Thursday, December 28, 2006

Chicken for Christmas

Christmas, for us, lasted many days...at least three to be closer to exact. Maybe four. We did pre-Christmas at the Young's homestead. It was a very fun visit though we saw entirely too little of John, Connie, and Brooke. Hopefully, we'll make it down for Brooke's dedication at the end of January. Spending the night made the most of our time spent on such a short visit.


Mercy thoroughly enjoyed herself! She definitely came away with the most presents! We decided that since there is no way around "Santa", Mercy would understand that Santa was a servant of God's delivering gifts for Jesus' birthday. It's worked out pretty well. Jesus gives presents instead of gets presents for His birthday...of course we all know that Jesus, himself, was the best gift of all!


Christmas day was celebrated at our own house by our own little family! Mercy and I wore our pajamas almost all day! Fabulous! Except for the back pain I had all day, it was extremely relaxing. Mercy's "big" gift was a kitchen! We had to hide her Dora car she got at the Young Christmas extravaganza, so she would open her other gifts.

Her kitchen is the same as the one I had when I was a kid. I got it and all its accessories at garage sales this summer and spent about $30. I had to touch up the burner stickers with sharpies. She loves it though! Now every morning she spies it and wants to play with her "chicken"...sometimes it's kitchen and other times it's chicken. So Mercy got a "chicken" for Christmas! We all got a lot of movies and TV shows series. It was fantastic, but family and remembering and celebrating the gift of Jesus was the best of all.


Mercy says it's time to go home and go night night...so...more later.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tinkle Tinkle Star and Jingle Ba

Mercy is going at this talking thing with tenacity! Today she said 5 new words...lets see if I can remember them all. The first one was "Penny," then she said that my hair was "wet," she identified the "Nutcracker" in her new baby einstein video...oh well, I wracked my brain for the other two, but can't identify them precisely at this time. She made a sentence at the table, "More. More bean beans!" Green beans...she loves them. Oh! She said, "Corn" while trying her first corn dog. She kinda liked it, but preferred the hot dog portion. She's also been singing and asking mommy to sing lately. She recognizes "Jingle Ba"--jingle bells--almost immediately even without the words. That's exciting to me a musician. That means she's got the whole tonal recognition thing working for her. She also likes "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." She knows many of the words and kinda understands that they come in a certain order. She'll say, "Tinkle Tinkle Star...Howawa...Up abub...Tinkle Tinkle Star." All while dancing. We have got to get all this on video, but it's often so spontaneous. Man I love having a little one around!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mountain House




Jason and I just got back today from our Mountain escape to "The Solitary Place." We needed to get away and just "be" and to celebrate our 5 year anniversary...so we did. It was a mere 40 minute drive from our house, and cost us next to nothing! We enjoyed the most amazing scenery of mountains and lakes and waterfalls. We saw deer tracks and raccoon tracks. Jason tried to fish, but with no luck. We made a fire every night and vegged out, watching dvd's and reading. We drove into Hendersonville, NC and walked around and enjoyed that a bit, but we will have to go again seeing as I got the stomach flu in the middle of that exploration. It came and went quickly though, so all is well. I slaved over a dinner the first night and was disappointed! Ha! That's the last time I spend more than 2 hours cooking anything other than something in a crock pot!



We didn't do a whole lot of "celebrating" if you will. We forgot to bring our wedding video. We were going to watch it. I was going to make us a cake and then realized that there was no mixer, so I couldn't do the icing. Still we celebrated in our own ways...



Talk about solitude...there is no cell service there, no cable outside of one channel, no computer access...just you and the fire, nature, and quietness. It was great! we didn't want to leave. Truly! we wanted to stay and somehow make it our own. And maybe one day that dream can come true. I just appreciated the opportunity to be reminded of the awesomeness of my God and Creator! I didn't think I could be quite so moved by nature, but I've been missing it in my spirit somehow. And how I appreciate it more these days!



Well, it's way past time for me to nod off. The whisling of the train as it passes not far from here is reminding me that it's time to climb in bed and get comfortable. Don't ask why. those of you who really know me have heard that for reasons that I don't know or maybe can't remember, the sound of trains is deeply comforting to me. Thank you, Lord, that you didn't leave that out when you relocated us here to Greenville. There are trains everywhere! Goodnight to all!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Did you think I died?!

So, I haven't blogged in a REALLY long time! There are reasons. We moved! I know...I gave no real warning, but Jason wanted it that way because of his work situation. We moved to Greer (a suburb of Greenville) South Carolina on Nov. 21st. It's been an adjustment and no we are not technically settled, but already we have made friends, been to a sunday school Christmas party, sang in a Christmas Choir performance...


Life here is different! I'm not really sure how Jason is adjusting. He's actually only been here for about 5 days. I love the atmosphere. It seems small, but it really isn't. We can see Paris Mountain from our oversized living room window. And the sunset everyday is immaculate! We are renting a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home with a huge back yard, a screened in side porch, and a circular driveway that wraps around the back of the house. It is probably more than 60 years old and was built by our landlord's parents. Believe me when I say they don't build things the way they used to. This place is solid through and through. They have done such an exceptional job at keeping this place up. It is truly a blessing!


Our landlord goes to Taylor's First Baptist also and she is truly a lovely woman! The square footage is just right. About 1150 sq. ft. plus the side and front porches. There's also a shed out back for extra storage. The attic seems to be enormous because it has at least 3 windows, but the hole getting up there is so small and is without a ladder that it discourages us from trying to use it at this point. Mercy's room is great!!! It was literally very cathartic to finally put her pre-Katrina nursery back together, only this room has more than twice the space and all her grown up girl furniture is in there too! I even left room for her soon to be acquired Christmas present. A kitchen! I can't wait to show pics, but still...no mac. Waiting till Jason has a salaried job and until the new models come out in January and the old models go on sale.


While Jason was finishing up his job in B'ham, my mom and I were working feverishly on putting this little house together! We've got curtains up everywhere but the kitchen. We put together furniture and hung pictures. Mercy's room is the only one just completely done, but everything else is close (except the decoration or the kitchen).


Our Christmas tree is up and honestly looks magical. It is a bright green tinsel tree, and when we took it out of the package, we thought it might look a bit like a tree out of a Dr. Seuss book, but after decorated and lit, it is fantastic! Seriously, none of our trees have ever seemed this pretty! Of course Mercy prefers undecorating it rather than decorating!


On the mood homefront, I'm positive. That's something if you ask me. Through this enormous process I've had some moments when I felt overwhelmed and little weepy, but they came and went swiftly! All in all, the medicine helps, the family helps, the newness helps, the house space helps, the church family helps. I feel safe here, more secure than before.


Me and God are still working things out. I mean, well I'm not sure exactly what I mean, but I know that we are communicating again. I'm in His word more than before, but not like I ought to be. I have a lot of excuses--legitimate ones--but that's all they are is excuses. I will get there. If I've learned anything in my short life thus far, it's that all of this is a process. My end is already secure, so the journey is what matters most at this point.


Am I tired? Oh Yeah Baby! But what mother of a rambunctious 17 month old isn't tired?! She is a handful! Her favorite word right now is No. She tests and defies us constantly and we are trying to stay in charge equally as constantly. It's tough parenting. But I know that consistency pays off. Mercy is so tall and sooo smart! She's an extremely verbal girl. She said "you" today and "diaper" and something else that I don't remember and these are just the new words. She uses her signs all the time--we need to learn more! It's amazing! I think she'll be ready to potty train for sure by 2 years! Won't that be fantastic!


