Thursday, July 29, 2010

Have You Hugged a Teacher Today?

Sometimes the planning, ordaining, and arranging God has done in my life just slaps me upside the head. I am just overcome with warm fuzzies and sweet peace that God knows, and has always known, exactly what I need when I need it. And He know who I need when I need them. Today I read another blog post about a fabulous teacher and it reminded me that I've been wanting to blog this for awhile. You see, I was so blessed to have so many wonderful teachers. I mean, caring, inspiring, made me want to go to school kind of teachers. Maybe I will blog about each of them eventually. But tonight, I just wanted to let my first favorite teacher know how I feel.

I will have to give you a little bit of background. You see, 2nd grade was a tough year for me. I was convinced I had the meanest teacher on the planet. She was probably perfectly fine, but I was an overly sensitive child and weird. I really was a weird kid. Anyway, for some reason I really struggled that year. Well, we moved the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade to Panama City, Fl. and I started a new school. My teacher was Mrs. Hicks and I thought she was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

She loved reading and writing and I learned in her class to love reading and writing. We would have days where we would bring our sleeping bags and favorite books and spend all day reading. Mrs. Hicks was overflowing with creativity and her passion for it was contagious. It would have been awesome if all she did was spark the love for reading that she did. But she did even more than that. In addition to the love for reading, she loved writing. She taught writing workshops after school, and that might sound boring, but it wasn't. She and another wonderful teacher, Mrs. Knowles, made it fun. I learned to brainstorm and create flow charts and put my excessive daydreaming and crazy imagination to use. It all started because I wrote a story in class one day. It was about a ghost named Burt that became my friend when I fed him corn. I told y'all I was wierd. :) It was just an assignment and I didn't think much about it, but Mrs. Hicks went on and on about how talented I was. She even made sure I turned it into a book complete with illustrations.

She stirred a passion in my life for reading and writing and thinking outside of the box. But even more than that, she made me feel special. After such a rough time in 2nd grade I somehow ended up with no self-esteem by the age of 8. But Mrs. Hicks came into my life and I felt like I had something to offer the world. I feel like I became such a different person. I went from a shy, scared to death little girl to one who ran for student council positions and went on to write "books" that were even put in my elementary school library. I believe that God made encouragement one of my spiritual gifts because I am someone who has needed so much of it. Mrs. Hicks encouraged me to do and be things I would have never even thought about trying.

I am a firm believer in letting people know how you feel about them. Mrs. Hicks, I just want you to know how God used you! Now, I'm a totally weird grown-up that blogs about my crazy life instead of writing  stories about dancing with lizards or feeding corn to ghosts. :) I know teachers don't come close to making what they deserve money wise, but I pray that the impact you have on your students compensates for that somewhat!

How about you? Do you have a special teacher that made an impact on you? I would love to hear about it!

I don't have a picture of Mrs. Hicks handy, but this is my 3rd grade class, Hicks' Hurricanes. In this picture is one of my dearest friends, Pao Ying, the first boy I ever chased on the playground and informed him that he would be my boyfriend, and several others who walked across the stage with me as I graduated high school. Sweet memories!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Too Hot to Fish, Too Hot for Golf, and Too Tired to Blog

Is anybody else wore out? I mean WORE. SLAP. OUT? Or is just me? I tell ya, I don't know if it's the heat, the going non-stop, the cleaning up after 3 kids and 8 dogs, or if I'm just the laziest person ever, but I am tired.

This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to take all 3 of my children to the dr. Well, Kate was just along for the ride. Sarah and Eli had to have physicals and Eli was supposed to get shots, but we learned he will have to go back on Monday due to a scheduling issue. Which turned out to be good, because we were there for 3 hours just for the physicals. It is so much fun to wrangle children in a dr's exam room. I mean, it is like totally one of my favorite things to do on early Wednesday mornings. There are just only so many ways you can entertain yourself in an exam room. Kate's way was to walk around with a plastic model of different sized prostates and say "Smell dis?" Um, no, but thanks for asking anyway.  I tell ya, I don't know what I'm going to do with her.

Other random things I would like to share with you while completely exhausted:

-The other day we saw a boat out in the bay carrying a porta potty. That was all. Oh, what I would have given to have my camera with me. If we ever get a boat (which Josh has started talking about a lot lately, but I kindly remind him that a boat will have to wait until we outgrow needing things like groceries and electricity), we will have to get an extra one to tote a porta potty for  me.

-We just spent Sun. through Tues. in Georgia with my sister and her family and my Mom, brother and Mamaw. I took the kids by myself for their first meeting with their new cousin. I will post a pic in a little bit if I don't forget. But there's a chance I will. Anyway, on our way home last night we stopped at a convenience store (actually we stopped at 3, but who was counting? See, we really do need our own porta potty...). The kids had $2 a piece and they were really wanting to spend it. I told Sarah she could pick out something that was less than two dollars. Well, I saw her eyeing some candy but she kept walking away from it. Then, I heard her tell Eli, "We can't get that, it's $89." Say what????? I wondered if while we were in the bathroom we had been tranpsorted to the year 3045, and then I realized what was going on. I explained that it was 89 cents. You would think that since I'm her mother, I'm older and wiser, and I was even her math teacher this last year (yes, I do know what you are thinking) that she would listen to me. Nah. She argued. "It says it's $89." So, right then and there we had a little math lesson pointing out the decimal sign. She was relieved. Me too. Man, I could be skinny if Twix bars cost $89!!!!!

-Okay, I thought I had more interesting (random?) things to tell you, but if I did I can't remember them. So, I'm gonna share some pictures. Unless I fall asleep while uploading them. Are we having fun yet?

                       The cousins finally meet! What a total coincidence that they all had cute, matching clothes! ;)
               I made Luke hold onto Sarah's arm because it was the only way we could keep him in place!!!

I don't even know what to say.....
                                                   Look at that country girl!
                                                     Gonna have to work on those driving skills....

This is what happened when I wanted a pic with just my kids. Luke didn't want anything to do with pictures until this one. :)

The girls! You will very rarely find me without my camera and a Diet Coke. :)

Have I mentioned that I adore my brother and sister?!?

This pic is in honor of my first car, the little red rocket. It had a headlight duct taped on. I'm not even kidding.
          You can take the girl out of Mississippi, but she'll still end up barefoot with a gun in Georgia. :)

Finally, I just had to share a picture of one of my sweet conversations with Lyla. She loves to talk to me. We discussed how I'm not a phone person and she's not really either, so we're going to have to work on that. Then I told her that she should always touch up her roots before family get togethers where there will be massive picture taking going on. Not that I know that from experience. I would NEVER go visit my family with roots looking like that!!!!! (Um, please don't look at this pic too close....)
Okay, thanks for suffering through this batch of randomness and obnoxious picture sharing. Hope you all are having a great week. May your trips to the health department be few and may your Route44 cups overflow with your favorite cold beverage! What are some of the ways you are staying cool this summer????

