Our Sweet Sarah Beth


Darling Little Debbie


Friday, December 9, 2011


Lately we've been busy:

Watching Annie crawl. She's become quite proficient at moving around and takes every opportunity to try to eat the computer cords or dump out the trash can.

Watching Annie pull up on things. She began crawling on all fours the day before Thanksgiving, and she was standing up in her bed the next Saturday morning. I nearly had a heart attack.

Lowering the crib mattress. Well, watching Uncle Phil lower the crib mattress. Thanks brother!

Cleaning up spit up. It's constant. It's disgusting. Why is Annie all of a sudden a fountain of puke?

Teaching SB that it's not appropriate to play "fetch" with her baby sister. Fetch is for dogs. Still she insists on throwing Annie's toys and yelling, "Go get it!" since I told her not to say "fetch."

Preparing for Christmas!! It's the most wonderful time of the year! SB and Jack got a tree this week, and SB and I decorated it. Due to SB's height, most of the ornaments are clustered around the bottom of the tree, but we think it looks fabulous.

Sweeping the floors. Annie prefers to eat off of the floor, and she can usually be found hiding underneath the table scrounging for leftovers. She seriously ate a clump of mud that I suppose came off of Jack's shoes one day. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. I did manage to scrape out some leaf particles and a small rock from her mouth, but most of the mud went right down the hatch. So gross.

Not sleeping. Annie had her first DTaP this week, and she has been a stage three clinger ever since. I can't put that kid down for a minute or else she wails in distress (until she spots some mud / food particles nearby). She has cried right through nap time every day since her shot, and she has started waking up at night as well. Hopefully this stage will pass soon!!

Showing off Annie's new tricks. Last week she learned how to wave bye bye and started clapping when you say "yay". Now if I could just get her to say "mama." But who has the time?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wii for sale - brand new in box!

I know I posted this before, but I still have it. And you can buy it, just in time for Christmas! I bought a Wii for Jack for his birthday in May, but we decided to return it and get something else instead. Unfortunately, I waited too long to return it, and the 15 day return window had expired. So it is still sitting on our living room floor in the box, collecting dust and making me irritated that I wasted $200.

It's the black console that comes with one controller and I think one nunchuk. I also bought an additional controller and nunchuk. It's all unopened, still in original packaging. Perfect for a Christmas gift. I'd like to sell the whole lot together for $150. That's the console, 2 controllers, 2 nunchuks, and I think it comes with wii sports or something in the package with the console. If you're interested, I can open the box to see for sure.

Don't you want to buy a wii? Leave me a comment if you're interested.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I've made a huge mistake

Every problem has a solution. Right, math majors? Maybe not. Basic trigonometry was enough to confuse me. Anyway, Jack and I have been having a small problem because our laptop is upstairs while our desktop and printer are downstairs. The laptop is all we really use these days, so anytime we wanted to print something we had to run downstairs to do it. Some of you may call that laziness, but we prefer to call it non feng shui-ness.

All of the running up and down the stairs was throwing off my positive energy and making me tired. Not to mention the fact that in order to print anything, we would first have to send the desired document from the laptop to the desktop. Sometimes the desktop (which is very old and can be a little cranky) did not like the format of the document that the laptop sent, so I would have to trek back upstairs and reformat the document and send again, then do the stairs again. Enough is enough, right?

Well, Christmas came early at Redwood Roofing this year. Santa brought us a new printer. But not just a printer. It's a fancy shmancy, bells and whistles, multifunction printer that faxes, scans and copies as well. Best of all, it's wireless. Which means that I can hit print on the laptop no matter where I am and our printer will get the job done. No more transferring files to the dinosaur downstairs.

I was sold on a printer as soon as I found out that we could download a (free) app that would allow us to print stuff from our phones! Thanks to Sullivans Office Supply for the best bang for our buck. And to one handsome pen salesman who sealed the deal, we'll just call him Mr. PP. He even offered to come help us set it up after hours at that! What service! (Visit them here. Or you can reach them at 662-323-5222. For all your office needs, from furniture to office equipment / supplies and more pens that your hands could desire! Ask for Philip and tell him Mrs. Featherbottom sent you.)

But no help necessary. We declined his kind offer because I'm smart enough to handle these kinds of things. And it is just a printer after all. Tonight seemed the perfect night, since Annie was tucked safely in bed, and Jack fell asleep with SB at 7:30. I was left to myself, and myself decided to set up our new printer. The instruction booklet was very detailed. Step One was "remove product from the box". I felt confident that I could complete the installation. And I did. Then I decided to go ahead and set up the wireless connection, which was only logical since that was the reason we had purchased this thing in the first place.

The instruction manual warned me that I would need our network name and password. I was pretty sure I knew that information. Then it warned me again that I would need the name, password and WEP key. In the event that we had multiple WEP keys, the printer company only needed the first WEP key.

Come again? WEP key? Is that some kind of code used by computer programmers to make normal people feel like idiots? If so, it worked. I turned to my best friend Google, who never makes me feel stupid when I have a question. It turns out there are some basic hacking skills you can learn and use to retrieve your WEP key. After a few online tutorials and several failed attempts, I managed to log in as an administrator to our wireless service's online system and retrieve a default WEP key, which, ironically, was "WEP key 1". Ugh.

Anyway, armed with my necessary information, I started the wireless set up process. It prompted me for my network name and password. I was ready with my WEP key. It never asked for it. WHAT????? I was pretty upset. Most of my evening has been spent honing my (nonexistent) hacking skills in order to retrieve some useless information that I didn't even need. What a waste. BUT at least the set up process seemed to be finished. I was ready for a test run.

I opened up Microsoft Word and the first document was "Jack's Messages." Perfect. I would print his message list and tape it to the front door. That way he would have his to-do list ready when he left in the morning, and I could make a note on there that I had printed it from our brand new printer that I had installed while he was sleeping. And please don't wake me up since I was up all night working on it.

I hit "print."

Then the realization suddenly set in.

It might have worked perfectly. I couldn't tell. There was no way of knowing.... Not without going back down the stairs.

All that time, all that money, all that EFFORT put into buying and installing a new printer with wireless capabilities so that I wouldn't have to run up and down the stairs anymore...and I had set it up downstairs.

So I went back down the stairs. There it was, shimmering like a most precious jade, Jack's message list, sitting primly on the output tray. It worked.

Now I just have to move it upstairs.

#what a waste

Monday, November 21, 2011

Annie Bananie

Little Annie is growing like a weed. I cannot believe how fast the time goes. She's 8.5 months old and scooting around like a pro. Thankfully, she doesn't have any teeth yet, but that hasn't stopped her from eating everything she can get her hands on.

Like broccoli

and crackers. I'm running the vacuum every other day, but she can usually find something on the floor that her sister has (intentionally or not) left for her to taste.

Annie is still a sweet, happy little girl. Unfortunately, if I am in the room, she wants me to hold her, but I'm just trying to enjoy being needed because I know it won't last forever. She is learning how to exercise her vocal cords and loves to do so at every opportunity. We are working on waving bye bye, but she isn't ready yet to do that on command.

She is completely enthralled by the computer cords in the living room, so we are also working on saying "no" and redirecting to a safer chew toy, like Jack's work shoes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

While most kids are watching The Wiggles...

SB is enthralled by Pink Floyd. Our four-year-old has a much more refined musical palate than most children her age. Her favorites include Adele, Michael Jackson, Tom Petty and The Beatles. She also cares for Pink Floyd a great deal.

Last night Jack was watching a David Gilmour (lead guitar and vocalist for Pink Floyd) concert, and he played a few songs from SB's favorite album, Dark Side of the Moon. She calls it the Dorothy album. When it was bedtime, SB instructed her father to be sure and NOT delete the Dorothy concert so she could watch it later. She didn't forget about it and all morning has been bugging me to "watch Dorothy." She even cleaned up her room AND the living room without whining in order to watch it. She is currently entranced in front of the television while singing, "Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day..."

