Thursday, September 29, 2005

before i go

I've been ignoring those boxes in the garage. The ones my parents delivered a year ago. I suppose after being away from home for 20 years I should take possession of my memories. I never brought them inside the house because that would signify that they are a part of my current life. I just wasn't able to take the time from my life now to look at where I came from.

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

rocks, clean caps, and a spunky strider

Well, Jordan is off on a field trip this morning. After two days off (thanks to Sonny Perdue) I packed her disposable lunch into her backpack and said good bye. Her class is going to the Weinman Mineral Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. She is thrilled. I used to love rocks as a kid and Jordan loves them as much. Just as monumental (according to Jordan) is the fact that they can bring up to $5 for the gift shop. This morning as she was getting dressed we got to hear about how they've "never been allowed to even press their noses against the gift shop window on a field trip, much less buy something." Apparently their teacher is bringing a stapler and sealing each goodie bag as it comes out of the gift shop. Jordan plans on buying an emerald. I hope she finds one for $5.

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

it's all a scam

DH and I went shopping yesterday for the reunion outfits. Dave earns big time husband points for enduring the day with three children. We survived the day and bought more than we should. Honestly, we just don't go to the mall much anymore. Now I know why. It was actually a pleasant day considering all the mall chaos.

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

blockbuster wisdom

"Hoorah, Mom. You got 'Shark Boy and LLAMA Girl' for us! I love Llama Girl."

- William, age 4

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

warning - reunion talk ahead

Apparently 20 years passed by without my knowledge. ;-) Oh yes, I guess my body noticed.

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

salt dough makes you a real mother

The dreaded special project paperwork came home a week or so ago. Build a 3-D/texturized map of the state of Georgia. Apparently not every class is doing it because some of my friends escaped from this part of motherhood this week. Now honestly, I do not do Jordan's work for her, but a project like this has to have some parental involvement and encouragement.

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

and then I am reminded...

Forgive me for bragging, but William has turned into a lovely boy. I feel like we've reached quite a milestone over this past year. His fourth birthday signaled confirmation that we had survived the years 2-4 intact. In just a year he has developed from a whirlwind of activity to the child that actually is complimented for his good behavior. You have no idea what a big step that was for him -- and me.

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 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

surreal experience

Flashback to a year ago. I was fragile, very fragile. Grace’s birth left my health at the bottom of the barrel. Honestly, I could barely make it though a few hours out of bed. Then a few months later (on Christmas Eve to be exact) my father's hereditary heart condition got dramatically worse. It was cruel irony that after nursing me back to health (along with Dave and my mother) he should be at the brink of death. And he stayed that way until some surgery occurred in March. Last winter was rough.

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.

imaginary friends

We ate at Carrabbas restaurant on the night of William's birthday. Jordan sat busily working on her menu drawings and puzzles. The blank space allotted was for a drawing of yourself and your friend. Jordan drew two girls on a playground. When I asked who the friend was she said it was her imaginary friend. (I love the fact that an eight year old is still tender hearted enough to admit that she has an imaginary friend.)

"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."

and another week flies by...

Hypothetically I should post here daily...but that's just not realistic. Some days there will be multiple posts and some weeks I will be living blog free. Last week was one of those weeks. ;-)

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. ( 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. Fortunately it all worked out fine, but it took every family member to keep the party running and we were worthless for days.

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


I don't think I will ever forget that date. William was born on September 7th and by the early morning of September 11th he was in a John's Hopkins hospital because of his severe jaundice. My body was still racked with pain and my exhausted spirit was pretty upset that we had to return to the hospital with our beautiful boy. Then it happened.

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

My son and song lyrics

We were heading out to the garage the other day and William was happily humming the famous song from Snow White. He then bursts into song singing:

Hi ho, hi ho
It's off to work we go
I say hi ho, hi ho
It's great to be a HO!
Then today my mother taught him the old Hank William's Sr. song "Hey hey good lookin' " and he began singing:
Hey, hey good lookin
What have you (not "whatcha") got cookin?
How about cooking some corn on the cob with me?
I said corn on the cob just tastes so good to me!

Thursday, September 01, 2005's horrible

The following text contains two emails from one of my college friends. She lives in Baton Rouge, LA. Her husband is a Football Coach for LSU. It appears they are in full emergency mode with both the team players/ sports organization and also the church. I thought you might be interested in the information she sent. Patricia is a counselor at the University and it looks like she will be helping with the counseling also. An earlier email said that approximately 100,000 people went to Baton Rouge for refuge. They are asking for prayers for the children who cannot find their parents (30 were at the coliseum without parents), sick people, sewage problems, and disease like west nile.

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 -----
From: patricia
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
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 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.

love patricia

From: patricia
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 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.

today was our wedding anniversary

15 years married
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.