Thursday, December 31, 2009

A letter to my husband at the end of this crazy year...

Dear Scooter,

Wow. What a year. If you had tried to tell either one of us just ten short years ago what this particular year would be like, we'd have laughed and tipped another sip of our beer. At the time, we had no real understanding of stress. We knew pain, but definitely not stress. My how much we've learned...

I just want to finish this year off writing just to you. Because that's really what this year has been about. Me and you. It's seemed to be about the finances and the kids and the stress of your job and the baseball schedule and the cleaning up of the leaves in the yard. But when you really think about what this year has been about, I think it's mainly been about you and me getting to know each other in a totally different way. Without the fluff. Without the extra. To the heart. To the core. With the phones ringing and ringing. With no one calling at all some times. With the kids beside us, or sitting in between us, or even crawling all over us. At the ball park in the heat. At the ball park in the cold. On the couch, at the end of a long day, watching Pawn Stars. Or Desperate Housewives... not really sure if you're ready to admit that one out loud.

So, here we go. Another year for me and you. I've been focused so much on telling this year goodbye that I've almost forgotten we've got one only beginning. In many ways, I can't wait to see what God has in store for us and our little life. But in other ways, I'm terrified of what the next 365 days will bring our way. The struggles aren't over... who knows what tomorrow brings. But I'm so glad to know that no matter what comes my way, you'll be there beside me to listen or hug me or tell me what I need to be told. And I want you to know that you can count on me, too. If we can make it through 2009 without killing each other, I think we can make it through just about anything. Well, maybe we couldn't make it if I had to drive you to work for three weeks like when you broke your foot a couple of years ago... we almost didn't make it through that the first time, so maybe you should just be extra careful with your right foot and adjoined leg. Just sayin'.

So here's to another year. And here's to 2009... without this year we've had, who knows if we would have had the opportunity to grow closer together in this way. And that is a blessing that would make it worth repeating even the crappiest of years!

I love you, Scooter. Truly, deeply love you.

Your one and only ~
T. Blair

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And just like that...

And just like that, it's over.

The presents are ripped open. The surprises are gone. The mess is cleaned up. The tree is down. The only thing that remains is the few fake pine needles that will linger in the carpet for the next several weeks to remind me that we indeed had Christmas here.

Isn't it funny how weeks and weeks of preparation - the decorating, the gift hunting, the hiding away of the purchases, the wrapping, the baking for parties - are just over in an instant?

We had a great Christmas here at the Blair house. I would say that the excitement level was at an all-time high this year. With Madalyn almost five and David a still believing eight-year-old, I wish we could have bottled the excitement and passed it out to households that just didn't have enough. Santa's bag was full of surprises for the children - David finally got his gas powered four wheeler he's been asking for since he could talk. He's been riding a little battery operated one he got for his birthday four years ago, and it's about on it's last leg. And I believe Santa may have gotten a spectacular deal on the one he brought (wink, wink). Whatever strings he had to pull, deals he had to finagle, or meals he may have to skip in the next several weeks - it was all worth it when David found a key to a new four wheeler in his stocking. There's just nothing like seeing your child get something they've wanted desperately for so long.

Madalyn got exactly what she wanted, too - an absolutely gaudy hot pink and black "beauty shop" vanity, complete with mirror surrounded by lights and hair clips and pretend scissors. She also got a set of pretend hair dryer and curling iron, a gown and robe, a little Crayola art desk, and a couple of big coloring books. Needless to say, she couldn't have been more pleased with her goodies. Of course her loot next to her brother's looked a little unfair, but the monetary difference was amazingly unequal. Isn't it nice when their stuff is still so cheap?

The biggest Christmas blessing of all for me and Scott is that we were able to do for our kids this year. After the financial blows we've suffered, I must say the biggest joy of all was watching them still have the same kind of Christmas they've always had. For the past several months, I have fretted about how it would all work out. But it did. We may have had to borrow from this, scrounge around with that, but it all fell into place. But on Christmas morning, I did think of other families who may not be as fortunate. I thought about other parents out there who had lost their jobs this year or had fallen on hard times. And I was so thankful for my family who has been so supportive through this tough year.

And so, another Christmas come and gone. Almost another year complete. Many memories. Many smiles. Many tears. But many blessings. Many, many blessings.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lo and behold...

So, we put out our saltine crackers and water and a potato in David's shoe. Lo and behold, an elf arrived that night as we slept. His name is Farley, and he came with a letter explaining how to take care of him and what he was here for. Absolutely amazing. The magic of Christmas is alive.

Farley's arrival sparked an air of bickering in the Blair household though, and we spent much of the morning fighting over who could hold the elf and play with him and so on. By 10:00 a.m., Madalyn was forbidden to even look at the elf for the remainder of the day after pitching a fit of such epic proportions I was reminded of her days as a two-year-old. It wasn't pretty, and it ended with me telling her these exact words: "You've met your match with me, sister. We can play this game all day if you want, but you still won't get your way. I'm not giving in." She realized the seriousness of the situation, and she quickly changed her tune.

The jolly old elf has been a delight ever since, hiding in various places throughout the house once he comes to life while the children are asleep. Last night, he made quite a mess with the toilet paper, and both the kids got a kick out of that. He rides in the car with us, and they carry him around the house with them. He leaves little notes, nicely versed and rhyming. And David believes he is as real an elf as the sky is blue.

Ahhhhhhh... the mind of a child. The protection it offers from all the ugliness of the world. A place where dreams can come true and wishes can be granted and an elf can come alive in the dark and leave toilet paper strewn about the room. I want to put my dear children in a bubble and protect them from reality. And, if I were lucky enough, maybe there would be enough room for me to crawl in as well.

This will probably be my last post before Christmas. Things will be busy and scattered over the next few days. My hope for any who read this is that you are truly blessed with all the joy Christmas brings. Times may be tough for some. We all have some bit of ugliness or trouble right now. But the truth is still the same; God has us each in his hand, no matter what today may bring. No matter what.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Two dolls, elf bait, and a new motto...

The kids are out of school. And I'll be honest; they are already way too loud and getting on my nerves. But what can you expect? Christmas is so close they can smell it. Even I think I can smell it a little...

Yesterday, I thought I had finished my shopping. I felt this weight lift off my shoulders, and I almost told the fine young lady at Target as she scanned my final purchases, "I AM DONE!!!!!" But, having worked retail myself at her precious little age, I knew she wouldn't care nor understand. And I would have felt really stupid today when I bought another gift, which really is my very last one. I promise.

See, after going to the Princess and the Frog last Friday, all Madalyn has talked about is that she wanted something Princess in the Frog. Mind you, the stuff was EVERYWHERE two weeks ago before the movie actually opened. But of course when I began my search for an item - any item that seemed reasonable like a little doll or the Barbie version - they were nowhere to be found. All I could find was a stinking music set with a little plastic flute and a tambourine (and I will be doggoned if I would even think about such a purchase) and these two frogs that would kiss and then make some noise. I was so excited to find a set of the Princess and the Prince today at the Disney Store (which has to just remain the coolest place ever no matter how old you are). And so now, I am 100% finished with my shopping.

I also had to make another small purchase. David came home yesterday from school telling me all about these elves that come to your house and tell Santa if you're being good or naughty. He says that all we have to do is put out some saltine crackers in a bowl, a glass of water, and a potato in a shoe, and the elf will come. Personally, I remain a little skeptical. But it's worth a try. Unfortunately I had no saltines in the pantry last night, and I told him we'd have to wait until today for me to purchase them. So I guess tonight we're putting out the elf bait, and we'll just have to wait and see what happens. I'll keep everyone posted...

There's so many other things going on right now. Seems like every time I turn around, there's another tragedy to report. There have been so many fatal accidents in the Birmingham area in the past couple of weeks. There was a fire a few weeks ago that burned a young family's entire home and all it's contents. They have two little girls, 2 and 4 years old. There's a young woman I've heard about who's just been diagnosed with cancer, and her prognosis doesn't look good. She may not make it another month. There just seems to be so much all the time. Always so much. Today, as my mind was racing like it does so many afternoons, I was reminded of the Serenity Prayer. Most people connect it with addiction, but the words really speak to all of us. So I am really thinking it will just be my new motto for a while.

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I mean, really... could we ask for anything more from God? At any time of year or phase in our life, that's pretty much all we need.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Tiger Woods Conversation

So, I've been waiting on my little golfer to ask me about Tiger Woods. He watches Sports Center enough to know there's something going on, and it's on every channel news during every broadcast several times a day. A couple of nights ago, David asks me, "Mama... what is going on with Tiger Woods???"


We would all like to know, David... I answered as best I knew how telling him that Tiger had apparently made some poor choices in his life and he would have to deal with them. Then last night, the real conversation took place when David, out of the blue, says to me, "I don't think I like Tiger Woods anymore."


I had to ask him why, even though I knew the answer. And at eight, it's not the answer it should be. David said it's because he's just not doing the right thing right now... but that's not why David liked him in the first place. He liked Tiger Woods for his amazing golf talent, not for the kind of husband and father he is. And so I took my opportunity to teach a little...


"You're right, David. He's not doing the right thing. He's made some big mistakes, but we all do. We all make mistakes. However, he's still an excellent golfer, and you can like that about him."


I think we all fall into the same pattern - we find someone in the spotlight that does something well, and we assume that makes them the person we'd like to be. But it doesn't. We have admired Tiger Woods in our house for his golf skills, and now that he has fallen short in other areas of his life, it reminds us that we can't look up to any human being on this earth. We all fall short. No matter how much money we make, no matter how beautiful our spouse may be, no matter how low a golf score we shoot, we all fail miserably on a regular basis.

