Webster defines the word "overweight" as "weight over and above what is required or allowed or excessive or burdensome weight ". Well, this is my confession.

I am overweight.

I know there are readers that are more overweight than me. But since this is MY blog, this post is about me and me only.

I'm not going to tell you exactly how much I weigh, but I will tell you that I could lose 50 lbs and easily be within my "ideal" weight range. I have dieted off and on for some time and never lost much more than 10 lbs or so.

I gained quite a few pounds during the in-vitro to have Jenna and then subsequent tries for a sibling. The past few years, I have used the excuse "no point in losing weight if I'm just going to get pregnant and gain it all back" to avoid actually committing to losing. However, it's painfully clear that it's ridiculous to use THAT excuse anymore!

But I realize that if I don't take control of this problem now, then it is not going to get better and will begin to affect more than just my physical appearance. Already, I'm to the point of having to shop in specialty stores to buy jeans and I won't even tell you what a fiasco buying undergarments has become. I experience more reflux than I used to and this year I didn't ask for clothing store gift certificates for Christmas because trying on clothes is depressing enough to make me leave the stores in tears.

I know that most of you probably think I'm exaggerating and some of you just may not have ever stopped to pay attention. However, what I say is true and I need to lose weight.

Come first of the year I will join Weight Watchers again and try to lose some weight. It will not be easy and I have absolutely no will power whatsoever so that will be interesting in and of itself. But I have to do this. For my health, for my family relationships, for ME.

Right now, I don't like me. I don't like the wife I've become. I don't like the mother I've become. I don't like the PERSON I've become. There's so much change that needs to happen with me but I have to start somewhere. I have personal goals spiritually, mentally, physicially and financially. Personally, I believe if I start with changing/improving spiritually, the others will come in time.

Why am I telling you this? Because I need as much support as I can get. If you are a pray-er, then pray. If you aren't, then support me however you can...just positive thoughts will help. I'm going to need as much as I can get. Feel free to hold me accountable. Feel free to ask me how it's going. Remember, I have no willpower, so the support is welcome and needed.

Thanks for taking this journey with me.


Merry Christmas!

I know this post would be so much better if I had some pictures to go along with it, but I'm worn out (as most parents are!) and just don't feel like uploading any.

This morning started early...about 7:45 which is not as early as it could have been. I woke up at my usual work time around 5:00 and went back to sleep until about 7am. At that time, I woke up and the thought crossed my mind to get on up, get my contacts in and my teeth brushed, but I didn't. And then just 45 minutes later, Jenna comes busting into the room.

I remember a time not too long ago where it didn't matter what was opened, she would tear through the gifts not stopping to see what they even were and the fun was over in just minutes. Now, she is slower, looks at things, poses for the camera and even lets Steve and I open one here and there. This year, she was old enough to notice that Santa used the same wrapping paper that Mom and Dad did. She also can read enough to know that some of the gifts I was saying Santa brought had from Mom and Dad on the label. She also noticed that Santa gave her and her daddy several of the same things in their stockings, but she knows that Mom and Dad fill each others' stockings because Santa only fills the children's. I guess the easy Santa days are over. Now comes the part of wrapping things with different paper for Santa and being careful with my handwriting. And I know several people whose kids started figuring things out about 7 or 8, so it won't be much longer. I never realized how short this time was.

Anyway, Jenna had a nice Christmas. I got her every DVD on horses I could find and bought her a Barbie jumping horse whose legs move like it's jumping and it whinnies and neighs. It was by far her favorite gift. I got several things for my scrapbooking room including a nice high back chair. It will make scrapbooking much easier on my back. Steve got a couple nice shirts, pair of jeans and a silver ring.

Our evening was spent with Steve's family who I truly enjoy being with. We did a gift card exchange which everyone thought was fun. Steve and I got a $25 gift certificate for Outback from his mom and dad which with what we got from our other family gathering is $50 total. I got a Red Lobster gift certificate in the exchange which makes us having $50 for that too. Steve ended up with Saltgrass for $25, so that will get us a decent meal there. Jenna got $25 from Grandmother and Pacockey. I also got gift certificates from Target and TJ Maxx from Chase. We'll be eatin' free for a while! I kind of wish I'd gotten a few more Target cards because there are several things I didn't get from my list that I'd still like to have.

Tonight after Steve's family, Micah, Chase and Gage came to the house and did their exchange. I think they were all pleased. Chase got a bunch of shirts and a couple gift cards from us and he really seemed pleased. I like that because it means I am still somewhat "in touch" with what the "young uns" like to wear!

Now, I'm about to put my girl to bed and get in bed myself. I'm off work tomorrow and plan to get all these Christmas decorations put away. I'm back to work for a few hours on Thursday and Friday and for whatever reason, I just can't stand for Christmas decorations to remain very long after Christmas is over. However, turning off the lights on the tree downstairs tonight for the last time was depressing. But I guess I'll blink and we'll be celebrating again next year.

To all my readers...Merry Christmas. Let us remember the real Reason for the season.


Merry Christmas Eve...

There is so much I need to blog on...I'll start with tonight and go back in time.

Jenna is in bed already waiting on Santa and his reindeer to arrive. Tonight, we had our friends the Millsaps over. My family no longer gathers on Christmas eve and I miss all the appetizer goodies that we had. So, I fixed a spread enough for an army. The six of us aren't an army, but we did our best to put a dent in the food. Rachel brought some goodies of her own to share and between the two of us, we have full tummies! The girls exchanged gifts and hade a great time as usual...
And though it wasn't my blood relatives over tonight, it was family. Family that I'm so glad to have.

The next best thing to family is my church. We went to Christmas Eve service tonight and it was just awesome! At the end, all 3000+ of us lit candles and as pastor Mike closed the service, one by one, all the candles went in the air. The picture doesn't do it justice, but the picture in my mind's eye is beautiful!
OK, so Saturday night, our church hosted the Michael W. Smith Chrismtas concert. It was OUR choir and OUR orchestra backing him up. And it was awesome! Our pastor always tells us that we are the coolest church around. And after this concert, I can say it is definitely true. Check out my friend Leigh Ann's blog. She is in the choir and her entry is way better than anything I could write. But be assured...it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was awesome! Melinda Doolittle and the Katinas were there as well.

After the concert, we decided to tag along to my sister and brother in laws house for a little early Christmas surprise. For some history, Debbie, my SIL has loved playing the piano for...well, ever since I knew her and long before as I understand. But she's not actually had a piano in her home. Every Christmas, we'd enjoy her playing over at my other sister in laws house at Christmas. Because she was in the choir backing up MWS, she was gone all day Saturday and that's when her hubby had her new piano delivered. It was very cool to witness her excitement upon discovering the treasure in her own home.
Friday night was the night my family decided to get together for Chrismtas. While the whole family wasn't able to attend, most of them did and it was enjoyable. We did a gift card exchange and that worked out well. Steve and I ended up with Outback and Red Lobster which we really enjoy! The kids got several nice things and thus starts the Christmas influx of gifts.
Back even a little further to Thursday which was Jenna's Christmas party at school. I had missed the Harvest Party so this was the first time I got to go and help out. It was fun and they had made so many cute things. Take a look at the reindeer and wreath they made!
And lastly before I got to bed so Santa can come...here's a picture of another sunrise here in the "hill". One of these days I'm going to wreck my van trying to take a picture of these beautiful creations.
Well, I'm getting tired and it's taken me nearly 45 mintues to write this up, so hopefully Jenna is sleeping soundly by now. I'm going to take care of a few last minute activities and then I'm off to bed myself. Somehow I think it's going to be an early morning and a long day!

Merry Christmas Even to you all!


Time to celebrate...

Several things to be happy about today:

Visit my friend Rachel's blog. I'm certain she'll have this exciting news posted very soon....

Her little girl, Hannah, has always been terrified of Santa. In fact, she liked him so little that Frosty the Snowman brought her Christmas gifts each year. Without telling you the whole story, Hannah sat in Santa's lap this afternoon (after hours of standing in line) and there are pictures to prove it. I am so proud of her! The sad thing is that it just goes to show, our babies are growing up. Go Hannah!!

That was a wonderful way for Rachel to celebrate her birthday today! So a big happy birthday goes out to Rachel on her special day!

Also, this afternoon at work, I got an email stating that due to having a good year, our offices were also going to be closed on December 31! YEAH BABY! I am stoked! And it doesn't even count against our vacation time. It's just fabulouse! Couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift. OK, I would have liked a huge $10,000 Christmas bonus, but this is pretty good!

