Friday, August 30, 2013

5 Years later...

I really don't have any interest in recapping these past 5+ years.  My desire to write again stems from my plans for the future.

After almost 6 wonderful years of living in Portland, my wanderlust is a dominant urge that I can no longer ignore.  My passion for travel is back in the form of obsessive day dreaming, travel blog reading and researching, and pro and con dialogue with my husband.  Stella is now 7 and a half years old, and Gabriel is 5 (starting Kindergarten this year!).

I am determined that we cross a major dream off our "life list" - to travel around the world with our family.

This is something that Dan and I have dreamed about before we were even engaged and committed to marriage and children.  Through our many travels together, we always knew that it was a lifestyle we were made for, and one that we HAD to make a reality for the rest of our lives, with or without children.

Life has flown by, and we have not been quite the nomads we thought we were.  Too many excuses have prevented us from "walking the walk".  At the same time, there are too many more emphatic reasons why we can't let this opportunity to see the world and engage in extended exploration be postponed.  In many ways it will be more affordable for us to travel with our kids before they turn 12 (the age when airlines consider our children adults).  We are hoping they will still be more affordable to feed than teenagers, and that their growing brains will be more malleable and adaptable to change and new environments.

I've set a date.
September 2015
This is 2 years away, which seems the right amount of time to save money, decide what we will do with our home (rent or sell?), figure out our home schooling options, and organize, organize, organize.

I've been reading a lot of travel blogs, especially those written by other families on the road, and taking notes on all that needs to be done to make this happen.  My recent source of planning advise has come from the Bootsnall website and their section on how to plan a family RTW trip.  I'll be using this blog as a place to keep track of my two year to-do list, travel inspiration, and any other family stories and thoughts  I care to share!

It's a long road...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Gabriel Haven


Dear Gabriel,

My pregnancy with you was rough. When I reflect on how I felt, I have strong memories of nausea and heaviness, which wiped a smile clear off my face. For the most part I felt a dull form of depression, that left me worn and tired. I craved rest and solitude, away from the reasonable demands of your sister and daddy. In the brief moments when I could lay in my bed, still and at peace, I'd rub my ever-expanding belly and feel you safe in my womb. I imagined you contented and calm, well protected from the storm and turmoil I often felt. You were at the center of my inner sanctuary, my haven. This was how I came to your middle name, alone in the warmth of my bed, massaging my tummy, and cooing 'Haven' to you.

The day you were born, began with slight disappointment, as I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never experience the beginning of labor without a little kick from the outside world. You were due on February 26th, but here we were, on March 6th, and I had chosen to be induced again, as I had to do with your sister, 2 weeks past her due-date. It was 8AM, and my midwife examined me to find that I was 4 centimeters dilated and fully effaced (I'd been this close for almost 2 weeks, with only an occasional contraction). My waters were broken, in the hope that labor would begin without the necessity of drugs. By 12 noon, I had been experiencing erratic contractions, but nothing steady enough to truly get things rolling. Pitocin was begun, and in no time, the up and down of fast and furious contractions racked my body. Emotionally and physically, I was ill-prepared to cope with the pain. Weak and wimpy from the start, I was pleading with a higher spirit to time warp me to a different zone. Within 3 hours I'd reached the zenith of my tolerance and made the call for the anesthesiologist. "Epidural, take me away!"

As the numbness spread down my spine and legs, stripping away ALL traces of pain, the dark clouds lifted from my consciousness. My pessimism and depression did a 180 degree flip, and I felt genuine happiness and anticipation for your imminent arrival. The midwife checked my progress, and I was already at 8 centimeters. She figured that we would be meeting you within hours. I was now able to drift in and out of sleep, and although I could feel no pain, I did feel you gradually travel lower through my uterus, and slowly edge your way into the birth canal. By the next time my midwife checked me, she could see your head, and it was time to push. For a half hour I worked to deliver you into this world in relative quiet, calmly surrounded by your encouraging father, the nurse Cheri, and the midwife, Robi Quackenbush. Your father told jokes, and I was actually able to laugh between concentrated pushes. At 6:05 PM, you were born complete, and nestled atop my bosom. I felt instant and deep love for you, my precious. As John Lennon's 'Beautiful Boy' played in the background, your father and I wept tears of joy. I will never forget the pure bliss brought by your presence, your first gift to me.

Love,
Mama

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Haiku Announcement

After a long hibernation from my blog, self imposed by all the commotion, emotion and physical state of my final trimester of pregnancy. I am truly happy to announce the arrival of my sweet baby boy. He has already brought great joy and completion to my family.

