Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Remembering Amber

It's hard to believe that it has been a year since our friend Amber left this earth. On Monday - a small group of her friends celebrated her life and all that she contributed to each of our lives. We met at her grave and released 20 purple balloons. Rebecca chose purple because that color represents Team in Training and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - a non-profit very close to our hearts. Inside each balloon was a scripture written on a small piece of paper:

"If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

Anyone who knew Amber knew how she placed items around her house, in practically every room, that said "Believe."

I stood there with my arm wrapped in Susie's arm as we said a prayer... and then released our balloons to the sky....

She would have loved it. It was a peaceful way to remember our friend. And being there together with my closest and dearest friend reminded me of the importance to tell people who much we love them... because we never know how much time we will have on this earth...

Friday, November 13, 2009

One of those days

Do you ever have one of THOSE days? You know, when you're in a cranky mood and you don't know why? That's me... today. The usual insanity of the morning routine irritated me today, which isn't the norm. People at work are irritating me. It's a beautiful day and I'm stuck inside. I need to be focusing on my research paper and I'm not in the mood. Not even lunch-hour shopping is breaking the spell. It helped a little, but I'm back in my office staring out the window.

I'm just .... arrrrrrrgh.

So while I always prefer to post something positive.... that's just not the case today. I'm not feeling positive. It happens.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet Note

As you know, when Chris is gone - mornings are INSANE at my house. Okay, they're probably a little crazy even when he is home. But when he is traveling, they are particularly difficult. I try to get completely ready before the kids wake up. I have not been very successful lately. Brady has turned into an early bird, waking up before 6:00 am the past two mornings. And after he eats breakfast (in his high chair, in my bedroom while I get ready), the crankiness sets in. And by cranky, I mean bawling crying, tears streaming down his fact, following me everywhere. If he is not on my hip, he's crying. Putting on make-up and getting dressed with a 30-pound kid on your hip isn't easy.

So after hurrying everyone to eat, get dressed, comb hair, brush teeth, pack bags, etc. etc... we jump in the car and we're off. Kennedy makes it to daycare just in time to hop on the bus and I leave Brady in his classroom, kicking and screaming because he doesn't want me to leave. I hang my head and walk out the door, trying to not break down myself.

But this challenging morning, the smallest but sweetest glimmer of love comes my way. I pull out my post-it notes (that I keep stashed in my console) to start making my "to do" list for the day and I find this note.

Kennedy must have grabbed my notepad and a pen during a ride in the car and written this note. It melts my heart and helps me to remember that this too shall pass. Through the madness of the day-to-day routine, I am blessed beyond measure to have wonderful friends and family and two amazing, healthy children. God is good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just what I needed

For those of you who know my husband, you know he has a quiet, fairly reserved person... until you get to know him. Then, he becomes comfortable and loosens up. Get a few beers in him... well, that's another story.

So when I texted him early this morning (he's working in Atlanta this week and on Eastern time) to let him know that his son was not cooperating, I received the best response. It was just what I needed this morning.

Me: Your son is trying to make sure I don't sleep. Seriously. I'm packing him in a FedEx box and shipping him to you, okay? :)

Chris: Oh honey, I wish he'd stop that crap. You can ship him... just be sure to mark "fragile" on the box.

At this point, I burst out laughing. My sweet husband can say the funniest things and make me laugh at just the right time.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


There's nothing like a party at your house to make you want to spruce things up a little. We've been in our house for a year and bought and installed blinds in the first week. But those windows needed a little ummph. They were barely covered.... they needed a little fancy dressing. What I wanted, I can't afford. I have two weeks until the party at my house, so I had to go with store bought. Sometimes, that's not a bad thing!

At JC Penney, I bought two panels, three valances and two rods for $150. Pretty good huh?

Here is the before of the living room. (I took the photo once the braces were already in the wall).

And now .... AFTER! I feel like it might be missing something... you? I'm thinking maybe a large horizontal wrought iron piece above the curtain rod would help. I've got two feet of space between the rod and the crown molding. If you could sit where I'm sitting, you could see how much it warms up the room!

And now, the kitchen. I wanted the treatments to match, but not be matchy-matchy. The window is on the exact same wall with the door to our back yard in between. I went with something in the same pretty fabric, but a tad more fun!


And now after! Again, I'm thinking that this is missing something. Any suggestions? I like the tassels. They are pretty cute!!

So the best news about these window treatments is that Chris and I only mildly argued. Ha! We tend to get a little tense doing projects like this. We survived!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My love of crafts and lists

There are two things that I L.O.V.E.

1. Lists
2. Craft projects

How funny.... I even made a short list of the two things I love. Ha! Anyway, I know this makes me a little strange, but I don't mind.

So when I saw this photo of a precious wreath, I decided to make it for Kennedy's kindergarten teacher for Christmas. (Mrs. Ward, hopefully you do not follow my blog. If you do, please stop reading now.)

So far, I have the books and the foam wreath. I've made many wreaths before so I'm not new to this challenge.... however this wreath involves slightly-heavy items (books), painting (the center board), and a lot of fabric.

Stay tuned... I'll let you know how it goes. Oh, and if you LIKE projects like me, you'd love Just A Girl. I love reading her blog... AND she is having an "I Can Make That" Party on her blog on Monday. Guests will post their home projects for Christmas. Stop on by!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reading and writing

It's time for a new piece of art from our little artist Kennedy. This one serves as a piece of her most recent work, PLUS it shows her learning to write and spell. Mrs. Ward, Kennedy's amazing kindergarten teacher, asks each student to draw a picture and then write a sentence - ON THEIR OWN - describing what they drew.

