Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cribs: The Clearance Rack Edition

Yo Yo Yo. Welcome to my crib! 

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :) I should actually say welcome to my new church manse. I've had several friends ask to see pics of our new house, (did y'all know I just moved? I had totally forgotten.....) so I thought I would oblige. As I was flipping through channels the other day I came across the "Most Expensive Cribs" on MTV. I would like to add a new flava to the show. I call mine "I Got This on Clearance Cribs". Let's get started....

                                                      Here we have the living room

This is my favorite shot. Here we have the picture on the floor that I keep forgetting to hang up, the totally empty wall that I haven't gotten around to decorating, my husband's feet and if you look real close you can see the trash on the dining room table from our fast food supper. :)

Here is a shot of Eli's room
Let's pretend there is not a train set on the floor in a bazillion pieces, k?

Those spots on the wall that look like it's been patched up are actually clouds. We're going to figure out the best way to color them. Eventually....

The girl's room. Please overlook the furniture. Apparently, these drawers were not designed to hold 7 and 8 year old girls. Who knew?
Okay, so this is the part where they usually brag about how expensive their stuff is. But I'm going to tell you how excited I am by my cheap stuff. :)  I had picked out a picture and a lamp that I wanted for their room and they were both $25 each. I've been waiting patiently to see if they would go on clearance. Because I'm cheap. Actually, I am frugal as one of my friends, Jennifer, pointed out. :) The reason I was holding out for that lamp is that it was the only one I could find with the shade of purple I wanted. Well, on our date the other night, we just happened to stop by Ross and I found this lamp shade for-----------$1.99!!!!!!!!!!! And I found this picture for $3.99!!!!!!!!! Now, I am not good with math, but even I knew that ='s WAY BETTER!!

The girls already had this lamp...

So, I painted it and slapped that $1.99 shade on there and TA DA!

This is our bedroom. And those are my flannel Christmas pj pants with bears on them that I wear year round. Like I've said, my hubby is a lucky man. :) Please take note of all the fans on the nightstands. Fidlers cannot sleep without fans. It's not happening.

Well, I guess that is the tour for now. There are still things I would like to do. My house (whichever one I'm living in) is always a work in progress. My goal is to completely finish my kid's rooms before they leave for college. I may have to hold them back a few grades. :)

I hope you've enjoyed this tour. Maybe next time I'll show you our $10 inflatable pool and the trampoline. :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Well Ruffle My Feathers....

Sometimes after you become a parent, things change. Like for instance, little people follow you to the bathroom. You may crawl into bed longing for comfort and rest and be greeted with corn in your sheets. And, you may go on dates that include trips to K-Mart for jammies and shoes and go to restaurants with menus you can color on.

Josh's Mom and grandma (aka T and Mammy) had asked if Sarah and Eli could take turns at their houses this weekend getting some one on one time with each of them. Yesterday my kid's must have asked me, "Is it time to go yet?" at least eleventy billion times. Finally it was time to go and Sarah discovered that she could not find a single pair of shoes. Not one. She could find one of her flip flops. Could she wear her tennis shoes? No, she's worn them once before and apparently that is all we get before her foot grows and it's time for a new size. So, I made her wear a pair of sandals that don't fit all that great until we could get to the store.
I thought you needed to see pics of shoe shopping with Sarah.

I picked out some very practical brown sandals. She wasn't having none of that.

My child has always loved the bling. When she was three she had  a pink skirt covered in metallic circles. She called it her "bling, bling" skirt. I finally had to throw it away. She literally wore it until it fell apart. If I was crafty I would have made a pillow case out of it or something. But I'm not. So back to shoe shopping. She got the white, wedge heeled shoes with the bling on top. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to sell some of my organs to pay for her wedding one day. I'm anticipating diamonds on the napkins....

Well, that was how our date started. We left K-Mart and headed to Sonic for some drinks. A sweet tea, Diet Cherry Coke and 3 Sprites. We're so wild. The girl at the window gave Josh like 40 napkins "in case of a mess". I asked Josh, "Do we look like we would make a mess?" Really, I don't know where that girl would get such an idea...

After dropping the big kids off  we ran by the hospital to make a visit. I know, y'all are already green with envy over this date, and it really hasn't started y'all!! After our visit it was time to eat. Woo-hoo!

Last week when Josh was helping his Dad with his bread route he came home telling me about this bird that hangs out at one of the restaurants. His name is Harold. This is what got me. He is such a smart little bird that he waits for people to feed the fish and when they jump up he gets them. He will not get in the water. Why get wet when somebody else can do the work, right? I like the way this bird thinks. So, of course, my first reaction to this was "That bird has got to go on my blog!"

So we headed to Bayou Joe's to meet Harold. And to get a trash burger. That would be the biggest burger you've ever seen with whatever the cook feels like throwing on it. It's all Josh had talked about. I told him I hoped we didn't end up back at the hospital after supper.

Isn't this a fine lookin' establishment? :)  And doesn't my child look happy? I just know that one day I'm going to get a picture where my children actually look like they want to be seen with me. :) Had y'all heard that Mardi Gras beads are the latest fashion trend? You know I like to keep y'all updated on fashion trends....
I felt so at home here. Crayons in a tupperware container and silverware rolled in washcloths.
The infamous trash burger. This was the first time EVER in almost 13 years of eating with Josh that he couldn't eat it all. Do you want to know what is on this thing? That would be chili, onions, pickles, mushrooms, a few fries and some onion rings. Hurt my tummy just to look at it.
This was our view.  I could have sat there all night. Except I had a restless 2 year old with me who got totally bored with the crayons. Oh well. It was a nice thought.
We decided to do a mini photo shoot while Daddy waited for the ticket...

