Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Baby Girl


Today is Madalyn's third birthday. It seems like yesterday that I laid in that hospital bed, IV in my wrist, waiting for the contractions to pick up so that I could meet her. She did not come willingly. Neither one of my chidren did. Daivd was six days post due date, and Madalyn was five. So, somewhere out there in the universe, there are eleven days of complete and utter bliss awaiting me. Somewhere.

Anyway... I was talking to my mom this morning and we were discussing how she just seems so grown up all the sudden. She is speaking more plainly, and she is wearing her big girl panties, which make her look older because she doesn't have the diaper booty anymore. And I asked my mom, "Why do the days seem so long, yet the months go by so quickly?" I don't get that. I just wish I could slow down and appreciate the days more and not focus so much on how soon I can get them in the bed.

My heart is saddened today for my sweet baby girl growing up so quickly. Knowing that I won't have another baby - even though I am 100% certain I do not need another to take care of - is very sad. Oh, a baby. There is nothing sweeter! Their precious little hands and feet, the little noises they make, the smell of their little baby head. Their irreplacable innocence. My baby is a baby no more. She is every day becoming more little girl and less little baby. And that is so hard to watch and accept. It is exciting and bewildering, but hard for a mother to realize that that precious baby they held in their arms, can now ride a Princess bicycle.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yesterday

Oh, yesterday. Thank goodness you are gone.

Yesterday, I ate three cupcakes and about half a box of Cheezits snack mix (which is buy one get one free at Publix through today, by the way) and a half a box of Apple Jacks cereal and really nothing else. I don't think I had one single gram of protein all day. It was a carb-fest for me. We are in the process of refinancing our mortgage, and there is nothing more stressful to me than talking to a stranger about our finances. There is just something so humiliating in explaining the state of your financial affairs. Like the question, "How much do you have in liquid assets, such as savings accounts?" Uh, nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. We have a beautiful swimming pool in the back yard filled with liquid, but no liquid assets.

And that's exactly what we are trying to get back to. Freeing up some of the money so that perhaps I could take a full breath of air again. It will all work out, I know. But in the meantime, when you are waiting for that call back to go over just what our options are, the best thing I can think of to do is to partake in a lot of carbs. Preferably, straight out of the box.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Abominable Zit

If a cat has seven lives, then how many would a zit have?

I have had this monstrosity of a zit on my chin for a month now. It started out as what I believed to be a large zit. It kinda dried up because I warm compressed it to death, and I am sure the pure rubbing alcohol I kept putting on it helped as well. Even though it looked better and didn't hurt anymore, it never really went away. Well, the stupid thing is back again, but it has spread out. I don't understand how I can be thirty-one years old and be a dedicated Poractiv user and still get a zit the size of a quarter on my chin. So embarrassing.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Better With Age

I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets and cleaned windows today. In some sick way, I enjoyed myself.

Life just gets more and more exciting by the minute.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Girls are easier than boys..."

I have always heard throughout my motherhood that girls are easier to potty train than boys. I believed the statement until about eight months ago when I found that my girl refused to have any part of the potty. Her preschool teacher was the first one to sit her on a potty. All the other kids in the class were showing interest and would go from time to time at school. So she took it upon herself to sit Madalyn down. I recall the teacher's words clearly: "You would have thought the seat was on fire!" Well, I could have told her what the response would have been if she had asked me before hand and saved her and everyone else's eardrums in the general vicinity.

This past summer, after all attempts to have her just sit on the potty had failed, we made a special trip to my favorite place to pass out money - Walmart. I let her pick out a special potty and made such a big deal about it and how nice it was and how it made a little flushing sound. I thought certainly this would be what would make her want to go. Something she could take pride in. A potty to call her own. She would sit on the potty this time, at least, but only fully clothed. And she would sit and smile and hop right up and say, "I did it!" Needless to say, we abandoned all efforts at that point.

A couple of months ago, the blessed soul finally peed in the potty for the first time. And you would have thought that we had won the lottery in this house. I don't know who was more proud, me or her brother. He always makes such a big to do about all of her accomplishments. But no such luck with the #2, if you catch my drift. But Madalyn had always been plagued with certain elimination issues, and at an unrelated office visit, I discussed it with the doctor and she recommended Miralax. This undetectable powder was quite the miracle drug for Madalyn (hence the name, I suppose) and it really got her moving. Just not in the potty.