I couldn't even get her to smile for a picture. She is definitely her father's child.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Instructions for a Babysitter

SB asked me to babysit her kids last week. Under her instruction, I arrived at her room at "8/7 central" and knocked on the door. After I identified myself, she let me in and showed me to her bed, where all of her kids and dogs were resting. She then proceeded to give me detailed instructions for her children before finally leaving the room.

I kicked myself for not recording the conversation, but she gave me another opportunity 30 seconds later when she came back because she forgot to tell me that I shouldn't let her kids or Hopscotch go outside but that her other dog could go out because, "I'm not nervous about her." I discreetly set my phone on my lap and turned on the video function while she continued with her instructions for another 5 minutes. Here's what I got.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gulf Shores

I took the girls to Gulf Shores last week with my mom and two of her friends. We had a great time, and we got some really good pictures. Here are some of my favorites from the week. Thank you Mrs. Bonnie for hosting us and for getting all these great pictures!!

She's mobile

Annie started crawling last night. It wasn't a perfected, up on all fours routine, but she saw me, wanted me and got to me. I got her to repeat the performance this morning, so I guess it is official. Time to babyproof.

What's that? You want to see? Okay, I will video it when she gets up from her nap.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I can't fix this

To the faithful few who still read this blog, there's no need to read this post. It's not about anything funny that my kids did or said. And there are no new photos to show how cute they are. When I'm stressed, this outlet has always made me feel better, and today I am stressed. So here we go.

I've always been a "fixer." Kind of like Devo, when a problem comes along, I must whip it. My mind starts racing, how can I make this situation better? If I really think about it, I can usually come up with a solution. Now I'm (sort of) in a situation that I desperately want to fix. And I can't.

I'm watching my loved ones suffer and stress and get angry at a situation they cannot control. I knew if I could come up with the right words, I could straighten it out. At least temporarily. So I tossed a few scenarios around and finally came up with just the right words to say. I tossed out all the angry / accusatory things I wanted to use and tried to look at the situation from a loving perspective. How should this situation be handled from a Godly standpoint? Again, I had to eliminate more things that could be misconstrued as manipulation or accusatory. I finally honed in on an appropriate approach and put my plan into action.

I simply went to the source and offered to help. Here I am, ready and willing. Use me. And the door that I had politely swung open was politely slammed in my face. And it stung. It hurt my feelings a little bit, but mostly it just made me even more sad for the people that I was trying to help. They were the ones who were really suffering.

I've been pacing my living room, thinking this thing over and over and around and through and have finally determined that there is nothing I can do. I can't help in this situation. And that is very difficult for me to accept. Especially when I have to watch the people I love most bending over backwards to do the right thing, and they still come up with the short end of the stick. It just isn't fair. I know, life is not fair. But I'm still mad. I'm trying not to be angry, and just writing it all down has made me feel so much better. Mostly I just feel sorry for everyone involved. And sorry that I can't fix it. So I guess I'll just keep praying because it seems that is all I can do.

Not to belittle the power of prayer, because I remember a short time ago feeling helpless in a very different situation. I was stuck here in the final stages of my pregnancy while my sister was in a fight for her life thousands of miles away. I couldn't go, I couldn't help; all I could do was pray. And that's all that anyone could do, really. And God answered those prayers in a loud, swift manner.

So Lord, help me not to grow weary in prayer.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Now, there's packit!

Oh, the wonders of advertising. And the memory of a 4 year old. Last weekend, I was in the car with the girls when SB suddenly remembered something very important she needed to tell me.

SB: "Mom, we need to get a packet."
Me: "A packet of what?"
SB: "You know, 'Now, there's packet.'"
Me: "What are you talking about? What is a packet?"
SB: "You can pack things you never could before. That old food will spoil in two minutes, but you put it in a packet, it's good to go the next day! It's perfect for school lunches."

It suddenly dawned on me that my daughter was quoting an infomercial. I had neither seen nor heard of this product before, but I knew. And if I wasn't positive before, SB had the final zinger to put any uncertainties to rest:

SB: "And mom, you don't get just one. You get TWO. So we have to call today."

I tried not to let SB know how hard I was laughing. I really wanted her to repeat the performance for Jack later. So a day or two later, we were sitting at the table and I asked SB to tell Jack about packit. She jumped into performance mode, out of her seat and with a flourish of her hand she said,

"NOW, there's PACKIT! You can pack things you never could before! For TEN HOURS. Order packit now."

She really wanted one, especially since they were perfect for school lunches. The fact that she does not go to school remained undaunting, as her heart was set on one. Not just one, but TWO!

A little later, SB was watching a cartoon. Suddenly, she came blazing into the room where Jack and I were sitting. As luck would have it, the infomercial was on at that very moment. And she had paused it so that I could see.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


to Claire! The winner of the mystery prize giveaway. Thanks to all the contestants for your brilliant entries. I know you thought I forgot about it, and maybe it wasn't at the top of my priority list. The prize has been mailed, and judging from the text message I got on Thursday, it has also been received. Since I forgot to photograph it before I sent it, I'm waiting on you to send photo/video evidence, Claire. Even just a snapshot from your phone will suffice.

I hope you get lots of good use out of it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Anybody want a Wii??

Wii for sale! Brand new still in the box. Bought it at Wal Mart, decided we didn't want it, and they only give you 15 days to return game systems. I was too late to return it! It's a black system with one controller, one nunchuk, and I think it comes with wii sports or something like that. I haven't even opened the box, but I will check to be sure. I also bought an additional controller and nunchuk.

I really want to get rid of this thing, as it has been sitting in our living room collecting dust for a while now. Paid $150 for the wii, and $30-$40 for the additional controllers I think. With tax and all, it was about $200 I guess for the whole shebang. Make me an offer. Please. I will ship for free or bring it to your doorstep if you're local.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

To my daughter on her 4th birthday

My, how time flies. I cannot believe my little Sarah Beth is 4 years old! She seems so grown up; she is brilliant, beautiful and sweet. Yesterday was the actual day, but with all the birthday celebrating, I didn't get to blog about it. This one's for you, SB.

For your birthday, I have some wishes for you:

I hope you'll always keep your own sense of style. Even though I made you change your outfit for church last Sunday, I loved that you were so confident in your white dress with black stockings and tennis shoes.

I hope you'll never get too big for cuddle time.

I hope you'll always love your baby sister as much as you do right now. Even though she's kind of scared of you most days, I think she'll get used to your energy when she gets a little older.

I'm sorry I threw your fish away at Smith Lake. You spent the whole afternoon looking at him and making a nice home for him in his glass with flowers, sticks and dirt. You were so sad the next day when you found out that he was gone. You puckered your lips and said, "but I was gonna take care of that little guy." I hope you'll always love animals and be kind to them.

I hope you'll always keep the confidence you have in yourself and in the decisions you are allowed to make. We told you that we could go anywhere for your birthday dinner, and you chose McDonalds. We assured you that there were many other wonderful choices out there for dinner, and we all but begged you to choose something "better." But you knew what you wanted, and you stuck to your guns. Chicken nuggets, french fries, sprite and ice cream. But mostly you wanted to play on that disgusting playground. After watching you dance around the room and wreak havoc on that big plastic playplace with that smile on your face, I was so glad we didn't change your mind.

I hope you'll grow up never doubting how much your daddy and I love you. I can't wait for the day that you come to the full knowledge of Jesus, and I hope I get to be the one to pray with you when you're ready to take that step. The world is a much better and brighter place because you are in it. Keep your joy full, keep your smile wide. I love you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I feel like I'm taking CRAZY pills

The office phone is ringing off the hook. A customer called to ask us to call his insurance company. His local insurance agent called to ask us to call their corporate office. Their corporate office wants me to please hold. My wait time will be at least 20 minutes. My call is very important to them. I hang up.

The local agent calls back and asks if I have called corporate yet and would I please keep calling the corporate office. Also, could we please do some temporary repairs to a roof real quick over the holiday weekend? No big deal.