Saturday, July 24, 2010

High Maintenance

Just checkin' in to let you all know that I survived dance camp. All 2 weeks and all 8 hour days. As I look back on the last week's blogs you may feel that it was an extremely traumatic experience. All I can say is, blame it on the hormones, y'all. The truth is, I had a blast. It hurt so good. It pushed me in a way physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally that I haven't been pushed in a long time. And I needed it. My body needed the workout. My brain needed the creative challenge. My psyche needed to build some confidence. And at the end of the day, I just needed to dance. I was reminded that dancing is just part of who I am, even if I jiggle a little more now when I do it. :)

I cried a little, got frustrated a little, and stressed a little. But....I laughed A LOT! Man, it was fun to be with those girls, all 42 of them (over both weeks). From ages 4-12, they each came with their own personalities, strengths, and quirks. It was just a field day for this people analyzer. I had the 5 year old pageant queen who ruled the drama department. If she was squealing with laughter or creating a camp soap opera out of trouble with one of her friends, she did it big. We all knew about it. I had the older girl who was excellent with the little ones and was a great assistant. She's got "leader" written all over her. There were the sporty girls and the girly girls. The clingy little ones and the wanderers. We danced so much, but we also colored, ate goldfish and animal crackers like they were going out of style and celebrated two birthdays over the two weeks. We moaned about how sore we were and cheered when we got to do the peanut butter jelly song. At some point we all just wanted our Mama. :)

Friday was our show. We did one on the last day of both weeks. The first week was beyond chaotic. That was the day I banged my head into the shelf and was a little concerned I might go stand in the middle of the room and start singing "I'm a Little Teapot".  Thankfully, I didn't. Instead I rotated between the dance floor and the dressing room as the girls performed 5 dances and showed off their tumbling skills. Seriously. They amazed me. I cannot even put into words what it is like trying to get between 8, 4-6 year olds changed between each dance. We had them wear ballet skirts, shorts, t-shirts, stuff like that for different dances so they would get the idea about costuming. Honestly, by the time we had dress rehearsal I was ready to tell 'em all to just dance naked like David did in the Bible, but that wasn't optional. So we made it through the costume changes. This last Friday was a little less chaotic. We had more older girls and we did tap first so the major shoe changing happened in the beginning. I was so proud of my girls. I mean, during the week there were so many times I wanted to just bang my head on the mirror because I was pretty sure they weren't paying attention to a thing that was going on. But sure enough, you put them in front of a crowd and those girls PERFORMED! Just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I have to share a little secret. As my tiny, 4 year old student asked me one day, "Can I borrow your ear for a minute? I need to tell you something." This is it: Hip hop was totally my favorite. Barbie choreographed such a fun dance. It had some squatting and falling onto our sides and I was concerned I might need knee and hip replacement by the end of the week, but I didn't! In case you are having visions of this preacher's wife "shakin' that jelly", you don't have to worry that I was overly seductive or suggestive. Do you remember Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Yeah, he looks totally gansta compared to my hip-hop skills. :)

My Mom took this pic of me and Sarah at the end of the show. One of the girls told me on Thursday I looked tired. By Friday I looked practically comatose!!!!

If you are noticing Sarah's make-up, that is kind of what I was actually planning to blog about tonight. The day of the show we also did all of the girl's hair and make-up. We wanted them to experience "stage make-up", which is not to be confused with "streetwalker" make-up, if you're feelin' me. Stage make-up is very dramatic and bold so that you can be seen under all of the stage lights. And no, we weren't really on a stage with lights, but let's face it, it's just fun to do make-up. :)

All of the girls agreed. It did my heart so good this last Friday as the older girls gathered around and would oohh and ahhh and comment on how pretty everybody looked. Girls just need that. Many of the older girls were 11 and 12 and I remember being 12 and being allowed to get my first lipgloss and wear clear mascara. That was also the year I got contacts and so most of my getting ready memories are of me crawling around on the floor looking for my contacts that I was forever dropping.....

Being with those girls just made me remember what it felt like to be that age. The insecurity. The anticipation of "becoming a woman" and all of the make-up, hairspray and nail polish that would include. And I realized, in a lot of ways I am still 12. I am still waiting to figure out how the heck to make myself look the way I want to. Don't worry, this is not going to turn into a serious, self-esteem, meaning of life blog. This is a straight up, I want to know your tips and secrets.

I so remember being 12 and wanting to become one of those girls that was always so put together. The perfect make-up, not a hair out of place, always in the right outfit. You know the type? Well, I left to go do some shopping tonight and totally left my house without a smudge of make-up, my hair completely pulled back and wearing jeans and a t-shirt THAT HAD A TOOTHPASTE stain on it. Oh dear. I'm blaming it on exhaustion. But really, I need help. I was thinking about my favoritest movie of all time Miss Congeniality. You know the scene when she goes in and the whole team works on her? Yes. That is what I need. Waxing. Plucking. Highlighting. Lipsticking. Hairspraying. Manicuring. The whole shebang. I need a team, people!!!!

Unfortunately all I have is Kate ruining my mascara, Sarah using all of my nail polish and Eli asking me 85 questions while I get ready. So, please, I beg of you. What do you do to make yourself beautiful? Or, at least presentable?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Turn, Turn, Turn

I was really hoping for a funny blog today. I definitely had some moments. Like when my dance girls were gathered around me during break fixing my hair. I was sitting  in a plastic chair and they started whispering. I was then informed they could see my booty. As in, it is so big it was sticking out of the back of the chair. Fabulous. That was moments before one of the girls leaned in and whispered, "When they're done with your hair I'm gonna take it down and do something to make it look pretty." As in, it obviously was not at that moment. And wouldn't you know that at that very moment the photographer who did all of the girls dance pictures walked in to get orders! He laughed. He said, "Now there is a picture." Praise the name of Jesus he did not have his camera. All I can say is that it is good my self-esteem was already shot before I hung out with these girls. :) For the record, Josh just ran to Mr. Cheap Butts (have I ever told y'all we live down the street from a place called Mr. Cheap Butts? Eli had to say it and laugh every time we came home for the first couple of months) and while he did bring me a caffeinated diet coke, I DID NOT get a Twix. I ALWAYS get a Twix. Except now. The day after little girls laughed about my booty.

Okay. Enough about my booty. And my junk food habits. And the classy names of our convenience stores. I just feel the need to let you all know that my week has gotten better. MUCH better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I can see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And what I mean by all of this is that there are only 2 days of dance camp left. The truth is, I feel like I've just finally adjusted to the schedule. And now it's almost over. Bummer. I truly have fallen in love with all of the girls over the last two weeks. Even the ones that can't keep up with their shoes and don't listen to a dern thing I say. Even the ones who are brutally honest about the size of my backside. I can't help it, I just love 'em. Hopefully they will all sign up for fall classes and I will still get to see them all the time. I will also miss the daily exercise. I'm serious! Now that my body has gotten over the initial message my body sent me "HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We haven't done these things in 11 years and now we're doing them for 8 hours a day? I hate you!!" I am in love again with stretching and leaping and turning and well, just getting off of the couch.

