Monday, June 30, 2008

MMM- WB's 20th High School Reunion

Howdy, sorry I've been gone so long but we've been away at a conference and then WB had his 20th high school reunion.
He lived in the same town from Kindergarten through high school, that is just so amazing to me!! And his parents live in the same house . Anyway, I was looking forward to it because I enjoyed his 10 year much more than mine. Maybe it's the no pressure thing, I don't really know these people and I don't have any preconceived ideas of them or what "group" they were in in high school. But I must say all of WB's friends are really nice. Several of his close friends were females and they are all so sweet. Many I remembered from the ten year. A lot of his guy friends ran track or cross country with him. Some are even single to this day, never married, well not yet. Many had two, three, or more kiddos and most have stayed in the hill country area.
It was a fun packed weekend with a mixer Friday night, picnic Saturday with the kids, and a more formal evening on Saturday. This last week I have been out with my husband more than I have in the last two years. No wonder I am so exhausted, this socializing is tiring business.
Oh, I had such fun observing. I put the use of my psychology degree into overdrive watching and listening to all that was said. I knew right away who to avoid, because it was already hotter than tarnation outside, I didn't need to be around someone blowing a bunch of hot air into my face. My husband seemed proudest when asked, "Do you have kids?" He'd rock back on his heels and nod with a big grin, "Yes, three daughters."
It was fun. I'll post pictures later as I seem to have lost my picture file and my battery on my laptop is just about dead!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Long Road Home...The Final Chapter!

The man with the laptop watching the radar was keeping everyone calm saying it just looked like hail and maybe some straight line winds. This was very comforting to Em. She would stop her litany of "I'm not ready to die" to expel a deep breath as she repeated, "Oh, good, just hail I can handle that". But as the roaring became louder I began to question the strength of the storm outside. I felt amazingly calm, maybe I was just exhausted, or maybe I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.
Sometimes when you're married to a man who is so very smart and accomplished in many areas you begin to rely on him for things you could do yourself. Sometimes, you look to him for all the answers and solutions to any questions or problems that may arise. Sometimes, it takes an extraordinary series of events for you to look inward and realize you already know the answers and you have the strength to take care of things yourself. This all came to me as I sat under a flimsy wooden table in the dark. Amazing how that happens!
After what seemed like a very long time the roaring quieted and only rain and wind could be heard. I ventured out to the lobby with some others to look out the window. All that was visible was a wall of white rain. Every once and awhile you could see something fly by or a piece of hail hit the window. Eventually it all cleared up and could see the torrent of water flowing down the street outside. Sirens began to wail and a long line of emergency vehicles streamed in and out of town. One fallen tree just missed four cars in the parking lot and when we returned to our room we had a tree outside our window that wasn't there before. Soon maintenance told us the emergency lights would only last twenty more minutes and then it would be very dark so we better head to our rooms. My flashlight was in the car, which was in the shop, so I used my cell phone and laptop to light our room enough for us to get ready for bed.
I briefly spoke to WB who told me he got home safely. He was lamenting over all the plants that had died while we were gone. Surprisingly, I wasn't too disturbed by it. I might have been several hours earlier, but not now. He planned on going to work the next day, then getting a rental car to come get us at some point. He said he could come get us that night, but I told him it was still to dangerous. I think he was blissfully unaware of our tumultuous night. At first that angered me a little, but then I realized I needed to travel this road alone.
The next day they kicked us out of the hotel before check-out time. They still had no electricity and wanted to close the place down. So they packed us up and moved us to a hotel that was completely full, but had electricity. I began to wonder when this would all end, what craziness!! We left our stuff in the lobby and the girls swam in the pool. Em and Soph had a ball jumping around and playing. It was all such an adventure for them. WB arrived with a large rental car by noon and we headed over to check on the 'burb. There was so much damage, some buildings with no roofs. Light and power poles snapped in two, debris everywhere. I'd say we were lucky, but I know better. I know when God wraps his arms around you and protects you, that's a feeling you don't soon forget.
On the trip home I was happy to see all the frustration and anger that lined WB's face the day before was gone. He was rested and relaxed. The girls and I were so thrilled to see him and I think he enjoyed riding in to our rescue. I still love my knight in shining armor, even when I'm not a damsel in distress!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Long Road Home Part 2

Yesterday I started my tale of our eventful trip home and so here is part two:

