Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kindergarten Propaganda

It looks like the 2008 election frenzy is nearing the end. In the Dickens house we choose to remain silent in our political views. Some couples fight out about money and chores, J and I like to fight politics. We are just really intelligent like that. The real truth is probably closer to the fact that we both like to argue and are stubborn. Whatever the reason, we have banned all political talk from the house barring some major disaster. Despite the silence on all things political little A has apparently picked up an interest in our country's current election.

Last week I picked little A up from school and she was wearing a "I Voted" sticker. I figured they had done a cute little lesson on voting, like we did in my pre-k class today, where they voted on their fave ice cream or color. But not this group. They had actually voted on the president. I asked A who she picked and she proudly said in a loud voice "I voted for Barack Obama." She was very matter of fact and even pronounced it correctly. (This should not be a surprise, Obama is getting all the youngsters.)

Fast forward to this evening... While sitting at the dinner table little A proceeded to have the following conversation with us.

Little A: "Are we going to watch the president election tonight?"
Informed Citizen Mommy: "Of course."
Little A: "I think I want to change my vote from Barack Obama to John McCain."
Informed Citizen Mommy: "Why?"
Little A: "Well, Barack Obama took some money from some people."
Informed Citizen Mommy: "Where did you hear that?"
Little A: "Someone told me who knows what they are talking about."
Informed Citizen Mommy: "Who?"
Little A: "A boy in Mrs. Oliveri's class."

So, there you go. A kindergartner apparently has all the answers and is passing on his info. If you haven't voted yet you might want to consider this. If you are are an Obama fan I am sure I can get another kid to spill their dirt on McCain. Why read the news when the old adage still rings true - everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten.

***In case you are thinking this post indicates I voted for McCain, I will never tell. There might even be indications that I wrote my own candidate in. Whatever the case, we will have a new president soon and change in whatever form it comes in is usually a good thing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Obesity Problem??

J has recently finished his family medicine rotation where he got to see all kinds of people. One patient struck me as particularly funny and sad all at the same time. A mother and her approximately 7 year old son were in the office to be seen for some ailment the son had. Apparently, the son was not too fond of being seen by the doctor. After J left he heard the duo walking out to pay. The son was ready for his reward of sitting through a Dr visit and loudly demanded to the mother "YOU OWE ME A PACK OF HOT DOGS NOW!" Yes, you read that correctly -a pack - not one but an entire pack. So, if you other moms are feeling guilty over bribing your kids with small pieces of candy, you may now rest easy that there are in fact worse bribes to be given.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Big Things

I don't know about other moms out there, but I feel a lot of frustration with my kids on a daily basis. I feel like I am constantly trying to remind them how to behave or do things. These days my frustration level is particularly high as I am so exhausted and drained in every way possible. That is why special little things they do, like hugs and giggles, keep me going.

This morning brought me not just a little thing, but a huge thing. Last night, I was so tired I didn't pick anything up and left the house a mess. This is a very rare occurrence since I feel like I can't even think when the house is cluttered. As my alarm went off this morning, I was slow to get out of bed and heard the kids in the game room talking. After some time had passed they came into our bedroom and Ashley said she had something to show me. Fearing the worst I sleepily and cautiously walked into the game room. What I saw turned out to be beyond my wildest imagination - they had cleaned everything up!! That is right, you read it correctly, my 5 year old and 2 year old had cleaned up all the mess I had left the night before. Toys, shoes, books, towels, blankets, bowls you name it and it had been out. Ashley said she walked down and said "What a mess!!" and decided to clean. Now don't be getting grandiose thoughts that this child likes to clean. This is the same diva that acts as though her back is breaking when I ask her to pick up one little Barbie on a normal night. This is the same child who complains that her feet hurt when she is picking up toys. And don't even get me started about Landen. He is not one to be convinced to do anything. Yet they both picked everything up all by themselves with absolutely no direction from me. I think this will be enough to keep me going for a couple more days.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Where do I start???

So a little time has passed since I last wrote....all right.... A LOT of time. I think it is pretty obvious my plate was a little full. We had J's eye blindness thing, little A starting Kinder and me starting my new job - all within a couple of weeks might I add. Throw in a short weekend trip to Midland and a weekend conference in there and you have one crazy person. Trust me you did not want me to be writing, it would not have been an enjoyable experience for anyone involved. Now onto the business at hand, where do I start????

First and most importantly I want to thank everyone who gave us their thoughts, prayers and support during J's eye thing. He does have his eyesight back for the most part and is now driving and back in school. At one point things were really bad and they had to give him an injection right into his eyeball. Not pleasant, but it helped him hold onto his sight. He is also on serious blood thinners. We still do not have any kind of diagnosis as to what is causing the eye bleeding. They could happen again and he does continue to have episodes. We just have to pray that the blood thinners will work and the doctors find what is going on. In the meantime, we decided it was best for him to continue with school, despite the risk. With the possibility of this happening again with permanent damage it does make him nervous about what specialty to go into to, but I told him no one knows what is going to happen in the future, so he needs to just continue with whatever he wants to do. We will deal with things as they come.

The moral of all this is prayers do work, so THANK YOU to everyone who put in a special call to up above for us. We had lots of people and even several entire churches praying for us from all sorts of places. Just knowing this gave us the strength to deal with the extreme stress we were under. One friend in particular I would like to thank is my wonderful neighbor Amanda. She called and emailed constantly to hear updates and just be there for me to talk to. She brought us goodies a couple of times and just repeatedly offered her help. I know I wasn't always the most reciprocating friend back during the last month but she kept on being there despite that fact, so thank you! I also want to give a huge thank to my wonderful BFF Darby. She also was truly there for me and even offered to fly out here to be with me. It wasn't a meaningless offer, I know she would have been on the next plane out here if I had agreed. I also want to give a special thank you to our friends GJ and Michelle. GJ came and spent a day with J while he was recovering. I know what a big sacrifice this is to give up an entire weekend day away from your family, but it helped J so much. There were also lots of other friends who offered dinner or just offered their help. Again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! My gratitude is forever yours.

Along with J's blindness issue, the time arrived for my baby girl to start kindergarten. It was not pretty. She had an extremely rough adjustment. After the first week, parents were no longer allowed to walk the kids into the building to their classrooms. A did not take well to this and would be kicking and screaming. The principal would have to come and pry her off of me and drag her down the hall. One particular day the counselor even came out to meet us because it had gotten so bad. It was heart wrenching. This was the same time as the eye thing too so I was just on the brink of losing it. Finally, one day I had her walk in with a friend we have known for awhile and ever since then she has been fine. I even drop her off in the car pool lane now, which is the best thing ever. She is also doing incredible in school. She has made lots of friends and loves it. I also don't know if I have mentioned it before but she is reading now, like really reading. Not memorizing or kind of reading some simple words, the girl can read. It is so incredibly awesome to see her mature like this. We are still getting over a couple of hurdles like her character phobia and dislike of P.E. but it is just amazing how quickly she is changing.

I also started school. My preschool class consists of 11, 4 to 5 year olds. We call ourselves the tigers. Fortunately for me I totally lucked out and got a class mainly of girls - HALLELUJAH to that!!! Not that I have anything against boys, I have one of my own and love him dearly, but a preschool class of boys is kind of like a roller coaster on steroids and I was dreading the possibility of experiencing that kind of ride. My co-teacher did not get so lucky and got a lot of boys in her class and you can tell a huge difference. So perhaps God knew I needed an easier class to deal with since I had so much other stuff going on. They are very sweet and cute kids (except for a couple), so it has been going well. I am just exhausted and I am starting to remember why I haven't worked in a long time. Of course every other Friday my housekeeper Beatriz reminds me, as I am greeted by a clean house courtesy of her and not me.

