Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm Still Here...

Hello All!

Thought I was through blogging, right?  Well, it's been over a year, so that's what it feels like.  Sometimes it just seems easier to LIVE life than actually take the time sit down and write about it.  Which is what I have been doing.

The kids are getting so big.  Mallory turned FIVE a few weeks ago.  I cried on her birthday.  How sad is that?  Aren't we supposed to be happy they are another year older?  Ha.  But, she's my baby girl.  My baby.   My last child.  And now she goes and turns five years old on me.  It caught me off guard and I cried about it.  I took her picture the morning of her birthday and realized that she had grown 2 feet overnight.  I just can't wrap my mind around the speed at which she & Alex are growing up.  I am going to blink and it will be Alex's 7th birthday.  Wow.  I love them so much that I want time to stop, but I want it to move forward all at the same time so I can see what life holds for them.  Being a parent is he hardest thing in the world.  Cliche, but it's true.  Bittersweet.

Chuck & I had our 10 year anniversary in May of this year.  10 years.  It feels good to say it.  We have a great marriage & I have a great husband.  We have been through some rough times, with both of us losing our jobs in the past several years - Chuck twice within a year.  But, we made it through and God helped us every step of the way.  He is very good to us & I thank Him often.

Short & sweet.  Until next time...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

(More) Gratitude

Hello all!  Just wanted to share what I am thankful for lately:

- Warm weather!  Finally, Spring is here!!  (Unless there is some other "winter" creeping up that I am not aware of, like Dogwood Winter or Blackberry Winter.  Who came up with all of these anyway?)

- Baseball.  Alex is playing for the first time and I love it!!  I mean...Alex loves it!  :)  No, he really does like it.  Really.  No joke.  And so do I.  

- Healthier eating in our house.  We are keeping up with the non-processed, organic lifestyle fairly well, I'd say.  Had local fruits and veggies delivered last week.  Buying as many organic products as possible.  It's hard to keep it up if you eat out, which is frustrating.  We are trying though.  Very hard.  The kids are even becoming very aware of what's "good" for them.  I really like that.  :)

- Our (what has turned into an) annual beach trip to Destin, Florida is coming up in 20 days and counting!!  So excited to get away and much as you can with a 3 and a 5 year old.  But still.  Can't wait!

- Still thankful for a job that lets me work from home.  I am so very lucky.  

- For two kids that play together - and fight together - but love each other so very much.  I hope they stay close as they grow up together.  I will do whatever I can to make that happen.  :)

So...what are you thankful for?

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Just trying to be a little more thankful.  This week I have been thankful for:

- Starting a new, organic, non-processed lifestyle...and hoping it sticks.

- Cute little boy haircuts.

- Introducing the kids to Mary Poppins, and happy that they actually liked it!

- Cuddling next to my girl in bed, when she tucks her head under my chin, and I can feel her eyelashes fluttering on my collarbone.  Heaven.

- Kozy Shack rice pudding.  Oh.  Em.  Gee.

- A job that lets me work from home.

- A husband who makes dinner...and makes me laugh.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Catching Up...

Hello!  We meet again!  Since the last time I wrote here, a lot has gone down.  We had our 1st Disney trip, a 3rd birthday, a 35th birthday, a 5th birthday, Christmas, New Year's and now here we are creeping up on Valentine's Day.  Whoa.

Let's start with the Disney trip, which was an outstanding time had by all.  We opted to drive down because flying was way too expensive, and it wasn't all that bad.  Thank God we live in these modern times where cars actually have DVD players in them.  I don't think we could have survived a 9+ hour car ride playing eye spy.  No way.  The kids - and us parents - fell in love with Disney!  Chuck & I had been before, but it was at least 15 years ago.  And, let's face it, Disney is so much more fun when you experience it through your kids' eyes.  It was hot.  There was crying.  There was whining.  But we loved it just the same.  We are planning to go back this year.  Can.  Not.  Wait.  And how cool is it that you can actually eat in the Beast's castle now??  Seriously?  OK, I may be just a tad more excited than the kids.

My talented hubby worked up this awesome pic!

The man...I mean Mouse, himself
So, my baby girl turned 3 in October.  She actually turned 3 on the day we came home from Disney.  Had to get her in there for free at least once, right?  We had an awesome birthday party for her after we were back home.  We had a little petting zoo come and set up in our back yard.  It was a huge hit.  So cool.  Now I'm just wondering how we will ever top that?  I mean, we had GOATS and CHICKENS and a DONKEY in our backyard.  There is no topping that.