Shortly after that email came a message from our SVP stating we could begin our holidays any time we were ready. It only took me about 10 minutes to finish what I was doing and cut out! It's been a great day all around. We are about to leave to do my family Christmas. It won't be complete because not all the family will be there, but I'll take what I can get.

Will post pics later.



Second Post of the Day

It's 10:44am and this is my second post of the day.

After a long evening of shopping last night, I decided all I wanted to do today is sleep late, wrap a few gifts for Christmas, relax and read a magazine or book.

Well, apparently, I've forgotten how to relax. And sleep late. I got up at 7:45 and felt like I'd slept 2 days. Of course, during the week my alarm goes off at 5am and on a good night, I get 7 hours of sleep, so technically, getting 8 1/2 today was sleeping late for me.

I just finished writing 1/2 a page of "Things to do" today. And I'm sitting here feeling like a slug for not already having some of them done. What is wrong with me? Oh yeah, I'm a mother...it's what we do. :)

OK, I'm off to start my list!

Warning: Political Rant

So, I must post a short rant.

Yesterday morning, I was watching TV/news while getting ready for work. And a story came up that I'd heard previously, but chose to ignore because it fires me up. For whatever reason, I decided to listen more closely. It was about a local county school district lawsuit brought against it by a Jewish mother regarding "religious activities" in the school. You can read more about it here. Anyway, the crux of the issue is that she is upset because the school "promoted" such things as "See You At the Pole" and praying parents on it's website.

Now, don't misunderstand, I get their complaint (not that I understand or agree with it), but that wasn't my problem. My problem was the comment from one of the opposing parties that basically said the big issue was that there were teachers from the school participating (and by way of participating, promoting). YEAH. SO WHAT???!?! So now, are they saying that as a teacher, you cannot freely choose to participate in a prayer program in your workplace? Does this bother anyone else? Of course the ACLU is going to say that, but what if the judge rules in favor of the lawsuit? Does anyone realize what that means? It is just one step closer to government telling us what we can and can't do. Now, you can't pray in the place in which you work because it might offend someone. It's a very scary thing to me. It's like telling people they can't smoke in parks. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that they've banned it from restaraunts here and next summer, my workplace is becoming totally smoke-free meaning you can't smoke anywhere on the property (and no, there's no "designated" spot). But when the government tells you that you can't smoke OUTSIDE in the air...I don't want to smell it or have my kids smell it either, but that's just stepping over the line a little isn't it? I don't know, but all I'm saying is I get an uneasy feeling about it. If you are going to spin your wheels on something like that, then state smokers can't be within XXX amount of feet of a children's play area.

I don't ever get on a political soapbox about anything. Mostly because I'm ignorant when it comes to politics and don't know enough to argue about it. But the story yesterday about the lawsuit on prayer....well, it literally brought tears to my eyes. If my child were in public school and there was a Jewish celebration advertised, I wouldn't be offended...I would ignore it as it doesn't apply to me. And if I found out that several teachers attended, I'd think, "Hmmm, I didn't realize they were Jewish" but I wouldn't bring a lawsuit. What is the world coming to?

The story has a humorous side too...“Today it came out that the Doe family, the mother came in and taught the children about Hanukah in the classroom,” said Fox. HA! So it's OK for her to come into my child's classroom and teach them about HER religion when my child doesn't have a choice but to sit and listen, but it's NOT OK for a teacher to voluntarily go pray with a group (both on school campus)? What's wrong with this picture?

But by far, the most humorous part of the story was this, "After giving attorneys instructions to file paperwork with him by January 7, Judge Robert Echols wished the court a “Merry Christmas.” After a few snickers and giggles, he realized some in the courtroom might be offended by that and wished them a Happy Holidays."

And God laughed.


There is a name...

...to the rash that Jenna has. I finally broke down and took her to the doctor this afternoon because this morning the rash was still pretty pronounced and I just wanted to be sure that it wasn't anything serious.

The doctor took a very close look, called in another doctor for a second opinion, looked at the dermatology book and diagnosed Pityriasis Rosea and is apparently nothing to worry about. It is a skin rash, not caused by allergy, but by a virus. Our favorite doctor prescribed her something to help with the itching and told me to give it a week. It can actually last 2-6 weeks or longer. Hopefully it won't take that long because it is annoying I'm sure. Thank goodness that's all it was.

So, while I was waiting on the time to come to leave and take Jenna to the doctor, I get a call from Steve saying he was going to the ER with chest pains. He didn't think it was anything serious, but it was hurting bad enough that we thought we had better not take a chance. Luckily, everything they did at the ER came back OK. They still want him to go do a more extensive stress test, so we have to get through that. But thank the good Lord, things were fine.

I'm still fighting a mean sinus infection/cold. I can't seem to kick this mess. I'm on day 4 of a 5-day antibiotic and still got some serious congestion in my head.

I'll keep you all posted on the health of the Taylors!


"Hot Cross Buns" like never before!

I'm sure you are all wondering about my title...well, today, Jenna stood up in front of an audience and played "Hot Cross Buns" on her violin! I was so proud of her! She'd been taking lessons since August from our church's worshipping arts area. For those that may not have ever played, violin is pretty difficult. I didn't think she'd learn enough in these few short weeks to be able to participate in a recital, but she did. I even gave her the choice on going or not and she wanted to. I heard her practice several times and to be honest, I was a little worried. I prayed right before she went on stage and she played perfectly. After it was over, I resisted the urge to stand and shout, "That's MY girl!!!!" When she rejoined us in the audience, she was smiling from ear to ear. I could tell she was proud of herself too. I am sad to say that as good as she did, she has retired her violin (we only rented it) and does not intend to play any instrument for a while. She's got her heart set on horseback riding lessons.

This is Jenna and her violin teacher Ms. Morgan...she is extremely talented and unbelievably patient.

Something else going on here in the house...yesterday afternoon, Jenna developed a rash on her torso. There are little red welps all over her belly, chest and back. I didn't really know what to do last night so I put some calomine on them and once she quit scratching them, they went down. This morning they looked better so I figured it was just some fluke. This afternoon, when she woke up from her nap, they were all red, blotchy and welped up again, so I ran her down to the Minute Clinic. Unfortunately, the nurse practioner didn't have a clue as to what they were either. She said it wasn't chicken pox, scabies, poison ivy or measles. Most likely, it's hives or other allergic reaction, but I have wracked my brain to figure out what it might be. We are pretty predictable though, so nothing has changed that I can put my finger on. While at the clinic, I bought some Aveeno oatmeal bath and some hydrocortisone. We used both tonight and it appears that between the two, it's easing the itching and therefore, the bumps are receding a little.

Other health news, I'm sick...AGAIN. I started feeling "not right" on Thursday afternoon and Thursday night I was miserable sneezing, stuffy, sinus pressure making my head feel like it was going to explode. Friday morning I didn't feel AS bad, but I started some antibiotics just in case. Last night Rachel came over to scrapbook and I didn't feel nearly as bad as I did the night before. Today was rough. I didn't sleep well last night and so it was tought to get going this morning. I took a nap after the recital and made Jenna do the same because she hadn't gotten in bed till nearly 11pm and then up at 7am too. After my powernap, I felt better and feel pretty good when I'm up and moving around, but then on the flip side, I don't feel like being up and moving around. I've got no fever, and really would be fine if not for the sinus pressure. I'm going to have to go in and see the doc I think to get on some allergy medicine. What is it with this family and allergies?!?!?

I guess that's about it. I finally put up a little Christmas tree in our bonus room. We never get to enjoy the main one downstairs and it's too fru-fru for my sentimental ornaments. So, Jenna and I put up a little 4 1/2 ft pre lit tree in the bonus room and it just feels so Christmas-ey!

I guess that's about all the news from the Taylor household now. Tomorrow my goal is to get some Christmas presents wrapped. We'll see how that goes... :)


It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. I can't seem to find the time although I think of things I want to blog about all the time!

The day after Thanksgiving we got the Christmas tree up. We haven't decorated as much this year because it doesn't seem that we can find the time. We have limited Jenna's extra curricular activities to two at a time, but I think we need to cut that back to one. Our church is adding a 3rd worship service on Sunday night and what that means is they are going to move children's choir up to 4pm and since we don't get home from morning activities until 1:30 (if we eat out for lunch), so there's some decision making about to go on here. I wonder when I'm going to be able to get all the Christmas presents wrapped.