I can't have an update post and not include my little wild man. He continues to be wild and perhaps even wilder. He is doing incredible at school but is still have some problems adjusting to me working. The hardest part is the sleep. He is napping at school but not for as long at home and he gets up with us at 6:30, so he is exhausted and it has been showing. One really great thing is his potty training. I had taken a break for awhile with everything else going on, but started up again this past week and he is getting it!! We have had lots of success with very few accidents at home, poopy in the potty several times and even consistently going at school with only one accident there all week. I still have him wearing pull-ups when we go out because I am not ready for the hassle but he is even staying dry doing that. I love it. Of course now that I have typed this, he will probably regress to a newborn stage, but at least I can claim one week of success for now.

I have covered the blindness thing, Little A's kinder start, my preschool start and Landen's bodily functions. What more you could you ask for in a post? Well, I have barely scratched the surface my friends. And don't worry mom I haven't forgotten your special birthday post. Trust me you will get one. It is a tad late but then again I think you are used to waiting on me, as are everyone else that reads this blog. Thanks for sticking around, I am officially back....I think.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I have been seriously MIA from my blog lately. Unfortunately, today's post does not bring a lot of good news. J and I are normally very private about the challenges we face. We have tended to deal with things on our own and not take a lot of help, but right now I am changing that unofficial policy. J is dealing with some serious "grown-up" kind of health issues. I can't go into a lot of details because it is complicated but it has to do with his eyes, blood disorders and a possible immune disorder. He is slowly losing eyesight (that he won't ever get back) due to hemorrhaging in his eyes and having lots of other complications. If we don't figure out what is going on, the loss of eyesight could continue and could lead to even other bad things.

After two weeks of endless tests and doctors, there is still no diagnosis. It is very frustrating because we feel as though each day brings the possibility of his eyesight going completely, or something worse if nothing is done. There is some good news amidst all of this. With J being in medical school he has access to the best doctors and has connections to make things happen a lot faster. All of the doctors he has seen are all working together and have taken a personal interest in his case. Even a doctor who is just a friend's dad has done a lot to help him. He also has not lost all of his eyesight, so if things would just stabilize he could still continue school and do everything like before.

The last bit of good news is the amount of support we are starting to receive as friends and family hear about it. I will be honest in saying we have been under a tremendous amount of stress and worry and just knowing that other people are praying for us and thinking about us makes us feel better. People have offered to watch our kids, cook us dinner and of course pray for us. We are lucky in the fact that J's parents live close by and can help, but just knowing we have people to turn to if the need arises lifts our worries a tiny bit. The most important thing is the prayer. I almost feel embarrassed in asking people to pray for us, but in this case I don't care. We need your prayers.

Needless to say, my mind is not exactly on my blog lately. This health thing has come just at the right time of me starting my new job and Little A starting Kindergarten, so my mind is on overload at the moment. Therefore, my blog posts will most likely not be very frequent until we can get things sorted out. Hopefully good news will come soon.......

Monday, August 11, 2008

D Day

The moment I have been dreading for quite some time is inching closer. In two weeks, my sweet, little baby will be forced to fend for herself in the real world. No longer will I be able to protect her from the wolves that are lurking out there waiting to strip her of her innocence. She will be expected to battle bullies and just say no to drugs. That's right it is time for kindergarten.

I don't know what happened to these past 5 years. Was it not just last week I was in the hospital with contractions??? It is hard for me to put into words what I am feeling right now but I think the biggest emotion is simply depression. The big D. I said it and it is out there. We have all heard of post-partum depression but no one tells you about pre-kinder depression. Well, I have it. I have been thinking long and hard about why this transition is so difficult and I think I have come up with a couple of answers.

1. Little A is so sweet and sensitive and I won't be around to protect her. I never want her to experience any kind of pain and I remember the hard things you have to go through.

2. Our lazy days of laying around in our pjs are numbered, not to mention we can't just pick up and go to the mall in the middle of the week.

3. School work is scary. What if I don't understand it anymore?

4. The term "soccer mom" will soon fit me to a tee as I shuttle her from her various activities. Have you seen the gas prices??

5. We no longer can vacation during the off-season. We are now officially on season travelers and must travel at the same times all the other families do.

6. I am not in control of things. It isn't just me teaching her ABC's. To get things done I will have to battle teachers, principals and school boards.

And number 7 and probably the most important.....
It means I am getting old.

I am only 31 but that isn't the point. I am old enough to have a child in kindergarten and that is a scary thought. I feel as though these last 5 years have just passed by in a blur. Let's be honest the first three years are not easy, so just as I was rounding a corner when Ashley turned three I brought home another bundle of joy and started the cycle over again. Bottom line, 5 years of my life is gone. I have tried to savor the "little moments" like all the books say but it has been hard and now I am out of time. My life is flashing forward and I can't stop it.

I remember when I was a kid and my mom seemed so ancient to me when I started kindergarten and she was ONLY 27!!! I am 5 years older than her (soon to be 32, don't bring it up again). I can only imagine the fossil state I must be in to my kids. Lines are forming on my face, my memory is gone, my metabolism has slowed down and I had to pluck a gray hair not long ago. I firmly believe that once you hit 31 that is when things start going downhill. After all back in like the 1200's people only lived to be 35. I have three more years left before I defy the life expectancy of a medieval person. What I am coming to!!!

Am I selfish to feel this way? After all I should be happy. I have a smart, beautiful daughter who is ready to start school and begin a new, exciting phase. I am happy about all that but you know what? I am selfish and that is ok. I would like to end this post with some miracle revelation that everything is going to be ok, and by the way I know it will be, but until I get past these next few weeks of adjustment I choose to remain in denial and depression and that is ok too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Childhood Dreams

I love hearing little kids tell what they want to be when they grow up. When I was a kid I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, a soap opera actress and a waitress. I used to practice my waitress skills on my parents' friends. I had a special little apron and note pad that I used for my orders. After dutifully delivering food and drinks, I would sometimes receive some coins as tips. Now that I think about it, this might qualify as possible child labor law abuse.

Ashley has her own big dreams and I never want her to forget what they are. For about a year she has been telling us she wants to be an ice cream girl and a fruit stand owner. Where she got these ideas I have no idea. At least she is all about building a family business. She has told us we can all help her at her ice cream store and fruit stand. She now has a new dream, one that suits her very well. The ice cream and fruit selling still stand but in her free time she wants to be a "weather girl." This is right up her alley because each morning she will come and tell us what the weather is and what the forecast is for the day. Tonight a possible big storm was coming and she was all a flutter with excitement. She ran around the house with updates every second of the storm. Unfortunately for our drying landscape, the storm was short lived and Ashley was very disappointed. I am glad she has her life figured out, I think I am still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up.

In Other News.....

My kids reached two very important milestones today. These milestones will have no interest for most of my readers but I have to record them because I won't remember them otherwise.

Ashley's Big Moment: I have written before how Ashley hates swim lessons because she hates putting her face in the water. This has not changed. She continues to scream and cry when the teacher forces her under. I told her today that if she went under water at today's lesson and her last lesson tomorrow, she could have whatever reward she wanted. She thought about it for a moment and quickly decided on a "Family Mexican Party." Yes, those were her exact words. So, I agreed. At lessons she continued to scream about it but finally at the end of the lesson she stood on the edge of the pool and jumped all the way in and under the water. It was truly amazing for her to be that brave. I guess a Fiesta is in order around here. Someone call the Mariachi band! I am not sure what her idea of a Mexican party is, but I do know mommy margaritas and Mexican parties go hand and hand, so Arriba!