I want my kids to realize the only perfect person to ever walk the face of the Earth is not someone you'll ever see plastered on the evening news. He isn't someone you'll come face to face with in the mall. But, He lives in the hearts of many... you can find Him in a helping hand, a nice gesture, a prayer for the needy and sick, and in the pages of the greatest Book ever written. But you will not come face to face with Him until you draw your last breath.

In the year to come, I hope to look to the right person for the example on how to be the best person I can be. It's certainly not Tiger Woods. And it's not a beautiful actress. It's not the mom at pre-school who always looks so perfectly put together and makes the coolest goody bags. It's Jesus. And my goal in the upcoming months is to show His true and perfect love to more people I come in contact with and try a little more every day to be like Him.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Happenings

This morning, I am wrapping presents in peace... I can't stand anyone to help me, especially if they have little hands and bright eyes (Bah, humbug!!!). I know that may sound terrible, but I am a compete and total control freak about wrapping presents. It makes little sense as they don't look like fantastic works of art or anything. Just simple cheap wrapping paper and bows... but the edges have to folded over a certain way or the world might implode. Seriously. I am sure it will implode if the edges are not turned the exact same way every time. And if the floor behind the toilet isn't clean. Oh, and if the rows in the grass aren't perfectly straight. If you didn't realize this, I am so sorry I brought it to your attention because you may never be the same again. You'll be neurotic about perfectly meaningless things, just like me. At least I am aware of my issues...

I am also preparing this week for our annual adult only Christmas party. And I must admit that after the stressful year that we have had, along with several of our friends, I am more excited than ever about this year's event. My mind is all abuzz with the burning questions - What will I serve? What will I wear? Who all will show? AND the most important question.... WILL DAVID GET SICK THIS YEAR??????

My little David has impeccable timing for illness. If I am excited about an event, a little light goes off in his subconscious and sets the perfect timer for a sickness. Last Christmas, it was strep. Granted, every Christmas, since he was five, he's been stricken with strep. But if he's gonna get sick, I am hoping for a Sunday or Monday arrival. Just please not Saturday morning like last year.... please, oh please!

I'm sure this afternoon Madalyn's excitement about Christmas will rise again when she sees new presents under the tree. I'll have to go over them one by one explaining who they are for and why I won't tell her what's inside. And then she'll go over her spill about her gift again and how she knows what it is. Followed, of course, by her asking me to tell her what it is. Her excitement is so pure, and I must admit I remember feeling that way. Even as an older child, long after I knew the truth about Christmas, I can remember lying in bed at night, waiting on sleep to come, and wondering deep inside my heart if the possibility were true. Did the magic of Christmas really exist? And now, I know it does. It thrives inside the eyes of my two little ones, looking at the gaudy lights hanging on the homes as we drive in the car, talking together about what Santa might bring, shaking and poking at the wrapped presents under the tree. Yes, the magic is still alive.

It's been tougher this year to get into the spirit, but it's beginning to bubble up inside me. When you see the excitement in your children who know nothing of this world's trouble or stress, you just can't help but feel the true spirit of Christmas. The giving of gifts, the biggest of smiles, and the hope for a bounty of blessings... that's what we all dream of.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gifts

Most gifts are simply a reciprocation... at Christmas, we have the list of people we exchange gifts with, and usually birthdays are much the same. We always give the children on both sides of the family Christmas gifts, and my kids receive from them. I give my friend a pretty picture frame for her birthday, and then she'll give me a gift card to Starbucks for mine. You know the drill.

This morning, I opened my email and received a gift. I must admit, it's the most emotionally moving gift I have ever received, and I technically haven't received it yet. The email I got was from a company, Giving Anonymously. I had never heard of the organization before, so when I received an email telling me that someone wishes to pass along a gift of money to me, I was a bit skeptical. I Googled it, looked over the website, and determined that it didn't appear to be a hoax. They didn't want my social security number or me to mail a check to Africa or surrender my PIN code for my check card... just simply send an email back verifying they had my correct address, and they would forward me the gift.

All day, I have thought about this gift. I don't know who it's from or how much they want to give me. I feel honored, humbled, guilty, loved, blessed, undeserving. I feel so many things inside about this random act of kindness.

I have made it no secret that my family has encountered financial difficulty this year. We make ourliving through the selling of cars, and unless you have had a set of those over-priced noise reducing head phones for the past 18 months, you've no doubt heard that the car business had taken a blow. Even though most people reading this believe me to be incredibly transparent, I haven't been as see-through about my monetary woes. It's embarrassing. It's shameful. To make promises to pay money back and not be able to follow through... well, it's been difficult for me. To know that you've made incredibly irresponsible decisions with money when you were so blessed to have it pouring in each month... well, that's just pure shameful. To wish you could go back and make different decisions and save more and spend less and not count your chickens before they hatch... well, all that's just useless. What's done is done. What's spent is spent. What's owed is owed. And what's not coming in each month is just simply not coming in each month.

Things are better now that Scott has changed jobs and is given a set amount every month no matter what. And I am amazed every single day that I still have a warm home and a car to drive. I am so incredibly thankful and blessed to be sitting here at my computer and listening to my kids play above my head. I have learned to cherish the simple things so much more this year, and I doubt I will ever be the same since going through this financial hiccup.

And I know that this gift - this anonymous gift - no matter how small or big is truly a sign sent down from my Lord Himself.

I am in the midst of a true spiritual awakening right now. And I am reading this book, as I discussed before. And I am seeing so much of me in the main character. So self-slaughtering like her. Guilty. Shameful. Unable to receive love and simple gifts. And today, after I opened that email, those feelings began to bubble up inside me.

You're undeserving.
You've squandered so much away in years past and been so selfish when you did have plenty.
How embarrassing; someone pities you.
There are so many others who need it more than you do.
You can't possibly accept this gift.

And then as the day went by, the voice of my Creator started to rise above the other and simply said me, "Someone loves you."

Someone loves me. And they don't want anything in return. They want no recognition. They just want to give me a gift and be used as a vessel by God.

I have a strong feeling that the anonymous donor is reading this post and probably crying along with me. And I want you to know that I am more thankful for this gift than any other I have ever received in my life, and I haven't even received the tangible gift yet. You can't imagine the things I am going through right now... the things I am dealing with from my past, the demons in my head I am fighting. The amount you've given doesn't matter, but the timing couldn't be any more perfect. And my promise to my donor is that I will pass along the love that was given to me. I will pass that love along when I am given the chance...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reading

Hold on to your seat for a minute... I am reading a novel.


I know. Catch your breath. Alert the authorities. Look up to the heavens and await the coming. I haven't read a novel since I ditched college. And that's been nine years ago. The only reading I have done has been the Bible, and that's not been as often as I should.


I have never really enjoyed reading. And that seems incredibly strange since I love to write and have a fascination with words and was an English major in college. But there have really been few books that I have been forced to read along the way that I truly enjoyed. In high school, there was A Tale of Two Cities which I remember specifically enjoying. In college I took a class about the Bronte sisters' writings and Jane Austin... I so loved Wuthering Heights, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I still have a paper I wrote about the use of the word heath throughout the novel Wuthering Heights. Yes... I was actually that smart. I pointed out each use of the word and explored the meaning and symbolism and so on.



Anywho... I am reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. And from the first chapter, I have literally been riveted. The story just speaks to the my heart. For anyone unfamiliar (like I was) to the novel, it is based off the Book of Hosea in the Old Testament. So, being the literary nerd I am, I read Hosea first. I must admit that I don't think I've ever read a verse from the Book of Hosea in my entire life. Stories involving God telling a prophet to marry a prostitute weren't that big of hits in the church I grew up in (or the Christian private school I graduated from, either). And any time I find something so excitedly new in The Scriptures, I am immediately drawn in by the wanting to learn more. More about this God and Savior I am still so utterly confused about.

So that's what I find myself doing right now. Every spare second I have, I find myself wanting to read this novel... which is so unlike me. And I'm really glad. Maybe I'll read something else when I'm done with this one. I am seeing so many words I've never seen before and thinking about these characters all the time. And I find myself looking for a piece of me in the story. Uncomfortably, I find more of myself than I'd like to admit. Not quite as tragic, but still there.

So if I am not blogging as much here lately, it's because I'm reading. And that statement alone just makes me chuckle.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A letter to my mom on the day I am putting up my Christmas tree...

Dear Mom,

Like most children, Christmas was always my favorite time of year. I have vivid memories of our tree - the way it looked with tinsel icicles flowing and colored lights, the way it smelled, and of decorating it every year with you. I remember specific ornaments, some of which you have already given me, and some that I can't wait to get my hands on and put on my tree every year. There were these wooden ones (which I know you didn't keep) that were decoupaged and shellacked on the front, and every year we had to pull them apart as they would stick together in the box of ornaments. There was a little red bird that had wire on its feet you could wrap around the branch. There were these ornaments made from an eggshell that my grandmother made. And most importantly there was that ugly Santa face we had to put atop the tree because it was your sister's. We would look at it each year and confirm its ugliness and our love for him, and then put him in his spot.

Basically, I remember a lot about Christmas in my home as a child. We did the same things every year, and you and dad always seemed so excited and happy. You never seemed stressed. You always let me help, and you never seemed bothered to have me there.

