Sunday, September 27, 2009


We left for Walla Walla on Saturday last.

Visited friends, drank wine, took in the amazing scenery of the transformed Walla Walla Valley.

New buildings on campus... could hardly resist the urge to grab some freshman by the shirt and tell him/her "why, in MY day, we weren't so lucky! We had only two elliptical machines in a tiny gym, no art building, and no campus center! My first semester, the library was under construction and I had to order books from a little desk and wait two days for them to get to me! The library wasn't even open all night! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE SUFFERED, in my day."

Sometimes, it's hard to believe that colleges go on without you. It's as if, like some mythical Brigadoon, the whole thing existed only for those four years. Without you, it's not the same.

But, it is there. And it is the same. But different. I half expected to see people I knew walking across Ankeny field, heading to the library to write their theses. The transportation was surreal. Especially when I looked at Charles. He didn't belong there, in my college world. In my personal Whitman Bubble.

I can't find my camera, so I don't have any photos of that trip to show you right now. The College visit was a teeny-tiny part of the whole weekend, which consisted more of hanging out with old friends, discussing the future more than reminiscing about the past. Also, of Charles getting licked by a couple of friendly Boxers. He's a tasty guy.

We drove from Walla Walla to see our new nephew in the Tri-Cities.

We took photos of that, too, so perhaps we left our camera there. That, or it's buried under a mountain of sand in the backseat of the car, which I'm sure is great for cameras.

You see, from there, we drove to the beach. It was a long trip. Charles wailed from Wauna to Ilwaco. I guess there's only so much car a guy can take.

We were reunited with the dog at my folks house, but then Tony left us on the Amtrak to go back to work. The same day our friends the Specks drove down for vacation.

We had fun.

Charles enjoyed lasagna:
He really enjoyed lasagna:
We visited Beachdog (lilliputian photos stolen from Kelleigh) (giant dog borrowed from Kelleigh) (the dog will be with my folks for Thanksgiving) (I'm thinking of getting a saddle):

And Charles got to bathe with the ladies, both Adriana (almost age 2) and Tessa (age 3 months). Both were more demure than he was in the bathtub:

We also went to the beach, many times, running the dogs ragged.
Buster chased the stunt kite our friends flew, dutifully protecting his family from that noisy beast:

Charles didn't eat any sand. Bonus!

Tony drove down yesterday to be with us. I guess he loves us. How blessed are we?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Four Years

I was going to do a "then and now" comparison of this photo (now):
with a photo from our wedding (then), but I can't find the discs of all our wedding photos, which is just on par with how the rest of today is going, so fine, I'll roll. I just hope they aren't lost forever, as I have never uploaded them to our current computer, the one that has the hard drive backup and everything.

You'll notice from the above photo that Tony is in bed (well, we got in bed with him for an ad hoc photo shoot, though you can see that Charles wasn't too thrilled with that idea). His largest incision got infected and he has to clean it every day (I'll spare you the details, it's pretty gross), and fighting infection along with general recovery from surgery a week and a half ago has made it impossible for him to be up and about for more than an hour or so at a time.

I cancelled the babysitter for tonight. Don't know what we would have done or where we would have gone, as I was hoping Tony would surprise me with some awesome idea, but instead, I think I will pack up Charles this evening and we will go watch football with my brother. That way, Tony will sleep and hopefully recover faster. At this point, I'm not sure he will feel well enough to go to Walla Walla and the beach with us next week, but at this point, I am committed to going. Plus, Buster is already at my parents' house, and I miss him.

It is tough wrangling a child and taking care of a household all alone. I don't understand how single moms do it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Honest, Officer, I CAN'T Drive 55!

In preparation for our trip to faraway lands (Walla Walla, Tri-Cities, and Ilwaco) this weekend*, methinks the Cook family could use a little help putting together a playlist. So, in the latest, greatest installment of theme songs, I'm looking for your list of songs about driving or road vehicles (cars, bicycles, motorcycles, RVs, etc.). Here's a few random ones I thought of:

1. I Can't Drive 55 - Sammy Hagar
2. 409, I Get Around, Little Deuce Coupe, and a bunch of others - The Beach Boys
3. Bicycle Races - Queen
4. No Particular Place to Go - Chuck Berry
5. Hot Rod Lincoln - Arkie Shibley
6. Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett
7. Born to Run, Thunder Road, Pink Cadillac - Bruce Springsteen
8. Highway to Hell - AC/DC
9. Radar Love - Golden Earring
10. Cars - Gary Numan
11. Little Red Corvette - Prince
12. Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car - Billy Ocean
13. Drive My Car - The Beatles
14. Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane

What's on your list?