She's been cutting a new molar. This is the first in her second set. It's been miserable! Mostly teething has been no big deal, but not in this case! She's been ornary and she points to it and says ouch! She will hardly eat anything! The not eating thing bugs me the most. But I know it will pass.


Sorry for such a long update, but it's been long overdue. Without our computer, I'm guessing I won't be able to be as consistent as I was in the past, but I will definatley try! Much love to you all. More later!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Still No Mac

Well, still no computer. I'm borrowing Jason's computer from work. The update begins thus... we've had interesting health issues going on in our house. Mercy got 104.1 fever at midnite Monday morning! Believe me, I was scared. Sure enough, we went to the Doctor the next day and were there for over 2 hours. We took numerous tests to find out that all they could determine is that she was fighting off something. Of course, we were concerned about missing halloween and such. But, yesterday, she was delightful! no fever and no medicine!


Jason had a fever today too. Not more than 100 though.


My health has been back and forth. I had an awful headache half the day today that didn't go away with medicine. I've been battling rotten headaches for over a week. I also had stomach issues today, but I'm hoping that it was just from dinner last night. I'm also trying to determine how I'm doing as far as depression and meds go. Not sure though what is meds and what is depression and what is just health things. I'll be meeting with the Dr. though next week.


On a more fun note...halloween was great! I've never seen such an adorable pink poodle! I can't wait to post some pics when we get a computer. Mercy had a ball learning to knock on doors, digging through bowls of candy, picking flowers, petting cats, playing with balls, and blowing kisses and saying thank you and bye bye. We went in a circle around the neighborhood at night, and went around at Jason's work during the day. The two best things for Mercy were suckers and one lady who offered books instead of candy. Mercy simply sat down in front of the box and started digging through. She got three books, two about dogs, and Snow White. Having a child is so lovely and rewarding!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Brief Update

Still no Mac. Insurance is going to help replace it which is really nice. We'll see how that all turns out. So my computer time has been limited. That's ok though cause I haven't been feeling really well. I've been battling headaches for at least 5 days. I'm not sure why, but sometimes they are nauseating. They are not immensely painful (like sharp) but they are dull and consistent and annoying and debilitating. Aleve and sleep seems to help though. So, off and on, I haven't felt like interacting much.


Mercy, Jason, and I went to the Carnival at the local church. It was covered with people and the air conditioning wasn't sufficient, and Mercy did not like the hat for her outfit. It was a little overwhelming and I felt like we just got in and out and did what we needed to have the "experience" for Mercy. Hopefully, Tuesday's trick or treating around to our neighbors will be better and more relaxed.


Still figuring out what's going on with me. Exhaustion, definately...poor sleep. No more days of crying though. That's something.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mac Finally Died

Well, our beloved Mac finally died. We've had it for three years and its been through the ringer and back. A new computer has been a long time coming in our household. So, for now I am using Jason's work computer in the evening when he brings it home. That's all I get, so I won't be as consistent in returning emails and/or blogging


We had a memorable and wonderful weekend as a family! We did the pumpkin patch thing and a lot of relaxing, cooking, ice cream getaways and such! Mercy won't remember it in the long run, but it was cathartic for Jason and I. I'll post pics eventually due to the new computer arrangement. We are going to wait a few weeks to replace it.


For all of you wondering how I'm doing. Much better. Alot of talking and real communicating going on in our house, not to mention the meds. I'm not nauseous anymore, so that has subsided. Still alot of work to be done, but I'm aware of that. That's the best update I can give...Mercy has an ear infection and we are going to the Dr. tomorrow to make sure it's really gone. I'm not so sure. We may be up for round two of antibiotics. She's still digging in her ears, but she is in a much better mood. I'll take the better mood Mercy anyday. Of course she is cutting two more molars!!! Ah...motherhood.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sisters

Everyone should have a sister. More so, every girl should have a sister. I know some of you don't have a biological sister, but then there are those other women in your life that might as well be your sisters. Those count too. I picked this topic for many reasons. The most important reason is that it is my sister in law, Shelby's birthday! Happy Birthday Sis! Some people's in laws are not their favorite, but this is not so in my life. God blessed me with the opportunity to get to know Shelby by making her my neighbor for 6 months and on top of that we are figuring out this new motherhood thing together. Our kids, the cousins, are only 3 months apart. She's a sister, and a friend and so I pay tribute to her on her special day! Everybody check out her blog at stonesmom.blogspot.com She really takes awesome pics!


Then there's my meredith. She can really light up a room. Things aren't all peachy for her right now, but that's ok. That's kinda part of life. Still, listening to her process and learn reminds me that I ought to be doing the same. I always enjoy spending time with her, even though sometimes I just can't find the right words...that's when singing Indigo Girls always wins out. We make a great pair musically!


I've got a few others that I consider sisters...There is my sister in law Connie. I feel like we are on a different plane simply because of our age difference, but most of the time that doesn't matter. I always enjoy spending time with her. She's positive and encouraging and beautiful inside and out.


Alyson, whom I've blogged about on numerous occasions has made as big an impact on my life as any! I miss having her closer, but I'm always excited about what God is doing in and around her! She is a breath of fresh air!


Lacey, whome I may or may not have blogged about is a surprise sister. I never thought that she would be one of the few that I kept up with over the years! I'm not really good at keeping up with anyone! But she never let me go. Through many, many, many moves she's found me, tracked me down, kept me in contact. She is a true friend and one I really need and love right now.


Thanks to all my family and pseudo-family. With your help I'm pulling through.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Was Right

9 am appointment confirms a flaming red left ear. Poor baby. Yeah it was a bit of a rough night, and she's still taking that morning nap, and heaven forbid I wake her. So I'm relaxing for a moment, not knowing what "mood" she'll be in when she wakes. My day has been ok. a little nausea, but I started the whole dose last night on my meds, so what do i expect. Time for lunch. Check in later.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Wouldn't you know...I didn't even realize it was the 13th till I was laying in bed after I thought I had put Mercy to bed. Sure enough, she was having trouble getting comfortable, I think cause of her ear. I tried to call the Doc, but they don't schedule appts. till the morning of on Saturdays. Yuck. So, I'm pretty sure I'm in for a long night, and long day tomorrow since Jason will be gone most of the day. Hopefully, the Doc will agree that she indeed does have an ear infection otherwise this is all in vain.

