Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hospitals, Singing Austrians and the Spiritual Upbringing of Little Children

So, what have we been up to this week, you ask? (No, really, you asked. Just... you asked, okay?)

Well, this week can be divided into three parts.


Well, for starters, we spent Monday through Wednesday in hospitals with Lolly. Hmm, how do I go into this story with the best impact?

Lolly severed her finger in a door and had to have it sewn back on.

Yeah, that sounds like a good way of starting.

Lolly got her finger shut in a door. I assumed at first it would just be a little sore, a little bruised... until I looked at it. People with weak stomachs, stop reading now. The end of her right ring finger was pretty much dangling off, with the bone protruding out the end and the finger and nail just sort of hanging there. Needless to say, there was a lot of blood too. And screaming.

Lolly chuffed with her special sticker and bandage
I rushed her to Accident & Emergency, where they took her right away. Without even looking at the hand wrapped in a blood-stained kitchen towel, they weighed her and administered painkillers. I sat with her in my lap, singing whatever soothing songs could come to my head ("Mairzy dotes and dozy dotes and liddle lamsey divey...") , for what felt like ages. I kept asking when they were going to DO SOMETHING, but they said they really needed to wait until the painkillers kicked in before anything else. They all seemed so calm, like this was normal. (I guess to an A&E, it is.) Finally, the doctor unwrapped her cloth, bandaged up her hand, and sent us for an x ray. The x ray, thank God, came back clear, no broken bone. They then cleaned her up, put on another bandage, and delivered the bomb.

She would need to go the children's hospital in Glasgow to get the finger surgically stitched back up. And she would have to go under general anaesthetic to do it. And she'd have to wait until the following morning (this was around 4-5pm on Monday evening).

So we took our little girl, now feeling quite pleased with all the attention she was getting, home for a nerve-wracking night.

Early Tuesday morning, Scott and I drove Lolly (with Jaguar in tow), up to Yorkhill Children's Hospital. Because she was getting a general anaesthetic, she had to fast. She was a good sport about not getting breakfast. They quickly got a bed for her, and she had fun playing in the play room for a while. But as the hours passed, and she still didn't have a theatre slot for surgery, she started to complain about being hungry. She didn't complain much; she was actually an incredibly good sport, but I felt for her.

At about 2pm, they got her ready to go into theatre. Scott took Jaguar home, since Scott had a doctor's appointment booked and there was nothing we could do at that point anyway, and I took Lolly to the theatre ward. I held her hand while they gave her the gas to put her to sleep (the "sleeping potion", we called it) and then played the waiting game outside for about an hour and a half.  At least I got some of my Harry Potter reading done.

Groggy but cheerful
When she came back up to the ward, her entire arm was in a bandage, and she was still asleep. I kissed her, stroked her hair and waited for another hour or so for her to wake. When she did, she quietly looked around the ward and said, "We're back...?"

Scott and Jaguar returned around that point. The nurses told us as long as she was able to eat and drink all right, she could go home after four hours. At this point, that made leaving time 8.30pm. She'd also been without food for nearly 23 hours. She had some juice and toast.

Then she threw it up. Three times.

So we got dropped another bomb; she'd have to stay in overnight.

Obviously, this was not what we expected. In fact, we expected to have been long gone by then. We thought she'd get her operation before noon, and be home in time to pick up Fifi from school. We had no change of clothes for her, nothing. Scott and I both had work the next morning. I couldn't stay over night because of Jaguar. So in the end, Scott got to be Super Dad and stay in the hospital over night with her, sleeping in a little fold out cot in a busy, sad, sick children's ward, and I went home in tears, missing and worrying about my baby, to collapse in bed with Jaguar.

Oh and Fifi. We'll get to her in a moment.

The next morning at about 8, the doctors said she was free to go home once the nurses finished the paperwork, so Scott called to say I should come up after the school run. Knowing how these things take ages, I took my time getting up to the hospital, and arrived after 10. The paperwork was done, but someone still needed to take the IV out of the back of her hand.

Two hours later, we finally got the IV out and headed home.