Yesterday, we had the Taylor Family picture done. The last one was when Steve was married the first time. Chase wasn't even 2 yet! Since Steve and I had been married 11 1/2 years, I thought it was high time for a more updated picture! Not to mention, there are several children that weren't in the picture...Anyway, I was again reminded how much I enjoy being around the family. I just LOVE my sisters in law and can't wait until Christmas! Here's just a sample of the pics...
Last night, Jenna did her choir program at church. I think I teared up through most of the entire thing. When we were on our way to school/work this morning, I asked her to teach me one of the songs they sang. It's not long and it's got a pretty catchy tune. When she started teaching me the words, I began to really hear them and thought I'd share...
"Our God is a great big God
Our God is a great big God
Our God is a great big God and He holds us in His hands.
He's taller than a skyscraper, deeper than a submarine.
He's wider than the universe and beyond my wildest dreams.
And He's known me and He's loved me...since before the world began.
How wonderful to be a part of God's amazing plan."
What really struck me was the part about God knowing me and not only KNOWING, but knowing me and loving me despite myself. And He loved me before He even created the world. Think about that...HE LOVED US BEFORE HE EVEN CREATED THE WORLD. I mean, if that doesn't bring tears to your eyes...and then yes, how very wonderful to be a part of God's most amazing plan. Just think, of all the billions of people in the world, each one of us are part of a huge plan that God has for us. Awesome.
Anyway, I couldn't finish the song because I kept getting choked up. Jenna finally asked me if I was crying. I tried to explain to her how cool it was about God loving and knowing us. Not sure she understood, but it was an interesting conversation.
Not much else to speak of. Check out my friend, Rachel's blog. She blogged about several things (like the Steven Curtis Chapman concert) that I haven't touched on because I'm busy and then by the time I have time to sit down and blog, I've forgotten 1/2 of what I was going to talk about!
That's about it. I'm going to try and keep everyone updated as the holidays approach, but you all cut me some slack...after all...it' s the holidays!


"You sick?"

I'm sure you're wondering about my title. First, I need to preface it by saying last weekend, I was contemplating taking a nap. Of course I didn't and I started to think about how long it had been since I'd actually taken a nap. Now, I'm talking about a nap "just because". There's been a few times that I have been in bed sleeping but it's because I was sick or seriously jet-lagged from traveling around the country!

Anyway, I was thinking that it's probably been 3 years since I've napped just because I could. And of course, that led me to thinking about WHY I don't take naps anymore. I guess the main reason is because there's always something more important that needs to be done. Laundry, reading, Bible Study, cleaning etc. And so when I think about laying down, a million things pop into my head that are more important to get done than sleeping in the middle of the day.

The second reason I'll explain later. But hang on...it's going to be a long post!

So, today, because it's a long weekend and I had nothing better to do (OK, I did have lots to do, but two more days to do it in!), I decided to lay down and see if I could take a nap. Usually, Jenna comes in and asks me a question and I never really get to go to sleep or someone makes a loud noise and I wake up before I'm out good. But today, I guess all the planets aligned because I actually started to doze off. I didn't tell anyone what I was doing because that is just INVITING an interruption. After about 5 minutes, I feel someone staring at me. I open my eyes and Steve is standing over me looking concerned. He says, "You sick?" to which I replied, "No, just tired". THAT tells you how long it's been since I napped just because. It's been long enough that when Steve found me resting, he immediately thought there was something wrong with me. What exactly does that say about me? I probably don't want to go there.

And remember I told you there was another reason why I don't nap? The rest of this post is testimony to why. It's because when I do, my entire body gets out of whack. I'm not one of those people who can sleep until 9am, take a nap at noon and still go to bed at 10pm for a full 8 hours sleep. My normal routine gets me out of bed at 5:30am (and that means I'm running late) and back in bed by 10-10:30pm. On a weekend, I'm normally out of bed by 8:00 if not earlier. Getting more than 9 hours sleep makes me feel bad.

Evidence of this nap-induced craziness is the time of this post. Currently, it's 11:49pm and I'm not even close to being tired. I guess it probably didn't help that I downed a "GRANDE" (in Starbucks language) Mocha Frolatte with extra mocha, no whip cream about 6:00. A frolatte is, by the way, a frozen concoction similar to a milkshake, but with a coffee taste and of course the mocha makes it taste alot like chocolate...so, chocolate and coffee combined with a little extra chocolate. Is it any wonder I'm still awake???

I kind of messed around the house after I got up from my nap (which lasted about 90 minutes according to Steve) and after about an hour of being up decided I'd been in the house long enough. Jenna and I hopped in the car and headed "into town". (Steve was bowling).

First I stopped at the local coffee shop for my frolatte. Then on to Hobby Lobby where I got some scrapbooking paper. Great deals there...most everything in the store 50% off. I couldn't even use my 40% off coupon since it was all already on sale. Then, on to Joann's where paper was 6 sheets for $.96! Holy cow! I got like 24 sheets and only spent a couple bucks! After that, we headed to the mall. But before we could shop, Jenna wanted to see if Santa was there. I figured he was, but told her there would probably be a huge line. Much to our pleasant surprise, there was about 3 families in line ahead of us. Jenna was about to come out of her skin with excitement. She got right up there, told him what she wanted and got her picture taken. Those pictures are highway robbery if you ask me. Almost $20 for 2 3x5 pictures. But you know parents everywhere get sucked in...and they were good pictures. :) I digress...

One of the things that Jenna decides she wants and tells Santa is the Rudolph from Build a Bear workshop. And it just so happens that in the little package you get after seeing Santa, was a $5 off coupon from BAB. How convenient because I also had a $10 off coupon from being a frequent customer (insert rolling of the eyes here). So, off we went to purchase a Rudolph. We got the Rudolph and a special Rudolph sound for $14. If you know anything about BAB, it's NOT cheap. So, I thought I did really well. While we were there, Steve finished bowling and met us at the mall. Since the frolatte filled me and Jenna up, we hadn't eaten yet, so we met at the food court and I used yet ANOTHER coupon to buy us dinner at Chik-fil-a. Got Jenna's dinner free with the coupon. Such a STEAL!

After eating, Steve took Jenna out and I went back to BAB and got her the Clarice reindeer (which is Rudolph's girlfriend) and several accessories. I think after all my BAB purchases tonight, I'm eligible for another $10 gift certificate which I might throw in Jenna's stocking if I get it in time. Then, I went to JCPenney's and bought Steve and Chase several things and found Christmas turtlenecks for yes, $6! $5.30 is what is actually rang up. And then I got a really pretty Christmas sweater for $18.88. Not to mention, because I spent over $75, I used my $15 off coupon.

I finally packed up and got ready to leave when I thought I might run by Lifeway just to see if they were still open. Seeing that it was nearly 10 minutes after 10pm, I figured they weren't, and I was right, so I headed on toward the interstate. However, I saw Target was still open until 11pm and I need a birthday gift for tomorrow afternoon, so I swung in to pick up a gift and card. I didn't even get a basket since I was only there for the gift. Of course, half way through I had to steal someone's hand basket because I couldn't carry everything. I found a couple DVDs for Jenna and got a couple gifts for the family. I nearly shut Target down. Not really...they hadn't even started making announcements that they were closing when I left.

So, I headed home with about 15 mintues to spare...and I'm driving down the interstate at nearly 11pm and I was amazed at the volume of traffic not only on the interstate, but also on the side roads. I know it's Black Friday and all, but I really didn't realize people were still out. Any other weekend, by 11pm, it's really starting to get deserted. But not tonight. Gives a whole new meaning to "shop till you drop".

Oh, and can I tell you when I finally got to the house, my van thermometer showed 25 degrees outside? Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....

OK, see, this is WHY I don't nap...because now, after a NOVEL of a post, it's 12:07 (Saturday) and I am just starting to think towards bed. We have someone coming to install carpet in my scrapbooking room tomrorow morning at 7am so my day will start early and I'm looking at only 7 hours of sleep as it is. The upstairs is a complete and utter wreck because everything that was crammed into that little spare bedroom is sitting in our bonus room or Jenna's room. Before we load it back in tomorrow, I'm going to clean it out.

Well, I'm going to sign off because by now even those of you reading this have fallen asleep. Plus, I have GOT to put my head on the pillow so I can get some rest before tomorrow. Oh wait...it IS tomorrow. :)

Happy Black Friday!


Turkey Overdose?

Anyone out there have turkey overdose? I didn't eat alot of turkey, but boy it sure feels like I did!