Calling it Now

I'm calling it now. I think Miss Mercy is working on an ear infection! I gave her a decongestant to see if that will help. There is definately fluid in her ear. Left one. We'll see, and I sure hope I'm wrong, cause that is miserable. That said, today was pretty good. She has been slightly fussy off and on and hasn't taken much for naps, but I got a shower and dried my hair, and that's something. We went out to eat and took our time. I thought of it like when my mom used to take me to lunch in New Orleans. No rush, just being together. Then we went to the zoo and saw the monkeys and the elephants. She started throwing a fit at the cheetahs so we packed it up and went home. She fell asleep on the way. Didn't sleep more than an hour though. When she woke, she was fussy and digging in that ear, so we took some medicine and rocked for awhile. Now she is in her bed wanting out, so I'd better go tend to her. Don't want her to get too fussy. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Good Day

Well, I haven't said this in a while, but today was a good day. It didn't start out so great. Mercy was irritable and whiney, but I just rocked her back to sleep at about 8am and let her sleep till she woke up at about 9:15am. Then she was much better, so I went ahead and took her to MDO. That freed me up to do a whole lot. I took care of an insurance thing Jason asked me to do. I checked on our previous van account to make sure it had been paid off then cancelled the auto pay. I closed out our credit card account (after much haggling). I mailed in a deposit to hold our rental house. I checked to make sure my MDO payment was recieved and turned in Mercy's updated shot record. I went grocery shopping, unloaded the car, and grabbed pizza to eat before picking Mercy up from MDO. Then down for a nap--both of us--around 1:45pm. Mercy didn't sleep as long as I anticipated, so at 3:15 via stroller, Mercy and I hand delivered mail to Sheila at the clubhouse. Then we strolled back home to get in the car and do pick up and pay day at Kids Market. There wasn't much left and I made what I spent, so on the way home I deposited the check and stopped at the drugstore to pick up what I couldn't get at Wal-mart. They were having the flu shot as well, so I went ahead and got mine. Finally, we got home to find Jason already there.


I didn't think the day would be this productive. It was a slow start for sure. I was feeling very unmotivated, but once I got to going, I just kept the momentum up. In addition to all of that huge to do list, I did 3 or 4 loads of laundry and filled the car up with gas. And mercy was a delight the rest of the day!


Thank you Lord! I know I am not capable of all of this without your hand being on me today. You knew I needed a day that made me feel both capable and adequate. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Been Away Awhile

Mercy and I have been away a while. Like always, I brought her back with some illness. Stone had a cold and I believe Mercy has it now. On top of that unpleasantness, she had her MMR today at her 15month check up. Whew! When I say she was fussy, that's only because there are no real words to describe it. I haven't had an entire day with her like this since she was 4 or 5 months. There were days then that we spent most of the day in the rocking chair, but she won't let that happen anymore. 2 things...if all else fails, stand in front of the fan and/or go outside. We did both of those today, more than once.


The house looked like a tornado came through and it's a miracle that I got any food on the table, but all is quiet for the moment. My only prayer is that Mercy will be well enough to make it to Mother's Day Out tomorrow. I've got to get to the store and do loads of laundry and cleaning...I'm starving! I barely sat to eat my meal tonite for feeding Mercy and her fussing and such! I feel like I ate enough, but I also feel very hungry. Popcorn usually hits the spot, but not tonight.


I'll deal with that in a minute. Just wanted to update those who actually read this, I didn't make it to my counselor because I ended up going out of town early due to some family of origin issues. I did make it to the doctor and have started the zoloft regimen. I'm on day 3 of the first 4 of 1/2 dose, then on to the full dose. I felt nauseous today at one point which was strange. I figured either the pill or hunger, or the combination. We'll see. I felt weepy at times today, but it was like I was out of tears. I thought that was odd to have the feeling without the tears. I held it together pretty well as far as patience with Mercy in the midst of an awful day for her. I was pleasantly surprised by my calmness.


Well, those are my stay at home mom accomplishments today. Tomorrow, I hope to have more tangible results...making various calls, going to the store, making dinner, doing laundry, unpacking suitcases...No, I don't expect to get it all done, though it would be nice. More later

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Circling the Wagons

There is a poignant image that for whatever reason just came to mind and became our motto of sorts during Katrina. We--as a family--were basically like settlers going out together into uncharted territory. We needed to "circle the wagons" together if any of us were going to have the best chance at survival not to mention thriving.


Well, surviving is all I have been doing...all I'm still doing. I did not make it through today without crying. In fact, I had tons of help with Mercy today and found myself alone in the car with my own choice of music and volume. And, though I loved it in so many ways, I found myself still feeling so overwhelmed. About what in particular, I have no idea. I was thinking tonight about why it is that I am so depressed. I feel no need to be, I know I'm blessed and though I've been through an amazing amount of stress...I've done that before too. I don't know honestly. That counselors appt. I was going to today was rearranged, so it didn't happen. I will make sure something happens soon though. It's the only way I can make through all that is coming up in our lives.


Today we circled the wagons again and caravanned our way from AU to South Carolina. That was a little overwhelming for me cause I have nearly no energy as it is and Mercy sleeping in my room for the past 3 nights has led to very little sleep. But, I am here at my parents house and there is a sense that rest is coming. I am weepy...most of the afternoon and evening actually, but ambien is calling so I should sleep like a rock hopefully. There's always the hope that tomorrow will be better...something to look forward to.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cleaning Out an Office

I'm helping someone clean out there office. I've never done this before, but we chose to go at night to avoid confrontation and in essence save a great deal of time and energy, and to have peace and quiet for speed and concentration. I'm actually out without Mercy which makes this little venture twice as exciting. So I feel like I'm in some movie where we are sneaking in at night trying to find some file we're not supposed to have, you know. So many movies have that same scene. Hopefully for our sake no one will interrupt and it will feel like a successful venture. Really though, we are just cleaning out an office of a no longer employee that hated the job as it were. This should be sort of a celebration and I asked this person if they wanted their picture taken so that this could be remembered, but they declined politely. Oh well. Everyone knows an end is almost always a beginning, and I thought it might be nice to document it, but alas...our memories will have to do.


Actually, my belly is stuffed and my eyes are heavy. I'm blogging whilst the other is organizing files or something. I hope to go home and get ready for bed so that I can just crawl into it. The last two nights have not been great. Mercy has chosen on both occasions to have difficulty really going to sleep. Thus, both nights she has thrown a royal fit--hysterical crying and breathing. Nothing you do helps, so that she just tuckers herself out. Amazing huh?! So of course, I'm more than tired. I'm praying tonight is better. I sense that she knows her daddy is not nearby and that she knows there is tension and unrest with the rest of us. Not sleeping isn't helping any of us, and we all have a long caravan ride to Greenville, SC tomorrow.


On a way cooler note, WE SOLD OUR VAN TODAY! Finally after nearly a month or more of trying, we sold our van. Now we have one less debt and one less payment per month! That really takes a huge financial load off. I still have to try to remember to pay Touro for Mercy's birth. That is the one thing that I forgot today. Then we will have no debt other than our SBA disaster release loan at 2.6% over 30 years, so we will be in a very healthy financial situation. Woohoo! One less hurdle for such an exhausted person to jump.