Now that I have assured you that I am fine and life is good, I feel free to tell you that life was not good last week. As if you hadn't gathered that from my previous posts. Well, I can't really say life wasn't good, but I wasn't good. Hormones, grief, new job anxiety, birthday planning and good old fashioned exhaustion clashed in an epic perfect storm that left me....not okay. Irritable. Short. Snippy. Aggitated. Flaky. Unorganized. Selfish. Grumpy. Withdrawn. Mean. Just to name a few.  I don't know about y'all, but I don't like for things to not be okay. I am one of those people who feels the need to go around and make sure people are not upset with me if perhaps they make a face that I deem not okay. I'm one of those people who feels the need to take a public opinion poll before making a decision. I don't like stress, anxiety or conflict of any kind. Not in the world around me and NOT within me. That is the worst to me. Because even I, on some level. have learned that I am not in control of everything around me and I can't make everybody happy and keep everything "okay" all of the time. But, when it comes to my spirit, to what is going on inside of me, I just don't think there is anything worse than not feeling "okay'.

I knew what was going on. I knew that it was the tragic meeting of so much physical and emotional stress and exhaustion. I have no idea why my heart starts grieving the most at times that are just not convenient. I don't know why my body decided to be extremely uncooperative during the time I really needed it to cooperate more than ever. But I knew I was not okay. And I knew I couldn't stay that way.

This is what I'm feeling now. A week, a good night's sleep and a hormonally balanced week later I can see that there are just times when things are not right. Sometimes it's externally, sometimes internally and unfortunately sometimes both. The Book of Ecclesiastes points out that simple fact to us.

1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

I don't think any of us would argue that a time to tear, hate, or go to war are ever good things we hope for. I dont' know about y'all but I'm not a fan of the times of searching or weeping and mourning. But, I was reminded by these words that no matter how unpleasant, they have a time and a place in all of our lives. To pretend that they don't is to ignore the very real things we all experience. If there is anything I want people to see in my life I want it to be that I'm real. That I don't believe in God because everything is always great and perfect in my life. Actually, I believe in Him because of all of those times of being torn down, of mourning and weeping and searching that He has carried me through. That He has gently and patiently held me through until I met the seasons of joy, laughter, mending and dancing.
Since I'm being honest tonight, I have to tell you that the number one thing that hasn't been okay for me lately is my relationship with God. I have always strived to put Him first and seek Him continually in all that I do. I realize that I've let the many things going on in life pull me in a million different directions that were all away from Him. And I just can never be okay with that.
This week we've been teaching the girls about a very important thing in dance. Spotting. Whenever you do turns in dance you have to learn to find one thing to keep your eyes on while you are turning. You stay focused on that one thing as long as possible and then you turn your head as fast as possible when you turn to find that object again. It's been quite a sight. We have girls ages 5-12 and most have never danced. It often looks like the bar has just closed and we have a bunch of drunks wandering around. It is not an easy skill to learn. There are so many things to get distracted by along the way. Some girls do the basic turn, some can go fast, some turn the wrong direction and some of my little bitty girls come up with moves I've never seen. This week my job has been to stand in the corner they are turning to so they can "spot" me. I've found myself jumping up in the air, waving my arms yelling "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" as the girls just wander all over the room.
Tonight, I sat in prayer meeting and talked to my Father. And do you know what He said to me? "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" I understood that I've been dizzily spinning trying to do a hundred things without any direction. Lots of them were even good, well intentioned things. But now I know where I failed. I took my eyes off of Him.
O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free!


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting

He passed, and we follow Him there;

O’er us sin no more hath dominion—

For more than conquerors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;

Believe Him, and all will be well:

Then go to a world that is dying,

His perfect salvation to tell!

Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

I did something crazy today. I mean CA-RAZY! After much medical research (by which I mean excessive googling) I've determined that there is a strong possibility my hormonal issues are being greatly affected by my exorbitant intake of caffeine. So, you know where this is going, right? I decided to give it up. Today. Monday morning. The second week of dance camp. The day we would once again fit and dress 22 girls. The day they would all act like wild animals.

Let's discuss this day. First, I'm not a morning person. I'm sure we've covered this. Even Josh has been amazed at my early morning self this last week and a half. Still, I'm NOT a morning person. Second, I prefer to not talk to people before 10 am. Just a general rule I like to follow. That rule at my house? BROKEN. That rule at dance camp with 22 girls=SOOOO BROKEN! Well, today my boss lady asked if I wanted to trade and let her do the buns and I would help with the fittings. I agreed. Chaos is chaos. She told me that the lady from the dance store had fired her last week from helping with the tights. I soon met the same fate. She informed I did not know what I was doing and I was too slow. I informed her I was there to teach dance and not put on tights. I did y'all! I really said that! What can I say? Monday morning. 8:00 am. No caffeine. 22 girls. Grumpy dance store lady. Grumpy me. I did not even bother to mention that I have two daughters who I have been dressing in tights for 8 years now or that I was in fact, wearing some of my tights from MY SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL that do not have a run in them. Obviously I do know how to put on tights! (Yes, I am mentally sticking out my tongue and waving my fingers behind my ears. Because, I'm like 10.) Oh well.

Later she apologized to me and shared the reason she felt grumpy. It just happened to be one of my new students. She just happens to share my name. She just happens to be the whiniest, complainingest, most uncooperative little 5 year old known to mankind. Or at least to our dance studio. She's the one that got me in trouble with the tights. I wasn't moving fast enough because she kept saying, "You're poking me. That hurts. That doesn't feel right. You're hurting me." Mercy. I could tell it was going to be a long day.

I spent most of the day saying, "Emily. Emily. Get back in your place. Emily, get off of the mats. Emily, stand still. Emily, we don't do that." By 3:00 this afternoon I was physically picking her up and putting her where I wanted her to be when our studio owner walked by giving a parent a tour of the studio. I was so happy to demonstrate my best teaching skills..... Barbie suggested it would be great if I could diffuse some of my personality into my little namesake. I'm assuming she means the part of my personality that is so laid back that sometimes you wonder if I am, in fact, still awake. I assured her I have diffused my personality into as many children as I plan to. :)

By the time I got home I was feeling so sick I just laid on the couch and cried. My head hurt. My stomach hurt. I had two dances to choreograph and that sent me into a tailspin. Because I was sick and irrational. I am talking about 2 one minute dances for an end of the week showcase. A showcase where the girls I teach could stand on stage and pick their nose and the parents would take pictures and applaud like it was Broadway. I ate a piece of cake. It will make me sad when I stand in front of the mirrors tomorrow, but temporarily it made me feel better. Then, in desparation I begged Josh to get me a Diet Coke. Fully leaded. None of that decaf stuff.