Lolly's operation went well. The bone, as I said, was unharmed, and luckily, the tendon was in tact. The only lasting issues may be some nerve damage and a slightly deformed fingernail. It could have been so much worse, and we are so thankful she is okay. We know we had lots of people praying for her, so thank you!


Uncle Max kissing Gretl's hurt 'fingah'.
So meanwhile, as all this was going on, Fifi was having dress rehearsals for The Sound of Music, in which she is playing the part of Gretl von Trapp. She has been rehearsing since January for this, and last night (Wednesday) was Opening Night. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were all rehearsal nights, so Monday and Tuesday were a bit, oh, shall I say, hectic? Especially Tuesday. Luckily, I've got great friends who have helped us out so much this week (and great families for whom I childmind, who arranged alternate care on Tuesday so I could be at the hospital with Lolly). Sheila, Robyn, and Lee all helped out with childcare and getting Fifi and Jaguar to and fro as all this was going on. It's wonderful having friends who are there to help at the drop of a hat, and I am so thankful for all of them (including all of the friends who offered their help, like Catriona, Laura, and the list goes on and on). And oh, I'd be incredibly remiss not to mention family; Scott's mum and dad went so out of their way this week to make everything work out smoothly - thank you so much to you too!

Okay, anyway, back to Fifi's debut.

Little Actress
Last night was Opening Night. I dropped her off at the theatre at 6.30pm, and took my seat in the house at 7. A huge group of staff from her school were there last night, including her two teachers, Mrs MacLeod and Mrs Bannerman, and the Head Teacher, Mrs Ruddy. Also there were friends from the Parish Players, Pauline, Malcolm, Natalie and Arthur. Fifi had a good turn out of 'fans' (as she referred to them) last night.

And folks, let me just tell you, she was superb.

Okay, yeah, she's my daughter, so I might be a little biased, but seriously, she was so good! And the rest of the cast were amazing too. All the von Trapp kids were excellent, Maria was excellent, and the Captain was excellent. The nuns were excellent. Uncle Max was excellent. The Mother Abbess was excellent.  It was just fab all around. More than once, I had to wipe away a little tear!

She still has two more performances, tomorrow night and Saturday afternoon. There are two casts of children, and the other children are on tonight and Saturday night. I really want to see them, too, as they are all really amazing also. I just can't believe the amount of talent these kids all have!

But, as if hospital trips and musical performances weren't enough happening this week...


Barefoot in the sunshine
This Sunday is Jaguar's Dedication at church. It's similar to a Christening, without the Baptism. (Scott doesn't agree with infant baptism.) It's basically just a committment to raise our children in the Christian faith, kind of how Hannah dedicated Samuel to God's work, without the leaving him to live in a temple thing.

With our moving date growing closer, and Fifi's musical, and then Lolly's accident on top of all that, I've hardly had a moment to even think about Jaguar's dedication. It's not going to be a big, elaborate ceremony or anything, but I feel badly for not having at least planned something special for it. I have ordered a big cake, which is at least something. And he's got a kilt to wear, which he better not poo all over right before church, so at least the photos will be cute. But that's about the extent of the planning for that.

Incidentally, anyone who wants to come along to the church on Sunday to see him get dedicated, you are welcome! (That is, assuming I know you in real life and you aren't some weird, creepy internet stalker.) I'll give you details if you ask. (Don't want to leave the details here for all the weird, creepy internet stalkers I apparently think I have.)

By Sunday afternoon, ya'll, I might just collapse. Until Monday when the work week starts all back up again.

And that's what I've been up to this week.  Phew!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Conflicts of Feeling

I just needed an image... & I'll miss this bread.
The countdown is on. It is really truly on.

Sad as it is that we will be leaving the country in about seven weeks exactly, it is finally getting to the exciting stage. And the OH MY GOSH THIS IS FOR REAL stage. And the HOW AM I GOING TO GET EVERYTHING DONE?? stage.

There are so many mundane things to take care of. We need to cancel utility services (gas, electricity, internet). We need to pack what we are keeping, sell what we can, and dump all the rest. How?! I am starting to collect boxes, pack suitcases (and I need to get my hands on more suitcases, as we don't have enough!), and throw away junk. Scott has been watching plane tickets. We are now simply waiting on the Embassy to send us Scott's interview date. We are so close.