But last week, an amazing thing occurred when I least expected it. Last Monday, I was getting Madalyn ready for her bath and took off her diaper and it was dry. So, knowing that she had not wet for two and a half hours, I asked her to sit on the potty. She was in one of her (usual) moods and just flat out refused. And I refused to back down. On this particular night, I was just not having it. And we had the most massive stand-off in the history of the Blair family. Forty-five minutes later, Madalyn was still sitting on the potty, naked, tears streaming down her face and slight hyperventilating. Please do not feel sorry for the child. I am sure she will never remember the traumatic event. If she does, I will gladly pay for that session with the therapist. Her father arrived home from work, and I looked at him and said, "You can handle her for the rest of the night. I am afraid to touch her. I think I might hurt her." Surely I am not the only mom who has to excuse herself from the room for what her mind envisions she might do to her own child. I leaned into the bathroom and looked at her poor little face and said, "Fine. You have gotten away with it tonight. But tomorrow, we are putting on the big girl panties and if you want to tee-tee and poop all over yourself, you just go right ahead."

If I had known how effective this angle would be, I could have tried it eight months ago. She had maybe one real accident; a couple of times, she just barely wet in her undies. And she actually has been fine ever since. Truly a miracle. Maybe it is true after all. Maybe after you cry and scream and hyperventilate and threaten hell and high water, maybe girls are easier than boys.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ahhh, the Dentist

Seems like everyone wants a dollar or two from us lately. Let's add the dentist to that list.

We had our six month check-up this morning for both the rug rats. No cavities, which seems nothing short of a miracle with our high level of sugar intake around this house. But there appears to be a slight problem with one of David's molars. The back one on the right side, I think, is coming in - well, has come in - at an angle and applying pressure to the adjoining tooth. Because of the pressure, that adjoining tooth is beginning to deteriorate prematurely. So, what's a dentist to do? She would like to go in and insert a small wire thing-a-ma-doodle and then twist it a bit to apply pressure against both the teeth encouraging them to move away from one another. Hopefully, this would stop the deterioration of the one therefore saving it and the possibility of orthodontic involvement (or a space saving device). Bad news is there's no guarantee that the baby tooth can be saved. He may loose it no matter what we do.

This may not sound like a big deal to some, and in the scheme of things, it is definitely not. But I can't help but think back to my childhood when my trips to the orthodontist and periodontist started around this age. I had all sorts of odd things wrong with my mouth. My top palette was too narrow, and I had this strange device implanted and my mom would have to take this key and twist it every night to basically stretch the roof of my mouth. Very uncomfortable for me, and now I realize that it wasn't the best experience for my mom either. I had too little gum tissue on the bottom, and so, I had to have a gum graft done. Not pleasant either. I remember that one completely. The doctor that did the graft talked about the LSU football game the whole time and I remember thinking at ten years old, "Shouldn't he be focusing a little more on my teeth and a little less on football?" And I must not forget the braces. Five flipping years of the metal and the rubber bands and the headgear. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the jaw surgery to correct the under bite which left the six screws in my jaw that I just had to have removed (which, by the way, was way more painful a recovery than delivering an eight pound, fourteen ounce baby vaginally - just thought you needed to know).

All that being said - this is definitely something I need to think about and pray about. Because it does effect a child. Having something in between the teeth applying pressure is painful. It will be a weird pain, and I know what that feels like. And I just don't know what to do right now. My mind tells me that it needs to be done, that we should try to save the baby tooth because that is the ideal situation. But my heart tells me I don't want to put him through the process of having it done with the chances that it might not work. Like I said, I will have to do some thinking and praying. I made the appointment for the first week of February so I would have plenty of time to decide.

This all seems pretty stupid in light of yesterday's entry. I am sure the Burgess family would love to have to make this decision about Bronner.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

William Bronner Burgess

I am sure that those of you that live in Alabama have heard of this little angel. He was the son of Rick Burgess, co-host of the morning show Rick and Bubba. I listened every day on my morning commute to work many years ago and then we would listen some at our desks in the morning. The show was always funny, always uplifting, always honoring the Lord. Little Bronner drowned in the family pool on Saturday evening, and today he will be honored with a memorial service.

I have thought constantly about this little boy, his family, their grief. I have to force myself to stop thinking about it at times because I know that my fret does no one any good. You see, little Bronner was around the same age as Madalyn. And we also have a pool in our back yard. And I know first hand how cold that water is at this point in the winter season. Our water registers a frigid 41 degrees. And I just can't stop thinking about how icy my hand feels when I reach down in the water to pull the skimmer basket out or to retrieve a leaf. So I think about that precocious little boy falling into the water and not knowing what to do and fighting for his life and losing. Then I think of Madalyn. And that's why I have had to force myself to shift my thoughts.

