4 Golden Eggs

4 Golden Eggs
our children

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Road Trip to NYC Part 2 (a book signing)

I had planned on leaving Massachusetts late in the afternoon or early evening on Friday but, I found out late in the day that one of my friends had a death in her family. Her daughter died unexpectedly. She was only 48. This changed my day. I had to go visit Barbara and make sure she was okay and was going to be cared for and supported. The pastor was there giving her kind words of support. 
I woke the kids at 3 and left for New Jersey.
They slept as I drove.
It was 8 in the morning when we arrived at our motor lodge.
They were awake and saw the free jelly doughnuts in the lobby.
I saw the two double beds and picked the one in the corner, turned on Saturday morning cartoons, closed the curtains and begged them to be quiet so Mommy could sleep for a little while.
I think I did. I probably even snored.
By 10 we were out the door and drove into New York City to Books of Wonder.

Why would I take on such an exhausting task you may ask?
Why would I subject myself to four children in a confined space for hours on end?Because, I know what it feels like to be 3,000 miles away from family. And, my brother Troy has had this dream of being a published author for a long time. I am so proud of him and wanted to support and share in his success. Family is very important to me. 
Our children are really good travelers. They are actually fun to be with (most of the time). They love road trips as much as I do. In fact, when we were heading for home on Sunday afternoon, they asked me to drive to California instead so they could see their cousins. It was tempting. 
 We got to see my brother, "Uncle Troy", read from his new novel The Dragon of Cripple Creek. The kids were full of interest and brought a fun energy to the back of the bookstore where the five authors were. A small crowd had gathered to hear the authors read and promote their books. I was glad I was there with our little ones.
It was so special to be with my brother again,
His book is great! Go get yourself a copy and I think you'll agree.

After the book reading, question and answer time, we browsed the store and bought more books (if you are ever at our home, you'd see we have enough books to start our own store or small library). Troy signed at least 100 copies of his book and then we headed out to have a late lunch. 

We ended up at a unique Thai restaurant (Qi) a few streets over.  There were no children in the place. It seemed to me that everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at us. Thankfully, the waitress seated us in the back at our own cozy table. The food was delicious and the ambiance of the place was nice. In fact, ambient, trance type music was playing and the wooden ships hanging from the ceiling and the rows and rows of beaded abaci hanging on the walls gave us plenty of topics of conversation. 

 After lunch, we drove back into Jersey City to have naps before the evening. We had hoped to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the photo exhibit of Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand's work. Edward Steichen's faces had moved me when I first discovered his work in High School. Then, I discovered Alfred Stieglitz's photos of hands... phenomenal! Paul Strand is an American classic photographer. No one can touch Alfred's work. It is timeless and powerful.
We used the Tom-Tom one of my friend's had loaned me to find the Met and drove around the City a number of times. We kept trying to get to the Museum but the navigational device kept steering us to some museum near the pier. Time was passing so, we parked near the Empire State Building to take the kids up to see the view. 
We must be naive. Dear readers, did you know it costs a family of six approximately $100 to get to the 86th floor and an additional $15 per person to get to the 102th floor or if you want to cut to the front of the lines (the security line, the ticket line and the elevator line) you can pay an extra $26 per person more and can get to the 86th floor within 20 minutes? There is also an option to watch a short IMAX movie about the Empire State Building (this costs extra). If you want to go to the 102th floor, I think you have to wait in a line, although there may be a person willing to take you up quickly if you have the cash. You can read all about the complicated pricing and options here if you are interested.

Instead, we landed our cold bodies in a Starbucks smack dab outside the Empire State Building and I had my favorite chai tea latte. Troy had a double espresso and the children all had hot chocolates. We enjoyed looking at the Empire State Building views hanging on the wall in Starbucks. Painted by David Kleiner.

After our tasty beverages and the children exhausting their scavenger hunt for lost coins (found on the floor), we headed to Penn Station and said our "good-byes" to Uncle Troy.

The children were asleep within moments as I drove back to Jersey. I love seeing New York City at night. There is something crisp about NYC in early spring. The window dressings reflect an eagerness for warmer days.


 I headed through the Holland Tunnel and we five slept well in our two double beds. Coins in pockets, images in memories, books in bags and love of family in our hearts.