I never was able to get a pic of Harold. :(  He showed up while we were eating, but he was hanging out at another couple's table and I do have boundaries with just how obnoxious I am with the picture taking. You can see a pic of him though by clicking on the Bayou Joe's link above.

After supper we headed to the store to get a baby shower gift. See, I told you some things change after kids. :) We also picked up a new Little People's set for Kate. It was what I had bribed her with during the ER trauma last week and I was very late in delivering. It was too late after we left the ER that night and then I took off to Georgia in a rush. So, it was due.

Overall, it was a very fun date night. Wored us slap out....

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'd Rather Live in His World

In the last couple of weeks I've been in a spiritual drought of sorts. Have you ever been there? My last few weeks went from being super busy with birthday planning, Mother's Day and job interviewing, to being completely isolated in our house with a sick baby, then back to the craziness (and fun!) of our trip to Georgia. This week I have found myself in a desperate attempt to put my head back on straight.

During Baby Watch I often joked about catching the "Midnight Train to Georgia" and I have to admit that that song has stayed stuck in my head. I love that song. If you've never heard it it's a song about a girl following her guy wherever he goes. Not at all popular with feminists, I'm sure, but I adore it. For one, it's just catchy. Makes you want to throw on a sequined dress and put your hair in curlers. It also perfectly describes how I feel about Josh, no matter how unfeminists (another new word?) it may be. You see, I've gone through various dreams and life plans in my day, but from the age of 17 I knew that no matter what happened in my life, it wouldn't mean anything to me if Josh wasn't there. Do you want to know why I got married? Well I will tell you. It was because I could not stand the idea of spending another minute of my life without Joshua Stuart Fidler. That is all.

You are probably wondering what any of that has to do with  my spiritual drought. I'm getting there. Promise. You see, it might seem weird to people how I talk about God and my relationship with Him. I get that. I know that there are people who read my blog that start rolling their eyes or feeling sorry for me when I mention things I feel like He has "spoken" to me. I was watching a news show the other night about a guy whose Mom mentioned a time he felt like God spoke to him, and I thought, 'that sounds crazy'. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!! But I know that there are people who automatically start making a mental checklist of  mental institutions with rooms available when you say such things. I would probably be one of those people if my own personal experience had not taught me otherwise. I am a follower of Jesus simply because I could not stand to live another minute of my life without Him.

My favorite line in that song says, "I'd rather live in his world, than live without him in mine." Now, after recieving a degree in social work I might be tempted to diagnose Gladys Knight as someone with extreme co-dependency issues. But, as a girl who fell in love, I just get it. I just get that sometimes it happens in life that you meet someone who sweeps you off of your feet and you will not be okay with life unless you are with them. That is what happened when Jesus asked me to follow Him. In the last couple of weeks (okay years) there have been times when I have found myself tempted to wonder how different things would be if I hadn't made the decision to follow. Would they be easier? Honestly, I am not the type of Christian who will tell you that Jesus came into my heart and everything in life became perfect. Didn't happen. Actually, you read my blog so you wouldn't believe it even if I did say it. I KNOW there are things that would be easier if I didn't believe. Living for Jesus, with the kind of faith He asks us to live, challenges every single part of life. Family relationships, jobs, education, where you live, how you parent. There are lots of days I feel very tempted to say "I just want to do it my way!" Jesus asks me to be selfless, giving, forgiving, loving, and faithful. Somedays I just want to be selfish. I want to take and not give. I want to hold on to my grudges just a little bit longer. I would rather gossip about people than love them.  I see other people who are not believers and they seem to be doing just fine.

But, the truth is, I could never be okay without my faith. Because it is not about being "fine". It's not about living the American dream. It's about living in His world. It's knowing that on the hardest day in His world, He is there. It's just about Him. Psalm 93 says, The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

So, I choose to be part of His world. Because at the end of the day, I'd rather live in His world, than live without Him in mine.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Life in a List

1. Contrary to popular belief, roast, cheesy potatoes and Sister Schubert rolls are NOT better than peanut butter on cheese crackers. That's what Kate says.

2. My hormones have gone C-ARAZY and they are taking me with them. I can't sleep at night and I often find myself sticking my head in the freezer. I am also a *tad* bit grumpy.

3. My hubby desperately wants a date with me this weekend. Well, that's what he's saying. I secretly think he might be planning to kidnap me and drop me off somewhere far, far away.

4. Daisy is very likely pregnant. I don't wanna talk about it.

5. Kate is all healed up (thank you Jesus!!!), but she doesn't know that. Josh has created wrestling moves to hold her down during changes. I'm not even kidding.

6. I finally hung a picture on the wall in our living room.

7. My kids new favorite game is "jail" and they often tell me that somebody is "callin' the law". I don't know what to make of this...

8. My life this week has been so dull that I took a pic of my kids eating sandwiches and was planning a whole blog about what you can learn about people's personalities based on how they make their sandwich....

Aren't you thankful for this list now????

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thank God for Little Girls and Tow Trucks

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. My family doesn't do a dern thing without drama. Not a thing. You wouldn't expect the birth of the newest little beauty in our family to be any different now would you?

This latest bit of excitement began last Tuesday night. I spent Tuesday recovering from our ER experience the night before. I talked with my sister who was really bummed out that she couldn't be induced that day and she had taken my almost 2 year old nephew grocery shopping in hopes that she would aggravate herself into labor. :) My mom, brother and I had already made plans to leave out Wednesday afternoon so we could spend a little time with Jenny before she was induced on Friday. I had scheduled a follow-up dr.'s appointment for Kate at 8:00 Wednesday morning so I would be sure to be done and ready to hit the road.