All I can do really is pray for them. There are no words you could possibly say to ease a family's pain. Besides, I don't know them and have never met little Bronner. But I know one thing for certain. I will never look at our pool the same. And I will be more vigilant each day making sure that know where Madalyn is and what she is doing. I know that you can't keep up with them every second of the day, but that precious boy's life could not possibly be lost in vain. And I know for certain that the Burgess family, being the incredible God serving people they are, will find a way to bring glory to their God even through their tears.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tagged

I have been tagged by Rebecca to share five random, weird things about myself. That should be easy...

1. I had six screws in my jaw - three in the left side, three in the right - until this past July. I had to have them removed because they were beginning to poke through.

2. I have never had my ears pierced. My father wouldn't let me when I was growing up, telling me that, "If God had wanted you to have holes in your ears, he would have made them that way." I wanted to get them pierced several years ago but was told I needed a doctor to do it. I have a mole right where the hole would be on my right ear lobe. Maybe my dad had a point all along.

3. I do not eat seafood. Not fish, not shrimp, not lobster. None of it. I hate the way it smells, and to me, it all tastes the way it smells. My husband makes me try everything he orders, though. If you put enough lemon juice on any of it, then I can stomach it. But, if you have to put lemon juice on something to eat it, then why eat it?

4. I have never had a speeding ticket. And I probably shouldn't have included that fact, because, now, I will probably get a ticket this week.

5. I am shamelessly addicted to reality TV. Pretty much all of it, with the exception of Survivor and Big Brother. I have never gotten into either one of those. But the rest of it - The Bachelor, The Real World, The Hills, Rock of Love, The Girls Next Door, Doctor 90210, etc. and so on - I will watch for hours upon hours, as long as my kids are not in the room. I am not proud of this. Some of it is mindless smut. But mindless smut can be quite entertaining sometimes. And, it reminds me that I am indeed normal and boring. Thank God.

That was fun! Unfortunately, anyone I would have tagged has already been tagged. But now, hopefully you know all you ever needed to know about me.

Oh, What Fun!



We had a fabulous time in the snow on Saturday!!! Scott and I stayed up late on Friday evening waiting on the snow, in a sense, like children. We have an outdoor heater on our back porch underneath the deck and it kept us warm as we watched it rain and sleet and flurry a little. We just knew we would wake up to a beautiful snow covered yard, but no such luck. David woke up around 6:45 and was so disappointed that there was no snow. Luckily, by 8:30, it had started and I quickly bundled the kids up to go and play, not certain if it would actually stick. But, it snowed for several hours and we had such a big time playing in the snow. It was the most beautiful snow I had ever seen. It was fluffy and dry (not slushy) and we were able to make snow balls and roll it and it actually stuck together.

I guess because I have only seen snow a handful of times, it still remains to me such a miracle of our world. So beautiful. So fresh. So special. And in our section of the world, truly a miracle, as all the meteorological forces must line up perfectly for it to happen. Everything looks different when covered with snow. It looks strangely beautiful, perfect. I just kept thinking about a line from an old hymn from my childhood: "They will be as white as snow." My memory fails me as to the title of the hymn. We don't really sing those songs anymore at church. But I understand it clearly now.

The whole time it snowed, I just ran around like an idiot taking pictures. Of everything. Of the bushes, of the leaves, of the house, of the street, and on and on and on. At some point, I realized that I had become my dad. He always got so excited about weather, especially the few times during my childhood that it snowed. But he always got excited about a lot of things, and then would chase us around with the camera or video camera trying to document every second so as not to lose it. And that was what I did on Saturday. And midway through our snow event, I turned to my neighbor and explained that I felt like my dad and why. We went inside to dry and thaw out a little, and I went out on the deck to get a picture of the back yard. When I went inside, the phone rang, and it was my neighbor who just simply said, "Yeah, you are definitely your dad." For the one person that knows me better than I know myself, that one was hard to swallow. Don't get me wrong; I love my father. But he and I butt heads more than we hug.

Anyway. Here are some pictures of the snow. I only took like forty-one. But who's counting?