I have to say how much I enjoy being around Steve's family. I think I said this already some time ago, but I forget how much I love being around them. I just enjoy going to whoever's house and laughing at the stories that I wasn't around for. They've got lots more history together than I have since I joined the family so late, so I love hearing some of the things that happened "way back when".

Micah brought Gage with her tonight and it was very enjoyable to see and spend time with them. Chase came also and I always enjoy being around him. Somewhere along the way, I blinked and my kids grew up and became adults. Likewise, my niece, Beth, who is the same age as Micah was at our Thanksgiving dinner and I've come to enjoy talking and laughing with her. Back when she was a kid and I'd first met her, I spent lots of time with she and Micah. And then she went and grew up too. I just enjoy spending time with all of Steve's family. There's no other way to put it.

So...on with an update...really there's not much to update. Jenna got a progress report last week and she's doing wonderfully. She seems to really enjoy school and I am so glad we did pre-1st.

It's been busy at work because of annual enrollment. Steve's work is busy off and on. Jenna is finishing up her first semester of violin and probably gymnastics. She definitely isn't doing violin after this year. And she was going to only do gymnastics through May and then she's dying to do horseback riding lessons. But for us to swing that, she'll have to quit both violin and gymnastics. We'll see.

Well, I'm starting to get pretty tired. I'm headed off to bed. Happy Thanksgiving everyone...

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I have much to update you on, but I thought I'd start this Thanksgiving Day just with pictures of the things I am most thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!


Just quickly...

I have so much to report on, but now is not the time. I'm not going to work a full day on Wednesday because Jenna's out of school and I am taking her to the office with me. I will have plenty of time to update after that. Recently, my work has blocked the blogger site, so I no longer can write my blogs at work. BUMMER!

But I'll update very soon...like within the next few days and get all you faithful readers (if there are any out there!) up to date with what's been going on with us!



15 Years ago...

April 16, 1957 - November 7, 1992

It was late this afternoon when I realized that 15 years ago today, my mother walked down the streets of gold into the arms of her heavenly Father.

It was a Saturday morning and a very chilly one at that. My best friends at the time were Rachel and Kelly who both kept me laughing through my grief. I think that's what helped me survive.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss my mother and wish she were here for me to talk to. But I know she's in a much better place than I could ever imagine.

Love you Mama. Looking forward to seeing you again one day.


Ruminations of a Pregnancy Lost...

Warning: this relates to early miscarriage so if you are sensitive, please skip this post.

Lately, I've been thinking and dealing with the whole supposed miscarriage issue I went through a few weeks ago. I use the word "supposed" and I'll tell you why...

When I went to the doctor, I told her what was going on and she said "most likely" I'd had a miscarriage. Because I waited several weeks before getting checked out, a pregnancy test showed up negative and they didn't draw blood to confirm because I was several weeks past the symptoms that originally showed up and then caused me to go get checked out.

During the time in which my symptoms presented themselves (by the way, I'm being ambiguous because this public blog I'm not comfortable talking about the specifics), the thought had crossed my mind that I might be miscarrying, but in all honestly, I figured it was wishful thinking (NOT that I was miscarrying, but that I was even pregnant to begin with). Then, I go into the doctor and she confirmed what I had wondered but dared not speak aloud.

So, up until now, I've spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find more information about when things happened in the prior couple months, in order to prove, mostly to myself, that I wasn't ever really pregnant to begin with and that there must be another explanation for my symptoms. Well...I've researched emails, caldendars, blogs, posts etc. just to have everything I found point to, indeed, a miscarriage. It's hard to explain while attempting ambiguity, but it's true.

Now, I'm faced with the astounding fact that I most likely (yes, my OB said about 97%) was pregnant even if just for a few short weeks. The whole thing is still a little unbelievable to me as I'm sure it is to Steve. I mean, when you have built your life around trying for something that you knew was most likely never to happen, it's a little mind-blowing when it does.

Let me put it in terms easier for the general population to understand. Imagine that you've been playing the lottery, or even McDonald's Monopoly for years never believing you'd ever win, but still 1/2 heartedly playing anyway. Until one day, you find that you actually hit the jackpot. Your numbers came up or you got the Park Place sticker...After all the hoopla, you'd most likely spend a lot of time trying to work out how you got where you were and thinking of every possible explanation that you DIDN'T win. Then, after examining all the possibilities, you find that you definitely won the jackpot. Well, that's kind of how I feel. I've been rolling the dice for some time now, not ever really expecting to win, but playing just for fun. And then I find out that not only was I pregnant, but I miscarried.

Emotionally, I really am fine. I mean, had I tested and found I was pregnant and then miscarried later, I would probably be a lot different, but as it happened, it was over before I knew it began. Although, I'm sure I'm rolling the dice again as we put down a deposit for a cruise next August and am in the process of turning our one and only spare bedroom into a scrapbooking room. But you know...we still believe what God wills will happen. Nothing more and nothing less.

We are looking forward to what the future will bring...regardless of whether that involves a pregnancy. All I'll know is that coming up on this Thanksgiving, I'll have lots to be thankful for!

I'll keep everyone posted, but don't hold your breath!


Happy Halloween!

I cannot believe Halloween has come and gone (almost) already! I really don't have time to blog much and besides, there's not much going on, but I thought you'd like to see some of the pictures we took...
Jenna was a "Rock Star" tonight. That's what the costume package said, but to me, it's a little Hannah Montana-ish. She doesn't have it on in this picture, but there was a little headset to go with the outfit. And yes, that's makeup all over her face. Trust me, this is the ONLY time you'll see her looking like this. I'll fight tooth and nail before she looks like this as a teenager!!!!
Now, this is an interesting shot. Back in the summer, I bought a tiny camera for Steve to take to Moldova (as I didn't want him carrying my "good" camera) and that would fit in my purse because I'm always wishing I had a camera with me. So, tonight I used it because it was handy and there is a "night" button...so I used it to take a picture of the door decoration and this is how it came out. Pretty cool huh? We get big into Halloween decorations here.

I hope you can see this one, but this is our pumpkin. Steve carved it with a pattern we had from a book. It's supposed to be a skeleton.

Finally, this was our last visitor of the evening. Do you recognize him? :)



Good news/Bad News

OK, it's late, so this has got to be quick...we just got back from TPAC and it's way past my bedtime.

I have something to tell all my devoted readers (ha!) and because it's one of those things you don't really know how to bring up in conversation, I'm going to say it here. :)

I went to my OBGYN today and she told me that I had a recent miscarriage. That's the bad news.

Now...hopefully most of you will remember Steve had reversal surgery last year about this time. After the surgery, we discovered, that while it was technically successful, it wasn't successful enough to produce a pregnant. So, we've done nothing further to prevent a pregnancy from happening but we've not done much to help it along (via fertility treatments that is).

Without going into a load of detail (which is not appropriate for such a public blog), I had some unusual stuff going on last week and the week before and so at the request of my OB nurse, I made the earliest appointment and went in to see her today. There's no way to "prove" these weird things were definitely a miscarriage as I'm "done" as my OB put it, but there's not much other explanation in her professional opinion.

AND...to answer the question I've had all day today, I'm fine. Just to be clear, I did NOT know until today that I'd even been pregnant, so hearing that I'd miscarried after the fact helps. And yes, it does mean that it is POSSIBLE that I can get pregnant. But since the reversal, it's always been POSSIBLE. And that is the good news. But I'm not allowing myself to get hopeful or excited. I've spent the last 2 years after my failed IVF cycles trying to cope with the fact that I probably wouldn't ever be pregnant again. I've come a long way from that emotional rollercoaster and I don't intend to hop on it again until I'm sure there's a reason to be excited. We hold on to the knowledge that if it's God's will, it will happen.

Anwyay, that's what is going on. I'm seriously fine and I don't mind talking about it if you want to ask questions (and I'm sure some of you will). You all know me well enough to know there's not much I mind telling. :)

Oh, and Steve is fine with it also. We have elected not to tell Jenna. She so desperately wants a baby that I'm not sure she could understand.

OK...off to bed!


A little clarification!

OK, so I caused all kinds of confusion with my cryptic paragraph on job possibilities last time. Now that the whole thing is over, I can divulge the whole story...

Early last week, Steve got a call from a local recruiting firm of which a friend at church works. He told Steve he had a lead on a job that he wanted to recommend him for. This is the friend who helped Steve when we thought he was going to be unemployed about this time last year.