While I was making supper that night I got news that Jenny was having regular contractions and she was going to wait until they laid Luke down for bed, then head to the hospital. That still gave me a few hours and I knew that even then, there was always the chance they would send her back home. After supper I headed to the Dollar General and my Mom called saying it was official, they were keeping her at the hospital. My Mom works on a dinner cruise that goes out in the bay and she was at work prepping for dinner that night. She couldn't decide if she should go ahead and work or not. She told me to call Phil. Everybody in Dollar General heard all about our plans that night. We decided my Mom should just work and we would leave out when she was done. She decided she was just heading home! So, I went home, took a bath, got dressed, finished packing and we headed to my Mom's. We loaded all of our stuff into her and car and cranked it up. It made the most horrible sound you have ever heard. So, we got out, unloaded and reloaded into Phil's car. We were finally heading out.

After stopping at a rest area that was more like a mini camping vacation, we were determined not to stop until we got to the hospital. Jenny was sending regular texts to keep us updated and things were moving along. Unfortunately, about an hour and a half into our trip, we weren't. My Mom was on the phone and Phil was saying something about a light coming on and the next thing I knew we were pulled over on the side of I-10, broke down. At 1:30 am. We were on the phone with Josh trying to get long distance mechanic advice. My Mom was looking at an Avon catalog. I got out to investigate. If you've read my blog for very long you know that I have some experience with broke down cars. My specialty is blowing up engines.

Phil was on my phone talking to Josh and I decided to check things out. Nothing looked blown up and there was no green stuff leaking. I knew that was good. Unfortunately, that was the only good news. After that we spent an hour in the dark waiting on a tow truck that we had no idea where to tell it to take us. My Mom kept saying she wished somebody would stop to help us, but I kept thinking, "NO! Please don't let anybody stop!" Because seriously, people who stop at 2:00 in the morning are more likely to kill you than to help you. Am I right, here???

The tow truck finally arrived and sure enough, the guy looked like a serial killer. My Mom asked me later if I got a picture of him and I told her that he did not seem up for a photo shoot, know what I mean? While we watched the car being loaded on the trailor do you know what came wandering by? A POSSUM! I'm telling you, I am like the queen of the rodent population. Can't go anywhere without them. We loaded up in the tow truck and all I could think was, "How many times will I ride in tow trucks with serial killer look alikes in my life?" Thankfully, he was a nice guy and he took us to drop the car off at an auto place and waited for us to reload all of our stuff into his truck so he could drop us off at a hotel up the road. We were delirious by that point. When we got to the desk the guy asked how many nights we needed the room and Phil told him just one.I then jokingly said "Or an hour or so."  The guy gave me quite a look and I started to explain that I was with  my Mom and brother, but then I decided that would probably just sound even stranger. I just let it go and went to find the vending machine.

It was when I climbed into the bed with my Reese's Cup that the whole night made sense. There, on the wrapper, it said, "You can win $2 Million instantly".  "This is it!" I exclaimed. "This is why all of this happened. So we would end up at this hotel and I would get this Reese's Cup!"

Here I am moments before opening my prize...

And here I am after reading "Sorry, you are not a winner". I was trying to make a really sad face, but I was so unbelievably, deliriously silly by this point. It was much funnier at 3 in the morning. I promise.

Luckily, my last few weeks of not being able to sleep before 2 am really paid off this night. I didn't even think I would go to sleep at all, but I finally did. For a few hours. :)  We got up a little before 7:00 and we were able to get a hold of Jenny's best friend, Jenn, who luckily lives in Tally where we were passing our time. She came and picked Phil up and took him to the car place where the damage was told. Nothing can start a day off worse than a quote from a mechanic. We started looking at renting a car, but there were no places that would let us just rent the car for the day. Finally, we just decided to have the car fixed and wait the estimated 3 hours. While we enjoyed our continental breakfast we got the news that Baby Lyla had made her entrance into the world.

Soon, we got this pic on our phones. So, I had to have my first pic with Lyla. :)

After our wait at the hotel that included monopolizing the lobby's computer, obssesive texting, and obnoxious yelling "She looks like me! She looks like me!" Jenn came back to taxi us back to the car place. Hallelujah!

Not everybody gets to hang out in  places like this on their road trips....

FINALLY, we were on the road. For real. We stopped by Burger King for lunch and it just happened to be the BK Josh and I used to drive across town to eat at when I was pregnant with Sarah because I HAD to have whopper jr's. Had to. Come to think of it, most of my memories of Tally are the places I broke down and the places I ate because of pregnancy cravings. What a full circle moment. :)

All was well until we got into the town the hospital was at and we got stopped by a train! And not just any train. One of those trains that kept stopping, backing up, going forward, backing up, you know they kind that make you want to scream ugly words out the car window. I mean, not that preacher's wives ever want to do that.....Anyway, I had joked for the last few weeks about catching the Midnight Train to Georgia. After watching this train I decided it was better to take the broke down car!!!!!

Our 3 and a half hour trip turned into an  almost 24 hour mini-vacay. Okay, maybe that is not the right word. :) But, when we got to the hospital, it was all SOOO worth it!

If I look like I only got 3 hours of sleep and I slept in my clothes, well.....yeah. :) My sister who was in labor for hours and had just given birth, looked awesome though!

After loving on my new favorite niece Phil and I headed to Jenny's house to pick up the big brother for his first meeting with little Miss.

Jenny had told me about this, a binder she had prepared with Luke's schedule and all other important info. She seemed to think I might be a little offended by it, but I thought it was the greatest thing ever! I totally crack up at how funny life is. Growing up Jenny was the wild child, party girl. I was the church going honor student. We are SOO different as Mom's than I thought we would be. She is super organized, scheduled and has it all together. I'm, well.....y'all read my blog. Y'all know what I'm like. :)

After supper and a bath it was time for the first meeting!

Is he the cutest big brother or what??

My beautiful sister and her precious babies. I never knew I could love any other kids as much as I love my own!!!

I am so thankful I got to be a part of this amazing moment and I would have taken 85 tow trucks to get there!!!!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm Not Proud or Anything....