Another customer called at 10:36 while I was on the other line. She called back at 10:37 and 10:38. Wouldn't it just be easier to leave a message? Lucky for her, since she calls all the time, I know her number. I'm just not anxious to return that call, since I know she is going to ask me the same thing she asks me every time she calls, (when am I coming by to bring her some pictures of her roof?) but our dates haven't changed, and I'm going to keep up my end of the bargain...unless she keeps calling and drives me to the nut house.

Another customer calls. For the second time today. I'd like to check our phone records to be sure, but I'm certain this one has called at least 40-50 times in the month of August. I answered those calls, and both times the "concerns" had nothing to do with their roof.

I realize that part of this job is dealing with difficult people, but sometimes it all comes together overwhelmingly on one glorious day, and today happened to be that day. As we are recovering from the stomach bug. And as one child who missed her morning nap is screaming through her second nap, the other child is pestering the bejeezus out of me every five minutes to put on a cartoon, despite my repeated warnings to STOP ASKING. And then Jack called to say that he wouldn't be able to keep the girls this afternoon so I could get out of the house for a little while. Because he feels like he is going to throw up.

If you're a doctor and you are reading this, I think I need to be medicated in order to survive the weekend. And if the baby whisperer is reading this, Philip, Annie needs some of your magic. If you're my mom and you're reading this, I'm sorry I can't take you to lunch and the nail salon for your birthday. If you're one of my children reading this, please go put yourself to bed and stay there quietly...and holy crap when did you learn how to read? If you're my husband and you're reading this, PLEASE don't throw up. I just don't think I could handle it. Also, somebody's roof needs to be repaired.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Because they just come to me in the middle of the night

Here's another haiku:

Loud baby screaming
Awake in the dead of night
I need some earplugs

EDITED to add:

SB had a rough bout with a stomach virus last night; I've been praying that I feel so awful because I was up with her every 15 minutes during the night and not because I'm getting it too. I prayed first that Annie wouldn't get it, then that Jack wouldn't get it, then that I wouldn't get it. I just checked on Annie in her swing to see her covered in something.

Please don't be throw up
Did someone spill curdled milk?
I need a nanny

Monday, August 29, 2011

Be sure that your sins will find you out

SB learned a valuable lesson today. Is still learning, I should say. I'm blogging from her bedroom, seated on the floor next to her bed on puke patrol. If you are weak of stomach, you may not want to read all of this story.

Earlier today, SB got a bag of dried mixed fruit (cranberries, raspberries, etc) and asked me if she could have some while opening the bag. I told her to wait and that I would get some for her soon. She started to whine and beg; again I told her to just wait a few minutes until I was done feeding Annie, then she could have some. I looked up a minute later to see her with a handful of dried fruit poised above her open mouth.

I was enraged. I yelled "NO!" and she dropped the fruit that had been halfway in her mouth back into the bag. GROSS. I tried to spank her while I was nursing, but that didn't go to well. So I sent her to her room and told her that Daddy would spank her when he got home.

He did, and even though he only popped her once, he connected with a force. I could tell it was an effective punishment. After they hugged it out and discussed once more why she had gotten a spanking, I made it clear that she wasn't allowed to have any of those berries. Later on in the afternoon, SB told me that her tummy was hurting. We cuddled on the couch with bunny until SB got up and wandered out of the room.

This is where you change the channel if you don't like puke stories.

We heard a SPLAT coming from the kitchen, and sure enough, her tummy had been hurting. The contents of her stomach were now splayed across the kitchen floor, and from the looks of it, SB had ingested quite a bit of berries shortly before throwing up. When confronted, SB insisted that she hadn't eaten any, although the proof was in the pudding, if you will. We didn't force the issue, because in my opinion, throwing up is punishment enough.

After about 2 hours of throwing up, SB commented, "I guess I shouldn't have eaten those berries after all." It's nearly 11 pm now, and she is still heaving about every 10-20 minutes, even though there's nothing left inside. My poor little girl has certainly suffered enough for the berry betrayal. I hope we are done for the night so she can get some sleep and some much needed fluids!

Friday, August 26, 2011

To the person who owns the dog that poops in my yard every day


Poop is on my shoe
Why didn't you clean it up
Karma's a bizzle

Claire is currently the only contender for the mystery prize. An excellent entry; however, KC slander will not garner any points on this blog. I'll allow 2 more days for any takers.

And if you really can't handle the who I want to meet, just give me the superpower part.

Mystery blog giveaway

I saw something today. I saw it, and I knew I had to buy it. I had no idea at the time who would be the lucky recipient of such an item, but it didn't matter. It had to come home with me. I've been pondering 2 things ever since:
1. which of my friends would enjoy this the most? And
2. why didn't I buy more of these?

I didn't buy more because I wasn't at dollar tree, and let's face it, times is tough. The first question, however, remains unanswered. That's where you come in.

To enter for a chance to win the mystery item, leave a comment telling me one person you wish you could meet, what you would ask them and why. Feel free to elaborate beyond these parameters. Before you start rolling your eyes at how lame that is, hear me out. This is not your typical wanna meet Sanjaya and ask him who inspires him.

Let's set a few ground rules. No obvious answers; creativity is 75% of your grade. We all wish we could meet Jesus and ask Him for a superpower. Mine would be the power to shoot lightning bolts out of my fingers. Because that would be awesome. Don't tick me off; I'll shoot you with my lightning bolts.

And we would all like to meet the President and ask him to please try not to look so arrogant all the time. Seriously. Wipe that smirk off your face. It's annoying. America resents you.

I think now that I might also like to know what your superpower would be if you could have one. So feel free to throw that in there at the end. Not mandatory.

So get creative out there. This thing ends whenever I say it does.

To be fair, I will submit the first entry as an example. And just so you know, while a famous person is an acceptable submission, you don't necessarily have to go that route. Case in point:

I would like to meet the person who owns the dog who keeps leaving giant piles of nasty on my front lawn. I would ask them why they thought it was ok to let their disgusting animal leave a giant pile of nasty  right where my 3 year old daughter and I walk every day. I would ask them if they knew how many times either she or I had stepped in the nasty and soiled a pair of shoes. Then I would hand them a bill for the following services:

Shoe cleaning
Poopy scooping
Carpet cleaning from where SB stepped in the nasty and then climbed into the car or went inside the house
Pain and suffering.

Then I would tell them that until they paid, I would be using their lawn/sidewalk to recycle the contents of Annie's diapers. If they couldn't come up with the money, I would give them the option to stand beside the highway all day wearing a sandwich board that said,

"I let my dog poop in other people's yards and don't bother to clean it up. Please throw rotten eggs at me so I smell like my victims smelled when they stepped in my dog's nasty. I deserve worse. Also, please don't text and drive."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Take the money and run

Today I asked SB to please clean her room. She said no thanks. I had work to do, and I hadn't really intended for the request to be optional. So I rephrased. "SB, you will clean your room today."

She disappeared into her room for a while, and I could hear her cd player blaring Tom Petty over the sounds of Annie not napping in her crib. A lovely soundtrack by which to work.

SB came in a few minutes later, excitedly proclaiming, "Mom, look! I found Wallflowers!" (Tom Petty's second album and one of SB's faves) I hadn't known it was lost, but I told her how happy I was that she had found it.

Me: "Wow, that's great! Did you find that while you were cleaning your room?"
SB: "Well, I don't really want to clean my room. Can we play baby instead?"
Me: "I have to finish this work for Daddy, and we aren't playing anything until your room is clean."
SB: "I can't clean it right now." She flopped down into her chair. "My back is really hurting and I can't bend over.

I rolled my eyes and sent her back to her room.

She went back to her room, but the wheels were already spinning, and I knew it wouldn't be long before she was back with another excuse. I was right. This time she was in a princess dress with a tutu on top. She was carrying a balloon and a dollar bill.

SB: "Here, Mom. I got you a present!" She thrust the bill in between my face and the computer screen, waving it frantically. "Just take the money, Mom. Please, just take it."

I grabbed it and said thank you very much, but have you cleaned your room yet?