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Hope For Snow

The weather man is using that four letter word on the TV. How dare he! How dare that man get us all excited and leave our children in a tizzy over the thoughts of that mushy, slushy stuff! I only hope its true... David has, of course, never really seen snow. It snowed when he was a baby, but he has no memory of that. All I have from that occasion is a picture of our cute little house in Montgomery covered in white.

We are scheduled for a basketball game in the morning, but I am sure it will be cancelled. We Alabamians are not prepared for driving in the snow, ice, or sleet. And I suspect that if it really does snow, if we really do get even the slightest bit of wintry weather, I will not leave the house tomorrow. Not even for a YMCA basketball game. Hmmm... go watch six year old boys stand on their defensive spot swatting at other uncoordinated boys attempting to shoot a basketball, or play in the snow? Hopefully, snow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hallelujah!!!

Okay. Two posts in one day, and I am only 54% addicted to blogging? Whatever. Completely irrelevant. Because my beloved, beautiful thorn in my side daughter just pooped in the potty! On her own accord. Without bribery, which I have tried on numerous occasions. Without yelling, threatening, scolding, beating or bleeding. I was vacuuming the stairs, and David ran to get me to deliver the news. I nearly pooped in my pants I was so excited. Maybe I am getting through to her. I shouldn't brag too much. Tomorrow she will probably refuse to do it. Ahhh, but today.

I cannot believe it has come to this. To be this excited about a toddler putting her poop in its proper place is absurd. But I am not ashamed. I squealed with delight. And any good mother would do the same.

I Have A Life

54%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

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Or, should I say, that, as usual, I am not committed? I think the latter would be more appropriate. But I think for someone as technologically unadvanced as me, I am doing pretty good. Of course, if I had more than two readers, I might blog a little more.

Madalyn just asked, "Where's my dapooter?" Well, dear, I don't rightly know where your dapooter is.

Anyway - just a thought for the day. I love Court TV. Well, now it is actually called TruTV or something like that. Whatever. It is about the law and the judicial system and all that jazz really fascinates me. Had I have been a little more committed (we seem to have a running theme today) to college, I might have finished my undergrad in English and could have pursued my fascination with the law and made quite a career out of it. But, instead, I quit school, had kids, and chose a life where I don't shower until 2:00 pm. But, who's judging? All this to say that OJ Simpson is behind bars again. First of all, if you have grey hair and find yourself behind bars, you've probably got issues. And when your name is OJ, and you have been behind bars several times, you definitely have major issues. I mean, seriously, if I were this dude, I think I would just stay on the beach sipping Pina Coladas all day, staying as far away from anything that could be misconstrued as trouble. But not dear Orenthal James. He's everywhere. He creates his own drama. He sets up his own sting operation to recover stolen property. One would think being found "not guilty" of your ex-wife's murder would be enough to make you want to live by the letter of the law. But apparently, they didn't teach that sort of common sense in OJ's high school. Well, Juice, if you are reading this blog, and you are fortunate to see the light of day today after that hearing, honey please lay low. That's probably what your Mama would say to you.

That's just my social commentary for the day. I am sure the world is now a better place...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In a Funk

I am sure I'm not the only thirty-something mother of two who is just in a funk. It's not that anything is wrong per se. Nothing is pressing. We could have more money in the bank, of course, but the bills are paid for the month and there is food in the pantry, so I am not worried about that. My kids are healthy. They are a little sassy at times and do things I would rather they not do, but for the most part, they are great kids who are witty and cute and make me smile every day. My husband is a great guy. He works too much and too hard and can be quite demanding, but he does all he can do to keep me and the kids taken care of and happy and safe. So what's wrong? Why am I in a funk? Why do I just feel this urge to scream?

I think sometimes I just feel invisible. Like I am not really here. Though people around this house depend on me for everything, I am not really a person to them. I am mom, maid, cook, searcher for lost things, cleaner-upper, etc. And that has been my internal dilemma for quite sometime. Why do I feel so inadequate inside? Why do I feel the need to be validated when I am obviously needed so much? I desperately need to shift my focus. I need to strengthen my faith.

Like most people, my faith in Christ comes in waves. When I am going through a crisis - like my mother's cancer, or when I was having odd health problems of my own - I dive into the word of God and find comfort and wisdom and strength. Then when I am okay, I sort of fall to the wayside and don't make the time to keep up my studies. I know that this feeling of funkishness (I think I just invented a word - you know I was an English major) is a desire for more in my life. A need for a purpose other than doing homework with a first grader or potty training a toddler. Though those things are my daily tasks in life, they do not make up who I am. I need to find a higher purpose for my daily living, even if it is just a kind word to the clerk at the grocery store. I need to get back to my spiritual side that I have seemed to ignore for the past months.