Baby Watch 2010 has officially concluded with...... a baby!! Miss Lyla has made her grand appearance and she is a beauty! I am totally smitten! I'll let you see for yourself. You will fall in love too....

She is just the sweetest thing and I am having so much fun being the aunt! I will give you a full rundown of our excitement this week once I get back home and settled in. It includes a tow truck at 2 in the morning, a possum and a reese's cup, just to name a few of the details. Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I've Seen Better Days

After battling a cold for the last week, Kate just hasn't been herself. Sleep schedule messed up, extra fussy, the whole deal. I noticed Friday that she was walking funny and that she would straighten her legs and hold them tight when I would pick her up. Saturday I realized she had a bad sore on her bottom. I wanted desperately to avoid an ER trip so I decided I would wait until today and make a dr.'s appointment.

After sitting in the waiting room for close to 3 hours, we went back with a nurse only to be told that she would need to go to the ER. I headed back home to get Josh because I was also told I would need his help. I called my Mom and we dropped Sarah and Eli off at some of our curch member's (who also happen to be our next door neighbor's) house until my Mom could get here. We headed for the ER at the super nice, brand new hospital they just built in our area. Really, it opened 2 weeks after we moved here. Apparently word got out that the most accident prone family of people EVER was  moving to town. :)

I had been forewarned that Kate had a boil that would have to be lanced. Meaning, they would have to take a scapel and cut the wound and let it drain. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds. It was a staph infection on her hiney. (That is technical Mom speak there). The nurses, respiratory therapist, and dr. were all excellent. Everyone did great. Except me.

I am usually pretty good with this kind of thing. I've always been able to be strong and hold it together for my little ones. Not tonight. I knew before we got to the hospital that they would sedate her. What I didn't know is that it would only be a partial sedation. She couldn't feel anything and won't remember anything, but her eyes stayed open. That was what was hard for me.

As soon as the nurse told me that her eyes would be open but not aware, a flood of emotions came over me that I was totally unprepared for. Everyone kept reassuring me that she would be fine, and I just couldn't share with anyone or make them understand why that part was so difficult for me.  You see, it was just a little less than five months ago that I was in a hospital room watching my Dad die. His eyes were open, but they were unaware. They didn't look at me, they looked past me. I have never experienced anything so difficult in my life. I can honestly say without hesitation that was the worst part of what we experienced with my Dad. For him to be gone was one thing. For him to still be there, but NOT be there was beyond what my heart could handle.

Josh did know what I was feeling and he finally convinced me to leave the room for a minute. When I came back they put me in a spot to be close to her but not see what was going on. Everyone kept assuring me that she was going to be just fine. That this is very common and they see it all the time. They just didn't get that my tears had more to do with an event that happened six months ago that was not okay and everything was not just fine.

Thankfully tonight, everything was fine. It took Kate longer to wake up from the sedation than I felt comfortable with, but she did. And it was pretty funny when she did. We took her by Burger King to get some chicken nuggets and when I handed her her drink she kept moving it back and forth in front of her face saying, "Nook". (English translation: "Look.") When we got home she wandered around the house swaying and falling down. Then, she laid on the loveseat wearing Eli's sunglasses, playing with her feet and giggling. We made Eli trade beds tonight because we thought it was a bad idea to let little Miss Happy Feet anywhere near the bunkbed.

I am one grateful, relieved Mama tonight. Relieved that everything is over. That Kate seems to be feeling better already. Relived that she recieved such good care. Grateful for family (real and church) who were praying and caring tonight. Grateful for a husband who is always at my side and is strong enough to hold me emotionally and our two year old physically. And I am grateful and relived that the same Jesus who sat in the hospital through the worst week of my life in December, was there again tonight. And His grace is always enough.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On the Scene

I missed church this morning to care for this little girl. She has been having a lot of trouble breathing through a stuffy nose at night and last night we discovered she has a very bad sore on her bottom that has been leading to some traumatic pull-up changes. I finally just decided to bring her to the recliner and I slept on the couch. She seems to do better in the recliner.  I never knew I would be so thankful for Cartoon Network. She dozed on and off. At one point she woke up and said "Where's Daddy?" I answered, "He's asleep." She said, "Okay." And that was that. I finally fell asleep at 2:00 and at 3:00 I opened my eyes and she was walking around the living room. I was afraid she was up for the night, but I asked her if she could get back in the recliner and she did and went back to sleep. Needless to say, we weren't feeling up for church this morning. The truth is, even if we weren't feeling so puny, I think I was in need of a recovery day. This has been some kind of week, y'all. I won't bore you with the details. Instead, I've decided to bring a little mystery to the blog, CSI style.

I am forever getting e-mails about going to school to be a CSI (crime scene investigator). Not sure why. But, I think I would totally like that job if not for my complete inability to handle bodily fluids or the fact that the sight of blood makes me want to pass out. But the investigating part, I could totally do that. When I was little, my favorite part of sick days was being at home during the time that Murder, She Wrote came on during the day. Yes, I do know that no other 10 year old liked Murder, She Wrote. Yes, I know that makes me weird. We had already established that, right? Well back to my mystery. I'm calling this "The Case of the Open Refrigerator and Pantry".

It was late on a Saturday afternoon. My husband was still working and my kids, including two of the neighborhood children, had resigned themselves to the playroom. I decided to attempt to finish a book I was reading. A mystery, of course. After a few minutes of reading I headed to the kitchen for a snack. I happened upon this scene.
I followed the trail of clues:

A half-eaten tomato
The scariest piece of evidence this CSI (children's snafu investigator) has ever come across
There were 5 kids in the playroom, but only one suspect
CASE SOLVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Punishment was executed swiftly. For the CSI. I had to clean the suspect, the beanbag, the carpet she decided to drop and do an army roll on AND the bathtub.

