Thursday, April 9, 2009

Okay, I feel like such a slacker since I haven't posted in 3 months. It's been hanging over my head but there always seems to be something else demanding my time. Mark deployed 2 weeks ago today and is overseas in the middle east. He is still settling in and isn't sure whether this 4 month stint is going to go fast or slow. Probably a little of both! Madsen and I are doing great at home though, enjoying the beautiful weather of Abilene, the friendly people, and all the little projects around the house. We have had lots of people offer to help if we ever find ourselves in a pinch.

We also want to send our congratulations out to our Philly/Boston friends Hari and Heather Sundram who just announced they are expecting their first child! They will be amazing parents and we, knowing how awesome being a first-timer is, are so excited for them.

Madsen is growing and changing so much. He brings me so much happiness, laughter, and satisfaction. He makes me wish I could have a dozen kids. He is working on sitting up, eating solid foods, and going to sleep on his own. Last night I went into his room to check on him before I went to bed and found him like this. I couldn't help but chuckle a little...poor little jailbird!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Holidays

Happy Holidays from the Mark Rogers family! There are so many people-friends and family-that we love and miss and we think of you all during this season. We had a fun Christmas holiday. Madsen brought a new joy and meaning to Christmas and we really look forward to the time when he begins to understand the magic of the season and look forward to it, for now we just do it for him. Jen's mom, dad, and two youngest brothers-Matt and Jake joined us for the Christmas holiday. They drove all the way from Utah and spent a week soaking in the wonder that is Abilene, Texas. The weather was nice so Paul, Matt, and Jake helped Mark move a shed from the back of the lot to a more advantageous location near the carport and Paul helped Mark convert the carport from space for 1.5 cars to space for 2 by moving a couple of beams. Everyone helped Jen keep Madsen happy and content-he has never been better taken care of! He coped really well with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, he was patient with all the shopping he had to do with his mom and all the extra friends and family. He seems to be a social little fellow and enjoys making new friends and being amidst the chaos of family life.

Jen and Madsen drove the 16 hours back to Utah with her family to spend the New Year's with them. It was a fun holiday spent with all the family in the area. Mark stayed home in Texas to hold down the fort. He spent his New Year's holiday working on the house and playing a new video game.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The House

With the mortgage crisis happening most people think we're crazy to have purchased a home right now but, because of the constant influx of people due to the Air Force base here in Abilene, Texas, the market stays pretty stable. We were so excited at the prospect of owning our first home and Abilene is the place to do it! I didn't know there were still places in the U.S. that you could buy a decent home for under $100,000 but we found it and fell in love with our place the moment we saw it. The house was built in 1949 and is mid-century modern architecture (in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright). It needed a little work but for those of you who know Mark, that was a bonus rather than a drawback. One of the previous owners had stock in a tile company or was sleeping with someone in the tile industry because the house looked like a tile store had thrown up on it! One of the first things we did was tear up an obscene amount of tile and replace it with wood and stone flooring. We also are still in the process of remodeling the kitchen.
The house is on nearly 1/2 an acre so there is a lot of yard work that needs to be done. I am really excited about the prospect of planting a garden and some fruit trees! Mark is really NOT excited about putting in a sprinkler system.
It is a 3 bedroom 1 bath house. I had a tremendous amount of fun and satisfaction decorating the nursery-it just about killed me to have to wait so long to nest but it got done eventually! It also has a beautiful sunroom off the master bedroom which is my absolute favorite place in the house to lounge, read, and nap with Madsen. The third bedroom is going to be a guest bedroom/office but currently it is acting as remodeling headquarters. The bathroom is called a "hollywood bathroom" because it is huge-it has 2 sink areas, a vanity, a toilet, and a tub/shower; we are entertaining the possibly of splitting it into two separate baths. The house is, as I mentioned on a large lot with lots of beautiful mature trees. Our front yard stays shaded the whole day, the backyard gets nice sun and would be perfect for a pool but I don't think we'll be here long enough to make that investment worth anything (darn!). Our neighbors are friendly and the neighborhood is quiet. It is so fun to live in a neighborhood and to have people wave as they drive by. I am quickly learning how to be a better neighbor-a "good neighbor" in Philly pretty much just kept to himself but here the neighbors all take care of each other and offer their services all the time.
Home ownership has been very rewarding so far although it is hard work-especially when you are looking to put in some sweat equity! I look forward to the spring when I can do some serious planting!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Baby

I like my labor like I like my eggs...over easy!

I think the most exciting news of this year is the arrival of Madsen Grey. He is already his mother's favorite for saving her a lot of grief and arriving what she likes to call "fashionably early"-3 weeks to be exact. And, in addition to saving his oh-so-thankful mother from stretch marks by arriving when he did, he somehow managed to make labor, yeah this is the right As a matter-of-fact, if the big man upstairs hadn't been looking out for this numb-uterus and owner, I probably would have had the horor (oops! If you're not reading this out loud you may have missed what we in the business like to call a Freudian slip-get it? horor would be pronounced horror?), I mean honor of delivering at home.

You see, the story goes something like this...

