Friday, December 30, 2005
I am good at complaining.
Not your everyday complaining -- most of you know I am a generally positive person. My complaining gets our family money. Aha! I've peaked your interest. Basically I pay attention to the things I buy. If something is not right or I have a positive suggestion I make a call to that little 800 number you see in fine print on the box. In general the companies will replace the item with a full price purchase coupon if something is wrong. Here's an example: We like to buy the California Pizza Kitchen speciality pizzas. They are not cheap, but cheaper than going the the restaurant. I got one the other day where the toppings were not evenly distributed. Everything was in a line down the middle. So, I called. I now have a coupon which is worth a purchase up to $8.00. In my opinion that is one minute well spent.
A few weeks ago Dave came home with a little potato chip bag from lunch. "Look what was at the bottom of my potato chip bag." I wasn't sure I really wanted to know...but at the bottom of the bag was a one inch square black wad of debris. Honestly it looked like the dredgings from the bottom of the fry vat. (Yummy. LOL) So I called. The moment I mentioned our discovery the customer service lady swung into action tell me that there would be a special package coming my way to send the debris back in (turned out to be a preaddressed tyvek) and she took all my contact information. I can't believe I kept that little potato chip bag in my kitchen drawer until the envelope arrive. I imagine it was pulverized by the mail system, but it arrived on the other end. A week later we get a letter describing the analyzed contents (burned potato starch with salt) and containing 4 coupons for full size bags of any Lays brand (Rold Gold, Cheetos, and a million other speciality brands). Granted, it was a pain to deal with, but I traded one small individual bag of chips for 4 full sized bags. Not bad. There will be pretzels to fill school lunches for a while.
I wonder if I can figure out how to make this sort of thing work with the Electic and Gas company? (Not likely.)
Thursday, December 29, 2005
- One little person driving a plastic pink cozy coupe around and around. Grace carries her phone and purse on board at all times and usually drinks milk while driving. She's born to drive around Atlanta.
- One 8.5 year old with aspirations of singing in American Idol. She got a Disney Mix Stick (mp3 player) from Santa and has been singing nonstop every since. It's a sight to see and hear.
- One construction expert who is using cardboard bricks to build life sized castles and hideouts. Unfortunately the mortar is not available for said bricks so these hideouts are susceptible to being run over by Grace in her car.
- Two tired parents who are trying to recover from a blessed, but busy year. (photos soon to be posted)
And, we had a neat experience yesterday. We went downtown to the Mariott Marquis to visit an old college friend of mine. The last time I saw Patricia was my wedding weekend in 1990.
Henry's Louisiana Grill and it alone must carry the little downtown strip of Acworth. People were lined up outside to eat there on a Wednesday night. We thought it was a fitting place to eat after our visit with Baton Rouge friends. Shoot, we would have brought Stacy and Patricia along but they had an important coach dinner to attend. ;-)
Saturday, December 17, 2005
My nephew is graduating from Georgia Tech's College of Architecture with a degree in Building Construction today. I'm so proud of him. So in the course of talking to William about appropriate behavior at the graduation ceremony last night the following conversation occurs:
ME: "...and one day you might just graduate from Georgia Tech. It's a pretty cool school."
WILLIAM: "But Mommy, but Mommy, I can't go to Georgia Tech!"
ME: "Why not?"
WILLIAM: "I want to go to pre-K first!"
The boy has a point. ;-)
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Write the names of the people you know who would enjoy riding The Polar Express to see Santa Claus. Include the names of friends, neighbors, classmates, and family members:
William McDermitt, Jordan McDermitt, Alexis Katz, Blake Kretzmer, Devyn Smyth, The Shook Family, Caroline White, Temi Akende, The Mancusos, Alexandra Eng-Nguyen, The Carpenter Family, Grace McDermitt, Drake and Alana
Who do you know who would not enjoy riding on this train?
Many parents do not believe in magic. (Not all.)
They would not believe in Santa Claus.
Yes, I would like to go to the North Pole.
Who is Santa Claus?
A jolly man who brings presents to people.
Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Yes, I do believe.
Explain your answer.
Well, I think he does not bring all presents.
Have you always felt this way about Santa Claus?
Yes I have
Well, my family always puts out milk and cookies.
Will you always feel the way you do now?
I guess once I get older I will lose faith.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Anyone see the advertisement for this toy? Catchy music, right? Listen to the music more closely. Does it make you want to wear parchute pants and big hair?
The geniuses at Fisher-Price are using Rick James' "Superfreak" instrumental to convince us to buy that cute Tigger. Ummm, I think they know their target audience: people who were teenagers during the eighties. Scary.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
One of the names I started with was Eva Jiricna. She was so kind. She met with me on an interview and took the time to make a list of possible contacts. She even made some special phone calls for me. I was amazed that someone so cutting edge and so famous worked out of a small loft with only two other people. (Now a huge group.) Anyway, I kept following up on those contacts until I had a job in a Covent Garden firm. It took less than a week. Pretty good since all I had was my sketchbook, my alien work permit, and some dogged determination. It was a wonderful few months. I was there in large part due to my parents, but just to know that I could go to a foreign country and make a home meant everything to who I have become today. It's hard to believe that was 16 years ago.
