Sunday, December 13, 2009

All over the place

Fasten your seatbelts, this post is going all over the place.

Last night Lydia and I went to our first Christmas party of the year. There were so many beautiful families there! There were children from several different countries decked out in their holiday best. Guess who else was there? SANTA. Lydia and I waited for her turn to sit on his lap, and she was a teeny bit anxious. The little girl immediately in front of us in line began to scream and cry when placed in his lap, and I figured Lydia would follow her example. She didn't though, and I am hoping the photographer got a good shot of her big cheesy grin.

If you're wondering if she asked the jolly old elf for macaroni and cheese, I don't know. When I asked her what she asked for, she said, "A boy!" Hmmm. Is that better than asking for a pony?

The other day we were in the car, and she was asking a BUNCH of questions. She dropped something and asked me if I knew where it was. I said, "I don't have a clue." Her response?
"Get a clue, Mommy!" Hehehe.

She's 3 now, and keeping her out of the tree? It's not so easy. One heavy ornament was lying at the base of the tree (not sure how it got there), and she snatched it up. I sternly told her to bring it to me. She complied but not quite how I'd hoped. She walked toward me and HURLED it. I had no time to react, and it hit me below the corner of my mouth. OUCH!!! and time out. The girl has quite an arm. and while I don't want to stunt her development into a world class softball pitcher, for the safety of my smile, it was necessary.
Our church has moved into our new building - we were meeting in trailors, ya'll. I got to teach my 3 & 4 year old class in my new room for the first time. It was great! And we started a new curriculum, too, called Kingdom Kids. I LOVED IT!!! It was so much easier than trying to wing it, and I didn't feel like it was quite so chaotic. Plus, they really got Sunday School instead of crowd control/babysitting.
BTW, when I tried to get some clarification of what sort of boy she wanted, she told me, "A brown one." Which was followed by, "And a pink one, and an orange one. Now, Mommy! I want one now." Hmmm. I'm more puzzled than before I asked.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Check Engine Light

I really, Really, REALLY wanted to adopt from China. I think God must have planted this desire in my heart long ago, but it grew into the biggest mustard tree of desire in about 2004. I'm not so sure He had planted the same seed in Gene's heart at the same time because he was what adoption bloggers call a RH (Reluctant Husband). However, God is a mighty God, and He gave me a very, very good husband.

One cold, rainy day my husband called me at work, and my heart nearly stopped. He asked me if I remembered him telling me that his truck's check engine light had been on, and I did remember that. I'd taken him to pick it up from the garage after I thought they had fixed it.

They had NOT fixed it. They said there was no real problem - just a faulty indicator, and if he could live with the annoyance of the light, it would save him money. As Gene told me that, I thought, "Oh, GREAT! The engine blew up. That's going to cost a fortune to fix." I should never assume I know where a conversation is going, though, because that's not at all what had happened.

It turned out that Gene had asked God if we were supposed to adopt. And he asked for a sign. Being a man, he didn't ask in a general "give me a sign" that could be misinterpreted. Oh, no. He asked God to make that check engine light go off if He wanted us to adopt.

And you know what? When Gene came back to the truck that light was off. I thought he'd asked for a pretty silly sign since if the light stayed on, it would presumably eventually burn out. That wasn't the case, though, it still comes on when you start the truck like it is supposed to do.

I can't say it was all easy from that point on, but we did proceed with adopting from China. What followed after that prayer has been nothing short of one of the most extreme home makeovers, ever. Maybe I'll blog about that another day. Right now I'm just going to stop and thank God for Gene, his truck, and God's willingness to answer Gene's prayer so clearly.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Secrets

Remember my recent post about secrets? I got a coupon for a free pair of under we@r from that store, and who doesn't like free stuff? So, I went, got my free pair, washed them and I wore them yesterday. Can I tell you a secret? I'd rather go without than wear them again. After years of wearing their USUAL cotton product, they've gone all cheap and there are seams at the side. All day as I worked, I kept thinking, "WHAT is wrong with me? Something is rubbing at my waist. What could it be???" And it sort of made me irritable. One of my patients commented that I was quiet and seemed preoccupied.

Gene wanted to take me and Lydia out to eat last night, and I promise you that I had to go home and change under garments before I could go out to eat.

So I sent them an email and let them know I've had better luck with the brand Mich@el Jord@n promotes. I so hope they go back to making them seamless. It was worth the extra money for how comfortable they were. Gene would tell you that I don't splurge on many things, and I HATE the mall. They had previously earned my devotion, and I was a loyal customer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dear Santa

Lydia had been looking through a catalog this morning. After we'd been through it several times, I asked her what she'd like for Christmas.

She didn't even pause before she said:


I wonder if Santa's elves use Velveeta or Kraft?

Friday, November 27, 2009

How cool is that?

Last night, one of my F@ceb00k friends mentioned that he'd seen the International Space Station orbit over his house. I was rather bummed because I'd missed it. But you know what's cool about it? It was going to happen again tonight. And there's a LINK to tell you when it will pass over your zipcode, too! So, at 6pm, we all went to our "observation" deck upstairs to see it. And we DID see it. How cool is that? It's about as bright as a planet right now but it moves a little slower than an airplane. I'm sure it's much, much faster than an airplane really, but it appears to move slower than one. You know what's sort of funny about this whole story? I wouldn't wait in line outside for Black Friday shopping, but I stood out on my deck waiting to see the space station orbit overhead. Where are my priorities?