Yesterday, I began the ladies Bible study at the church where we attend but are still not members. One reason is because I was not raised Baptist, and I just don't know if I ever want to be Baptist. I am just a Christian, and I don't really feel the need to subscribe to any denominational titles. But one reason we haven't joined is because I have been too afraid to commit myself, feeling that this time will be like all other times and I will falter in my faith. But I am more capable than that I think. Don't get me wrong; you will not find me coming to the altar Sunday morning asking when the next "Join our Church" class is. But I will make the commitment to myself to delve into this study and build myself up again. Like I said at the beginning of the year, this will be a year of taking care of me.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Good Old Saturday

It feels like old times today. When I still lived in Montgomery, my mom and I and David would usually go shopping nearly every Saturday. We didn't always buy anything. Sometimes, we would just stroll David around and look at things. Sometimes we would do lunch or go to the card shop and look around. Nothing special, really. But so much more than special.

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, it instantly changed our lives. All of our lives. There were no more Saturday shopping trips for nearly a year. Between the chemo and the surgery and the radiation, she was out of commission for quite some time. And by the time she felt better, David was playing sports and we had just gotten out of the habit. But today was so nice. Mom drove up this morning for David's "basketball" game. I use the term basketball quite loosely. They do play with a basketball, but the game these kids play doesn't even closely resemble the game I know as basketball. But that's a whole other entry. We went to the game and then stopped at the mall and then had lunch at one of the best little bakeries I have ever been in. Then we went over to a cute little froofy shop with mainly handmade clothes for girls. Just like old times. Just like it used to be. You would never know that just two years ago, we weren't sure if we would lose my mother to the cancer. We weren't sure if she would make it for another Saturday shopping trip again. But she did. It makes me realize how many countless numbers of people walk among us on a daily basis with battles all their own, and you don't even recognize it. It makes me realize how I always need to treat others with kindness every day of life, no matter how I feel or what I am going through, because I never know what they may be going through. And I especially need to be so grateful that my mother made it through and appreciate the time I have with her.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Sugar Bowl

This morning, I did something I seldom do. I left Madalyn, unattended, watching tv while I showered. We had several errands to run today, and sometimes, I actually like to look presentable, with makeup and hair fixed. I knew she would get into something. I can just never be certain what it will be.

When I got dressed, I went looking for the damage. The little chair she eats in was pulled up to the counter in front of my coffee pot. The sugar bowl was missing. I went looking for her and found her in the floor of her brother's room with bowl of sugar. She had her hand dipped in the sugar and was eating it. Eating the sugar. This is about the third time I have caught her doing this. She doesn't care if I spank her. She doesn't care if I fuss at her. She just waits until I am in the tub or on the phone or otherwise involved and she goes to whatever means necessary to get what she wants. Today, it was the sugar. The other day, it was an apple larger than her head. Who knows what it will be tomorrow. Oh, whatever. I just pray she doesn't fall and break her arm while trying to retrieve her next unreachable.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sent to the Office

I feel as though I am failing as a parent. And I don't really understand how because I am not doing anything any different this time around. I mean, I cannot figure out what in the heck makes my daughter tick. I would love to dive into her skull and just get a feel for her. I know her. I understand her personality. But, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to get her to do what I need or want her to do. And obviously, I am not the only one who can't figure it out.

On Tuesday evening, I received a phone call from my neighbor. Her little boy and Madalyn are in the same preschool class. She just wanted to know if Madalyn had said anything about getting in trouble that day. Apparently, her son had told her that he and Madalyn had gotten in to a bit of trouble and had to visit Ms. Theresa's office (that's our preschool director - you know, the equivalent to the principal). I was mortified. Absolutely mortified. Later that night, I questioned Madalyn about the day, as I already had, asking if she had been a sweet girl that day and if anyone had been in trouble that day. Of course she said that she had been sweet and no one had been in trouble. But a few minutes went by, and I suppose the truth was jumping to come out. She then proceeded to demonstrate just what they had done that got them sent to the office. I wish I had video footage, but I'll explain the best I can trying to use Madalyn's lingo: "I just put my finger in my ears and I say BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!"