I googled my old firm the other day - Limbrick Limited: Architecture + Design. Low and behold they have grown astronomically. I mean REALLY grown. Wow. And in the history of the firm they talk about those early days in Covent Garden as Stephen Limbrick and Associates. Please remind me that I was somewhere special professionally...especially on the days when I've barely survived family fun. London as a 22 year old is not mundane. ;-)
Ah youth, you feel like you can conquer the world....
Friday, December 02, 2005
Well, lets just say that I realized at that moment that Grace will be a force to contend with in the family. A great force, but a true match for Jordan and William. I felt blessed and scared all in the same second. Definitely mundane magic.
Snapshots from the scene:
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
So, back to Jordan. The kid can read a big book easily in a day. She sat down to read the second Harry Potter book the Saturday before Thanksgiving. By nightfall she was done -- and yes, she did play outside during the day also. (Lest you worry about the child.) Jordan's teacher is w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l this year. I love her to death. To help everyone in the class read more she initiated a reading log. Very common during these elementary years. The requirement is to read 20 minutes a day and then log it with a 3-5 sentance summary on a special paper. Since Jordan is a reader the worst problem I have is making sure that log is kept up to date. (For that I am thankful.) Still, I have a beef with the teacher's comments from the log that was dated October 31 - November 1. Halloween was a freebie day on homework. Tuesday Jordan read a 150 page book. Wednesday Jordan read a 100 page book. On Thursday Jordan honestly logged that she read the Disney Catalog. Since she had read so much earlier in the week I decided that the log was just fine -- after all, as a parent you have to decide which battles to fight. This one wasn't even a worry for me. Here's what she wrote:
Disney Catalog - A small book with toys and clothing. It has snowglobes and special pins, too. It also has reviews. [Granted not the summary of the century, but complete.]
And here is what Mrs. Brown wrote:
"Do you think this is a good book to write a summary about?" [Though the paper got it's usual "OK" with a check mark.]
Are you laughing yet? When I pointed it out to Jordan she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "You know, you can read a long time and find out interesting things from a catalog. You don't just have to read from a book."
That's my girl. ;-)
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
We went to see the new Georgia Aquarium last Monday....us and 12,000 other season passholders. It was an awesome experience. Some of the tanks are just amazing and the kids had a blast watching all the animals. As we were in line awaiting entry, we got to show the kids some real life protesters. There were two groups: "House People Before Fish" and "Fish in Tanks? No Thanks!" Jordan wanted to know why people were protesting even though they were wrong. ;-) Of course this led into the "everyone has a right" discussion, but it was hard not to crack a smile at her analogies. William only wanted to know where to buy the homemade shark head on one of the protesters. He said he'd really like that for Christmas. Here are a few photos:
THANKFUL FACE HURT
We had a good Thanksgiving holiday with my parents in Alabama. They were very brave to host such an occassion since they are going through a kitchen remodel. I kept thinking that this was the last holiday meal to be served off of the old counters in the kitchen. I'm really excited for them and hope they enjoy their dream kitchen soon. My father's homemade cornbread dressing was wonderful and the Turkey got eaten in one sitting. I made a sweet potato casserole (basically sweet potatoes with a praline topping that is very bad for you.) and we had all the other classic sides.
I kept trying to get the kids dressed nicely for the family meal, but all they wanted to do was play outside. The weather was nice and they had cousins around. Finally I relented and just requested some clean play clothes since they had gotten a bit of Alabama on their old clothes. My nephew, Drake, brought a fly wheel to race around the driveway. William, thinking he was Superman, chased the fly wheel down my parent's steep driveway. He took a face dive onto the concrete and left some DNA there. The kids came running in saying that William was hurt...and in the usually parental nonchalance we all mumbled for him to come let us look at it and we'd get a bandaid. William rounds the corner into the hallway and every adult nearly passed out. There was blood pouring down his face from his forehead to his chin. It took a good hour to clean him up. Thankfully there were no major injuries and most of the problem could be covered in neosporin. It was quite a sight even a day later. Amazingly the little guy has continued to heal and it looks better each day. We were fortunate to not lose teeth or have stitches. William became quite embarrassed each time someone would ask about his injury so we taught him to say "You should see the other guy!" and he regained a little humour about the whole ordeal.
And huge kudos go to my dear husband who actually suggested shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. I suppose we were so excited to have babysitters that we were willing to get up before sunrise to make the sales. Dave did not know that people were so serious about the whole deal...but when we arrived a Jacks to get a biscuit in my small town we saw campers in the parking lot of Walmart. Arriving at ToysRUs we had to park in a remote lot and then Dave chased a woman out to her car for the cart. A first for him. We never saw a fight, but apparently there were some. We got most of our shopping done for the season though so I guess it wasn't all bad. By late afternoon we were dragging. We still have a few details to finish, but overall I'd say that we accomplished something on that crazy day. Quite a date with your husband, huh? I'm impressed he even wanted to try the experience.
Jordan interviewed her Great Grandmother, Gladys Epperson, during our trip home. Mammaw is 92 years old in a week and she's in better health than most people my age. No special drugs for any of the common ailments and she lives by herself in a big apartment. She is constantly giving of her time and energy to help others. And, she still works at the elections. She's amazing. Dave videotaped the event and I cracked up when I saw it. Jordan introduced Mammaw and tied up the interview like she was working on Good Morning America.