And in other news: a ladybug rode on my windshield this evening. Referrals must surely be on their way soon. At least I dearly hope that's the case for those who are STILL waiting. Those still in line have waited long enough to go through two consecutive elephant pregnancies, I think.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A big girl and the unexpected

At least she's not asking for the keys to the car just yet, but she is wearing her big girl Dora under wear. Oh, but we can't just do one thing like switch under clothing. No, sireee. We go whole hog around here. We switched to the big girl bed, too. I'll let you know how that goes. Her pajamas (size 3T) looked ENORMOUS on the hanger at K0hl's. Surely it would be a while before they fit. Ummm. Ok, later that night. LOL. She's getting to be a big girl. She's even moved up to the gymnastics class without mom.

On another note, I had Chinese food for lunch, and you know what that means? No, I'm not referring to water retention from the sodium. Fortune cookies! Mine was one I'd never gotten before: An unexpected event will soon make your life more exciting. Call me a fool, but I was darned near giddy thinking about what that could possibly mean for my future. Well, the possibilities are virtually endless, aren't they? Should I buy a lottery ticket? Cause we totally have those in Arkansas now. No. If I bought a ticket, there'd be a certain EXPECTATION of winning, wouldn't there? Will Gene suddenly decide Lydia needs a little sister or brother?

And then, well,THEN reality reared its head. It's a fortune cookie. And the fortune cookie probably isn't God's chosen method of communication. What was I thinking? That some prophet at the cookie factory printed it out just for me? Still, I often wish God would spell things out to me. Of course, He has through the Bible, but you know things like which job to take, how should I spend my weekend, what should I say or do for someone who is hurting, which cause do I support with my extra money or time?

Of course there are times when I think God does tell us specific things through our "circumstances". I believe He shows us His love in so many ways from a beautiful day to phone calls from out of the blue from a childhood friend, unexpected encounters and events. Maybe even fortune cookies...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

That's a crock!

Remember me mentioning that I needed a new crock pot for the chili cook-off? Let me tell you something: it's a humdinger. It is so marvelous, so wonderful that MEN were admiring it. Gene was simply in awe. It started out with, "I thought you'd overfilled it. I was wondering how we were going to get it there without spilling until I notice that the LID LOCKS in to place!"

But wait! There's more! It has a retractable cord!!!! That's where it end for most of the men. I suppose it'd be even more spectacular if it had a rechargeable battery pack, a Tums dispenser, and made dovetailed joints, but even so, it drew quite a lot of admiration from the men. And I didn't even have to don a pair of fish net hose...

Monday, November 9, 2009

What's in a name? AKA: the post I meant to do Sunday

Do you like to pick out names? I do. In fact, I love doing it. Back when Gene and I were showing dogs, thinking up a registered name for the dog was one of my favorite things. If we could come up with a theme for a litter of puppies? Even better! If the registered name went with the call name? I felt like I'd hit some incredible jackpot. One friend had a litter she wanted to use the word "tell" in all the registered names. I came up with "Dakota (kennel name)'s Tell Tail Heart" which was a play on the famous Poe short story title. I did a litter with "wish" in all the registered names. My friend Kathy came up with my favorite, "Premier's From Wags to Wishes."

It took Gene and I an eternity to decide on Lydia's name. Or rather to agree on a name. He wanted to use the name Grace for her middle name, and I just thought it had an odd flow with our last name. Now that she calls me Mommy Grace and him Daddy Grace when she's feeling spunky I can't imagine a different middle name for our family ; )

BUT if I could pick any last name, any name at all, I think I'd choose Tejada. I'm convinced it's the best last name in the world. Why? It just sounds good with anything. No, wait. It makes any name sound even better. Suzy Tejada? Well, that sounds all kinds of special to me. Does Jane sound plain to you? How about Jane Tejada? or Ethel Tejada. See? It's just better. And if all else failed you could just go by "Ms. Tejada." Say it with me, "Tay HA Duh!"(be sure to put the emphasis on HA).

There are any number of names I don't like. Leonard is not a name I like, but it wouldn't have stopped me from marrying one if his last name was Tejada. Or, you know, I really loved him. And I weren't already married to Gene.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Happy Game Day! Fayetteville had glorious weather perfectly suited for the football game.

I started the day with wet pants - Drew had put ice in the ice chest. All but one piece of ice. One piece was in my seat, partially melted. He thought it was pretty funny, and he was impressed with the speed with which I jumped back out of the van.

At the game, Lydia was thrilled to see our mascots. It's just like her relationship with Lulu - she loves them most from a distance. I happily pointed out the band as they marched in, and it must have been the first time she'd ever really paid any attention to them . She turned to me and asked, "Why do they have buckets on their heads?" Good question. I think it's to make them look taller.

We drove back home, and then it was on to our community group's chili cook off. I think sitting around the bonfire and eating s'mores was the best part.

The day ended the way it started : with me wearing wet pants. Yep. Lydia spilled raspberry lemonade in my lap, down my pants leg, and into my shoe, too.


No post ON the day because I was so busy, and I didn't want to broadcast to the whole Blogaverse that I was going to be out of town.

The gentlemen installing the new windows and sliding doors arrived early to finish up the job. I needed to buy a new slow cooker/crockpot and the ingredients for my Southwestern white chili. I needed to do laundry, clean my van out, pack for me and Lydia, take Drew to work - well, it seemed like the list would NEVER end.

By the end of the day my feet, legs & back were so tired. My brain was, too. It was a great relief to be on the road and drift off to sleep as Gene drove us to Fayetteville. The transition from the van to the hotel room went pretty smoothly, too.