Landen's Big Moment: I have been pseudo-potty training the little man this week. By pseudo I mean not really trying too hard. I know he is probably not ready and still a little young (barely over 2) but I thought I would at least get some basics in before I start teaching in a few weeks. He already knows how to do his #1 business when he wants to but #2 business needed a lot of work. He would freak out anytime I would mention doing #2 on the potty. Tonight after bath he announced that a BM was in the works so J put him on the potty and he actually went!! I swear miracles do happen people. Don't get me wrong, this boy is nowhere near potty trained but at least I have a good start. I never thought anything potty related would ever excite me. Life is funny that way.

One last thing......

My favorite song this week is Mercy by Duffy. For those of you smart people who watch So You Think You Can Dance, Twitch and Katee danced an incredible number to this song last week.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Little Behind..

I have always been a little behind on stuff that is cutting edge. I remember when email came out I really hesitated to start using it. I felt like nothing could replace a good phone call or a letter. How silly I was!! Then of course TiVo was my sworn enemy for a long time. I had my VCR and felt anything else would just mess my shows up. Now, my life would be ruined if I didn't have my TiVo. And don't even get me started about cell phones. It nearly took an intervention to convince me to change over to a Blackjack. I think my problem boils down to the fact that I like things to be tried and true before I introduce them to my life. I don't like a lot of change, so if something new enters my circle, it better be darn good to stay awhile.

The newest thing to take hold of my life is something not so new. A couple of years ago I remember J telling me about a new kind of MySpace thing called Facebook. I laughed and made fun of him for using something that clearly was for teenagers. Fast forward to this week and now everyone can make fun of me because I am officially addicted. My fellow blogger and friend, Michelle, innocently asked me to be her friend on her page. Now, I am a rabid friend seeker hoping to find as many people as I know. Just in a few days I have already connected with people I haven't seen in many years. I love knowing how everyone is doing and the best part is the sense of power I feel with each touch of the button. "Do you confirm or deny John Doe's friendship?" The computer asks me. Well let's see....John Doe was not very nice to me in high school...I think I will DENY! DENY! DENY! If only I had the luxury of doing that before and my life would have been perfect.

So what is the moral of my story you may ask. Who cares about Facebook? You, that's who. You need to get on and become my friend right away. I am not saying I will confirm you but I will say that you will no doubt become addicted like me. Furthermore, don't be like me and push aside new things just because they are new. For so many years I have missed out on things because I have been to slow to accept new additions to my life. I will never forget how many years ago everyone talked and talked about that hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Tons of people told me I would love it, but I declined to watch it. Then it became syndicated. Ok that was my sign that it was for sure a good show. I finally watched it and I did love it. I had missed out on all those years of laughter. Don't be like me. Get on Facebook right now, join, then the first thing you need to do is ask to be my friend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Special Happy Birthday

Tomorrow would have been my dad's 59th birthday. I had mentioned once before that I would like to share more about him as a person and I thought it would be a good time to do that. I am writing this a day early because I know I will not have time to do it tomorrow and I don't want to let it go.

Awhile back I was going through some books I have and found a scribbled copy of the eulogy I did for my dad at his funeral. The handwriting is hard to read and not always in complete thoughts. After reading it again I realized I wanted to have a better written copy. It took a lot for me to get up and share my thoughts on him in the middle of a stressful time and I don't want to lose what it was I said. It might not translate very well to the written word, but hopefully it will give you an idea of who my father was to me. Happy Birthday dad.

Here it is, my eulogy to my father. Originally spoken on January 28th, 2002. For those that were there, it may vary slightly due to my nerves at the funeral, but this is how it was originally written.

"As I was going through some of my dad's things this weekend I discovered something I had never known. Inside a folder were several ribbons that were dated 1958. They were from a District 118 UIL meet, which was when my dad lived in Barstow, TX. I had never seen these ribbons before so I started reading the back to find out what my dad had won them for. There were the standard events - 1st place for Boys Track, 2nd place for Boys Doubles, Placed in Boys Singles...Then one particularly struck me. First Place in Storytelling. Now mind you my dad was only 9 years old in 1958 and he was already the best storyteller in Barstow, TX. Now any of you who knew my dad can certainly bet he was still the best storyteller you knew! One "story" he had me believing for many years was his lack of friends. When I would ask him about his friends, he would jokingly tell me - "friends? no one likes me, I run them off!" As I look around the room today, it just confirms he was once again practicing his storytelling for the love and support all of you shown far surpasses anything I could ever have imagined. Nothing was more important to my dad than friends and family so having everyone here means everything to me.

After talking with many people these last few days I understand everyone knew how much my dad loved me and how important I was to him, but not many of you know how I felt about him. If everyone had as much love and support as I received from my father, this world would be a perfect place. There was never a minute that went by that I did not feel his love. It was this love and devotion to me that pushed me to excel in life. Everything I did in my life was done to make him proud. Every grade I got, every activity - I did it for him. I did it because I knew how much my dad wanted me to succeed and I never wanted to let him down. He always had full confidence in my abilities and that confidence kept me going.

My dad made me what I am today. He always pushed me to be independent and strong-minded, even though these very traits were often used against him. I will never forget when we bought our house and I argued that I should have the master bedroom instead of him. Of course I didn't get the bedroom in the end, but he actually considered my arguments. Many a heated discussions went this way. He always let me vocalize my opinions and would disagree with me, even if he secretly agreed, just to give me that push to be confident in my thoughts and words. Many were shocked at the way we would be banter but my dad thrived on getting me all "riled" up as he used to say because he knew he was encouraging me to be a stronger woman. Even in little things he allowed me to make decisions that would later give me a strong foundation. If you saw us at the grocery store you would probably have laughed to see me, even at age 10, pushing my own cart around. He would give me a budget for groceries and I could buy whatever I wanted. Of course at that age, my cart would be filled with tubs of icing, marshmallow cream, Dr. pepper and candy bars. He never said a word but would just let me buy them and then realize later how silly I was when I was hungry for a "real snack." He granted me the opportunity to make real decisions and have a real voice and that has carried me my entire life.

I also admire the way my single father gave up every Friday and Saturday night just so he could take me to play mini golf or rent a movie. We loved to play mini golf together. I didn't know it at the time but my dad, a good golfer, would let me win most of the time which at the time made me feel like I was the best golfer in the world. He always knew how to make me feel important.

I am thankful to a man who sacrificed personal luxury so his daughter could go to college, or who was adamant about living in the same town my entire life so I could get a good education and have a stable environment. As a child he moved around a lot because his father was in the oil business. He felt that this made him less successful in school, so he wanted me to have every advantage there was despite other job offers that might have been more interesting to him. On the day I graduated from A&M, I had a special diploma made with both our names on it to show that it wasn't just me that earned a degree but it was both of us. My dad, who never graduated from college, beamed with pride when he saw it and I will always consider my dad a Fightin' Texas Aggie.

Finally, I am inspired by the role model my dad was. He had a love of life that I will never forget. This was displayed by his incredible sense of humor and ability to make any situation more fun. I remember when I pulled out of the driveway to go to college, the last words he said to me were "Don't let college get in the way of life." He knew how I tend to work too hard and he wanted me to focus on what was really important; not the academics, but the life. I carry these words with me today. He also carried his love of life into his hobbies and made the most of his free time. At 52 he was still playing racquetball twice a week, playing golf all the time and had even participated in the MS 150 mile bike marathon. I also don't want to forget all the work he did for Habitat for Humanity. He enjoyed Habitat because he actually got to do the work himself and not just write a check. All of these traits are what made my dad such a role model to me and inspired me to be a better person.