As the girls and I got settled into the hotel room my friend Daphne and her three kids showed up. Her husband and brother were with WB trying to get the car back to town and to the shop. Daphne's teenage daughter agreed to watch all the kids while we ran to Sonic to get dinner for everyone.
On the way we stopped to see her father, who is under Hospice care at a nursing home in town. As I watched her talk to her father, who has been put into a vegetative state by a series of strokes, I contemplated how precious life truly is. Just a short hour ago I sat burning up in a broken down car, unsure how to precede with my very put out husband, and wondering why this had to happen to us. Now I sat in a nursing home watching my dear friend talk to her father as she suctioned out his mouth and checked on his feeding tube. I thought of his life and the long road he took to this point. I thought of my friend and the unexpected twist her life took a couple of months ago at the onset of his illness. I thought of the anger and the frustration over being stuck two hours from home and realized this was just a small pit stop for us, a barely perceptible bump in the road. I would struggle to remember that in a few short hours.
Back at the hotel we met up with WB and Daphne's husband. WB had unloaded all our things from the suburban into our room and after some quick goodbyes he left with our friends to head home. The girls and I decided to run next door to the convenience store before it got dark for a few snacks to get us through the night. We got all sorts of goodies and some drinks and walked back to the hotel in the stifling heat. Evan Almighty was on and I closed the window drapes as we all settled in to watch Evan as he humorously questioned God's request and built an ark. At the end of the movie we all put on our pjs. I turned the TV to a local station and immediately saw a weather bulletin on the screen just as our phone rang. It was the front desk calling to inform us that we were under a tornado warning and everyone was gathering in the breakfast area. Quickly, we got dressed and headed out. There were three older couples and a couple younger ones, each with one small child. Tiger Woods was on the big screen TV as he tied up the golf tournament and one gentlemen sat in the corner with his laptop. He would update us on the storm as it blew through. Everyone chatted and laughed and I was thankful for the distraction. We got a little rain, the tornado warning went off the TV screen and people began to filter back to their rooms. Em was too scared to go back so we decided to hang out in the breakfast area for a little while and watch TV. I was talking to my Dad on my cell when suddenly the power went off. I quickly got off the phone and made sure my kids were under the tables. Everyone started filling the room back up with reports of hearing the warning sirens going off. Soon the pattering of hail, rain and wind could be heard. Even though there was one story above us and we were in the center of the building, I felt like we were inside a bag of microwave popcorn that was being cooked. Em clutched Little One's baby blanket and several times told me, "But I don't want to die." I tried to comfort her and told her it would be fine. Soph's calm demeanor made me smile. Under the emergency lighting of the hotel I could make out her little lips moving. I knew she was praying. Later she would tell me she had prayed to Champ, Jesus, and Mary to keep us safe. Little One was entertained by the other babies and never once fussed or struggled. The noise outside became increasingly louder and a steady roar could be heard above the knocking of the hail...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Long Road Home

As promised here is the recounting of our Father's Day drive home that will go down in the history books for our little family. It all started off well enough, we left Houston at a decent hour and were making good time. I was excited because it looked like we were going to make it home well before dark and bedtime. We'd managed to not have to stop every hour for bathroom breaks and the baby had taken a few good naps. We had noticed our Suburban having some issues changing gears, but we had just flushed the transmission (a.k.a. The Flush of Death) and believed we would make it home okay. Two hours from home as we slowed for a stoplight we felt the car shudder. I held my breath as my husband tried to accelerate and nothing happened. So much for making good time. It was 102 outside and eerily quiet inside our vehicle. WB's head was on the steering wheel and was praying the baby would stay asleep a little longer. This is the part in the story where I must detour slightly.
WB was not in the cheeriest of moods to begin with. We had celebrated the day before with my family for Father's Day after he returned from a long trip. I think he was still tired, and when he's tired he's grumpy, and when he's grumpy well, just cut a wide path around the dear man because he doesn't get that way too often...thank goodness. Anyway, one look at his face as he raised his head to gaze out the window and I knew a storm was brewing.
He started the car back up and put it into gear until we got to the next light, yes it was red, so we had to stop. Bad, really bad because now we have to try to get the car to shift through the gears as we start up again. The 'burb wouldn't go, it was hot. Did you know that if you let your car cool down then try to restart it the transmission will actually work until it heats up again? Apparently, that is the case...I learn something new all the time. So we waited and yes from the stubborn set of my husbands jaw I knew we were going to continue on this way for quite a while. I watched longingly as the town we were in slowly disappered in my rearview window.
Let me skip ahead to us now sitting on the side of the road, sizzling in the heat, nine miles outside of town, semi-trucks and cars whizzing past at speeds over 70 MPH. I am replaying every video I have seen of pulled over cars getting swiped and crushed by passing traffic. I sit quietly, which has taken me years to accomplish, and wait. It's clear to me that in my husband's current state of mind he is not thinking clearly. I know I must say something and pray for the right words.
"Maybe we can call Daphne, her brother lives in town and maybe he can be of some help." Daphne is a dear friend who is from the town we just went through and though I'm grasping at straws I'm thinking maybe this will help WB snap out of his current mind set.
He agrees and I call. And guess what, she and her family had just left the town we went through and were about 20 miles ahead of us. She calls her brother who is on his way to get us and then Daphne calls back to say they are turning around and heading back towards us as well! I'm thanking God for this good fortune while WB finds a safer spot to pull over as we wait.
The plan is this: Daphne's brother will take us to the hotel and then go back to tow the suburban and pick up WB. Daphne and her crew only have room for one passenger so they will take WB back home while girls and I stay the night at the hotel. Since we will not fit into WB's car with all our stuff he will wait until morning, rent a car and come get us. Sounds like a plan doesn't it? And it was a good one, but little did I know the storm clouds on my husband's face were not the only ones brewing that night...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Look at Our New Do's