At any rate, turns out the job was a manager at another print shop in the town about 20 minutes south of where we live. Sounded like a good deal, so we told him go ahead. They actually called and said they wanted to interview Steve Wednesday at 9am. So, I thought up questions and quizzed him on answers and helped him formulate the answers etc. Remember, Steve hasn't interviewed in probably 20 years if ever. Anyway, I felt he was ready.

Wednesday morning came and he got all dressed up in his suit and tie. 30 minutes before he was going to leave, he got a call from the recruiting firm saying the company called and said they conducted some interviews on Tuesday and had already chosen their candidate.

I have to say, it was very disappointing. I mean, we'd already identified some pros and cons of getting the job and they were pretty equally stacked. We'd also prayed that God's will be done. In fact, Tuesday night, Steve's exact words to me were, "Well, I prayed that God would stop this if it wasn't meant to be". Well...guess you can't get a more definite "stop" than this huh? So, while disappointed, we are confident the door was closed for a reason.

He's got a job and I think they realize his potential there. That's not to say they are going to do anything about it, but he does have a job and it's fairly good pay, so no complaints from me.
Anyway, just wanted to clarify!

I'm home today and Monday with Jenna who is on Fall Break. I'm enjoying just sitting here surfing the net... We dropped the kitten off this morning at the vet to be neutered. So, really, it's quiet here...

Well, I'm off to...well...do nothing I guess!!


It's gonna be a long one...

Before anyone says anything, I know it's been a while since I've posted, so this one is gonna be a long one...hang on for the ride!

Part of the reason I am behind is that I went out of town on business for a couple days last week. It's the first time I've traveled for business in several years. But that's part of the reason for my delay. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Let's see, what's first...well, a few weeks ago, I started experiencing some weird heart happenings. It's hard to describe without you having experienced it yourself, but it felt like my heart was skipping a beat or double beating or something. I wasn't experiencing any chest, shoulder or arm pain/numbness, so I didn't really think I was in danger, but I had my blood pressure checked by the nurse at work just to be sure. It was normal, but I went ahead and made an appointment with my doctor so I could be sure before I headed off on my business trip. After lots of questions and an EKG, the doctor declared my heart HEALTHY! But the diagnosis was stress. Imagine that. Basically, he told me I needed desperately to get some exercise. Not only will that help me lose the weight, but it will help me burn off stress. So far, I haven't done anything. I know I need to but it just doesn't seem to fit into my schedule. I am going to do it though...and the weird things that were going on aren't happening anymore, so that's all good.

On a different note, there are some goings on with work. At this point, because I'm unsure as to who is reading this blog, I won't divulge which of us it's for or specifics, but certainly proves to be interesting these days. Hopefully I'll have more to say soon.

In Jenna world-before I left for my trip, Steve and I had our fall parent/teacher conference. And can I say, I SO love this teacher?! (we'll call her Mrs. S) She is absolutely wonderful! I am so glad Jenna has the privilege of being in her class this year. She basically asked me (tongue in cheek) if I'd noticed any "strong willed" tendencies. Who? My Jenna??? Yeah. We've noticed. But she made several comments that I found quite comforting...first of all, she told us God made Jenna this way and we should not try and change her. It was the first time I had thought of Jenna's personality as being uniquely designed for her by God. Mrs. S went on to say because we know God doesn't make mistakes, we figure He must have big plans for her. I believe that, but Mrs. S said something else that really hit home with me. She was talking about how her strong willed son who would argue with the wall if he thought it would argue back (anyone out have a child like that?!), but she pointed out that Moses, who God used to do HUGE things for the Israelites, basically argued with God face to face. OK, face to a burning bush that wasn't burning...and God used that hard headedness to do big things...so all that said, she really put my mind at ease that Jenna will be OK and if we all work together to channel that strong will, she will most likely turn into a great leader. I did mention that I worried about her teen years and that the strong will might become a problem. Mrs. S stated that studies show teens who were strong willed as children typically have less trouble than those that were really laid back and easy going as kids. This is because strong willed children have learned how to assert themselves and so are less likely to give in to peer pressure or seek the acceptance of peers unlike their laid back counterparts who may just go with the flow and end up in trouble. That's of course, not to say those of you lucky parents with laid back kids have anything to worry about. Ultimately, regardless of the personality, if channeled and nurtured properly, kids will turn out fine. But for me, it was a relief to hear such things. Thank the Lord for wonderful teachers like Mrs. S!!!

In other Jenna news, she just reached her 1 year milestone in gymnastics. We are truly proud that she has stuck with it this long. She really seems to enjoy it. She is still taking violin lessons, but I have a sneaking suspicion at the end of the semester, she'll want to drop it and try something else. She's mentioned both ballet/dance and piano. We'll see.

Last Saturday, Jenna went to a birthday party which was ice skating. I can't even remember the last time I was on ice skates! And this was Jenna's first time. She did roller skating last year, but she wasn't into it and neither Steve nor I got on them, so she really didn't enjoy it. But I braved it and got myself a pair of ice skates, and put some on her. I was never that great of an ice skater and I haven't gotten any better on my hiatus over the years. I figured Jenna would spend most of her time on the ice, which she did, but there was an instructor teaching them the basics and she did really well! Lucky for me, I stayed vertical the entire time also! Jenna was soaking wet at the end, but still had a blast!

And finally, last Friday while Steve was bowling, Jenna and I went to visit Rachel and Hannah (whose Daddy was also gone for the evening). Before we went, we stopped to pick out a Halloween costume for Jenna. While I was there, I found the one that Hannah wanted, so I picked it up too. Of course, after dinner, the girls wanted to try them out, so here they are. The "rock star" and "Sleeping Beauty". I can already tell these girls are going to pay their Mamas back for everything we put our moms through. They are a mess. Separately and together. If you don't believe me, follow the link to Rachel's blog and check out the one of them in the motorized vehicle. Yes...truly just a preview of things to come I'm sure.

Lastly, there are TONS of things I like about the small town in which I live. I like the fact that there's no Wal-Mart (sorry, just can't stand it). I like the fact that people are friendly and it feels like a small town. I like that we are in one of the fastest growing communities in the NATION. I like that they are building a Cracker Barrel AND a super-Target (the only one in the middle TN area). I like that on a quiet and clear night, I can hear the cows mooing from the nearby farm and see more stars than I can ever count in the sky. And one of the best, BEST things about living here is the sunrise. Leaving my subdivision in the morning has been awe inspiring lately. Because I always carried a small digital camera in my purse, I get some of the best shots of the sunrise. The other day I seriously thought the sky looked as if God had taken His huge paintbrush, dabbed it full of pink, orange, purple and blue and painted a huge swath of color across the sky. The pictures truly don't do it justice. It was absolutely breath-taking. Even Jenna noticed. Even now, looking at these photos makes me think of the words of a song,

"How great is our God...sing with me, how great is our God and all will see how great...how great...is our GOD."



Happy 23rd birthday to Micah! I can't believe she's been part of my life since she was 10 years old. She's become such a wonderful young woman and mother. We are so proud of her. She is still hanging in school to become a medical assistant. She's got about 3 more months and has a 4.0 GPA...again, we are SO proud!

Something funny that happened today...we went to the church to have our church directory pictures made. They took several pics of us as a family, then Steve and I together and then several cute ones of Jenna alone. After all that, they take you to a computer monitor and you view the pics and decide which you like best. Of course, Jenna is sitting right up in front of the monitor giving her opinion of her favorite family photo. Next up are the photos of Steve and I alone. The Olan Mills lady puts up two pics, then asks us which of the two do we like better. Jenna, again, serious as can be, pipes in, "I don't like either one of them because I'm not in it!!!"...aaahhhh...from the mouth of babes...

: )

Things that make MY heart happy...

My friend Rachel had this on her blog and said she wanted to know what made other people's hearts happy. I thought it was a great idea, so here are just a few of mine...

*The belly laugh of my baby girl (who is 6, but will always be my baby).
*Being held by the love of my life.
*Hearing "The Great Adventure" on the radio and turning it up so loud I can't even hear myself sing (thank goodness!) and anything else that takes me back to my younger days!
*Closing my eyes to enjoy the sound of a full worship orchestra at church.
*Griping to my friends on the phone while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.
*Being part of a great place to work.
*Being part of the "coolest church around".
*Watching my baby girl run into the big, strong arms of our church pastor.
*Going through the valley to gain a more personal relationship with The One.
*My dear step mother because deep down, I know she makes my Dad happy and takes good care of him no matter the cost to her.
*Knowing I have the ability to still believe in miracles.