SB: "Mom, I have a surprise for you. You want it??"
Me: "Is it a balloon?"
SB: "I'll give you the surprise, but then I don't have to clean my room. Does that sound like a plan?"
Me: "No thanks. You still have to clean your room."
SB: "Are you suuuuure you don't want the surprise? It's a really good one."

Who taught this kid how to negotiate anyway? Just yesterday she was trying to convince her friend to play with another toy so SB wouldn't have to share the one she was playing with. I overheard her saying, "Nita, isn't that a great dollhouse over there? I bet you would just LOVE to play with it." When Nita continued to quietly share the dollhouse that SB was playing with, SB decided no more Mr. Nice Guy. "Nita, here's the thing... I don't want to share with you, so..... can you please play over there?"

SB has been in and out of her room, which is still not clean yet. In fact, she has managed to disorganize the living room that I just straightened. Blankets, crayons, coloring books strewn about... I can hear her keyboard blasting a beat in her room. No doubt she is practicing her pirouettes back there. But I do also hear loud thumping noises - an indication that she is throwing her toys across the room into her toy box. And an indicator as to why Annie is still screaming back there instead of sleeping.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times

Don't you just love your birthday? I know I do. I recently had one; thanks for remembering. It's always the very best day of the year. Promptly followed by the worst day of the year, when nobody cares that you're one year older. One day, everything is great, the day is all about you and what you want. Attention, presents, phone calls and texts. What's not to love, right?

But the next day, the party is over, you go back to being just like everyone else, and everybody forgets how great they thought you were just hours earlier. That's why I do not like to go to sleep on my birthday. Because I know when I wake up, the magic is gone.

I like to make the most of the day. Since Jack was working, I slept in until Annie woke me. She insisted on being fed first. So selfish, I know. I skipped my morning meeting with the elliptical machine because everyone knows that birthday calories don't count.

Later, the girls and I had lunch with my parents and enjoyed a long skyped conversation with Meredith and Madeleine. I kept trying to get little M to say my name, but all she would say was "pampers." Her new favorite word. I wasn't too offended. I knew she really meant "happy birthday Aunt Emily."

Jack came home with an impressive bouquet of flowers and poured me a birthday sized glass of cabernet. He somehow knew just what I wanted.

We had dinner with Jack's grandparents and uncle. Jack's grandfather was celebrating his 80th birthday the same day, but he was kind enough to share some of his octogenarian birthday glory with me. And Jack's grandmother even got my favorite kind of cake. Caramel. It was delightful.

When we got home, we still had 2 hours of birthday left, and I was determined not to let the day end until I passed out from birthday exhaustion. (exhaustion / wine, toMAto / toMAHto)

Jack was putting SB to bed while I got Annie down. Annie turned out to be slightly more difficult, but that's another post in itself. After I had freed myself from Annie's grasp, I decided that Jack and I would round out the day with Mad Men, one of our new favorite shows. Then I found poor Jack asleep next to SB. In a selfless act of birthday kindness, I let a sleeping Jack lie.

I didn't even pout the next day, as Jack is well aware of my post birthday depression syndrome. But he was well prepared, and when I woke up, he announced that this year, the day after my birthday would also be my birthday.

What a wonderful idea! I celebrated with a piece of caramel cake for breakfast. By the way, my weight loss plan has been going great. A few days ago, I noticed that I was down to my pre pregnancy weight. I'm pretty sure that during my 48 hour birthday, I regained most of what I lost. Someone needs to remind my scale about birthday calories.

We celebrated again that night by having dinner with friends and more caramel cake. The perfect end to a perfect birthday(s).

I have a sitter coming today to keep the girls while I go to a baby shower.To combat the post birthday depression, I'm seriously contemplating dropping off a present, grabbing a latte from Starbucks and enjoying it while having a mani/pedi.

Don't laugh. PBDS is a very serious condition. I'm in a fragile state and must take care of myself today. I wonder how long my babysitter can stay. Maybe even a little shopping would be good for me. And of course, some caramel cake.

Friday, July 29, 2011

SB, Why is Annie Crying?

My dear, sweet three-year-old was holding her sister this morning. They were both very happy until I turned around to reach for my camera. In the split second that my back was turned, Annie began to cry. After holding her for a minute, she was all smiles again. SB was anxiously awaiting another turn, so I plopped Annie back down into SB's lap. Again, I turned to pick up my camera from the table beside us, and again, Annie began to cry. Very suspicious. So I asked SB why Annie was crying. Did you pinch her?

"No," SB sighed, "Maybe she just has a little attitude."

"Are you sure you didn't pinch her or maybe accidentally pull on her arm?"

"Mom. Have I ever steered you wrong?"

Also, I know I've posted SB's prayers before, but last night had me giggling again. Jack and I were trying to put SB to bed, but he and I were also discussing something when SB loudly interrupted:

DEAR GOD! Thank you for my mommy, who feeds Annie. Thank you for my daddy, who tickles. Thank you for me, who laughs. Aaaaaaand thank you for fans, dressers, cups and straws, trash cans, hair and eyeballs. Amen.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hi Mary Beth! Read in Reverse. Updates posted at top

Never mind I figured it out. Although the phonetic plural pronunciation is more like CHAY koze. But what do I know. So I see they are just sandals. Not very cute either. And holy moley at the price tag on those suckers!!! CJ, where are you getting that kind of money to blow on ugly sandals?? Can I borrow some money?

OMG! I just google searched "chock ohs" and the top google result was my blog! This is so exciting. I'm going to be famous....hey CJ, how do you spell chock ohs?

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Mary Beth, but she called herself CJ (side note: MB used to go up to strangers and tell them her name was CJ, but that was ages ago, like 3 years at least). So CJ was at a restaurant with her friends one night when suddenly a guy walked in the door. Something about this guy caught her attention right away. Maybe it was his cute smile, maybe there was just an aura about him....or maybe it was the fact that he was dressed in the same outfit as her. I'm guessing it was the latter. They were both wearing a blue polo shirt, khacki shorts and something called Chock-ohs (shoes, I'm told). So she commented on his "cute outfit," and they traded phone numbers to coordinate a shopping trip later. One year later, they are totally in love but each keep a separate wardrobe. The moral of the story is, sometimes it pays to crossdress.
Also, what are chock ohs? forgive me, I'm just a stay at home mom who rarely gets out of her pajamas, so today's fashion escapes me. You crazy kids with your crazy keds...I mean chock ohs.

Ok I have to go put my kids down for a nap. But don't worry I'll be back with something to tell you about Mary Beth. wait with baited breath.....

EDIT/DELETE/REORDER.....got it? It's all just so complicated. Maybe she will explain it again?

Oh Maria, I'm so happy to be of service to you. If you're really bored, you should ask Mary Beth why her email address is elbowpopper.

doooo da doooo! how much do we all love software programs????
let's sing a song about it.
dooo da doooo!
Hi mary beth's friends! Glad I could entertain you for a little while.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No Rest for the Weary

We've been going full steam ahead lately, and a full nights sleep has been hard to catch. Splitting time between SB and Annie, it seems night time is the only time I have to catch up on housework. After preparing and serving dinner (don't think I'm cooking every night because I'm not. But we have to eat something, even if it's just a sandwich), I bathe SB, feed Annie, put Annie to bed, then put SB to bed. Then it's time to clean the kitchen, wipe down the dining room table and sweep up half of SB's dinner. It's usually about this time that I remember that load of laundry that I put in the washing machine early that morning but never moved into the dryer, so I run downstairs to do that. When I get downstairs, I realize that I also forgot to feed the dogs, so I do that and hopefully remember the laundry when I come back inside.

When she hears me coming up the stairs, SB calls out because she suddenly has to potty real bad and then needs me to tuck her back in because she is afwaid of the dahk, even though the lamp and the nightlights are on in her room and the light is on in the hallway, and it's brighter at midnight in her room than it is outside at high noon. It seems to make her feel better that Hopscotch is in her room with her, so she usually ends up talking to her for the next 2 hours or so. We usually have to deal with her again at some point because when she gets lonely, her ear/leg/pinkie/ SOMETHING is hurting and she needs a bandaid. And she's thirsty. So, so, SO thirsty. "And mommy, we didn't brush my teeth." It's ok. We will do it tomorrow. "But my teeth will be dirty and they will fall out!"

