Thursday, April 30, 2009

a little hope

Yesterday, I got a little hope from my manager. I will at least get the chance to close-out the work that I was doing on Ares (NASA rocket). I had done a substantial amount of work that I am hoping doesn't just get unused. I would rather keep working on it but if I can't, then at least someone else can use what I did do.

Bryan met me for lunch at work yesterday and it was fun to give him a little tour and introduce him to the people that I work with at ATK. I pointed out to Bryan that the guy beside me took down his Ares drawings from his cubicle wall. I, however, refuse to take down my pictures, drawings and colored pictures of Ares done by my boys. It is the little hope that I have left. The pictures are inspiring and someday, I will do space work again.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

what a difference a day makes

This afternoon at work, Bryan called to let me know that he got invited last minute to go to a Twins baseball game with another guy from our meal group. This meant that I would be alone with the kids again tonight. We haven't hungout with Bryan since Sunday morning. I was not looking forward to this at all.

I said to Bryan, "I am saying yes but I want to say no." Tears welled up in my eyes as engineers in cubicles surrounded me. I did not want to deal with the boys alone and I definitely did not want to put the boys to bed after last night's fiasco.

I swallowed hard and knew what I was facing. Bryan picked up the boys from school so that he could see them for a little while until I got home. He was out the door as soon as I got home.

The boys did surprisingly well, relative to last night. They ate a healthy home-cooked meal. I bribed them with ice cream to play some keys on the piano/keyboard. Jaden actually played through Mary Had a Little Lamb. This was a first and we sure celebrated. He has not been very cooperative to do what he is asked. No surprise. He is his own man and doesn't like instruction from anyone. Don't know where he gets that from...ha ha.

When it came time to get ready for bed, Jaden got 2 of his 3 stuffed animals taken away for not doing things that I repeatedly asked him to do. He kept up the whining, complaining, asking, bargaining and negotiating until I left him, about 30 minutes later. He is the most persistent kid, I have ever met. He sure is good at wearing me down but tonight I stood my ground and didn't yell. I stayed calm which is amazing. I left their bedroom and they both were quiet and asleep within 5 it should be. Extra thanks going up to God.

Monday, April 27, 2009

bedtime chaos

On Sunday night, as I attended church without Bryan, I thought, "Residency sure prepared me well to be a doctor's wife. I sure value it when he is around and the times when he is gone are nothing compared to residency life." Bryan was working Sunday night and I was feeling quite comfortable. I do prefer him to be with me, especially when I go to church but I was doing quite well without him. The kids made it fully dressed, fed and happy to church on time (nothing like a few weeks ago when Jaden went without shoes).

Tonight I had a wake-up call. Bryan is again working tonight. I fed the kids and started getting them ready for bed early. It was a good start but it quickly started going downhill. The boys were not listening to anything I was asking them to do. I tried not to give any negative consequences because it usually makes the situation go downhill very fast and they become completely uncooperative. I held out. We got ready for bed. It took longer than I would have liked but we made it, or so I thought. All madness broke lose. Kids couldn't stop getting out of bed. Stuffed animals were taken away. Lots of crying was belted out. I closed their door. Both boys came out crying and screaming. This was the last straw. I went up to discover a centimeter wide spider crawling on their wall. I killed it and flushed it. Now we had to deal with the fear of spiders. More crying. The door is left open but stuffed animals do not return. I go downstairs. More crying. Finally quiet at 8:45, 90 minutes after I started getting them ready for bed.

I really, really, very strongly dislike putting the boys to bed. This is Bryan's job at our house. I had to do this a lot more during residency and I disliked it then but it has gotten even worse it seems.

Bryan enjoys it and I am glad for that. In theory, reading books, praying and singing to my boys can be very enjoyable. Throw in cranky, tired boys and all chaos breaks lose. I do not look forward to tucking in my boys again. I am hoping it is at least a few weeks away until I have to do this again.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

exhausted but inspired

Last night we got to go to an orchestra concert. I love listening to music, of almost any type. I am not musical but wish I was so I truly appreciate people with talents I don't have. I love that orchestra players are so passionate. It was so entertaining and thrilling to watch people play instruments and music they clearly love. The music inspires them and their passion is contagious.

There is chaos all around me with 4 energetic kids and 3 parents with much less energy from the fun, but exhausting last 2 days.

Bryan had his first play date (2 dads, 4 boys).
Jaden played his first soccer game.
Bryan coached his first soccer game.
Clay cheered on his brother.
Four parents got some time without kids to celebrate my sister-in-law's acceptance and funding to go to grad school.

I am exhausted but inspired. Looking forward to refreshing sleep.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

conversational Jaden

This week Jaden has been saying so many cute things.