She held that poor chicken for hours

Mallory, you are a blast.  You LOVE princesses and you were enamored when you got to meet them at Disney.  You got all of their autographs and you would do a little jump-up-and-down dance each time one of them signed your autograph book.  You have the cutest little lisp, and the cherry on top is the little gap between your two front teeth.  And when you open your mouth to speak, a southern drawl rolls out.  You have beautiful blue-green eyes and the longest eyelashes I have ever seen.  Your eyebrows could go toe-to-toe with a young Brooke Shields' any day of the week.  You have pretty blonde hair with curls that fluff up in the summer heat.  You love everything pink, but you also like your superheroes as well - you get that from your brother.  You love to carry around tiny figurines of any kind - princesses, dogs, cats, what-have-you.  Instead of saying "My arm," you say "My narm."  You also say "My nanimals" (when talking about your figurines).  You don't eat much of anything that's good for you, or much of anything in general.  You love Rice Krispies cereal and crackers and Goldfish and that's about it.  You love your brother...until he aggravates you.  Which is a lot.  You still love him in the end though.  You are my very favorite 3 year old princess.  You will always be my best girl.
In case you were wondering, the 35th birthday I am referring to in the first paragraph was Chuck's 35th.  Not mine.  He's getting on up there.  He doesn't like to talk about it, so let's move on.

He still gets around pretty good for an old guy...

On December 4th, my boy - my little boy - turned 5 years old.  What?! Why?!  How?!  That's a hard pill to swallow, let me tell you.  Because 5 means growing up.  And 5 means Kindergarten.  And 5 means big boy.  Not little boy anymore.  After changing his mind I don't know how many times, we had a party with all of his best friends at the Chattanooga Zoo.  We got him an awesome snake cake and the snake actually wrapped around the side of the round cake and it's head rested right on the top.  Excellent cake decorating by Piece A Cake Bakery, I must admit.  The party was held in a room that we shared with reptiles.  Reptiles have to be kept warm.  Do you know how "warm" a room gets when the heat is turned to 75 degrees and then you mix in at least 20 kids and 10 or 15 adults?  Now, THAT'S a very warm room.  Ouch.  All in all, the kids had fun.  They had lots of sweets and cake and got to pet a snake.  It was a cool party.

See that snake head - made of icing?  That's the only part he ate.

Alex, you are a great kid.  You are so funny and you love to laugh.  You have a gorgeous smile with the best looking dimples ever.  I know that smile is going to help you snag a wonderful girl someday.  Or it may get you in trouble.  We'll see.  Your hair is as blonde as it was when you were a baby.  And your eyes are as blue as the ocean.  I like to think you get those blue eyes from my grandpa.  You love, love, love superheroes.  Instead of the Avengers, you say "Revengers."  You also say "lellow" instead of "yellow."  You are full of 1,000 questions per minute.  "Why this?" and "What about this?"  It's tiring, but I love how curious you are...most of the time.  You started playing basketball this year.  You like practice.  The actual games...not so much.  During practice you can play with your friends and you actually get to HOLD the ball.  The games are the exact opposite.  You are always eager to move on to the next thing.  In the middle of a basketball game you ask when you can play soccer.  In the middle of playing a new game on the iPad (obsessed), you ask about getting a new game because you "don't really like this one anymore."  You are super tall and your pants are always a tad too short.  That's a good thing, I suppose.  You are my own personal superhero.  And you will always be my little boy.

Christmas was wonderful.  Not white, but wonderful still.  I love spending the holidays at home with my little family.  Nothing better in this whole wide world.  Gifts don't matter.  Happiness does.  And love.  Always love.

New Years Eve was uneventful.  Kids went to bed early (unlike last year.)  Watched the ball drop.  Went to bed.  

Thanks for the chance to catch up.  Until next time...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

(My) Birth Story

I wanted to write down Alex's birth story so it will always be out here...floating around on the world wide web.  Some of you have not heard this story.  Some of you have.  If you have, I hope you will enjoy hearing it again.  And it's a long one, but a good one.  :)

Chuck and I had wanted a baby for quite some time.  We started trying in 2006.  It took us 8 long months before I got pregnant.  I know that in the scheme of things, that really wasn't a long time, but to see a negative pregnancy test for the first month, then the second month, the third month, the fourth month...and so on - it WAS a long time for us.  