As my kids get older, I just don't know how you did it, Mom. I don't know how you let me decorate the tree with you and not lose your cool. I don't know how you listened to the hours of questions - How many days? Is that my present? Can I put that ornament on the tree? Can I turn on the lights? - without your head spinning completely around and then popping off. I don't know where you found the patience and energy to put up with me and my two brothers.

So did you really never lose your cool? Or did you just hide it well? Did you think you would die when you had to go behind me and fix all the ornaments I had hung? Did you just wish I wouldn't make up and sing my own Christmas carols over and over and over and over again? Please tell me that you felt all these things and you hid them fairly well. Or at least well enough that I never remembered...

Please tell me that my kids will one day look back and only remember the fact that they got to help with the ornaments and not the fact that I forbid them to touch certain ones or dared to move five ornaments that they hung on the same branch. I only hope I am building fond memories my kids will have forever... and that when they have kids of their own, they'll appreciate the work I've done along the years half as much as I appreciate yours!

Thanks so much, Mom! Thanks for my beautiful childhood!

Love always,
Tamara

P.S. I am truly sorry if I ever hung five ornaments on the same branch of the tree... I'm pretty sure I did. Probably more than once.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Lunch

Today was the annual Thanksgiving Lunch at David's elementary school. This is his last year at this particular school, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Perhaps it's not the best lunch in town, but you'd be surprised at the number of parents and grandparents that line the hall waiting on their little person to enter the cafeteria.

I always leave that school broken hearted though. Always.

I often times forget how blessed I have been throughout my life. Yes, I've been through some hard times. But all of my hard times have some how stemmed directly from a poor choice I had made. But the children I come across in the walls of that school have no control in the situations they are stuck in, and my heart aches for each child that has to bear the load of a screwed up adult.

I hear a sad story every time I visit for lunch. There was the time that a little girl in David's class has no lunch in her lunch box and wept at the lunch table in front of all her classmates. There was the time that a little boy in his class told me about both his parents having been to jail and that his dad was away somewhere getting help so he could be better. Every time there's a kid who just hugs me and talks to me like they have never seen a smiling face before. And then today, I think I heard the worst I've ever heard...

The little boy seated across from me tells me, "I don't like my mother." Wow. How do you respond to that? So I said, "Oh, I'm so sorry you feel that way..." And he commences to tell me all the reasons why he doesn't like her... she doesn't pay any attention to him when he's at her house because she only wants to hang out with her boyfriend who just so happened to run over his dog on purpose. Did you get all that?

So I tried to change the topic of conversation to something a little more uplifting by asking, "So who's your favorite person in the whole wide world?" And a big smile came across his face and he replied, "My dad."

Well good. He does have someone who loves him and does their very best to take care of him. But then the boy beside him chimes in with his story... he, too, lives with is dad because his mom was never married to his dad. And then she had two more kids and got divorced, and now she's married again to a not-so-good guy. And he has Suddenly, I found myself wanting to run...

I just can't wrap my mind around a world where people just have these kids and have absolutely no regard to the way they treat them. These poor Innocent little souls are thrust in the middle of such selfish and ridiculous behavior. I've seen glimpses of it in my day to day life in people I know, but it wasn't until recently that I realized how common it is for a mother to chose a new boyfriend over her own children or a father to chose a life of drugs and crime over his family. Our whole society is tearing apart, and it's the children who suffer the most.

I can't say what I would do if I found myself a single mother somewhere down the road. But I can say this - I would hope I wouldn't forget that my children are just little people who need love and tenderness and security. They deserve that from me no matter what my circumstance in life, no matter what I have to sacrifice. They deserve that because it's us stupid, pitiful adults that brought them into this crazy mixed-up world. And it's our duty to watch over them.

Just had to get that off my chest. I sure do wish I could bring all those little broken hearts home with me. I really do.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today I am thankful for coffee...

I was the little girl who worked at a coffee shop for four years and didn't like coffee... I was her. Customers would come in and always ask, "What do you suggest?" Of course I'd be forced to reply, "Well... I don't really drink coffee."


Oh, you stupid, stupid girl...


Now I'm on the other side. I adore coffee. I have to stop myself with one and a half cups (and it's a pretty large cup) every morning. There are some afternoons I'd love to brew a pot, but I hate to get myself in the habit.


I remember the moment I first appreciated the taste of coffee. I was on a cruise with - well, we won't talk about who I was with - and every night at dinner I drank a cup of coffee with my desert. It was perhaps the best cup of coffee I had ever had... perfectly balanced and light. Most of the others at my table commented on its brilliance as well. Was it the kind of coffee they used? Was it the purified water? Or was it simply the fact that we were on a cruise and it was served in such a sweet and delicate little cup? Probably a good combination of all the above.


It wasn't until right after the birth of the second baby that I began my love affair with coffee. Madalyn must have been only a few weeks old, and it was a Sunday morning. Scott was preparing breakfast. David was probably running about the house like a gorilla on Red Bull. And I was thinking, "How can I possibly make it through the next twelve hours without a nap???" So I fixed myself a cup of coffee with tons of sugar and cream, and I was immediately in love.


In love with coffee.


There have been only a hand full of mornings without my most beloved companion since that day. If I don't drink my morning coffee, it's usually when I have a nasty little stomach bug. That's really the only reason I can think of that I wouldn't have a cup. Or two.


The fact hits me this morning just how fortunate I am to have that cup of coffee every morning. I mean, sure... it's nothing fancy. It's just a little Maxwell House Original Roast brewed in a $45 coffee machine. But in reality, it's a little luxury that some homes in our country don't have. Coffee isn't a necessity (though I feel it is most mornings); it's a guilty pleasure. And I am surrounded by so many guilty pleasures - too many to count. When I stop to think about how charmed a life I live, it's overwhelming. Sure things aren't easy this year. Sure our income has been drastically reduced. Sure every month here lately I wonder, "How?" But we always make it through. We always carry on. And I still have that cup of coffee every morning.

I think this year has made me especially more thankful for the little things in my life than ever before. I know I can often times appear ungrateful and grumpy about day to day life, but that's just me making light of life to cope. That's how I deal with my days - to make fun of them, to roll my eyes, to see the funniest of funnies in some of the most difficult times I have ever experienced. But I am so incredibly thankful. So incredibly blessed beyond measure. So well taken care of by a God who continues to bless and preserve me no matter how undeserving I remain. But aren't we all just so completely undeserving of what's been given to us? Aren't we all?

So, today I am thankful for coffee. The simplest of pleasures for me. The everyday delight. The warmth of the cup, the smell of it's contents, the flavor on my tongue, and the peace in knowing I'll have it again tomorrow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Buddy's Perfect Day

On Wednesday, the kids were out of school, and Scott took off work, and we had TONS of leaves in the yard. And I think that Buddy Love had the most perfect day...

We started on the leaves in the back yard around 9:00 in the morning. They were everywhere from the storm the day before that knocked down every brightly colored leaf along with the dry brown ones. They covered the grass and the bottom of the pool as well. And just as many were still floating atop the water. We stayed in the back yard with Buddy - all of us - for the bulk of the morning. David would play some with Buddy, but mostly the orphan dog just followed us around while we did our chores just happy to have us outside with him. We don't have to entertain him; he will pick up a ball or toy and run around and toss it in the air all by himself. He just likes our presence in the yard. He likes to be around us - we're his people.

We moved into the front yard and worked there for a couple of hours. And after that was done, we took Buddy on a little walk. This must be his favorite thing to do, and bless his heart, not something he gets to do as much as he should. But walk we did, and he smelled everything and marked his way along the path.

When we returned home, I kept him on his leash and let him sit with us a while as we watched the kids ride their bikes and scooters in the driveway. He was perfectly content to lie there at my feet and keep watch with me. Perfectly happy to be surrounded by his people that love and take care of him. And then we grilled in the back yard and ate with him at our feet. And once the kids went to bed, Scott and I sat outside and talked with him dozing at our feet.

Buddy had a great day. I told Scott at the end of the day that this must be just the perfect sort of day for Buddy - spending it with the people who mean the most to him. And maybe is was the perfect sort of day for the humans as well - at home, all day, doing normal household things, and just being all together.

I know the days are flying by faster than ever before, despite the days that sometimes seem to linger on and on and threaten to never end. I know the days of the kids being trapped here with us are fading. There will come a day when they have the freedom to leave in their own car or the car of a friend and escape the yard work a random off day in the middle of the week has to offer. There will come a day when they are too big to ride their bikes down the sidewalk. There will come a day when I can't bribe either one of them to join me for a walk with our sweet Buddy. And so I guess I need to cherish these days all the more knowing that all too soon they will be gone.

Yes, it was a perfect day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Curse You SWIVELSKIM!!!

Just this morning, I accepted a great challenge on Facebook to list one thing each day that I am thankful for from now until Thanksgiving. I love this idea, and I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't done a thankful post on Blogger in quite some time. So I might even be taking some of those thoughts and expanding them as posts here.

Like today - I posted that I am ever so grateful for my SwivelSkim, the handy-dandiest thing a pool owner could ever own, especially when the pool is surrounded by trees that shed MILLIONS of leaves each Fall. This morning, my beloved tool was on my mind as there was so much debris in the pool from the storms last night.

I typed in my little status this morning, and went out to clean the leaves floating in the pool. It was still raining, and so I put on my black raincoat, hood over head and cinched in tight around my face. I made one swipe through the water into the thick of the leaves and pulled it up to empty its contents so I could continue the cleaning process...

It came apart. The whole blooming thing came apart. The part the net attaches to fell in the water, and the rest was still attached to the pole. And I quickly bent down to pull the net out of the water as I didn't want all those leaves back in the pool. And then the net split, and the contents spilled, and I stood there thinking, "And this is what I get for talking so nice about you on Facebook, SwivelSkim?!?"

