Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Bad Day All the Way Around

Spoiler Alert – We are NOT in the Middle East --- YET!

Monday, February 16, 11AM.
We are leaving the States and returning to what D calls “the sand box.” Leaving our little place on the beach is no easy task. We put our convertible in storage with our golf clubs, cover the other car and anchor it down so the wind can’t blow it off, pack up all our gear/clothes/personal items, empty the pantry and the refrigerator, pick up the rental car to drive to Orlando to catch our flight, and pack up the meals I had stored in my freezer for BHB (I had been cooking meals to leave for her).

And, to make it more difficult, we have to leave BHB and LW. We are not sure when we will be back.  (tears)

11:00AM -- The day started early and after a bit of stress on my part, we finally left the beach and headed to BHB and RB’s house to say our goodbyes. The weather was absolutely perfect, just beautiful. It was a nice drive.

I have my roses from D and my orchid from the condo in my lap so the car smells like flowers. They smell so good even though I know I am leaving.

When we arrive at BHB and RB’s house, little LW is sleeping but that didn’t last long as the dog barked when we arrived.  We spend a few minutes kissing and hugging LW, and then we are on our way. 
D, LW (yawning) and BHB.
D, me and little LW.
Sadly, BHB had tears in her eyes as we were leaving.  D was very upset by this. 

It is about this time – 3 weeks – that is all starts to wear a new mom down.  I was prepared, but D wasn’t.  Seeing his little girl in tears was not a fun experience.  I offered once again to cancel my flight and stay but she insisted I go on.

3 weeks of night feedings, fussy evenings, sore tummy from the surgery and mom hovering over your every move.  It has to get a girl down.

I know that things will be better soon, but in that moment, it broke my heart.  When we drove away, I was in tears.

We finally boarded our plane and left Orlando landing in snowy Washington, DC.

While in flight from Orlando to Washington, I was watching the weather.  I was nervous.
I can only remember one other time when we landed on snow pack. That happened last year on our way to Maui to celebrate D's birthday. We ended up late to Maui without our luggage. AGAIN, I was very nervous.
D reminded me that if BHB needed me, I could turn around now and go back.  I texted her to see if she was up or (hopefully) taking a nap.

BHB was trying to go down for a nap and she assured me she was fine and doing good.  I should go ahead and leave.
Great snacks at a wine bar in the Dulles Airport while D worked (as normal).
We had several hours before our flight to Bahrain so we went to the United Club and tried to pass the time.
Later, another glass of wine in the United Club. Time was dragging. . . .
At 8:30 BHB sent me the cutest picture of LW. He was all passed out from his tough day. I urged her to go to bed as well.

Sleeping like a baby?  I think he misses me.  I miss him!
At 11:00PM we were still not on our plane that was supposed to leave at 10:00PM.  It was not looking good.

Flights were being canceled -- red was showing up all over the status board.

11:45PM -- We boarded and finally settled in.  But the fun was not over.  The plane had to go through deicing and there was a long line of planes waiting.  We took our place in line and waited.

My flight path view never moved from this stage.

1:45AM -- The pilot informed us we had exceeded the time allowed for the crew and we would be returning to the terminal.

The flight was canceled because it was taking too long to deice.

I immediately turned to D and urged him to get on his phone and find a hotel room.  It might be a problem with all the flights that were being canceled. Luckily we were able to book a room at one of the chain type hotels close to the airport.

After we left and plane, we walked through an empty Dulles Airport.  At the train platform, I was sure the train was not running. It was dark and no information on any of the boards. We stood there for several minutes with a whole group of fellow stranded travelers. Finally a train arrived that apparently had been sent just for us.

D made his way to the ticket counter and was able to be at the front of the line to get another flight.  About 200 people filed in behind him.  I just sat on a ledge and tried to keep my eyes open.

Sitting next to me was an Arab woman from our flight who asks me where the airlines might get us rooms. I felt bad telling her that they don’t do that anymore if the cancelation is due to weather.  She was crushed.

2:45AM -- Finally D had our flights secure leaving in 2 days!  Tuesday and Wednesday in snowy Washington, DC. Oh my, what fun!

No coat. No boots. No sweater. No clothes. No toiletries. No fun.

Our evening was not over yet.  When we went to the taxi stand at the airport, there were no taxis.  The attendant called and tried to find one for us.  After several really cold, worried minutes we had a taxi.

3:30AM -- The hotel was close but not really anything to get excited about.  We were glad to have a bed and a roof.  Unfortunately, what we did not count on was not having heat.

The room was cold. We turned the thermostat up, but no heat.  Hoping it would warm up, we fell into bed.  It was cold. It stayed cold. The heater was actually blowing very cold air.