Anyway, you get the idea. Besides dealing with the usual, we've been busy planning a party for some friends who are moving. It was this weekend, and we had company in town for that. We stayed up late visiting every night, which was AWESOME. I loved getting to catch up with our dear friends, but the late nights and party planning stress have caught up with me. Jack offered to forgo our Sunday afternoon nap to listen for Annie so I could rest. Of course, as soon as I began to drift off, Annie woke up and was ready to eat. Yesterday was spent running errands all over Columbus, including a trip to the ped office to find out that SB has impetigo. So we're dealing with that and trying desperately to keep her off of Annie for a few days. Today I realized after finally getting Annie to sleep (after an hour of pacifier patrol) that I was about to collapse. So I stretched out on the couch at 3:30 and decided to take a nap. All was quiet as both girls and Jack were napping. Until I decided to join them.

About 3:32, I hear someone in the hall bathroom. I pray it is Jack. It is SB. She comes into the living room and whispers, "mom." I don't move or open my eyes. Maybe she will go away. Instead she inches closer and in a slightly louder tone, "Mom." Still nothing from me. Be a good little girl and play quietly in your room as mommy is obviously trying to rest. No such luck. She is now inches from my face and whispering as loudly as she can, "MOM." I crack an eyelid. She jumps at her opportunity,

"Mom can I have a cartoon?"
"but mommmmmm-"
"I'm trying to sleep."
"What about a cartoon downstairs?"
"If there is a cartoon on downstairs, you can watch it. Otherwise play quietly down there or in your room."

I know full well there is no cartoon on downstairs because I was watching The Bachelorette down there earlier while using the elliptical machine as Annie cried her head off in her crib...gimme a break I didn't know she was crying until I came back upstairs. But I digress.

SB runs out of the room and pounds down the stairs. A minute later, she is racing back up the stairs and into the bathroom. I pray she makes it on time, as we have been having trouble in that department lately. I was in no mood to clean pee off of the floor at this moment. I hear the sounds of success followed by, "Hey! Where's the toilet paper?? MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM!"

I jump up and run into the bathroom before
A. She decides to forgo the toilet paper and/or
B. She continues to yell and wakes up Annie

I decide to make another attempt at napping, but it only lasts about 3o seconds, or however long it takes SB to flush and sanitize her hands.

"Mom, I'm hungry."


I tell her to go play until I am done with my nap. She disappears and so does the noise, and I am grateful. Then I hear the giggles and shrieks that mean only one thing. She has awakened her father and he is punishing her with a tickle fight. I hear crinkling in the kitchen. The noise indicates that SB has helped herself to some kind of snack. I yell at SB and ask what she is doing. Jack answers. SB has convinced him to get up and get her a snack because he is nicer than I am (and because he has already been napping for about 2 hours.) He takes her downstairs and turns on her favorite movie because he has to leave and feels bad that I'm so tired. As he is leaving, we hear the sounds of pure joy coming from downstairs. SB is laughing so hysterically at her movie that Jack and I cannot help but crack up ourselves.

I realize napping is futile and instead pull out the computer to blog. I knew it would make me feel better. Thanks for listening. I'm going to brew a pot of coffee.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Funny thing about babies...they seem to be magnets for strangers with touchy hands. Every mom has been in this uncomfortable position before:

You're in wal mart, minding your own business when suddenly, two aisles down, a sticky-fingered stranger's baby seeking alarm goes off. And here she comes.

Ohhh, a baby!
yes, a baby.
My next door neighbor's cousin just had a baby!
what are the odds of that? Two babies born around the same time.
how old is he?
I'm sorry, what is it about the pink dress and butterfly blanket that screams 'I'm a boy'?

What a cute little baby!
At least you got that part right.

At this point, the SFS (sticky fingered stranger) can no longer resist the urge to touch your newborn child. They always go straight for the baby's hands, which in turn go straight into the baby's mouth. Sometimes the SFS may even mention that they "just washed their hands" before they left their house. So it's totally okay that they're playing "gotcha nose" with your infant.

Oh, well that makes me feel so much better.

Let's see if we can get a quick list of what you have touched since then:
front door handle
car door handle
steering wheel
probably your phone
and the WAL MART CART you are currently handling.

I'm sure there are no germs on any of those things. Please, touch away! Why don't you just let her suck on your wal mart cart while you're at it?


I was at the pediatrician's office last week. We were just there for a regular check up, so we were in the "well child" waiting room. As opposed to the "sick child" waiting room. A clever division meant to keep the sickos from contaminating the non sickos. One lady in our waiting room didn't get the memo. But she wanted us to think that she had. Her son was hacking away in the corner, and she kept announcing, "He's not sick! He just has asthma." Right. I sat with Annie on the opposite side of the room, just in case his "asthma" was contagious. This did not keep this woman from yelling at me across the room.

"How old is your baby? Can I see him? (her) He's so cute! (she) I have four kids...." She went on and on, but I was distracted by her daughter who had crept up behind her and was eyeing Annie with itchy fingers.

She started by picking up Annie's stuffed animal rattle and shaking it in her face. Then she started adjusting her blanket and even picked up her pacifier. At that point, I suggested sweetly that she might not want to touch Annie's stuff because Annie spit up a lot and all of her things were probably covered in it. And I really didn't want this SFS to get spit up on her. That worked for about 2 minutes, and then she started again with the touching. It escalated to Annie's favorite hand, which promptly went into her mouth. At this point, I was ready to call in Seal Team 6 to come and extract this tiny terrorist from my baby's car seat.

I announced it was time for a diaper change and swooped in to rescue her myself. When we came back from a very long diaper change, I held Annie instead of putting her back into the car seat, sat in a different corner, next to the wall, and I barricaded us in with my purse and diaper bag on the chair next to us. I even pretended to be extremely busy with something on my phone. No eye contact, no conversation. The girl promptly moved into the seat next to the diaper bag, leaned across the chair between us, and started grabbing Annie's hands again.

I blame the mother, who was still yelling at me from across the room about how her son wasn't contagious; he just needed an antibiotic because he had asthma. She should have known better, as her daughter obviously did not. Finally, the question came. The one I had prepared myself for during the very long diaper change... "Can I hold your baby?"

The words just kind of spilled out, "Oh thank you, but I don't think so. But thank you so much for offering." Mercifully, her brother's name was called right then so they went into the doctor's office to get an antibiotic for his asthma.

So a message to strangers: If you see a baby, by all means, tell the mother how cute the baby is. But please refrain from touching. Think of a stranger's baby as a museum; it's something nice for you to look at while imagining an invisible red velvet rope surrounding the child. No touching and no flash photography.

Monday, June 6, 2011

SB's Prayer

Last night, Jack and I were in the bed with SB, trying to get her to go to sleep. Her newest stall tactic is to pray for a reallllly long time so she doesn't have to go to sleep. She made Jack pray first, then me, then she wrapped it up with a ten minute thank you / request list. I only hope I can remember most of it, as I had my head buried under the covers to stifle the giggles:

Dear Lord,
Thank you for my mommy, my daddy and my baby, my precious little baby. She is SO ADORABLE. Thank you for Gordy the pig. Please help my Mimi to get better. Please, please, PLEASE Lord, she is my grandma and she just HAS to get better. So just do it, Lord.

And please help my mommy to not say 'no more cartoons' because I LOVE them and I need to watch them every day and they're so good for me. Please help Annie not to cry so much so she won't wake mommy up at night all the time, and please don't let her wake up daddy or me so we can get our sleep too.