It was miraculous. Three sips and I felt like a human being again. Earlier I hadn't been sure if my headache and nausea were from A. Lack of caffeine or B. Banging my head straight into the corner of a shelf while helping the girls change for our show last week (I'm talking, I was seeing stars and when I showed our tumbling teacher she said, "Right there where that dent is in your head?" Um, yes.) Or finally, C. The fact that I have been exposed to a stomach virus on an hourly basis everyday since last Monday. Eli had it. Several of the girls at camp had at. At church yesterday one of my VBS girls came up and greeted me with, "I'm gonna puke". Which is my favorite way to be greeted. How 'bout you? I tried to create a little space until she told me her heart hurt. I asked if she was sad about something. She answered by hugging me and saying, "I was missing you." *Melts heart*. I briefly forgot that sickness threatened our moment until 15 minutes later during welcome fellowship. It was just ending and Josh had just stepped up to preach. I looked over and ......yep. Puke. On the floor. In the middle of the aisle. I tell ya, if it ain't car alarms it's puke. Well, she had come with one of our members whose son was getting baptized and I didn't want her to miss that so I took little Miss sweet thing to one of the kid's rooms to lay down.  So, all of that to say, I didn't even have to google my symptoms today. My Diet Coke reassured me that I am not suffering from a concussion or a stomach virus. And all the church said, "AMEN!" And Emily said, "I will never go a day without caffeine again!"

Since at that point I was able to engage in conversation other than, "It hurts so bad, I feel like I'm gonna puke" Josh began telling me interesting things he had heard and read today. I feel so bad. There are times when I try to be educated and informed and prove myself an interesting conversation partner. Today, as he asked me if I had heard about something going on in Saudi Arabia I just looked at him like he had 5 heads. He laughed knowing what I was thinking. For any of you who may want to have a conversation with me about what I've "heard" let me warn you. This is what I've been hearing everyday:

"Where are my shoes?"
"Can I go to the bathroom?"
"When can I take my tights off?"
"Can I get a drink  of water?"
"I'm hungry."
"I'm tired."
"Is it time to go home yet?"
"I don't know how to do that."

And just for fun, the things I've been saying,

"Where is your other shoe?"
"Off the mats, girls!"
"Point your toes!"
"We will take a break in 5 minutes."
"Spread out."
"Show me how you can wait quietly."

My favorite is not related to dance camp, but has been uttered too many times not to mention:


It's gonna get better, y'all. After my Diet Coke kicked in I was able to choreograph those dances. In my rational, caffeinated state it was a lot easier to choreograph a dance for 4 and 5 year olds as opposed to the idea in my irrational, decaffeinated brain that I was like, going to be the guest choreographer on the next So You Think You Can Dance. I mean really, if I can get these girls to stand in a straight line I will feel like I've accomplished something great. If any of this post has made an ounce of sense, that will be a great accomplishment.

How about you? Was your Monday manic or magnificent? It is Monday, right?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

[Drowned] Mall Rats

For months now Sarah has been asking to have her ears pierced. I didn't have it done when she was a baby because, well, there was enough screaming going on.  I also really just wanted to wait until she asked and it was something she wanted to do. She's mentioned it in the past, but this time I could tell she was serious. It is all she has talked about. So today was the day. We were headed to the mall. It was just going to be Sarah and her friend, but Eli had quite the meltdown. He said, "I wanna go bad! I don't even remember what the mall looks like!" It was tragic. I did the proper Mom thing and asked Sarah how she would feel if she were in Eli's shoes. Eli went to the mall, too.

I had to stop for gas on the way and WHOA, I ended up calling Josh to ask if there was a hurricane coming. The wind came out of nowhere and I thought I was going to have to hang on to the gas pump! By the time we got to Panama City it was POURING. Thankfully it let up a little as we made our way to the food court. One Hi-C spill and 18 chicken nuggets later we were ready for ear piercing. Almost. After a bathroom trip of course.

We made our way to Claire's and despite being asked to buy and/or do everything we passed, we showed up empty handed. I could tell Sarah's nerves had set in.  The girl showed her the earrings to choose from and of course, being my daughter, she picked the biggest, most expensive pair. :)  This was her birthday gift so I was going to get whatever she wanted, but even the piercing girl agreed they were a little too big. So, she took it down a size.  As she climbed into the chair I began to wonder if she would really go through with it. She couldn't even pretend to smile, y'all.

                                             We made it through the first ear....

                                                   Now I was really worried....

She did it!

There were a couple of Moms and their daughters standing around and they all winced in pain with Sarah and praised her new earrings. It was a special moment. Is there anything more fun than being the Mom of girls and hanging out in Claire's? I think not. I had not been in there in a loooong time. In fact, it brought back memories of being 15 and running in there to hide behind jewelry racks because weird boys were stalking me and my friend. Oh the memories! Anyway, I see a back to school shopping trip to Claire's in our future for sure.

After that we headed to the arcade so that Eli could detox from the estrogen overload that is Claire's.

Then it was time to head home. We left the mall just as the monsoon struck again and we literally swam to the jeep. We got SOAKED!!!!

Aren't they the cutest little mall rats you've ever seen?????

Thursday, July 15, 2010

13 Things That Made Me Happy Today!

1. I got to start my day by giving Sarah a present. Fun!

2. It was day 4 of dance camp and I was still walking.

3. We started our stretching with the peanut butter and jelly song. Really fast, really silly. I was actin' a fool. But it was fun!

4. We finished learning all of the dances today so tomorrow will just be practicing for the show.

5. I kinda sorta maybe feel like I'm starting to figure out what I'm doing.

6. I didn't drop my lunch on the floor today. (I totally did yesterday. In case you are feeling embarrassed for me, I go home for lunch. :)

7. Eli is feeling all better!

8. I watched 5 and 6 year old girls do dance steps they couldn't do on Monday.

9. During a break I listened to a conversation between little girls about how much they love their daddies. One said, "My Mama thinks I'm a Mama's girl, but I'm really a Daddy's girl."  :)

10. I got to see the smile on Sarah's face when 20 girls sang Happy Birthday to her!

11. When I got home I bent down to pick up something and I didn't cry out in pain!!!!!

12. Sarah had a present waiting from one of our church members and part of it was a scarf. In typical Sarah fashion, she had to get all dolled up for her birthday dinner.

13. The restaurant Sarah picked just happened to have a live Mariachi band playing tonight and they sang Happy Birthday to her!

I hope you have all had a great day! What made you happy today?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eight is Great

Do you have any idea what tomorrow is? Well, it just so happens to be the 8th birthday of my firstborn, Sarah Beth. Did you hear that? EIGHT! As in, it was EIGHT years ago that I gave birth. EIGHT years ago that a waiting room full of friends and family piled into the hospital room to meet our bundle of joy. All 7 pounds and 1 oz. of her. I still remember looking at her and thinking, 'She looks like Mr. Bucky! (my father in law).' And she did. She was a Fidler baby. As people liked to repeatedly tell Josh, he couldn't deny her. Which was good, because you know we were totally going to have to go on Maury Povich otherwise. :) She was beautiful.

Even though she is my oldest and her newborn days happened the longest ago, I remember them the most. I think there are two reasons for that. First, everything with her was new and life changing. Like, learning that "running" to Wal-Mart meant packing a suitcase. That Mylicon drops are the greatest invention of all times. I still remember her first laugh. We still had our cocker spaniel, Abby, and she had jumped up in the bed with us (because in the days before children, I allowed our dog to do such a thing). I was sitting up feeding Sarah and Abby did that circle thing dogs do when they are trying to get comfortable. She just kept circling and circling and circling. Finally, in a great big dramatic fashion she plopped down. Sarah laughed out loud! It is one of my favorite moments in life. We had so many rough times with her and I've shared about her colic and my depression. But, there were so many sweet moments too. During those difficult days it was hard to see past all of the crying and screaming (on both our parts), but when I think back I can remember so many times that she was smiling and laughing. For some reason she LOVED the Toby Keith song "Who's Your Daddy?" and would laugh hysterically if I sang it to her. (Do you think that at the age of 7 months Sarah understood the irony of that song and the fact that she looked so much like her Daddy that my Dad called her Josh in a dress?)