And so the only thing making my life any easier right now went kaput. And I am a little ill about it. So the pump on the pool is off. And there are tons of leaves floating and just as many in the bottom. And I am going to lose my mind with all these darn leaves... I used to enjoy Fall. Not so much anymore. Not so much.

This is the last Fall I will be without a cover for the pool. THE LAST FALL. I don't care what I have to do... sew one from scraps of old clothes, tie together fishing nets, whatever I have to do... I will have a covered pool next Fall. I will not spend the bulk of my day fishing leaves out of cold water or emptying skimmer baskets five times a day. I will find a way to win the battle over the leaves before this crazy battle beats me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

At long last...

I am still alive. I just haven't been blogging. I can't really say what I have been doing other than the usual stuff - laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, organizing the mass chaos of life inside our confines...

Seems like the day has gotten shorter here lately. I know that literally it has as the time changed, but this year's change has effected me more than usual. If my memory serves me right, I usually feel better when I gain that hour in the fall. But not this time around. The kids have been up at the crack of dawn every day and have, in turn, been even more grumpy than usual in the afternoons. And on top of that, we've all been battling this little cold that has left me feeling like my energy was washed right down the drain with shampoo in the shower. We are a snotty mess, and all I want to do is lie down and rest. But there will be no such thing...

I have written many posts in my head and deleted them in my mind before even typing the words. I can't even count how many times I have done that lately - written a post and then deleted it. It helps to write some feelings out in bold black letters, but they aren't really the feelings I'd like anyone to see. So I delete it. I think my brain spins too fast sometimes. I have to give the rest of myself time to catch up.

So what's got me spinning here lately? Oh, life. The disappointments of the useless humans here on Earth. Why, oh WHY, did God create us??? We are such flawed individuals with our only truest talent being letting each other down. How depressing is that thought? I've just been the witness of so many truly disappointing things here lately - families torn apart, manipulative behavior, selfishness, despair. And I just have to take a step back and realize that humans are not to be depended upon... not at all. There's really not a human out there who hasn't let me down at some point.

So where do you go from here? From this place of knowing and fully realizing things are never as they seem? That in an instant, it can all change. That with one decision, lives can be torn apart and rearranged. That you can pour your heart out and try to help, and sometimes it just won't work. That the things that get our little human minds to spinning aren't the things that really matter at all. I am trying to take a step back from things and look at the bigger picture.

The bigger picture. What really matters. What will last. What to hold on to. I am trying to cling to my faith. Faith in God, in the goodness that exists only through Him. In the one and only person who ever walked the Earth that actually did EVERYTHING He said he'd do... and that's an amazing thought. Jesus actually did what He said he'd do. If we would all strive to be just a little more like Him every day, wouldn't this place be more tolerable?

I read a blog entry a couple of weeks ago and it closed with a question that has laterally plagued my mind since... "How are you more like Jesus today than you were yesterday?" I stopped and thought about it a minute, and then I read it again. If that question doesn't get you to thinking, then I really don't know what will. It was the fact that I wasn't really sure how to answer it that bothered me...

A conscious effort to be more like Jesus every day. To love like Him - unconditionally, freely, and with grace. To live like Him - with honor, dignity, and purpose. To die like Him - to give up the Earthly ideals and strive to be an example for those around us. What a challenge, especially in a place where your surrounded by people who can't see past their own nose.

So there's my post I've written in my mind and deleted several times. I'm disappointed by life here lately. I'm disappointed by what I've witnessed. But I am trying to hold onto something greater - the only man who did what He said he'd do. The only thing one can really depend on in this crazy mixed up world.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day Seven

Here I am in late afternoon of the seventh day, and I am amazed at how much better I feel. Simply amazed. I guess I never really fully understood what the copious amounts of carbs and processed foods I kept shoveling into my mouth were doing to my system. I have no more afternoon crashes of fatigue, virtually no pain in my muscles at all, and I just feel lighter in general. Maybe it's those four pounds of water that I've let go of...

I mean, four pounds of water is a lot of weight if you stop and think about it. Now to get rid of the ten pounds of fat I'd like to see gone...

Tomorrow morning, I am going to begin adding back in some whole grains. To be honest, I don't think I can go another morning eating scrambled eggs. I just can't bare it. So tomorrow morning, I get to indulge in wheat flakes and slivered almonds. It's really all I've been thinking about these last few days... those flakes and ice cold milk... funny how my mouth waters at the thought of CEREAL now.

I'll be adding in just a few different things, but still mainly focusing my diet on lean proteins and healthy carbs. As I said, when I began this process, I never dreamed I would actually feel this much better. But I do, and now I want to maintain it. I also want to get moving again - get some exercise. The eating is only one part of being healthier. I have to do the physical work, too.

So what have I learned through this last seven days? The body does what it's trained to do. It accepts and expects what you give it. I have completely gotten rid of those evil craving in just a few days of my life, and I am so glad. And now I know that I must feed my body the right things to crave the right things. Why am just now getting this??? Seems so simple, but my stubborn mind somehow wanted to believe that I could eat Cheezits and Fruit Loops all day and all would be well.

Not gonna happen.

Now, I am excited about eating Triscuits tomorrow with my cheese for a snack. And that bowl of cereal. I can't wait for that bowl of cereal.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What it's all about...

Today has been a tough day, food decision wise. I mean, it's Halloween and we had a soccer party at DAIRY QUEEN (of all places!!!). Today, when I walked into the DQ, I realized just how good fried food smells. Especially when you know you aren't supposed to eat it. And then I wondered if carbs could be absorbed into the skin and bloodstream via the pores. Probably not, but it really did cross my twisted little mind.

I made good choices. I ate two french fries, and I did lick the excess ice cream off of Madalyn's cone (only because it was on the verge of dripping), and I ordered myself a grilled chicken salad. Note to self and all who read this: Dairy Queen is not so much known for their salads, and now I know why. I looked at my friend sitting next to me when I was finally done picking at the salad and said, "That has to be the single most unsatisfying salad I've ever had in my entire life."

Oh well. I made the right choice for my health, not for the taste buds. If I had made the choice for my taste buds, I'd have chosen the cheeseburger meal and fries and followed up with the Reese's peanut butter cup Blizzard. (Deep breath in, and exhale.) That sounds so good, but the fact that I did what I promised myself I'd do is far more satisfying.

And that's what it's all about... doing what I promised myself I'd do. How many of us simply push those promises to ourselves to the side? Most moms do. We make excuses for ourselves everyday after we've promised to take better care of our self by eating right and exercising or to treat ourselves to something special like a new tube of lipstick or a cute new shirt. There's always an excuse to not do what we've promised ourselves to do... I'm too busy right now, or the kids need this or that. But we don't excuse ourselves so easily when we've promised something to another. We have all stayed up too late baking a batch of cupcakes for the class party or making goody bags for the soccer team. I feel more obligated to everyone else around me than I do to myself. And it's high time I started doing so many of the things I've promised myself.

So, that's what this South Beach experience has turned into for me. Promising myself to make better choices - not the choices that are the easiest, but the choices I will benefit most from in my life. And that's truly a difficult skill to master. It's not just about food, but I've discovered that my relationship with food mirrors other relationships in my life. I tend to do what's easy - I don't want to rock the boat or have to work too hard. And that's a part of me that really needs to change.

I am working. It will be a gradual progression, but I will get to where I want to be... but for today, I just have to make it through Halloween and all it's many treats.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day One, Phase One

So, yesterday, I completed Day One of Phase One of the South Beach Diet. It was surprisingly painless. Not necessarily easy, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Granted I have been thinking about it and praying about it for a few weeks now, so I consider myself fairly geared up for success. That, and it was just the first day.

I anticipate today to be a little more difficult. This morning, I wasn't really hungry, but I felt that blood sugar low. And I believe that might be a common feeling today. My body has gotten used to such a steady stream of carbs, and I know that my body will begin to do some weird stuff.

Isn't funny that food can be a drug to your body? That something you have to have everyday can be abused so easily? That's the toughest part about changing your eating habits... it's not like anyone on a diet (no matter what type it may be) can altogether avoid food. So you are stuck in this difficult place in your mind - choosing the healthy or the unhealthy. It's a tough choice to make. Rationally, it's a no-brainer. But then the taste buds get activated with the thought of the unhealthy, and that's where the real battle begins.

Yesterday I made great choices. But I can honestly say that I have never felt more committed to following a regimen. I am so interested to see if I really can get rid of these nasty cravings and lose the fat I want to lose. I am ready to change my relationship with food. And, most importantly, I am ready to develop a stronger sense of self-control.

I made it through the day virtually without any hunger. Dinner time (around 5:30) was the only time I really felt hungry, and I wanted so desperately to reach for that box of White Cheddar Cheezits. But I didn't. And that one decision made me feel so much better about myself.

I keep telling myself the same thing I tell my children about their choices: "It's your decision. You are in control of what you do. What are YOU going to do?"

So, today, I hope I choose healthy foods for my body.

I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Peanut Butter & Jelly with Doritos

I am starting the South Beach diet tomorrow. I am nervous. I am hopeful. And I must admit, I'm a little scared of the mental journey I will have to take to remove all these horrible processed foods from my diet... I know that it will not be easy.