Okay, I know I have a story to tell about our long trip home the other day, but I had to post this picture of my girls and their new haircuts. Em went first and something amazing happened, Soph decided to cut her hair short and get some bangs. I almost fell over, in fact I had to sit down for a moment. I anxiously watched as her hair was cut and was so happy that halfway through she didn't change her mind and start crying. Mrs. Brenda, who has been cutting their hair since their first ever haircut did a wonderful job! I am so happy that I can now see Soph's face and the brushing will be so much easier, yipee!!

I'm just so happy, I think I'll just sit here and take in their glowing faces:)

Monday, June 16, 2008

MMM- Home Sweet Home

My memorable moment was today when I finally walked through my front door after being gone for two weeks visiting my parents. It was more memorable then normal because I pulled into the driveway with a car other than my own and because we were supposed to make it home yesterday. We've endured mechanical problems, weather, power outages and much more in the last 24 hours. But right now I'm going to go crawl into my soft, cozy bed. Listen to the wind whistling outside my window and sleep a happy sleep. I'll have to catch you all up later.
Night, night...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Love Notes

WB and I have been apart for almost two weeks, except for a brief two hour visit when he had a layover as he crisscrossed the country for a business trip. I'm okay with us being apart for a little while, but then it starts to wear on me. It reminds me of the days when we were apart more then we were together during our dating years.
We met at the end of the fall semester, dated a few weeks, then he was off to a small Panhandle town for a summer internship at a chemical company and I was going home for a month to my parent's house in Houston. We relied on phone conversations in the beginning and let me tell you we were not at our best with this form of communication. This is how our phone chats went:
"Hi, it's WB." (well, he said his real name)
"Hey, how are you?"
"Alright, you?"
"Fine." long pause which I would dread, so I would begin chattering about everything I'd done that day.
"Sounds good. I gotta go someone is at the door. I'll talk to you later."
"Oh, okay...bye."
Every time I got off the phone with him I had doubts. Is he even interested? That's probably the last time I'll ever talk to him. Just who was at the door? Are we supposed to be dating other people? And on and on it went. I was clueless! You wonder how our relationship could survive long distance with calls like that don't you? It was the love notes. Yep, remember how people used to actually sit down with pen and paper, write a note and put it in the mail. Well, it wasn't that long ago, really. Anyway, in between these tortuous phone calls I would receive the sweetest notes in my mailbox. Sometimes a funny card, sometimes just a handwritten note to let me know he was thinking of me. If we had seen each other for the weekend he would tell me how wonderful a time he'd had and he was looking forward to our next visit.
I would cling to these notes, because it was in these notes that I learned who he really was, I heard him loud and clear, much clearer then over the phone. In fact, during our phone conversations when I'd ask him a bomb question like, "Do you want to date other people?" and his response came after a very lengthy pause, "Why do you?" and then I wanted to pull out my hair because shortly after that he had to get off the phone. But luckily the deer sweet mailman, who I really should have invited to our wedding, would arrive with a letter and in it WB would pour out his heart. He'd tell me that "no way" did he want to see other people, but he understood how it was hard when we were apart so much, and he wanted me to be happy. So then of course I'd have to send him back a letter telling him that I had no interest in seeing anyone else and how happy I was. And so it went.
We survived that summer and when he returned we'd only have a few short months before we'd once again be separated by distance. He spent a lot of money on postage!
Oh, gotta run, it's actually time for me to leave for the airport...WB is at this moment about to enter Texas air space, I've been checking his flight status. Darn, I wanted to tell you about the love notes tucked in my drawers and suitcases, or his quoting of Shakespeare or Keats...I'll have to do that another time!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nothing is Working for Me Wednesday