Well, I said there were two reasons I remember. The second is the drama that Sarah brought with her. When I was working on my social work degree we discussed a theory that many psychologists have that babies are born a totally blank slate. They have no prewired personality or tendencies. WRONG! Even if I were not a believer in God and divine design, after raising Sarah Elizabeth Fidler, you could not convince me that babies are not born with their own personality if your life depended on it. You see, Josh and I are about the most laid back people you will ever meet. Seriously, I don't know how we eat or accomplish anything else. We are so like, "What do you wanna do?" "I don't care. Whatever you wanna do." "Wanna just sit here?"  "Okay."  Really, that is us. We were (are) both the type that you can look at us wrong and we will cry. Our greatest fear in life is upsetting people. So, we figured if you take one laid back, easygoing person and added another laid back, easygoing person you would get.....a little, laid back, easygoing baby. WRONG! Easygoing is not the word I would use for Sarah. She didn't do strollers. Or high chairs. Or car seats. Or cribs for that matter. Sarah first showed us her personality in the hospital. I was trying to nurse and she just wasn't having it. The lactation consultant told me that Sarah "just isn't a go getter". I can totally look back now and see that Sarah was just letting us know that she was not going to operate on other people's schedules or demands. She had her own way. :)

After 8 years of raising this little feisty, hard headed, super planning, busy bee little girl I have grown to love her more than I ever knew possible. I love her, obviously, because she is my daughter. But I also love her because she just fascinates me. The fact that I could give birth to someone who is so different from me just rocks my world. Tonight, as I frosted cupcakes to take for dance camp, she stood next to me and started counting. I had already told her I made 24. But she was double checking. She didn't know I had two pans in the oven and couldn't figure out how I had made 24. She wasn't going to bed until she had a final count. :) Bless her heart, I know my ditziness stresses her out to no end. I hope she sleeps well knowing I really did make 24 cupcakes. Sarah is a leader. While I have always been a follower, Sarah steps up and takes charge. I've seen her several times at camp this week shushing other girls and showing the little ones where they need to be. She has a nurturing, mothering instinct I hope to have someday before I'm 80. I call her the girl version of Macgyver. I have never known a child who could "repurpose" toys, bedding and all sorts of other things the way she does. One day in the car she pulled all of the ribbon off a headband and made a leash for her stuffed dog. I was torn between being furious that she ruined her new headband and feeling relieved that if she is ever held hostage she will probably be able to make an escape rope out of the duct tape covering her mouth or something like that.

When I look at Sarah, I just see God all over her. She asked Him into her heart two years ago and I have been in awe to watch the growth that has happened in her life. I know that the Bible tells us that all believers are given spiritual gifts, but I never thought about that with children until Sarah. Man, she has the gifts of compassion and mercy. When we lost Pop and Pappy, Sarah stayed right with Mammy and my Mom. She just sensed their pain and wanted to be with them. She will lead others to Jesus, I have no doubt about that. She is sweet and thoughtful and yet bold and fearless. I'm tellin' ya, I don't know where she came from! But I adore her and thank God for letting me be her Mama. She challenges me in ways I never anticipated. She keeps me praying a lot. :)  She makes me proud. I like her more and more every year. Eight is going to be great!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I'm feeling a little melancholy tonight. Not sure why. We had a great day at dance camp. Dance skills were gained and teeth were lost. Seriously, the last hour of the day Barbie had to leave to go teach another class and the studio owner had to take her girls to the dentist. I was once again on my own. A couple of Moms showed up to watch, two of the girls lost teeth, and all of the 5 years olds decided they wanted to and started pulling on their teeth. Apparently no one prepared these girls that losing teeth involves blood and mass hysteria ensued. But...other than that, today was pretty calm. :)

Now as I lay on the couch I'm just feeling a little down. I don't know if that is even the word. I am probably just exhausted. But I've been thinking about just how much change I have experienced in the last year. The last two years. The last eleven or so years for that matter. I guess dancing again is bringing some of this up. Josh actually told me today that he thinks it is amazing I can still do some of the stuff I can. Amazing, y'all. I had to laugh when he said that because really, it is. The truth is that I never stopped being a dancer in my head, but my body.....well, let's say it is being reminded that my head didn't bring it along for the journey these last 11 or so years. I can't help but wonder how my body might look and what it really could be capable of if I had kept dancing. Josh reminded me of some of the things that interfered with my dancing career like struggling with depression, bearing and birthing 3 children and getting a college degree. Oh yeah. That's where those hips that keep taunting me in the mirrors came from. Babies and late night college Sonic runs.

The truth is, I just have all of a sudden felt very overwhelmed. It has just now occured to me to think, 'What in the world was I thinking?' Can I do this? Do I even want to do this? And the answer is yes. But it will take work. It will be a challenge. I can't hang out in my pj's watching TV and folding laundry. This is going to stretch me. There have been several major changes happen in our lives in the last year or so and this is just a tiny example of how change can bring growth, but it means stretching. Right now my leg muscles hurt so bad that I am terrified 1. That I won't be able to walk tomorrow and 2. Even if I can walk I will have to hobble into class and that would be embarrassing. It is tempting to want to call in and say, "I am broken. Gonna have to get somebody else." But, I've had enough dance experience to know that the only way this is going to get better is for me to keep stretching until my muscles are conditioned and ready for the work they have to do.

The same is true in every aspect of life. It is so tempting to want to settle into routines, to take the easy roads, and to stay comfortable. We never want to choose hurting. But the truth is that often those things which are the most painful,the most uncomfortable, the most outside of our comfort zone are the only things that truly grow us. We have to keep stretching.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

Monday, July 12, 2010

Justin Bieber Saved the Day

I got up before the sun this morning. Doesn't that just seem wrong? It just doesn't seem natural to be up before natural light. There should be rules against it. Anyway, I was grateful it was still dark as it was time to squeeze into a leotard and take my daughter to work. Some things are done best in the dark. Like squeezing into leotards.

Unfortunately, Eli had been up most of the night with a stomach bug. Yuck. I feel so bad for him and I cannot tell you how scared I was that Sarah or I might come down with it. So far, it seems to just be something he ate. Nevertheless, we woke up with puking. On Monday morning. In a leotard. Me, not Eli. Suprisingly, I handled it fine. Either my hormones went on vacation until next month, or that St. John's Wort REALLY works. I so hated leaving my sick baby, but thankfully Josh was already planning to work from home this week and keep the babies.