Friday, November 11, 2005
And the long awaited photo of the salt clay map has arrived. The map finally made it home after a showing at school and then a display time at the library. Remind me to snap photos of things that are monumental before they get delivered to the school. I'm lucky the thing survived it's travels. Jordan is very proud of it still. Maybe it just reminds her that she got to make a mess which was justifiable as a school project.
And lastly, here is the reason that you cannot leave the vicinity when Grace is in the highchair.
Little stinker manages to squeeze out of the SHOULDER STRAPS and then escape. The straps are already tight due to her brother's track record (you know, the moment where he managed to break his leg at 11.5 months in much the same way), but Grace has outdone the system. I specifically made it known that I would have a highchair with straps when Grace came to this world. (Remember that shopping trip honey?) Looks like my efforts are in vain. Tell me it's the age...oh please tell me this will pass.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Grace in the swing with Jordan pushing
Jordan and Grace together
"Do you really think I can handle this big slide Mom?" (Jordan went down with her following this photo.)
Grace, your siblings will always be telling you how to drive.
The amount of business transacted by people with handhelds was interesting. I heard one real estate agent talking about her deal while her 4 year old played with mine; a personal trainer canceling an appointment; a Dad who was typing at warp speed on his treo phone. People with little babies who normally come to the park to read a book while their baby sleeps were taken aback by the chaos. Some actually had scared looks on their faces as they saw school aged kids zoom by their strollers. It was humorous. I feel like I'm the member of several clubs now -- the school aged moms, preschoolers, and infants. It's like switching mom hats because there is a different knowledge required for each age...as I walked with Grace one of those perplexed new mothers asked me why the park was so busy. Um, I think she'll find out what school holidays are about in 5 years or so.
Monday, November 07, 2005
"Hey Daddy, I think the moon wants to sit beside us. Would that be alright?"
And the trip to Target seemed bearable, ya know?
Grace has been enamored with her belly button. She's beginning to precariously run around the house with a little purse on her arm. Occasionally she stops to look down at her belly, raise her shirt, and point her little finger at the magic spot. She even knows the name of that funny body part. How ironic...just as she's weaned completely (well, it's been a couple of months since she stopped relying on me) she knows the point at which I first gave her food through my body. I think God has a sense of humor.
Dave left on a trip to Seattle and then Maryland. He'll be in Seattle until Wednesday morning and then fly back with the team to regurgitate the information gathered at Microsoft. Sounds like a busy week to me. I'll be keeping the household afloat while he's gone. Not exactly a normal week, but we manage.
William had he 4 year old checkup this morning. Now I can just hear you saying that his official birthday was at the beginning of September. Yes, it was. I'll come clean here. I didn't make the appointment until after the survival of his birthday party. ;-) No one threw me out of the office on my ear so I guess I'm still in the running for mother-of-the-year. William weighed in at 42.5 pounds and was 42.5 inches tall. He's in the 95th to 100th percentile. That's how he's been his whole life. Funny thing is that he's lost all that baby fat look. He's thin as a rail (despite his weight amount) and growing like a weed. The worst part of the whole appointment was the shots. There were 3 required for school plus the flu shot. The nurse finished with two shots in the left arm and William handled it pretty bravely. The saddest moment came when he looked at her shot tray, saw two remaining shots, and realized that those were for his right arm. He was literally heartbroken and told the nurse that it just wasn't right to hurt people like that. Big old elephant tears started pouring out of his eyes. He never physically fought the shot (thank goodness), but he was really upset.
By the way, can you imagine a more marvelous Fall weather situation. The kids are loving it. Shorts in November and lots of time outside. Nice.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Anyway, sometimes things just catch your eye and they make you smile. Jordan made "E" on a difficult spelling list with words like fierce and treasure...but it was the bonus work at the bottom of the related exercise sheet that made me laugh. Here is what the bonus question said:
Listen to the vowel sound.
Write the words with the same vowel sound as joy.
boy toy soy boing poi
I guess Jordan does remember some things about Hawaii. ;-) Aloha kiddo. I'm glad you are in our ohana.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Our neighborhood had a gathering before the door to door fun began. Here is Grace with her friend McKenzie (aka Princess Leia). I think I could call this one "Tinkerbell meets the Princess".
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Drake at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens - Thanksgiving week, 2004
My awesome nephew Drake just turned six. His mind is always thinking about deep thoughts and fun adventures. I think he's wonderfully creative. He's a great big brother to Alana, too. Jordan and William love to play with him a-n-y-t--i-m-e.
We can't wait to see you this weekend and be at your party.
Height: 31 inches
Weight: 23 pounds
50th - 60th percentile on everything. Perfect.
She got four shots today including the flu shot. We'll have to get a booster flu shot a month from now to make it complete for the winter. After that her next shots are when she is four years old. (Um, that reminds me...I guess William will have shots this time.) I commented that she was not running around like a maniac and the doctor had her walk across the room and declared her perfectly normal in that skill. I'm not normally one to hurry the walking, but I wanted to make sure that she was on track after her difficult arrival. Grace then showed off by saying "button" and "frog jump" (while pointing to the wallpaper in the office). The girl is doing just fine. Just fine.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
How can something this cute --
Already be devising a scheme to escape?
