looking at things.   I can definitely understand his thinking, and appreciate it as well.   It’s still hard, though, to not know if I will have any other children yet.   Maybe someday down the road, I’ll be able to look back and say something along those lines, but right now, all I can see is that I lost out on a tiny little life waiting to be born.   All I can do is mourn the baby I’ll never get to meet until I get to heaven.

It’s interesting, too, what people say when you tell them that you’ve had  a miscarriage.   Most say what I would have most likely said before this happened: “Oh!   I’m so sorry!   …. Well, you can always have another one!”   I want to stare them down and say, “I had a life inside me and it died.   Maybe someday I will have another one, but I wanted That One!”   Don’t tell me “it was probably for the best” or “God must have needed that little one in Heaven” or “at least it happened early.”   I know that most are well-meaning, but they sting like a thousand bees.

I’ll tell you what is the right thing to say.   My  brother-in-law’s wife  said, “I’m so sorry about what happened.   I don’t want to bring it up and make you sad, but I want you to know that we’re thinking of you.”   And my other brother-in-law’s new bride just put her arms around me and said, “I am praying for you.   Tell me if there’s anything I can do.”    

I am so grateful for what I have: for Casey, for Kenny and for our families.   If that’s all I ever have, it is already more than enough.   We’re blessed beyond belief, and I don’t take any of that for granted.   Still, I miss my baby, and I think I probably always will.

A Thousand Words

March 21st, 2007

I was going to write a quick post, but Kenny decided to climb into my lap as I was logging in.   So this is all I can say…

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The Sound of Silence…

March 20th, 2007

… is something that I never hear.   Kenny really does talk nonstop.   All day.   It’s charming, adorable, amazing, exasperating and sometimes exhausting.   Here is a transcript of our six minute ride to his gymnastics class today:

“Nastics!   Ball!   Gym-to-play!   Copter?   Copter!   Roof!   Hat.   WINDY!   Bye-bye, copter!   Ment!   Mama, ‘ment!   Gamma ‘ment trick buk!   Dada’s song?   Pa-leese?   Dudley ba-seat.   Duuuuudleeeeeey?   Dudley ‘ome.   Dudley ‘ome, Mama.   Nack?   Pretzels?   Pa-LEEEEESE?   Juice!   Bus.   Ride Bus.   Gym-as-ick!   Nasticks!   Play  ball.   Bat and ball.   Bat and ball BEACH!   O’in!   Beach!   Dada o’in.   Dada ‘ome?”

He changes subjects so rapidly, I can hardly keep up.   “Ment” means “cement truck” and he says it whenever he sees a piece of construction equipment that may or may not be found in a Tonka truck book that his Grandma gave him.   Although today, we really did see two cement trucks.   And the whole part about the ‘copter?   We saw a medical helicopter take off from the hospital roof three weeks ago, and since we were standing right there, the wind blew his hat off, and nearly knocked us both to the ground.   He still mentions it twice a day.  

The sweetest part of it all for me, though, is the fact that he likes to talk about things.   He doesn’t just tell me what he wants and needs, but he generates conversation about things he’s thinking about.   Like when he randomly starts talking about the helicopter blowing off his hat that day three weeks ago.   Or when he talks about going to the beach over this past weekend.   We were only there for an hour or so, and it was chilly and raining, but being there reminded him of our vacation at the beach in January, and how much he loved being at the beach all day every day.   It’s amazing what goes on inside that little head.  

So now that I think about it, peace and quiet is overrated…

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“Candadulatons Uh-Dave!”

March 19th, 2007

For the week leading up to Dave and Sonila’s wedding, I worked on getting Kenny to say, “Congratulations, Uncle Dave!” and he got pretty good at it.   So good now, in fact (even if it is after the fact) that he spent the whole drive to MOPS this morning shouting it at the top of his lungs.   What a joyful kid.  

So without further ado, let me share a few more shots from the Wedding of the Year…

dave&sonila wedding 018.jpg       …just before the limo departed for the church…


    …arriving at the reception…

   sonila dancing.jpg     … the first dance for husband and wife!   Sonila knows how to cut a rug…

    …         …

dave&sonila wedding 068.jpg

    … the groom’s party leaps for joy that Dave finally took the plunge…

   dave&sonila wedding 101.jpg   …and Kenny asks,

  …       …“Has anyone seen the waiter who was giving away pizza???   Anyone?”

PS ~ click on the pictures!