Sarah and I loaded up her lunch and our bags full of things like shoes, bobby pins, and nail clippers. Being the first day of dance camp there was a lady coming from a local dance store to fit all of the girls in their first ballet shoes, leotards and tights. My boss lady and myself would be putting 20 heads of fine, little girl hair into buns. That reality set in as I attempted to pin Sarah's THICK, layered, not really long enough hair into a bun. I remembered I stink at it. There was a reason my hair stayed long and I had no bangs during my dancing days.  Well, about 15 girls later, I got better. :) And, after I had done about 15 buns a hairstylist showed up to do buns. So, luckily some of the girls got to have their buns redone and actually look like ballerinas. The ones stuck with my buns were walking around 3 hours later with ponytails that had hair nets hanging off of them. Oh well. I tried.

There was also a professional photographer that came to take the girl's pics in their new ballet gear. We set up an assembly line of bunning, fitting, dressing, photographing and containing.

Once the girls were dressed they were sent to me to watch dance videos while they waited to have their picture taken. I think the girls on the left are discussing the one girl's bun. I imagine the conversation was like this: "What is up with your hair?" "I don't know, that Mrs. Emily lady did it."  "Oh."
Once they were properly dressed it was hard for them to sit still. They were desparate to dance!

Once pictures were done the girls dressed up in old dance costumes just for the fun of it. We were still waiting for the photographer to move all of his equipment out of the dance room, so I decided we would crank up some Hannah Montana and do a fashion show in the hallway. I noticed the photographer moved faster once that music started playing. :)

First, I had to demonstrate how they were supposed to strut down the hallway. Thankfully, I had the camera so there are no pictures of that.
But those girls know how to work it!!

Sarah giving me the "don't take a picture of me" look. For some reason I don't embarrass her yet. I'm sure it's coming.

After the fashion show I had about 30 minutes before the tumbling teacher would be there. We decided to squeeze in some ballet. Y'know, since it was dance camp and all. I will be working with a teacher who has a million years experience (and yet totally looks younger than me somehow) and knows what she is doing. For the rest of the week she will have the 11 older girls. But today, she was out of town, so I had them ALL. I like to call what happened next "The Waltz of Chaos". I'll just leave it at that. I cannot even tell you how much I am anticipating Mrs. Barbie's arrival at dance camp. Yes, I'm working with a teacher named Barbie. And yes, she totally looks like ballerina Barbie. I want to be her when I grow up.

I forgot to mention that while we were waiting for pics I had a couple of girls break out in song to demonstrate their favorites. That's why I love 6 year olds. You will very rarely find an adult who will sing an entire song for you upon first meeting them. Except those people on American Idol. Anyway, one of the girls sang Justin Bieber's song "Baby" and that was one of the songs that had messed up and not downloaded. So, when I went home for lunch I told Josh I HAD to have that song. I did NOT label it a crisis, I just wanted to try again. So, after feeding my munchkins, scarfing down my Lean Cuisine panini (I heart those things!) and getting me a new CD, I headed back for the 3 hour time slot I needed to fill with dance. And it needed to be fun. They were fading fast.

We started out with tap and some of the girls were so excited they couldn't stand it. Some were so thrilled they threw themselves on the mats and refused to get up. Y'all I am not kidding, I put on some Justin Bieber and every girl in there was dancing AND singing! It felt like a High School Musical moment or something. Lots of fun.

We finished the day with jazz and I had been very concerned that the dance I choreographed for Friday's showcase for the parents was going to be too much for my 5 and 6 year olds. Well, I asked the older girls to pair up with a younger one and work on the moves and they LOVED it! They kept asking to do it. I think they mostly loved the song and it is the one that I did have the crisis moment over, so see, it worked out. :)

I won't lie. I feel old, out of shape and way out of my league. And yet somehow, I felt right in my element. I probably had more fun than anybody and I definitely got my cardio in! Let's hope I can walk tomorrow!

P.S. There is a new blogger wannabe in this house. Watch out....there is no telling what story you may hear next.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Chorus of the Car Alarms

You have probably gathered from reading my last few blogs that I have been in a hormonal funk/rage for the last week or so. Could the hormones have been compounded by 7 puppies who have learned to escape from their holding place and the anxiety of the next two weeks in which I will engage in more physical activity than I've had in the last 5 years? Very likely. Have I made my husband and children miserable? Yes. Did God hit me upside the back of the head and tell me it's time to get over it? Yes.

I could not go to sleep last night I was hurting so bad, so I finally took some medicine with a sleep aid. At 2:00 this morning. Yeah, I didn't get up for church this morning. Josh took the kids and I slept the morning away like the grizzly bear everyone is scared to wake. I finally did wake up and I was determined it was going to get better. We all ran up to the dance studio this afternoon and I finally felt excited instead of panicked. We headed back to church and my soul literally felt like it was starving for God's Word. That is my fault. Because, in my hormonal state this week I deprived myself of what I needed most. Time with Him. I was ashamed when I couldn't find my Bible before we left the house. I was even more ashamed to find it exactly where I had left it at the church on Wednesday night.

I enjoyed singing some praises and then it was time for Josh to preach. About 5 minutes into his sermon a car alarm went off. My first thought was that it was probably ours. Because, let's face it, that is just so something that would happen to us. Then I remembered I left the keys on the kitchen counter and if the dogs had found a way to climb the kitchen counter I did not want to go home. Well, you have to get the picture here-we have a mostly elderly congregation. So, what I'm saying is that half the people didn't even hear the alarms. The ones that did all started pushing buttons on their keyrings and before we knew it there  were FOUR car alarms going off! On another day I might have been upset that the sacred moment was being interrupted, but for some reason tonight, it tickled me. That's a southern phrase, but do you know what I mean? I got tickled. I started laughing and couldn't stop. I looked at one of the ladies in the back and she was laughing and it pushed me over the edge to the laughing cry. Maybe you just had to be there, but it still makes me laugh out loud envisioning the chaos that ensued.

Josh is a pro and has preached through screaming children, barking dogs and music randomly playing at the wrong time. He kept on going and I tried to control myself.  I started having deep thoughts. About how my week had been a lot like that car alarm experience. I already have one of those personalities that is random. I am the type that I will go to the kitchen to start the dishwasher and when I see the windex next to the diswasher soap I remember I need to clean the mirror in the bathroom and when I get to the bathroom I see the toilet paper needs to be replaced and when I go to the closet to get it I remember the towels in the get the picture. My autobiography one day will be called, "If You Give Emily a Roll of Toilet Paper". Anyway, in addition to my everyday distractableness (new word) I struggle with that spiritually too. Just like the car alarms that interuppted our service, I let so many things distract me from what God is trying to say to me. I get busy, I start running, I let myself become stressed over silly, unimportant details. I often end up creating more noise and messes by jumping in too quick to fix things that I should just let Him take care of. 

I pray that this week instead of jamming to the chorus of the car alarms we can,  "Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth."  Psalm 96:1

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Crisis Situation

So, as y'all know I am deep in preparation for dance camp. Which means I have Kidz Bop songs stuck in my head and I break out in hip hop moves in the kitchen. (That reminds me, I have GOT to get blinds for that window.....)

Well, music is always such a big thing. Finding music that has the perfect beat and doesn't leave 5 year olds asking "What's the po po?" is a hard job. Not hard like performing brain surgery or being an astronaut or anything. Just hard.