4:30AM – D finally called down to the desk and requested a new room.  The manager came up and adjusted the thermostat and assured us the heat will come on.

5:30AM – Still cold, D goes down to the desk and requests a new room. We move to the warm new room and fall into the bed.

8:45AM – I am up unable to sleep.

9:10AM – We go to the lobby to see what the “hot breakfast” includes. There are kids running all over the place and none of them are speaking English. I feel like I have arrived back in Manama. But the breakfast is hot and feels good in our stomach.

The last meal we had was lunch yesterday in the food court of the Orlando airport.

Our plan is to go shopping for a few pieces of clothing.  We did not get our luggage returned so all we have is what we were wearing.

Our friend who lives here in Washington, ES has already invited us to join her for dinner. Her husband SS, is off hunting.  I just hope it is warm where he is. I don’t have a coat, heavy shoes or heavy clothes. I am cold.

On my phone it says it is 13 degrees here.  It is 65 in Vero Beach and 70 in Manama.  Oh, how I wish I were in either one of those places.

I wonder how LW slept last night?

Cheers (I think),

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Pretty Great Valentine’s Day

I enjoy Valentine’s Day because it gives you the opportunity to tell those you love that care about them.

This year I tried to be proactive and get a few cards out early.  I didn’t know how busy I would be.  D told me that his card arrived in Bahrain the day before he left to come back to the States.  I guess I timed it pretty good.

However, this Valentine’s Day surpassed my expectations.

First D gave me two-dozen spectacular red roses even though we will be leaving in a few days.  What a splurge.  He obviously knows how much I just LOVE flowers.

The steaks in Bahrain aren’t really great so D wanted to find a good butcher shop in the area. After 15 minutes of research online, D found a local shop where we purchased some good-looking steaks for dinner. It was a great find.

In the afternoon, we took LW for his first outing to the beach.  Although it was too windy to go down on the sand, we strolled in the shoreline park and enjoyed some delicious ice cream at Kilwin’s with his mom and dad. 

LW wore his camouflage outfit that I bought him before he was born.  I am proud to say I gave him his first camouflage. He looked ready to go hunting alligator with is dad.
And, the big treat of this Valentine’s Day was in the evening.  BHB and her hubby, RB made reservations at their favorite local (close to home) restaurant.  D and I babysat for their first evening out.  IT WAS A BIG TREAT FOR US.

I gave LW his first lesson from the flash cards I made for him.  The cards are pictures of his family including D and I.  I hope he looks at them often so he will remember what his Oma and Opa look like.
Going over our flash cards for the first time. It may not appear he is paying attention, but he was. After all, he is brilliant.
Comparing hairlines with Opa.
The only negative of the entire day was the thought I kept having that in 48 hours I will be gone for at least 6 months.  But I am extremely happy that I have had this opportunity to be here and enjoy this life-changing event in the life of my daughter. 

I am going to miss BHB, RB and LW. I am certainly going to miss being LW's Oma. I hope they don’t have any problems and all goes well for RB and BHB. RB is a very supportive husband and father so I know he will be there for her....but I will miss them desperately!

I wish I could stay longer however; it is time to go back to my role as the supportive spouse in Bahrain. That’s a pretty GREAT job as well.

Having D here at the beach with me for a few days was special and I loved every minute. We have one more day to pack up and prepare for the long journey back (7,000 miles) the sand box.  We have one more dinner at BHB’s house and one more evening cuddling LW.  I can’t wait!



Friday, February 13, 2015

First Visit

Ok, I will admit I knew I would have tears when D arrived and met LW for the first time, but I was not prepared for the intense feelings created in my heart when they first met.

It was so very, very sweet.

There is a strong connection between D and LW because they have the same middle name. BHB named LW after her daddy.

LW is the fourth generation to carry the W in his name.  D's initials are DWH.

So DW and LW will always have that strong connection.  And, last night that connection was made face to face.

After flying all the way from Manama, Bahrain, D finally met his daughter’s son, LW.  Life continues.

D's first impressions of his grandson were very close to mine when the little guy was born 18 days ago.

“He is so tiny and so alert.”

To make things really fun, BHB has named us Opa and Oma.

Today, Opa and Oma have offered to babysit during the afternoon so BHB can take a much-needed nap.  Just like a typical new mom, she is trying to do it all and keep her pre-birth schedule of daily chores.  I keep telling her, “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”

We will just have to see if she follows mother’s orders.

DWH and LWB connecting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My New Babysitting Gig

I had a great day today and I just could not go to sleep without sharing.

Actually this has been a great week and looks to get better.  Tomorrow D arrives here from Bahrain to spend a few days getting to know his grandson, LW.  

I can’t wait for D to arrive. I will be driving to Orlando tomorrow to meet his plane.