And here is our trial run for Halloween. Last night our church had a Fall Festival. Grace is Tinkerbell, William is Woody from Toy Story, and Jordan is some kind of Tween Fairy from Disney. (All I care is that the costume is modest enough -- she choose this one on her own.)
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I just got my house full of monkeys in bed. The house seems to breathe a sigh of a relief when this happens. Tonight I sat down and said a special prayer for Joshua and Claudia. She's currently at 7 centimeters after being induced this morning. I know from experience that is the time when they start hovering over your bed discussing options. I know this is when exhaustion and stamina are wearing thin. But this is also the point when you realize that God is in control of your life -- and the life of this little one. It's the moment (and aren't there so many to follow?) where you realize that you are not in control. And soon I hope they will be experiencing the absolute euphoria of welcoming a baby boy into this world. Becoming a family is a special thing. I'll keep you updated tomorrow -- but say a little prayer for them tonight. New parents can use all the prayers we can muster. ;-)
Monday, October 17, 2005
Friday seemed like an odd day -- so many different things. In the morning we started out with a teacher conference for Jordan. (Good report and we got to discuss the bullying situation in depth -- Jordan is being bothered by both a boy and girl in the classroom. I'll save the details for another post.) Dave and I stole away to breakfast and then ran back to the house to gather up the kids for a chance to go see Wallace and Grommit at the movie theater. I thought it was really cute, but I only experienced 25 minutes of it because of Miss Grace's desire to walk and talk. This is the second "emergency replacement" ticket I've received in a month. Hmmmm, anyone have toddler movie watching tips? Babies are so easy to take into the theater. ;-)
Friday night was wonderful. Dave got us tickets to the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta. We saw a hip bluegrass group called Nickel Creek. (You should check out their music because it really might surprise you.) The Fox is just an incredible venue. I've heard about it for years, but never got to experience it. It's an old art deco theatre which has a fabric tent over the balcony. There are build up facades and architectural elements everywhere. Then, above all that is a ceiling which had a moving sky. The sun sets over that tent, the stars twinkle, and the clouds roll though like a normal sky. It's wonderfully dynamic. We were sitting about 14 rows from the front so we had awesome seats. Combine that with high quality music and it made for an awesome date. Nickel Creek has a really strong sound -- kind of a mix between celtic, bluegrass, and rock. I've heard them refer to themselves as "New Grass". Allison Kraus found them several years ago.
On Saturday we did all the usual gymnastic lessons and other chores. That night we dressed up again and went to Dave's 20th high school reunion at a downtown country club called Ansley Park. It was a lot of fun seeing him with his old friends. I especially enjoyed meeting the ones from his neighborhood. The whole party setup was beautiful -- the works right down to valet parking and the balcony view of Atlanta's skyline. So now he's started his reflecting upon old friendships. It's neat to see. Is there a difference between my reunion (small town) and his (big city)? Yes. Funny thing is that all the good things -- friendships and memories -- are still there.
Then on Sunday we went to church and then headed off to a Cagle Dairy Farm to experience Fall festivities. We ended up enjoying the dairy tour and animals as much as the pumpkins. Grace had an epiphany about animals that day. She was simply spellbound with the fact that cows really do make that "mooing" sound and that horses are beautiful animals. Her little brain was whirring. And, please give the best question of the day to my older daughter who asked the owner of the farm (after he shows us a border collie working the cows into submission), "When a cow is pregnant, what are the different stages she goes through until giving birth to the calf?" The poor man was so flustered that he simply moved onto the next question with an audible choking sound. Dave wanted to fall through the hay wagon at that point and he later suggested she visit wikipedia for the answer. ;-) Only my daughter.
So now you know why we are so tired. Dave is traveling on business tomorrow and I know he is secretly praying for some peaceful nights away from us. I'll get more pictures up soon.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Saturday was the day of the real reunion party. I stayed up on Friday looking at names and faces in the yearbooks. I was glad to have them. Its funny how people turned out...you look at their 6th grade photo and you could never imagine who they would become. Apparently we all look pretty awkward and funny growing up -- didn't you always imagine that you were the outcast? I've got news for you: we all were outcasts in one way or another. Seeing how some people have overcome, some have matured, and some have softened was medicinal for me.
I spent most of the day Saturday letting the kids play with their cousins. (Dave and my brother-in-law escaped to a mountainous golf course in Tennessee.) My parents live in the country -- Try growing up on 300 acres of c-o-u-n-t-r-y -- just outside the city limits of my hometown. My kids love going there. It's a peaceful place. They can run, yell, and get dirty at will and they spend hours doing just that. Green space all around them as they play. My parents had to bring in friends for playdates (Did anyone use the term playdate in 1976???), but the little cousin set created by the two sisters who grew up here seem to thrive on each other. It's pretty loud, but fun. I hope they grow into great friends one day. My Mom and Dad love to let the kids gravitate toward them on these visits. At one point my parents had William in their bed, Jordan and Drake on the floor. I opened the door and laughed at the sea of bodies.