Thank you for our beautiful, big house and thank you for my gummies (fruit snacks). Thank you for God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Thank you for Oscar and Bob and Hopscotch and all my kids. Thank you for eyebrows. Amen....and cheese.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Why do I insist on opening my mouth when it's better closed? This story begins innocently enough, although the scene is local liquor store. My sister just graduated from nursing school, and we decided to get a bottle of champagne to celebrate. When I entered, the bored young man behind the counter asked if I needed help. I didn't. I only had a $100 bill that Jack had given me for groceries (sorry, SB, no fruit snacks this week). The champagne was about $5. Only the finest for Mary Beth.

First of all, this kid looked like he was fresh out of high school. No way he was old enough to be behind that counter. I handed him the money anyway and asked if he could break the large bill for me.

Of course, he replied. "We're a liquor store! That's why people rob liquor stores."

I mistook his comment to mean that he had a sense of humor and as he opened his cash register and counted my change out of his stack of $20s, I jumped in with,

"Yeah no kiddding! I'll be back later with a ski mask on."

Well, he didn't laugh. I noticed he also didn't count my change properly, another indication he wasn't quite as old as he should have been. Although most preteens can count the difference between $94 and $104.

I talked him through the math and tried to lighten the mood.

"No need for a ski mask; you're robbing yourself!"

Still no laugh; COME on! Either he was still too confused from all the counting to get the joke or his sense of self-depricating humor wasn't advanced enough to appreciate it. Either way, I excused myself before I said anything else that may or may not have resulted in an unpleasant chat with one of Starkville's finest and an uncomfortable explanation I would have owed to my husband when he came to bail me out of jail.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Babysit Me!

When the pacifier will not pacify her

then my mama says that I should not deny her

If she will not sleep, well then she wants to eat

so I should nurse again even though I'm beat

Because I haven't slept in a week or two

and if I don't sleep soon I don't know what i'll do

So she eats and burps and then she pees and poos

and if she's feeling spry well then she vomits too

so then I clean it up because it's what I do

then I sit down hard and shed a tear or two

Have to get right up because she's crying then

put on my big girl pants and do it all again.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meet Annie

She is finally here! Debra Ann was born yesterday at 11:43 AM after 3 agonizing hours of labor. It was not exactly the pleasant experience we had with SB.

While the photo that Meredith posted of me was originally taken as a joke, it became very real, very quickly. (Also, I did not authorize the posting of that photo. Mere, you totally redeemed yourself with the flowers and dinner last night; otherwise you'd be in big trouble.) Thankfully, Annie didn't take too long, and relief came soon after.

Annie weighed in at 6 lbs 7 oz and measured 21 inches long. She is beautiful and perfect in every way. The pediatrician gave her an A+ on all of her tests. Brilliant, just like her parents. Last night was great. She slept from 11-5, and I was able to sleep most of that time as well. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come. HA!

SB came to visit yesterday afternoon, sporting her big sister shirt. I expected her to hold Annie for about 2 minutes and then be bored with her. Not exactly how things worked. Apparently, Annie is Sarah Beth's baby, and no one else is allowed to hold her while she is in the room. We finally pried Annie away so that the grandmothers had a turn to hold her.

SB was so wound up and excited to meet Annie! Here she is showing off her big sister shirt. She is such a ham. We got some really good pictures with our camera (these are just from my phone), but we forgot the camera cord so I can't move those to the computer yet. Hopefully will have those up later today.

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers! We are doing well and expect to go home tomorrow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Annie is Here!!!!!!

Mother and baby doing well! I heard Emily did great. Details soon...

Annie Watch: Oh, the Agony

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is a picture I just received via text from Jack that Emily titled, "Oh, the agony."

I hope this drums up more pity for Emily! Come on people, let her know you care.

We are rooting for you Em!

Annie Watch

This is Mere pinch hitting for Emily. I will do my best to keep you posted on Emily's progress.

Here's the latest: Started the pitocin at 8:40 this morning and Emily is doing great. She has a particular fear of IV needles, but Jack said this one was smaller than last time and they hit it first time.

Here's to hoping the remainder of labor goes so smoothly! Please pray for Emily and baby Annie this morning, and I will update you when something changes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How to induce labor

Thank you all so much for all of your helpful suggestions regarding how to handle that awful collection company, who still calls daily looking for Patricia. Thanks especially to Heather for the best suggestion; Jack and I could not stop laughing at that one. I had a lengthy plan devised but haven't been home the last few days when they have called. I will let you know how it goes after I talk to them.

Now I need more help. This baby is no longer welcome in utero. There just isn't any room left for her to do her daily aerobic routine inside my stomach. Plus, I have no idea how she got a knife in there, but she is quite the little ninja.

So I have taken matters into my own hands. I've been researching ways to induce labor naturally. I have been drinking raspberry leaf tea, which is supposed to increase the frequency of contractions, but so far it has only increased the frequency in which I have to run to the bathroom. Someone also suggested eating spicy food, so after leaving the doctor's office yesterday with no change in labor status, I helped myself to a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendys. All that induced was a raging case of heartburn. We took a family walk yesterday, but the only thing that delivered was sore cankles.

I've been going up and down the stairs as frequently as I can manage. Any other tips you have for ejecting this baby would be appreciated. I realize that not all of you have children, but maybe your neighbor's best friend's cousin has a tried and true method you heard about. Feel free to share. But please don't strain your carpal tunnel syndrome suggesting I drink castor oil. I will never be that desperate.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to handle a telemarketer?

We've been getting calls from a debt collection company (United Cash Loans, or UCL) now for months. Each time they ask for Patricia, and each time I tell them they have the wrong number. After the first couple of times, I just started ignoring the calls.

But WOW if these scumbags aren't persistent.

They have seriously upped the ante. They call every single day, and it's starting to drive me insane. The last few times, I have answered and insisted that they take our number out of their call system because there was no Patricia here, nor did I know anyone named Patricia, nor did I know anyone stupid enough to take out a payday loan. Yesterday I asked the lady what her name was and asked to speak to her supervisor, which she wouldn't allow. I told her I would be filing a complaint with the FTC and the AG if they called again....which they did today. So I filed a complaint, but I somehow get the feeling that making these idiots stop calling me is not at the top of the FTC's priority list.

Now I'm ready to get creative. Please submit your suggestions for dealing with these morons. I have considered putting SB on the phone to chat with them, but they usually call during nap time. Maybe I'll just start singing next time. Song suggestions? Other ideas? I guess I could just go back to not answering, but this might be more fun.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I love you but

I guess I've been a little tired lately in my final weeks of pregnancy. Poor Sarah Beth is suffering the consequences of having a lazy mother. Most days she is forced to play by herself or with little participation from me during tea party.

After a particularly boring session of "playing baby" with SB and bunny, SB sighed and said,

"Mommy, I love you, but....when is Daddy going to be home?"

Never soon enough.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free* Chicken

I had seen the rodeo advertised on television, but we aren't exactly rodeo people. I've never been, and I've never cared. However, this past weekend, the rodeo was in town, and there was a free petting zoo beforehand. As much as SB loves animals, I knew she would love to do something like that.

So Saturday afternoon, we drove out to the horse park to see the animals. Before we left, I double checked the web site to be sure of the time and cost. Here is what the site advertised for the day:

Saturday: Gates open at 5 pm for free petting zoo and pony rides and show begins at 7:30.

SB was so excited. We had to park pretty far away, but Sarah Beth was undaunted by the uphill trek. Animals awaited! She peppered us with questions about what kinds of animals we would see.

Will we see horses? Yes. Sheep? Yes. Pigs? Probably.... on and on she went.

We finally made it to the arena and walked right inside. You could smell the excitement, or maybe it was just the horses. When we walked in, an EVENTS jacketed lady asked for our tickets.

Me: Uhhh...we're just here for the petting zoo.
Her: You still need a ticket.
Me: Ok...but we aren't staying for the rodeo. The web site said the petting zoo was free.
Her: You can get a ticket outside.
Me: Thanks for your help.

We followed Jack outside to the ticket booth. Jack was trying to explain to the ticket salesmen that we didn't want to go to the rodeo. We were just there to let our precious little 3-year-old pet some animals. For free.