Emotional update: Still very blah. Not much feeling going on. I sense that sheer exhaustion has overridden every other emotion. I haven't cried today...at least not yet and that's something. It's been a long while since I've had a tear free day. Yippee!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Honeymooners

My husband is a doll. I've been drowning in this depression for a good little while and he really didn't see. I don't know if it was because he was self consumed or because I really didn't want to bother him with it--you know bring him down in the process, but God really knit us together in an amazing way. I asked you guys to wish me luck as I was going to try to bring it all home for him about how awful and bad off I really was. I didn't have to try really hard. He understood and he told me how valuable I was to him. In more ways than one, he made it clear that he truly loved me and didn't ever want to even think about living without me. You have no idea how long it had been since I felt truly valuable to him--deeply cherished and loved. Ironically, he told me that next day that he felt like we were honeymooners again (newlyweds, I think), that we were doing something crazy together and I was being lovey again. That's when I told him that he made me feel valuable. I truly knew that he loved me and that made me feel a little more like myself, a little more "lovey." Truly, while I'm away I've missed him more than usual. I want to be near him and experience this 2nd honeymoon phase. I love him in so many different ways that I can't wait to get back home. But that'll be a while. See you soon, love, and do great on your next test!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Home

Since the hurricane I have lost my sense of home. I think I may have blogged about this before. I have thought alot about my safe place, my sense of home over the last couple of weeks. All I can come up with is that home is where you feel safe. I don't know why I feel safe wherever my family of origin is, but it is true. When I go to Greenville, I always just want to stay there. Not without my own family of course. I couldn't live well without them, but the truth is that right now I'm not living well with them. I balled my eyes out off and on for 2 hours today and my husband never sees that. How could he...he's busy at work and then by the time he gets home, I usually feel a bit better, both cause he's finally home and also cause someone can help take the load off with my Mercy responsibilities. I need his help, but he doesn't seem to see the extent of my need. I think I'm going to try to communicate it all more clearly this weekend. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Going, and going, and going

Poor Mercy can't seem to shake all this. So the pooh factor is going--mostly. Actually, ironically, she hasn't made a dirty diaper since yesterday morning before we went to see the Dr. I don't know if she was all out and needed to restock or maybe we gave her too many Cheese Puffs at the Dr.'s suggestion. Her belly does seem to be bothering her a bit which is kinda sad since there's nothing I can really do about it. Hopefully she'll sleep well tonight so that I can, but somehow I'm not counting on it. I slept awful last night and woke up with a head/neckache. I couldn't take Mercy to MDO wouldn't you know cause even though she is 24 hours free of her dirty diapers, she now has a fever. She ran a fever all day today even with the aide of tylenol and ibprofen. Poor girl. she only seemed a little fussy about it all. It was most noticable during nap time. I don't think she got much of a nap cause she seemed unable to get comfortable. She acted like I do when I have a splitting headache.


Daddy daughter night was tonight and not a moment too soon. I've needed a break so bad. They weren't really gone long at all, but just long enough for me to enjoy a fabulous salad with chicken strips, oranges, tomatos, celery, and carrots. Then I got a little laundry done and finally dried mercy's "binky." I got her clothes put up and her room put back together after having had company last weekend, so that was nice to actually get something done around here. Actually, I started off the morning determined to get the kitchen clean and I did. It took me at least an hour, but Mercy didn't seem to mind too much. Tomorrow is Friday, so hopefully it will be as good as it sounds.


Those of you wondering if I made it through today without crying or feeling depressed, the answer is NO. Sorry, probably won't have a day without that for awhile, but help is on the way. I think it could just about only get better from here. Thanks to all for your prayers and encouragement. I need and cherish it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mystery Solved

Mercy's been battling the stomach flu for what seemed to be about 10 days. Finally, we went to the doctor and did the lovely sample. I haven't heard anything back from them, but in brushing Mercy's teeth tonight I felt just a bit of her back left molar that had begun to poke through. Well that explains why she woke up last night in the middle of the night with a bad diaper and then again this morning! So much for that long night's sleep I tried to get by going to bed at 9:30pm. Oh well, such is motherhood.


My day pretty much revolved around all that. I went to the doctor twice...once with Mercy, then once again with Mercy and her dirty diapers. We proceeded to the mall nearby so she could run around and get worn out, but it may have been unnecessary since she seemed pretty tired most of the day. She had a super long morning nap and at least an hour for the afternoon. It wasn't even hard to get her to sleep tonight.


Suspecting that she might have been reinfecting herself I managed to clorox most everything. I'm only one person so there are some things that I didn't get to, but all the cleanliness should help her get better, then maybe I'll have a chance to get my life in some kind of order.


I do have a counseling session scheduled finally for next Tuesday. They talked of fitting me in tomorrow which sounded great, but I really didn't know what the situation would hold as far as Mercy's tummy and all. I need it bad. This depression can actually be numbing physically. Sometimes all I can do is just sit there frozen, "in the zone". It's really weird actually, cold, tingly and it feels fuzzy and full. If you can keep you mind and your eyes "awake" you can pull yourself out of it. Something I suppose I'll talk to the counselor about. It may have something to do with extreme stress--coping mechanism and such, sort of a way for you to shut down for awhile. Of course, if Mercy cried out in the midst of it, I'll bet that would work too.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Coldplay X&Y

Been listening to this CD on my ipod and really enjoying it finally. I listened to it before but didn't like it. Then it was one of the few CD I had in my car, and when I put it in I found that I really liked it. I liked it for so many reasons. First of all Coldplay is likely my most favorite band, so the style and musicality is right up my alley, but more than that the lyrics contain actual thought. They are compelling and say alot about the state of our human race. I find myself connecting on so many levels that the last time I listened to this CD I cried. You know how sometimes other people, books, poetry, music, etc. expresses something inside you that has been untouchable, unexplainable...well I suppose that's sort of what happened.


Clearly I have been depressed lately, something I'm due to explore in counseling very soon...so understand that if you are reading this, that at this very moment I am aware that much of my recent states of being are simply big pity parties, but I'm having a hard time shaking that off. So that's just where I am. Take it or leave it.


So many of these songs touched the depth of feeling I've had sloshing around in my for awhile, but track four had me balling the other day. You'll see...


When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse


And the tears come streaming down you face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?


Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you


High up above or down below
When your too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know just what you're worth


Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you


Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you could not replace
Tears stream down your face
And I...


Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will look for the mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I...


Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

?

Why the question mark...Oh because I just don't know! That's a quote from the movie "Monster in-law". That is how I feel today. It seems as though my inside feelings are moving around inside me like waves on the sea shore. Things seemed average, pleasant even, but my patience I found, is rather short today. Now, while Mercy is asleep I find I'm sad and even teary. Slight relief has come, but my fear is that it's only temporary. I have no idea!



Clearly, I need to see a therapist or something, so Jason is coming home with that info today. And not a moment too soon. Helpfully, Jason and I have had some meaningful conversation this weekend, so I don't feel quite so isolated. He sweetly said that if I wanted or needed it, he would move us closer to my Family of Origin. I thought that was sweet and sacrificial, but I don't know if that's necessary. I can't just run away or run to my parents everytime things just aren't quite right for me. Clearly there is more to all this than that. I am not unhappy with living here. That isn't really it. In fact, I'm not sure what "it" is. It's a good chance that it has to do with having no support system around me. But it's like I'm paralyzed at recreating that system. I love where we live, the house and the neighbors are great and my schedule is nice to. My family is not too far and I can get away pretty much whenever I like. So, I don't know.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Snap, Crackle, Pop

No, this post is not about Rice Crispies. I pulled out my laptop this morning to check my email really quick and found a story about RECORDS and PLAYERS on my home page. The irony here is that my sister and I were just discussing the qualities that we enjoyed from our record listening experiences as a child.



In reading the Tightwad Gazette recently, I was reminded of the benefits of the record player, and there was an inkling in my head that I should look for a record player at the garage sales. Well I didn't look for one. ITunes makes buying music cheap and enjoyable too. However, Meredith and I were reminiscing about our days in ballet and the lovely use of the Record Player. The pops and cracks have this lovely kind of nostalgia. The kind of memories that consist of the very reasons that I fell in love with music as it is.