I was so excited yesterday. I finally had my playlist compiled and Josh was working on burning it onto a CD for me. I thought all was well in the world. We were calmy having a conversation when I asked if the CD was done. Josh calmly told me it wasn't going to work. I uncalmly lost it. "WHAT???? WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT WON'T WORK????? I NEED THAT MUSIC!!!!!!!"  Then, I said it. "THIS IS A CRISIS!" You may be laughing thinking I was saying that jokingly. Oh, I wish. I wish I had laughed it off. I didn't. I really, sure as day, said, "THIS IS A CRISIS!" My husband looked at me as if to say, 'I was pretty sure I married a girl with only one head and I'm pretty sure she didn't breathe fire.' He just quietly got up, went outside, got on the lawn mower and cut the grass.

I calmed down and the grass got cut. Josh came back in and figured out another way to do the CD. I decided about 7:00 to take some Midol and go to bed. This morning I woke up and the world seemed better. I was thinking about my little outburst and I had to tell God thank you. Really, I am pretty spoiled and blessed if a music CD is a crisis situation in my life right now. Thank you Father!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I almost titled this "Thank God for full body tights". If you haven't guessed already, my issue is body related. Shocker, huh? Today I did something that I never in a million years imagined I would be doing as an almost 30 year old mother of 3. I stood in a shoebox size dressing room and tried on leotards. *Collective gasp!* Yes, I heard it. And yes, it was as traumatic as you are imagining. I have to tell y'all, pride always comes before the fall for me. A couple of weeks ago I went to get a new outfit to wear on my anniversary date. [I'm coming back to clarify that this is NOT the outfit that I wrote this blog about. That was a trauma of a whole other kind!!!] Of course, I found all kinds of other things I wanted to try. Y'all, last summer was the first summer I wore shorts since having Sarah. I'm not kidding. Well, I was actually able to get into a single digit pair of shorts!! Now, I didn't get them because they were still a tad too tight for me to actually wear in public, BUT a year ago I couldn't have gotten them on one leg, so it was a pretty big deal for me. Well, I went on my date feelin' all good and ate ravioli and black tie cheesecake at Olive Garden like there was no tomorrow. Apparently, I paid for it.

So, here I was today, just a few short weeks after my last triumphant dressing room experience wiggling, squeezing and sucking it in trying to get into leotards  2-3 sizes bigger than those shorts. Granted, leotards are in a fashion category all their own, but still, my confidence was falling faster than I could get the stinkin' thing on. In fact, I'm pretty sure I left my self-esteem on the floor of that dressing room. Have you ever worked up a sweat trying to put clothes on? I've decided that will be all of the stretching and warming up I need every morning. In fact, I'll probably need at least a 45 minute nap everyday after I get dressed. I need to go rewrite the schedule.....

For those of you who are totally lost, I have somehow gotten a job teaching dance and we start a 2 week, 8 hour day dance camp in t minus 4 days. I am a walking bundle of nerves and Justin Beiber songs. Baby, baby, baby, oh! My overall confidence has been pretty low. It's been a loooong time since I danced. Today was like the final blow. I thought, 'I do not look like an 18 year old who spends an excessive amount of hours each day dancing.' Here is the newsflash I got: I'M NOT AN 18 YEAR OLD WHO SPENDS AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF HOURS DANCING EVERYDAY! Oh yeah! So, now that we have that covered, let's discuss the fact that it is time for JLo to design a line of leotards. Or Beyonce. I mean, you don't usually see ballerinas with big booties, but this Mama could give JLo a run for her money. I don't know why. Nobody else in my family is um, as blessed in that area. I always say I took one for the team. I don't know where Beyonce got her leotard for "All the Single Ladies". All I could think about in that dressing room was the SNL skit that made fun of that video. And I had great resentment for Justin Timberlake. Because he looks better in a leotard than I do.

Okay, enough of that. I've spent most of the week in one of those funky, self-pitying, "I'm never eating again!" moods and I was really getting tired of it. After the dance store Sarah and I headed to Wal-Mart. I bought some St. John's Wort. The label on it says "Promotes a positive attitude". Let's hope. Well, it must have had a placebo effect just sitting there in the buggy. As we checked out and I placed Sarah's lunch box and tights and shorts for dance camp on the conveyer belt, it hit me. This is not about me. This is about her. And all of the other girls coming to camp. It's about them learning and having fun. It's about making memories and sharing a passion. It's not about the size of my backside.

One of my friends from high school is a dance teacher and she sent me this yesterday:

There are little eyes upon you

And they're watching night and day.

There are little ears that quickly

...Take in every word you say.

There are little hands all eager

To do anything you do;

And a little girl who's dreaming

Of the day she'll be like you.

You're the little girl's idol,

You're the wisest of the wise.

In her little mind about you

No suspicions ever rise.

She believes in you devoutly,

Holds all you say and do;

She will say and do in your way

When she's all grown up like you.

There's a wide eyed little girl

Who believes you're always right;

And her eyes are always opened,

And she watches day and night.

You are setting an example

Every day in all you do,

For the little girl who's waiting

To grow up to be like you.

As we checked out and I had my little revelation, I remembered these words. I felt a little twinge. My body issues have been such a problem for me. Maybe it's just a girl thing. Maybe it was growing up in a dance studio. Our society already has pretty crazy expectations for girls and women when it comes to our bodies, but the norm for dancers is that much tougher to live up to. Experiencing puberty in spandex in front of full length mirrors is not for the weak. I don't imagine those mirrors will be any more forgiving 3 kids later. I would love to be one of those women who others look at and marvel about how I never age and still have my pre-baby, girlish figure. But, today I realized it is even more important for me to be a woman who teaches these little girls not just how to plie or tendu, but to feel comfortable in their skin and know that they have more to offer in this life than a dress size. I want to be a woman that shows them the unconditional love of Jesus.  I want them to desire to please Him more than they desire to be tiny.
I won't lie, I have my issues. I pray if I live to be 80 I will be SO over caring about this. Mostly I pray that my issues will not become the issues of those little girls with their eyes on me. It's a big responsibility. Pray for me!

Take You For A Ride On My Big Green Tractor

July 8th we celebrate two birthdays in our family. My Mamaw and my nephew Luke. You're not supposed to share a woman's age, but Luke is 2!!!! My sister will tell you that he is for sure 2 now. Seems like just yesterday I was getting a call at the beach house we were staying at with our youth group telling me that Luke had made his arrival in the world. Mamaw was beside herself that he shares her birthday.

I just couldn't let this day pass by without sending out big birthday wishes and showing you the most unbelievably adorable nephew an aunt could have! See what I mean!!

Luke is all boy and already a little heartbreaker. There is actually a picture of him driving around a little girl in a bikini, but I don't know her parents so I decided against posting that one. Actually, I didn't ask my sister if I could post this one. Is it okay Jenny?