There is no doubt my love for my dad was as great as his was for me. Which is why these past few days the only question I can think to ask is "why?" Why did this happen? Why is it a man who is in better shape than his 25 year old daughter die? Why will my dad not be there to walk me down the aisle in 4 short weeks? This is probably the hardest one for me. My dad was so excited about the wedding. He would call and ask me about the details constantly. When the RSVP's started coming in, he diligently placed them in a box, recorded each name and would call me with excitement at news more people were coming. I looked forward to the actual wedding day when the man who supported me all these years would walk me down that aisle and give my hand to Jessie. So I really can't understand why he would have left before. The pain is almost unbearable. I feel lost without the main person who has guided me my entire life.

Despite the sadness there are times I am gaining a new sense of perspective and comfort. The other night after everyone had left, I had a chance to really stop and feel everything. I then saw what my dad had in his life when he left us. He was the happiest I had ever seen him. For years I prayed for him to find a person he could share his life with and when my prayer was answered with Cynthia I could never have imagined someone more perfect for him. My dad was also in the best shape he had ever been. Finally, he knew I was taken care of and truly happy with Jessie. He was on top of the world and would never have wanted to come down from that.

A special friend of my dad's shared something with me. A few weeks ago her and my dad were talking about me and the wedding. She said my dad finally came to the consensus that his job in raising me was finally done. I was officially grown up. Maybe this is true in many ways. My dad had touched so many lives and brought happiness to so many people. Maybe it was just time for his job to be done here so he could go on to his next one - a better job in a better place. For my dad I think that place includes one amazing golf course where he can play with all his friends and family who are already there and who will be there to come."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Results Are In....

As I have mentioned before, J took his mega, huge, gigantic Board Exam a few weeks ago. This test is probably the most important exam he will take as a doctor. Of course, he will have to pass other Boards later but he just has to pass those, the exact score of this test is what makes it so important. If a person does really, really well on this exam, called Step 1 to the doctor types, then they can basically have their choice of specialty and residency program. If they do bad, then they will have a difficult time. Since J wants to do a very competitive specialty like Orthopedic Surgery, ENT or Dermatology, he needed a good score.

After J completed the exam he was not happy. Apparently he had misjudged the number of sections and thought he was running out of time during the test. This made him feel like he didn't do as well as he hoped. He has been super down about it and I have been trying to stay positive but secretly was very nervous. After all this test pretty much determines our future and I didn't want all his hard work to disappoint him.

We knew the results would be ready at 11:00 pm our time on Tuesday night and J thought he did so awful he was just going to go to bed instead of see the score; however, enticed by an episode of "Rock the Reception" he managed to stay up. At 11:01 I ran to get J and tell him it was time. I was a nervous wreck. J logged on to the site but of course it took forever since everyone else was logging in at the same time. Finally, he announced he was in. I took my place behind him and peered over his shoulder. The score sheet appeared on the screen with the word "Pass" on it. Whew!! At least he passed. Slowly he scrolled down to reveal his actual score.......and it was PHENOMENAL!!!!! He scored in the top 1% of the nation!!!! We just stared at the computer in disbelief, then erupted in cheers. We both jumped up and down and hugged, shrieking like little girls the entire time (sorry J, but there is no shame in that!)

So, now here we are, much like a time 3 years ago when the sky is basically the limit for J and his medical career. What will he do? Where will we go??? I don't have the answers yet, we are still in discussions. What I do know is I am extremely proud of J and his amazing accomplishment. He worked so hard and it shows how this path is without a doubt the right path for him.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Going Crazy

J has survived his first couple of weeks on his Psychiatry rotation. Psych is a less intense rotation as far as hours go but is still pretty intense on the type of patient you see. His official diagnosis - there are a lot of crazy people in this world. This is perhaps the most evident in the ER where psych patients are brought in by the police and held in a private, enclosed room. Personally, I would find that way more scary than jail, but that is just me.

When J started his rotations he had to undergo a self-defense lesson and was told not to wear a tie as it could present a safety risk for him. I had never really thought about these scenarios before. As an official member of the Nervous Nelly club, I was more than just a little nervous. This was especially true on the night he took his first overnight shift at the ER. The shift lasted from midnight until 8 am the next morning. The hospital is in a very dangerous neighborhood and the clientele fits the area. I didn't sign up for this "pseudo-policeman's wife" bit. Fortunately, on this night J did not have to practice any extreme martial arts.

I can't reveal too much about individual patients but I have heard some snippets of what many would consider the standard psychiatric patient - stuffed animal companions thought to be real, extreme cat lovers, prosthetic limbs being literally thrown in anger, and of course the usual person who believes they are being contacted by "aliens" in the form of code. Just your boring day in the psych ward. In fact, his duties are much like mine at home. After his all-nighter, J informed me that his night mostly consisted of him making sure his patients were still alive, breathing and not causing any harm to others. Hmmm......sounds a lot like what I do around here.

I think the most surprising thing about this gig is that J is becoming more sympathetic towards people with these afflictions. He is realizing that for the people who are truly ill, they do not choose being the way they are and just want help. He has taken an special liking to a couple of patients and wants to help them so much, but is very limited in what he can do. I think the hardest part is becoming so involved in these patients' lives. J has to talk to family members who beg for their relative to get better, but there are no guaranteed solutions. Of course that is medicine in general. Doctors can try everything possible but at the end of the day it is really up to a higher power what happens.

On a lighter note, J wanted me to be sure and make a notation of today's date. Apparently while I took little A to see the American Girl movie today, an important event took place. J informed me that today, July 13th, 2008 marks the official beginning of Landen's sports training. Last night while we had some of our favorite, close friends over, the men decided to film their golf swings. They were on the side of the house but little man caught a glimpse of them and ran over to me, "Mommy, where is my golf club?" I pointed it out to him and he ran over to join the rest of the golf nerds to swing away. J has never been more proud, hence the official training period has begun. So, take note ESPN and Sports Illustrated, our future pro is now in the game.

Monday, July 07, 2008

New Chapter, New Title

Many of you may remember me mentioning a slight change in my blog. For those who are really on top of it, you will notice that I now have a brand new title. If you have been reading you know I have an obsession with titles. So, I went and changed my title to fit the new phase of our life we are starting. Don't worry we are still filled with lots of Bon Bons and Boo Boos, but times change and I want to change with them. What can you expect? I have no idea.

I will never forget that orientation day 2 years ago when J and I walked through the med school doors. For me, I was taken back to my first days at A&M. You know the feeling... the butterflies of excitement, the feeling of a fresh start and the confusion of not knowing what the heck to do. It was the same way this day. Being a sucker for schedules and meetings, I was having a blast. There was also lots of cookies and snacks, I just knew this place was going to be great.

It soon came time for a special "significant others" session. Since I considered myself one of those, I decided to go. In this group we were going to learn all about what to expect the next four years. A very pleasant looking lady, who we can call Dr. Jekyll, explained that the first two years are all pure academics. Our students would be learning the basics of medicine. We should support them in their studies and encourage them at all times. Seemed simple enough to me. Then it was time for third year. A hush fell over the crowd. Dr. Jekyll suddenly turned into Mrs. Hyde. As she turned to face us, I was reminded of that scene in "The Wizard of OZ" when the bad witch is flying on her broom cackling as loud as can be.

"Third Year is not like the first two..." [Mrs. Hyde cackles while the theme to Jaws echoes in the background.]

