Project 52 – 32, Part One: Farewell to Illinois!

It’s time for Project 52, Week 32!

1996_08 Passport Photo

32 weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I began Project 52. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, each week I’m taking one year of my life and blogging about it. This week, I’m covering the year I was 32 — June 14, 1996, to June 14, 1997.

The year I was 32 was the year we moved to Germany! However, I’m writing this after working the late shift — so I don’t think I’ll be able to cover the whole year tonight. I will instead see if I can cover the months from June through October, as we said good-by to Illinois.

Last week, I covered the year we found out we’d get to move. We were ready to leave Illinois, and very excited about the adventure.

The first pictures from that year are more of my adorable children. That was the time that Timmy decided if he closed his eyes, I couldn’t see him or take his picture. Of course, I think the aggressively-closed-eyes pictures are cuter than ever!

1996_06 1 Closed Eyes

1996_06 2 Closed Eyes

1996_06 3 Closed Eyes

1996_07 1 Closed Eyes

1996_07 3 Closed Eyes

And my last day teaching college math was July 24, 1996! I’d been teaching Calculus 3 for summer school — 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Monday and Wednesday nights. I wrote in my journal on the 22nd: “This is the week! The week a new epoch in my life starts — when I actually won’t be working for at least 4 months! A dream come true.”

The fact is, I’d wanted to stay home with my kids since they were born — but we couldn’t afford it. We were hoping that the extra money Steve would get in Germany — for Cost of Living Allowance and higher housing allowance — would make it possible for me not to work. But since I couldn’t teach Fall semester, we had more than three months of living in Illinois with me not working. Yes, every time we had a military move, our finances took a big hit. (This will always be true when both spouses are working. You can’t get a job instantly. Though I have to admit, it was close to instantly when we moved to Illinois.)

The other thing I was dealing with then — alas, the whole time I was not working outside the home — was mysterious very bad joint pain. It would happen in waves, but was quite severe. I’d also get waves of lethargy, so I wasn’t feeling great at that time, and was annoyingly unproductive.

I finally found out more than two years later that it was from the Inderal I’d started taking as a migraine preventative. Since the joint pain didn’t start until I’d been taking Inderal for six months, that never occurred to me (or my doctor). We did tests, and I came out borderline for rheumatoid arthritis — but it looked like it was probably lupus. (It did, in fact, turn out to be drug-induced lupus.) So that was something hanging over me, starting that summer after I turned 32. (And when I stopped taking Inderal a couple years later, it completely went away. So that was indeed the problem.)

That summer, Josh played Little League baseball. They had a tendency to stand in the outfield and look at flowers, but I think they had fun.

1996_06 6 Baseball Player

1996_06 5 After Baseball

While Josh played, Timmy played in the dirt by the field.

1996_06 4 After Baseball

I love this picture. I’m not sure why we had some candy bars. But Steve had put them in a high cupboard. One day I found Timmy in the following pose. Note the stool he’d brought over to achieve his goal! And the downcast eyes of one caught in the act.

1996_07 2 Guilty!

And Colleen, my roommate from Biola, came to visit us with her parents! We took them to the Gateway Arch.

1996_07 4 Colleen

1996_07 5 Gateway Arch

Alas! This was the last time I saw Colleen. She’d already had surgery and had a brain tumor removed. But it did grow back, and she died the following spring, on March 18, 1997. She was 33 and a half years old and an amazing high school English teacher. Very, very sad. Yes, I believe she’s happy in heaven. But I’m still sad that her potential for touching lives here on earth was cut short.

Then we started planning to see people in the States before we moved. At the end of July, we visited my brother Randy and his wife Cherita, with a stop at Fantastic Caverns on the way.

1996_07 6 Josh Cave

After visiting Fantastic Caverns:

1996_07 7 After Vacation

Then we visited Randy. He’s a truck driver, and let Timmy take the wheel!

1996_07 8 Randy's Truck Horn

1996_07 9 Randy's Truck

1996_07 10 Timmy Driving

Our next stop was the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum on Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri. We were there on a truly glorious day.

1996_07 11 Mansfield

1996_07 12 Mansfield

1996_07 13 Mansfield

1996_07 14 Mansfield

And the day after we got home was Timmy’s 2nd Birthday!

He loved his new bubble mower so much!

1996_07 15 Birthday Mower

1996_08 4 Bubble Mower

He also got a Tickle-Me Elmo.

1996_08 6 Smile

1996_07 16 Timmy's Birthday

My adorable children:

1996_08 1 Smiles

And Timmy’s favorite thing to do around that time (and later in Germany) was to drive cars off that small file cabinet and watch them crash on the floor. There were dents on the floor where they’d land.

1996_08 2 Cars

Steve’s family visited, and we went to the St. Louis Zoo.

1996_08 8 Zoo

Gramp E. with all his grandchildren:

1996_08 16 Gramp E

At this playground, Karli thought it was the greatest thing to pour the little rocks on her own head. They were incredibly dirty that night.

1996_08 11 Tunnel with Karli

1996_08 12 Rocks on head

1996_08 13 Playground

1996_08 14 Rocks

And we fed the geese at Scott Lake:

1996_08 15 Feeding Geese

Timmy and Karli’s car seats were next to each other in the car, and they squabbled a lot. But after we dropped them off at the airport, and Timmy found out Karli wasn’t coming back, he burst into tears.

1996_08 20 Under the table

This was from a trip to Six Flags. I’m sure Timmy believed he was really driving the car.

1996_08 17 Driving

Then we took another trip to Chicago.

While we were there, the band had a performance somewhere where there were tanks we could climb on.

1996_08 1 Tanks

1996_08 9 Tanks

1996_08 10 Tanks

1996_08 5 To Chicago

On August 27, Josh began 3rd grade! They would not finish it in Illinois.

1996_08 3 First Day of 3rd Grade

Here are my kids’ Passport Photos! The cutest passport photos ever!

1996_08 18 Passport Josh

1996_08 19 Passport Timmy

And then at the end of September, Kathe arrived for a visit, with her husband Joe and son Tim!

1996_09 6 Two Tims

1996_09 17 Reading

1996_09 18 Reading

We went to the Transportation Museum on the 24th. Both the two-year-olds were enthralled.

1996_09 19 Train Museum

1996_09 20 Train Museum

1996_09 21 Train Museum

1996_09 22 Train Museum

1996_09 23 Train Museum

1996_09 24 Train Museum

On the 25th, we went to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

1996_09 1 Gateway Arch

1996_09 2 Arch

1996_09 3 Arch

1996_09 7 Arch

1996_09 8 Arch

On the 26th, we went to the Science Center. This is the bridge over the freeway.

1996_09 5 Science Center

On the 27th, we visited the Magic House, a sort of heaven for small boys. My Timmy had a peak experience, which he remembered for years.

1996_09 4 Magic House

1996_09 9 Magic House

1996_09 10 Magic House

1996_09 11 Magic House

1996_09 12 Magic House

1996_09 13 Magic House

Josh got inside a bubble.

1996_09 14 Magic House

1996_09 15 Magic House

And the final day of their visit, we played on the playground before taking them to the airport.

1996_09 16 Playground

1996_09 25 Playground

1996_09 26 Playground

And that’s all I can post tonight! I’m still a month away from the day we left for Germany, but it was a very full month. Like I said, we were trying to see everyone and everything before we moved across an ocean.

2 Responses to “Project 52 – 32, Part One: Farewell to Illinois!”

  1. Victoria says:

    Oh my your children are absolutely beautiful!!

  2. Administrator says:

    I completely agree, Victoria! 🙂

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