The Real World

As many of you know, Susan and I met at Camp Andrew Jackson (a little over four years ago). When I worked at camp, and when I would go down to help out with retreats. I would always think of the drive back to Cincinnati as returning to the real world. Being down at camp was always like a great retreat, where I would be able to focus in on the things that really matter. Now I have two kids, a 9-5 job, and a mortgage. The real world is more real than ever.

This past weekend was a great way for me to bring the real world with me, as Susan, Andrew, Mari, and I headed south, for the Clear Creek Music Festival. If you missed it in earlier posts, the Clear Creek Music Festival is organized by one of our favorite bands: Zoe Speaks. They host the festival on land that they own, about fifteen minutes outside of Berea. It is a fairly small festival, where most people camp (we stayed in a hotel in Berea, but we hope to be able to camp next year) and the only running water comes from a spring.

We went down on Saturday and attended the festival all day Saturday. Sunday we stopped by the festival early, for one last visit, then we went to camp, just to walk around and finally introduce Andrew to his namesake. We stopped at Papaleno’s for some pizza, and then came back north.

Looking back on this past weekend. It hardly seems real. As I sit in my cubicle and type this, I can only imagine the experience: driving down KY highways, then onto KY backroads, then down a gravel/dirt road, parking in a makeshift parking lot, walking down the trail into an open expanse of terraced hillside. The seating area in front of me, focusing on a homemade stage composed of rough-cut trees, powered by a generator. Pottery, tamales, lemonade, jewelry. Leftovers from the pot-luck the night before. Kids running everywhere. Pick-up trucks. Tents. All set against a beautiful backdrop of folk and bluegrass music, against an even bigger backdrop of wooded hillside. Open-mic contrasts Scooter, the beer-bellied, jolly man, who spent the night sleeping next to the fire, with a log for a pillow, with a four-year-old girl, singing Que Sera Sera. Andrew running, exploring, learning. Mari along for the ride, refusing to sleep for fear of missing something. As night falls Mitch & Carla finally take the stage. Susan and I are exhausted, Andrew is whiney, Mari still won’t sleep. As they take the stage the magic begins to settle in. It takes them a while to get tuned. Mitch breaks a guitar string. Carla can’t find her pick. Finally, they start with some new stuff, and some covers. The moment I remember most is standing, holding Andrew, next to Susan, who was holding Mari. Mitch & Carla played my favorite song: “Money’s Our God.”

We work hard for what we’ve got,
Seems like we just need a lot.
Debts keep risin’ ‘bove our heads,
I wish that we could save instead.

Say money’s our God, makes our decisions,
But if money’s our God, I want a new religion.

Daycare, carpool, traffic jam.
Daddy’s workin’ late again.
Our kids are raised by someone else,
I’d rather be with them myself.

Say money’s our God, makes our decisions,
But if money’s our God, I want a new religion.

I fall down on my bills and pray,
We’ll get out of this debt some day.

How much stuff do we think we need?
Grandma would have called it greed.
Tell me what we’re workin’ for.
I never see you anymore.

Say money’s our God, makes our decisions,
But if money’s our God, I want a new religion.

After a great set, Mitch and Carla vacated the stage for the next act; we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

As I rocked Andrew to sleep last night, I thought about what an amazing time it was, and what an amazing life I have. People always ask me, and I sometimes ask myself, “Five years ago, is this where you would have pictured yourself?” The answer is always “no.” I never could have dreamed things would be this great.

I posted some pics from the trip, which you can see here: Clear Creek & Camp AJ.

The next few weeks have more adventures for us: from the daily challenge of getting Andrew to take a nap, to a trip to Cleveland.

As always (though not very well in the past month), we’ll keep you updated.

Zoe Speaks dot Com
Clear Creek & Camp AJ Pics

The Heat Wave

The past week has been the most challenging we have had since Mari was born. Aside from the fact that it has been incredibly hot out, Mari and Andrew have been keeping things interesting for us.

Mari has been a little fussy, but not too bad. She still likes to sleep a lot, and usually if she is awake, she would rather be sleeping. She has brief periods where she is awake and just taking in the world around her. She is smiling a lot more. We just had her one month check-up (even though she is 5 1/2 weeks) and she weighed in at 10.12, which is not too shabby.

Andrew has been doing very well lately. He is learning more and more about Mari, and the rest of the world, every day. He has even been able to take some good naps, as Susan has been able to get him down while Mari is napping.

Susan and I have been doing well. Mari has had a few rough nights, which have added some stress to our lives, but we are dealing.

I just put some new pics up on the picture website.

Next few weeks should be fun, as there will be many visitors. We’ll keep you updated!

Alone at Last

After me being home for two weeks, and then her mom being in town for two weeks, Susan is finally spending her first full day with two kids. I was scared to call home and ask how things were doing, so when Susan called me in the mid-afternoon to tell me that things were not only going ok, but Andrew even got a nap in, I was delighted.

I guess it has been a few weeks, and a lot has happened. Susan’s Mom has come and gone, as she and Gary, who came in last Thursday, left this morning to head back to Des Moines. Their visit was certainly a great help, as it allowed us a longer adjustment period.

Andrew is doing well. I would say that he is slowly learning how to treat Mari. He still doesn’t understand that he can’t just pull, grab, and press where he likes, but he is learning. More than anything, he likes to give her kisses. His vocabulary is exploding, and he is talking more than ever.