(this was the view from our hotel room window)

 Sunday was sunny and bright. The children wanted to hear a Disney favorite CD all the way home; over and over again. I heard The Monkey's Uncle sung by Annette Funicello, The Spectrum Song sung by Paul Frees, Let's Get Together sung by Hayley Mills, and The Ugly Bug Ball sung by Burl Ives at least 20 times.
It was good to be home in the country again.
People are sweet and it's quiet here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Road Trip to NYC (Part 1)

Why are our children holding dragons in a bookstore you ask?

Could it be that they are waiting to hear someone special read to them about a dragon?

Maybe it is their Uncle Troy?

 Yes! It must be.
Here is it at last! 

The Dragon of Cripple Creek by Troy Howell! It is a modern day tale of the last dragon, a girl, greed and gold!  I will post more tomorrow about our road trip to New York City to see my talented brother, illustrator and now published author Troy Howell sign his new book!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

bittersweet goodbyes

My Beloved is on his way to Minnesota (he is actually there now). He begins work at his new job tomorrow. I am so proud of him. It's been 20 months since he lost his job of 10 years. He has landed a good job after many searches and interviews with other companies. 

Many people are sad to see him go. He has been a teacher of junior high school students in a Bible study class once a week. His students made him a strawberry cake and gave him a photo of themselves so, he will not forget them. How could he? They are each unique and amazing young people who have really enjoyed having his as their teacher. He's the type of teacher that uses current events and movies (like Kung Fu Panda) as examples of faith and Bible lessons. 

 He had planned on leaving early Friday morning for the 27 hour drive from our home to MN. As the day progressed, it was closer to the time our four children come home from school. Even though he had said "good-bye" to them that morning, he needed one more "good-bye". 

 Here he is in a tender moment with our Max. 

 Charlotte adores her Daddy and had to give him a  "smooch kiss".

Grant and Benjamin chased after him to say one last "good-bye". 

I wiped the tears from my cheeks and put on my strong Mommy face. He leaves with my heart. He plans on returning for Grant's birthday at the beginning of April. Until then, Carry On!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Beloved's Birthday

My Beloved jokes about meeting me when I was a teenager. It's true; I was two weeks shy of turning 20. He was already 20. This was back in May of 1986. We were babies practically. But, within a few weeks, I knew I would spend the rest of my life with this man.

When he was 20, he was zero population growth. I wanted to have 5 kids. He was in pre-med classes at the university. I wanted to be a photojournalist.
 He hadn't been around many children in his teen years. I was around children all the time (my nieces and nephews, and children I babysat or cared for through volunteer work at the hospital). I figured I could change his mind over time.

As he got to know my family, his feelings about having children changed. By the time he was 22, two children was enough (two being the perfect number to replace us - still zero population growth).

We dated off and on for 5 years. A lot of those years were painful. The pain was primarily caused by our  poor choices. I dated a few others during those five years but, I knew my heart belonged to this guy named David.

He mustered the courage to ask my Father for my hand in marriage. My Father agreed! 
 A few weeks later he took me on a chaperoned date on 13 February 1991. 
After midnight, on the top of Mount Soledad in San Diego, he was down on a knee asking me to marry him.
He teases me about never saying, "yes". I said, "Of course I'll be your wife!" We were married four months later.
 After some time in England in 1993, he told me, on my birthday, that he wanted to start a family. I was thrilled. I have always had a strong intuition and had a deep sense that having babies would not be an easy thing for us to do. I was right.
 It took us nearly 10 years of loss and suffering and many miscarriages to come to the decision that we didn't want to grow old without children. 

 We decided to adopt. We chose "open-adoption".  

From the time we signed up with our agency to the time our birth mother gave birth to our first son, nine months had passed. The length of a pregnancy. I had the honor of being in the delivery room when Grant was born. My Beloved and his parents were right outside the delivery room doors and heard his first cry. 
God works in mysterious ways.
Two and a half years later, I gave birth to our next three children. Triplets. Maxwell, Charlotte, and Benjamin.