This week started out by me telling the boys that I don't work on the NASA rocket any more. I have not been wanting to tell them because they love it, as do I. They call it "my" rocket. They have a poster of it up at school and toy rockets at home. Jaden asked me what I do now. I told him that I work on explosives that blow things up. Jaden said, "In the air?" I said, "No, but that would be better (laughter)." Jaden was not impressed by this. Too bad that I couldn't live up to impressing my 4 year old with my job.

Jaden has been talking about babies off and on for a few weeks now and the conversation just increased this week. Jaden told me on the way to school that he wanted me to have another baby. Then he asked me when I will have another baby. Today he asked me if I have a baby in my tummy yet. Sometimes he wants a sister and other times a brother. Tonight he told Bryan that he thinks we should have 4 boys in our family. Bryan explained to Jaden with my help that mom could not handle 4 boys, 2 is hard enough. I did find myself at one point explaining to Jaden all the negative things about babies and then stopped myself halfway through the conversation. I was thinking that someday, Jaden is not going to like babies and he won't know why. Unbeknownst to him, his mom will have planted negative thoughts in his head about babies. Hopefully it won't stick.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

what to do

I have been working on explosives for 5 weeks (short of 1 day)! I had high hopes that I would be working on the NASA Ares I rocket again by now but that has not happened. The prospects don't look good.

I am using this blog to process. I really don't know what to do. Do I just stick it out and work on weapons or find something else to do in the mean time? I am not even working on weapons on the air. I told the boys I am working on explosives now and Jaden asked, "In the air?" I had to tell him, "No, on the ground. It stays on the ground and doesn't go in the air."

I really love the kids school and want to keep them there but I need to work to pay for it. Bryan could work more to pay for it but I don't want to sit at home. I want to work but I want to work on space stuff. It seems like that is getting close to impossible in the Minneapolis area.

I just don't know what to do but I am not loving my job. Right now I am there for the people. I love being around other people and it is my "mission field." I am also there for the 1% of hope I still have that Ares will return to my workplace and I will get to do some of the work.

I took this job with the hopes of doing space stuff but if there is no space work to be done, I would not have taken the job. I really don't know what to do.

Bryan signed a 2 year contract with his work and we are in no hurry to move but I am thinking about looking for other jobs out there. Maybe the prospect of looking will give me hope and something to look forward to. Again, I don't know what to do. I am unsettled and undecided.

Friday, April 17, 2009

want of a keyboard

We are in the looking process for a piano keyboard, not a computer keyboard.

I am going to learn how to play and teach my boys at the same time. I have always wanted to learn an instrument and the piano seems to be the best to play without any other instruments. The guitar would work too but I am not as interested in that. Learning to play an instrument and read music has been on my life goal list for quite awhile soI am happy to be making some progress on that front.

I am super excited about finding a Montessori based piano teacher. I think her techniques will be the best to keep the attention of my boys.

I had my first meeting with Hestia, my future piano teacher. She is awesome and eccentric and I will have many stories to retell from her. She is the creator of the only Montessori piano teaching method and books.

She is from Sri Lanka and at least in her sixties. She asked me my religion and off we went on a 15 minute discussion about the Bible and a 5 minute lecture (word from God, as she called it) about sex. It was great and very entertaining!

She is very skilled in piano (many degrees and certifications) and also has a knack for acting (along with a degree). She pretended that I was Jaden or Clay at various times throughout my intro lesson and it was frightening how real she was!

She was very entertaining and I couldn't stop laughing at our interaction on the way home. I look forward to meeting with her again. I am super excited to play a few notes on the keyboard and to teach my boys!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

sleep deprived

This is for all of the sleep-deprived parents out there.

You know you are sleep-deprived when: (all of these have happened to me)

-You can’t remember the last time you got 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep

-You know that one of your kids woke you up at least one time but have no memory of who or when or why.

-You wake up with vertigo. (me this week)

-You wake up with a headache.

-You can’t remember what day it is when you wake-up.

-You can’t remember why you set your alarm to get up.

-You turn off the alarm and don’t remember doing so, only to wake-up later in panic mode.

-Your child tells you that he came into your room last night and you have no memory of that happening but the door being open in the morning is the proof.

-You fall asleep while putting your kids to bed.

-You can’t stop yawning while reading to your kids.

-You fall asleep in a toddler bed.

-You fall asleep on the floor.

-You fall asleep just about anywhere.

and my all time favorite:

-You put the ice cream in the fridge instead of the freezer. (thanks to Bryan for this one during medical residency)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

wonderful Easter

We were with my family over the last few days. The weekend has taken its toll on me. I am sleep deprived and a little worn out. I probably tried to do too much cooking today. I need to learn that simpler is better but I love a good, big homemade meal. It is what I am used to. Holidays with family mean that a big meal is coming. Maybe I need to redefine that in my life. I love to cook and enjoy making good crowd-pleasing food but it shouldn't exhaust me.