Mari is also doing well. She has a little cold right now, and her baby acne is hopefully going to be going away soon. She is beginning to understand that there is a world around her. She follows things with her eyes and even flashes the occassional smile. Her eyes are definitely open a lot more now. She has been spending most nights in the downstairs bedroom with Susan, as she goes to bed later than Andrew, and needs to get up sometimes in the middle of the night. Hopefully Susan and Mari will be back upstairs in the big bed soon.

The upcoming months have some fun events for us, as Susan’s sisters Mary and Erin (with their kids, Nate included) will be coming on separate visits. As fall approaches we have some trips on our calendar, as we head down to Berea, KY for the Zoe Speaks Clear Creek Music Festival. We tried to go down last year, but Andrew was sick, so we didn’t make it. Hopefully we won’t waste our money again this year. After that we have a couple weddings up North: One in September, in Cleveland, and one in Wisconsin. These trips should be interesting, as we try to get everyone to sleep in the same hotel room.

Wow, I think that is all I have to say for now. Drop us a line with any questions/comments.

College Balloons Gone Wild

Well, my return to work has certainly been interesting. Along with the normal work requirements, I was greeted on Thursday with my cubicle filled with balloons, well I thought it was filled. I came back Friday to find even more balloons, this time up to my chest. Along with the balloons came a few other random decorations, that I think you will be able to figure out for yourself. Here’s the pics.

Aside my my return to work, things at home are going fairly well. I have been doing half-days this week, so the real fun starts next week. Luckily, Susan’s mom is coming to town to help us out.

Mari is doing well. She is starting to develop a fussy period, but it is not too bad.

Andrew appears to be adjusting to the recent changes. He is sleeping a little less, and nursing a little more, and with his new haircut, he is really cute.

I will try to get some updated pics of Andrew and Mari up this afternoon when I get home.

Keep it real.

Crazi Mari

Well, it has been a few weeks, but if you are one of the few people who read this, then you are probably aware that Mari has finally arrived. She came only sixteen days after her estimated date of arrival, but she is certainly ready for the real world.

She spends most of her days sleeping and nursing. She enjoys the swing, the sling, and surfing. OK, I made that last part up, but I couldn’t thing of another word that begins with “s” and ends with “ing”.

Anyway, if you missed the pics, here is a link: Mari’s Pics.

You know where to reach us. . .

Like Salt in our Wound

It is annoying enough that Susan is now ten days late, but to make things a little more crazy for us, yesterday was the hottest day since July 8th, 2003. This is mostly due to the fact that last summer was very cool. BUT, come on. Can’t we catch a break?

For those of you who are paying enough attention to know that we were due a few days ago and wonder what is going on, we are waiting, as patiently as possible. Dr. Bowen does not have us on a strict schedule, so we do what we can to encourage labor, and we wait.

Na na na, It’s the . . . .

Well, we have been playing the waiting game for a while now. Susan was due a week ago, and still no signs of a new Liess-Hyland. The good thing is that Susan’s parents are in town to help keep everyone sane and to help with Andrew when Susan goes into labor. Also good news is that our Dr is willing to be patient with us.

We have spent the last week making minor preparations for the new kid, as all of the major ones have been finished for a few weeks. Other than that, just a lot of hanging out and waiting.

In other news:

I’m Snuffleupagus.

It’s a sad day when . . .

It is a sad day when I start to check my own blog for updates, so I thought that I better make some.

Susan: Susan is doing great. She is a having a little trouble sleeping, but I would say that she is doing very well (she may say something else). In case you haven’t checked our countdown page lately, she is due any day now, although we don’t expect any activity until next week, or the week after.

Andrew: Andrew is also doing well. He is building his vocabulary and his ability to climb. He is extra-clingy, probably in anticipation of the impending doom that will enter his life (but believe me, he has no clue what is coming).

Rob: I am doing well. Trying to finalize some things at work before I have to take a few days off. I have also been doing a lot in the yard, including putting together and sealing our new picnic table, which has been a lengthy process for Susan and I.

Not much planned over the next few weeks, except having a kid. If you are reading this, then you are probably on the email list, but if you think that you may not be, drop us a line, and we will make sure that you are.

Been a while, huh?

It has been a long time since our last post. Nothing major happening lately.

Susan and I have begun final preparations for newbie, who will be arriving in a few weeks. We still have a few more things to get ready, but we are almost there.

Andrew is doing well and is cuter than ever. He loves to play outside, in the car, and in other people’s yards. He also has a new outside swing that he really enjoys.

Susan has her last class in a few hours, and then all she needs to do to be certified is take the PRAXIS.

The rain barrel is doing well. It seems to be either feast or famine when it comes to getting it filled.

We’ll keep you informed.

Let It Rain

After weeks of planning and agonizing, it is finally ready: The Rain Barrel. I got a free 55-gallon barrel from Meier’s Wine Cellars (under the advising of Linda) and put some hardware in it, put up a gutter (with some help from Alex), and finally put the two together. Now, all I need is some rain.

After being told about this project people have said, “That’s great Rob, but what are you going to do with the water?” We are going to water our garden (that doesn’t exist yet, but is the next project (after we paint our living room this saturday)).

Other than that, I am excited for Red’s Opening Day.

Susan is still blossoming and Andrew is almost tall enough to open all the doors in our house.

We are all excited for some great Spring weather that has finally descended upon us (after a cold March). Andrew has a great time chasing around balls in the back yard (except for when I throw them on the roof or in the neighbor’s yard).

Keep it real (and sorry about all the parentheses in this post)!