Then the day came when that had 2 pink lines.  It was such a great moment.  I was alone at home, except for our dog Mattie, so she was getting an earful.  Chuck finally got home from work and it was all I could do not to trample him when he walked through the door.  I told him the good news and it slowly started to sink in that we would soon be a family of 3, rather than 2.

Fast forward to December of 2007.  My due date was December 3rd.  I had a doctor's appointment that day and I was planning to tell my doctor (Dr. Collins from Holly's birth story!) that I was ready to wait it out another week if necessary.  I had not progressed AT ALL so I just figured that Alex wasn't ready to come out yet.  Well, Dr. Collins had a different plan.  She let me tell her my plan (see above) and then proceeded to tell me that she wanted to induce me.  That.  Very.  Evening.  Talk about a total shock!  I had no idea that she was planning to do this.  She said that she wanted to go this route because Alex had been measuring just a little bit small.  (She had already sent me to the high risk doctors to have a look at him via ultrasound.)  She had also already called the high risk doctors to ask about her decision to induce and they seemed to think it was a good one.  I guess I was the only one who didn't think so, but who was I to argue with my doctor?  I mean, Chuck and I had planned to go to dinner and a movie after this appointment, so saying that we weren't prepared for this was just a little bit of an understatement.  

Next, total chaos ensues.  Phone call after phone call to family and friends, letting everyone know what was going on. Heading home to finish packing our bags for the hospital.  Making sure the house and the dog are OK before we leave.  Making sure the car seat is installed.  

We did go eat afterwards, but I was too nervous and emotional for this last meal.  We also ate Mexican food, which I am pretty sure is not a great idea if you are about to give birth.  

We got to the hospital around 6:00 that evening.  Chuck and I were taken to a room and I put on the gown, ready to get down to business.  I knew that my experience would depend a lot on the nurse that I got.  "If you have a great nurse, you will have a great experience."  This kept running through my mind.  I would bet anyone that MY nurse that night had just walked out of the doors of nursing school. She had a hard time with my IV, which was worse for me than her as I was the one she was stabbing with a needle.  She also made me cry when she placed the Cervidil, as she obviously had NO IDEA what she was doing. (If you know what that is, then you will understand the pain I felt.  If you don't know, look it up.  Seriously.)

By the next morning, I had not progressed very much.  Dr. Collins wanted to break my water, but it was just too painful for me as I had not dilated.  She went ahead and let me get an epidural, and then broke my water.  I don't remember much of this day.  I slept quite a bit off and on.  I do remember waking up late in the evening and not feeling well at all.  I was having contractions and starting to feel them, so I was able to get another epidural.  I still had only progressed to maybe 5 centimeters and it had been almost 24 hours since everything started.  I was feeling pretty sick and I had a fever.  Right about the time that the nurse discovered I had a fever, Alex's heart rate started to go up.  170s.  180s.  190s.  The nurse called Dr. Collins and it seemed like she was there in my room in minutes.  The nurses had been tossing and turning me to try to get Alex's heart rate down and it wasn't working.  It was just making him angrier and the heart rate was up, up, up.  (He still has this trait as of this day.)  I remember Dr. Collins telling me that they were going to do a C-section and I felt relieved.  I was exhausted and sick.  Then, she explained to me that it would be "urgent."  It was at that point that probably 10 nurses crowded around my hospital bed, along with Dr. Collins, and whisked me out of the room.  I didn't get to tell Chuck good-bye.  I remember that he had just called his mom to tell her I was having an emergency c-section.  I didn't get to put on my glasses so I could only see blurs.  My brother and mother were outside when I was wheeled by.  They told me everything would be OK.  I wanted to believe them.  I knew they were only saying it for my benefit.  I was crying and crying and praying to God to please let my baby be OK.  I prayed for us both to be OK.  I didn't want to die without ever meeting my son.  