We had a great weekend, starting with an inspiring and challenging Good Friday service at our church community, Upper Room. My parents and grandma met us there. It was a great reminder of Christ's sacrifice for us. I also enjoyed seeing my parents participate in the service and hearing about how much they enjoyed their time at Upper Room.

We had a great Easter service at Upper Room tonight where people wrote on boards on the walls a word that described them before they met Jesus in their lives. Then at the end of the service, everyone turned the boards over and wrote a word that described their changed lives now. It was neat to read what people wrote. So great to experience the life-changing power of Jesus.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

another kind of spider

I have now been working on a military weapon system for three weeks. I have been getting up to speed on the Spider minefield munition control system. It is an updated weapon system to replace landmines. I have always had negative thoughts about landmines and how they have killed so many innocent people. I have read a lot about why they are controversial and agree that they seem pretty unethical. The updated Spider system eliminates the concerns that people had with landmines. A person is required now to detonate anything in the system to avoid killing innocent people. Also, the new mines expire/sterilize and quite working after 30 days if left unattended. This didn't happen with old landmines and some of them are still exploding 40+ years later. There are lots of plans to develop nonlethal options for border and perimeter control which sound very useful to me. Spider would be used to scare and injure intruders instead of killing people.

This is still not work I dreamed of doing but it is getting more fascinating and challenging. I feel like I should stick it out and do this work for now, in the hopes of doing work that I love in the near future.

I think it is interesting that I got placed on probably the most controversial weapon that ATK creates. It is definitely challenging my ethical and moral dilemma with war and weapons.

Monday, April 6, 2009

significantly altered work

My job has been going through some changes over the last couple of weeks. It has been saddening to me and to Bryan and it has been stressful to others at ATK, while some find the chaos almost laughable.

I haven't been working on Ares (space shuttle replacement) for 2 weeks. The funding for avionics/electrical systems for the first stage of the rocket (my part) was shut-off 2 weeks ago. Since then I have been doing some work on military weapons. Not very exciting to me but the work is getting slightly more enjoyable. I am still dealing with some ethical dilemmas about weapons.

This is the quote from ATK in Plymouth, "ATK Launch System’s (Ares) go-forward plan is significantly altered."

Launch Systems is the division of ATK in Utah that is in charge of the first stage (solid rocket booster) of Ares I. I work for them from ATK in Plymouth, MN.

Initially, it was thought that my work in avionics would continue through October 2009 but now it is possible that the work may not return. They (ATK in Utah) are throwing around lots of ideas, that maybe we could work on avionics for the first stage of the rocket, one day a week (which seems pretty pathetic). My manager said today that it doesn't look like the Ares avionics work will return soon but that doesn't mean it won't return one way or another. It is good to know that ATK in Plymouth has avionics experts (not me, but I work with them) so the work may have to return here in order to get done, eventually.

For now, I am enjoying getting to know some new coworkers. I refuse to take down all of the Ares I pictures in my cubicle. I will keep hoping.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

different kind of bloody nose

Here is my poor Clay. Apparently it is not enough to tell him not to run with both hands in his pockets. I should have not let him walk with both hands in his pockets either. Who knew? His head was the first thing to hit the sidewalk when he tripped on our walk Thursday afternoon. There goes the nice Easter pictures. There is always an owie on one of my boys but this is one of the worst looking.

We tried to take advantage of going on a family walk while it was sunny but the sun was deceiving and it was still cold. We also tried to invite every neighbor (5 houses) we have met over for dinner that night but got no takers. People were gone or already had plans. We also met some new neighbors. We will definitely be trying again later. We have some great neighbors and look forward to getting to know them better.

Friday, April 3, 2009

worn out

Today wore me out. We went to the Minnesota Zoo with some friends to see the baby animals. We saw lots of babies. Baby goats, baby pigs, baby bunnies, baby chicks and one baby cow. We did a lot of walking and the boys were worn out. I didn't bring a stroller in the hopes that I could wear them out but I also knew there would be complaining about walking so I tried to prepare for it mentally. When Clay couldn't walk any more, I would carry him for a little while. When Jaden couldn't walk any more, I would race him. When they both couldn't walk any more, I gave Clay a piggy back ride and raced Jaden. That was a good workout and my legs ache to prove it. With Clay on my back, I am about as fast as Jaden. We had some good races.

Poor Clay walked around all day with a scraped up face. Yesterday on a walk near our house he tripped while walking with both hands in his pockets and skinned his face up pretty good. From the top of his nose to the top of his mouth, there was lost skin and blood. It looks pretty bad and he complains that it hurts every once in awhile but he is doing pretty good with it. Lucky for him, he heals quickly and there will probably be no sign of the owie in a couple weeks.