I'm not sure I like being QUITE that busy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sleep Interrupted

I'm a bit of a night owl. Last night, though, I was sound asleep well before midnight. The phone started ringing at about 2 AM. I slept through it for a while because only the fax machine rings, and its ringer volume is quite low. So, the first time I tried to answer it, I missed the call. And THEN I was worried because you never get good news at 2 am.

The phone rang again, and I answered, "Hello? Hello? HELLO? HELLO???!!!" all the while I'm hearing an accented voice saying, "Hello, hello, hello," and what sounds like a bunch of chattering in the back ground. I hung up. Repeat this sequence of events several times, and Gene finally went into the computer room & unplugged the fax. Eventually, my adrenaline wore off, and I went back to sleep.

I had to get up early this morning because we just can't stop improving our house, and everyone who improves houses is apparently an early bird. I was tired ALL day long. I've got my second wind now that I've run on the treadmill, but I don't want any telemarketers with accents squawking at me after midnight.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Harder than it sounds

Posting every day, even for a month, is harder than it sounds. What do I post about? That there was a ladybug in my van today? That I wish more people handed out chocolate at Halloween and fewer people handed out pure sugar even if it is fruit flavored? That the Phillies' bats let Cliff Lee's arm down & denied him his national championship? Maybe I'll just tell a few funny Lydia stories.

Last week as I was running around trying to find a pirate hat, Lydia was SO LOUD!!! I kept trying to get her to use an "inside voice", WHISPER, be quiet, SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I couldn't even use Google information because it kept hearing her chatter and would get confused and ask for the city and state over and over. Finally, I was on the road again, and Lydia was watching Dora. Dora was telling something or the other to open in Spanish - ABRE. Lydia kept saying HABLA (speak). I tried to correct her by saying ah and loudly stressing the BRAY. From the back seat I hear, "Don't scream, Mommy." Well, then.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I LOVE the new fox show, glee! If it were only the music, it'd be enough. It's so much more, though. The over the top characters and situations can make you laugh, grit your teeth, and almost cry with them as they take on a variety of situations. The writing is good, the acting is good, the music is sooooooooo goooooood! I hope you'll go get their new cd which came out today. Bonus: on December 8th, the second volume comes out. I can hardly wait. I ran to volume one tonight.

(November is blog month, and I'm trying to blog at least once/day. Just warning you...)

Monday, November 2, 2009


There's a certain company that makes underthings for women. The name of this establishment is a woman's name followed by Secret. Well, I think I know a few of their secrets. For instance: I think they have a conspiracy to make every woman at least a "C" - just to boost her self esteem if not her - well, never mind. I've gone up a size and I've neither gained nor lost weight. In fact, I think the only thing that has changed is their sizing system. But, hey. I've been wrong before - and that's not a secret.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Whew. There were no trips to the pumpkin patch for us this year. The weather and scheduling conflicts kept us away - good thing we went twice last year. We did attend our first Halloween party last night. We did not carve a pumpkin, but Lydia decorated no less than 3 of the little ones with stickers. I never found the time to bake any special cookies for the occasion. I barely managed to throw her costume together.
And yet, I have enjoyed this Halloween more than I ever remember having enjoyed one before. The Suzy Homemaker in me would love to go all Martha Stewart and have the perfect Southern Living home during this season, but who really has the time for that?!
Our fall temperatures have felt like fall. Our leaves have been colorful. I had friends and family over last weekend for Southwest white chili and Halloween Oreo cheesecake cupcakes. It was good enough even if it probably wouldn't have been picture perfect by magazine standards.
And I doubt that I even had as much fun trick or treating when I was little as I did tonight with Lydia. Last year we were in Fayetteville for a ball game so we joined about one thousand other kids at the mall for trick or treating. This year, Lydia and I went door to door on a moderately chilly night, and it just gave me such a thrill to watch her ring doorbells and hear her say, "Trick or Treat!" and then, "Mommy! I want some more candy. Can we go to one more house?" Equally thrilling was, "Mommy!!! Look at the moon!" And I had a moment when I was worried that a young man's mask was going to freak her out, but in true Lydia style she stopped, looked him over, and said, "I like your outfit."

Fall has never been my favorite time of year. I like summer and summer vacation. This year, though, fall has been really good, and I think I might learn to love fall if more of them turn out like this one.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Let's play a little game

Something along the lines of 20 questions, but I probably won't ask that many. And there's no pressure, you don't have to fill anything out, forward anything. Just humor me and play along:

1.Have you ever thought you had your child's Halloween costume planned out and that it'd only take 30 minutes or so to do? I have. Monday night I very emphatically stated that Lydia was going to be a cowgirl when I was asked.
2. Have you ever changed your mind? I did. We were invited to a party that was happening tonight on, oh, Tuesday. My friend, Lulu, was singing with her co-worker's band (Hard Corps - cause they work for the Corps of Engineers), and THEY were dressing up as pirates. So, when I went to buy a pattern for a western skirt and vest but found a really COOL pirate pattern I changed my mind. It's a woman's perogative, isn't it?
3.Have you ever assumed that because you make a lovely pillowcase dress that you could surely make a jacket WITH LONG SLEEVES even though you've never done it before, or to make it a little more general: bitten off more than you could chew? That darned pattern, at times, might as well have been written in Chinese characters by a calico cat for all the meaning I was getting out of them.
4. Have you ever SERIOUSLY misjudged how much time something was going to take? I had a plan. It was a decent plan: buy a simple pattern, prepare a simple costume. I deviated from the original plan & formulated a new one: cut the material 1st night, sew 2nd & 3rd night & finish up on Friday while Lydia naps. Ya'll. I was up until 3 am (yeah AM) this morning sewing. And unsewing.
5.Have you ever been so tired you made a really HUGE mistake that nearly erased everything you'd stayed up to accomplish? I was trimming/cleaning up the shoulder/sleeve seam and I cut a hole in the sleeve. I thought about taking the sleeve off & re-doing it.
5.5 Have you ever remembered something someone told you& suddenly, in stressful moment recalled their wonderful advice? Rowena has a blog called Done is Better than Perfect. And a lady I met Wednesday said, "Who can tell it's not perfect on a galloping horse?" I went to bed resolved to find a patch for the hole & not sweat it. It's a Halloween costume to be worn once or twice. I wasn't creating a family heirloom for goodness sake.
6.Have you ever been so tired you couldn't sleep? I don't know if it was because I was so tired or because I was wondering how on earth I'd finish the costume or because my sleep cycle was so disrupted, but I did not just drift off like usual.
7. Have you ever thought your life would be simplified by not having pets? At 4:30 AM! the dogs started barking. It was pouring rain, but someone just had to go out. And Friday-Sunday mornings the dogs are my responsibility. Can't tell you how much I loved my dogs at that particular moment...
8. Have you, at the last moment, had to safety pin things together, buckle your child in, and dash off without fixing her hair? Well. I think that's pretty self explantory. She did have her boots on. I even managed to dust some powder on my face & apply lipstick before I left. Thank God for Gene. He did the actual safety pinning. And I put her hair up in braided pigtails upon our arrival.
9. Have you EVER had a moment of pride when all that paid off? Lydia was the cutest little pirate EVER. And there were several pirates in attendance. Lydia's costume won 1st prize for her age group!!! And she just had a blast at the party. She danced, she played games, she hung out with others. And she looked so darned cute while she did all that. I'll have to share pictures later cause it's late again, and I'm tired. But it's a happy tired ; ) ARRRRRRRRRRRGH!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Something I never thought I'd need to say

"No!!!! Don't put your toothbrush in the toilet!!!" Ewwww, just the thought makes me want to go without brushing for a very long time.

In other news: I am an idiot. I did the most boneheaded thing today, and I've decided that I need to pay a little more attention to detail.

I was driving from point A to point B this afternoon around 3pm. I needed to get onto an access road and there was a stream of cars going on forever. I thought, "How rude. If they'd just get in the other lane, people could easily get onto the access road, but noooooooooooo." Can you imagine? It was as if every student from the school district lived somewhere off the service road and they'd all been turned loose at the exact same time. Then I saw one lone car with its turn indicator flashing, and I made my move.

Thinking that I'd be considerate, I moved into the other lane so others could turn in, too. No one else took advantage of that, though. The other lane of traffic continued on at a slower than the limit pace, and I saw flashing lights ahead. And they all proceeded to turn at the same place. And it finally dawned on me.

It was a funeral procession, and I had cut through it. I'm not sure about the funeral procession etiquette where you're from, but here I'd committed a serious breach. I immediately thought, "WHO has a funeral at 3 pm on Tuesday?" and "I didn't notice their headlights were on because I was looking back into the setting sun." It hardly matters, though. I wish I hadn't been in such a hurry so I could have been more considerate and respectful to those who'd recently lost someone about whom they cared.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Game Day!

I don't think I mentioned how chilly it was. The last few years it has been fairly warm for all of our home games. This year fall came early, and brrrrrrrrrr! Here's Lydia with her new pompoms & Lulu & Uncle K.
And here she is watching Dora. You can see how engrossed she is.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009


It was supposed to be the weekend my community group went camping, but God intervened. It rained. And rained. AND RAINED some more. We'd already given our Razorback tickets away, but we got more (because God and Gene knew how much I really wanted to go to the Auburn game).

Last week I was telling Lydia that we were going to sleep in a tent, and she'd get to take her nap in a tent. She was quite excited about all this, and she mentioned the tent many times over the course of the week. So what did we do?

Gene figured that we might as well go up Friday night if we could get a room in a hotel with an indoor pool. Lydia was delighted at the prospect of swimming, and no mention was made of the tent or cancelled camping trip. In fact, as we were driving up to Fayetteville, I told Lydia she better take her nap in the van so we could go swimming as soon as we got checked in to the hotel. That little minx closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.

She didn't sleep long, and she woke with the words, "Are we at the Hoe Tay Ul yet?" It was so funny to me that I used every method I could think of to get her to say her deep fried version of "hotel". Yep, she's from Southern China.

The people around us at the game were quite amused to see her sitting with her DVD player. I've never loved Dora more than I did today. Oh! And the Hogs did us proud today, too! I'll post pics when I get home - I don't have the cord to do it on my netbook.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Just like Forrest Gump

I was run-ning. Really. I ran two and a quarter miles on the treadmill tonight (I spelled it out so it would look longer). I burned about 98 fat calories and a gazillion calories overall (or maybe a little less, I like to round up on the overalls). Me. Can you even imagine? I can hardly believe it myself. I was convinced that running was a last resort activity done only in life threatening situations or when you might miss your flight.

Oh, sure. Other people are shown doing it on tv, but they show people fighting aliens, vampires, and cartoons, too. And my DH gets up early and slinks off while it's still dark to "run", but how would I know that's what he really did? Those smelly running shoes, shorts, & shirts could have acquired that odor any number of ways, and I'm too lazy to seek any real proof. And ok, there are bursts of speed on a football field and baseball diamond, but those aren't all that long. But really, running? Wouldn't that hurt?