Later in the afternoon, I began to groom myself. By the time that Dave and I got ready we looked like a presentable couple. It was a bit hard to know what to wear to the Old Coke Factory, but from the looks of things we did fine. The classmate who owned the building now had probably killed himself getting it ready for the night. Everything looked great. We had a beautifully catered meal by a local restaurant which normally prepares the best barbeque in town. They often do catered meals minus the barbeque which rival some top restaurants. It's funny though, the food really did not matter since we hopped back into catching up with one another. It was a great night.
The funniest thing was seeing those boys who were such funny and immature pests in high school turn out to be great men. I kept thinking things like, "Wow, he's mature enough to run X?" or "Your wife is just a lovely person and you seem like a decent human being now...even though you tortured me in Physics class." 20 years makes a big difference. It doesn't matter who was a cheerleader (Not me!) or nerd now. What matters is that we've all survived a bit of life.
One of the most disappointing things was that many people went on Friday night, but did not attend on Saturday night. I'm sure the cost or babysitting kept many from it...still, I would have enjoyed seeing more or had more time with people I saw Friday night. I'm glad I went both nights. There were some of my best friends missing...and I'm hoping to reconnect with them soon. This reunion did fuel a fire in me concerning special friendships. When we all went to college it seemed like our lives shifted focus. High school remained locked in our memories...and for most of us college was better than high school so most of those friendships remained in that time warp also.
One of the best things about Friday and Saturday night was seeing my best friend Becky. We've been friends since kindergarten. I was wonderful to still feel that warmth and respect for each other. We kept trying to fill one another in on important moments in our lives -- births (we both have three children - one boy, two girls), jobs, and how we fell in love with our respective husbands. We both made an honest effort to get around to everyone, but by the time she left to travel it was obvious that we still had a special bond.
Dave was an awesome date for the whole weekend. He patiently waited while I caught up with each person and seemed to enjoy getting to know 'where I come from'. Though we've been married 15 years, this is the first time for him to meet many of my schoolmates. He was amazed at the bond between everyone. Basically, our class was together for 12 years...some of us for 13...and that may be one of the traits of a small town raising. We have so much history together. And more in common than I could ever imagine.
I left on Sunday satisfied. I was glad I had attended. Happy to be me.
Note to self: take more photos at the 30 year reunion.
First a snapshot of my gang waiting for the parade. We picked a spot right in front of the Old First National Bank where my Dad worked for years. I've seen more than one parade on this corner. Jordan and William had a field day grabbing all the candy that was thrown from the floats.
Fire trucks carried the cheerleaders. Somewhere on that last firetruck is my cousin's daughter. We also had family members in the band as a majorette and saxaphone player. Too bad I'm such a bad photographer for action shots or you would see them here also. ;-)
Then a truck carrying the football team. I've never seen 18 wheelers used in the parade like this. Those boys are really big. Most of them looked to be six foot or more and ready for a SEC team.
This year's float theme was based on reality shows. We built floats like this when were were in high school. After working on the floats we would then go roll yards with toilet paper. Ah, fun in a small town.
Here is a snapshot of my friends Becky and Kim. Kim is now a teacher at the high school. I think I'll stand for all photos after seeing this. ;-)
Monday, October 10, 2005
- Laundry. Enough said?
- Have you ever heard of an "Early Release Day"? Those of you with preschoolers should take note. These are planned days during the school year that rock your whole schedule. On Wednesday we had one for a teacher workday or something like that. Next week Jordan gets a whole week of early release because of conferences. That means having all three kiddos at home from 12:30 forward. I think I need to plan some productive motherly activities to survive.
- William started his speech therapy on Thursday. Apparently he has made great strides since the evaluation in June. (I'm trying to figure out if I just got the new therapist who doesn't hear all his problems or if a miracle has occurred. More on that topic another day.) Normally our occupational therapy is on Friday, but we had it Thursday morning...that meant a marathon doctor's office day with Wendy's in between. It was so tight timewise that Dave met Jordan's bus here at home. I scraped in just before 2:30, but it was close.
- We finally bought a fixture to go over the kitchen table. The former owners left us this lovely little stained glass thing that was the cheapest thing they could find at Home Depot. We've tolerated it since moving, but the time has come to move the fixture to the right location and have light. We are getting our new table set this week -- round to fit our growing family --and will install the light when it arrives. We finally found the one we liked at Restoration Hardware. I swear I am not high maintenance...we did look all over town for options. Maybe Dave was just ready to bite the bullet and have the search end. Here's the link: http://www.restorationhardware.com/rh/catalog/product/product_suite.jsp?productId=prod1034003&navAction=jump and the shades http://www.restorationhardware.com/rh/catalog/product/product_suite.jsp?productId=prod1032009&navCount=1
- Grace is moving around like a madwoman. We installed more totlocs this weekend. She now shrieks when she comes to a locked door. Did I mention how cute she is now though? She's big on charming Dave nowadays. There is a smile that is only for him.
- And in the interest of making this an epic post: We have had teenagers break into the neighborhood clubhouse this week. It just happens to be by our house so we are ones who get to observe and call the police at 12am. Saturday night was a fun night. No, we don't live in a "bad neighborhood", but some teenagers felt like they could smoke and joke at the clubhouse as if they paid the rent. Never mind that they've broken two deadbolts to do it. Nice sense of entitlement.