It was a moment where I had to stop myself from laughing because she looked so funny doing it. But the grown up deep within me had to refrain because I knew that it should not be funny. I know it is just silly and that she is barely even three yet, but David attended the same preschool two years and never had to be sent to the office for anything. And I used to think that he was the problem child. My, how things have shifted. I spoke with Madalyn's teacher today, and she assured me that it was not an issue to be concerned about. That for the most part, she has no problem controlling Madalyn during class. Unfortunately, the two neighbor friends get a little wound up together and once they start, it is hard to get either one of them to listen. But still, I can't help but be a little concerned. I already feel like I am losing ground with her at home. I don't need her making a bad name for herself at preschool.

I just cannot imagine what it will be like when these kids are teenagers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Day By Day

I am about to get on the dreadmill. Not my favorite thing to do, but I certainly need to. I would much rather be watching the new episode of Desperate Housewives that I recorded from Sunday night, but I will resist the temptation of laziness and get on the treadmill instead. I can watch it while I stuff my face with lunch. You know, after you burn the calories, it is always a good idea to refill with more. It is always so frustrating when I am all sweaty and breathless and I'll look down and think that surely I have burned like 800 calories or something. No, it is usually a measly 200 or 250. That's like a freaking snack. And I usually have at least three snacks a day. No wonder why I can't seem to lose these last ten pounds.

Seriously, I have been more conscientious of what I am eating. I am trying to stay away from the processed foods that I love so much. Trying to stick with things that God made. But carbs are my weakness. I love cereal. I love snacky things like Wheat Thins . But I just need to eat more of the whole foods instead of these things that have been whipped up and processed and fried or baked and then preserved.

Yesterday afternoon, something a little troubling occurred. We were outside playing after school and the neighbors came out to play with us. Their little boy is just a week younger than Madalyn so they play pretty well together. David had run in the backyard for something and my neighbor and I were sitting on the driveway watching the little ones cruise in the pink Mustang. This car comes by and it caught both of our attention because of how slow he was going. We are the second house in our neighborhood, and there is only one way in and out, so there is a lot of traffic and people go pretty fast, and we often talk about how we hate it and that we ought to call the police and complain. I digress... so the man was creeping by, which is very unusual, and we both looked at each other and commented on how odd he seemed. So we stood up to get a better look at him and he had stopped his car up between our house and the first house on the street, had his window rolled down and was leaning out with his cell phone taking a picture. So I yelled out to him, "What are you doing?" He looked at me but didn't respond. So I yelled out to him again, louder this time. It startled him, and he sped off.

I don't know what the crazy dude was doing. The kids where in the front yard, but the way our yard slopes down so drastically from the street, I don't think he could have gotten a good picture of the kids. Besides, they were facing away from him. To me, it looked like his phone was pointed right at our house. Why would he want to take a picture of my house? I mean, if you are scoping out houses to burglarize, would you really want to be taking pictures of them. That would leave an evidence trail a mile long. I have racked my brain since it happened, and so has my husband, trying to figure out what he was up to, and we just can't figure it out. But anyway, the alarm is set and I will just have to be more aware of my surroundings than usual. Scott called the police and talked to them to see if what had happened here had possibly been reported in other areas, but they said no and that they would just make a note of it and try to heighten their patrols.

I feel relatively safe, and I can't let worry get the better of me. But it does make you feel a little afraid. Not really for myself or my stuff, but for my kids. I obviously don't want anyone to bother them, of course. But I don't want anyone coming in here when we are gone either and taking away their sense of security. Scott said he'd buy me a pistol if it would make me feel better. Uh, no thank you. That would make me more nervous than just leaving all the doors open and the the windows unlocked. I told him that I have some pretty big knives up there in the kitchen that I could use if I hear the alarm sound. I'm so tough. Ha!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Push Through

Most people that know me would never know that I have struggled with depression for many, many years now. I would say from early adolescence. My own Grandmother was shocked to hear this a few years ago when I discussed my depression and feelings of inadequacy that have plagued my life. She told me that I never really let that side of me show and I always appear to have everything together. Maybe so, but sometimes appearances can fool you. Isn't what they are intended to do? I mean, I can't show the world how I really feel inside. Because if I feel that poorly about myself then how will they feel about me?

Now that I have been formally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a lot of my struggles make more sense to me. I truly believe that this odd ailment began early in my life and began to take its toll on me way before the symptoms were obvious. What causes this weird reaction of inflammation in my body I don't think I will ever understand. But it does not just effect the body; one of the most common symptoms among fibro patients is depression. The pain and tenderness of the muscles can run a wide variety, but most patients suffer from depression or anxiety disorder.