Today I normally do a WFMW post. It's not happening today. I have exhausted myself trying to think of a tip to share with you that would amaze you. A tip that would make you all sigh and nod your head or a tip that would leave you singing my praises for the next month or hour, whatever works for you. But alas, my brain is tired, my mommy gears have slowed so that a subtle creaking noise can be heard above all the chatter, arguing, screeching, and giggling of my kiddos.
I find myself telling my kids things I swore I would never utter. I remember going to my room in a pout as a child and making a promise that when I was a parent I would never do that! I look at my children through a hazy fog while slowly words form and tumble forth from my lips. I look around as the words reach my ears, "Who said that?" I ask myself before I realize it was me. That's not what I meant to say, how did that happen?
The other day at lunch my mom tried to pay the bill and my fingers snapped at her twice as I shook my finger at her scolding, "Drop that now, I'm paying!" Good grief, what have I become?
In a couple of weeks WB has some meetings and we're staying at a nice resort/spa. Relaxing you say...maybe, the kiddos are going too. Do you think they offer spa services such as a Mommy tune-up or acupuncture that will clear the cobwebs forming in my brain. Perhaps I'll meditate and visualize my children doing simple tasks without constant prodding by me... without mom losing her cool. Yes, that's it. I need someone to teach me how to be more Zen-like.
And I need someone to teach my children not to say "What?" after every sentence I utter to them, not to constantly be talking about farts, burps and butts (they're girls for crying out loud!), not to pretend their 14 month old sister is a ragdoll to be dragged around, and speaking of Little One; "Just who taught her to pull hair, hit, and screech when she doesn't get her way?"!! And Em and Soph if you are reading this, rip one is not an appropriate alternative for above mentioned bodily functions.
So anyway, excuse my lack of helpful tips for today. I'll be reading everyone else's in hope that they will rock my little crazy world!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

MMM - Little One Walks!

So I told you all that Little One took her first steps last month and then pretty much that was it. But she has now begun her full fledged walking, she was just waiting to get to Gram and Gramps I think. This is where both sisters took their first footward journey. She is so strong she can sit herself down and pull herself up with no help, all is done at her pace. I sense another strong personality in the making:)
That was my Memorable Moment for this Monday.

PS - My oldest child has suddenly expanded her vocablulary with words that I'm not so fond of, as heard at the end of this video. We are now studying the dictionary for alternative word choices!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Snarvil Meets Baby

To continue with my canine stories I just had to introduce you to Snarvil, our first Basset Hound. My Dad named the dog, he is the master of making up words that you will never find gracing the pages of Webster's. But Snarvil wore his name well.

This photo was taken on the day I arrived home from the hospital. It was my first introduction to an animal of the four-legged variety. I'm not sure I was too impressed with him in the beginning but over the years we would form a close bond. I have to note the white shag rug my mother is sitting on, oh and look at those pants my Dad is sporting...Can you guess the year? My mother would like for me to point out that she thinks she looks terrible in this picture. I asked her why and she said she looks tired. Well, yeah you should be tired. You just endured many hours of natural childbirth, have been nursing me around the clock, and you just got out of the hospital with your firstborn. I think she looks beautiful!

Snarvil was a true friend. My mother was very sick while pregnant with me and when she'd go to throw up he would show his support by throwing up alongside of her. He didn't harbor any ill feelings about being pushed aside for the new arrival, he just took it upon himself to never leave my side. He slept under my crib every night, howled along with my crying, and become my protector. I remember sitting on his back watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time. He endured many ear pullings, eye pokes, and even wore a tutu a time or two all without a whimper of protest.

Dad took us dove hunting when I was about four. Snarvil and I trailed behind smelling the flowers, stirring up rabbits, giving chase to said rabbits, singing songs; it was a marvelous day. I don't think Dad ever took us with him again.

Snarvil and I entered the fair dog show. It was our shining moment. Snarvil's shot at having his adorable face etched in the memories of all. We came in third, the newspaper took our picture. My little three year old self was smiling at the camera while Snarvil decided to show his backside to the photographer. Third place, take that! (somewhere we have that newspaper clipping, but I have no idea where it is).

I loved that drooling, ear dragging little guy!