Witnesses to the scene responded with laughter and passionate denials that they realized she had the peanut butter.

Other evidence of playroom/kitchen transfer were discovered after apprehension of the suspect.

Pink polish that was SUPPOSED  to be in the cabinet above the refrigerator.

This victim was found while CSI washed dishes. Thankfully, Mr. Astronaut had been added after the cooking of the spaghetti sauce and suffered no injuries. He was returned to his spot in the playroom.

It was while wiping down the dining room table that the CSI came across this crime scene.

Apparently this girl had been kidnapped and someone stole her clothes. In the excitement of the earlier case and the chaos in the playroom, her family hadn't even filed a missing person report yet. Her clothes are still missing. We've put out an APB.

Not all cases are solved so quickly. This was a lucky day. Maybe not for the CSI. Or the carpet. But  it was definitely a good day for an astronaut and a barbie.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

That Kinda Girl

I recently talked about being on the debate team in college. Tonight I was reminded of a conversation I had during that time. It was with a boy. A college boy. Can I just stop here and admit that boys used to really, really intimidate me? Especially college boys on debate teams. They made me watch the news. And do research on stuff like foreign relations and healthcare and stuff that totally took away from my Golden Girls time. Anyway, during that time I spent a lot of time with boys. There were a few sweet girls, but for the most part, it was guys. Up until that point most of my experience with the opposite sex was when boys fell in love with my friends and they became friends with me to get the dirt on my friends. You know what I'm sayin'? I have hot friends, y'all. :)  (I still ask Josh, "Are you sure I'm the one you wanted?) Anyway, I tell you about my inadequacy and social awkwardness with boys to hopefully explain this conversation. Maybe. We took lots of trips on weekends to tournaments and spent an abnormal amount of time together on 15 passenger vans. I wasn't old enough to drive because of insurance rules, but due to my ability to never sleep in the van (do y'all notice a pattern in my life?) I was always the designated "keep the driver awake" person. It was during one of those trips that the driver, a boy, said, "You have a personality." I wasn't quite sure how to take that and he went on to say, "You seem like one of those girls that wouldn't have a personality." To this day I still have no idea how to take that comment. Should I be grateful he concluded I do, in fact, have a personality? Should I be offended that he originally thought I didn't have a personality? Who knows. The reason I share this is because it made me realize that sometimes we just don't realize how other people see us. You know what I mean?

Well, tonight during supper Josh and I were discussing Baby Watch 2010 and Josh said that he had a feeling that my baby niece is going to make her appearance this weekend. I remarked that I should probably  have my stuff packed and he said he couldn't believe I didn't already. The truth is that I've just been draggin' through this week. My thought was that if it happened tonight I was afraid I wouldn't have the energy to even walk to the car. Then....I realized there were some things I really needed from the store and I should probably have them if it were to happen tonight. Or tomorrow. So, I got everybody (including Josh) into bed and headed out to the store. I got my essentials: toothpaste, bodywash, long, dangly, sparkly earrings. Wha? First impressions are important people. I want babygirl's first thought upon seeing me to be, 'Aunty Em really knows how to accessorize!' Okay, so in reality I will probably be reminded, if not by her than by her big brother, why I haven't been able to wear long, dangly earrings for going on 8 years now. Oh well....I was going to take the big, tacky clearance sticker off, but then I decided, Nah. I take a lot of pride in how cheap I am. :)

Okay, so if you're wondering what the heck that has to do with the story I told you above, there really is a point, I promise! So, I went from being too exhausted to do anything to bouncing off of walls and driving 45 minutes to go shopping. As I headed out I realized I was a little low on gas. After my shopping trip I stopped by a gas station and tried to avoid eye contact. Not to be mean, but I just didn't have the energy to conversate with drunk people at the gas station. That takes a special energy y'all. I paid and went back out to pump my gas and a guy pulled up in a low rider truck blasting reggae music. It was a 50 year old balding, white guy and somebody asked him to turn the music up. He pointed at me and said he didn't think "the lady" would like that. First, I am totally offended when people who are older than me treat me old. It's bad enough when all of the teenagers treat me that way because I AM to them. But c'mon! He then asked me if I minded. I assured him I did not. Maybe it's just late. Maybe I've had too much caffeine and not enough sleep lately, but I really got offended. Do I not look like the kind of girl who would enjoy a little reggae music in the parking lot of a gas station on Friday night???? Do I have "Baptist Preacher's Wife" tattooed on my forehead????
Well, just so you know, I've been known to cut a rug. To boogie down. To....well you get what I'm sayin'.....It seems to mostly happen with my friend Cortnee. She brings it out in me. And that reminded me of a story I never told on this blog. About a night when 4 friends stopped at Sonic because a certain friend (whose name starts with an E and rhymes doesn't rhyme with anything. Oh well.) had to have a Diet Cherry Coke. During the wait it would just so happen that a crowd of teenaged spring breakers would gather in that parking lot. And it would just so happen that a certain N'Sync song would come on. And a certain friend whose name starts with C and rhymes with.....geez, I need to go back to first grade. Anyway, Cortnee felt the uncontrollable urge to jump out of the truck and show those spring breakers what was so sorely missing from their lives. The "Bye, Bye, Bye" dance.

