Thursday, October 13, 2011

time flies...

So much has happened, and it is hard to write, even if nothing bad happens!

We went on a road trip - the very reason, in a way, for the title of this blog, yet I was so tired that I did not get around to write while traveling.  Let's make amends:

The first night we spent in Shreveport - very little to report, really. Seems to be an industrial town, and we just passed through.

The second night we were in St Louis:  a beautiful city, even though most Americans here in Texas will not admit that.

Why could it be?  We drove in a carriage, we went up the Arch, we slept in the Hyatt (!), played in the park, and did not eat in the Starbucks because the twins threw a fit.  Their vanilla steamers were too hot (it wasn't, really, they were just difficult *sigh*)  The Museum of Westward Expansion was very tortured - trying to celebrate American expansion to the west does not marry well with celebrating Native American culture, yet they did their convoluted best. Dear Americans - some of us love you just the way you are...

Then on to Indianapolis!  Farmland all the way there, pretty little towns with pretty churches and general stores just like in the South African "platteland" - that does not translate.  Let's call it small towns, it literally means flat lands.

I knit some while Jacques was driving.

In Indianapolis we lived on "medical alley" - because we were there to get Jean's contact lenses.  Dark ones, so he can see inside without his dark glasses. (Jean has Achromatopsia, more about that at, I cannot explain it well in a few words.)

The staff at the low vision center were as close to perfect health care providers as you can get.  They did not call me mommy.  They did not talk down to Jean.  They listened to my answers (they did not even make him do any color recognition tests, trusting me that after 7 years I know he cannot see color.  Plus - it will make no difference in the treatment. Thank you very much.)  They gave him some lenses to experiment with, he sorted through them, knew within a minute which color he preferred, and this color improved his functional vision with two lines! Anyway, he then tried on the contacts, loved them and did not want to take them out again.  They let us take them.  Jean in action:  Dr Windsor asks him: "What color were your previous lenses?" Jean: "I think pinkish orange, but I am really not the person to ask.  That's the very reason I am here!"  He said it sweetly, in a way that left all of us laughing.  He is such a sweet boy.

After three days in Indianapolis, we headed home through Louisville and Memphis, taking a boat trip on the Ohio river in Louisville, and visiting the Memphis Zoo.

Sorry, no pictures of Memphis Zoo yet.

Finally, back home to Austin.  There and back again in 8 days.  May there be many more of these trips in our future!

This weekend we will be camping for the first time as a family. It will be fun.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Done. Well, almost done.

Today we (I) finally finished most of the paperwork for our GREEN CARD application.  I  feel almost guilty, it has only been 2 years and 8 months since we arrived here.  It was not easy, and we are not completely done yet - we finished the medical examinations that involved several (14 in total!) vaccinations, and printed and signed most of the forms.  It will still cost us a lot of money just in application fees, but still, I feel all this was a small price to pay.  

Even despite the fact that I do not really believe in vaccinations... The boys were very sweet today- they sat there, scared to death in their little gowns waiting for the nurse to come with the vaccinations, when Jean made me take a "mental picture".  They posed for several of those, I wish I could post one here.  

Melva does not need any vaccinations this year, to her dismay.

Now we still have to send all the forms to the attorneys, along with the checks and the supporting documents (has anyone seen my husband's birth certificate??), and who knows, we might soon have the right to permanently reside in the United States of America. Can you say fixed meelings?

No, actually, it is all good.  Much as I some days wish they would deport me, just because I am so homesick, having a green card would be a tremendous blessing and make life a lot easier. Period.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making memories

In 2004 when my daughter turned three, she received a poster of Winnie the Pooh, mounted on hardboard.  Our best friends and neighbors at the time mounted it themselves using a method that involved a bathtub and a specific combination of glue and water.  We treasure that gift and it is still on the nursery wall, although she has moved out of the nursery and is now ten years old.

Ever since she received that gift I wanted to do something similar, but on a grander scale, such as mounting a whole picture storybook on hardboard and putting the entire book up on the bedroom wallsThat, when you stop to think about it, is a very big project.  (I still plan on doing it, even though I might have to have another baby to justify a picture book on the wall). In the mean time, three boys and seven years later, I have not managed to even start on it.

That is, until recently.  In search of the method, I stumbled upon this tutorial.
So, instead of making big posters to mount on a wall, I bought three Beatrix Potter books at a thrift store and made a memory game.  

My memory game makes me very happy.  I love the connection it creates between my family and my past, remembering the nights we played around the table with my parents and siblings, so many years ago, so far away.  And while very little that I do during the run of an ordinary day stays done, this game will stay.   

Besides, it is very pretty, don't you think?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who knew Texas was this hot?

This is our third Texas summer - no need for weather forecasts.  It will be sunny, hot, and dry.