On the way to the operating room, I asked Dr. Collins of Chuck would get to come in the room.  She told me that he might, as long as she didn't have to put me under.  We got into the operating room and Dr. Collins was ready to get started.  She asked the anesthesiologist if she could start cutting and he said he needed to get some more medication into my epidural line first.  I told her I could feel my feet.  I was scared to death she was going to cut me open and I would feel all of it.  I never felt a thing.  It was at this point that I started to feel like I could not breathe.  There was an oxygen mask on my face - it had been on there in the hospital room - but now there was no oxygen coming into it.  I felt sick and claustrophobic.  I told the anesthesiologist that I couldn't breathe and pulled off the mask, but he put it back on and told me it was to help the baby.  I don't think he realized that the oxygen was not hooked to it at the time.  Then, as if things weren't bad enough already, I threw up.  All over myself.  Oh, but I felt so much better.  Then, the sweet anesthesiologist cut off my gown and cleaned me up - as much as he could from my shoulders up.  I turned my head to see someone sit down next to me and I saw eyes that I would know anywhere.  Chuck had finally gotten to come in.  We were ready to see our baby come into the world.  It was right after this, at 11:49 p.m. on December 4th, that Dr. Collins pulled Alex out of my belly.  He cried a quick cry right away.  I remember the anesthesiologist telling me that was a really good sign.  The nurses took him over to clean him up and make sure that he was OK.  Chuck told me later on that they had to suction blood out of his belly.  My blood.  Thank God, after all of this, he was OK.

Chuck was able to go over to where the nurses were getting Alex cleaned up and see him and hold him.  He held him up for me to see, but, since I did not have my glasses on, I could only see a blur.  I finally got to hold my son about 30 minutes later.  What a surreal moment.  I had a baby.  He was ours. He was in my arms and no longer inside of my stomach.  Wow.  Chuck and I spent some quiet time with him until we were able to go back to our room.  It was full of family and friends.  They were so proud of me and so happy to see Alex.  What a wonderful moment.  I will never forget the way I felt at that time.  It was cold outside, but that room was so warm.  

Now here we are, almost 5 years later.  Alex will be 5 this December the 4th.  How has all this time passed already?  How do I stop it?  I felt, for a time, that I didn't really get to bond with Alex like other mothers who have better birth experiences do.  I didn't get to hold him or nurse him right away, and all the books and journals tell you that is the key to a mother bonding with her baby.  What I have finally realized - and it took me awhile - is that he and I share a different kind of bond.  We went through a lot together.  Just me and him.  And what we went through was the beginning of a long, and strong, bond that can never be broken.  For that much, I will always be thankful. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Losing It

I have lost many things over the course of my lifetime - lost baby teeth, lost pets, lost homework, lost friends, lost loved ones, even lost my sanity at times.  But, the one thing I had never lost in all of my life was a job.  Well, that was about to change as of a few months ago.  At the end of February, I was told I no longer had a job.  And I really liked my job.  I was doing what I had always wanted to do.  I was heartbroken.  This was one of the most utterly depressing things that had ever happened to me.  Some of you who have been through this know this feeling.  Sickness.  Disgust.  Anger.  Sadness.  Crying.  Worry.  Shock.  On that day in February, my life was changed forever.  I was never going to drive to this place to work again.  Ever.  I would never be working with my friends at this place ever again.  I would never sit at this desk ever again.  I would never have that same routine ever again.  I was mad.  What if we lost our house?  What if I couldn't find another job?  What if we had to file bankruptcy?  The one thing I was not was THANKFUL.  Who could be at a time like this, right?  Little did I know...

As it turns out, God knew that I needed to leave that place.  He knew it was the best thing for me, although I would not see that for months.  What I wasn't seeing was an opportunity for me.  An opportunity to take some time for myself and my family.  I had time off now, as crazy as that sounds.  I had time to do things that I never had time to do while I was working.  Of course, I was looking for another job, but I was also spending lots of time with my husband and kids.  Going to Rock City.  Going to the zoo.  I was sewing...during the day!  I could take my kids to school and pick them up without having to worry about being late for work or being late to get them.  Until I lost my job, I didn't realize how much stress I was under.  While I was working, I was always anxious and on edge.  I yelled at Alex to "Hurry up and get ready!!  I have to get you to school so I can get to work on time!"  I was short with Chuck and with the kids.  It wasn't a good way to be.  And now, thanks to losing my job, I was able to figure that out.  I just needed God to show me.  

I know I sound insane, but this is my story.  I know there are many worse stories out there, but I wanted to make the best out of my situation.  I had many, many sleepless and tearful nights.  It took time to get past my resentment and anger.  I was very depressed for weeks.  I still have moments of anger that surface.  But, I got through it with the help of my family and my friends.  I hope others in the same boat are as lucky as I was to have such a good support system.  And, God is always there as well.

I was finally able to find another job.  I am able to work from home now and I love it.  No more driving an hour a half each day to get to work and back.  No more fighting with crazy rush hour traffic - and crazy drivers - to get home.  No more paying $60 a week in gas.  No more stress.  No more anxiety.  I am so very thankful for the job I now have.  I think it was just pure luck that I was in the right place at the right time...or was it? 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whatever Happened to Strangers?