I think this picture is blurry because I was shaking uncontrollably with laughter while I was taking it. Just so you know, we showed those teenagers who rule! They all clapped for Cortnee as we drove away. Next Spring Break, I'll be dancing to some reggae......    :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Technical Difficulty and Sleep Deprivation-A Great Combination

I became a Mom at the age of 21. I was pretty young and clueless. The great thing about being the first to have a baby in your circle of peers is that, in those people's eyes,  you become the expert on motherhood. It seemed for awhile that when people began considering starting a family, they wanted to talk to me. They would share their concerns and fears. A huge thing for most people is that they don't feel financially ready. I have to tell ya, if Josh and I waited until we were financially ready for kids we would still be waiting!! I always say that is why God surprised us early because I was famous back in the day for making pros and cons lists about everything and I am pretty sure if motherhood had been waiting for me to get my act together it would never have happened! Anyway, I share all of this to say that the truest advice I can give people is: As soon as you feel like you've had all of the sleep you need in life, you are ready for a baby. Seriously, y'all. I've been willing to sacrifice financially for our kids. Sacrifice time. Put personal plans on the back burner for a while. Wear snot and an assortment of other bodily fluids on my clothes. Vacuum cheerios out of the carpet on an hourly basis. Pack like I'm going overseas when I'm really just running to the store. But the one thing that does me in is the sleep issue.

I always hear stories about people who get sleeping babies. "Oh, baby boy slept through the night the first night we came home from the hospital." These stories seemed to be shared most often in the first weeks back to school or work or the first morning back to church. The days when I had experienced about 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep the night before, my eyes were being held open with toothpicks and I was still rocking back and forth out of habit. Or winding. Sarah would only sleep in her swing for the first six months of her life and we didn't have a fancy automatic swing. I literally learned to walk and wind the swing up in my sleep. The thing about it is that once your body adjusts, it's not so bad. In fact, once my babies did start sleeping all night, I was still the one waking up. The hard part is when they tease you. They go a few weeks sleeping really well and then BAM!!!!

Well, my youngest is 2 now and has been sleeping through the night for quite a while. Until this week. She's had a stuffy nose and we all know there is nothing more frustrating than trying to sleep when you can't breathe. Well, actually the only thing more frustrating is trying to take care of someone else who can't breathe while they're sleeping. There's only so much you can do to make them comfortable. And when they wake up crying there is not much you can offer other than a hug. It just so happens that this sleep interupption has happened at the same time that Josh is running his Dad's bread route. It has caused me to feel like I'm in a time warp. Josh was a bread man the first 5 years of our marriage and had to leave for work between 2 and 4 am. He would set the alarm usually for 1:30 or 2:00. In case I haven't told y'all this like a million times, I'm a night owl. I can't tell you how many nights I got in the bed at 1:00 and 30 minutes later the alarm would go off. Most of the time Josh would set it so early so he could keep hitting snooze. Which I get. But, between baby feeding schedules, my  night owlness (new word!), and that stinkin' alarm clock I don't know how any of us functioned. I do know there are several years of my life I have no memory of. :)  (My sister and her friend will also tell you about a time they stayed with us in our apartment, pre-babies, and Josh's alarm went off for several hours and neither of us heard it. It's scary, huh? I guess our bodies were just resting up for the future. :)

Well, I share all of that to tell you that Kate has been up several times this week not feeling good. Josh had to be up at 2 this morning. I did laundry all day yesterday, but somehow managed to put the load with the shorts Josh wanted in very last. So, I was up at 1:00 waiting on his shorts to dry. As soon as they did Kate was up. I finally got her calmed down. Then, when I tried to get in bed, Sarah was laying in my spot. I woke her up and she moved to a pallet on the floor. By the time I got her moved Eli came in asking if he could make a pallet on the floor. I don't know why we bought beds for our kids when we have perfectly good, carpeted floors. I laid down just in time for Josh to get up and turn the closet light on. I just talked to Josh and he asked if everyone slept okay. I assured him that after 2:00 this morning, we all did. :)

So as usual, caffeine is my friend. And electronics are not. When I stumbled out of the bed this morning Eli was holding the PS3 controller. He is not mine or Josh's child. He wakes up at the crack of dawn and I feel like he does it for the same reason I stay up half the night. It's his time. He gets to play his game without any interference. Well, the TV was on, but it wasn't showing anything on the screen. I will take this moment to tell you that I am very technologically challenged. We got a new TV when we moved and it took a good 2 weeks for me to figure out how to switch it to the DVD player. Back to this morning, I tried to plug a yellow cord thing into all of the yellow holes and nothing worked. About an hour later Eli came back announcing he wanted to watch cartoons. I told him the TV still wasn't working. He pushed a button on the remote and it came on. I felt like a doofus. He then told me, "We need the noise. Turn the noise on." Thankfully, I do know how to turn the volume up. :)

With that confession of my technological challenges, I wanted to let you know that I started a page on FB for the blog. I feel like it is so much easier to interact and stay in touch with people on FB. I have a networked blog thing, but I feel like this new page will be easier to keep up with. I know some of you read my blog, but we are not friends on FB. I *think* you can click on the FB badge with the big smiley face on the left and "like" my blog. At least, that is the plan. I'm hoping to be able to do a better job of keeping up with comments that  you leave and being able to communicate more effectively. I would love to get to know you all better and there is even a place for discussions. There are so many things I would love to hear your opinions on: birthday party ideas, theological issues, how you handle PMS, advice on potty training, books you are reading. I'm tellin' ya, I pretty much talk about it ALL here!!!! I am even considering trying to do a Bible study during the summer. I thought it might be difficult to keep up with comments on here, but I feel like the discussion page on FB would be perfect. Would you let me know if you would be interested in that? And please let me know if there are any Bible studies you recommend or have been wanting to do. And please, by all means, feel free to give me a tutorial on any blogger or FB stuff you know. I can use all the help I can get!!!!!! (Much thanks to Lori for your help!!!)