"Third year will be the true test of your student and your relationship. All rules are off"

**Excuse me? What happened to the cookies and snacks and hugs we were getting earlier??

"Just know that if you depend on your student for any kind of support, you just need to get over that and learn how to do everything by yourself because that is how it will be during third year. Just prepare yourself now." [This was followed by lots of loud cackling and I believe a broomstick flying off into the recreation center. But don't quote me on that.]

What a welcome! I would have dismissed this Jekyll and Hyde woman but the horror stories continued. Other wives told me tales of never seeing their husbands and the enormous stress. All the literature they gave us had the facts printed in black and white: The insane hours, the tests, and the pressure. Even my OB/GYN who graduated from J's school, reaffirmed what I had been hearing. Bottom line - I needed to get ready.

So, here we are. The dreaded third year has begun. J started a week ago. Up until this point I have not talked very much about J's school and our life in dealing with his studies for a couple of reasons. First, like I wrote, the first two years are filled with book learning. There were some interesting stories but basically it would not have been very exciting for me to write about J reading his biochem book for the millionth time.

The other reason it has not been a huge focus in my writing is for more selfish, personal reasons. Many of you know what it feels like to lose your identity after having kids. You are no longer an unique individual but belong to someone else. For example, no matter what I do I am labeled Ashley and Landen's mom. With Jessie's school it just takes my identity one step even lower. I can't even tell you how many times in conversations I have been asked about his school but not one question about me. Here is often how it goes:

Anonymous Person: "Hi, how your kids?"
Lost Identity Jennifer: "Good, they are just growing every day."
Anonymous Person: "What about J's school, how long does he have left? what specialty does he want to go into? how does he like it? tell me ALL about it!"
Lost Identity Jennifer: Usual standard answers.
Anonymous Person: "Ok bye"

As you see I got a mention as a mom and as someone's wife. Nothing that screams Jenn in there. Silly? Of course it is. Is what I do very interesting? Nope. I realize staying at home is not as exciting as cutting open dead bodies and saving lives. I do realize that supporting J is an important part of my life and I should embrace it. After all it is interesting. It is not everyday that someone quits their stable, cushy job of 8 years to attend med school with a wife and two kids in tow. Third year will make all of that even more interesting and I think writing about it will not only interest a lot of people but also give a nice little record of the crazy things J will get to experience. Let's not forget I will also be starting a new chapter as I embark on my year of teaching four year olds at the kids' school, hence my preschool life as a third year wife.

So, what does this year have in store? Third year consists of about 8 rotations in different clinical specialties; Psychiatry, OB/GYN, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Surgical sub-specialty, Neurology and Pediatrics. Each rotation lasts from 4-8 weeks and varies on the intensity of hours and stress. Right now, J is in Psychiatry, which brings lots of interesting things. As the weeks pass, I will share some of his interesting experiences (without violating any privacy laws of course!) I will also share some of my thoughts on his rotations including my feelings on my hubby doing pelvic exams. How many of you out there can relate to that????? Once my job starts in August, I am sure I will also have some interesting tales of four year olds. Let's not forget the most important figures in all of this, my very own special little ones. Ashley and Landen will still get front and center attention. It's still me and I will still be writing about me, I am just in a new chapter, I can't wait to see how it will end.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby Girl!

It was on fourth of July 5 years ago that our very own 8 lb 1 oz firecracker entered this world. At 6: 20 am on July 4, 2003 Ashley Rose changed our lives forever.

Finding out I was pregnant with Ashley was a surprise, ok I will admit it, a major shocker. I think I took about 10 pregnancy tests to confirm. The doctor was a little surprised too considering he had just told us a few weeks before that we would most likely have to undergo fertility treatments when the time came for us to have kids. Of course when he told me this, kids were the last thing on my mind.

J and I had only been married for 7 months and it had been somewhat of a hard year. After all it is not every year you buy a new house, remodel the house, lose your job, lose your father, get married and start a new job all within a few months. I guess you could say I was at my limit as far as stress went and a baby was not on my agenda. I couldn't even take care of a dog. J had given me a puppy after we got married and I was so stressed with everything going on in my life, I simply couldn't handle taking care of it. My mom took the dog and luckily Buckley is still living happily ever after with her and my stepfather. Even in my frazzled state of mind I knew I couldn't give my baby to my mother to take care of. I had no idea what I was going to do.

My pregnancy was not fun either. I was desperately sick with 24 hour vomiting and nausea. At work I would go and lay on the cold bathroom tile just to get some relief. The vomiting and nausea was followed by gestational diabetes. This was almost worse than the sickness. Telling a pregnant lady she can't have sweets is like telling a bee they can't have honey. I just knew that since I had a hard pregnancy I would have an easy labor and delivery - WRONG! That was awful too. I ended up pushing for three hours and the epidural didn't work very well for most of that pushing. Then, she was here. It was as though everything suddenly disappeared. Nothing mattered. Not the stress, or the sickness or the all the pain. Nothing mattered except her. It was as though I had been living in a coma all years leading up to this very moment just waiting to meet her and start living.

It turns out Ashley was an amazing baby and that was my reward for all the hardships of pregnancy and labor. She was an incredible sleeper (she slept from 9 pm until 7 am at 3 weeks), a good eater, hardly cried and the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Even to this day she is an amazing little girl. When I look at her I just feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to have her in my life and know what love really is. I look back on the timing of her arrival and I realize now that it is really the decisions that are made for us that truly shape our lives. I never would have chosen that exact time in my life to have kids but I now realize I needed Ashley to save me. She opened my heart and world up in a way no one else could have done at that time.

As if this post isn't long enough, here are some special things about Ashley that I want to remember as she reaches this important 5 year milestone:

  • When you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she replies, "An ice cream girl and a vegetable grower."
  • She is as "girly" as they come. She loves anything to do with baby dolls, dresses, pink, princesses, dancing and make-up. My early brain-washing obviously worked.
  • She has always loved to read. Her favorite books are the Tinkerbell fairy chapter books. We read a chapter a night.
  • She is obsessed with fairies, especially Tinkerbell. When she lost her first tooth a couple of months ago, she wrote a letter to the tooth fairy wishing that she could fly. When that didn't happen she was very upset. When she lost this last tooth, she wrote another letter asking why her wish didn't come true.
  • She is a wonderful big sister. She is so sweet to Landen and has always helped take care of him. Now, they are super close and adore each other.
  • When you ask her what her favorite restuarants are she will say "BBQ" and "Jason's Deli."
  • Her favorite movie is "Annie." She knows all the songs.
  • She knows the name of every major retail store and restaurant we pass. When we drive she will tell me the name of all them so I will hear such things as "Red Lobster! Subway! Kohls! Best Buy!" shouted in the back seat.
  • She is quite an artist. Her pictures are very good and she will draw for hours.

I could go on and on, but bottom line - she is officially her own little person with her own little attitude and I love it. Recently, she has been telling me, "I don't want to get any bigger, I want to stay this size forever." I wish the same thing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rites of Passage

During my long blogging absence, Ashley "graduated" from preschool. It was very cute. For about a week afterwards she kept requesting special favors and treats by saying "I'm the graduate girl." Here she is receiving her diploma and medal. I didn't really understand the sunglasses but they turned out to be handy when J needed an extra pair in the car the other day.

One of the best things about the night was the rare decent family photo we got.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More Random Thoughts....

I love a good series, so here is part two of my random thoughts. For those people who may not like bullet points, I have done sub-headings. Don't get too used to it.