All that said, I think I would like to have a Record Player again. Maybe for Christmas. I don't know where I would put it and I'm pretty sure Jason will think that I'm nuts, but I think I'd like to have one. I didn't know they were making a come back or anything, but that is what the article was saying. That fact alone may put a damper on my getting one. You know how supply and demand goes. Oh well, if it can be found reasonably priced, hopefully I will aquire this new collection soon. I think Mercy would like it as well.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

College Football

How many of you HATE college football? I think I do. I used to enjoy it, and honestly in its own right, I enjoy it, but once I got merried it quickly became a sworn enemy! Last week Jason and I had an argument about his watching it...not because I complained about his watching it. Believe it or not he was trying to vent his frustration about "interruptions" during his watching the game. I took a nap during part of the game which meant that he had to keep tabs on Mercy. Apparently, this bothered him...she was an interruption in his game. Well, that ticks me off! What am I supposed to do...evacuate Mercy and myself for all the many hours on Saturdays and Sundays? No way! Anyway, that is my soapbox.



It just comes up again today because I haven't seen my husband all day. He had an agenda that I knew little about, and he's off doing those things. Right now it's football and food with his brother. I'm not mad or anything...I love that he gets out, cause we all need that, I just feel jipped. We don't get to see him much, not to mention that with just me, it is hard to get things done, so when the weekend rolls around, I like to make the most of our double manpower. Hmmm. Maybe I have my own expectations, but I don't think they are that unreasonable, I just think that there needs to be more and better communication about the details of our lives. Sorry world, sometimes us wives and mothers just need to vent.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Trading Spaces with Myself

Wish I had something more interesting and story-like to blog about, but alas, being a mom at home doesn't give me much control over the interesting things that can happen in a day.

I'm gearing up. Jason and I decided that we just aren't ready for the whole house jump yet, and everyday affirms that decision more and more. So, I'm gearing up to make this place our home.

I know we probably won't be here forever, but some small touches can really do the trick. I figure we'll go about it in a very organized fashion, starting with the necessary "renew"vations. We'll work from a budget (imagine that) and then whatever doesn't fit will have to wait till we have extra monies to work with. I think that definately means that we will be painting first.

I'm going to attempt to simply upholstery clean Mercy's rocking chair. I was going to recover it, but it kept getting moved around, so I've decided that in her room, it's own color fits great. That means I've got to clean it. It is sooo dirty!

I've picked the colors for the living room and kitchen (same), and the dining room and foyer (same), but the bathrooms are a mystery. I've decided what to do with the walls in the basement, but not the ceiling. Dehumidifiers are absolutely necessary, and I'd love a fireplace, but that certainly isn't a necessity. (Still waiting on the maintenance to come and deal with the moisture issue.)

As far as the upstairs is concerned I think the upstairs baths need some doing, but just a simple reorganization will do in our bedroom.

Mercy's room is pretty cute. Sure the walls in there are a boring color, but everything else is Paris Pink Poodles. I guess all it really needs is curtains.

Mostly paint should do the trick! That saves a lot of money in major renovations. There are a few things else, but only just the few and those will have to go on the priority list. Can't wait to get started! How about I post some before and after pics as I go along in my projects?!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Better Day

Today was better. Thankfully we only had 2 episodes with Mercy today. She seemed to be in a wonderful mood. She slept in till 8am and then skipped her morning nap. So we went to Kids Market. That was delightful!

Nothing like a little retail therapy...But truly, at least I wasn't weepy all day. I'm sort of down that I won't be getting the day off tomorrow with Mother's Day Out, but Mercy has to be 24 hours free of symptoms and she hasn't been. I'll have to try to clean around her.


Way too tired to still be up, so I'll be going to bed early like a "good mom".

Here's a pic of Mercy's first swing experience at the park. Funny that I actually caught a pic of her not smiling. She had the time of her life!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Things Didn't Get Better

I went to Kid's Market and had a reasonable time--their is a sense of accomplishment when you get a good deal, but I felt slightly guilty being there. Poor Mercy wasn't just cutting another tooth (though she is also doing that) she really was sick. She likely caught the stomach bug from the Nursery on Sunday at church. It makes me mad, so much that I don't even want to take her to church.


I've been weepy about everything and down as I said in the earlier blog. That didn't change. My dad told me that Dr. Webber has pancreatic cancer! I wanted to break down and weep right there in the old Winn Dixie. I felt alone--the whole time I shopped. Mercy was worse when I got home. She had another episode just as I was walking through the door and my heart just broke for her! I wanted someone to fix it, to make it right, cause I sure as heck couldn't. I feel a little bit helpless. My only prayer is that tomorrow is better. Please, God, make tomorrow better.


Sometimes I feel like I can't take it anymore--that I'm not going to be able to keep on pushing through, but when it comes right down to it, I know that I have to. Like I told my mom today, I have responsibilities. As lousy as I feel, it isn't just about me anymore. But I gotta say, sometimes I wish I could just check out of this life for awhile.


Mom said someone explained her emotional place as "exhaustion." I can relate to that. I need a break--from having to be a mom, wife, sister-in-law. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I had one, but I'm pretty sure it would help.


I had a small escape tonight after rushing out to the pharmacy. I stopped at Starbucks and ordered a pumpkin spice latte. I drank it with my windows down and my music loud, all the way home. It was nice and reminded me of so many autumn's gone by. My how fast life changes...
Still weepy...going to sleep while I can...don't know what the night holds for me with Mercy's illness and all.

Down Today

So it happens from time to time...I'm feeling down today. Part hormones, Part other things. Sigh. I don't guess there's much I can do about it. Sometimes, a lot of times, I wish I were somewhere else. I wish I were around more people that loved me unconditionally. I often feel I lack a dependable support system in my life. I may just feel that way because Katrina took away what was comfortable, but I'm not sure. I miss my parents most. Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with me missing them like I do. Maybe I need to leave and cleave better, but it's not as if I want to go live with them again or anything. And it's certainly not as if I'd rather be with them than my family. That is not the case at all. I think it is just a normal part of life in families that are close. I hear people desperately miss parents that have been deceased for years.



Today has been frustrating anyway, so that doesn't help. Mercy was supposed to be in Mother's Day Out for a few hours, but she's cutting a new tooth and they wanted me to come get her cause she was "sick." She is extra grumpy--all the more reason I needed some time apart--but here we are. She doesn't have much of an appetite and she's tired, but at this point she can't nap for another hour. So we are watching Baby Einstein. I'm blogging and trying to eat lunch. I didn't get a chance to clean like I had hoped, so I will have to get as much done as I can during her nap. Then Jason's parents are coming over to watch Mercy while I go to Kid's Market to shop. That should be the highlight of my day, though I have to go it alone. Oh well, things will get better...I'm sure of it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Being a Mom is Gross

OK. so don't go off on me till you've read the blog. Today, Mercy and I were on a way home from viewing a house and playing in the park. Thankfully, we were turning into our subdivision when it sounded as if she were choking or gagging or something. Now as far as I knew all she had on her was her passy, so I just figured she was just choking on her own spit. Maybe she got ahold of an old goldfish in or around her carseat, I don't know, but all of a sudden she started throwing up. No big deal. It was just a little bit to clear her passage I guess, but apparently that got her to going and she through up 2 or 3 more times. I quickly turned into the very next parking area, threw the car in park and raced around to her, catching my hip on some jagged part of the car on my way around. As I got her out she threw up the final time, nearly missing me and getting the door of the car and the asphalt. I barely packed a bag for her, but I did have a mexican blanket in the trunk. I layed it out on the sidewalk, grabbed a new diaper, stripped mercy down and used the Feltmann bros. dress she was wearing and had already soiled to wipe her off. We put on a new diaper and used her wipes to wipe both her and I off. I then grabbed the stroller out of the trunk, locked her in it on the sidewalk, actually parked the car, cracked the windows because of the smell, locked it, and strolled the rest of the way home. There was no one to help us, so we helped ourselves.