I just heart this little boy and I can't tell you how much I pray that he will adore me as he gets older and think I'm the coolest aunt ever. He is a military kid and we're a ministry family so there is no telling where the roads in our lives will lead. I don't know if I will get the chance to cheer him on at t-ball games or see him open many birthday presents in person. I just hope he always knows I carry him in my heart. I hope he'll look forward to summer visits with my kids. I hope he'll want to tell Uncle Josh about his ballgames. I hope he'll want to call and tell me how not cool his parents are (really, at some point I am going to become the cool one. It has to happen eventually.) And one day, I hope he'll want my advice when he really does want to tell a girl, "I'll take you for a ride on my big green tractor." :)

For now, I'll just settle for sweet smiles and slobbery sugars. Love you Luke! Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I had one excited 7, almost 8 year old in my house today. She is on a dinner cruise tonight. My Mom works on the Lady Anderson and had asked a while back if she could take Sarah for a night on the boat to celebrate her birthday. I, of course, said yes, seeing as how my firstborn LIVES for events such as these. So, tonight she is out crusin'.

I just know she is having the biggest time. I don't know anybody who likes to party and celebrate like Sarah. I'm pretty sure the term "social butterfly" was created to describe her.

I started to say she was going on her *first* dinner cruise, but then I remembered it is not. There is no way I could forget her first dinner cruise. It was December 2002, just a week or two before Sarah's first Christmas. The boat ran a Christmas cruise for the worker's families and my Mom was so excited to have us on the trip. I'm sure it would've been an amazing night. It should've been. It could've been. If Josh and I weren't both recovering from the flu. If Sarah had not been a colicky baby. If the Christmas carols had perhaps been....just a little less peppy. If I had the swimming skills to jump off the boat and swim back to shore.  JUST KIDDING! (Kind of).

It's funny now. Praise God for traumatic events that become funny 8 years later, right? It absolutely makes me laugh out loud now to think of looking across the table at my Dad and the silly faces he would make when the singers would hit a really high, really long note that perhaps would not have been quite as painful if it were not accompanied by a screaming baby and an upset stomach. Did I mention we were on a boat? For 3 hours? Don't worry, we got some relief. They didn't just hit the high notes. They also sang songs like "Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells". Oh, is that not how they go? That's how I remember them!

I have two purposes in sharing this story tonight. 1.Education. 2. Encouragment. First, I know that my sister has struggled with a colicky baby for the last month and I've had other blog readers share they have as well. If you don't ever learn anything else from me, please, I beg of you, heed these words. DO NOT TAKE A COLICKY BABY ON A 3 HOUR TOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In fact, don't ever go anywhere where there is not an estimated escape time of less than 45 seconds. Take my word for it, y'all, please!

Second, just at the time that this story came to my mind I experienced the most special moment of my mothering experience. My kids spent the night with my Mom this week and they have a tradition of going to the Dollar Tree. Sarah, despite being my daughter, is the most thoughtful child on the planet. She must get it from her Daddy. Everytime she goes she has to buy a present for everybody and their grandma. Literally. Well, when I got to my Mom's to pick them up Sarah had a present waiting for me. And a card. She wanted to tell me thank you for everything I've done for her since she was a baby. Can you believe that???? About did me in. I was already having one of those crummy days where you feel fat and ugly and like you stink at everything. Do you ever have those days? I'll tell you, when I heard that my heart decided that nothing else matters. Being a Mama to that sweet girl and her brother and sister is more than I could have ever hoped or dreamed of. She also bought me a frame and wrote a note on it. She had seen the picture from our wedding that all of our guests had signed. She is too much. I'm overwhelmed. And no, I don't wish to relive those early, colicky days, but I would in a heartbeat to get to be Sarah Elizabeth Fidler's Mama! Tonight she's cruisin' and my heart is soaring!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Rocks!

My Mom just came and picked up my babies for a sleepover and my man is trying to fix our front doorknob (my new favorite thing to tell people is that the Fidler's have an open door policy-if we can get the stinkin' thing open!) This is totally not what I was going to blog about, but after Josh and I saw the price on new doorknob thingies, we started discussing the things it should do for that price. Like be voice activated. My personal favorite would be that upon the arrival of 3 or more neighborhood children at a time it would electronically disarm the doorbell. Or before the ten o'clock hour of the morning it would say, "Step away from this door. I repeat, step away from this door. Mrs. Emily is not nice before 10 am." Wouldn't that just be the coolest??

Okay, back to this blog. Our 4th of July got off to an interesting start. I was in the nursery at church with one of our sweet ladies and 7 kids. I don't want to call them party poopers, but seriously, there was a lot of dirty diaper changing going on. As we walked out the door after church it was POURING. Raining cats and dogs. My hair instantly reached new heights (and widths). I headed home to fix tacos because I was afraid our lettuce and tomatoes were going to go bad if we tarried another meal, and, I figured Josh was not thrilled about the idea of cooking out in a downpour. During lunch we came to the conclusion that I was in the worst mood ever and I should take a nap. Really, it's bad when your husband is just like, please, take a nap. Please don't think too horribly of me. I had been awakened at 3 that morning by the Pokey puppy whining and crying because Daisy was in the kiddie pool feeding the puppies and Pokey had somehow gotten out and couldn't get back in. Really, I thought my days of being awakened for 3am feedings was over, but that's what I get for thinkin', right?

In case you are wondering what the heck I am talking about with puppies and kiddie pools, here is the newest way we are keeping up with the puppies. Bet YOU don't have a pool in your living room!
Before I took my nap I got this shot of the kids. I'm pretty sure this photo session is what pushed my little mood over the edge.
I totally didn't threaten to send Eli to his room for the rest of the day to get him to be in this picture or smile in it. What kind of mother would do such a thing?

I woke up from my nap semi-refreshed and we did our little cookout. I always wish every year that I had planned a big, fancy, beautifully decorated and well catered get together for the 4th. This year I was content with our hamburgers, hot dogs and baked beans. I have officially started the "I will be standing in front of full length mirrors for many hours a day in leggings" diet. That could also explain my mood. It was best for the general public that we hadn't invited anyone over. :)

About 8:00 we rounded everybody up and headed out for the fireworks. I LOVE fireworks. I especially heart watching them at the beach and this was our first time in many years to get to do that. We went down to the sea wall, which was perfect for our little family. Because it's nothing but rocks, and I always like to add a little adventure. I'm like that. Livin' on the edge.

This was our view and I would've sat in an ant bed to look at it.

I had forewarned the kids on the way that I was going to be taking pictures. We got this one right away and I'm sure this is the "Let's just smile and get this over with so we can actually have fun" pose.

This was our attempt at a family portrait....

Thankfully a sweet soul saw our sorry attempt and offered to take one. Which was great. Becasue Josh would NOT let me ask someone. :)

I promised Josh this was the last one...

But there were just so many great photo opportunities...

See?!?!? Besides, we were there way early and what else was I supposed to do? I mean, besides keep my kids from breaking bones on the rocks?

It was an absolutely beautiful night. By the time the fireworks started the kids were 1.thirsty 2.tired 3.hungry 4. Eli's stomach hurt and 5. Ready to go. But we did what any good parents would do and told them to sit on their rock! I couldn't help but think of how thankful I am to live in a country where we enjoy such beauty and freedom. And where I could take my kids home to cold milk, nice beds and sweet dreams!

I hope you all had a fabulous 4th! Thank you to all of those who have served and sacrificed to make this country what it is. We are blessed beyond measure!!!