Friday, January 18, 2013

Adios, Abuelito

Last night my beloved Abuelito passed away. Although he'd been very ill for some time and his death was not unexpected, his departure still hurts. Although we are relieved that he is no longer in pain, our family still hurts. And although I know he is now in the presence of Jesus, my heart still hurts.

Growing up as a missionary kid, I did not have the privilege of seeing my grandparents very often. Yet, in Abuelito, the Lord blessed me with a loving grandfather who never made me feel like a stranger, despite the fact that we lived thousands of miles apart and saw each other only once every few years. 

As an adult, I didn't call him as often as I should have. When we did talk, though, my Abuelito always had something of value to share, whether the topic of conversation was a happy one or not. A couple of times he told me that during my pregnancy he'd look at the pictures of my growing belly and think, "Que valiente es mi madre." I replied that I wasn't brave, that I was just doing what I had to do, but he remained unswayed in his conviction. Many times since then, when I have felt unequal to the task of being a mother to quadruplets, I have recalled his words and felt reassured by his utter confidence in me.

When the babies were born, I knew that I would probably never be able to take the kids to Peru during my Abuelito's lifetime, and I was equally sure that he would never be able to make the trip here at his age (he was then 88). I was resigned to the fact that my last surviving grandparent would not meet my children. But when the babies were 8 months old, my Tio Ner and Tia Harriet gave me the incredible gift of bringing my Abuelito here to meet his great-grandchildren, a precious opportunity for which I will be forever grateful. 

Today, as I think about my parents traveling to Peru for the funeral on Sunday, I can't help but remember my last goodbye with Abuelito. It was here in my house, as he and my Tia Julia were getting ready to head to the airport. I met him between the kitchen and the playroom, and we embraced. We hugged for a long time. We held each other very tight. I did not want to let go. I cried very hard. I whispered in his ear, "This might be the last time I see you. You know that." Smiling, he replied, "Tal vez no" ("maybe not").

Turns out we were both right. 

I'll see you in heaven, Abuelito. Someday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hanging it up: DIY dress-up clothes rack

My kids love to dress up, but I was getting tired of looking at the growing heap of dress-up clothes crammed into our toy box:

The clothes were getting ruined, and it was impossible to find anything in that mess. So yesterday I decided to do something about it—by building a miniature garment rack!

Not being a handy person, I wasn't exactly sure how to go about this, but a quick Google search led me to an eHow tutorial that seemed doable. Armed with my step-by-step instructions, I confidently headed to Home Depot to get my supplies, only to learn (after I'd already had the guy cut my PVC pipe) that home-improvement stores don't even carry the 4-way connectors that the tutorial requires (apparently they were used only in a type of boiler that is no longer in production). Miraculously, however, my non-engineer brain was able to quickly come up with a simple work-around. Here's my revised list of supplies:

  • 2 36-inch lengths of 1-inch PVC pipe
  • 2 30-inch lengths of 1-inch PVC pipe
  • 4 12-inch lengths of 1-inch PVC pipe
  • 2 6-inch lengths of 1-inch PVC pipe
  • 6 90-degree elbow joints for 1-inch PVC pipe
  • 4 tee connectors for 1-inch PVC pipe
  • All-purpose cement for PVC

Using the eHow tutorial as my guide, putting the rack together took mere minutes:

Here's what you do for my version:
  1. Join two 12-inch lengths of pipe horizontally with a tee connector. Place an elbow joint on each end to create your first foot. Repeat for the other foot.
  2. Join a 6-inch and 30-inch length of pipe with a tee connector. Put the other end of the 6-inch piece into the top of one foot, with remaining tee opening positioned perpendicular to the foot, to create one leg. Place an elbow joint on the other end of the 30-inch piece, facing the same direction as the tee opening, to finish your first leg. Repeat steps with the other foot to create the other leg.
  3. Now place each length of 36-inch pipe into the elbow joint at the top of one leg and the remaining tee opening toward the bottom of that leg. Connect the legs by placing the other ends of the 36-inch pipes into the elbow joint and tee connector on the other leg. 
  4. Once you've dry-fitted the rack, take apart and reassemble using all-purpose cement to glue the pieces together. When the glue is dry, hang your clothes on the rack. 

The kids love it, and so do I! It's the perfect size for preschoolers, and even once it's outlived its current purpose, I can still see myself using it to hang clothes in the laundry room or even at a yard sale. Cheap, easy, and super-useful ... that's my kind of project!

**Update: After just a few days of use, I didn't like the way the feet were sagging in the middle, where the two 12-inch pieces are inserted in the tee connector. So, since I hadn't glued the elbows on the ends of the feet yet, I decided to turn them inward for the time being. I plan to replace these elbows with caps and will post updated pictures when I do.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Driver's education

Every day is a learning experience with these guys, and our 4 days on the road for our second trip to Texas were no exception. Some things we learned on our way there and back:

  • Poor Isaac has inherited Mommy and Daddy's car-sickness genes. Pass the bucket!
  • Lucy could do sticker pages all day and all night. Even in the dark. (No car-sickness genes for her!)
  • As long as the DVD player is running, my kids will not sleep. Not a wink.
  • The real trick to getting the Fab Four to sleep in the car is to say that it's nap time and then quit talking to them. (They didn't sleep at all in the car the first time we drove to Texas, so I was elated to find a way to get them to take a nap!)

Asleep at last!

  • In the car, Dahlia is always the last to succumb to Mr. Sandman. Always.
  • Jude is really, really nasty when he wakes up from a car nap. Stay clear!
  • The most effective way to settle down a restless Fab Four: Turn on some Beatles. Instant peace.
  • Speaking of peace, it's harder to come by now that the kids' arms and legs are getting longer. We're running out of space in this van!
  • It is possible to hear the question, "Are we in Texas?" a bajillion times without strangling anybody. It is possible, but just barely.

And, last but not least, we confirmed something we already knew:

  • It really stinks to live a 2-day car drive away from our abuelitos!!


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