Thanks for reading. I pray you have a blessed day full of sleep and free of technical difficulties!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You May Say I'm A Dreamer

So, I've shared on FB and my blog that I applied for a dance teacher position and I am very excited to let you know that I got it! I am happy to report that contrary to the original information I received, I did not have to perform a solo in front of judges. Thank you to my prayer warriors who specifically prayed about that for me. :)

Today was my interview though and I  had to take a written lesson plan for a 3-5 year old ballet/tap combo class and then do a mock class with the studio owner's daughters who are 8 and 11. There are no words to tell you how nervous I was. I know it is silly. I was the most stressed out because I could not find the music I wanted to use. I was also having serious technical difficulties because I don't know how to work any of our contraptions that play music. I finally broke down and hauled the kids to the Family Dollar to buy a good, old fashioned boom box with a CD player. They didn't have one. I started to panic and wonder if they even make such things anymore, but luckily I found one at Dollar General. It even has a place to hook up my MP3 player! MP3 players will probably be so yesterday (are they already?) when I figure it out, but I was still excited. Anyway, I tell you that big long story to tell you we didn't even use the music!! We just went through some simple barre exercises and then she offered me the job! She kept referring to how long it's been since I danced and I really think she wanted to make sure I didn't throw out my back during the first port de bra or land straight on my booty during the first grand plie. I was a little anxious to find out about that too. :) I will be working with the little kiddos and it will be about 4 hours a week to start with. I was excited about that too, because while I wanted the opportunity to teach I still feel very strongly that my main job is at home right now.

I had so much fun making my lesson plans!!!

That being said, one of the most special things for me is that I will get to share this with my girls. Sarah actually went with me today and I was amazed at how much it calmed my nerves to have her with me. I was able to practice my lesson plan on her and that helped my confidence as well. I never wanted to push my interests on my kids, but Sarah genuinely loves to dance and I can't tell you how many times she told me she hoped I got the job.

I am so thankful for all of the encouragement and support my friends and family have offered. I normally would NEVER have said a word about something like this until I knew it was a done deal, but I'm glad I did because everyone has been so sweet and supportive. I know it may not seem like a big deal to anybody else, but it's pretty big thing for me. You see, there is a reason I haven't danced for the last 9 or so years. In fact, there are several reasons. The first is INSECURITY. Can anybody relate to that? I don't know that I have really ever shared this story before, but while I was still in high school I tried out to be a Dixie Darling. For those of you who don't know what that is, they are the dance team at the University of Southern Mississippi. We lived in Petal, Ms. when I was little and I grew up idolizing the Dixie Darlings. My parents took me to Hattiesburg one weekend for try-outs and....I got sick as a dog. I'm pretty sure I had the flu. I don't know if I slept at all the night before the try-outs. The next day I was struggling, but a good dancer knows, the show must ALWAYS go on! Somehow I survived the audition and even made it to the final round. That was as far as I made it though. I got cut. They were holding more try-outs in the next couple of months and I was told I could come back and try again, but I knew I wouldn't. I was crushed. Sixteen years of dance and I couldn't even make a college dance team. Did I give myself any credit for making it to the final round with the flu? Nope. I let that experience destroy any confidence I had in myself as a dancer.

I've never regretted that I didn't go back and try out again. I really haven't. Because that is how I ended up at William Carey and met my best friend. I also got a scholarship for the speech/debate team, something I know was a God thing. Only I could dance for 16 years and end up with a debate scholarship. Go figure. :)  I can say very confidently though that the lessons I learned from that time have been invaluable in my life and I wouldn't trade 'em for the world. I just knew at that time that God was asking me to lay my dream of dancing down.

It was at that point that I decided it was time to be a serious grown up, and there was no room in that world for ballet or kicklines. It wasn't long after that that my life was shrouded by depression. That led to weight gain. I know that weight gain can cause difficult body image issues for anyone, but for someone whose greatest love and passion revolved around having a certain body shape and that body being in shape, I completely gave up any hopes of dancing again. I was devastated that my body couldn't do things I had spent so many years training it to do.

Just last year I really felt the itch to dance again. Sarah started taking and I could barely sit through a class without tapping my toes or wanting to correct someone's arm placement. At the beginning of the year Sarah's teacher agreed to let Sarah and I do a dance together at her recital and even asked me to help pick out some of the music for the recital. I found myself not just picking out music, but choreographing steps in my mind. When I found out we were moving and there was no dance studio here it was then that I felt like God said, "Why don't you teach?"  And I knew that it was time. That is was okay for me to pick up this dream again. A dream that has evolved quite a bit. A dream that has gone from self-absorbed, all about me, I want to be the best dancing, to the dream of sharing something that I love so much with others. A dream of using the gifts and talents God has given me to benefit others. A dream of showing my girls that you are never too old to have dreams.

It is a bittersweet day for me. I wish so much I could call my Dad and tell him. He would be SOOO excited. I know he would. When I left William Carey to change majors he said, "I should have just taken the money I paid them and bought you a dance studio." He wasn't saying that to be mean. His next words were "That's what you love." He just knew me. Better than most. He knew that the little girl in a tutu was still in there and that my love for dance didn't change because I reached a certain age. My Daddy invested so much money in dance lessons, costumes, shoes, recital fees and programs. I know many dads would have reached  a point where they said "Enough is enough!" Not my Daddy. He knew it made me happy and that was all that mattered to him. So, it is a sweet moment for me that today, his investment paid off.

It is also a sweet day to know that while there may be times that our Heavenly Father asks us to lay down certain dreams, there are also times when He turns around and places them right back in our laps...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pirates, Mothers, and Babies, OH MY!

I don't even know where to begin. I feel like I must blog about last week or it will completely vanish from my memory. It was just that busy.  It started Monday when I took Sarah and Eli and we met my Mom at Party America to do some birthday party shopping. A pirate theme had been chosen and we found the treasure. We got a lotta loot. Get it? HA! Um, okay, moving on....

Tuesdsay night we had dinner with some friends and it was so much fun. Our kids play so good together. How good do they play, you ask? So good that we actually got to have complete conversations. A-mazing!