It's overwhelming.

The kids are doing great with it. They are excited about America and are coping okay with seeing stuff get sold out from under them, but there are still heartbreaking moments. As I tried to help them this morning clear out some stuff from their room, Fifi spotted some teeny tiny Happy Meal kind of toy, and as I started to put it in the trash bag, she flipped. 'I LOVE THAT! IT IS MY FAVOURITE TOY! YOU ARE TAKING AWAY EVERYTHING I LOOOOOOVE!!!' she wailed. It was a stupid toy I've never even seen before. So I let her keep it, and she spent the rest of the day fondling it, playing with it, and loving on it. It breaks my heart to be doing this to them, even though I know it's going to be a great experience for them. I just hate that they can't have it all: their toys, their Scottish family, their school, their friends AND America too.

I myself have come to terms quite well with a lot of my feelings regarding moving. I am feeling a freedom in handing over my belongings, whether it be to friends or to the bin. Part of me is excited about owning extremely little and letting go of my material things. The hard part will be fighting that urge to refill my life with more pointless things when I re-establish myself in our new home. Like losing weight quickly, I'll have to be careful not to pile it all back on. But I'm excited and feel liberated in this.

Saying that, Scott and I both felt a pang when Fifi's toy kitchen sold today... She got that for her first Christmas. Scott spent the whole day building it for her after she opened the box on Christmas morning. It kind of has some memories attached to it there, which is a bit sore.

I'll miss this more.
Next week, or thereabouts, we will be saying goodbye to Chewbacca, our rabbit. That's going to be a sore one on all of us; I think even Scott might miss the wee bugger just a little bit. Luckily, he is going to a great home, where we will be able to visit him several times before we actually move away, hopefully making the transition easier on us, Lolly especially. Lolly loves that rabbit so much. It's going to hurt me seeing her say goodbye to him more than it will hurt saying goodbye to him myself. These are the swings and roundabouts of moving.

I'm looking forward to the move now. My little trip over last week made such a difference in my heart. I'm an emotional person, and while I'm also rational, it's hard for me to get behind something I don't feel anything for along with the rational decision-making part of me. Rationally, we decided to move to the States but emotionally I wanted to stay here. Thankfully now though, after spending time with my brothers and their families, and my Dad and Denise, and my Mom and David, and the rest of my family, and my dear friend Devon, I am so looking forward to being over there with them. And after enjoying the wonderful weather, including an exciting thunderstorm, I am really looking forward to this. It's helped me feel emotionally compelled to do this, rather than solely intellectually.

But still, it all swings back to... goodbye to my mother- and father-in-law, who in reality are now closer to me than my own biological family, goodbye to my sister- and brother-in-law and nephew, goodbye to my dear wonderful friends, too numerous to name (but it is too hard to say goodbye to you, Maria, Heather, Carol, oh the list goes on...), goodbye to the Gaelic unit and the excellent teachers I have so much respect for, goodbye to this new church that I have so quickly found a home in (thanks to you wonderful women, Sheila and Robyn)... it's too much, too much.

I'm glad this move is only seven weeks away. I need these conflicting feelings to culminate, erupt, boil over and start to cool. I need this in-between time to end.

But I must end on a happy note. I am going to be so happy once we are settled into our new lives. Fifi is going to a great school. We are going to make great new friends in Northwest Arkansas. I will be only a few hours away from my family instead of a few days. We will be closer to Scott's brother's family. Scott is going to have a new job. I am going to decorate a new house. We are going to play outside in the sun and watch thrilling thunderstorms out our windows. I'm going to have ceiling fans.

It's going to be good.

*I just really want to add that I drew the images above, and I'm pure proud of them. :)

Church Signs

Beware the forbidden fruit...

Project Home Inventory (Toys & Baby)

***The following series is boring and functional. Nevertheless, if you want to buy some of my stuff, read on. Your regularly scheduled exciting, poignant and tear-jerking posts will resume after these messages.***

My April goal is entitled "Project Home Inventory". As we will be selling/giving away everything in preparation for our cross-Atlantic move in June(ish), I've been trying to think of the best way of clearing out. I've been clearing out slowly every since the start of the year as part of my Simplicity project anyway, but now it's getting close to time to get serious about it.