Things I Don't Want to Forget

It is happening. If you are older than 30 and read this blog, you know what I am talking about. Yes, I have forgotten most of my life stories. I try so hard to remember little, interesting tidbits and it won't come. Of course I can remember totally random and useless stuff. For example, J asked me tonight where we ate before he took the MCAT 3 years ago. I rattled that off without a problem. (It was Rudy's BBQ if you are just dying to know). But if you were to ask me about my senior prom, forget it. This is why I feel compelled to start writing little memories as they come to me, or include special little things the kids do. After all this blog is really a record for me, so I should use it.

First Thing I Don't Want to Forget

Summers. I was gardening tonight ( a fancy way to say pulling weeds) and I realized how much I love evenings in the summer. I know this is a favorite time of many people, but I am rarely outside between the hours of 7:30 and 9 due to baths and bedtimes. It made me think back to several summers growing up.

I remember one summer after the fifth grade my dad took a friend, Erin, and me down to see my great aunt and uncle. They lived in Harlingen, which was close enough for us to take a day trip to Mexico. I don't remember much about the town except for the restaurant we ate at. It seemed really dark and they played mariachi music. As a mature fifth grader I already knew a few things, like they served alcohol to anyone down there. Since we were with my dad I knew we weren't going to be getting any shots, so we thought a good way to make us feel hip was to order some fancy, dancy Shirley Temples. I will never forget those Temples as long as I live. They were the best I have ever had. Down in Mexico they make them a little different and add some fruit punch to the usual sprite and amaretto. My friend and I started acting goofier and goofier by the second after downing Temple after Temple. We started thinking that since we were in Mexico these drinks MUST have alcohol in them (it surely wasn't the sugar!). Driving back into town that night we sat in the back of my great-uncle's truck. He had a cab over the back but we were able to lay down and open the windows so the air would blow over us. I have never laughed so hard and felt so carefree. To this day, I prefer a good Shirley Temple over any other alcoholic beverage.

Words of Wisdom

Ashley turns five in two weeks and I feel as though she is suddenly maturing at a rate 100 times that. It is so hard to describe in words but every day I see her change in ways I never expected. She has always said the funniest things, but I haven't been so good about keeping track. Here a few things from the past couple of days.

"I am going to go stylish my hair."

"Mommy, do I look fashion?" (This is after she returned from stylishing her hair. She had about 10 hair clips of different colors all put in very nicely)

"I don't have a bow in my hair. I need a bow or I just don't look right." (This was before swim lessons after I had taken her bow out. I am just now realizing that most of the comments are related to her hair. Hmmm..... )

A: "I don't want to grow up, I always want to stay the same size I am"
Me: "Why?"
A: "I don't want to have a baby and have to get a shot."
Personally, I like this philosophy to remain in place until she is out of college and married. Then I will have to work on changing it one day to get a grandchild.

Tip of the Week

When I knew I was going to pull weeds tonight, I started thinking about what I could sit on. Last time I used a towel and that didn't work so well. I know they make all those fancy gardening pads and chairs, but I am way too cheap for that stuff. Finally, I decided to use one of Landen's vinyl diaper pads and it worked really well. You probably already have this tip all figured out, but for me this was a major a-ha moment. These don't come too often, so I choose to celebrate them.

One last thing......

In the next week or so, there will be a little change to my blog.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Random Thoughts

I think I am going to change the name of blog to bon bons, boo boos and bullet points. You have probably noticed I am a big fan of the little dots. My mommy brain (which we have discussed before) keeps my brain from having very many thorough, coherent thoughts. The bullet points allow me to express my thoughts with the least effort possible.

As I mentioned last week, our summer is turning out to be very hectic. I thought summers were supposed to be laid back but ours is crazier than ever. Here are some random thoughts and events from the past couple of weeks.

  • Ashley had her dance recital and she did an amazing job. It was the first year she actually performed the entire number. I was expecting her to not know the routine because when we practiced at home she wouldn't do it right. The dance was a ballet to Tinkerbell music. It was adorable.
  • That same weekend we had recital, we also had some good friends stay with us. Lynette and Todd were our neighbors but moved to Arizona. They were back in town for a wedding and it was so great to spend time with them. The best part was our adults only dinner at Jasper's. The desserts were spectacular. We got a sampler of cherry limeade pie, Butterfinger creme brulee and rocky road brownie sundae.
  • Recital weekend also had my BFF, Darby, come into town. I felt so blessed to have so many good friends in town in one weekend. Again, I was treated to another night out. This time it was just the girls.
  • Parties, parties, and more parties has been the theme. We have been to two birthday parties a weekend since the middle of May. The kids have had a blast, but I am tired. I have been taking them by myself to these parties and it is a lot of work. I now know the party scene around here like the back of my hand - gymnastic party, My Gym party, swimming party, bounce house party, sprayground party, McDonald's party - you name it and we have been there.
  • We had a party this weekend at a new aquatic center. I was extremely nervous about going with the kids by myself. It turned out to be one of our best experiences. They had a long lazy river and I was able to sit in an inner tube, put Landen in my lap and Ashley held on to the side. We floated for over an hour. I would never have believed you if you had told me that was possible before.
  • Speaking of swimming, Ashley is in swimming lessons every day. She likes playing in water as long as she has floaties on and an inner tube around her. What she doesn't like is any mention of going under water. I swear, this child is more and more like me every day. As I child I hated swim lessons and I certainly would never go under water. I was always terrified and consequently never learned to swim. Water is just not my thing unless it involves peaceful floating like above. Therefore, I was bound and determined to make sure Ashley knows how to swim. She has been doing well getting in the water but she still won't put her face in the water. I am contemplating possible bribes.
  • Jessie has his huge board exam next week. He has been studying all day and night for weeks (night being until bedtime not all night!). I know he is ready for it to be over with as I am too. Send good, smart vibes his way. Next Tuesday is the big day. Then he will get a whole whopping 5 days until he starts his 3rd year which is supposed to be even more hours and work. So, send me all your patience vibes. I need them as I will continue to fly solo with the kids for awhile.
  • My fave show, So You Think You Can Dance, is finally into the actual competition part and not just auditions. Now is the time to watch. The Next Food Network Star is also good. Check your local listings for times.

I have a lot more random thoughts but I promised myself I would only write for 30 minutes and my time is up. I am sure your time is up on reading this too. I will write more later, after all I still have stuff to write about Ashley's first sleepover at our house and Landen's obsession with scissors. If that doesn't keep you on the edge of your seat, I don't know what will.

Friday, June 06, 2008

I'm Back....

This past week has been filled with birthday parties, end of year school programs, a dance recital, dance recital rehearsal, friends staying with us, another friend visiting, an end of year picnic, So You Think You Can Dance, the Lost finale and preschool graduation. Nothing like cramming an entire month's worth of activities into one weekend. The fun continues this weekend with two more birthday parties and a baby naming. Perhaps I will elaborate more on these things as the time feels right, but what is most important right now is my tag. Yes, I have been tagged again. This time my wonderful friend and neighbor, Brit has tagged me. I can not let a good tag pass me by. I didn't realize how long this tag was until I just looked at the questions and to complicate matters I am writing in between coats of nail polish. So, forgive me if my answers are not the well-written poetry you have come to expect.

Favorite Person outside of family? This is such a loaded question, I would never even begin to tell my secrets on this one. Right now my favorite person is whoever is reading this post!

Favorite Food? Where do I start? Pizza, Cheeseburgers, Pasta and Cake probably top the list. A good BBQ brisket and cream corn can certainly move me too.