Wednesday we celebrated Eli's birthday with some family time. We enjoyed our day until Josh left for church and I headed to the bathroom to put my face on. Before I could fix myself I came back out and there were nine kids at our house. I looked out the back door for them and there was a random dog in our backyard. I headed to the playroom to inquire about this dog and I found this--
Another dog y'all. How rude of me not to invite the other one in, right?

Dont' worry, these kids assured me Buster needed to be in the playroom. Apparently the other dog was fine outside with Daisy.

This is how I was feeling about the whole situation. Don't worry, I totally put on make-up and fixed my hair before church. I would not subject the general public to this. Just y'all. :)

Friday was a much anticipated day. We took Sarah and Eli to stay with Mammy and headed out with Kate in search of the perfect bike. We went to the Wal-Mart on the beach and had no luck finding a bike, but I did find an awesome clearance rack.  We then headed to Target. Again, no bike. I don't know what it is about Target, but I want EVERYTHING in there!! Does anybody else experience that? We then headed to Old Navy. I had decided that Josh and I should pick out outfits for each other. Bless his heart. And Kate's. We were in there forever. Have I told you that there are no clothes on the planet that fit me right? There aren't. I finally picked a shirt and sweater that I liked and loaded up an arm full of stuff for Josh to try on. Kate was sooo patient. I felt bad because they had a big gumball machine full of bouncy balls. I got her one and she tried to chew it. :(  She got drug all over creation and couldn't even get a stinkin' piece of gum!

We had one more stop and then we were dropping Kate off at T's house. I was just thinking that Kate was going to sleep good when I looked back and she was passed out in the back seat. Josh ran in the store while I waited with Kate. I had just happened to pack my make-up bag (and maybe my whole set of make-up brushes) in my purse, so I took advantage of the time to freshen up for our upcoming date. In a hot Jeep in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. I busted out the mascara and sprayed myself with my Calgon body spray. My husband is a lucky man I tell ya. :)

We dropped off Kate and headed out for dinner. We are getting so old. All week we had planned all kinds of things we wanted to do on our child free night. But when the time arrived, we just wanted to eat and go home. We got to eat on the deck of the restaurant at sunset overlooking the bay. It was BEAUTIFUL!!! It was so perfect and I was so hungry. I probably embarrassed Josh inhaling my popcorn shrimp and salad, but honestly I think he was too busy stuffing his face to notice. I joked about how we always try to have deep conversations at the dinner table with constant interruptions from our kids, but without fail, if we get to eat alone we are silent. Not a word. We just soaked up the peace and quiet. And it was in that moment that I decided I wouldn't trade the comfort and intimacy we share for the newness and excitment of a new relationship. Sometimes I really miss the days when everything seemed new. But that night, I couldn't have been happier. The humidity was causing my hair to do things that should never be seen in public, I was scarfing my food in a very unladylike way, and I didn't have anything cute or witty to say. But it was cool. I know Josh decided to keep me a long time ago, bad hair days and all.

We hit the ground running on Saturday. I went into overdrive trying to recover my house from the busy week. It always amazes me how I can get more done in 30 minutes without my kids than I can in 5 hours with them home. Josh had made the decision to take on the baking of the birthday cake. He had created a very cool pirate ship and needed to finish decorating it. Have I told you my husband rocks? He can do it all. The only thing he hasn't been able to do is birth the babies, but in case you didn't notice, they looked just like him even so. Anyway, I am very blessed.

Soon it was time for the party!

Pirate Eli and his treasure ship cake!

Pirate Kate!
Pirate Sarah Beth!

Pirate Mom! The eyebrows on this mask caused me to think that maybe I'm really part pirate?

Is he cool or what????
Oh yeah, we finally found the PERFECT bike!

It was a fun day full of shark's blood punch, a treaure hunt, a cannon ball pop, and a very dangerous pinata experience. I asked Josh to bring something to hit the pinata with. We have like, 15 bats. He brought some kind of metal pipe. Good thinkin'.....
My hubby is either brave and fearless or....well, since I've been singing his praises I'll just say he is brave and fearless. :)

We wrapped up the party and headed out for some Mexican food with my Mom and brother. Sarah insisted on spending the night with my Mom. Sunday morning I was awakened by a sweet little boy with a card he  signed by himself! It had a gift card too that was almost as nice as his "I love you Mommy"!
We captured this shot before church and you can see that my children were overcome with joy on this occassion!

After church we spent the day doing NOTHING and that was just as I wanted it!!!! A day of rest was very much in need. All 3 kids even laid down at the same time. Can you believe that????

Well, this week proves to be just as crazy and eventful. Today Audra invited me to lunch to meet some of her friends and we had a great time. Then I had to make the dreaded grocery store trip to Panama. Tomorrow we have a playdate and I am planning on six kids ages 7 and under making their own pizzas. Is it sleep deprivation? Did I get hit in the head with the pinata pipe? I don't know. I'm pretty sure I'm just crazy. Wednesday, I have an interview for the dance teacher job! I am equally excited and terrified. I will be teaching the studio owner's two daughters in a mock class and I am also supposed to take a written lesson plan for a 3-5 year old class. Do you think "Let them run in around the room and spin in circles until they pass out" will work? Yeah, I didn't think so....Josh is running his Dad's bread route Friday and Saturday. He's going tomorrow to help and learn the route. So, he's in bed with an estimated wake-up time of 2:00 am. Wow, this brings back memories!

I promise I'm about to wrap up this excessively long, detailed update , but first I have to tell you the most exciting news! Baby Watch 2010 is officially underway! My sister could go into labor any day! Or if she had it her way, any minute!! I have to admit I'm a little on edge. I usually don't answer my phone if we're eating, but tonight during supper my phone rang and I literally JUMPED out of my chair and over the table saying "WHAT IF IT'S JENNY?" I then answered with "ARE YOU IN LABOR????"  She wasn't. But the night is still young...... :)