Earlier this week I shared this photo with my good friend ES.  ES gave LW the turtle light in the picture.  His nursery is decorated in “ocean” décor so the turtle fits right in.  When the light hits the ceiling it looks like you are under water.  It is very unique and he seems to love it.

His blanket comes from DW in Manama, Bahrain. It is a favorite of his moms.
LW also had his first intellectual experience this week. We sat him in his bouncy chair with toys that hang in front.  He “accidentally” hit one of the toys and immediately his attention was on the bright toys Obviously he is brilliant -- takes after his Oma.

In this photo he looks like he is trying to figure out how it works.  He might just be an engineer in the making.  

My daughter AJ drove down to Vero Beach from Jacksonville a few days ago to meet LW.  We had a very nice visit. She fell head over heels for LW.
AJ and I on the beach.
And, then there is today.

Most of us who are mom's will at one time or another, give up something of our own for our children. That is just the way it is, the kids come first.

Here is an example. My daughter BHB has had the most beautiful nails for as long as I can remember. My own nails have never been that good. Especially when I was publishing. I would pound on my computer keyboard all day and my nails suffered. 

BHB told me she was considering giving up her regular manicures now that she had a new baby and probably would not have time to go to the nail salon on a regular basis.

I did not want that to happen so I offered to babysit so she could get her nails done today.  It was her first outing and LW’s first time away from his mom, if only for a few minutes.

Getting the car seat and the stroller inside the car was no easy chore. Baby gear is completely different today. 

Since BHB had a c-section, she could not lift anything to help me. So I struggled a bit. I am sure BHB would have it in and out in seconds.  UGHHH.

The stroller is quite the engineering achievement. Great for running or walking!

LW's first shopping experience at Sam's Club.  His mom is practicing buying in bulk for when he is older.
At the nail salon, I dropped BHB off and parked under a tree nearby where LW slept in his car seat and I wrote some of this blog on my phone.
He is so cute. His little newborn clothes are still big on him.  His left hand and his feet always seem to make it up inside the clothes. He keeps the right hand out but the left is still drawn up so perhaps he is right handed.
I held my breath that he would sleep the whole time and I would not have to take the car seat out. 

BHB and I stayed in contact with texts.  They went like this:

BHB -- Still sleeping?

B—Prefers movement of car but still sleeping. (sent the picture above)

BHB – Looks like he is out cold!

B – Some people walked by the car and he stirred.

BHB – Fed him at 1 so I know when I come out he’ll probably be hungry.

B – Ok. If he wakes up I will tell him we will drive by and pick up lunch.

BHB – Still sleeping?

B – Yep!

BHB – Ok good.

B – Stirred a bit so I rolled up the windows and started the engine.

BHB – Awake or still out?

B – Still asleep, I am doing a great job of babysitting. Wait. Must be that you prepared him well. :-) 

AND THEN MY PHONE RANG!  It was a good call and luckily LW did not even move when the phone made the loud ringing noise.  

D was calling and wanted to Skype so we connected and I let him see LW sleeping.  It was so cute. D kept saying, “Don’t wake him.” 

Then BHB started texting again.

BHB – Probably 10 more minutes

B – Ok, all well here.

BHB – Getting ready to pay.

BHB – Thanks for going shopping today with me. It was nice getting out of the house!

So my first assignment to babysit was a success.  And, on top of that – IT WAS GREAT FUN.

I took this inside the car.  In the far middle of the picture is LW's reflection in a mirror positioned so you can see him in his car seat when you are driving. Cool invention. I love all these new things for moms!
The view in the driver's rear view mirror.
After we got home (and LW ate – he was starved) I spent some time talking to him and cuddling. He told me he had a great day and enjoyed being out on the town with his Oma.

I hope he sleeps well for BHB tonight - that would be a cherry on top of the cake. 

This was certainly a great day!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What Is Good Coffee?

Alert: This blog is not exciting.  I just had to write it.

However, if you want to scroll to the end, there is a nice sunrise photo.

HERE GOES -- Sometimes you have something you just need to say to someone.

I am still staying in Florida helping BHB with the new baby and having a blast.

Yesterday I rocked LW to sleep in the rocker we gave to Brittany. This was same rocker her dad and I used many, many nights to rock her to sleep when she was a baby. I nursed her for hours in this great rocker. The simple experience of rocking LW to sleep brought back so many wonderful memories. I remember all the songs and rhymes I used to sing to BHB so many years ago.
But when I go home to my little beach condo at night, I am alone. Fortunately D comes next week to meet the baby - YIPPEE! YIPPEE! I can not wait!

For now it is lonesome and sometimes I want to talk to someone. Because of the time difference D is already in bed and it is in the middle of the night in Bahrain -- so I am alone.