Home Again

March 18th, 2007

We just arrived home, after a beautiful weekend of laughter, love, hugs, tears and lots of dancing.   I wasn’t able to get online at all in Florida, and as it’s late, I’ll have to save the writing of my stories until tomorrow.   But here are some quick pictures…

The gorgeous bride and groom:   Mr. & Mrs. Dave and Sonila Cook!

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And the two most handsome bachelors at the wedding:   Kenny and his cousin Ryan:

 dave&sonila wedding 001.jpg

(Click on these shots for a better view!)

Once the Wheels Get Rolling…

March 14th, 2007

… it seems they never stop.

Casey and Kenny came with me to the hospital for the D&C on Monday, and hung out in the pre-surgery area.   That is, until Kenny started projectile vomiting all over himself, Casey, the floor and the gurney I was laying on.   Casey got  everything wiped up and they took off.   Just before they left, I found out that my own  doctor was delayed in delivery, and they weren’t sure  when she was coming in.

So I waited.   For an hour.   The IV in my arm dripped on, as one by one the other people there for out-patient  surgery were wheeled away by their doctors and nurses, and I was left quite alone in the pre-op room with only a single technician to keep me company.   Once my sweet doc arrived, along with her crew, I was sent into blissful sleep, and was shaken awake only a minute later, as they told me they were finished.   Casey took me home, where I tried to watch the TV show “24” with him,  but in the midst of my drugged state, I got confused and started thinking that American Idol was getting a little violent this year.

Tuesday brought the worse hang-over of my life, and a cranky-hungry Kenny.   Casey was starting to  feel under the weather, too, not unexpectedly, given all he’s been through.   By last night, Kenny did one last glorious vomit (three hours after we’d put him to bed), causing us to have to change his clothes, his sheets and clean the carpet.   Then we ended up sleeping in there on the bed in his room, in case he started choking or something in his sleep.   Of course, no slumber party is complete without Dudley, and he made himself comfortable in there, licking himself to sleep.

Kenny was better this morning, albeit the crankiest he’s ever been in his sweet life, only I woke up with severe upper abdominal pain.   I called the doctor, and she sent me right over to a lab for an abdominal ultrasound.   Let me tell you how much fun a thirty minute ultrasound is with a 24 pound toddler in your lap.   I had to pin him in my legs on the examination table, and keep his hands out of the gooey jelly they spread on my belly, and keep him from swan diving off the table, while I was told to lay still.   He was pretty good,  all in all.   I am not, unfortunately, and it looks like I have now been reported to have gallstones, and am scheduled for a consult with a surgeon for next Friday, to determine whether or not I need surgery.   Again.

All of this, and we are leaving for the airport at 6 am tomorrow to go to Casey’s brother’s wedding in Florida.   I hope our housesitter can overlook the fact that the house hasn’t been cleaned in two weeks…  

I don’t know how much computer access I’ll have over the next four days, but hopefully I’ll have many happy and funny stories to tell, and many pictures to post.   Things have got to get cheerier from here on end.   At least I can drink wine again. But seriously,  I don’t like writing sad and dreary  posts, and I want to return to my giggly recounts of Kenny’s antics as soon as I can.  

You know, I always wondered when or if my “perfect life” would hit a bump in the road.   I always looked at friends who had been through tragedy, and wondered how they survived it all, and how they were still able to smile.   I always thought I could never handle losing a pregnancy, or withstand a serious illness, and yet.   Here I am.   And I am still able to smile.

Another Unexpeted

March 12th, 2007

I am leaving in ten minutes to go to the hospital for a D&C.   It seems I will need one after all, as I went to the doctor this morning for bad cramping and a mild fever, and she found additional tissue that still has not worked its way out on its own.  

Kenny, bless his heart, is sick with a virus (I can hear him throwing up as I write this), and Casey is compelled to nurse us both.   Fortunately, Kenny’s doctor’s appointment showed that he merely had what every other kid from Scottsdale to Sarasota apparently has these days, and should improve soon.   I want to wrap my arms around him and make him giggle and feed him chicken soup and jello, and instead, he is getting dragged to the hospital with Casey and me.   That’s one hard thing about being “new in town” for these few months… we don’t really know anyone who we can call at this short notice to take care of a sick Kenny for the day.

Thank you all so much for your emails and comments… they encourage me, cheer me and lift me up.   I am so blessed to be so wrapped in prayer from people I have never met!   I pray that this will make me a better friend and encouragement to others, to somehow repay the love that I have been shown through all of you.

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