So last night, here is how the conversation went:

Mom: "Kennedy, what did you draw?"

Kennedy: "That's Brady and me! Don't you like Brady's curly hair?"

Mom: "I do! How cute! So what does the sentence say?"

Kennedy: "It says 'I can be'... uh.... hold on."

She can't remember what she was going to write so she starts sounding out the letters.

Kennedy: "Hhhmmm... g... e... n.... OH! It says 'I can be generous playing with Brady!'"

Mom: "That is so sweet! Did Mrs. Ward help you spell those words?"

Kennedy: "No, we had to figure it out ourselves."

So first, I'm impressed that she tried to spell out "generous." That's a tough one.

But second, I'm amused that she considers herself generous. Maybe she's trying to convince herself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Early morning snuggles

Monday nights are rough. After working a full day, I grab a quick bite to eat and then head to class. My masters class (Renaissance Literature) is from 5:30 to 8:30 every Monday. I don't get to see the kiddos between work and class and by the time I get home at 9:00, they're asleep. I just keep telling myself that the payoff will (hopefully) be worth it. Payoff meaning... masters degree complete and the opportunity to teach Communications courses at the college level.

So this morning when Kennedy came walking into our bedroom at 5:30 am, my first thought was to take her back to bed. But this morning, I waved her into our bed to catch up on the events of the day before. I wanted to hear about her day at school, her fall carnival that her daddy took her to after school, homework, etc. We whispered so we wouldn't wake daddy (who was snoring, as Kennedy pointed out).

We talked about everything that happened yesterday and even scrolled through some pictures on my Blackberry. It was THE PERFECT way to start my day.

Happy Birthday to Uncle Matt and Aunt Kelly!

We don't get to see Aunt Kelly and Uncle Matt as much as we'd like to. They live in Maine with the rest of Chris' family. Matt and Kelly are Chris' brother and sister, who are TWINS! (Lucky for me, we didn't get that genetic "thing" for twins! I don't think I could handle it!)

Today, they are celebrating their birthday! Happy Birthday to you both! We hope you have a fantastic day today and we hope EVEN MORE that we get to see you at Christmas!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I was given the ultimate challenge last Thursday: get my kids to safe ground... and keep my cool. Well I managed to get them to safety, but I could not keep my cool.

Around 4:00 that afternoon, major storms were moving into the area. We had already endured several days of rain and the streets were flooding, but the intensity of the storms was growing. Tornadoes were coming. It was getting nasty. I scrambled at the office to make an announcement about evening classes being cancelled and then ran out the door to pick up the kids. Unfortunately for all of us, Chris was in Las Vegas all week. I was flying solo. Not good.
It took me TWO hours to get to their school. I had to turn around multiple times because of roads being closed and power lines down. I drove over some sort of lines that were down, but I was desperate to get to the kids. I yelled at Sheriff's deputies who were not directing traffic fast enough. I sat at one intersection for 15 minutes and cried and screamed at the deputy because he refused to let my lane turn left - which was my LAST resort to getting to my kids.

When I pulled into daycare, you could see that one of the tornadoes had hit the daycare owner's house next door. Kennedy and Brady were panicked, but relieved to see me. I was so happy to see their sweet faces. I threw them in the car and took off toward the house. Through this ordeal, Susie and I had been calling (when we could get a cell phone signal) and texting each other with updates on how to get home, where the storms were moving, and trying to decide where to meet since I was alone with the kids. We couldn't get to our house because of trees collapsed in the streets.

At this point, Brady is screaming, Kennedy is starting to get worried again... and I just lost it. I screamed and cried and fortunately for me, it was enough to quiet the kids. Ten minutes later, they were sleeping in the back seat and I could concentrate on getting us somewhere safe.

We tried going the back way to our neighborhood - traffic was at a standstill. We were headed to Brian and Rebecca's house, but they didn't have power and were headed to Eric's. So I turned around and headed toward Eric's, too. By the time I got to his neighborhood, I got word from Susie that the tree had been moved and we could get to our neighborhood. So I turned around again and slowly made my way home. Navigating through all the debris and flooded streets was nerve wracking, but I finally made it to the house. No power.

So I ran in, fumbled through the cabinet to find the flashlights and packed a small bag of diapers, a change of clothes and some food for the kids. I ran back to the car and headed toward Eric's. I wasn't about to stay in my house alone with the kids, no power, no clue what we were in for. The rain kept pouring and by the time I got to Eric's and unloaded the car and kids, we were all soaked.

I wrestled with the kids to change clothes and eat a quick sandwich... then I let my family know that we were okay and staying in a safe place. Then all three of us piled into one bed. NIGHTMARE. Trying to get those kiddos to sleep was impossible. Finally, about 11 pm that night, everyone passed out.... except mom of course. I kept getting kicked in the face, smacked on the back. I'm not sure which was worse - the storm or sleeping in the same bed with my kids!
The next morning.... THIS is what we all saw. Tornado and storm damage. We were extremely lucky. The tornado narrowly missed my kids' daycare and our neighborhood.

My parents' home is in south Shreveport, so going to their house that night would have been impossible - so we were extremely appreciative to our other family.... the Stinsons and Eric. I am truly blessed to have such amazing people in my life. Throughout the entire ordeal - we texted each other, called each other, made sure that we were all meeting in one safe place. None of us suffered any damage to our homes and all of us were unharmed.