I couldn't have put her in the car seat that was drowning in dinner, so we strolled home and headed straight for the bath. Jason was still out with his brother, so us girls tried to clean up. Amazingly, water, baby soap, and even antibacterial soap haven't totally gotten rid of the curdled peach yogurt smell entirely. I can't even imagine about the car, but I haven't gotten that far. Just in case, I've got the monitor on Mercy tonight. She seemed fine after it was all said and done, but in the event of a stomach virus, I'd like to be prepared.



I do have a sizable, many colored bruise on my hip, and I need a shower, but I'm waiting on Jason to get back with the car which he supposedly took to get cleaned...and here he is. gotta go help.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Reginelli's Pizza! Ooo, I Wanna Eatcha!


Ok. So all this is is a simple shout out for the best pizza ever. I had a hankering for pizza last night, so we went to California Pizza Kitchen. Now that's really good, don't get me wrong. But I had to put together my own pizza from various items I knew they had so that I could have the pizza I really wanted--which was from Reginelli's! I've never had pizza like theirs, and last night's pizza was good, but not quite what I wanted. I had this lovely cheese Neopolitan pizza to which I added kalamata olives and roasted peppers. They had a greek pizza, but it had cold, salad toppings. I wanted a hot pizza. What I really wanted, I can't remember, but I know it had kalamata olives, red peppers and garlic, roasted, and possibly spinach and/or sun dried tomatos! So this is just a shout out to say, "Reginelli's pizza, I miss you!" Hope that the family faired well through the storm and was able to rebuild. If they need to relocate, please come to Birmingham!
That's enough of this silly soapbox. I must go be a productive human being today.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Update

So, my birthday came and went. Unfortunately I spent 8 hours of it in a car on the way to see my family in South Carolina! A drive that usually takes 5 hours or so ended up taking 8 hours by way of rainy, Atlanta traffic! Poor Mercy didn't do so well, till she just got sleepy and quiet. It was not a great day as far as birthdays go, but I will say that I got great gifts and the family made nice gestures to show they remembered and cared.



One year I'll have "the best birthday ever." But it is a good possibility that the whole best birthday thing is simply a bigger than life dream that will never be what I think it should be. In any event, I'm older now.



Mercy stayed behind in South Carolina with her grandparents. Jason and I are having mixed emotions about it. We are enjoying the rest, quiet, and productivity. But, we miss Mercy more than we thought we would. We didn't make it out of the driveway before we missed her. And as quiet as it is, it seems kind of strange. I am getting things done that needed to be, so the time should pass rather quickly.



If you do not hear from me for awhile, you'll know why. I've been out of town through labor day. Then, I've been getting ready for Kids Market (www.kidsmarketandmom.com), and next week I will join Mercy, and Nani and Pop at the beach! Then I'll blog again. So tudaloo till then!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Daddy's Girl


"Sounds like your speaking jibberish when you read that book backwars. I'm soooo sleepy Daddy."Me and Dad on his day, Father's Day!
Me and Daddy on his other Big Day, his Birthday! He even let me help blow out the candles!
I always look for Daddy at bathtime. He's better at it than Mommy. Plus Mommy said that it gives her a break.
Like Father, Like Daughter. Mercy's own PC (it doesn't really work).
What a great pillow, Daddy!
OOoooo! We look so cool huh?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rest of the Story Part 3

My previous posts have covered most of the aspects of the Katrina Mess, but not all of them. Even as I reread my posts, I remember additional things that I should have mentioned. But alas, the rest of the story is still happening. Just as there are people in New Orleans trying to clean up the debris a year later, all of us are still cleaning up the debris metaphorically within ourselves.



In all actuality, my little family faired pretty well. We lived on the second floor of our building and we were renting. Both of those factors saved us the additional heartache that many had to go through. But don't underestimate Katrina's affect on our lives. We did not attempt to stay and weather the storm. Having a 6 week old, we were planning our evacuation even at 3am on the Friday before. But I wouldn't say we were prepared. The dishes were dirty, the clothes were dirty, we left behind much of our usual evacuation momentos and memories. Don't tell us we are so fortunate and don't tell us that we must be settled in now. We know we are fortunate. Many of our friends and family weren't, and we saw the devestation first hand. We had 9 feet of water in our building. Our downstairs neighbors didn't even bother coming back. What was there to come back to? The mold was to the ceiling and the waterline nearly to the ceiling as well.



The emotional debris that Katrina has left for us to pick up is equally traumatic. The city that we called home lay in ruins in October when we were finally allowed in to survey the damage and retrieve our stuff. All of our friends and church family was scattered. None remained but 3 family's we knew and one of those is desperately looking for a way out. The life we knew disappeared in an instant. The home we had so precisely prepared for Mercy's arrival is gone. The community that surrounded us like a comforting blanket has been ripped from our arms, and we often feel cold and alone. The support group and the work that brought additional purpose and meaning to my life is no more, though I can not complain about my role as full time mother. It is just lonely.



We did lose some things and those things were precious. In addition, Katrina scattered my family of origin. That came as quite a shock since our circling of the wagons through this tragedy was one of the main support beams in my life. And the rebuilding on this end is slow too. We still barely make ends meet even as careful and frugal as we are. We have found a church home, but no real small group--which we miss desperately! Thus, I have no real friends around me. This was not the road I would have chosen, but it is the journey I accept. There is purpose, and just like many of those in New Orleans who have chosen to rebuild their homes, I chose to rebuild my life and home however much sacrifice and work it takes. I may not be building my property and such in New Orleans, but I chose to join with that "New Orleans Spirit" and pick up the pieces of my life. Our life certainly will never be the same, but it will be something.

Katrina Remembered Part 2

So, we made it to Birmingham. We knew that we would need to immediatly change our phone numbers so that we would have use of them again. Not a chance that a 504 area code would go through at this point. We also had to have our charges for excessive texting wiped off since it was due to lack of service availability and a national emergency. We did however have some fee due to the change of number. Interesting since it was a necessary evil due to lack of service. Then we established our monies in a larger, more widespread bank so that we would have access to it. It was more than several months later and a trip back to New Orleans (end of February 2006) that we were finally able to get all of our money out and our accounts closed. Next we had to establish some type of address in order to recieve our bills and such. Both of my family's shared a P.O. Box. and filled out a change of address form. Still recieved some mail 2-3 months late. Next we spent a long time on the phone calling all of our billers and such and squaring away our accounts. Credit companies often politely extended grace through December which was a tremendous and unexpected help. Of course Jason and I were still dealing with many of our bills from the birth (the largest of which finally arrived yesterday)!