I will be going through each room in my house and making an inventory of what is to be sold or given away.

As things get claimed, I'll mark them off the list. As I find things I forgot to mention, I'll add them to the top (with stars to denote new items).

Happy (even though it's also kinda sad) shopping!

**Many of these items will also be at our Table Top Sale on 18 May, but here's your chance to get in now before they are sold to strangers! Assorted items can be perused and chosen from if you are a friend who is able to come by and see them at the house.

**All Toy and Baby money is going to Fifi, Lolly and Jaguar, which they will use to buy new toys in America, since they can't take very many with them. :(

*Newly Added:
Box full of assorted Peppa Pig figurines, houses, cars, rocketships, laptops, etc - £20 for whole box, or you can buy individual items
Learning Laptop (complete with power plugs and mouse, I think recommended 8 years +) - £10

Plastic toy shop/fruit market - £10
Baby Bouncer (quite new) - £10
Bumbo - 5
Floor Mat Baby Play Station - 5
box of assorted cars -£5
assorted Barbies -£1 each
big bag of assorted ELC toy instruments - £25 for bag or £2 each
Drum with instruments stored inside - £5
2x Cabbage Patch (1 boy, 1 girl) dolls - £5 each or £8 for both
assorted stuffed animals -50p for small, £1 for med, £2 for large
assorted Children's games -£1 each
Plastic dolls house with people/furniture -£donation
Plastic castle with people - £donation
Plastic Thomas the Tank train set - £donation
assorted dressing up outfits - £1 each
pink acoustic guitar - £10
Learn to Spell Teddy Bears Set (5x teddies + assorted velcro alphabet letters) - £5
Bag full of wooden blocks - £5
Bag of Mega Bloks - £5
Box of Legos - £5
Box of Mechanix - £5
Vtech First Steps Baby Walker (pushing toy) -£5
Toy Medical box with supplies - £3
Box full of Play-Do Dog accessories and box of cutters - £3
Assorted childrens books - 50p each
Large red-framed cartoon giraffe wall picture - £2
Multi-photo (15 photos, I think) red wall frame - £2
3x Red wooden square framed IKEA mirrors - £5
Toy hoover - £3
Toy rocking horse - £donation
Box of baby toys - £donation
Black IKEA hanging mesh toy storage - £1
assorted childrens jigsaws - £1 each
Plastic toy kitchen - £10
Ikea chalk board/ marker board easel - 5
Box of Farm Duplos - £5
Peppa Pig Picnic Tea Set - £3
Aquadoodle mat - £2
2x toy prams - £5 for both

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Project Home Inventory (Bedrooms)

***The following series is boring and functional. Nevertheless, if you want to buy some of my stuff, read on. Your regularly scheduled exciting, poignant and tear-jerking posts will resume after these messages.***

My April goal is entitled "Project Home Inventory". As we will be selling/giving away everything in preparation for our cross-Atlantic move in June(ish), I've been trying to think of the best way of clearing out. I've been clearing out slowly every since the start of the year as part of my Simplicity project anyway, but now it's getting close to time to get serious about it.

I will be going through each room in my house and making an inventory of what is to be sold or given away.

As things get claimed, I'll mark them off the list. As I find things I forgot to mention, I'll add them to the top (with stars to denote new items).

Happy (even though it's also kinda sad) shopping!


Retro 1980s style Teasmade Alarm (works!!) - 50 (or best offer)
Loft bed with ladder - 20
Black Wrought Iron Ikea Daybed (heart design) - 20
2x single mattresses (with beds, FREE, alone 10 each)
Single brown wood wardrobe x2 - 20 each
Double brown wood wardrobe x1 - 30
Dresser (needs new handles and sanded or painted) - 10
Child size red table - FREE
Over the door hanging full length mirror - red
Small TV - 20
Stereo (cd, cassette, radio) - new - bought at Xmas - 20
Cloth nappy pail - FREE
CD alarm clock (CD part works only sometimes but otherwise works) - FREE
Black Ikea Billy DVD shelf x1
Black Ikea Billy bookshelves x3 (large)
Black Ikea Billy CD shelves x3 FR
Futon with cushion (folds out into a double)- 20
Baby Dresser with 2 bedside tables - FREE
Dresser (great condition, sturdy) - 25
2x Ikea toy boxes (one with flower decorations) - 5 each LDon
Small Pink heart 9 slot wall shelves - 5 LDon
Small pink dvd player -15 KStr
King size mattress (less than 1 year old)  - 20 LDon
3x black Ikea nesting tables SIrv
Black Ikea Billy bookshelves x2 (med)
16 shelf EXPEDIT toy shelf