The following email was written last week by my darling husband:

Last Thursday we finally welcomed our new addition to the Gamber Family.
What would a birth announcement be without some Haikus?


Mama
---
Enough Is Enough
Oh Thank You Epidural
My Beautiful Boy


=================
Son
---
No No No Not Yet
Cold, Bright, Loud, Hairy Man Bad Breath
Boobies Not So Bad


=================
Daughter
---
Not Too Sure Of This
A Cookie Competitor
"I Love My Bruh-Der"


=================
Dad
---
Have Amazing Wife
Three Cameras One Subject
No Sleep So Much Love


=================

Details:

Gabriel Haven Gamber
Born : March 6th 2008 6:05pm
8lbs 12oz
20.5 Inches

UPDATE:
Mama and Gabriel are healthy, happy and at home.
Stella is helpful and excited.
Dad is a zombie.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Best Wishes

Merry Christmas!
From the Gambers...



Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Mother-In-Law

One year ago...


Even though the holidays can submerge one in the dark depths of stress, I am still managing to comfortably cling to a buoy, enjoying the sun glistening atop the deep waters. I don't know if it is the effects of watching the holidays through the eyes of a 2 year old, or earnestly enjoying the creation of new family traditions, but I feel surprisingly satisfied with this season and very blessed (my new and overly used descriptive term).

A big part of my joy comes from my family, both our own small nuclear unit and the extended relatives that create a comforting umbrella of protection around us. I am so lucky to have married a man who comes from a wonderful, generous and genuine family. Since day one they have welcomed me into their arms, and I cannot think of a moment of friction in our eight years of bonding. I feel especially thankful for my wonderful Mother-in-Law.

As usually happens when you first meet someone, there is much focus on your similarities and sometimes even more awareness of your differences. In a lot of ways, my Mother-in-Law and I are very different from one another. Much is generational, but even more is just the difference in our upbringings. She is from the Midwest, and grew up during a time when I think children were more innocent. Women played more traditionally defined family roles, church was a prominent part of each week, and patriotism ran deep. In contrast, I do not feel like I was sheltered from the darker realities of life. I grew up having honest discussions about sex and drugs, and questioning issues of equality, government policies and religion. As the oldest child, I craved independence and wanted to be an 'adult' before my time, moving out of my home at the age of 17. My MIL has described her young self as painfully shy, and a little fearful of the greater world. Yet, marriage to a Navy man, meant that the wider world was thrust upon her, forcing her to move across an ocean to a foreign country, Spain, as well as live in several states across the U.S. (all far from her own relatives). The military life, which meant long separations from her husband, and months of living as a 'single' mother strengthened her confidence as she rose to the challenges. My husband and his brother often talk about the immense respect that they have for their mother, especially now that they have grown and truly realize how much that she managed in the absence of their Father.

The more I learn about her, the more that I am amazed and the greater my respect grows. When it comes to work, I feel that I am a great multi-tasker. When it comes to parenting a child, cleaning house, getting dressed, shopping, arghhh! the list goes on, my capabilities tend to fall short. Perhaps, it is years of experience that make my MIL such a wonder at managing a household and simultaneously playing with her granddaughter, but I think it is more than that. She is gifted - a true organizational wizard when taking care of all things domestic, AND she did this with her own sons, while holding down a part-time job!

Beyond her honed abilities to prepare a 3 course meal, keep the kitchen clean, and deal with a toddler - all skills that have proven unbelievably helpful whenever she visits, my love for my MIL has grown due to our talks and a greater understanding of the good woman she is. Despite all of our different personality traits, views on politics, religion, etc., I have always felt acceptance and a lack of judgement. I would guess that my relationship with her son and all it's stages, living together before marriage, having a civil wedding ceremony, and some of our parenting decisions might not have been her first choice, but if this is the case, she never made a big deal out of it, and it never effected our connection negatively. Above all, I believe that both of my husband's parents have recognized that the good intentions behind any of our choices are all that really matters, and have thus never felt the need to exert their influence against our plans. This patience and acceptance has made for a very smooth and respectful relationship. I can only hope that I will be the same kind of Mother-in-Law to my own children's spouses.

Dear Gayle, I really love you and hope that today, your birthday, is a very special occasion and celebration of all that makes you wonderful. Stella, Dan and I wish that we could be with you now, and look forward to your visit in February.


Above photo from Mother's Day 2007

Above photo from October 2007