It turned out that even after you are old enough to adopt from China, you can START running for the very first time in your life, and it probably won't hurt too much. I suggest the treadmill where the terrain is remarkably the same unless you are silly enough to press a button to increase the incline or outright crazy and program said treadmill to change the incline and speed at varying intervals. I am not so inclined. I'm from Texas, and I like straight and flat.

Next, I suggest you add some form of entertainment. I have a television with many, many channels. None of them are very interesting or easy to watch while I am running. Ok, the food channels are always appealing to me, but it seems counterproductive to watch people preparing food (unless it's fish which I won't eat unless I am about to starve to death and the dirt tastes worse than I thought dirt would taste) while I exercise. So, I watch/listen to 80's music, 90's music, or 70's music on a music channel. It's quite motivational, and I don't think about being old while I'm running. I'm just so darned proud of myself when I'm running that being overweight or past 29 (don't worry how far past) don't even cross my mind.

I'll admit I was sore after I began running. I was impulsive, and I started without any regard for the fact that I'd be riding in a car for several hours the next day.I was sore that day. And the day after that? Ouch. But I ran again that night, and I felt better. Hair of the dog that bit me, I guess.

As with any new endeavor there is shopping that has to be done. After one week, I was off to VS to buy a sports bra with maximum support. It ain't pretty, but it does do a better job than the one I had been wearing. I'll need new shoes. About a year before I went to China, Gene bought me a lovely pair of Saucony's. They were so comfy. I wore them, but unless I was chasing a toddler I don't think I ever ran in them. If I keep this up, I think I'll buy another pair. Oh, and yesterday at T@rget I bought a sleeveless bright pink top. And that top? It is FAST. And it has extra endurance built in somehow. Because I went a whole extra quarter mile in the same it took me to do two miles wearing a white tshirt with sleeves.

Finally done sweating now. I think I'll rinse off & go to bed. TTFN.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Anything but normal

I wasn't able to celebrate the Moon Festival yesterday. I had a funeral to attend which would be bad enough under "normal" circumstances, but this funeral was more painful than most even though I'd only met the deceased once or twice. He was 15 years old. Fifteen. And he was the only child of a mother who was raising him by herself. Feel free to grab your tissues. I needed a bunch.

How I wish this sort of thing never happened to anyone, let alone people I've met. Daniel was my nephew's best friend, a good Christian who was very involved in his church, a boyscout, a tuba player, and a much loved son. There aren't really any words to make this better, are there? I hope you'll say a prayer for Daniel's mother, Emily. While I know she's not alone (she is a wonderful Christian lady who was instrumental in Daniel's having become such a good young man), she may feel very isolated and lonely.

I've only been to the funeral of one other child, and I really hope I never need to attend another one. It feels like it goes against every natural thing for a child to die before his or her parents. I know there is hope for Daniel because of Jesus but hopeful is not how I would describe my state of mind as I left his funeral yesterday. Today, at least, I have a little more peace.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sharing is caring

If you've never had a mammogram before, the following may help you out. If you have, why didn't you share your knowledge with me, hmmm? Or why didn't the lady who told me to be there 30 minutes early?

1) Don't schedule one for Friday, this will become clear later.

2) I was greeted by a tech who said, "I'm ready for you. Are you wearing deodorant?" I was offended at first and nearly answered tartly with, "Yes. And I brushed my teeth, too." I always wear deodorant. It turns out you're not supposed to for a mammogram. They had wipes to remove it so I was good on that score.

3) I was given the most ridiculous almost a poncho drape to wear. Well, this is a stupid joke. Why don't they just have us remove our top IN the room with the machine & just lock the door? Fumbling around with that when the tech had already seen 1/2 of me, then the other 1/2 and back to the 1st half was just silly. I'm not really worried that she's going to be comparing the left half to the right. I was more concerned about what someone could see in a side view (there are no side seams to the "poncho") as I crossed from the dressing room to the room with the machine.

4)They will want to know if you have any moles. If you do, they have a charming little sticker that will go around the mole. And there are things that look like bandaids to cover your n i p p l e.
Not to worry, though, these are very decorative and you will feel positively overdressed once they are on.

5)If your hair is long enough to put in a ponytail, put it in a ponytail. The only PHYSICAL discomfort I felt was when a strand of hair got caught in the machine.

6) Do not worry that the part of your anatomy they are examining will fall off the machine. It will, if fact, almost stick to it like glue. Very weird, but not painful.

7)Many personal questions will be asked. Like when was your first period? Has anyone in your family had breast cancer? How many children do you have? How old were you when you gave birth? Have you had a hysterectomy? Would you prefer paper or plastic? Ok, not the last one, but don't go in there with your brain in neutral. Because I totally did. Not sure why, but you know, past experience is that history taking was all done on a form BEFORE I met someone face to face who was about to see me without my shirt on and put part of my anatomy in clamp and mash down.

8)If they have the same equipment my hospital had & it is your baseline mammogram, you probably will barely notice any pressure at all. Seriously, it was NOT painful.

9)Once you are finished & you're fumbling with the tie in the front almost-a-poncho so you can go back to the dressing room, the tech will probably say, "Your doctor will get the results tomorrow, and you'll get a card in the mail in 5-7 days. " Unless you are like me & do this on Friday. In which case the results will go to your doctor on Monday. And that will be fine. Until the tech says, "Since it's your baseline, they may have you come back if they see anything unusual, blah blah blah." And if you've put your brain in neutral like I did you'll walk out happy as a clam once your clothes are back on with your most serious concern being, "I wish I'd brought deodorant with me." And congratulating yourself for doing something good for your health while saying, "That wasn't so bad."
UNTIL your brain which is finally shifting into gear goes, "Huh? What did she mean if they see anything unusual. Did SHE see something? Does she say that to EVERYONE? Or just me? Because she saw something? And NOW I have to wait until MONDAY." Rather inconvenient when you've already left the office...