I could have written part two of the reunion post by now. ;-)
Monday, October 03, 2005
We headed to the parade around 2:00 pm and it was fun to watch a small town parade with the kids. I could not believe the number of 18 wheel trucks which were used to carry the football team, little league, and other groups. I had relatives in the band and on the cheerleading squad -- neat to see my cousin's children growing up. The homemade floats of students made me smile. Homecoming week float building is a big part of my high school memories. One of my old teachers stood beside us at the parade while Jordan and William grabbed candy from the roadway. And then the "Class of 1985" truck came by with 25 or so riding. "Ann! Why aren't you up here with us?!? Are you coming tonight?"
We made it to the reception at the Field House and all my nervousness fell away. My best friend, Becky, arrived just behind me and it felt like old times catching up with everyone. (Can you believe they had NO NAMETAGS? Do you know how scary that is when you've been officially away for 20 years?) People still have the same eyes after 20 years though...and as you walk through a room it gets easier. I've known some of these people since kindergarten. That is what's special about going to school in a small town. Your schoolmates - as much as you hate them at times because of immaturity -- are like your brothers and sisters. It was just so freaky to see us all as adults. The night was filled with lots of talking and sharing photos. I couldn't even get around to everyone. A dog wandered onto the million dollar field and someone picked up the German Shepard and put him back outside. (Only in Russellville would and animal show up on the field.) Russellville won the game 55-0 against Curry.
After the game some of us headed to the old Golden Corral. Yes, the old steakhouse -- it's been remodeled into a restaurant/club of sorts. One of my classmates has a "little band" that has regional success. They play in the old steakhouse (and at big events) on the weekends. Get this - my county has always been a dry county. No alcohol can be sold. So we sat at that steakhouse, rocked out to his success (How could Kerry be so good? Amazing!), and enjoyed catching up with sweet tea as the only elixir. It was nice, really nice. That's how quirky my hometown is.
-to be continued-
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Here we are, the night before my trip back home. With a 20th reunion this weekend I suppose it's time to break open the boxes. I dug through tons of play programs and misc. items to find some of my annuals and a few photos. Good grief I need to scrapbook this stuff. It's cool to browse through. I was so naive. I had no idea what life was ahead of me.
I'm looking forward to this weekend. Really, I have nothing to prove though some high school phobias do come rushing back. I hope this is a time to reconnect with old friends and a old place in time.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
In other news, apparently my busy four year old inserted his Old Navy ballcap into the dry cleaning bag. (Lazy us, we get free pickup and I use it on a regular basis. There is normally a dry cleaning bag hanging in the main coat closet for dry cleanables.) Dave was unwrapping all his shirts and pants and found the ballcap neatly dry cleaned and pinned to a hanger. I don't even want to know what we paid to dryclean a ballcap.
Grace has gotten busy walking this week. She's been taking a step here or there for a month or more, but now is running across the room with toy in hand. I think we passed from baby to toddler this week...not only the walking, but now she cares if William messes with her toys. William took something of hers the other day and he got an earful. She even came to Dave and tattled on William. I think the girl has some spunk about her. ;-)
Congrats to the Braves for clinching the division title. (story here)
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Anyway, I think that the clothing industry and high schools are in cahoots. Everyone I ran into yesterday was shopping for a reunion event. I was feeling rather vain wanting a new outfit or two (after all I've evolved to a mostly Mom closet), but apparently everyone goes out to freshen up their wardrobe right before a reunion. Fall must be reunion time...and I think the clothing industry must thrive on it.
Oh yes, our fair govenor decided to close school for two days to save on fuel costs. Not sure what people are supposed to do at the last minute for childcare. I'll have the whole crew home with me for Monday and Tuesday.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
My 20 year high school reunion is at the end of this month. In typical small town fashion they just got around to posting the details on their website, are not worried about the travel plans of out of towners, and won't be taking up money for the party cost. We go to the game on Friday night (reception at the field house which was a pork barrel project of their senator -- it's VERY nice, walk across the field -- how exciting -- not, and then sit in a reserved section). On Saturday we have a party at the OLD COKE PLANT which has been remodeled into a reception facility. Creative, huh?
I've been working out at the YMCA since April. Four times a week with very few exceptions. Two hours at a time. Cardio, weights, high end swim classes, and situps. Guess what -- I've lost 10 pounds and 8 inches. Not exactly the 50 I wanted to drop before my little milestone. (Don't even ask about the final goal.) I swear I'm not vain, but it has been a good goal to think about when I would rather be slacking off. I'm ten times stronger than when I started, I'm alive (a feat after last year), and basically live a decent life. I have nothing to complain about.
So here's my warning: I might just be a little freaky next week. Any input and encouragement will be accepted. I'd love to know what one is suppsed to wear to a reception at the Old Coke Plant. Any ideas?
PS: Dave's reunion is two weeks later here locally. Whoopee, the joys of marrying a man the same age as yourself. :-)
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
So last night, after deciding upon the basic requirements and enlarging the map, we started the messy part. Dave is out of town until Wednesday so I had all three kids to juggle while the project work commenced. Jordan was absolutely giddy as we mixed the salt and flour up with water. She just kept saying how cool it was. I guess salt dough looks more exotic than the brownies we normally make in a box. [grin] The scariest part was colorizing the various parts of dough. Food coloring is a scary thing to a woman with a white kitchen. After some discussion about whether watermelon red or aqua blue would be best for the different regions, we succeeded in completing the core of her project. She did a great job and I am ever so thankful for plastic silverware.