What makes YOUR heart happy?????


Proving the Theory...

So, lately, I've been thinking about that old saying "history repeats itself". Many times, this is quoted in respect to addiction and the like. But I've been thinking about how many times in my life and history that it has proven itself true. Check it out...
-My mom and dad were 10 years apart in age. Steve and I are 15. Not only that, but once my dad remarried, he and my stepmom are 18 years apart.
-There are 15 years between me and my youngest sibling. There are about 13-14 years between Jenna and her youngest sibling.
-My mom had grown step daughters when she had me. After she had me, her stepdaughters had more children. I have a grown step daughter and after I had Jenna, my stepdaughter had a son.

And that's just a few...some things that haven't happened yet, but could...
-My mom was 37 when she had me. I could have a second child at 37 (though it would be a miracle!)
-If I did have a second child now, that child would have a nephew that is OLDER than he/she. I have a niece several years older than me (actually I have 2!)
-My mom died at 55...let's hope she is where that similarity ends!

Anyway, those weird thoughts have crossed my mind more than once in the past several years. It is totally weird to see how that happens.

Just wanting to wish one of my online friends, "Shrink" (don't ask) a huge Congratulations! Her son just turned one recently...he was an IVF baby like Jenna...and she posted today that she is expecting again! A natural miracle! This is the second natural miracle on the boards that I'm a member of. I'm beyond thrilled for her and while hearing this kind of news makes me happy, it also dredges up a bunch of emotions I thought I'd put to bed a long time ago. I know any of my "mamas" reading this will understand. :)

I have to tell you the funniest thing Jenna said this afternoon. It was one of those times that I got so tickled I didn't think I could stop laughing. First, let me caveat the story with something to help you put it into context...every morning, I get up and after getting ready, read my devotional. Most mornings, after I finish getting dressed, I'll wake Jenna up, lay her clothes out and tell her to get dressed while I do my devotional.

OK, so this afternoon, she comes to my bedroom as I'm getting ready to shower and has a paper with a bunch of her writing on it. She's trying to show it to me. She says, "Look Mama"...and then looking me straight in my eye, as serious as a heart attack, she says, "look...I wrote my own de-noash-a-vull". I know you can't find this as humorous since you weren't here, but she was just so serious and the word that comes out in place of "devotional" was "denoashavull"...it was just more than I could stand. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but I got to laughing and then she got to giggling too...it was just a good dose of comic relief!

Well, I gotta get busy. I have one more night of my Beth Moore study to do as well as preparing for a PLACE session I have on Wednesday night!

Our Weekend & Agnus Dei

I'm sure you are wondering what in the world my title could mean. It's an odd choice of combination I'm fully aware.

First, I'll tell you about the Agnus Dei part...yesterday at church, we sang this song. For those who don't know, one version of this song was done by Michael W. Smith. And let me tell you, with the BBC full orchestra going, it was absolutely heavenly. I mean, I could literally shut my eyes and imagine myself in what I think heaven looks like. And I do think heaven will be full of music. All I know is we know heaven will be better than anything we can possibly imagine here on earth and after this Sunday's orchestra music, I can't wait to get there!

Now, for our weekend...it was a busy one. As you know, our intent was to pressure wash and restain both the deck and the fence as well as Jenna's swing set if we could manage. Steve got up about 7am to head to the Brentwood Home Depot to rent the pressure washer. He got back home only to discover that they'd forgotten to give him the washer hose. Can't use the washer without the hose. So, back to Home Depot he goes. Home again, hook everything up and spray siding wash on the house (we wanted to wash the side of the house before starting the deck), hook up the pressure washer and turn it on. It provided about as much pressure as the garden hose. This was caused mainly by all the water squirting out from the hose where it was attached to the washer. SO. Back to Home Depost for trip #3. Needless to say, they gave us the rental for free.

The second washer we brought home was fine, thank goodness! But what all these fun trips to Home Depot in Brentwood (for those that aren't local, this is a good 25 minute drive ONE WAY per trip) meant was that we didn't really get started working until almost noon. What that also means is that the sun was just starting to peek over the house to the back yard about that time. So we pressure washed and stained in the full sun about 90 degrees (yes, in mid September!). But, we got it mostly done. We still lack the inside of the fence washing and staining and some staining of the deck...just touch ups on the outside of the railing...Oh, and we washed the swing set but didn't get to stain it.

Steve went out and bought a pressure washer (they were on sale) and he's taking off on Friday because Jenna doesn't have school and hopefully get the fence washed, the few touch ups on the deck done and now that we OWN a pressure washer, we'll wash the driveway and seal it again...hopefully the weather will be a little cooler and the rain will hold off. Not sure how much you can see from the before and after pictures, but trust me, there's a HUGE difference!!!


A full weekend ahead...

I think I've gotten yelled at twice today for my lack of an update, so here it is! I'm so thankful for all of you that keep up with me here. Like many fellow bloggers, you write and write and wonder if anyone out there is reading, so even though I fuss about getting my hands slapped, I like to hear from you all to let me know someone is reading.

My friend Christy in AZ has just started her blog, so welcome Christy to blogworld!!!! She's got 4 kids all age 6 or under so I'll be anxious to follow their developments!

The reason for the delay in my blog updates have been that we've just been busy. It seems that every night of the week this week, we've had something going on. Steve's been busy at work and I had to take off a little early Monday to take Jenna to gymnastics and violin. Her violin teacher expressed some concerns with Jenna's lack of concentration. I got all bummed out thinking about it but now I just don't know whether both activities on one day is too much (we did that to keep more evenings free) or if being 6 means 15 minutes of concentration and that's it. Anyway, next week we'll have Steve sit in on the lesson to help her focus and then if that doesn't work, we're going to try moving gymnastics to another night. I hate to do that, but I also don't want to have her quit violin. She told me she likes it but "it's just hard". I don't want to teach her to quit when something gets hard.

On a sad note, Chase's girlfried of 2 years broke up with him this week. Needless to say, Chase is beside himself. Unfortunately, being that this was his first real girlfriend and first heartbreak, he cannot let well enough alone. I, personally, think she just needs some time apart from him to "find herself" and find out who she is before she can give herself to anyone. Chase of course, doesn't understand that and just can't bring himself to leave her alone. He wants to call and talk about it. Last night on the way home from work, I tried to put my very expensive psychology degree to work with him. Not sure if it did any good, but for those of you with little ones at home, let me tell you, watching your child go through this is NO FUN! I know he's not my flesh and blood, but I love him and Micah like they are mine and it's miserable. I take on what I refer to as "Bob the Builder" personality and want to "fix" the situation. Which is ironic because I believe that's what Chase is trying to do right now and I keep trying to tell him some things just can't be fixed and sometimes as a woman, we just want the men to be there and NOT FIX it!

Anyway, it's been a busy week and next week is shaping up to be no different. I found out late yesterday I will be traveling in a little over a week to Charlotte and Orlando on business. It's the first business trip I've taken in a while and while I'm looking forward to it, I will fly out on an early flight one day, do a presentation in Charlotte, then fly out of there that evening to Orlando. Spend the night in Orlando, do a presentation the next day and fly out for home that night. So, on the first day of travel, I'll have breakfast, lunch and dinner in 3 different states/cities. Cool. I'll be beat on Friday when I come back to work...not to mention I'll have TONS of emails to sift through!

OK, I hope that's enough updates for all of you blog addicts! I'm keeping Hannah tonight and she and Jenna are in her room playing. Steve's bowling and I'm about to do tonight's Bible Study while the TV isn't on. Tomorrow, Steve and I are refinishing and restaining our deck, fence and Jenna's swing set. That should be loads of fun. No rest for the weary. I'll try to do before and after pictures tomorrow.



A short update

Before I get yelled at for not posting, I thought I'd give a quick update on us.

Not much has been going on to be honest. Well, that's a lie. We've been extremely busy, but it's just the same ole stuff. We had a great labor day. Pretty much hung around the house, slept late and enjoyed the extra day off. But last week was the longest short week I've had in a while!

I started getting sick on Wednesday afternoon and really didn't feel 100% until yesterday morning when I woke up. I got on antibiotics right away, so that was good. I still have a bit of a cough, but other than that, I'm good.

Jenna is still doing her gymnastics and violin lessons, although she got the day off last Monday due to the holiday. The next few weekends are going to have a busy-ness all their own!

I guess that's about it for now. Seems like I should have lots to tell, but not so much. I'll keep you posted as (if) that changes!