They were trying to explain to us that the animal petting was only free with paid admission. Even for adorable children whose spirits would be crushed to leave empty handed.

I was trying to explain to them that I had looked on the web site and made sure before we made the 20 minute drive that the petting zoo was free and that we definitely didn't want to stay and watch horses chase cows around a poop-filled arena.

They were trying to explain to us that we still had to buy two adult tickets and one child ticket in order to visit the free petting zoo. I finally told Jack to forget it, but SB was so excited that Jack couldn't bear to break her little heart. I suggested that one of us go in with her and the other wait outside in the free area. Jack asked the ticket lady if we could at least give our tickets to someone else when we left. Sorry, she said, they take your tickets at the door.

A nice lady, overhearing our conversation, pulled two tickets out of her pocket. "Here," she said, "I have 2 tickets. You can have mine if you just buy one for your little girl."

Now that was a really nice thing for her to do. We could pet the animals after all!!!

We did not protest. After thanking her profusely and buying another ticket for SB, we hurried into the arena so as not to waste a minute of petting zoo time. We had to be home in less than 1.5 hours, and we wanted to be sure we had plenty of time to see all the animals.

Turns out, we shouldn't have worried. I captured the entire petting zoo in this one shot:

Here is SB standing next to the sheep, with a miniature horse and a goat in the background. To be fair, there was a cow sleeping in a stall in another corner of the arena, but you couldn't reach it, so I'm not positive it was meant to be a part of the zoo.

Oh yeah, also there was a small cage with 3 chicken crammed inside, but touching was not recommended or even possible.

All I could think about was how this scenario would fit perfectly into a Mastercard commercial:

SB's admission to the free petting zoo: $5
Jack's admission to the free petting zoo:$15
Emily's admission to the free petting zoo: $15
Seeing a sheep, a goat and a miniature horse tied to a fence: Priceless

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meet Hoscott

We have gained another non human family member. To this one, however, I have no objection. It's Sarah Beth's imaginary dog, Hopscotch. She has had (and still has) her share of imaginary friends, but for a while, I wasn't sure what she was saying when I heard her talking about "Hoscott." She recently discovered the sidewalk chalk game of hopscotch, so I didn't know for sure until recently if this was a new friend or just the game.

Turns out, it's a friend of canine proportions. All I really know is that he is blue and he seems like a very nice dog. Nice enough that we let him stay inside and travel in the car with us. Jack met Hopscotch for the first time a few weeks ago when he and Sarah Beth were walking down the hall towards the kitchen. When they reached the kitchen, SB started giggling and pushing something invisible off of her leg. "Hoscott, not now! I'm trying to eat!"

A few days later, SB was in the basement playing when she called upstairs to me:

SB: "Mom!"
Me: "Yes?"
SB: "Is Hoscott up there?"
Me: "Ummm. I'm not sure."
SB: "Well, if you see him, can you tell him to come down here, please?"

What else could I do? I called out for Hoscott and told him to go downstairs to see Sarah Beth. Good dog.

With a little practice, SB has gotten much better at pronouncing his name. She has also gotten pretty good at talking for him. Hopscotch loves to play hide and seek, curiously one of SB's favorite games as well. I was hiding while SB counted to ten, and this is what I heard:

"...eight, nine, TEN! Ready or not, here I come! Oh, hey Hopscotch. Want to play hide and seek?...Ruff, ruff!...Okay, let's go find mama....Ruff, ruff!"

For our final Hopscotch tale of the day, it might be helpful to know that SB also recently had children. Six of them to be exact. SB has assured me on several occasions that Hopscotch is a very good dog and would not potty inside the house. But apparently he had an accident yesterday. SB told me Hopscotch went poo poo in her room (what is it with my kid and pooping dogs??). I asked her if she cleaned it up and she laughed at me as though her cleaning up after him was the most absurd thing she could imagine. She laughed, waved me off and said, "No way. I had one of my kids do it."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's Officially Official

Meredith is free and clear. Her MRI this morning showed the "spot" on her liver was nothing at all. Thanks again to all who prayed for healing. God is truly in the miracle business!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lymph Node: CLEAR!!!

Praise God from whom all blessing flow! Meredith's lymph node and tissue results were cancer free! God is so good! He is so merciful! All indications at this point are that Meredith's body is free of cancer, and she will not need additional surgery or any treatments!

We are so thankful for this great report, and we are so thankful for everyone who prayed for Meredith through this time. Our God is an awesome God, and He has carried us through this storm and brought us to the other side with great mercy! We want to thank God today as strenuously as we petitioned Him on Meredith's behalf for the past week.

Meredith will have an MRI tomorrow morning at 9:30 just to make certain the spot on her liver is nothing to worry about. The doctor felt that since the tissue and lymph node were clear, it was extremely unlikely that the spot on her liver could be cancer.

Thank you again for all of your prayers, comments, thoughts, phone calls, texts, etc. Every encouraging word has meant so much. Now we can celebrate!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Little Reminder

Meredith and Vic arrived safely in El Paso and are making the drive home. Meredith said she mentioned to God on the plane that she could use a little sign that He was still with her. Once the plane landed, a girl sitting in front of them turned around and admitted that she had overheard them talking and asked for their names. She told them that her boyfriend's father was a melanoma survivor, and she wanted to pray for them.

Thank God for small reminders.

Update on Meredith

Biopsy results will not be available until tomorrow. Her CT scan showed a spot of something on her liver, but the doctor did not know what it was. She will have to have an MRI to determine exactly what it is.

She and Vic are headed home for now, and the doctor should call tomorrow with lymph node and tissue biopsy results. The most important thing for now seems to be that the tissue and especially the lymph node is clear of cancer. Please continue to pray that way.

She will have an MRI in Midland sometime this week to get a closer look at her liver and determine what that spot could be.

Thank you for continuing to pray!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Initial Lymph Node Report

Meredith is awake but groggy and in pain, of course. She will get to leave the hospital today, which is great. She will have Vic plus both of his parents (a doctor and a nurse!) to take care of her over the weekend, which they will spend close to the hospital in LA. They meet with the doctor on Monday (I don't know what time) to get the final results as to whether or not anything has spread or if she will have to do any treatments.

One lymph node did light up on the pre-surgery lymph node map, so the doctor removed it during the surgery. From my google searching, I think that just showed which lymph node would be most likely to contain cancer, if the cancer has spread. They are rushing the results to have them ready on Monday. Please, please, please keep praying that this surgery has removed all the cancer and Meredith and Vic can return to normal, healthy life next week!

post surgery update

Meredith is out of surgery!! Doctor said he didn't see anything alarming or unexpected. Hope to have lymph node results Monday. Thank you for your prayers! God is good.

Surgery Day

We are all still celebrating the good news from last night that Meredith's PET scan was normal. I wish you could have seen the scene in my living room when I got the news and screamed out loud in joy. Sarah Beth and I danced around the couch while Jack and Mary Beth immediately began rejoicing with us. We thanked God for the good report, then we hit the phones/internet to let all of you share in the joy. So many of you have been asking exactly what this news means. I'm no oncologist, and someone smarter than I can correct me if I am wrong, but my basic understanding is this:

The PET scan shows that the cancer has not spread to any of her organs. This is a really good indicator that during the surgery today, the doctor can remove all the rest of the cancerous tissue from the original site. I believe he will also take some lymph nodes to test for cancer cells, so maybe the PET scan doesn't show whether the cancer has infected any of her lymph nodes? Or perhaps the doctor is just being extra thorough. I know someone out there knows the answers to these questions, but I'm certain we will know more after the doctor goes in today.

Meredith's surgery starts at 10:30 am central time. I asked her this morning how long it might take, but she wasn't sure. Please continue to pray, and I will update everyone as soon as we get word that she is out of surgery.

In family news, Meredith said that Vic has been handling everything regarding her medical care, and that he has been a rock for her throughout this entire ordeal. Vic, thank you for taking such wonderful care of my sister! We love you and are praying for you as well!