After Jordan went to bed (and the three ring circus subsided) I realized that she is getting older quickly. She accomplished her project like big kid...gulp, I think she is a big kid now. We have now crossed into the "carry the big project to school" zone.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
It took me a while to figure him out. First there was the BOY FACTOR which would confuse the most perceptive mother. Boys really are different from girls. Their motivations, their hands on learning (at least my boy), and their activity level. Then there was the SECOND CHILD FACTOR. How do you know that some behavior is not just to get attention? How do you know that being the second child has changed his experience -- after all, isn't it a totally different experience than with the first child? Then I began to realize that the LEARNING FACTOR was different with each child. William is a hands-on learner. He has to touch things as he goes through the world. It's his nature. He learns letters with a game called Boggle, Jr. It's a game with letter cubes. It's like a key turned in his brain. (Jordan is a mixture of visual and verbal.) And for a long time I've dealt with the UNKNOWN FACTOR. It filled me with mostly questions. Why did William get so frustrated with certain activities? Why was he unable to discern obvious pain or danger at times? Why did the little things drive him to a rage? Something as simple as a clothing tag could make him uncontrollable. How could he be so physically strong and yet not able to sit on a stool and eat his dinner? Was it just his personality? Honestly, I felt like a failure as a mother. How could I teach him to deal with these necessary life lessons?
Finally we've found out that he has a mild version of a Sensory Integration Disorder. It explains so much. Therapy has already begun to help. Maturity is helping also. I'm learning to recognize overload situations and help him cope. There are senses other than the five your teacher told you. These are the senses that help you understand your world. These are the senses that tell you how to relax in a chair, but not fall out of that chair onto the floor. In short, these senses determine how you experience the world.
There is beautiful news in this diagnosis. William will improve with therapy...perhaps finish therapy within just a year. He is a the ideal stage for diagnosis and treatment and it's a mild problem that will not keep him from being a normal child. We are fortunate that his birthday falls past the school deadline forcing him to be a year older starting school. It's all going to be OK. It's like a burden has been lifted off me. Like I said in the beginning, 90% of the time you would see William as a model 4 year old. But then there are moments where I am reminded...
On Wednesday we were in Home Depot Expo with my parents. Just a minute after we entered, we were looking at a lighting display. All of a sudden William lets out a huge yelp and is obviously hurt. He won't even let me look at his hand. Apparently he touched a hot halogen light bulb and created a huge blister area on his left hand. We got him ice and he recovered nicely. After the immediate chaos passed, I realized that this incident was directly related to his sensory disorder. Sure, it could have happened to any curious kid, but William did not even draw back from the heat produced from the bulb before touching. He experiences much of his world in a hands on way...so we have these scary moments occasionally. They always happen when you least expect it and he always seems totally surprised at the result of his exploration. Maybe this was the confirmation I needed to continue therapy with no doubt. Maybe one day he'll sense the danger and anticipate the injury before it happens. I hesitated to post this, but honestly, this is what's on my mind.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
So, can you imagine how surreal it was for me to be working out at the YMCA right next to my father on the treadmill? I've truly been blessed. It was just odd to see him right there and later to share weight machine tips with him. Really odd. I guess we've both come a long way this year.
"Do you want to know my friend's name?" said Jordan
"Sure, what is her name?" I replied not expecting the answer.
"Perfect. Her name is Perfect."
William turned 4 on September 7th. He's so great right now. I love this age. Finally he is becoming a real human....not a marathon runner. We had his birthday party at a local park here. (http://www.eastcobbpark.org) with a Buzz Lightyear theme. Although I had reserved the pavillion months ahead of time I was still nervous about how the timing would work in a public facility like that. It fell together perfectly. We served pizza planet pizza (Dominos - which was better tasting than I thought. I have a college memory or two that never allowed me to order dominos in my adult life.) and had Little Green Men grapes. Then the cake and ice cream. I had some dilusional idea that I needed planned games for the kids, but all they wanted to do was play on the playground. I thought that was great. The party wasn't huge - only 9 friends/cousins plus all the adults which came along. My parents were there, my sister and her family drove through the night on Friday night to attend, and Dave's father was there.
This birthday party was completely manageable, but I have to say that birthday party planning and execution totally exhaust me. Last year at Jordan's birthday party we invited a large number of kids thinking that some would RSVP "no". No one did. We ended up with 28 kids in attendance at her luau.
William has been running around with his light saber every since the party. My mother kept calling it a "light stick" and William corrected her every time. He's very serious about being a Jedi Knight. (Photos soon.)
Sunday, September 11, 2005
We awoke in our hospital chairs to find the world falling apart. It was so surreal. Each nurse that came in seemed in a daze...we were all in a daze. We were all glued to the happenings and perplexed at how this could happen before our eyes. Soon my mother called to say that she was going to get Jordan from school. The interstates closed between DC and Baltimore. There I sat trying to nurse a sick, mad baby as the security we had felt just hours before disappeared. And soon we would find out that one of our best Navy buddies had been killed at the Pentagon. CAPT Robert Dolan was Dave's roomate on the USS Richmond K. Turner, CG-20, during the Gulf War and Bosnia. H e left a wife and two beautiful children behind. So unfair. We went to the funeral a few months later with old shipmates and his wife was amazingly strong. We were the ones falling apart.