So, don't schedule your mammogram for Friday unless you can just turn it over to God since you're not going to hear anything before Monday anyway. Which is what I did, and I slept fine last night,thanks for asking. And really, I don't want to hear from them on Monday, either. I want a card in the mail saying, "Things look great. See you in a couple of years."

Sunday, August 9, 2009


First, I'm going to ask for prayers. Pray for whatever you think is appropriate after (or while) reading this post. Second, I'm throwing in some exaggeration, some fiction, some hyperbole to get my point across (and quite possibly to protect the not so innocent).

Sunday morning. Sunday is good. Church is good. Sunday morning when I know I'm watching the toddler room? Ughhhhhhhh. God, please give me strength.

I so desperately want to serve with a joyful heart. I DO! I love kids. I LOVE my kid, and I know she's not perfect (can be a big hand full, as a matter of fact). I don't expect perfection. Why is this so hard?

For starters: they are toddlers. An explanation isn't necessary, but I'm going to give an illustration. Little Boy#1 dumps large bin of a million small blocks when I'm mere centimeters from stopping him. Little Boy #2 unlocks the door to the deck and is almost out the door but how is that possible when he is was just behind my back turning on the dvd player? Boy #2 has some serious ninja skills, ya'll, he was in two places at the same time. Meanwhile, Girl #1 declares she has to go potty which convinces Lydia that she, too, simply MUST go potty. Right now.

So, I have no help, and I can't let them go by themselves or leave the others unsupervised. I look over the half door for help. No one in sight. The two ladies who oversee the 3 year olds didn't show so the coordinator is in that room and can't help. The nursery folks have taken babies over for the baby dedication, but praise be! I see one walking up, flag this person down to watch those who don't need to pee while I watch the 2 who do. Once I've the 2 girls are washing their hands, Ninja boy decides he, too, needs to use the bathroom.

Nursery worker #2 comes back with a baby and asks who wants to come out for praise and worship. All five of my little angels flock into the center area where they begin to try to slide into another class room from the central area(there is a "secret" slide), deface the big tree and uproot flowers that are part of the decor (impressive papier mache tree that is life size), run into other rooms, take off their shoes, and do anything BUT dance and sing (ok one or two at a time might have sung or danced for a few seconds).

It is pandemonium. They are wild, untamed little creatures, and I am about to lose my mind. Herding cats. Nailing JellO to a tree. These things would seem simple when compared to shepherding my little flock.

After praise and worship, it's snack time. I tell them we'll have our snack after we clean up. I call them by name, assign a clean up duty, I even have them counting objects as they clean up. Once the chaos is contained, I start handing out napkins. Then crackers and cookies. Then still more crackers. Because they were sort of still at this point and mercifully sort of quiet. You can't keep em that way forever, though, so I thought I'd let them play only with the big toys that didn't have to be taken out of bins.

And that's when things went seriously downhill. Sharing is beyond two of the children at that point. Particularly for my beloved daughter who is more or less an only child. So I had to take the beadchaser away and put it in time out. My daughter began to BAWL. She was crying real tears, and she was LOUD. What sort of evil, twisted woman makes a child cry in Sunday school?

I see my husband walking up, and a shimmering hope rises in my heart that I am nearly DONE. He sees her crying, looks at me,and I can tell he's a bit puzzled but sort of amused. I HISS, "Get her and get out of here!!!" so know one else will witness my failure as a mother and FSK volunteer. And then someone comes and takes two more away. And when I'm down to just one and I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, Ninja boy says he needs to go pee again. So, I stand discreetly beside the door but not actually looking at him. I began to feel puzzled that he's taking so long so I peek in to see him YANKING ON THE PIPE TO THE URINAL. Holy COW. We don't need a flood to illustrate Old Testament stories, kid. At this point, I had very nearly lost my religion. My sanity was a thing of the past. I was so hot that I remembered the term "spontaneous combustion" and knew that it was only one hundreth of a degree away from happening to my face. And wouldn't that be nice at church? Cause nothing says, "I'm a Christian" quite like a flaming skull, does it?

How could this have been avoided? And that evil little demon sitting on your shoulder that whispered, "You could have stayed in bed!" Tweak that mean spirited little devil's nose. That's not the correct answer. When I went into to second service and noticed the digital box (like the "Now serving # " at the DMV) that we use to summon parents, the same little demon said, "Next time, you can just put all their kids' numbers up there when things head south." And that really was an almost funny thought, but I don't know where they hide that panic button, and it's not the right answer any way.

The right answer is that we need more volunteers, and those volunteers need to either show up when scheduled or find someone to take fill the empty spots. IF everyone who had a child volunteered, I don't think there would be a shortage. We could have two people in the toddler room so one could supervise the children using the potty while the other kept the remaining children at least in the same room.

God hasn't asked everyone to go to Africa, Asia, or South America to be a missionary. You can serve Him right here at home by being His messenger to His children right now. You don't need a passport, you probably won't catch any exotic disease, and even if you don't fit your mental image of a shepherd, you might start some little souls down the path to salvation. And if nothing else, you may save my sanity.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Two Year Anniversary

Who knows what the next year will bring? What I do know is that the last two have been just about the best two years of my life. Love you, Lydia!
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Woo PIG Suzy

This is the post where you begin to wonder if the name of my blog comes from my love of the Razorbacks or of food. And let me confess that it began as a reference to my status as a Razorback fan and how Suzy sounds quite like the Sooooie in the middle of WooooooooooPIGSoooooie! when we call the Hogs.