Quirks? Leaving lids off of things is a definite issue I have. For some reason I am always losing lids or just forgetting to put lids on things after I am done with them. I also have a weird thing about my sink. I only like dirty dishes to be set to the right of the sink (not IN the sink). I will then rinse them off and then place them in the left side of the sink. I HATE when dirty dishes are just left in a pile on the side I rinse in. I also have specific sponges for certain cleaning. If they get mixed up, I just throw them away. I am sure J can add to this list. Please feel free to comment.....

How would a person you love describe you in 10 words or less? A caring, sensitive, high-strung, funny, mess.

Any regrets? I always wished I had taken dance longer as a child and did more extra-curricular stuff in high school and college. Also, I wish I had traveled more when I had the chance.

Favorite charity? I tend to donate and volunteer for charities that support domestic abuse victims. I once volunteered at the hospital to help abuse victims as they came into the emergency room.

Favorite blog? To be fair I have to say The Family Guy.

Something you can't get enough of? Hugs and smiles from my kids, and good magazines.

Worst job? I have had a lot of jobs but none were ones I absolutely hated. I guess you could say my assistant buyer job at Neiman's was my worst but it was because of the environment I was in. There were some definite perks and fun experiences to the job but just a few people made me want to quit. It was the only job I have really ever quit for not liking the people.

Job you would pay NOT to have? I would second Brit on cleaning public restrooms - YUCK! You also couldn't pay me to do any kind of trash pick up or sewage job. I know there are people that do these jobs and I owe them a debt of gratitude.

Where would you like to be a fly on the wall? Anywhere some good gossip is going on.

Favorite Bible verse? I have always loved the twenty-third Psalm, The Lord is My Shepherd. During any rough time, I can think about this and know that I am being led to where I need to be.

If you HAD to spend $1000 on yourself, what would you buy? Clothes, clothes and more clothes!

Guilty Pleasure? Naps, Dr. Peppers, magazines and tv shows.

Favorite thing about house? Our neighbors and our backyard.

One thing you are bad at? LOTS of things but one definite thing is sewing and crafting.

One thing you are good at? Planning stuff, not necessarily following through, but the planning part is a skill I possess.

What is one thing you would change about your circumstances? There is nothing I would really change, I have a wonderful life. Of course we always could use more money and time, but who couldn't?

Who would you like to meet? All of my ancestors. I would love to know the stories of how it all came to be.

Real life hero? I have lots of heroes. One I am particularly fond of is my Memaw. She was a single mom and raised four kids all on her own. Despite her many hardships she maintained a strong faith in God and created a strong bond in her kids and grandkids. I also look up to my parents who also were single parents and managed to raise me through some pretty sassy teenage years. Finally, my very own hubby is a hero to me because he is showing our kids what it means to follow your dreams but not sacrifice your family.

What is the hardest part of your job? Having enough patience.

When are you most relaxed? On a massage table right after I have had a pedicure and a facial.

What stresses you out? Everything stresses me out. High-strung and type A aren't just descriptive words I throw around, they are facts of my life.

What can you not live without? My husband, kids, friends and cable.

Why do you blog? To use my brain in a different way. After wiping bottoms all day, I need a little more mental stimulation.

Who do you tag? I tag Michelle, Kristen and Darby. You are IT!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

For the Record

While cleaning out a closet today I came across my baby book and was reminded of one of my favorite things as a little one. I have shared this with some of you, but it is worth mentioning again.

On my "first birthday" page, the book asks my mom for my favorite foods. At the ripe old age of one, my mom replied....

"Jennifer's favorite foods are pork and beans, potatoes and cola."

To further clarify she had scribbled out "coca" before the word cola, as in coca-cola. She must have realized that I wasn't necessarily picky about colas, I would take just about any carbonated beverage. If this isn't the epitome of a West Texas baby, I don't know what is. Let this be a lesson to you other parents. I have grown from that pork and bean baby to a healthy adult. So, go ahead and give your kid that extra cookie with dinner.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Getting It

Little A made it through her first overnight sleepover/campout. I mentioned it briefly in my last post but we "won" this campout at the preschool's fundraising dinner. Several parents got together and paid for a campout at the teacher's house.

In getting her ready for the night I started getting very nervous. I started worrying about all sorts of crazy things.

"What if she can't find the bathroom in the middle of the night?"
"What if she gets sick?"
"What if someone breaks into the house and I can't be there to protect her?"
"What if some of the kids found something dangerous like a gun or medicine?"

My list could go on and on, but suffice to say I was being a typical mom. To make myself feel better, I went over everything that could go wrong and what she should do. I made sure she knew to speak up to the teachers if she needed something (she is very shy). After drilling everything into her head she finally told me "Stop, I really get it." These words broke my heart. She is only 4 and she thinks she already has everything under control, She is me reincarnated, which only breaks my heart even more. I have always been very independent and though I want that for her, I also want her to need me forever too.

All night I had a little knot of worry in my stomach but managed to act calm. Around ten o'clock I couldn't take it anymore and called. She was doing fine and having a blast. I was very relieved to hear this but also sad to know she was still doing fine without me. Then, she needed me. At seven this morning the phone rang and Ashley wanted to come home. Apparently she discovered a new loose tooth and wanted me to pick her up. I arrived and she clung to me. My little girl may be independent and "gets it" but she still needs her mommy in a time of crisis. I plan on keeping it that way. Of course the loose tooth also reaffirms her rapid aging. Her teeth seem to be dropping like flies. At this rate the tooth fairy is going to be needing a loan. Can anyone spare a dime? Or perhaps lots of dimes?

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Know You Are Getting Old When....

Here are just a few things that happened within a course of about 15 minutes, that indicated I might be aging a little. You will know you are also getting old when......
  • You are driving your little girl to her first overnight campout.
  • On the way to the campout the little girl asks: "Does it hurt when a baby comes out of your tummy?" and she expects an answer.
  • When scanning the radio for a good tune you hit upon "Footloose" and realize you are on the golden oldies station.

Nothing like a strong dose of reality hitting me in the face all at once. Let's not even mention the gray hair I found a few months ago. They say you are only as old you feel, but if that is the case I feel about 150 right now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What I am doing Wednesday

Is it Wednesday? Sometimes I feel as though I am in a constant state of confusion around here. Today was one of "those" days. It started with yet another injury from little man. He fell on some concrete steps at the park and landed on his face. Blood was pouring out of his mouth as he bit both sides of his tongue and scraped up his chin really bad. Luckily, my friend Amanda kept me calm and collected. I swear I don't know what I would do without her. She always seems to be there when Landen has blood issues and she always helps me feel better.

I probably should have called it a day at this point but Amanda mentioned going to the consignment store and there is no way I can pass that up. Sure enough, it was chaotic, but not terrible. The low point came when we all decided to go to McDonald's. After getting the kids all excited about eating there and managing to make it inside with all four of our kids, the order person informed us that their fry machine was broken. If you are not aware, the fry machine controls that place. If the fry machine isn't working, you can pretty much kiss your unhealthy, fat-laden meal goodbye. Yes, this even includes the chicken nuggets. Lucky for me Landen will only eat nuggets and fries. Thank goodness Amanda pointed out a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut close by. She watched the kids while I got food. What's the moral of this pointless story? Always have a good, calm friend with you at all times. Don't leave home without her. Thanks Amanda!

What am I watching?
Season finales are in full swing. The Office was funny, but I am claiming "The Dinner Party" as my favorite episode of the year. Desperate Housewives had a nice twist at the end but was a tad too long for my taste. Gossip Girl was a little disappointing, mainly because my favorite characters didn't get together but I guess if they did no one would keep watching.

What am I reading?
I just finished The Pact by Jodie Picoult. It was my first novel of hers and I enjoyed it. Every night I would force myself to read until I couldn't take it anymore just so I could find out what happened. That must mean it is good. You could probably also count The Trouble with Tink as a book. it is a chapter book I am reading to little A.