I got this in an email today. I thought it was appropriate for what our family has just gone through.

The Purpose of a Dog - from a 4 year old

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life- - like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?"

The four-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.


Doing better...

Just wanted to quickly thank everyone who has emailed or called with kind thoughts over our recent loss...

We are doing better today. Missy is still very much on our minds, but the emotions aren't as close to the surface anymore. Kids are remarkably resilient and Jenna is faring better than Steve and I. Jenna took it harder last night and we are taking it harder after the fact.

Fred and Mack are very clingy and whiny tonight. I know they are painfully aware of her absence as well. It will take time for all of us. But thank God, time, we have (at least we think we do!)

I'm off to watch my Netflix movie and just relax! Happy Labor Day weekend!


Farewell Faithful Friend...


It's done.

I can say without a doubt, it was one of the most awful things I've had to go through. We knew we had to do it and it was best for her, but it was hard. After talking with my good friend and mentor, Sherri, she convinced me that I needed to be with Missy in the last moments. I was already convinced that we needed to be honest with Jenna about what was about to happen. She knew Missy wasn't well and knew there would come a day, but she really didn't understand. Not sure why Steve and I chose dinner (over meatloaf no less) to tell her, but she'd only had about two bites when we brought it up and she started sobbing. And I'm pretty sure she didn't stop until we were about halfway home from the emergency vet. I guess that is what made it pretty awful too is watching your child go through this and being powerless to help.

I will say, because our vet was not able to work us in for several days, we chose to go to the next county's emergency vet. They were so, so kind, sympathetic and thoughtful. They explained what would happen, what they would do and that it would be quick, painless and peaceful. And my only regret was that I didn't do it sooner. I know that sounds so cruel, but we didn't want to do it and so we both made excuses (Oh, she's not in pain) for too long. We really waited too long.

Sherri would be proud. Not only did I stay by her side, with my hand on her the whole time, but we ALL THREE stayed in until she was gone. Jenna wouldn't think of leaving. We kept asking her and through her sobs, she insisted on staying. All we all cried. For those of you who have never had to euthanize a pet, I would recommend staying with your friend until the end. Sherri told me this before when she went through the same thing with her beloved cats. I thought she was crazy. But before we left the house, I knew it was what I had to do. I feel like we were there with her to the end...

The beginning: Missy came to us in the spring of 1993, just a few short months after my mother passed away. Our across the street neighbor's daughter found her as a stray and was looking for a home for her. I guess my dad was still grieving too much to tell me no, so we took her in. She was about 3 months old then. We hadn't had a dog in some time...not a real dog since Smokey, my childhood german shepherd. Missy came in and shortly thereafter, I met and married Steve and she became "our" dog. I guess in a way, Missy became my comforter after my mother's death. And I guess that's why it became so important to me to be by her side at the end. We'd been through an awful lot together. She'd never deserted me and I wasn't about to do it to her. Anyway, she grew up and was such a loving dog...such a good girl. We brought in Mack, then Mocha (dogs), then Midnight (cat) adopted us and spent most of her time outside with Missy. Finally, came Fred. All the while, Missy was the "Mama". I'd like to think she is now wherever faithful pets go...running and playing with Midnight and Mocha and even Smokey. She's strong and nimble like when she was young. That's the way I'll choose to remember her.

I wish I could say this is the last time I'll have to go through this...watch my child and even my husband go through this, but it's not. In fact, for Steve and I, it's not even the first time. We had to have Mocha euthanized several years back after a full on seizure. Shortly after, we found Midnight in the neighbor's yard. So, this was not the first. And with Mack being 9 years old and both Maggie and Molly about 8, this day will come again.

It's part of loving something.

And letting go.

It's part of life.

And death.

Farewell old girl. Thanks for the last 14 years. We'll never forget you.


A flying leap!

We've had some excitement today...take a look at this nutcase of a cat...we recently bought this to hang in Jenna's room to get some of the stuffed animals off the floor and bed. He loves to play with it and this is how he ended up tonight! And you know, it's the funniest thing...Jenna is in love with this little guy! He lets her tote him around like a rag doll and they are both so alike...both daredevils. If you don't believe me, read on...

Ever since we got Mittens (he was only about 5 weeks old when Steve rescued him), he has this thing where he walks on the outer edge of the staircase. When I say that, I mean, he walks on the ledge OUTSIDE the spindles of the landing overlooking the foyer. Several times, we've wondered how long it would be before he fell or jumped. Well. Today was the day.

This morning, he was out wandering around. Jenna and I were in the kitchen getting ready to leave for the day. Steve was in the master bath still getting ready because he'd not felt 100% when he woke up so he was running late. All of a sudden, I heard a thud in the hallway and when I looked, I saw Mittens slinking off toward the stairs. I knew immediately that he'd fallen from our upstairs. I figured it would happen, but it was so scary when it did. I ran to the stairs and yelled for Steve. Mittens was awake, but not moving and breathing funny. He was breathing like either he had a collapsed lung or had the breath knocked out of him. We watched and waited for a few minutes trying to decide what to do, but after about 20 minutes, he did not improve, so Steve stayed home and took him to the vet. Long story short, he's a little daredevil, but we don't think he'll be trying to fly anytime soon. He was fine. A little sore, maybe bruised and definitely shocked and had the breath knocked out of him, but fine! PHEW!

Needless to say, when this all happened, Jenna was a basket case. She was just beside herself, in tears...the whole 9 yards and because I didn't know what would happen, I had to talk to her about the worst thing...

Which is good because we are going this weekend to have our old Shepherd mix put down. She's nearly 15 years old and she can't get around anymore due to her bad hips. We've put it off as long as we can and probably way longer than we should. She is now not eating, not moving much and not drinking, which is very bad in this heat wave. We are so not looking forward to this. But we definitely don't want to come home and find her dead, although somehow I think that would be easier. This is the worst thing about being a pet owner. You have to do the right thing...the humane thing...but it is SO hard. We got Missy after my mom died...so there's some sweet memories to her.

But. To end on a happier note. On my way to church tonight, my gas light came on. I hate to see that stupid light because it means a delay somewhere in my day where I don't have the time to stop and get gas. But anyway, I called Steve, told him I was on my way, but that after Jenna was done with Mission Friends, I'd have to stop before coming home to get gas. After dropping Jenna off, he was going to drive my van around to the back of the church so I could go right out when I picked her up. Well, he was gone for the longest time. Finally, he shows back up with my keys and I asked him what took him so long. He didn't really answer, but left to come home. About 1/2 hour later, Jenna got done with Mission Friends and I picked her up, hurrying out to get on and get gas and get her home before bedtime. When I got in my van, there was a gas receipt on the dash where he'd gone and gotten gas in my van when he moved it around to the back parking lot! How freaking sweet is that?!?!?!? I dare any of you women reading to top that!


20 Years...

...of absolutely wonderful, beautiful, and heavenly music.

Tonight our church celebrated 20 years of instrumental music. It's been 20 years since our orchestra started. I've said it here before, but if our choir and orchestra is even a tiny taste of the music in heaven, trust me, I'm ready to go now. Sometimes I can just close my eyes and imagine angels singing and playing music. Because the church is large, the choir and orchestra are likewise. Tonight, I had my camera during the special performance and the final song with the choir. I was really planning to upload the video, but it is just not going to take in blogger tonight. Hopefully I can get it uploaded soon.

After we returned home, I caught our kitten, Mittens, peeking out the window at the dogs. I thought it was pretty cute...


A weekend being "Parents of Two"

This weekend, Gage stayed with us. I was a little uneasy because we just don't see him as often as we'd like and I didn't know what to expect. But let me tell you, that baby laughs up a storm all the time! I got a couple videos of him laughing. They are a bit shaky because I was trying to make him giggle while videoing.

But I'll tell you, he's been such a good boy while he was here. We took him to a wedding and outside of having what seemed like very loud hiccups, he was perfect! It's interesting though because after having just spent a week with Kylene's 2 girls (whose youngest is 4 mos.) and now this weekend with Jenna and Gage, I am not sure whether I'd choose to go back to the totally-dependent-on-me stage. It's nice that Jenna can dress herself and put her trash in the garbage can (when she chooses to!) But if I wanted to determine my decision based on the weekend with Gage, I'd do it in a heartbeat. We aren't preventing, so if God were to bless me with a miracle, I'd be the first to shout it from the rooftops. But until then, I'm going to love on my sweet girl, Jenna and baby Gage!