Pretty much, I believe that I am a bit of a food addict. I may not look like it, but I eat 'round the clock. You can ask any friend I have and they will tell you that I am constantly munching. And it ain't on celery and carrot sticks if you know what I mean. So this South Beach journey will be an interesting one, and I have been praying for a couple of weeks now that I can get several positive results from this new way of life.

The first thing I am seeking is the obvious. I'd love to lose this ten to fifteen pounds. Although they may only appear to be vanity pounds to most, they are necessary pounds to lose if I don't intend on replacing every pair of jeans and pants I have in my closet. I feel all too fluffy right now, and I am anxious to see if this diet is as successful as I have heard in shedding belly fat.

I am also hoping it will curb my sugary, carby cravings. I'm talking about daily cravings for sugar and crunchy carbs that do nothing but send my system into a spiral of unhealthiness leaving me feeling void of energy. I want to eat healthy again like I did shortly after David was born - when I craved an apple instead of a Double Stuffed Oreo. I hope that after the first two weeks - the strictest weeks of the plan - that those cravings will be a faint memory and I will be well on my way to healthy eating once again.

I also hope these first two weeks to be a time of spiritual growth. Any time I begin to focus on myself and making myself better, it ends up feeding the soul. It's not just breads and starches that are prohibit ted during the first phase; it's alcohol as well. And it's no secret - I do love a night cap. So reassessing my relationship with alcohol and taming it back down should prove to be positive for me.

Granted, I am liable to kill a small animal or child with my bare hands while detoxing from Oreos and Captain Crunch. So be ye forewarned...

So what does a woman eat for her final lunch before beginning the South Beach diet??? Peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a little sack of Doritos. And I did just eat some Oreos.

I mean, I am starting tomorrow, not today.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Homecoming

My bestest friend in the whole world is flying in today to visit... I am beyond excited. There's just nothing quite like a best friend - someone who knows you down to the core, who was there for all those stories you have to tell the new friends, who knows just what to say because they know what you need to hear. So many, many years ago, my best friend moved so very, very far away. And so our talks became less frequent, but we always picked up right where we left off...

When I think about the things we've seen each other through, I am amazed... and so very thankful. So very thankful that I still know the girl I sat beside in the second grade. She is the one friendship I have always maintained no matter how far we lived apart or how little we get to see each other. She's just about the coolest person I know.

I am so excited to see her, and I am equally as excited to go back to our high school for their Homecoming game tomorrow night. I haven't seen the football field in 15 years. The last Homecoming game I attended was November 4, 1994 - the day of my 18th birthday. I wore a hunter green (remember when that was the coolest color) corduroy skirt and my hair was permed and my date was some goon who didn't deserve to be with me. Several of us went to eat at O'Charley's after the game. Oh, to be able to travel back and tell that girl a few things...

I don't know exactly what I thought the fifteen years ahead of me would hold. And probably even if someone had pulled me to the side and told me the road I'd travel, I wouldn't have believed them. And I guess, today, looking back over the past fifteen years, I shouldn't want to change or trade the decisions I've made along the way. But you can't help but wonder... What if I hadn't have done that? What would things look like now?

I can't wait to see the campus tomorrow - to see how things have changed and how much they remain the same. I'm pretty sure the young students will be looking at me much the same as I looked at them so many years ago and thinking, "Why would anyone want to come back here?" Oh, you spend so much time rushing yourself to grow up, and then you do.

And then you do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Something has to give, Buddy...

So, something has to give with all the dead animals around here. Yesterday, Buddy Love landed him a squirrel. And let me just add, I don't particularly care for squirrels - they are too fidgety for me, and I just don't think you should turn your back on one. The squirrel is just one of those outdoor creatures I have never wanted to get up close and personal with, especially when I find them rigormortis in the bottom of the pool or in the mouth of my precious Buddy Love.

Sigh.

Yesterday, I was working on the door in the garage, sanding and painting, and I heard a commotion on the deck. I didn't think much about it; our gate stays locked, and Buddy is always playing with something or getting into whatever. But when I went upstairs and saw him walking around the deck with it in his mouth, I thought I'd die. Right there. On the spot.

I kept wondering how would I get him and the dead squirrel off the deck. It's hard enough to shovel a limp dead squirrel off the concrete. I just couldn't imagine the course of action to remove said squirrel off the top deck. So I waited, and Buddy eventually carried him down the stairs. And so I devised my plan...

Buddy shames quite easily. Perhaps from his little life he had before he hit the jackpot that day and landed his place of residence at the Blair Casa, where food and water are as plentiful as little varmints in the yard. Maybe he was mistreated back in the day... I don't know. All I do know is that I can raise my voice at him, and he'll sit immediately and flash me those big brown puppy eyes. It's sad, but in a way, it works out for the best. When he gets out of the fence, I can shame him into sitting and staying still for long enough to get my hand on his collar and lead him back into the confines. Anywho - I shamed him, and he dropped the little squirrel and let him be. And then I shamed him some more.

Will the shaming work? Will it keep him from killing more animals? Doubtful. And as selfish as it sounds, it's not the animals I really care about. It's me - you know, the one who has to get the shovel out every time he kills something and figure out what to do with yet another carcase.

Buddy Love - Exterminator. Who knew?

One thing, though. I had forgotten how cute squirrels really are until yesterday. Back in 2004, during Ivan (I think), David and I found a tiny - and I mean really tiny - baby squirrel in the front yard. That was prior to me going digital, or I'd post a picture of it. I felt so sorry for the tiny thing, in part because I was pregnant at the time and incredibly hormonal, and partly because I found it when I was raking and I actually raked over him. I know it sounds terrible, but you just can't imagine how tiny he really was. I called an animal shelter in Oak Mountain to see if there was anything I could do for him. They told me I could put it in a box and bring it to them. That wasn't an option for me - being pregnant, I wasn't about to pick up and animal that lives in a tree with my own hands and drive him to a shelter. Or, the people said, I could just cover him back up and let nature take its course - mom would either come down and get him back into the nest, or, well... you know. Of course, I decided the latter. Let nature take its course.

And I guess that's what's going on with Buddy Love. It's just nature - it's in him, the desire to chase and hunt and kill. Even though I have completely humanized him into being my precious baby, he's still a darn dog. And there's nothing much I can do to change what God willed him to be. A dog. That kills little cute animals in the backyard. Like all the time now.

Oh, well.

But somewhere in it all is perhaps a lesson for me. Buddy just is who he is... he is who he was purposed to be. If God gave that much thought to Buddy to give him the skills and the desire to provide for himself no matter where life led him, I think He'll take care of me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In a fog...

These past few weeks, I have felt myself slipping into the fog. Not of depression, but of this weird and strange thing I deal with - fibromyalgia. I don't understand it; most doctors don't understand it, either. But I know it's real, and I know it's an elusive little annoyance that will pop in unexpectedly for a visit. I never know when it will show, and I never know how long it will stay.

I have really been doing quite well for the past year. No major times of pain and fatigue. But right now, I am really in the thick of it. I first noticed it coming on a few weeks ago - the feeling that I just can't lift my arms, that there is no energy in my limbs, the numbness and weird nerve sensations. The physical symptoms aren't the worst part - it's the endless fatigue. The feeling that I could sleep all day and night and still not feel rested. I think that the weather shifts trigger it to some degree. Stress plays a factor as well. And between those two, my body has become a playground for the symptoms.

I remember when fibromyalgia was first suggested to me by a doctor as the reasoning behind some of the things that had bothered me for a couple of years - shortness of breath, pain in my shoulder region and down my arm, numbness and tingling of the fingers, fatigue unlike any I had felt before. After several blood tests and some neurological tests, it really seemed the only answer. But I thought fibromyalgia was only for crazy people who were sick all the time. As I read about the syndrome, I wept - I had never heard all my symptoms described in such detail. I felt understood, and, oddly, that meant more to me than I ever dreamed possible. Just to know that I'm not crazy made me feel so much better about things.

But where do you go from there? You live with the symptoms. You deal with the fatigue. You keep moving. You appreciate a string of good months. And you are especially thankful that this weird little syndrome, though aggravating as it may be, isn't fatal or causing any damage to your body. It's just an inconvenience.

So, I haven't really been taking care of myself lately, and I think that's why I find myself in this fog right now. I haven't been eating right. I've been drinking too much. And, most importantly, I haven't been getting the exercise I need. Of course, when you're in the middle of this dense fog, it's awfully hard to find the energy to exercise. But I need to do it somehow. I know the benefits are endless. And on the eating front, I am planning on starting the South Beach program next week (after my bestest friend Erika leaves, of course - who can be expected to eat well when their bestie is visiting??). I desperately need to get control over my eating habits again - taper myself away from the sugar and processed foods. I just need to put my body in a healthier physical place - it's not that I am obese or completely unhealthy, but my dependence on carbs and processed foods is ridiculous. I am hoping that the program will curb my cravings. I know things will be difficult, but it's worth a try for me.

Seems like I repeat this cycle in my life all the time. I'll get in a good groove of taking care of myself for a while, and then I pop out of it for one reason or another. I guess that's what most people do. I just need to find an eating program that works for me - no calorie or point counting, just a way of life. So say a prayer for me that I can be strong and eat the way that's best for my body. And not buy any more of those tempting buy one-get one free, heck of a deal on cereal at Publix... I do love Fruit Loops. Ooooohhh... and Apple Jacks. And Captain Crunch. Hope everyone grasps the problem here...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dead Animals...