But HOLY MOLY do I love me some Food Network. I mentioned my affection for DriveIns, Diners & Dives before. It makes me want to hop into the convertible and tour the country. (Which reminds me that I MUST find a way to get a carseat in there for Lydia).

I'm watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate right now about desserts. Heaven HELP ME, PLEASE. I am giddy watching this show. They use words like "To Die For" and Chef Michael Symon just put away THREE toasted marshmallow shakes. It would kill me. But I think I'd die a very, very happy woman. Or I'd never want to see another milk shake again. EVER. Or at least for a day. And the guilt that the wii would make me feel as I stepped on it? The shame. The degradation.

It might actually be worth it.

I may have to block this channel if I'm ever going to lose weight. Even the Good Eats episode about toast made me get up to make toast (who doesn't have bread - even stale bread- in her kitchen plus a toaster????). C'mon, Food Network, have mercy!!! Why don't you take a cue from Shark Week and do a month of seafood? Focus on Fungus for a week? Spend some time on making the perfect broccoli and cauliflower? I'm sure I could lose weight if you did. I may just have to go back to China in the summer. I lost ten pounds in about 2.5 weeks. That was before I knew about the Food Network. Surely they don't have Food Network in China. (Please God, keep the Western Devils from Food Network out of China. I need a safe place).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BIG night on the town

Right around Mother's Day, Gene very generously gave me FOUR tickets to see the Top 10 American Idol contestants on tour. He had one condition: I couldn't make him go because he had a date with Lydia at ChickFilA. So, Lisa, her sister, her sister's best friend, and I were going together.

If I've not said it before, I'll own up to it now: I am NOT a very girly girl. Gene told me that one time, and I was crushed. I'm not even sure why it bothered me since it was so true. Ok, maybe I am a girly girl but I'm low maintenance? In any case, I was going OUT for the first time in a very long time, and I wanted to look nice. If it had been me and Gene, I'd have worn jeans and a newer tshirt and thought I looked fine.

But it wasn't. It was me and 3 other women. One of whom I KNOW is an all out girly girl, and I had reason to suspect the other two would be, too. I set out to make myself presentable.

With more planning than I'd have ever dreamed necessary, I managed to get my haircut for the first time in probably 6 months on Wednesday. I had my toenails painted (pedicure had happened a few weeks ago) and a manicure. As I left the nail salon, I was counting the minutes I had left to curl my hair, put on make up, and throw together an outfit. I WISHED my hair was more humidity resistant. I wished I were skinnier so I could confidently wear a cute tank top with cropped jeans, flip flops, and some (impossible for me to even imagine) hip accessories. I didn't want (ok, that's a lie I did want to) wear my tennis shoes - I wanted to wear cute shoes to shoe off my beautiful toes!

In the end, I wore khaki capris with shoes that did allow my toes to show. I got blisters. I curled my hair. I sprayed my hair. Gene came in from mowing the lawn and took a shower. My hair began to wilt. My pal, Lisa? She did wear the cute tank top with jeans and cute shoes plus fashionable earrings. Oh. And her hair is never flat. The other two? They were pretty hip, too - plus the hip accessories. PLUS hair with volume. Did I mention my hair went flat?

When I showed dogs, I got up EARLY on Saturday morning. I showered, fixed my hair, put on makeup, sort of dressy shoes, pantyhose, and jewelry and often got to the show by 8am WITH a dog or 3. I am exhausted now just typing all that. I am so out of practise that it wore me out to do this in a whole day.

I need help. But please don't send Stacie and Clinton. I don't think I could bear the shame.

We went to Macaroni Grill to eat then we were off to the concert. I highly recommend the concert. Bottom to top they were all very VERY talented and fun to watch. Scott was the unexpected hit for me. He is so talented, he was very funny, and I thought he'd improved vocally (his instrumental talent was already incredible) since leaving the competition. Everyone was well received, and Danny G. was quite inspirational.

Adam had everyone on their feet, and no one sat down during Kris's performance. I think he really demonstrated why he was eventually chosen as this year's American Idol.

I think I've rambled enough for now. I'll blog about the Daddy Date another time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Addison's Birthday Bash

We were invited to Addison's birthday part, and we had such a fantastic time! The little ones arrived in swimwear to play on the slip and slide, splash through sprinklers, play at the water table, and fish in a tub of water. Many of them decided to play in the sand box, slide and swing. It's pretty obvious that a fun time was had by all.
Later, we went inside, changed into dry clothes, decorated cookies, ate hot dogs, and sang Happy Birthday. Lydia and I had to leave before Addison opened her presents, but we sure hope Addison enjoyed her special day and all the gifts she received.