What am I clicking and listening to?
This is the same this week. What makes Gossip Girl so good is the incredible music they play. I found a Gossip Girl channel on You tube. It plays all the songs from every show. Even if you don't watch the show, the music is worth listening to.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spring Fever

Spring fever has literally taken hold around here. I have suffered two bouts of strep throat and now spring allergies and hay fever are cursing me. With all the fevers and the nice weather, my blogging has taken a back seat. I am tired of being bombarded with emails begging me for another post, so I will try to appease my audience (my audience being my mom and husband).

Week in Review

  • The week started off with another bout of strep. Luckily, J had some antibiotics he had not finished. Sleeping from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. the next morning probably helped a little too. I really don't think I have EVER gone to bed that early and slept all night.
  • This week also brought more teaching as I filled in for the 2 year old class. Teaching these tots worried me but it turned out to be easy. They have a two hour nap scheduled, which meant I sat there and read.
  • A four hour nap from little man. He has done lots of 3 hours stretches here in recent months but four hours is our record, and I had to wake him up. He is not sick and still went to bed at 8 that night. I guess he was just worn out from a big playtime at Chick-fil-a.
  • A nice weekend with just me and the kids. J had a guy's golf weekend, so I was flying solo. On Friday, I was feeling brave after the four hour nap, so I took the little ones to dinner at Corner Bakery. They were in good spirits and the weather was phenomenal, so I decided to push it even more. We ventured on down to a store and I shopped for awhile. Then we headed over to Whole Foods for some food sampling and band listening. Every Friday night they have a little band play some good old-fashioned cover songs. There is nothing that gets me grooving like some good cover songs. I think we might start making this a little tradition. Afterwards, we even made it over to Barnes and Noble where we read for awhile. It was a great night.
  • The next day of our weekend started a little bumpy. Little man discovered a coin box we have and decided to dump all of it on the carpet. We spent a good part of the morning searching for coins and hunting for them in the thick carpet. I had all these coins sorted and was planning to roll them at some point, but any organization I had going was completely ruined. Coinstar was my next logical choice. We took the money and exchanged it for about $80 of cold hard cash. Save your coins people. To celebrate we went to the park and ate out at La Madeline. Again the weather was incredible, so we sat out on the patio and the kids were free to roam. I highly recommend patio seating when at all possible.
  • A haircut today. When J got back today I decided that after 6 months it was probably time for a trim. My hair was impossibly long and unmanageable. I love my hair long, but Repunzel length is a little ridiculous. Of course, I now have cut regret. It isn't that short but when I am used to my really long locks, any change feels drastic. I also know way too many details about a random 21 year old's life. Why can't hairdressers be more introverted?
  • A MAJOR score. I have been looking for a new guest bedroom comforter for months but am extremely picky and wanted something very inexpensive. While browsing through Kohl's I happened to pass a rack with clearance stuff marked at 60-80 percent off. I half-heartedly glanced at the stuff but thought I wouldn't find anything. Suddenly, it appeared. A lone bag. The picture showed a complete set I instantly loved. The brand was Laura Ashley, so I knew it was quality. The description labeled it as Queen. "Surely this is in the wrong spot," I thought. The price tag said it was $269. I knew it. As I started to put it down, a tiny red tag jumped at me. "$53.90." My first thought was to run as fast as I could. I certainly didn't need any senior citizens trying to grab this on their special 15 percent off day. (No disrespect to the elderly, but they are a rough crowd on Tuesdays at Kohl's.) I scanned the aisles frantically for a price checker, thinking if I didn't act fast enough the price was going to expire. As I reached the scanner, I tried to calm my nerves and not get my hopes up. BEEP! $53.99!!! It was on sale!!!! Even the sales lady commented she had never seen this set for such a good price. Though one doesn't usually get recognition for good bargain I have already made myself a certificate and hung it on the wall.

Overall, it was a pretty good week minus the sickness and the horrible allergies I am suffering with. You may also have noticed long stretches of sleep were a big part of the week. Sleep is always my friend. To top off the week, Gossip Girl was AMAZING this week. I watched last week's episode and this week's due to a technical glitch and they were both incredible. Finally, there are only four more days until the best part of my year starts - So You Think You Can Dance!!!! If you don't watch this show, I am sorry you have missed out in the past but now is your opportunity to make your life more complete like me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Darb!

Another friend has joined the over 30 set. Darby over at A Slower Town At a Busier Pace, is now 31. Darby is another long time BFF that I have known since junior high. We got to know each other better in high school, then became good friends in college. While some friends grow apart through the years, I feel that we have grown closer as we have faced many important milestones together. I would like to share a few special things about Darby and our friendship. They are just a few because I am afraid I am sick yet again and my mind is not working very well tonight. Also, several memories are not appropriate for some parents who may read my blog:-)

  • Gossiping during high school sophomore English class. I don't remember anything I learned in English, but I probably could tell you all the gossip I acquired that year. This put Darby at the pinnacle of all things gossip. If I ever need info I know who to call and she knows to call me ASAP on all things I need to know.
  • Freshman year of college. I remember her calling and wanting to talk to Kristen, but Kristen was never there, so we started becoming close friends.
  • JD Wells. Weekends were spent with Suzanne and me going dancing. Wells was always our favorite spot and it was pretty much guaranteed that we would see Darb there or Harry's.
  • Summer after freshman year. We were in Midland and spent many nights hanging out. As I recall, our many adventures included bailing someone out of jail. To clarify, it wasn't either one of us.
  • Summer before junior year. As I am thinking about it, there are a lot of summer memories of our friendship. It must be because Darby always brought out the fun, carefree side of me, and what better time to be fun and carefree than summer? Anyway, the summer before junior year, Suzanne and I were without an apartment for about a month. Darby let us move into her abode where Suzanne and I slept on mattresses on the floor and Darby slept on the couch because of some back problems. It was an interesting scenario but a fun month. At one point we decided to make an impromptu trip down to Astroworld for no reason. Like I said, I always feel so carefree when I am with her, and spontaneity is usually not my strong point. Any friend that can bring out that side of you is a definite keeper.
  • Her wedding. It was my first real experience at being a bridesmaid and I loved every minute of it. The festivities lasted all weekend and were a blast. The best part was getting to see Darby so happy. I also certainly don't want to forget her bachelorette party a few months before in College Station. Karaoke, dancing and a few shots made the agenda that night.
  • My dad's funeral. She was right there for me every step of the way. As soon as she heard the news she flew out to Midland and stayed by my side.
  • My wedding. Again, she was there for me when I needed it most. It was her and Kristen that took me out that day before the wedding when I was literally sick with worry. She helped me regain my strength and helped me get things together.
  • Many girls' only weekends. She has become my go to "girls' weekend" person. We try to have an annual weekend but it has gotten a little harder in the past couple of years with new babies and her business. I can't imagine traveling with anyone else for these special weekends.
  • Her ability to obtain free items. No one can get freebies like she can. I envy this trait and try to study how she does it, but it is impossible to learn. It is simply a gift.
  • Her social gift. I have been all over Texas and even Louisiana with Darby and she always manages to find people she knows. It is simply amazing. There has also been a few times I have traveled somewhere and another random person has asked me where I am from. When they found out it was Midland, they asked me if I knew Darby. This has happened at least a few times in some very random locations. Again, I envy this about her and wished I had this gift of making everyone, even total strangers, seem like instant friends.

I don't know what I would do without Darby in my life. She makes my life more fun, more interesting and most importantly she makes me stronger.