LAX to Hong Kong

Front EndIt was a cool and misty 4:00 am at the cargo complex at LAX airport. We all chatted on our way out to the awaiting 747 that we were to pilot half way across the globe. There were four of us pilots because it was such a long flight, with one captain and three first officers. Because of the strong headwinds across the Pacific, we wouldn’t be over much water on our way to Hong Kong because the flight was planned well North of the great circle route. After departure, we would head up toward Anchorage, and even pass overhead Mongolia before coming back East to Hong Kong. After taxiing out to the runway, we were cleared for takeoff. The toga buttons were pressed and the huge engines roared to life. As we lifted off the runway, I let out a small sigh as I looked at the computer generated time remaining. It read 15 hrs, 15 mins.
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Kiley is eight months

Eight MonthsKiley is eight months old today. The update for this past month includes her getting sick for the first time and standing up while holding onto something. We drove back from Texas for Christmas and she did really well but had a few more crying episodes than when we drove down. Part of the reason for this was that we left earlier in the day so she was awake longer. Once home, we decided to try the crib again, now that we had her on stronger reflux medicine and better (the best) formula. It took three tough nights and three so-so nights, but now she sleeps in her crib all night. It’s tough to hear your baby screaming, but in the end, it’s for the best.

She is old enough now to lie in her crib and entertain herself and put herself back to sleep after waking up and playing with her toys for a while. She loves to suck on our hoodie strings and zippers. She also plays well in her exersaucer and is now tall enough to have her feet touch the bottom and stand in it. She can also twist the saucer at the waist to rotate around to see us and play with the different toys on it.
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Kiley is seven months

Cutie by the treeDuring her seventh month, Kiley remained a happy little baby for us and smiled a lot at everyone. She is still having acid reflux problems and we’ve had to increase her dosage twice to keep up with the decreasing strength as she gains weight. She is eating well though and she ate cereal for the first time. She liked it but wanted no more once we started her on baby food like sweet potatoes, pears, green beans and the ever favorite bananas. Like her daddy, she doesn’t like peas at all.

Laura took her along on a lot of Christmas shopping runs and many people had lots of compliments. It was even hard to keep on schedule because so many people wanted to stop and say how cute she looked! One lady asked her shopping partner as they past, “Did you see that baby? Now THAT was a cute baby!” Wow, I love to hear these compliments because I know I’m pretty biased as to how cute she looks.
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Christmas Tree

Tree Smiles
For many years now, Laura and I have enjoyed going to Saum Family Farms to cut down our Christmas tree. The sprawling farm always has a huge selection of trees at great prices, and after we’ve found the perfect Canaan Fir, we head into the barn for a cup of hot chocolate and a warm cookie before we leave. Last year, we got to take my parents along and our first baby, Gus. This year, it was exciting because we were blessed to bring along our second baby, Kiley. It was a bit rough trying to wrangle Kiley, the ever squirrely Gus, a camera, a saw, a tree cart, and still look for a good tree, but somehow we managed. With the tree all bundled up, it fit nicely in the back of our Elantra while Kiley made quite an impression on the staff in the barn.

Getting home always starts the least fun part of the “tree experience” for me: getting it mounted straight. Years ago, I bought a tree stand that is large and sturdy enough to hold the White House Christmas tree. The only problem is that if one doesn’t purchase a tree that large, the threaded bolts aren’t long enough to reach the small trunk of a tree like ours. After the tree almost fell, twice, carpel tunnel in my wrists from twisting and twisting anchor bolts, and five shims later, the Cline family tree was up!
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Bathroom Remodel

Master Bath
With our move to Texas in the next few months, we are going to need to sell our house in Ohio. We’ve considered renting it, but the tax implications don’t make that a viable option. Either way, there were some serious projects I needed to start to get the house into sellable shape. Once I was deep into those projects, I lamented to Laura that the reason these projects remained on my to-do list for eight years was because they were the hard ones!

The big to-do, the elephant in the room, was the upstairs bath. It was old, nasty, and in need of repair. For years, it sat up there, laughing at me, taunting me, daring me to try and replace its old cast-iron pipes or fix the old plaster that was falling apart. It howled with delight every time I would think about fixing it up but determined that it was just too much work and “maybe next year” would cross my lips. Each time I would use that bathroom, it mocked me. It was a constant reminder that work needed to be done, but there was no easy way to go about it.

The idea of selling the house with a bad master bathroom was what finally got me motivated enough to take up the challenge of ripping it all apart and starting fresh. Yes, I should have done it years ago, but better late than never. We both felt like the money spent on the bathroom remodel would pay for itself after a sale. The problems with the bathroom were that the water lines were galvanized steel, which rust from the inside to the point the water pressure drops to nearly zero. We were not at zero yet, but close. The plaster on the walls near the floor were coming apart from all the steam and the electrical wiring was twice as old as I was. The pedestal sink didn’t offer any storage, the light fixture was rusting and nasty, the toilet was rusty red from all the water passing through the old pipes, and the shower fixtures had so much scale and buildup, it was hard to tell that they were actually chrome.
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Kiley at six months

Happy Sixth MonthKiley’s six month update has a lot to do with her mouth, what goes in it, and what it produces. Since November sixth, she has started making more pronounced sounds like “nah, nah, nah, nine, nine, nine” (I think she might be German) instead of just cooing and “ahhs.” She will look at our mouths as we talk to her, as if to figure out what we are doing and how to say something herself.

Continuing with her mouth, we had Thanksgiving a little early this year because I had to go to work. She got her first taste of baby food: turkey and gravy, sweet potatoes, and applesauce for dessert. She gagged on all of it, so we had to give her a bottle afterward. On the real Thanksgiving day, she got prunes and loved them! The following day she got more and was excited when she saw them in the container and opened her mouth wide to accept them. With the baby food came the first massive BM that ended with her getting cut out of her onesie. Gone are the milk only poopies!
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