We've gotten more information since 9/11, but no real solutions have occurred. Our lives have continued, but I feel almost guilty for that. It could have been me -- it could have been you. I'm an eternal optimist, but 9/11 is one of those life changing events for me. I appreciate so many of the little things now.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Please note that there is contact information for their church in the first email and then a mention that the situation has become more critical in the second email. They are even looking to hire a security guard because of the unrest and difficulties this has brought to the area. She did not ask me to pass on this information, but I felt it was the least I could do. If anything, the email made me more aware of the details required in the situation.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 4:56 PM
Subject: Baton Rouge
I went over to the PMAC today (coliseum) and ambulances are streaming in constantly. The track field is a helicopter pad -- at least 3 were there at a time and I hear them flying over my house all day. The PMAC is a trage center helping injured and sick and then, hopefully sending some to shelters. There are refrigeration (18 wheeler) trucks for those who die so its a morgue as well.
I ended up helping our equipment manager wash/fold all the sheets and bedding they are using in the PMAC. We donated pillows and bedding and such. The LSU Gymnastics team was helping with wash. Football players had been to 3 shelters today helping out as well.
Our church has 100 people staying there and when I go tonight I will find out what I need to do there. I asked what others can do and sending money to our church marked for the evacuation shelter would be the best and we will use the money for anything that is needed as time goes by. We are feeding these people from our church funds and they are living in our gym. Our church is Goodwood church of Christ 10715 Goodwood Blvd. Baton Rouge , LA 70815-4612 our website is www.goodwoodchurch.org
Elders: George Lyles 225-766-1961
Otto Buehler 225-753-9807
These are 2 elders you could contact if you need and our preacher is doug Burelson office number 225-272-8936.
We are having a problem of getting supplies..they need diapers and wipes but our stores are out of everything..so hopefully we can get restocked soon or close by towns can send more over! Our traffic is bad and Taylor came home from school saying they would have new students in class ...what will we do with all these extra people? I do worry about the ones in our downtown center...they put a curfew on them, but they will get restless and what do they do?
I will find out more at church as i am about to go now. Thank you for prayers for this state. One student at athletic dept has 20 family members in his apartment. One just found his family today. Everyone is affected in many ways. But a great time to show Gods love.
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2005 11:30 PM
Subject: baton rouge
Hi all. Thank you so much for your prayers and gifts you are sending and getting sent. People are really amazing and I am so thankful for friends, family, and christians. I went to church today and served in all sorts of ways. We feel unorganized and are hoping the red cross will come soon to instruct us and get our people signed up. FEMA - we cant even get thru on the phone line to talk to anyone yet. I returned phone calls from churches offering help. The biggest thing that can help is for a church close by to send a group of 5/6 to take over the manpower of the shelter for a day or 2.
We had unrest downtown today and lots of rumors of theft,,shootings,,etc. so we are trying to hire a security guard for the church (of course there are none to be hired). So money you send will assist in that too.
Most gas stations are out of gas...they say kids go back to school Tues and they are opening doors to all evacuees to school and may do 2 sessions of school a day... school buses are in the power of the state now for its use..so not sure how that will work for school transportation.
Stacy called and said they will now use the indoor football field as a shelter now too...
Larger clothes are best if you hear of any one sending any...and unisex like golf shirts t shirts and large sizes.
The men were putting in a shower stall at our church today...we do have washer and dryer there. The South Baton Rouge church also has 2 shelters.
There are lots of rumors and stories of crime and violence...we are all being more careful.
The people at church seemed very thankful and helpful. We are all in this together
Thanks for caring about us. I will pass on any helpful info you can give us.
16 years together
5 home locations (and survival of the moves associated with those locations)
3 beautiful children – each with their own personality, strengths, and wicked sense of humor
military life, graduate school life, civilian life, southern life
Memories of the good, the bad, the difficult, and the moments when we were there for each other
A life full of surprises and love, more joy than we could have imagined
Quite a milestone year for two kids who met at Auburn.
Dave is in Maryland this week on a business trip. He sent the most lovely flowers. William was most impressed with this. I was getting ready to go to the gym and did not hear the doorbell. William knew that he had to get me to the door. (funny little urgency in his book) Apparently William thinks that the flowers came from the delivery woman. You know, from her to me as a gift. Not from Daddy. He still wouldn't believe me tonight. I guess he felt a bond with the delivery person since he told her all about his halloween costume decisions this year. ;-)
No babysitter available for "three beautiful children" on Saturday night. Looks like we'll be winging the Anniversary celebration this year. I'm looking forward to the standard family chaos. Seems rather pleasant nowadays. I know one day -- one day -- the house will be quiet again. My SIL reminds me of this all the time.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
Keep in mind that William has had a stomach bug all week...
William: Is Grandmother still sick?
Me: Oh, yes I guess Grandmother still has her cold. I'm sure she's feeling better by now.
William: Gee, we're both sick. Hey Mom, it's different isn't it?
Me: What do you mean honey?
William: Well, my stuff came out of my mouth, but Grandmother's stuff comes out of her nose.