My parents have been taking care of Madeleine this week, and she is doing great, sleeping through the night and loving every minute with her grandparents! Vic's parents arrived in LA last night to be with Vic and Meredith during the surgery today. Vic's father is a doctor, and it was at his urging that Meredith had this spot investigated in the first place! Thank you, Dr. Victor, for insisting she see a dermatologist!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Just got the news: Meredith's PET scan is clear! Thank you, God!

A Message from Meredith

I spoke with Mere this morning, and she sounded great. Still no news from the PET scan but hoping to hear from doctor today. She asked that I post the following message from her:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!

God is so good. We are amazed at the lengths our God goes to to take care of his children. Please know that Vic and I are doing very well. We have had the most amazing experience since we got the news of my cancer on Monday late afternoon. In a matter of 24 hours we had an appointment with the top melanoma surgeon at UCLA medical center, probably the top in the US. He saw us yesterday, on a surgery day, and moved things around and people out of the way to make room for my surgery, scheduled for this Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. [10:30 central time] Amazing! Some very dear friends moved mountains behind the scenes to make that happen. We are forever grateful.

On top of that miracle, a very close, wonderful friend who lives in LA put his life on hold to make Vic and I feel at home while we are in LA. He picked us up from the airport at 7:00 a.m. (and if you knew Bruce, you would know that it is a miracle for him to rise before 10) and has chauffeured us all over LA and given us his beautiful home in Manhattan Beach. Bruce - you will never know how much we love and appreciate you and what you have done for us!

We have received hundreds of messages from friends and loved ones who are so diligently praying for us. How I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you! We are so humbled. Please keep them coming as we feel the arms of the Lord embrace us and carry us through this valley. He is with us!

We've had nothing but good news so far. Yesterday my chest x-ray was clear and my blood work appeared normal! Today, as we await the PET scan results, we put our hope in the author and finisher of our faith, whose mercies are new EVERY morning. Thanks be to God.

Friday morning we will arrive at 6:30 a.m. [8:30 central] Lymphatic mapping will be done an hour later and surgery at 8:30 [10:30 central]. Please continue to lift us up in your prayers.
He has given us "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow." Great is His faithfulness.

Love to all!

Messages for Meredith

No PET scan results yet.

We hope to hear something this morning. Thank you all SO MUCH for your encouraging comments. Knowing that so many people are thinking about and praying for Meredith and our family means so much. I'm going to tell Meredith to stop by this site whenever she needs a boost, so you can feel free to leave messages for her here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meredith Update

Meredith and Vic met with the oncologist today and he reviewed her chest x rays, which looked good! The doctor scheduled her surgery for Friday morning 10:30 central time. He warned her that it would be pretty invasive and she would be under general anesthesia as opposed to the outpatient procedure we were hoping for. However, Meredith and Vic liked the doctor and the initial results seem to be encouraging. No word yet on staging. PET scan scheduled for this afternoon at 4:30 central, so hopefully we will know more soon!

PLEASE PRAY for clear PET scan! Results should be available tomorrow.

I will keep posting updates as I receive them.

Prayers, Please

This is a really difficult post to write. I'm reaching out into the blogosphere looking for prayers and support for my sister, Meredith and family. Meredith was diagnosed with skin cancer this week, specifically melanoma. God has been working for her already, and thanks to the efforts of some dear friends, she is actually in an appointment with a top oncologist at UCLA right now. They are moving people out of the way for her to have surgery on Friday.

For those of you who don't know Meredith, she is a wife to Vic and a new mom to 5 month old Madeleine. Every time I have talked to her this week, she has sounded strong and upbeat. We are hoping to get good news this week that the cancer has not spread and that the surgery will be all that she needs to remove all the remaining cancer cells.

As you can imagine, this is a scary time for all of us, but we are trusting God and know that He, unlike us, is not afraid. We appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers. I will be keeping everyone updated here as often as I can.

Thank you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nesting and Resting

Ok, mostly I'm resting. Jack says SB is nesting. We can't ever seem to get through Wal Mart without passing the baby section. Every time we pass by, SB stops to check out the merchandise.

"Mom, we need diapers for Baby Annie. We don't have any."
"Mom, wait, we didn't get any bottles."
"Hey! We need this for Baby Annie! Can we get it, mommy, please?"

SB has also been ultra concerned that our crib wasn't put together. I suppose she thought we'd just put Annie on the floor. So we (saw to it that my brother) got that taken care of this weekend. Sarah Beth is relieved to have that done, but she's still concerned that we don't have any pacifiers. Because Annie is going to need those.

Thankfully, SB is taking care of most of the worrying, so I don't have to. I've been busy managing my heartburn and keeping my feet up. Overall, this has been a pretty easy pregnancy. But last week I decided that I was over it. I'm ready to get this baby out. While this pregnancy was for the first 2 trimesters pretty similar to my first- very little morning sickness, no gestational diabetes or other major issues- it has brought with it more aches and pains than I remember having with SB.

I certainly jumped out there a lot faster with the weight gain, and I said goodbye to my belly button weeks ago. But sleeping has been so much more difficult with chronic hip pain. I can't sleep on my back or my blood pressure plummets, but my sides hurt so bad that I end up rolling over every 45 minutes or so. Getting in and out of bed is a five minute routine, as is putting on socks and shoes. Now I know what it feels like to be an octogenarian.

Mercifully, the leg cramps have been much less frequent than they were with SB, but the heartburn is raging. With SB I drank Mylanta like water, but for some reason I decided to read the back of the bottle this time. Active ingredient: Aluminum hydroxide??? I didn't love the idea of gulping aluminum, pregnant or not. So I've switched to Tums, which seems to do an okay job. Although I have to admit, I may be onto a new and improved method of beating the burn. I call it ice cream, and so do you. I just had a bowl, and it was both delicious and effective. I don't think you're advised to take more than 10 Tums / day. I wonder if the same is true for number of bowls of Jamoca Almond Fudge? I'm only trying to do what is best for Annie.

Monday, January 17, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is Poo

I know Christmas was weeks ago, but what can I say? January is a very busy time for me. Not to mention, we were in Jacksonville for a few days for the Gator Bowl, which was awesome. Once we got back, reality set it. Since I am all things except a shingler for our roofing company (I have been known to mix it up on a rooftop, but not since I became a mom), the business of all the monthly, quarterly and yearly tax garbage falls to me. Once a year, it all happens in the same month. I call it the perfect storm.

January to some means new beginnings, a fresh start. To me, it means I have to file December's monthly reports, our fourth quarter reports and taxes, and our fiscal year end report PLUS fill out W2s for everyone who worked for us last year. And those are in sixlicate. I don't know the real word. It's like triplicate, only times 2. What I mean is that each form has six carbon copies, and I have to press down really hard to make the ink go all the way through. I have blisters. Feel sorry for me. I just finished those last Thursday. I found out on Friday that you can now fill out and submit those online. Brilliant.

Anyway, since things have finally settled down in the office, I realized it was time to make my post-Christmas post. I know you're all dying to hear how SB reacted to the poop dog. Unfortunately, I don't have one good video to post. I videoed the opening of the poop dog; she jumped up and down for a little while, then had to turn off the camera because it took ten minutes to open the package and get all the pieces out. I turned it back on to film her first attempt, but we experienced some technical difficulties on our first go round. Once we got it figured out, I turned the camera back on just in time to hear SB say, "It's even better than I thought it would be." So I'd say it was a hit. She already wants another one. Thanks, Uncle Robby.

Since we got that out of the way on Christmas Eve, SB was able to be excited about all of her other presents on Christmas Day.

Here she is running into the oven in her new Barbie Jeep. She has since figured out how to steer.

Also, we got snow on Christmas Day!! It was so exciting. SB loved it.

And while Jack and I decided to go with Gator Bowl tickets as our Christmas gifts to each other, my brother came through with the second best gift of the year. He gave me a chance to be Kelly Kapowski for the night. And the opportunity to step out in Bayside style whenever I get the urge.

Thanks, Andrew. I feel so cheerleaderish!