This gives me time to think.  That can be dangerous.

You will never guess what came to my mind last night.  Coffee!

My new coffee pot finally was delivered and I have been using it for several days.  It is awesome! I love it.

My new coffee machine makes great coffee. I sip my morning coffee from the adorable cup my granddaughter MV gave me for Christmas. Drinking my morning coffee is double the fun because of the great memories associated with the cup.
The new coffee pot makes great coffee.

So I searched my computer for pictures I have of my coffee history.  Here are some visuals of coffee over the past year. It seems to be a theme for me. I do love coffee.

The instant coffee in Santorini did not deter us from having a fabulous time.
Our coffee with fresh pomegranate juice was a new experience (and wonderful) in Istanbul.
A real surprise was the terrific coffee we had at a sidewalk cafe in Athens. We sipped coffee along with fresh greek yogurt and warm honey. AMAZING!
I must have inherited my love of coffee from my mom.  Here she is having her morning Joe watching her two great grandkids play tennis while we were at the beach a few years back.
Our coffee maker in Manama, Bahrain is not quite as good as my new pot in Vero Beach.  We bring bags of Starbucks to grind from the US in our luggage. It's still not the best coffee. The cup shown here was a gift from BHB after her honeymoon to the Arctic Circle.
I love to sit and sip coffee on the beach while enjoying a great sunrise.

Sunrises on the East Coast are nice. Maybe there are not quite as dramatic as the sunsets on the West Coast, but they are very nice.
So, let this blog be a good morning wish to you.

Whatever your morning routine is, I hope you sit back and enjoy life.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

LWB Has Arrived

Things in Florida could not be better!

The new baby arrived on January 25 at 5:03 AM.  Little LWB weighed in at 7 pounds and 6 ounces. He was 20.5 inches long.

I don't think "Dad" had more than 10 minutes sleep in over 48 hours.
Unfortunately after 20 hours of labor, BHB had an emergency caesarean section. The most important thing was the safety of BHB and the little baby so the doctor decided to take over for her and finish the delivery. 

It was a long, long 20 hours and truthfully I was very happy when the decision was made for a caesarean.

If you want a play by play of the 20 hours, I will be happy to tell you all about it, but for now I am happy to just write about how great everything is right now.

Mom and baby came home on Tuesday afternoon.  Little LWB has already exceeded my expectations by sleeping over 6 hours at a stretch a couple of times.
All this moving around getting ready to go home wears a boy out.
Here LWB is getting strapped into his car seat by his dad for the first time.
LWB's dad is doing a great job. I am really impressed on how modern dads participate in the day to day activities of taking care of a new born.  RB stayed all night at the hospital the first night even though he had not had any sleep for over 36 hours. What at man! I finally convinced him to go home the second night and let me stay. After some sleep, he was a changed man the next day.

BHB is doing a great job of establishing a good breastfeeding routine and little LWB is learning how to nurse more effectively every day.

I cannot tell you how much I love holding little LWB. There is just something magical when I have him in my arms. He smells sweet, he feels soft as velvet and he has the cutest little face. I believe he is the cutest, smartest and best baby.

Grandma (Oma) and grandson just hours after his birth.
Except for the emergency caesarean section, the whole experience has been so much better than I imagined. Having been here for a few weeks in anticipation of the birth and now being here daily is just outright FUN!

While BHB (the new mom) was in the hospital, D (the grandpa) was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on business. The day they were scheduled to go home from the hospital, we had set up a tentative time for D to call and Skype with LWB.  The time came and passed.  BHB was released to leave and we gathered everything up to go to the car. Just as we stepped into the elevator, D called. He had been delayed by a longer than anticipated drive from Riyadh.  Quickly I switched on the Skype and he met little LWB face to face via the Internet.

It was so cute to see him talking to LWB through my cell phone.

LWB is a special baby.  After all, how many little babies can say they talked to their grandpa from the Middle East on their way home from the hospital?

D will arrive in Florida on Feb. 12 so he can experience the thrill of holding little LWB in his arms. 

We are scheduled to return to the Middle East on February 16 together.  I already miss little LWB. 

D and I have already started planning our trip back to Florida to spend more time with LWB. Until then, I think we may have to set up a weekly Skype (if not more often).

Some time ago when I was doing research on the internet - I believe even before BHB was expecting -- I found this little poem. No credit was given to the author so I do not know who wrote it. However, the words speak to the deep love between parents and their children - and grandchildren. I thought it was very touching and I have been saving it to share.

Before you were conceived,
I wanted you.
Before you were born,
I loved you.
Before you were here an hour,
I would die for you.
This is the miracle of love.



LWB settled in at home.