A month??  It's been over a month since I was here!  Where has the time gone?  Well, there was no competing with Holly's birth story post, so I just decided to let it "sit" for a while.  Yeah, that's it. I am again.  And I am here today to talk about a few things that irritate me.  Yes, it's random, but I feel I need to get these things out in the open for fear I will combust at some point if I don't. 

OK, so the family and I were at the park tonight, enjoying this weird and random nice February weather.  We decided to take our little dog, Mattie, with us.  Poor thing rarely gets walked, so she was long overdue.  The kids wanted to swing, so I leave Chuck with the job of pushing them decided to walk Mattie around the track so she can do her business.  We walk around once and head back to the play set/slide thing when I am suddenly "attacked" by two random kids.  Now, I am used to kids wanting to pet Mattie because, well, she is irresistible, but these particular kids - a girl and a boy - had their eyes on the leash in my hand.  Now, the girl (who is on my right side) proceeds to TELL me that she wants to walk Mattie and literally tries to remove the leash from my hand.  I fend her off and the boy (who is on my left side and basically drooling and staring at the leash in my hand) says, "Can I take her for a walk?"  I fend him off and get the heck out of there.  So, the point of the story is...whatever happened to strangers??  More importantly, whatever happened to NOT TALKING TO STRANGERS?  Where were these kids parents while this random lady (me) was being attacked?  All I had to do was tell one or both of them that yeah, sure you can walk my little dog, but she's hungry and I need you to help me get her some food out of my van and BAM! I've kidnapped a couple of kids.  Seriously?  What happened to the good old days where you were told to not talk to people you don't know?  I was - and still am - leery of vans because of the things I was told when I was a kid.  Now, I say all of this in the hopes that my kids don't ever make a fool out of me and do something crazy like this, but I can only hope that I can scare them enough that they won't.  That's my plan anyway.

Now, on to a few other random things that just plain get on my nerves:

-People that text and drive.  Yes, we all know we are not supposed to do it, but we do.  Now, I am guilty of having done it, but I do my best to only do it if I am stopped at a red light or in traffic - both of which, as you know, are rarities here in Chattanooga.  (Sense the sarcasm?)  I am talking about the people that full-on do it while they are driving.  On the freeway.  In the rain.  Phone up in front of their face so they can "hold the steering wheel" people - or down in their laps "I don't give a crap about causing a wreck" people.  I have had at least one near side swipe by some guy who was texting and I doubt if he heard my horn for the full solid minute that I held it down.  Idiot.

-People that post responses to statuses on Facebook and ask stupid questions. For example, I saw a status update tonight from a shoe company who posted that their spring shoes would go on sale online tonight at 12:00 midnight (Eastern time).  The status actually said Eastern time IN IT.  Of course, as if on cue, the first response was something like "Can't wait!  What time?"  Really?  Are we too busy to read the entire thing and get all the information before we post something?  Man, that stuff drives me nuts!

-Speaking of Facebook, I try not to post things unless I think they might be of some kind of value to the people reading it.  I find it really annoying when people post so much that you can tell they have nothing else to do.  "Just got up and took a shower.  Ready to start the day!" (12 hours ago)....Posts picture of breakfast with the caption that reads "My breakfast today. Yum!" (11 hours ago)...."Lunch at Chili's - with Sally Jones and 2 others." (8 hours ago)...."Think I may be getting sick.  Uh-oh.  Not feeling good and feel kind of clammy and feverish." (7 hours ago)...."Could this day be any slower?" (6 hours ago)....Random not-really-inspirational post/quote (4 hours ago)...____  just posted a pin to Pinterest! (3 hours ago)...."I just made a doctor's appointment for tomorrow at 9 am." (3 hours ago)...____ added 3 photos to the album Mobile Uploads (pictures of clammy hands, inside of "sore" throat & thermometer showing 100.4 degrees on it) (2 hours ago)...."Time for bed.  I hope I feel better after going to the doctor tomorrow.  Ugh.  Night night!" (2 hours ago)....  You get the idea.

And, last but certainly not least, on the list of my annoyances: whiny kids.  My kids LOVE to whine.  I think it is their passion, like playing piano or acting.  Alex is especially good at it.  I truly think that becoming a skilled whiner can only come with age and experience.  I am actually hoping that it will decrease with age as well, but from what I have been told by parents before me, it only gets worse.  Great.  Now what do I have to look forward to?  (Kidding, of course.  There's still the teenage years.)