I usually plan my own birthday to do whatever I feel like doing, but after today, I want Gina to plan my party... Thanks for having us, Gina, Grant, & Addison!
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Sunday, June 28, 2009


After many prayers, bad weather, a flat tire, a trim motor that gave up the ghost, we FINALLY made it to the lake, into the water, and off the trailer. Wooooohoooooooo! Last year and the year before, Lydia wasn't too sure about the boat or the water. This year, she couldn't wait to get into the water, and I was afraid she'd squirm out of my lap before we left the no wake zone. I told her to sit still because we were about to go, "Super Fast!" Once the pace picked up, she was ALL smiles and perfectly content to sit in my lap, enjoying the breeze on her face. In fact, we had a hard time convincing her to swim as she was demanding that we go, "SUPER FAST!" again. She even rode on one of the towables with me and Drew. I think she's going to be quite the little water bug.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rainbow after all the rain

The rain finally stopped, our house is FINALLY painted, and we've been busy getting ready for the Rainbow. Our socks are never going to be as white, the floor will have to be slept and mopped with increased frequency, we'll sweat more, laundry is going to be a marathon event and the mosquitoes are rejoicing and preparing for a very good year:

Why does she have to use everything in an unconventional way? Is it just because she's 2?
Life is good right now~
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Then and Now

We visited Garvin Woodland Gardens on Saturday, and I thought it would be fun to post pictures from last year and this year. It was MUCH more challenging to get pictures of Lydia this year, and it was quite a bit hotter end of May 2009 than it was April 2008. The flowers were different, too, but still so beautiful!
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Final pics from Friday

Shanny has PhoBloggy Days a few times/year. Go check out what others do with their day! Also, scroll down to see the BEGINNING of the weekend. Calling the Hogs. Drew is in the black hat.
Our National Anthem. It still gives me goosebumps to hear it sung at sporting events - even on tv.
Honoring officers killed in the line of duty.
Our family tradition: Fireworks Night at Baum Stadium! We were up late, late, late for Lydia, but she was VERY good through out the game and the fireworks following the game.

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More Friday PhoBloggyDays

Warming up before the game. Perhaps should have spent more time like this:

Obviously displeased with THAT call. You tell 'em, Lydia.
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Spring Phobloggy Days Early Friday

Ok, so I missed breakfast at ChickFil@. And walking through the pet store, and shopping at Old N@vy. I did however get pictures of Lydia in her new Razorback swimsuit in our hotel room and the hot tub which was an oxymoron because it was neither hot nor a tub. It had plenty of bubbles, though.

Lunch at Friday's. The bottom 2 pics were taken on Drew's cell phone. I am impressed.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I am in T R O U B L E

Lydia can be a little, how to put it delicately? BOSSY. And her voice? LOUD. And her mommy?She can, at times, ignore those two traits so Lydia won't think they are successful strategies to accomplish her goals. I was employing my ability to turn a deaf ear to her demands when I got a very stern,
"Mommy GRACE!"
That's not even MY middle name.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Today, I remember a woman half a world away. I'm not sure if this day is any different for her than yesterday or the string of yesterdays that have happened since she gave birth to Lydia a little over two and a half years ago, but I think of her today. I am limited in my ability to imagine what her life may be like, what she may have felt or be feeling about Lydia, and I am unlikely to ever meet her. I am, however, in her debt, and the only way I know to partially repay that debt is to love Lydia with all my heart, to pray for God's guidance in raising her, and to remember. May God bless her.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Big Branson Vacation

Things you need to know before you go to Silver Dollar City:
1.Bring your stroller - it'll be handy for carrying STUFF even if your child is perfectly well mannered and holds your hand while standing beside you and gazing adoringly at her mama and daddy. It'll cost you $11 and a long wait in line if you don't follow my advice.

2. Your child must be 36 inches tall to ride ANY ride except the train. If you're inclined to test this rule you might try a great big hair bow right on top of your lovely's head. Big hair will simply wilt in the humidity. Yes. Even in April.

3. Pay ahead of time for the Show Lover's pass. Or stand in line for over an hour to get a crummy seat. Bonus of the Show Lover's pass (aside from no waiting and really great seats?) is that the acrobats will fly right over your head!

4. If you can POSSIBLY swing it: go on a week day. Wednesday is probably the best day, but for sure do not go on a weekend. There were over 14,000 people there. Yes. In April.

5. Take the lens cap off your camera a long, long time before you want a picture. It's just like China in August: the lens will fog up. Just so you know.

6. Be prepared to have a really, really great time. Because even with the crowd, humidity, etc., your child is going to love it. Look at Lydia's face where she's riding the frog - I know it's blurry, but you can see how much fun she's having.

Other fun we had in Branson: The Dixie Stampede. Lydia simply LOVED it. She thought the horses were great, the soup was great, getting to clap and yell, and stomp it was all GREAT. No forks or spoons for eating? That was just a bonus.

Swimming/floating in the indoor pool: loads of fun even if she was a bit hesitant at first. She was eventually blowing bubbles and kicking which is good since we have season passes to the water park closest to us.

Branson Landing: shopping - ok. Macaroni Grill outdoor dining with a view of the lake - pretty good. Build A Bear - maybe a little overwhelming at 2.5 years old, but so worth it to hear her explaining to Drew this morning, "This is my Panda Bear, LingLing!"

So, all in all a really good 4 day weekend get away! Thanks for making it happen, Gene, and thanks to Mary and Jim for letting us use the time share.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Fences vs Good Neighbors

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Drew let the dogs out, and about 10 minutes later, he was going to put them into their runs. PANIC!!! One of our gates had been left open by the painter who is repainting our house. Hope, who is our usual escape artist, was lying on the front porch. The boys were all inside the fence. Mamie was gone.

I was about to leave for work, but I dropped everything to search for Mamie. I'd no sooner walked up the driveway than a Jeep Cherokee pulled in with Mamie riding in the driver's lap. This young man said, "I saw her running loose, and I knew you had this breed of dog." I've never seen this young man before, but I don't think I can ever thank him enough. And while that poetic line from Robert Frost's poem, "Mending Wall," that Good fences make good neighbors may be true some of the time, I was so grateful for the even better neighbor who helped me out when the fence failed to keep my dog safely inside the yard.