Here lately, seems like I have been doing a ton of things I wouldn't ordinarily put on my to-do list on purpose (if that statement makes any sense at all). For instance, today, I whipped out my newly purchased caulk gun and tube of caulk and figured out how to use it on my own. To my dismay, there were no instructions written on the caulk gun itself on how to insert the tube or get it to expel the squishy goo that is caulk. Also disappointing was the fact that the tube of caulk said I needed to "pierce through the inner foil", though I could not figure out exactly how to do that. I only realized there was an inner foil after I had figured out how to load the caulk gun and had commenced to pull the trigger several times and still had no caulk coming out of my freshly cut whole on the nose of the tube. The rear end of the caulk tube burst and the icky white stuff was all in the apparatus of the gun itself... well, I think you get the point that it was indeed a very messy and interesting experience. But the areas around the front door that needed to be caulked have been done, and hopefully it will be dry by Saturday so that I can finish painting the door surround.

I just never dreamed I would caulk much of anything. I have bought a small little squeeze tube before and used it here or there around the house, but I never dreamed I would buy a caulk gun or use a razor blade and a screw driver to remove the old crusty caulk out of the cracks around my front door. These are not things I had penciled into my agenda to learn to do. They just seem a little mannish - you know, man's work. And now I can add that to the long list of other things I used to believe were man's work until I learned to do them and therefore took over the responsibility of doing here at the Blair casa.

Another chore I have taken to here lately is the disposal of dead animals. If I have any regular followers here, you might recall my finding a dead squirrel in our beautiful blue lagoon pool this past summer. It was a frightening experience, and one I had hoped not to repeat. But never fear... the fun around here never stops.

Buddy landed himself two varmints last week. The first was a chipmunk - or, as Madalyn calls them, a chickmunk. And, God bless his little soul, Buddy killed him and apparently played with him quite a bit. His body was fully intact, but his middle was flattened like a pancake. Madalyn was actually the one who reported the killing, and when I went outside to inspect, Buddy picked it up in his mouth and proudly flopped it up in the air as if to say, "Looky here what I got!!!" But that's just Buddy's favorite game with any toy - he'll flop it around and shake it, and it seems that's exactly what he did with the poor little chipmunk. So I scolded Buddy quite a bit, and I had to get pretty ugly with him to make him realize he should put it down and quit playing with it. Then I had to get it out of the yard somehow, and there was no one home other than me and Madalyn. So, once again, let me step outside of my happy homemaker box and find a way to dispose of a dead animal. A dead, flat, wet animal...

It wasn't easy, I'll admit. The chipmunk was so flat and his fur was so wet from the rain it just kept rolling over and over on the cement as I tried to shovel him up. But I finally moved it over to the grass and was able to scoop him up and chunk him over the fence into the treeline behind the house. I was horrified. And I didn't even want to look at Buddy, much less touch him.

To my horror, the next morning I found a dead mouse in almost the same place Madalyn has spotted the chipmunk. Buddy just looked at me with his big brown eyes as if to say, "Awwww, mama... I just couldn't help it." So once again, I had to get my trusted shovel out and add another carcass to the treeline.

I am still amazed every day at the new things I am forced to learn. Sometimes, the adventures of life can be fun. But sometimes, life throws things at me that I wished I could just pass off to someone else... like dead animals, scooping dog poop, caulking around the front door, cutting the grass, plunging the toilet. Oh, the list goes on and on. But I guess I'll just keep learning. And one day, I'll be the most versatile stay-at-home-mom around.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Little Red Vacuum Cleaner

I'll never forget the little red vacuum cleaner; it sits quietly in the back corner of Madalyn's closet now as I cannot bring myself to throw it out or donate it.

In the weeks proceeding Christmas of 2001, I had - oh, I mean Santa had - all the gifts purchased and either wrapped or hidden carefully for the exciting day. I forget what all was on the list that year - seems like we had a big easel with dry erase board on one side and chalkboard on the other, all the corresponding accessories such as chalk and markers and eraser, and then there was the Power Ranger merchandise that any almost four-year-old boy just could not do without. With only two weeks to go, David developed a new passion for one particular item in the Lillian Vernon catalogue - a little red vacuum cleaner that looked identical to a Red Devil. He just had to have it, and it made absolutely no sense to me or his father.

I talked to him about Santa, as I still do, telling him that no one child can ever have all the things they want. I also tried to convince him that he had no need for a little red vacuum cleaner - what would he do with that? It didn't shoot missiles or make cool sounds like typical little boy toys. He was not buying it, and every time anyone asked what he wanted Santa to bring, the red vacuum cleaner was the first thing to come out of his mouth.

So, I did what any good mother would do - I rushed out at the last minute and purchased the vacuum cleaner so he'd have his most desired item on Christmas morning. What's another twenty bucks even though the budget was tight that first Christmas with two kiddos?

That Christmas morning, it was the first thing he saw. And he vacuumed his little heart out all day. And every day there after for the longest time. It's what he wanted, it's what he asked for, and so he got it.

Yesterday, I thought of that little red vacuum cleaner when I read the following scripture in chapter seven of the book of Matthew:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

I guess, in my weakness and immaturity of faith, I often times forget that God is my Heavenly Father. That He made me, that He desires me to be happy and whole, and that His hopes and dreams and love for me far surpass the hopes and dreams and love I feel for my own children. Because the big difference between being a Heavenly Father and an earthly one is that when your child asks for something as silly as a little red vacuum cleaner, the Heavenly Father knows exactly why the child wants it, how many times it will be used, and how big the smile on the face of that child will be in exact centimeters when he sees it for the first time on Christmas morning. The earthly father remains baffled and confused by the seemingly strange request.

So, that just blew my mind a little when I read it and let it all sink in. I know the joy I got out of that weird purchase for my little boy. I know the joy I felt when I watched him play with it. I know the strong attachment I feel to the little red vacuum cleaner - so strong that I don't think I will ever let it go. And yet I doubt my Father can give me the simplest of things I need to make it through each day.

He is perfect. He knows my heart. He knows my motives, dreams, desires. It's about time for me to have some faith. I guess it's time for me to make a wish list of my own and believe it will all be provided. That it already is...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thank you, Zach and Cody

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Zach and Cody of the Disney Channel for entertaining my kids tonight with the new Hands on Deck: Overboard special.

The house is silent except for the occasional pitter-patter of feet. Ahhhhhh.

I am waiting on the hubs to get home with 20 Daytona style wings from Hooters. I might add that we really shouldn't be spending money on take-out these days, but we really can't deprive ourselves of all things good and wonderful. Well, we could, but that would make us incredibly responsible and somewhat un-American. And we are still trying to make little decisions here or there to help stimulate the economy (sounds good anyways).

I love it when the house is silent. Here lately, when both the kids are gone, I leave all the TVs off and just bask in the silence that I rarely get to enjoy. I can remember when I was younger, I hated the quiet. I kept a radio or the TV on all the time. It drove my father crazy, I do believe. He would get a little irritated with me for leaving the TV on all night, but I couldn't stand the silence and felt the noise helped me sleep better. I also had a CD of ocean noise, which was quite relaxing now that I think back on it. I'd just put it on repeat and sleep away to the sounds of waves.

Now that I have children I realize how golden silence is. How rare. How unappreciated by most people. But sometimes, it's only in silence that we can truly hear ourselves.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flight 20

Do you ever feel like you are standing in a crowded room watching the world fall apart all around you?

Do I sound a little dark today?

It's not that I'm depressed or truly dark, but rather that I feel like everyone I know and everything is literally falling apart. I don't think I have many friends who are on auto-pilot these days. There's financial turmoil, marriage problems, child-rearing problems, health issues, and the list seems like it could go on and on and on. What's up with that?

I know these problems have been around since the beginning of man, but it really feels like the problems have multiplied and taken over human existence. Is it just the phase of life I'm in now - these fabulous thirties everyone kept telling me would be so much better than my twenties - and that's just where the real problems of your life begin? If so, I'll take a quick trip back to my twenties then when I lived in a one bedroom apartment and had next to no bills and not a care in the world. We could go out and spend a whole day out on the boat in the sunshine with a twelve pack of beer and come back tanned and relaxed. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of relaxation around here lately.

I started a prayer journal today. So I began with three things I am thankful for, and then made a list of people for whom I needed to pray. And the list went on and on. I didn't realize how much was really going on until I put it on paper. Something that I did in hopes to make me feel better and to remember to pray for certain things has temporarily backfired on me. I am feeling a little overwhelmed.

But at least I am not overwhelmed by and only focusing on my life. Now it's just everyone else's.

It's not just that... it's this feeling lately that this is truly the wonderful time in my life I've been waiting on?? And all around me, people tell me, "Oh, you're gonna miss these days!" And I would love to quip back, "I'm gonna miss worrying about how we'll make the mortgage payment? Am I really gonna miss getting creative with what's in the pantry because we don't get paid until Friday? Am I really gonna miss listening to one of my friends weep because her husband walked out on her and their two kids and her power is being cut off today? JUST NOT CONVINCED."

Just not convinced... I don't think the same rules apply to my generation. Who reading this that is in their thirties has not heard of someone killing them self or dying of an overdose (which to me is the same thing) in the last month? Well I have - I think I've heard of three (and, no, that doesn't include the person I know that survived). They aren't people I know first hand, but the death has effected the life of someone I know. These are crazy times we are living in - crazy times. Our generation is broken and falling apart, and most of us are just trying our best to hang on right now.

White-knuckled living. And not the fun skydiving and white water rafting kind of white-knuckled stuff you hear about.

I'm ready for some relief. I know my Lord watches over me, and I know that He alone is the reason I have made it through this far. But I'm just ready for some of these burdens to be lifted off my heart... and most of them aren't my own burdens.