We checked at an American Red Cross Center set up at our old church. That was a great help as well, not to mention seeing familiar faces. We attained clothes and diapers and soap and such. My parents stayed with some dear friends of the family--in their basement--and Jason and I knew we'd need to spend some time at one of the family's houses. We chose to stay at his brother's new house which was more of a private option for our new family to settle a bit without getting overwhelmed. That option was unfortunately short lived. People seemed confused as if we were just on some sort of vacation. It was an extremely frustrating and disheartening time for us all. Some just couldn't understand--and likely never will.



That may likely have been the more stressful part. Instead of helping, as was obviously the true desire, it sometimes came across as hurtful. We were pressured and prodded. There seemed to be many unspoken expectations for what it was we were supposed to be doing. And we had no idea what we were going to do, often finding ourselves in that stuck place of shock. We found staying with others to be too overwhelming. Sometimes all you can give just isn't what is needed and that's just that.



We were eternally grateful for all the support that we did receive, but we knew that if we were going to make it here (in Birmingham), we were going to have to reestablish our own little family. Set some boundaries and regain our own team strength...Team Young.



We got an apartment with my parents with the understanding that when we got tired of eachother we would not be offended, but simply get away for awhile at someone else's place. There was a 2 week period that we spent in a friends basement. That was nice to have our own space, but sort of annoying as we could not doing any type of cooking. We literally ate out at almost every meal for 2 months straight!



The apartment was procured at the same time as Jason was having to commute to Atlanta for his computer job still affiliated with the Seminary. We knew that could only last so long. With a newborn and so much paperwork, phone calls, standing in line, and such I just couldn't do it on my own all the time. Luckily, I did have my parents to coordinate with much of the time.


We got in touch with FEMA, though I don't really remember how and/or when, we did get assistance. We managed to get the immediate emergency monies, then our first rent disbursement and possibly one other disbursement later. After never hearing anything from the Red Cross, not even a gift card as promised, I finally got in touch with one of my friends from New Orleans. It had been at least a month since the storm and a month before that since she and her family had gone on a month long vacation to Europe and returned the day of Katrina only to be diverted to Oklahoma. I found out we were supposed to get a significant amount from Red Cross, so we circled the wagons while Jason was doing interviews and stood in a very long line for a very long time (4 or more hours) and finally got some relief! In the next several weeks we continued making phone calls to unemployment and trips to the food stamps office and the FEMA headquarters here to make sure we had all our ducks in a row.
We missed the foodstamps cut off by a week or so. The unemployment journey was a nightmare that neverended until say April or May of this year when I finally got a human on the phone--and one that actually was capable of helping me. It's been a long and tiring journey. The taxes thing was also a big nightmare! That didn't get resolved till nearly a year later! ugh.

Saga three will hopefully be the last, but Mercy's asking for lunch right now. Another posting to come

Katrina Anniversary


Sorry. I don't mean to be cliche, but you all knew I had to blog about this today. It was a year ago today when Katrina hit land. Now I realize it did not make a direct hit over New Orleans, which is the reason that a year ago today, my family breathed a slight sigh of relief and decided that we'd return home sometime on Tuesday. We only brought enough clothes and such for that length of time as it was. It wasn't until Tuesday morning, passing the television on my way to the breakfast table that I heard, "The waters are still rising in New Orleans." I was stunned and confused, and obviously did not fully grasp the situation. I remember asking Nene and Dr. Bob what the news was saying. Apparently, I knew I had missed something. That's when all the pieces of the puzzle can together!



One by one, my family arose from sleep and came to the breakfast table only to discover for themselves the harsh reality of the situation at hand. It was surreal at the very least. There was a moment in time that almost stood still as we each in our own way tried to soak in as much of the situation as our understanding could hold onto. I remember hearing that it would be at least 6 weeks before anyone would be allowed to return, quite possibly closer to 3 months. After mostly grasping all of that, I remember my husband and I deliberating in Nene's blue room about where to go from here. Our natural choice was to head for Birmingham, because Jason had enough connections there to get a job. So, we gathered as a circling of wagons, my parents, jason, mercy, and I and discussed our decisions. I remember that mom and dad had there own private deliberation, the outcome of which was their decision to go with us, if for no other reason than the understanding that we were going to have to stick together in this if we were going to make it through all of this with any kind of sanity intact (the verdict is still out on this).



I think we decided to leave on the Thursday after my birthday. And what a birthday it was! I did manage to get my favorite cake out of the deal, so I can't complain...I remember, though, noting that we immediately needed to get our money out of the bank and move it to a bank less connected with New Orleans. That was difficult since the computer systems were down due to the hurricane. The personal banker was extremely helpful and managed to work around it, noting our desperation and quietly trying to fully grasp our situation.



We walked across the street to a children's consignment shop, the only one in Shreveport, LA, because we needed clothes for Mercy. The onsies and gowns I had thrown in her bag in a hurry were already too small. Mom and I discussed it all as we sifted through the secondhand clothes searching for anything marked one or two dollars. Another customer overheard our conversation and donated her credit in the store to us. It was a mere $32, but considering they were having a sale, those dollars were stretched even further. That was the first ray of God's light amidst the settling storm.



The journey to Birmingham from Shreveport was a long one filled with angst. The cell phones didn't work, so we had to resort to texting to communicate between the two cars, not to mention trying to check in with friends also scattered. Some we didn't hear from for at least another month! The most nervous part was the whole gas scare/hoarding. Everywhere we attempted to stop, there was no gas. Finally we made it to Meridian where we sat in a fairly organized line and filled up both tanks before moving onto Jackson. We topped off the tank whenever we could to make sure we made it to Birmingham. We knew once we got there, even if there was no gas there, we would be safe.



We stopped in jackson and checked in with family. We let poor Mercy get out of the car seat for a while. She did so well noting that she was only about 7 weeks. Thankfully at that age they still sleep alot! Then, we quickly moved on to Birmingham. Many phone calls were and emails were made requesting our sizes as friends and previous church members gathered up the appropriate clothing in a holding place for us! Another ray of God's love.



Additional posts commemorating the remainder of the story to come...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dream Home!

We're on a mission. In driving around, looking at the depressing choices of houses within our immediate means, we stumbled upon the neighborhood of our dreams. We immediately fell in love! Even Mercy was in the back seat going "Ooooo!"

This tiny little neighborhood is literally just one small street that circles around. All the houses are similar to this one, sort of a southern style beach house of sorts. They all have a yard with a white picket fence and a drive that leads to a garage. The street is situated in the middle of Old Town Helena! The mental pictures just flow with scenes of our little family walking to dinner at the nearby, cosy restaurants. Mercy playing in the part a few houses away. Getting fresh produce at the stand across the street. Watching free flicks in the outdoor amphitheater across the way.

Alas, these are only dreams as of yet. Surprisingly, these lovely homes are only slightly out of our financial means. Thus, we have found a great deal of motivation to save, save, save. Squander every penny. Sell every superfluous item. You know the whole "Beg, Borrow, Steal" thing only we don't steal.

Right now we are only in the brainstorming stage, but my brain hurts from all the thinking of ways to reduce the monthly outflow and increase the monthly income. Honestly, if any of you faithful readers have interesting ideas, feel free to leave them as comments. We're up for anything at this point!

It is two story, and technically 2 bedrooms, but as you can see, there is an additional room that the current owners used as the nursery. I can barely wait to have a yard for Mercy to play in! But we can wait and we will wait, because the end result is worth it.

In the meantime, we will pray, consider all our options--even the unusual ones, and save like crazy. We going to do a money making account for our existing downpayment monies, and simply continue to add to it. We hope to sell our minivan very soon. As it is, we have 3 vehicles, 2 of which are paid for. That will add some to our savings.