*Thieves, don't try anything... we have a housesitter!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Table Dancing? Better: Table Walking!

This is how Charles now moves around the house:

I didn't just fly in, but my arms are tired all the same...

Tony is still recovering, thank you for all your prayers and well-wishes. He's been sleeping a bunch, especially since he weaned himself off of the narcotics and now has to deal with the pain again.

Anyhow, since I have been taking care of two men and a man-dog this week, neglecting work and cleanliness (not personal cleanliness, mind you, the house kind), my arms and back are real sore and I am somewhat tired.

So here's some stuff that happened this week:

Charles, Buster, and I went on lots of walks. Charles tolerates his stroller as long as he has Goldfish or graham crackers, toys, and it's not too hot for too long. Our days of walking for an hour or more are long gone.

A friend of ours had her son's birthday party at the Children's Museum. I think Charles was the youngest there, but he didn't let anyone outclass him in watermelon-eating.

He especially enjoyed the air box, or whatever it is really called. There is a nifty fan that blows balls up and makes them hover in mid-air. Perfect for a little guy who can't walk on his own and doesn't have a long-enough attention span for the many more-involved exhibits. Also, thank God he is not old enough to play in that indoor sandbox yet. I can only imagine finding that in the bottom of my bathtub.

Of course, my favorite part was the dress up. Here he is as a puppy, his favorite thing in the whole world. I haven't figured out what his Halloween costume will be yet, but rest assured it is in the forefront of my mind.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stupid Useless Organs!

To everyone who has sent well wishes and kept me in their prayers, thank you. I understand my surgeon is the best they have and quite a perfectionist. Admirable traits in a health care provider. I have three small incisions on my stomach, no more appendix and very little pain. I should be able to go home tomorrow (Wednesday).

There is not much to write about my "adventure", if you want to call it that. Most of the last day or so has been seen through closed eyes and a lot of pain, which doesn't do much for a narration. However, I am currently doing very well in a VERY quiet hospital room. Since, I spent most of the day napping and recovering, I am now (1am) very much awake and am fighting the urge to log in to work and bill a few hours.

I will share with you three things I learned during this ordeal:

1)Don't ever force yourself to vomit unless you are CERTAIN it will make you feel better.
2)Catheders are not very fun
3)If there is someone outside your door to help you get in and out of bed, ask them to help or you just might end up dropping your laptop on the floor and breaking the screen.

Regarding #3, I feel like I am driving down the information superhighway with a broken windshield. Urgh.

Maybe I'll just ask for some more narcotics to put me to sleep...mmMMMmmm Narcotics. Don't do drugs kids.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When Organs Attack!

Tony is sleeping the sleep of the heavily medicated right now. He is a bit lighter than he was yesterday, but I don't recommend his weight-loss plan. You know, that plan where they remove organs.

Tony had been feeling ill for a couple of days, but yesterday he complained to me that he felt like someone had kicked him in the stomach. He swore it wasn't his appendix (this is where the universe laughed heartily) because the pain wasn't localized to the right lower abdomen. I sent him to bed with some Gatorade and orders to rest and drink. He rested, but he didn't drink. By 6 pm, he was vomiting with force (or with feeeeeling, if you will). By 8 pm, he said it felt like he had been repeatedly kicked in the gut (who was beating him in his sleep? Who?). Charles went down to bed, I called Leland, and we headed to the ER. They put an IV in because he was severely dehydrated, and sent blood off for labs around 10:45 pm. For those keeping track at home, that's my BED TIME. The doctor scared me half to death when he insisted to me that it wasn't appendicitis (cue universe laughing, again) and that I was, instead, facing a rampant, vicious virus that was sure to bring our whole family down, just you wait mere mortal.