I guess my entry on the first day of my prayer journal should have been, "Help me learn to let go." You see, I can seemingly master the idea of letting go in one area of my life only to find out that I fail miserably at it in another. Almost as if my mind is telling me, "Okay - you can trust and let go in these few areas of your life but you must hang on to your pitiful human control in the others and be stressed out and miserable while doing so."

Oh, dear me. I'm telling you - I'm catching the next flight back to my carefree twenties...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trimming the Holly

I can remember the first time I trimmed a shrub. It was early fall of 2001, and we had been living in our first home for several months. We had a wisteria bush or shrub (whichever it's classified as) that the previous owner had planted in the middle of the tiny front yard. And let me say that little wisteria was wild and woolly. It grew to epic proportions our first summer in the home, and we had to trim it back several times.

On this particular trimming back of the wisteria, I noticed that perhaps the shrubbery in the front of the house needed trimming and shaping up a bit. Had I ever done this before??? Well, no... Did I know how to trim shrubs? Absolutely not. But I just started working and shaping with the inexpensive manual clippers, not knowing all the while if I was doing it properly or if it would look alright. And I guess they turned out alright, but it was my first lesson in trimming holly bushes - prickly job, I must say. And I learned that day that the trimming is only half the job; when that part's done, you still have to pick up all the clippings.

Yesterday, I got out my handy clippers - the same ones I used eight years ago for my first clipping experience - and went to work on the hollies in my front flower beds. We have three large holly bushes that have thrived. In fact, they have thrived to the point I had to get out the fifteen foot ladder to trim the tops of them. As I worked, I thought back to my first trimming job at my first little house on Patti Court in Montgomery. I thought about how much things had changed since those days of being a novice in so many areas of my life - a novice shrub trimmer, still a newlywed, a first time home owner, and a new parent. And then I thought about how little things have changed at all...

I am still a novice. I still feel from day to day that I am pulling out my clipping shears for the first time, getting my hands in those prickly holly bushes, working the blades, all the while not knowing what the end result will be. It's funny being an adult. I never thought while I was in the middle of those years where you long for your adulthood to come that I'd still be flying by the seat of my pants in so many different areas of my life at the ripe old age of thirty-two. Nearly every week a new circumstance arises - one which I have never experienced before. And as an adult, I am forced to roll my sleeves up and figure it out, most of the time working through the problem blindly, never knowing what lies ahead or what the best solution will be. It's just like trimming the holly... just like it.

So, the tallest holly in my front bed has grown to at least ten feet tall. And it had this one stalk right in the middle of the top I couldn't quite figure out how to reach. But I kept working around it, and I finally had to pull out a little saw of some sort and just work on this thick stalk until I could break it off. I just can't put into words the sense of accomplishment I felt once I had trimmed those three bushes. Just can't say.

The holly may be bigger, but I'm still working with the same clippers, and they work just as well. And I'll continue to find new ways to accomplish the same old tasks - even it if means a fifteen foot ladder, a saw, and some sore muscles the next day. I'll keep trimming and shaping and picking up the clippings left behind.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just not feeling bloggy...

I just haven't been very bloggy lately. I guess there are reasons, but I just don't feel like I have much to say. Or maybe it's that I have so much to say but I don't really want to get into it all.

I have started a training program for medical transcription. My sister-in-law found a very cheap program on Ebay, and I have already received it in the mail and started working through it. The first phase is medical terminology, then a brief overview of anatomy, and then some practice dictation. The terminology has actually been pretty interesting thus far. So, we'll see how it goes. My goal is to study over the material and practice, and then have myself in a position to find full-time work when Madalyn starts kindergarten next August.

We are also in the process of getting a new vehicle. The lease is nearly up on the Yukon, and Scott has negotiated an early turn-in as well as finagled a way to decrease our monthly car payments by nearly $500. So if that's not good news, then I just don't know what is. We are purchasing a Ford Flex, which is a strange looking little ride. But I must say that I have completely fallen in love with it! It looks odd at first, but the more you look at it and ride in it - well, it truly grows on you! And we are getting a fantastic deal on a vehicle fully loaded with some fantastic options, including navigation. Really can't beat it.

Madalyn is out of school today and tomorrow due to mold issues in the church. I don't really know why, but the church has had recurring mold issues since it was built just a few short years ago. So I guess with all this rain, it has become an issue again. It's really a shame because Madalyn enjoys going to school as much as I enjoy taking her. Oh well. We'll make it through somehow.

Sp that's a brief overview for right now. Just life. Day to day.

Forgot to mention the most exciting part of my life right now - the two hour season premiere of Grey's tonight!! Finally we'll get to see if George makes it, and Izzie, too!! I'll be glued to the set...

Monday, September 21, 2009

About Bugs

Funny thing about finding bugs in your house... everyone always has a good reason. If it's hot out, then the bug is trying to get in out of the heat. If it's cold out, well, they are trying to keep warm. If it's dry, they must be searching for water. And if it's raining, like it's been doing here for about the past 18 solid days, then the bugs must be trying to get in from the rain.


Madalyn is terrified of bugs. And, well, so am I. Not a good combination to be in the house together all the time. Because who do you think has to suck up her fear and attack the bug with her brave face on??? You guessed right if you said, "NOT Madalyn!!!"


So, since it's been raining A TON lately and those darn bugs are trying to get in out of the rain, we have found more bugs in the house than ever before. And not just the weird little bugs - the big stinking roaches. Just plain disgusting. So yesterday, Madalyn came screaming - and when I say screaming, I mean it - into my bathroom to tell me there was a bug in her room. It was above her closet which has a ledge above it. So I grab my step ladder only to realize it won't work - it doesn't give me the height I need to see up there and spray for bugs. So down I went into the garage to retrieve the 15 foot ladder.

Has anyone out there ever carried a 15 foot ladder up a flight of stairs in a split-foyer house? Not an easy task, I assure you.

But I did it, and I climbed up holding my breath, so certain that a bug the size of a small dog would attack me as soon as I peeked over the closet ledge. But there was nothing.

Madalyn wouldn't even step foot in her room. So what is any good mom to do that had just carried a 15 foot ladder up the stairs from the garage, faced her own fear of bugs by peeking over the ledge, and sprayed every surface with copious amounts of bug spray?

I lied. You hear me; I lied to her.

"Baby girl, the bug is dead. I saw him, and I sprayed him, and he's definitely dead. I just couldn't quite reach him to pick him up and throw him away."

I think grace covers these little white lies... I hope. We all have to stretch the truth a little to spare our children undue fear. Especially when we know they may not want to sleep in their bed at night if you don't tell a little fib. And maybe it was a little stretch, but I do know that if that bug (or any other bug, for that matter) were to be stupid enough to go back into that area of the house, they will be dead in no time at all with all the bug spray I sprayed.

So then, I had to carry the ladder back down the stairs, which actually proved to be more difficult than getting it up the stairs. The things I do for that little girl... and she doesn't even know it. Doesn't have a clue.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Husband's Helpful Weekend

Sometimes my husband surprises me. Like Saturday night when I was bathing Madalyn, I heard this funny noise which sounded like the garage door opening or shutting. So I hollered out to Scott not to pull the car back into the garage just yet - the kids wanted to play in there a little while longer after getting their baths. I knew his response sounded irritated as he exclaimed, "I'm just trying to help clean up a little!" A few minutes later, I figured out what the strange noise was... the garbage disposal. He had cleaned up the entire kitchen during half time of the Auburn game, loading the dish washer, actually starting said dish washer, and even hand washing the crock pot. I was amazed.

Yesterday, he hand washed my truck which has not been bathed since my little incident with the side of the garage door. My mirror no longer adjusts, and the glass itself is barely intact, so I haven't been able to run it through one of those high-powered car washes. So the hubs did the complete works on it - washing the outside, vacuuming the inside, and wiping down the interior surfaces. Even shined the tires. The mirror is still broken, but at least it looks clean.

Last night, after getting the kids in the bed and while cleaning up the day's mess in the kitchen (no, he did not do it two days in a row), I kept smelling bleach. At first I thought it was the towels and bathing suits from the birthday party we had been to that afternoon at an indoor swimming pool. I mean, the smell of the chlorine was pretty strong, but it shouldn't have been that strong. Finally, I asked Scott, thinking he could have possibly been trying to be helpful again and possibly scrubbed the shower or something (wishful thinking!), if he had used any bleach anywhere. The conversation continued as follows:

"Yeah... I sprayed my shirt with that stuff you had on the dryer."

"What stuff on the dryer?"

"I don't know... some stain stuff you have in there... I got something on my shirt and I sprayed it on there to get it out."

"Scott, this is Clorox Cleanup... that's for bathrooms, not clothes."

"Well, it said it had bleach in it and I just figured it would get the stain out."

So, I am happy to report that Clorox Cleanup does indeed remove stains from white Greg Norman dry-fit golf shirts, though I would still not recommend it for that purpose. And I have put the Clorox Cleanup back in its appropriate place to prevent such confusion from happening again.

God love him. He was so incredibly helpful this weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Rememberance

Today. The day. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. I was on my way to work at Regions as a data-entry clerk, listening to Rick and Bubba, when Mark Prater broke in to do his morning weather bit only to report that it appeared the World Trade Center had been hit by a terrorist. Of course, it was all just breaking then, and no one understood the magnitude of what was taking place.

I also remember the moment when I was told my mother had breast cancer. I can't tell you the date, but it was just days after my birthday - I think my 29th or 30th - and I stood in my laundry room hanging up clothes while my father told me the most unexpected news of my life.