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Big Surprise

As many already know by now, I just returned home to Scotland after a secret trip to Arkansas to surprise my dad at his retirement ceremony.  It was awesome.

My dad retired this month from 30-odd years in the Air National Guard.  For his retirement present, my step-mom, Denise, secretly arranged (with the help of my brothers and sister-in-law) for Jaguar and me to fly over to Arkansas and show up at the ceremony without him knowing anything about it.  We were worried he would somehow find out, but the secret was kept well, and my dad was utterly surprised.

He said he had thought earlier on that possibly this was what Denise was planning for him, but as time drew near and I didn't arrive, he put the thought out of his mind.   A few minutes into the ceremony, it was announced that 'we will be joined by two special guests...'  Dad couldn't think who those two special guests would be... until the speaker added '... From Scotland' and out Jaguar and I came.  The look on his face was priceless!

It was such a wonderful surprise, and such a great experience for us all to be there.  I am so proud of my Dad's military service, and so VERY proud that he ended up serving as the Command Chief of Arkansas, the highest ANG position in the state.  Go, Chief!

I loved seeing my dad and Denise again, and getting to know Denise a lot better.  I loved spending time staying at my brother's house and getting to know him, Charity and Ava better.  I loved visiting my mom and step-dad, David, and spending a bit of time with my niece PaisLee.  And I was so happy to snatch a few hours with my BF Devon and her adorable children on the last day in town.

It was also a blessing in disguise for our move.  At Scott's immigration interview, he has to prove that I am 're-establishing domicile' in America, since I am not currently living there.  While in Arkansas, I was able to renew my driver's license, set up a savings account, and hire out a storage unit (and put some stuff in it), all of which will help with the application.  I also received confirmation of Fifi's acceptance into a school, which will help a lot too! 

Furthermore, it helped me feel more settled emotionally.  This move is a hard one, full of mixed emotions. Until that boint, I felt very sad and lonely about leaving Scotland.  This place is my home.  I love it here.  (Hate the weather, but love everything else.)  Being in Arkansas for a week really got me excited about moving back.  The weather is gorgeous, the way of life is laid back, and my family is lively and fun.  And the food is DE-FREAKIN-LISH.

None of that detracts from how hard it will be to leave this place and this family and this school, but it does give me a lot to look forward to.

It also gave me a little break in which I can now see the remaining chunk of time we will still be in Scotland as a short, separated unit of time - seven or eight weeks, in which we have loads and loads to do!

Anybody want to buy my stuff?  (More lists to follow!)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Church Signs

So I know I've been neglecting my blog lately, and mega apologies for that. I'm going to pull the "I'm immigrating in possibly as little as two months from now" card on that.

To rectify the lack of serious blogging going on (and it will return soon, please believe me, please keep coming back), I'm going to start a series I've been meaning to start for, oh, roughly ten years now.

The Church Sign Series

An old friend (okay, boyfriend) of mine and I used to collect photos of church signs. If we were driving anywhere and saw a stellar church sign with an incredible message, we would pull over (if we were lucky enough to have a camera with us - this was the 2000s, we didn't have camera phones yet) and take a photo. For posterity. We dreamed of one day publishing a coffee table book of authentic epic church signs.

Yeah, it's been ten or so years, and I've made no progress on it.

So to keep the blog active, I'll be posting random photos from our collection whenever I feel it's time to blog but don't have the time to write.

Welcome to the series.

I've just never been able to decide if this would be the first photo to introduce the book or the grand finale. I think it might just be both.