Part of the reason why I have to get back on track and need to take better care of my body is because it helps so much with my mood. I always feel better when I have been exercising regularly. My rheumatologist told me two years ago that it was the single most important thing I could do for both physical and mental health. Easier said than done, though, especially when your muscles ache to the touch and you feel like you can't catch your breath because the cartilage in your chest cavity is so inflamed. And I have to maintain the proper balance with it as well. Not enough exercise and i won't reap the benefits. Too much exercise and it sends my body into stress, triggering more inflammation and depression. So I have to find that delicate balance of just enough but not too much.

I first remember feeling depressed when I was twelve or thirteen and we lived in Florida. We moved to Florida after living in Louisiana for four years. My father was the preacher of a very small town Church of Christ in Zachary, Louisiana. Things happened - nasty, churchy, political things - and the church split. A group of people rallied around my father, and we broke off to start our own church. I don't remember the exact details of why we left, but our family left Louisiana broken and battered. Empty. I had witnessed the most tragic thing in my life. People I looked up to and trusted became bitter and ugly and definitely not Christ-like. My very own Sunday school teacher called my father a liar right in front of me. When I heard the words, I remember screaming, "No! My daddy is not a liar!" and running outside to the parking lot. I can still see it just like it was yesterday - the parking lot, the church, the front doors, everything. Her name was Delores, and she chased me out the door tyring to apologize or console me. She didn't realize I was there. She didn't realize that I would hear her.

That was probably the beginning of my depression. That's when I began to take things on that were just greater than me. I was to young to process all of that. But no one really knew how much it all effected me. And my parents were so busy trying to figure out just what we would do and dealing with their own pain that no one ever stopped to see this broken girl who was so confused and so hurt and felt so abandoned by an entire group of people she had grown to know and love. I just kept pushing through my little life. That's what I learned to do as early as that. Just push through it. It will get better.

And it does get better. I don't need anyone to feel sorry for the things I have been through. Because even the worst thing I have experienced, something I have discussed with very few people in the world, is pale in comparison to what some kids have to go through every day. I don't think I have told anyone except my mom and my husband that before Christmas, I went to have lunch with David at school and a little girl in his class sat down at the table and pulled something out of her lunch box, nibbled on it a bit, and then just put her head down. Two of her friends went to the teacher and she came to the table and began to question the little girl. She had no lunch. When the teacher asked her why, she began to cry and told the teacher that they didn't have any money right now. Just take a moment and try to make sense of that. A six year old girl, at the lunch table with all her classmates, crying because her family has no money for food. Because we live right behind the school, I rushed home and made her a lunch and took it back to the school so that she wouldn't have to hungry for the day. And I have made arrangements with the teacher to keep an eye on her lunch account and let me know when it falls low and we will find a way to fill it up for her. I don't ever want that little girl to go without lunch again. I don't know what her family story is, but no child should have to take on adult burdens.

I don't know what all this rambling is today. Perhaps free therapy. I guess sometimes it just feels good to get a little of your story out there, you know. Like, this is who I am and why I am that way. I have a difficult time becoming involved at church. Because there are internal politics in every church of varying degrees. Most people don't see it. That's the way I'd like to keep it for me and my family. I don't want my kids to see how childish adults can truly be, how cruel the world really is, how much hurt and pain is really out there. I want to shelter them from that blueness that has hovered over me from such an early age. I know I won't succeed forever. But I'll try as hard as I can for now.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Game Plan

Okay. So I still have these ten pounds wrapped around my hips and thighs from my last pregnancy. And that may not seem like much to some, but for someone as vain as I am, it is a pretty big deal. I am just so tired of it, you know. And I am tired of not buying myself clothes because I keep thinking that I am going to lose weight. So here is my game plan for the fresh year ahead.

I don't want to set any goals that are weight oriented because I always seem to not see the results I had hoped for and then lose focus. So this year, I am going to set a goal for frequency of exercise. I have a great treadmill in our basement, and I will just need to force myself to find the time for walking. I am setting the goal of four to five days a week of walking. And I want to get back on the program I used to do for my abs. I plan to do that four days a week as well. And then devote one day each week to arms and legs. That seems like a relatively simple goal I think. And, you know, that is what I am all about this year is simplicity. I just need to start making myself a priority around this house. Seems like everyone else's needs rank far above mine, and by the time I find the time for myself, I am too exhausted from handling all the other stuff. Hopefully, I can work toward a change. And I think that is just about the healthiest goal I have ever made. I don't really care anything about losing a dress size or a specific amount of weight. I just want to feel better in a bathing suit when that pool opens this summer. And that ain't gonna happen with jiggly thighs and dimpled skin around my navel.

