Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Xavier and Jimmie

I haven't finished a quilt in a long time. I still spend at least 40 hours a week working on them, I just don't seem to get any completed So, it was quite a relief to get these baby quilts done in time
for the shower on Sunday. Jimmie and Xavier were born the first part of May, three months early. The identical twins were delivered at that time because they were experiencing Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS -- google it for more info). Xavier weighed just over a pound and Jimmie was a bit more than two pounds. Today, both are doing well although they are still in the hospital. Jimmie is just about ready to go home, Xavier will follow some time later.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Long Live the (tall, skinny) King!

Come on Ben, blow out the candles and eat your cake -- all of it. Put some meat on your bones, so you can wear jeans that fit. It is possible to buy jeans in his size (28 x 34 or 36) for around $400 a pair. He measured 6'1" on his birthday and is still holding at around 120 pounds.

We celebrated on Sunday with the local family plus Kevin and Rachel who are semi-local: 3 hours away. I fixed Sunday dinner for eighteen people, exhausted myself, and slept ten hours.

We're car shopping now -- at least we have some feelers out. I will be very happy to retire from chauffeur duty -- this week I'll be taking him to and from band camp. He's still has to work on parallel parking before he can try for his license. Maybe this evening we'll go find someplace to practice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ben at Sixteen

Ben was due. Robin was in labor and several of us gathered in the hospital corridor of Good Samaritan hospital in San Jose, CA awaiting the birth. The group included Grandpa Roger and Mina, Grandma Gayle, Colleen and me. Most of us, including father-to-be, Steve, were pretty useless. Colleen, however, compassionately coached her sister through a fairly long and difficult labor. Finally, Ben emerged to a scene of panic -- he didn't breathe right away and the Doctor ran frantically across the room jostling the baby to try to get him going while Steve ran right behind trying to find out what was wrong. Turned out nothing was wrong, the baby started breathing, and everything and everyone settled down. Benjamin Kenneth Maples was born at sixteen minutes after midnight on July 20, 1995. I don't remember his birth weight and have no record of it -- maybe Colleen knows. I do recall that he had an extraordinary cone head (fortunately quite temporary), testimony to the long, arduous birth. He was a good and easy baby and Robin was a calm, competent new mom. Before long, it was clear he was a red head, just like his mom.
Ben lived in San Jose until July 2000. During that time, his mom supported the family while his dad went to school. In July 2000, they moved to Rochester, NY so Steve could pursue a PhD in physics at the University of Rochester where he had a fellowship. In April of 2001, Ben's world turned upside down when his mother died at the hand of his father and a few days later, his dad took his own life.
Ben and brother Logan came to live in El Dorado Hills with me, Colleen, and her family. He attended Lake Forest School, achieved a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, and dabbled in baseball and soccer. When we moved to Missouri in 2006, he said good-bye to relatives, friends, and teachers who had helped him through some difficult times.
July of this year, he went to California and had a chance to reunite with some of those who had been so important to his earlier years. Here's some pictures from first grade in 2002:

Ben in First Grade
Friend, Trevor
Trevor also achieved a Tae Kwan Do Black belt and was in Ben's class each year at Lake Forest School.
Friend Anna, also in Ben's class through fourth grade
And here they are today.

Happy birthday Ben. I am so proud of the person you are. I love and like you beyond measure.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Ben and Logan come home tomorrow evening and I found myself trying to account for my time during their absence then realized that was exactly NOT the point. The point of the whole week has been to escape accountability. So here are some of the things I did not do:
  • I did not awaken to an alarm clock.
  • I did not plan meals.
  • I did not set foot in WalMart.
  • I did not drive anyone anywhere.
  • I did not pay a single bill.
  • I did not clean house.
Here are some of the things I did:
  • Went to physical therapy 3x week and exercised between times.
  • Lunched with friends.
  • Sewed, but not too much.
  • Went to bed whenever I felt like it.
  • Stayed in my PJs till 1:00 PM (0nce).
  • Read five books.
  • Ate whatever I felt like (tonight was a fabulous spinach bacon sour cream quiche).
I am so ready for them to come home even if it does mean switching the lists around. Now I've had a taste of what it will be like when they have gone away to college and I realize I'll have a lot of adjusting to do!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Ben spent yesterday touring the campus of his dream school -- UC Davis. He looks right at home to me. So much about it appeals to me : A strong and long UC family tradition, although most went to UC Berkeley; proximity to lots of "safety net" relatives (Valery, Rick, Kathy, Colleen); wonderful opportunities in his field of interest (entomology); cool community focused on sustainability; vegetarian heaven (he might find something to eat!); and a place I think he would love. But, it's very difficult for an out-of -state student to get admitted. We'll have to see how it plays out.

Brother Rick and his wife Kathy have kindly taken him under their wing while explores the possibilities of the campus and the region.

From all reports Ben and Logan had a great time camping at Tahoe with Valery, Robby, Colleen, and, Andy. They enjoyed kayaking on the lake and stopping to visit with Grandpa Roger on the way back to El Dorado Hills. Ben plans more to explore more of the area with Kathy and Rick while Logan pals around with first friend Cameron. They'll come together for a barbecue Thursday night and more reunions with friends on Friday. Saturday they'll celebrate Kathy's birthday and Sunday they'll come home Hooray!

Friday, July 8, 2011

There He Goes

Ben has begun his journey into a jam-packed week of California delights. As soon as he arrives in Sacramento, Valery and Logan will whisk him off for an RV camping adventure at Lake Tahoe. Colleen, Andy, and Robby will join them at Zephyr Cove. Early next week, he'll move to Napa to stay with Kathy and Rick for a few days. They plan to visit the UC Davis campus -- Ben's first choice for college -- and take in the Bohart Entomology Museum, and the McLaughlin Reserve.
Kathy also plans to entertain Ben by allowing him to examine goat feces for parasites using her brand-new microscope. She really knows how to have a good time!
Events are planned to reunite with other relatives and friends: He'll visit his California grandfather (Roger Moore), meet with K-4 classmates, and celebrate Kathy's 65th birthday.
I miss him already and he's still on the ground in Dallas!

Monday, July 4, 2011


Logan approaches the vortex that will suck him away from home and deposit him in California a few hours later. It was hard to let him go, especially since I had to get up at 4:30 to get him to his plane on time. What was I thinking when I booked that flight? Thanks to cell phones and texting, I was able to track him through each step of his journey: "I'm on the plane. The plane is on the ground in Dallas. I'm in the boarding lounge for the Sacramento plane. I'm on the plane. The plane is on the ground in Sacramento. Here's Valery!" This was his first trip traveling as an adult (not an unescorted minor with a blue tag around his neck, an airline employee at his elbow, and an extra $100 fee {each way} paid by grandma). In California he was joyously reunited with cousin Robby who said, "You're tall!" He's staying with Valery who has lined up two weeks of summer fun. He's seen first friend, Cameron (and mom Lisa), and gone rafting on the American River. Back home, Ben and I stopped by to visit Arlan (Ben's great grandfather, on his 89th birthday. Ben is helping himself to one of the chocolates we brought.

My recovery is on track -- I currently have physical therapy three times a week and daily exercises. Total knee replacement is not for wimps! I still don't have as much stamina as I'd like, I avoid housework and other chores. Much of my time is spent, reading , sewing, napping, or exercising. But each day is a little easier and I'm happy to report my new knee feels very stable.