Mark was away in San Antonio for a month so Jen had to close on their new mid-century modern house all by her lonesome 8-months-pregnant self. And, after closing on the house, there was plenty to do around it. Thankfully Jen's mom, also a...sufferer?...of the practically-numb-uterus syndrome, came to help her move in and settle in the Rogers' new home-effectively preventing her from being alone for one of the most bizarre days of her life-so-far.
Less than a week had gone by and a super-duper amount of settling had been done thanks to mamma-Debbi's magically gifted homemaking abilities and Jen's amazingly high 8-months-pregnant-in-the-heat-of-the-Texas-summer energy levels and surprisingly unobtrusively sized belly. Miraculously all the boxes were unpacked and most of the cleaning done. There was just the matter of the yard...the time had come for some serious yard work. During the 1.5 months the house had sat on the market the grass/weeds had sprung up at a surprisingly healthy rate. Fortunately it is a fairly common thing for Texan's to have their yards professionally maintained and an observant fellow with a mower and a mission noticed the atrocity and snatched up our keep-him-busy business. Unfortunately, in order to do his thang a pile of bricks had to be moved from the back of the half-acre lot to the porch behind the house. Feeling more than up to it, don't-tell-my-doctor-I'm-doing-heavy-lifting-Jen and her mom tackled the task only to have to call it quits to check in with the pesky over protective doctor who insisted on meeting with her once a week! Jen met with the mowing-service before she left and promised to return with payment after her doctor's appointment (you can probably see where this is going). So they started mowing the ludicrously large yard and we (my mom and I) left for a routine check-up.

Meanwhile, at the doctor's office...

Dr. Ogdee reported to Jen that she was between 1 and 2 centimeters dilated (not uncommon for a woman so far along) and, as a matter of course, sent her to labor and delivery to have her regular weekly non-stress test. Here they hooked up the monitors and after some time a nurse came in confused and asked Jen who sat so casually watching Ellen "you can't feel that?"
"What? I feel the baby moving, is that what you're talking about?" Jen asked a little suspicious of the nurse's tone.
"No, you are contracting every 3 or 4 minutes" the nurse replied incredulously.
"I am?" a completely, until that point, bored Jen asked...and she was.
The nurse called the doctor who came down and checked Jen again to reveal she had dilated to a stunning 4 in the course of the hour and, without ever suspecting a thing, she was in active labor. "But I can't be in active labor!" she thought, "I have to get home to pay the lawn guy!" The doctor told the grandmother-to-be to call the father-to-be in San Antonio and tell him to put the pedal to the metal if he wanted to witness the birth of his first...son or daughter? was still a mystery. Jen's water broke before she ever suspected a thing and there was no turning back now-lawn maintenance be damned! Mark called to express his skepticism and report that he didn't want to make the 4 hour drive if this was some kind of false alarm, good-old-regular-joe Jen had to explain to fancy-medical-degree Doctor Rogers that there was no turning back after the water broke. He packed like a madman and started the 4 hour drive home. About this time Jen was dilated to a 6 and it was looking like "daddy" might not make it so to slow the process down Jen asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist looked skeptically at Jen and said, "are you sure you need an epidural? You don't look like most women I deal with, you look...well, gorgeous." As flattered as this mother-to-be was she had greater desires for Mark's company than to satisfy her pioneer-heritage womanly curiosity of "could I do it without any meds?" All the while Jen is looking at the clock wondering what is going through the lawn maintenance guys head at this moment. Mark arrived in enough time to impatiently observe how "boring" all his 15 minutes of waiting was and then the real action began-it was time to push! Unfortunately things were moving more quickly than anyone expected and the doctor had not graced us with his good presence yet (something ridiculous about being at home eating dinner and spending time with his family before the long night of labor and delivery!). The nurse, uninterested in delivering the baby herself (where are all the adventurous spirits when you need them?) told Jen to stop pushing and just chillax for awhile. Of course Jen was impatient but otherwise very comfortable. After what seemed an interminably long time the doctor showed and it was only a few minutes after that that a poor nameless 5 pound 10 ounce baby boy was born into a strange world where mom was still feeling like she could go home and put in some real labor around the house. AND..."What about the lawn guy!?"

Well, it turns out he wasn't too worried when we didn't show (after all, he knows where we live). He popped in the next day when my mom was home getting me some supplies (I didn't even have a hospital bag packed at this point let alone have anything with me) to collect.

So...there he was, our little stranger. All we knew about him was that he liked to kick in the evenings, he was obviously very sympathetic to his mother, and he felt the most appropriate "hello, I'm your son" face was a cross between a monkey and a pirate (one eye open with his little lips pressed in an "o" and saying "ooo ooo"). Poor little fella didn't even have a name! We suspected it would be a boy for the simple fact that we could not decide on any boy's names, and isn't that just the way life goes sometimes? It took one very persistent birth certificate official (who I might add, could moonlight as a travel agent for all the guilt trips she sent us on over not having a name), to get us serious about brainstorming. We wrote some ideas up on the white board in my recovery room and inquired of the constant stream of visitors for their votes. We settled on Madsen Grey Rogers but we affectionately call him "monkey." He came home with us less than 48 hours later and we've been enjoying the thrills of new parenthood, new homeownership, and Texas for about 3 months now.

Stay tuned for the next blog where the Rogers discover all the joys of buying a fixer-upper!