 My Beloved is the best Dad. I could not have chosen a better Daddy for our four gifts. I think the best gift he is giving them is his love for God and their mom (me!).
 He was born on St. Patrick's Day 1966. His Mom says, "He was born in time for the evening news."
He is Scots-Irish (like me) and German. He loves my corned beef and cabbage, potato leek soup, pastries, apple or berry pies. 
He is an intellectual and would rather talk about string theory than sports. 
He is well read, loves dark coffee and classical music. 
He can play most wind instruments and has marched with a tuba in the most popular of America's parades (Macy's and The Rose Parade) more than once.
Anytime we watch Jeopardy, he is answering most of the questions right.
He has grieved not being a physician but, it's just as well. He is color blind and can't see bruising or redness on skin very well. 
Instead, he has a degree in chemistry.

 During these past 19 months of unemployment, he went back to school and is finishing up his Master's degree in plastics. He's a smart one.
 On this day of his birth 45 years ago. I wish him another blessed and happy birthday. 
May he grow old, by my side, and see our children's children having babies. 

Happy Birthday David Leon Gibson.
je' taime

Thursday, March 10, 2011

the busy week

This week has been a busy one.  On Tuesday, my dear friend Caragh dropped off two parrots for us to bird-sit. They are beautiful creatures but, so loud and very demanding of attention. Aruba is here in the photo. She is adorable. She loves to dance and play peek-a-boo. She took to my Beloved and loved to sit on his shoulders and nibble (sometimes bite) his ears and neck. 
Boca is the other parrot. He was more shy and took a while to warm up to us. Once he did, he loved to do "kisses" and have his feathers petted. He is a lovely green color with a blue head. 
We worried about the cats initially. They steered clear of these two, noisy birds. Pup-Pup on the other hand loved these birds. He would try to lick any feathers that stuck out of their cages. 

On Saturday, one of my nieces, Ava Kate Howell Warren, flew in to Boston from Virginia. She is 20, looks younger, but has a mature and thoughtful mind. She is a joy to be with. Her precious husband wasn't able to join her this time as he had to work. 
We walked through Boston after parking under the Common and looked for discount tickets at our favorite kiosk across from the Boston Public Library. They weren't selling any for Mary Poppins. 

We walked to the theater district and went into the Boston Opera House. They had matinee tickets for Mary Poppins on sell. We had just enough time to grab a quick lunch before the show started.
The Boston Opera House does not look like anything special from the street. Once inside, the place is magnificent.  It's hard to believe this landmark was closed for over 10 years. It opened it's doors in 1928 and hosted vaudeville. When vaudeville lost it's popularity, it became a place for movies, then concerts and then opera. Financial troubles closed it. Thankfully, it was rescued and restored and the first show performed in the renovated building was The Lion King. 

The interior is lush. Elaborate French Baroque floor-to-ceiling detailing is overwhelming. Everywhere I look, is details of marble, brass, gold leaf, decorative plaster, wall murals and mirrors. The grand staircase is just that, grand.

We settled into our seats and the show began. This production is from Broadway Across America.

Photos are not allowed but, I must say, Ava and I were impressed. 
We even found ourselves wiping tears away at the end.
Bert was played by Nicolas Dromard. Mary Poppins was played by Steffanie Leigh. The supporting cast is phenomenal. The set designs, costumes, music, dancing, singing and acting is top notch. 
After the show, we walked to China Town and ate a light supper at my favorite dim sum restaurant. Winsor Dim Sum Cafe. The wonton soup is hearty and the dim sum is fresh and inexpensive.
The remaining three days of her visit were packed. She helped me sort the playroom and shed stuff the kids just don't play with anymore. We bagged the Panera bread donation for the bread ministry Saturday and Monday night. She joined me Tuesday morning at the ladies Bible Study. She helped me with our Charlotte who got very sick with a high fever and hallucinations. Before we knew it, it was time for her to fly back home.

Our only healthy child, Ben, rode with me to the airport. Pup-Pup demanded riding along too. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to Ava. We don't know if we'll be in Boston together again.

On the drive home, I saw Boston in a different light. This is the city where our triplets were born. This is a city that holds so many precious memories for me. I grieve leaving. 

(This is a photo of the Zachem Bridge that Ava took last summer)

I came home to three sick children. Charlotte with a high fever. Into the cool bath she went.

Grant was sent home early from school with a high fever and a bad cough. 

Max with the same. 

I'm not feeling well either. I suffer with scoliosis and spina bifida occulta and today sciatic nerve pain is almost unbearable. 
I look forward to Spring when we can open up the windows and enjoy the fresh air. I look forward to this next journey although I will miss the one I'm in right now.