By 11 pm, even with some powerful anti-nausea medication in his IV (on top of almost a liter and half of fluid, at this point), Tony was horking again, and writhing with pain. This time, someone had kicked him in his lower back when I wasn't looking. What are these, evil gnomes attacking when my back is turned?! The bastards! Labs hadn't come back by midnight (busy night in the ER), so I asked the nurse for a ballpark time of when we would be sent home. She couldn't reasonably give me one, so I left my husband to sleep (at this point, he had some pain killers and a bigger dose of anti-nausea medication) with the promise that I would wake the baby and we would come get him as soon as he was discharged.

Charles woke at 5 am to feed, and still no word from Tony. Finally, he called at about 6:45. The official diagnosis, after an MRI and some painful (so I hear) belly-probing? That's right, appendicitis.

He had laproscopic surgery at about 11 am today, and is now on the road to recovery. When he finally woke from the anaesthesia (he's a lightweight), he told me he felt like a million bucks. I guess any thing's better than an inflated appendix. He'll be going home tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll be child-wrangling solo, so don't expect much in terms of updates. Instead, give us a call tomorrow, anytime. He'll probably be bored before too long :-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Of Snips & Snails

Tony & Charles are in the bath right now. Together. Poor Charles doesn't have much room to move about, I'm afraid, but he is making happy noises, so all is well with the world again.
I wanted to get some good semi-nude photos, because his chub is just SOOOO cute, but he doesn't cooperate so well.

He's been sick, my poor baby. 104.7 degree temp on Friday, the doc says it's a virus. He still has a bit of a fever, and he cries a lot more than usual. Doesn't want to be put down much lately and prefers to nap in my arms as opposed to his crib. We are hanging around the house this Labor Day Weekend, laying low, chillin. Charles is enjoying the dual-parent time, and I am enjoying the Tony time. Tony is enjoying installing a new garage door opener, after our last one failed miserably. We determined that it was at least 20 years old, so no big surprise. I'll let Tony tell you more, as he is proud of his installation, as well he should be. The only unfortunate part of the whole deal was that we left the car windows open in the driveway yesterday and it rained overnight. We're not at all used to closing the windows because, well, we usually park the car in the garage, and open windows means a car that doesn't smell like hot, stuffy dog and graham cracker crumbs. Whoops. Now it will smell like wet leather, I suppose.

The easiest way to put a smile on his face is to pull out the camera - Charles is such a ham! He'll climb over every obsacle in his path (including me) to get the this awesome little machine.We hope you all are enjoying a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Weekend Warriors

I'm not really sure what happened with the photos here, but I'm going to roll with it.

Buster got some clean toys.

Our weekend started with a bang and ended with a barf or two...

Charles frequently boycotts his high chair midway through the meal.
Sometimes, we make him eat on the floor. Yeah, we're awesome parents.

But, he's still cute, even after the mistreatment.
And, he believes that all drawers should be routinely emptied of their contents. Forget card games, this is Charles' kind of fun!
We did have a busy weekend... first, we went to Tony's office beach party, where we enjoyed great food in the sun. Unbeknownst to us, we also contracted an awesome stomach virus that would lay us out the next night.
Then, on Sunday, we went to some friends' wedding. They were so irreverent, it was awesome. First of all, it was in a beautiful setting in La Conner. But, they jazzed it up by adding quite a bit of humor to the whole proceeding. Sheran walked down the aisle to The Imperial March (you know, Darth Vader's theme), and Brian flipped a coin when asked, "Do you take this woman...?" They had a great first dance that involved Brian stripping off his tux top to show a tuxedo t-shirt ('cuz it says, like, I wanna be formal, but I'm here to party, too), and then the garter toss was just, well, hilarious. Brian must have pulled out 14 things from under Sheran's dress, including an empty wine bottle, a foam #1 hand, a license plate, and a rubber chicken. Charles danced with everyone, and Tony karaoked to "Don't Stop Believin'."

Notice the baby-lifting guns in this photo:

We went home around 6 pm and I promptly started vomiting, and getting sick out the other end, and Tony joined me in the noble endeavor of evacuating his digestive system around 4 am. We both stayed home Monday, along with like, half of his office. Killer.