And I am really excited about joining the weekday ladies class at the church where we are unofficial members. And for more than one reason. I think it will be great to have a program to study. It will keep me more on track with my reading time. And it will give me a chance to get to know some other women in the area and just socialize with people. You know, I don't get out much. Sad, but true.

Okay. So there it is. My master plan for the year. I have put it out there for all to see. I am holding myself accountable. Now we'll see what happens. I am sure the whole world is on the edge of their seats.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Trashed on New Year's Eve

And, no, it wasn't me! It was my house!!!! We had eight little ones running around here ranging in age from two to eight. And they had cookies and chips and brownies all over the house. And the youngest one here didn't make it to the potty in time and peed all over the bathroom floor. It's amazing just how much urine a two year old can hold in their bladder. Trust me - way more than you can imagine. Anyway. We watched the Auburn game and shot fireworks and had a ball! And finally, at 12:45 a.m., the oldest boys went to sleep. I couldn't believe they lasted that long. For a while, I thought they might last longer than me. Of course, they were up and at it again by 7:00 a.m. the next morning, but what more could you expect? We are still recuperating from sleep deprivation, but all the kids had such a good time. And other that food all over the carpet, there were no major catastrophes to report. And I got a kiss from my little boy at the stroke of midnight. What more could you ask for?

I have a burden on my mind. One of my mom's cancer friends is sick again. My mother met Cathy while doing her chemo treatments at UAB. They both had breast cancer and ended up with the same schedule. So every three weeks, they would be together for however long that treatment lasted - sometimes two hours, and sometimes only forty-five minutes. Mom always knew Cathy's cancer was different. She had a different type of cancer and it was much more aggressive than my mother's. In fact, after Cathy's treatments were over, the doctors found that her cancer had continued to grow despite the chemotherapy and were left with no choice but to perform a radical mastectomy. Well, here we are some year and a half later, and Cathy's cancer is back. This time, she has a spot on her chest and it has spread to her spinal column. The mass has gotten so large that she is nearly paralyzed. Cathy goes in for surgery tomorrow to attempt to remove as much of the cancer as they can. What makes this situation so much harder to swallow is that Cathy has a son that is sixteen years old and is a paraplegic. He is unable to take care of himself. He goes to school, so he is taken care of during those days. But that still leaves so much time that he needs someone with him. And now his mother will be in the hospital for a week after the surgery and will have to stay in a rehab facility for up to six weeks after that. Please pray for Cathy and her family. Not only that the surgery will be a success, but that they will all be able to withstand the struggles that lie ahead.

That's the scariest part about cancer to me - what lies ahead. Obviously, we can't know what lies ahead. No one can. That's a no-brainer. But cancer, no matter where it starts or what kind it is, starts out so small and grows and grows for years before you even know it's there. And even when you have had a surgery that is supposed to remove it all, you know that no doctor or surgeon can possibly remove it all. There could just be one tiny little cell left, and that's all it takes for it to grow again. It could have already begun to spread but not be large enough for the most modern technology to see. Like my mother, for instance, had several lymph nodes involved. Several. One is too many, if you ask me. The cancer had already spread to the muscle in her chest, and the doctors didn't even know that until they had her opened up. Though they removed all of that from her body, there is no guarantee that she is cancer free. I mean, in my opinion, she will never be cancer free. How can she be? It was there, and was so big, and it had begun to spread. No doctor in this world can convince my brain that it is all gone.

I know my mother is scared. I know that what her friend is going through must bring up that fear that it could be her next, that the cancer could come back and she would have to start all over again with the treatments and the sickness and the hair falling out. And her hair is so beautiful now. It just looks so different. It has a little more grey in it, but it seems so healthy and shiny and fresh. I just don't want her to have to go through all that again. I don't want any of us to have to go through that all over again. It effects every member of the family, no matter their age.

So, I guess pray for Cathy and my mom. And everyone else who is currently suffering or scared to hear bad news again. And pray for those brilliant people who are working so hard every day to find new and better ways to fight and prevent disease.