Baby Sounds

I have been talking a lot more about Mr. J. and his adjustment to everything going on lately than I have about Miss S.

The truth is that Miss S., overall, is not terribly phased by everything going on. She's pretty much cool with life as long as I (as her source of food) am around. She is an unnaturally happy baby. I love to go in and get her in the morning, because she is so genuinely happy to see me (or whoever it is getting her out of bed). Although she is but a 2.5-month-old infant, she is a natural at working with people.

I can't wait to see what she has in store for us over the next few months and the coming years!


Glimmers and Reminders

Life with a two-year-old, especially life in transition, is never ever dull. Of course, "never dull" can be both good and bad.

Last night, Mr. J. was having a difficult time staying asleep. The second time I went in to comfort him, I took a cup of water with me. He proceeded to gulp down most of it. I then asked if he wanted any more, or if he was ready to sleep. He took two more sips, then said to me, "Sleep. Mommy need a kiss for [Mr. J.]." I had no choice but to oblige, as my heart was in a sticky puddle of goo on the floor. He settled fairly quickly after that.

Today, on the other hand, has been a wonderful "two-year-old" type of day. An innocent visit to my grandparents' house resulted in 45 minutes of tantrums when we had to leave and he could no longer play the "plano" (piano) with Great-Granna. After he finally cooled down enough to eat and then take a nap, the day went much better.

It is during days like today that I work hard to remind myself of those little glimmers like last night when he is sweet as candy dipped in maple syrup and coated in sugar, because those moments make it all so worthwhile.


The Passions of Children

Over the past two years and two months, I have had the distinct priviledge of watching Mr. J. grow from a baby boy into a little person with likes and dislikes. His very favorite things are trucks, dirt, pushing buttons (both literally and figuratively, as he is, after all, two), trains, coloring, running, jumping, and anything that resembles a ball (base-, basket-, foot-, and soccer-balls all rank equally at the top).

In an effort to be good parents, we have been trying very hard to indulge his passions, as much as we reasonably and safely can. We have been reading about trucks for a few months now, specifically from The Construction Alphabet Book by Jerry Palotta and Rob Bolster (2006).

Today, we were provided the ultimate experience to indulge very many of the things that this particular little boy adores. The Touch-a-Truck event was put on by Big Brothers and Big Sisters as a fundraiser. They arranged for trucks and wheeled-things of many sorts (ranging from a tractor, a dump truck with plow attached, and a rig with a low-bed and excavator to haul to a fire truck, police cars, an ambulance, and a bus). Kids were invited to climb on the trucks, explore (within safe reason), and test out the drivers seats.

Mr. J. thoroughly enjoyed himself, trying out each driver's seat, and telling me that he was going to drive us to lunch and then to the car wash. As we have been reading this book for months now, I was at least as excited as he was to see so many of these trucks up close!

But, as mother, more exciting to me was getting to see my sweet little boy get to see these giant trucks and machines up close. He astonishment at the size of the tractor wheels, his surprise (and slight fear) when the tug of a cord led to honking a very loud horn. Testing out the driver's wheels and getting to decide where we were "going" in each vehicle, and getting to be in the bucket of a cherry-picker.

I am convinced that the best part of parenting is getting to watch your child be delighted over and over again.


In Transition

Three days ago, the kids and I left North Dakota for the final time. We are currently staying with my parents at. At various points in our travel from ND to Pennsylvania, as well as a few times since arriving at my parents' house, Mr. J. has stated that he wants "to go home." This, of course, makes me very teary. Obviously, we no longer live at the "home" he is referring to, and we do not yet live in our new "home."

This begs the question, then, where do we live? I posed this question to Mr. I. the other day and his answer was "Well, I guess we are 'in transition'"

I'm sure this is a state that most people experience at some point in their lives, be it "in transition" from one job to the next, or "in transition" from one stage of life to the next (just to name a few examples). It can be an exciting state to live in, but also one with a great deal of uncertainty (and, for some of us, a scary state). In any type of transition, you don't really truly know what life will hold for you at "Point B" of the transition. The change may ultimately be (and, I'm guessing, usually is) a change for the better, and even a necessary one. But until you are settled at "Point B," it still does not hold the security, the day-to-day sameness that "Point A" has held.

The beauty of "Point B," however, is hope that you will find a new, and maybe better (or at the very least equal) security there. For us, we can no longer depend on cold winters and our wonderful neighbors and friends. But we can hope that we will meet new amazing friends (and get to keep the old friends, as well, of course), and we can hope that the promised nicer weather will be everything we've dreamt it would be!

For now, I get the truly wonderful task of teaching a two-year-old boy, who misses his old home so dearly, all about this hope and what our new home should be like. All the while trying to remind myself of these same lessons.


It Just Happens

To those that know me, it is no secret that I have an obsession with children's literature. Shortly after I graduated from college and around the time I met Mr. I., I began collecting children's books under the pretenses of having them for my future children. This is partly true. But there are some that I probably enjoy more than the kids do.

Lately, one of Mr. J.'s favorite bedtime stories has been The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster (2005). It's a story narrated by a little girl who loves to go visit her grandparents. She loves their house, especially the kitchen window, which everyone has to pass to get into the house, as well as when they leave. She calls it the "hello, goodbye window." At the end of the story  (don't worry, not giving away any huge plot twists here!) her parents come to pick her up, and she describes in very child-appropriate terms, what we adults call "mixed feelings."

She says, "You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way sometimes."

And how very, very true that is. And how very fitting that this has become one of Jack's favorites so close to moving time for us. This is one of those times where I think his book has taught me more than it has taught him.

This is our first move from a base as a military family. True, we had to move to get here, and we had to leave friends then. And Mr. I. and I both have had to move before for college, for graduate school, etc. But those moves were very different in that when you go into a living situation for school, you know that you'll only be there temporarily, and I don't think that those places ever really feel like "home."

Over the last 2.5 years, though, Grand Forks has really become "home" to us. It is the only home either of our children know. We have made many very dear friends here, and have to say goodbye to them. Some we may see again in the future. Some we may never see or hear from again. This is hard to fathom.

And, so, as exciting as it is to be moving on to a new, exotic location, as exciting as it is to get to go to our hometowns and visit before we head off to said exotic location, it has become surprisingly hard and emotional to say goodbye to our home, and we must keep reminding ourselves: "You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way sometimes."


Third Time's a Charm

My past attempts at blogging have been....short-lived. But now that Miss S. has arrived and Mr. J. is a little more independent, I'm hoping this third time will be a charm.

I'm aiming to use this blog to keep our family and friends on "The Mainland" updated on our life in Guam. I hope to update once or twice a week, at least to start!

One month from tomorrow we will embark to begin our time in the Marianas. As Mr. J., Miss S., and I are preparing to leave North Dakota at the end of this week, I'm experiencing levels of mixed emotions that I have never felt before. I get so excited (not to mention nervous) thinking about getting there, getting settled, making new friends, and everything else that comes with moving to a new location. I also get very, very sad to think about everything we are leaving behind: wonderful friends, relative close proximity to our families, the only place my children have known as "home" in their short lives. And then there is the extremely high anxiety level I reach when I think about 16 hours of flying (with only a 2-hour layover) with two kids under three. *shudder*

In the meantime, we get to look forward to seeing family and friends for the next few weeks, and that makes me smile :-D