I have no recollection of the day I found out my cousin (by marriage), young mother of two girls, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not just any form, but rather a fast-growing, aggressive type. I don't remember the day, but I remember the feeling I had in my stomach as I thought about what it must feel as a young mother to look at your kids and know in your heart you won't live to see them be mothers themselves.

How many days go forgotten in our lives? How many moments? How many things have we made ourselves numb to over time? It's human, of course, to move on - to change and grow and continue on with our lives. And with each and every day, a tiny piece of a big memory of a life changing event is gone. It's meaning is forgotten - not the event, but the very root of it's glory in our life. And I do mean glory. I feel with each tragedy of our lives, a true glory emerges through Christ. It's the good that can be found in all that's not good.

So, today, I remember the lives of so many who were tragically taken from their day to day lives by such evil. I think of their families and what this day will bring to them - grief, honor, pain. I am remembering the faith my mother's cancer brought out in me and how I need to recapture it as it has gotten lost along the way. And most of all, I think of the family of the young mother who lost her long fight with cancer yesterday. I think about those two young girls who have seen their mother fight as dreadful a thing as evil itself - cancer.

But mostly today, I want to think about and say a prayer for anyone who has a day to remember. We all have a moment, if not more than one, that changed our lives forever. A moment that we will never forget. It may not have made the news, but it's our news. And I pray for healing and peace for anyone who is struggling with grief today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where does the road lead?

So, it's no secret that for the better part of this year we have been BROKE. And I have been feeling in my heart that when Madalyn starts big school next year that I should find something to aid our household income - I was feeling that way before things took such a downward turn. I have been looking into some work-at-home type jobs such a medical transcription. My sister-in-law has been doing it for about six years now, and she says she can kinda mentor or show me the ropes.

But here's the catch, and it's what I can't stop repeating in my mind over and over again... Will there ever be a time in my life for me to do something enjoyable?

Maybe that sounds a little crass or unappreciative, but I am just being honest. I have spent the past eight years at home with my kids, and I am so incredibly grateful to my husband and my God for making that possible. I can't imagine it any other way. But these years have not been glorious... there were so many sacrifices made along the way to make it all possible. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a regular basis, many days without real clothes or make-up, very little in my life to stroke my ego or just make me feel like a real person. That's the huge downfall of staying at home, especially in a situation such as mine where dad is rarely around. You fall into the category of "MOM" and very seldom get to be who you are inside. It's such a frustrating game of balance, and I will admit I have never found the perfect median.

In a perfect world, I would go back to school when Madalyn starts kindergarten next year. There's the perfect little college just miles from my house where I could finish out my undergrad in English and move onto work on an alternative masters in speech pathology where I could work with children one on one. That's where I have felt the pull of my heart over the past several years - a field where I could make a difference in the life of a child one at a time. I have never felt called to teach, but every time I go to David's school and I see those kids, I always feel a tugging on my heart.

But, this is certainly not a perfect world right now.

The economy is terrible. Our financial situation is unstable. There's no money to go back to school and create a career for myself after all these years of putting that part of me aside. So, here I am, almost 33, with no real skills or options. And so I find myself leaning toward a field like medical transcription for all the advantages it offers someone like me - I am sharp and could pick it up over the next year, it offers a flexible schedule so I could still be there for my kids, and it's relatively inexpensive to get started.

This is just not where I imagined myself at 33. Just so not what I imagined. Not that I was stupid enough to believe that all would be golden, but I just imagined myself a little more secure in so many areas of my life. And I have found myself a little disappointed by life lately. Just a little.

Who knows what the road ahead holds... I have a lot to think about and plan. If only we could see ahead and just know the answer or the way. If only it were like a Dora episode, you know - we could call for map to come out of the purple backpack, and he would sing his little, "I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map...." song and tell us exactly what we need to do and where we need to go. If only. But there are so many reasons why I am glad I'm not Dora, so I'll just leave it at that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Like a dog chasing it's tail

I am not in a very good mood today. If my husband were reading this, he'd probably be thinking, "Well, I didn't know you were ever in a good mood." But he's not; so I will carry on.

Do you ever feel like a dog chasing it's tail? You get to the bottom of the laundry pile only to find a stack of clothes in one of the kid's rooms. You get the dishwasher emptied only to find that the contents of the sink nearly fill it up again. That's where I am right now. No matter what I do, it's never enough. No matter how well I do it, it never lasts. I'm just in one of my weird moods, and I can't seem to pull myself out of it today.

Things have been a little tough lately. And don't get my wrong, I am fully aware they can always get worse. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am a magnet for listening to others' problems. But it's times like these in my life where I would love to look at some people (or scream at them from over the phone), "Have you stopped to think for a minute that I have MY OWN burdens???" My ears are tired. I have reached the bottom of my barrel of energy, and I need a recharge.

I hate feeling this way. But it happens every so often. And I will probably feel better when I drop both kids off at school tomorrow and enjoy a little silence. But until then, I'd just like to curl up on the couch with my blanket and rest my eyes. And we all know that is so not going to happen today.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The "Human" Element of Human Rights

To err is human, to forgive divine.


Not sure who said it, but how true. As humans, though beautifully and masterfully made by a perfect Creator, we are true screw-ups. We can take the most perfect situation and turn it into a disaster in the blink of an eye. I guess that's the glory of free will.


So where I am going with this... back to the most psychotic case I have ever seen unfold before me in the national news. The horrifying kidnapping and captivity story of Jaycee Dugard has literally made my stomach churn. I think what really made me sick was when I learned that she birthed two baby girls in the tents in Phillip Garrido's makeshift backyard compound. Having delivered two babies myself in the decency of a hospital, I am fully aware of the anxiety and pain, as well as both physical and emotional time of healing afterwards. My heart broke when I realized that this poor woman was made to carry out what should be the most joyous moments of a woman's life in a tent in the backyard of a psycho.


I am appalled by the entire story. And the more I read, the more angry I get. This joker has never done anything good. His first brush with the law and known brush with criminal sexual assault was in 1972, when he took a young girl off in his car, gave her illegal drugs, took her to a hotel room, and sexually assaulted her multiple times (by the way, sexual assault is just a nice word for rape and/or other horrific sexual acts against one's will). The charges were dropped when she refused to testify against him in court. Then four years later came his kidnapping and rape of a woman for which he served time and was on lifetime parole. And now this...


Do you know what bothers me the most about our fine country? In recent years, the terms alleged and accused have become too common. I challenge you to watch your local news and count the number of times it's used in one broadcast. Dare we say that someone actually did something these days.


Let me get this straight: Garrido has a history of sexual assault. A grown woman was found living in a series of tents in Garrido's backyard and was subsequently identified as Jaycee Dugard who has been kidnapped over a decade ago. Two young girls were found with Garrido and were identified as the children of Dugard and Garrido. But we have to refer to Garrido as Dugard's alleged captor and accused rapist.


So let me pose this question: If I spent an hour and a half yesterday trimming back some lantana in my flowerbeds, and my neighbor as well as any passers-by saw me doing it, and I left three lawn bags full of the clippings to prove it, did I allegedly do it or did I actually do it?


There are a certain sect of people who don't deserve the benefit of the doubt. And it saddens me to know that in the name of human rights the media has hopped on this bandwagon of protecting the names of those who don't deserve protection. I understand that in a court of law, we are all innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, there's no need to use terms such as allegedly or accused when the evidence is so obvious. In Garrido's case - one in which he took away every conceivable human right poor Jaycee Dugard ever dreamed of having before she was stolen from her childhood - he does not deserve any benefit of the doubt.

It's the ultimate human err - to further take away the dignity of a victim by attempting to protect the rights of those who don't deserve such protection.


By the way, Crazy Mama allegedly wrote this post.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is it LOVE?

So, Friday, when David bounded out the double doors into his weekend, he shared with me that he had found out a little girl in his class likes him. Of course it all went down in true elementary school fashion - a friend of hers told David that the little girl liked him, and he in turn wrote her a note with the ancient question, "Do you like me?" to which she responded in all caps in red crayon, "YES!!"

Oh my stars.

She also drew him a heart with the word love in the middle of it in probably the most beautiful cursive handwriting I have ever seen from a 3rd grader. At least she has good penmanship.

Yesterday, he came home with yet another note in which she asked him for his phone number. Are you kidding me??? My mother would have hung me up by my little pinkie toe if I had dared to ask a boy for their phone number in the 3rd grade. Of course, as any smitten young man would do, he gave her the digits. But I am here to tell you that she better not call my house asking to speak to my little boy. What I would do about it is just beyond me right now, but it simply better not take place.

I am so not ready for this.

Last night, he was busy at work on some crafty thing in his room. I didn't give it any attention until he made sure to turn it over and hide it in a binder in his room at bedtime. So I did what any good Crazy Mama would do and looked at it this morning after he left for school. He had folded two papers and glued them onto another sheet of notebook paper making two lift-up flaps on the page. Under one flap was written "I Love You" and under the other was simply the word LOVE.

Excuse me, what? He loves her. I mean, he loves ME. He loves to play baseball. He loves to eat Mexican food. Is it possible that my little boy now believes he loves a little girl?

I am so shocked by all of this. I knew the day was coming, but I had been so glad that up until this point, I was the only love of his life. Whatever will I do?


And a little update... he comes home this afternoon forlorn and weary. She told him that she does not like him anymore. And I repeat the phrase I will repeat for many years to come... "I told you those girls are no good for you. Need to leave them alone." He's mine once more.