First Day of Pre-1st

Well, today was Jenna's first day of Pre-1st and she was on cloud 9! She woke up talking about going to school and I even heard her tell Steve on the phone that she didn't think Ms. Seay would put her in time out because "she's just really nice". And once at school, she was just all over the place. The room is so neat and after it sounded like she had a really good time and ready to get down to business on Monday. I'm anxious to see how quickly she learns. I've heard such good things about Ms. Seay that I'm perfectly at ease with Jenna being in her class.
While Jenna was in school, I went and had breakfast with a couple of the other Pre-1st parents. It was nice and something to do while we waited. After Jenna got out of school, we went and had lunch with Steve. Actually, Jenna had lunch with him because I wasn't hungry from my huge breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. After we left Steve, we visited the mall and did some exchanges. We stopped at the Music and Arts store to pick up her violin. It is SOOOOO tiny! I didn't know they came that small...but I guess they do. Obviously, she doesn't know anything about it yet, but seeing her walk out in her little uniform holding her instrument case nearly brought me to tears. I got home to a postcard from church stating she was being promoted upstairs to the "children's area" this Sunday. My little girl is growing up right before my eyes.

I'm about to go downstairs and drag out all my scrapbooking stuff. I have a day full of scrapping next weekend and I need to be somewhat organized. Micah is bringing Gage over tonight for us to keep this weekend while she works so I'm going to get as much done as I can while I can.


A full day!

What a full day we've had. I'm going to tell you all about it after I vent here a bit first.

I just got a call from Steve who said that his boss got back to him today about his work schedule and said he really needed him to work until 3:30 every day. Now most don't understand why that's a BSD (big stinkin' deal) because us 8-5ers would KILL to get off at 3:30 every day. The problem is that the latest we can pick Jenna up from school is 3:00. So, Steve not getting off until 3:30 means she'll have to go to after care for a little less than an hour to the tune of an extra $110 a month. And the bad thing is that I just registered her today and didn't sign her up for any of that. Now, I have to go back and do it AND figure out where in our budget the extra money is going to come from because it's certainly not going to come from the pockets of Parris Printing. I've never complained or allowed myself to feel bad about being a working mom because it's just the way I knew it had to be. However, I've always felt strongly that Jenna be picked up from school by someone as opposed to going to aftercare. I don't know why that was a "thing" with me, but it was. And up until now, it's worked out. Anyway, I'm furious with his boss and the company because it's one stinkin' hour. You'd think that they would give a little when it comes to family, but they apparently don't care. Not sure if he's reading (you know who you are), but if by chance Steve's boss reads this, I'd like you to help me explain to my 6 year old daughter why it is she's going to have to go to aftercare now. Enjoy your one measley hour of Steve's time. It's costing him time with his daughter. THANKS.

OK, done with that tangent. Thanks for listening. So, we got JG all registered today and can I tell you she is SOOOO excited! I am too...it's hard not to get excited when you see your kid excited. I paid my dues, signed up to help with the parties, talked with her teacher (former teachers and just about everyone else in between), paid for an entire semester of lunch and then bought us all matching DL jackets for the winter. It was great and I can't wait to see how tomorrow goes.

Also, we went for her 6 year check up today and she is healthy! She weighs 45lbs and is 43 1/2 inches tall. That puts her in the 50%ile for weight and 25th %ile for height. What does that tell us? It tells us she apparently is taking after me and my mother...if she continues on like she's doing, she'll be about 5ft. 3 inches...just an inch taller than me. I don't know why she can't get some of my dad's height... Her eyesight is 20/20 which is a blessing. I was worried about that, so it's good to know she sees OK. We were surprised to learn her hearing is perfect too because from the way she listens to us, you'd think she was deaf. Not so. She's just been diagnosed with "selective hearing". Figures. :) What else?

Another doctor's appointment for Mittens today. He too is healthy. He received two more shots and now weighs a whopping 2 1/2 pounds! So he's gained a whole pound in 3-4 weeks. He'll have to gain another couple pounds before he gets declawed/fixed.

We went to pick up Jenna's violin today, but they didn't have one small enough for her. So, the guy there is going to pick one up from the other store in Murfreesboro and bring it with him tomorrow. We'll have to pick it up some time after 1pm.

Steve's on his way home and I'm headed downstairs to start dinner. Figure I'll work out my frustration with his stupid job over the stove. The cleaning lady came today so it'll be nice to work in my clean kitchen.



The Start of Another Year

I got about 4 emails yesterday from friends who wanted to know if I had fallen off of the face of the earth. Of course, I haven't, but with everything going on, I just haven't blogged lately. So, below, I blogged about what I've been doing the past week.

Well, after all the excitement of vacation and the fair, I went back to work Monday right into an all day training session. I had two days after that to catch up and then I'm off tomorrow and Friday.

Tomorrow is Jenna's school registration and I am excited. We get to see Ms. Seay (pronounced "see") her Pre-1st teacher. I've been corresponding with her since we were recommended for Pre-1st last year and we are really hitting it off. She's just a wonderful woman and she has made Jenna more excited about going back to school than I've seen her about anything. On a kind of a TOTAL BUMMER note, I was not asked to be a room mother this year. :( I'm pretty disappointed as I'd done it in Pre-K and Kindergarten. I wanted to go for the 3rd year, but it was not meant to be. But then again, it might be nice to enjoy it from the sidelines this time.

So, we have to get up and out about 8:30am to get there to register by 10am. I'm going to meet a lady to buy her ironing board, then taking Jenna to her annual doctor visit. I'm pretty excited about that too because I get to see how tall and heavy she is and whether she's growing on schedule or not. She won't get any shots, so that pressure is off. Although I do have a list of questions to ask the doctor. I'm a little concerned about her eyesight because it's just a year to year check. Knowing how bad my eyes were by the 6th grade, I know she's going to get that trait, but I'm hoping to put it off as long as we can.
After the doctor, we have to stop by the Music and Arts store to pick up her violin. She has decided she wanted to take either piano or violin lessons. I'm not sure how long she'll keep up with it, but I definitely don't want to stifle her interests because *I* think she's not ready. So, she will start violin on Monday and we'll insist she at least finish the semester. If she sticks with it, it is a good segue way into piano. But we'll see...I'm pretty interested to see how she takes to it. I'd love to find out that she has a natural musical ability (unlike her mother).

Finally, Mittens the kitten has a vet's appointment tomorrow afternoon. Friday is Jenna's first 1/2 day of school, so it will be early to rise. After dropping her off, I'm spearheading a parent's breakfast of the pre-1st parents so it will give them something to do between drop off and pick up at school. Friday afternoon, I'm going to start organizing the 500 pictures I just had developed from Moldova, Thailand, Jenna's birthday etc.

Speaking of Thailand, I got those pictures back and was immediately struck by nostalgia. With all that has gone on since I returned from Thailand, I had forgotten how exciting it was. Looking at the pictures, I remembered and can't wait to get back there.

Well, I'm about ready to go to bed, but I'll definitely post more tomorrow after we return home!

The County Fair

So, after we got back from Alabama, we went to the last night of the county fair. We used to go to a neighboring county, but this is year 3 (I think) of a county fair right here in our back yard. For those of you not in this region of the country, last week, we had 4 consecutive days of 100+degree weather, so we were prepared to really sweat it out and basically be miserable.

But, we were going with Rachel and her family and so Jenna was so excited to have Hannah to ride stuff with. I have to admit, having someone to ride with her is easier on us to. We started with having dinner at the fair. And you really can't beat fair food. I had a big long corn dog and a fried corn on a stick. They take that corn, shuck it and then dip it in a huge vat of melted butter. Oh yeah!

As you can tell, Jenna and Hannah rode several things (some things twice) and had a blast doing it. The picture is of the little roller coaster they had in the children's area. As you can see, Hannah is holding on for dear life and Jenna's got her hands in the air! By the end of the night, at the second ride, both of them had their hands in the air. Poor Hannah...if she hangs around Jenna much, she'll turn into a little dare-devil like her. Heavens forbid. Mama Ann would kill me! This from the mother of the 3 year old who rode the mechanical bull at the fair a few years ago!!!
Anyway, there was so much fun to be had and the girls (and Steve) enjoyed a rainbow colored Sno-Cone...for those of you unfamiliar with those, it's basically a bunch of ice with a little flavored water. David and I enjoyed a deep fried Twinkie! Oh yeah! We had such a good time that we intend to make it an annual event for our families.