Oh, and I think my dear friend KK is reading this post. And I know your sweet boy really wants a dog...have I convinced you yet :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WFMW- Summer Fun

This edition of WFMW is combating boredom over the summer. This is always a challenge. I've researched every camp in the area and only my eight year old is interested in going to one. I tried to get her interested in more, but "that sounds too much like school to me" all I kept hearing.
But one thing we have decided to do is give each girl a garden plot. We've already planted what they wanted to grow and each day we are watering and pulling weeds. When our vegetables are ready to pick the girls are going to experiment and make all sorts of good stuff for us to eat. They are keeping a journal of what they planted, along with how well it did (for future reference), some pictures of it along the way, and to finish it off they are including their recipes for everything they made. They've already started finding recipes they want to try and have decided one night we will have a "Garden Night" for our themed dinner.
Hopefully, this will help to keep us busy! For more great tips head over to Shannon's.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

That dog was a true Champ

When my sister and her friend moved into a house right after college she wanted a dog. We always had dogs and now that she had a yard she was ready for the companionship of a canine. My Mom knew of her quest so when a co-worker told her of a young Boxer he had rescued she passed on the info. to my sister, Kim. She immediately fell in love with this way too scrawny affectionate being. She took him in and poured on the love and food. Before long his frame filled out and his bee bee gun scarred hide was shiny and healthy looking. Problem was he thought he was the size of her roommates Russell Terrier and the trouble began. My parents ended up adopting Champ and he became fast friends with their older lab, Rueben. They were quite the pair and provided much entertainment. Champ still tried to climb up on your lap every chance he got. When that wouldn't work he'd place his paws on your shoulders while you were sitting and with hind feet on the ground lay on you. He was large for a Boxer, a solid mass of muscle, and not the easiest creature to move once he got "settled" even if it was on top of you!

Em was a baby when we came to visit and Champ immediately watched over her. If she cried, he came running. If she was sitting on the floor in her bouncy chair, he was sitting beside her. When Soph came along he was the same way, but as she grew they became inseparable. Even though he suffered from a sore hip he would allow her to climb all over him. They would sit for hours talking, Soph blabbering away and Champ sitting calmly beside her. Every once in awhile he would put his paw on her arm, she would pause mid-sentence giving him a kiss, and on they went. He was her dog, even if we did live ten hours away.

My parents had him six years when they noticed him lilting to one side as he walked. Then he began to collapse mid-stride. By this time Rueben had been gone for a few years and Champ was inside by my parent's side the whole time. We all feared the worst and I feared just how I would tell my three year old that her best friend was sick. My parents took him to a specialist recommended by the vet. The scans showed a tumor on the spine on his neck. It was in a place that could not be operated on, even if it was benign. They guessed he was about nine years old, his eardrum was completely gone on one side and we could only imagine the abuse he had suffered before he was rescued. We all remembered what he looked like when he first came into our lives, a mere shadow of what he had become.

Soph and I had a long talk about Champ. We prayed and we cried and we told stories of how brave and loyal he was. We wished he had come into our lives sooner, but we understood that somehow his suffering before he met us had made him an extraordinary creature. That he was so gentle and loving after being so mistreated was a lesson to us all.

So we weren't surprised when he rallied and held on for another year after his diagnosis. On his bad days we would call and Gram would hold the phone up to his ear and Soph would talk to him. Darn, if he wouldn't raise his head and listen intently. The day he couldn't get up, they knew they needed to end his suffering. It was time. Soph took the news well. She found comfort in knowing he was now with Rueben and they were running and playing together.

We sent balloons with notes up to heaven for Champ. We still talk about him today, a couple of years later, as if he were a human part of the family.

Not too long after Champ died we heard a story of a little girl who was only six or seven and had died. We soberly listened to the story and were saddened by it until Soph chimed in.

"Don't worry. I bet Champy found that little girl in heaven and they are playing together everyday so she won't be sad anymore."

What a very comforting thought, he was a true Champ!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Memorable Moments Monday - Passing of Time

I know we all think about time, and how quickly it passes. We blink and suddenly almost twenty years have passed since your high school graduation and you open your eyes one day to your sweet baby passing from kindergarten to first grade. It was just yesterday I was laying in a hospital bed watching her sleep, listening to WB snoring beside me, while completely thrilled with my little Fourth of July bundle.

I remember she used to let me pick out her clothes and do her hair so it wouldn't hang in her face and drive her mother crazy! Those days are long gone, long, long gone... She has a mind of her own now (maybe I shouldn't have let her listen to my record of Free To Be Me And You every night as a toddler) and she's not afraid to use it.

We measured her foot today and she wears a size 1 and Em is wearing a size 2. She's already wearing the clothes her big sister just put away last summer!! Good grief, she will outgrow Em here in another year or so.

And as I looked into her big brown eyes as she sang with the rest of her class up on stage, I imprinted that image into my memory. Because I know that if I were to blink I just might open my eyes to her walking across her high school stage wearing that same black hat and smiling that same sweet smile.