It is possible that when our lease is up at our current location we may move to a less expensive option. We are even exploring these "cottages," mother-in-law suites, basement living type rentals that are generally affiliated with someone else's home. It would likely be small, and we would definately have to simplify and/or store some items, but I've seen them in the paper as low as $400/mo. in the very neighborhood we already live in. Some even include utilities at a rate from 670-750 a month. That's darn good considering it includes utilities and you wouldn't have to hassle with the deposits and switch overs that often come with moving.

We are still weighing all our options though, because not only is moving detestable, it is costly. There's the truck rental, the manpower needed, gas, all the deposits. Then there are the hassles of the change of address and such. You have to consider location in relation to work and church and mothers-day-out. Whew! I'm tired even now.

I don't know much else, but I know this one thing. The dream is there, the motivation and goal in place. Now we simply need prayer and a plan of action! Join us in prayer for this new venture of rebuilding our lives post Katrina! It may take 2 years, but after 2 years we desperately hope to be in a place to buy a home and have another child. Oh the excitement of the journey of life never ends!




Saturday, August 26, 2006

Birthday Pictures!

Finally got to these a month or more later! First is my 4th of July party!



Next is my party at Aunt Minnah's house! Super fun gazebo and pool! Surprise! Stone came!


Friday, August 25, 2006

True Friends


You know those friends that you've known for a long, long time and nothing ever gets old. I don't mean their quirks or idiosyncracies. Those almost always get old eventually. I just mean that excitement and feeling of newness never wears off. You always want hear their next story or checkin to see how they're doing.



Thankfully I have a few of those. I chatted online with one last night. We've known each other since college and were in eachothers weddings, and believe it or not, we still talk. Like you might expect, it's not all the time and it's mostly thanks to the internet connection, but it's one of those that you pick up where you left off. Talking to her is always refreshing!


Then there's Alyson. Check out her blog at www.alysonsview.blogspot.com She and I have also been friends since college. She's had such a life and is halfway across the country, but we still check in. I always want to see her even if it's just for 30 minutes passing through, going somewhere else. We check in once in a while and we still pray for eachother as we remember. Well, Alyson visited! Mercy loved her--and her chair. Here are the pics from the visit!



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Road Trip Update!

So...I forgot my camara on our road trip. This is only slightly annoying since everyone else took pics. I will post some when I get some. Until then, my story will have to do.



It's great taking a road trip with your sister. I'm not one for cheesiness, but in all truth there really is a bond that only sisters share. It's even better taking a road trip with MY sister because she has a memory that won't quit and a mind that can really tell a story. For those of you who know me, you know that my memories are limited and disjunct, so just hearing Meredith tell "You remember when" stories from our childhood was fabulous! No, most of those stories I didn't remember, but through her telling sensed that vaguely familiar connection. Some things I had no memory of, so she could have just made something up, but even so, it was great!



Relatives are an unusual bunch. You love seeing them, but you can only take so much. It was great seeing my grandmothers and my aunts and uncles. I especially loved seeing Renee and the kids. And Ryan for that matter. You sort of forget how much you missed people until you see them again. And I found myself wishing for more time to catch up or more connections in order to reconnect. Seeing my aunt kathy was refreshing because I found her to be so much like my mother except more calm or laid back or something.



I did not sleep well at all on the trip. Not one night really. I could hear Mercy's every move, not to mention it's hard when you're not sleeping in your own bed--AND--I forgot my own pillow. I didn't get any naps which I'm used to getting staying home with Mercy and all. Needless to say, I fairly certain that Mercy felt the same way because she eventually got cranky and whiny and just wanted to go, "bye bye." She got tons of mosquito bites and bonked and scraped her head and arm. I swore Jason would never let me take her away again when he saw her, but it really wasn't so bad.



You know, on road trips, the stupidest parts were always the most fun. Well, Mer and I went on this trip with absolutely no directions which was hilarious. We simply tried to rely on our memories to get to where we needed to go. We always got there, but not without several turn arounds. Especially humerous (only cause we survived and were not in immediate danger) was getting turned around in downtown Shreveport. Somehow, twice, I managed to turn down a one way street the wrong way. Luckily no one was close enough for us to be a danger or in danger. Jason would have been annoyed because we didn't have directions! And certainly if we had gotten truly lost, I would have been annoyed as well. But we always had a general idea of where we were. And the signage was good, so we faired well.



I traded numbers with my cousins and asked for recipes from my nene. I sewed with my aunt and grandmother and sister, and traded baby toys and clothes with my cousins. I even got a jacuzzi bubble bath! All in all, I'm thrilled that I went! We were tired and ready to go, but you take the good with the bad, you suck it up and do it. And you're always glad you did.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pics for Shed Tears

Here is precious Mercy in line at the Red Cross to register for assistance post Katrina (Birmingham Downtown).



That was the playground across the street as seen from our window.



This is our downstairs neighbors' apartment. The big white blob here is the overturned refrigerator. Yes, that is mold on their ceiling. This enrire building no longer exists. The front stair well was entirely collapsed.



Mom and Dad's kitchen.



Ah...This was our apartment. That was our neighbors car.



If only you could experience all the senses in the picture; the heat and humidity of no power, the rank smell of a musty, contaminated mess, the slick surface of slime under your feet.









Shed Tears

I shed some tears today for the life lost. I can cope though because of the new life I have now, full of future hope and possibility mingled with a touch of the things I new back then. The anniversary of Katrina is fast approaching. It's literally about a week away. I thought it would make an appropriate blog so I searched through some of my cataloged photos and a rush of emotion came over me. I fought it at first, but then thought it best to just allow myself to mourn just a bit. Mostly I morned for the comfort of home and family. I mourned for the comfort of a full life, one that knew of a support group of neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers who valued me and my life enough to keep up with my ongoings and offer help or encouragement along this journey we are all in together.



I find that I'm a bit more emotional now because of other people's issues that are affecting me at this time. It is funny how God intended our earthly relationships to also be interwoven. That's part of the concept of community. When one hurts, others feel some of the pain. It may not be the same pain, or the same feeling, and it may not be completely understood, but the reality is that regardless of the claims that the pain belongs to that one person alone, it is my experience that the pain is shared. It is the same with Christ even. It would be and is my pleasure (and pain) to experience some of the ache and pain of His redeeming death. We are not designed to be an island. It's not in our makeup. We are made in Christ's image and he is one part of a Trinity--these three co-exist. Hard to grasp, but something that I think we long to achieve in our own relationships. The concept is similar also in the explanation of the church as the body and the marital relationship as no longer two but one. This soapbox could really go on, and probably get really good, but this is all I choose to say about such things at this time.



Things are different now. I expected as much, but I just thought it good to express. So thus, I will make a list of the differences from the past year.


1. I have a toddler (thus life is different)
2. I don't have a job
3. Most of my relationships are distant and communication is seldom
4. We have found a church but no connection of a small group
5. My family is putting down roots!
6. The prospect of a house is high and soon!
7. There is quite a lot of limbo in our life.
8. My extended family of origin is gone away (in many aspects)
9. My precious family of 3 here is more of a family, more communally sufficient.
10. I've become a homebody.
11. I have little or no direction outside of acquiring and making a home at this time.
12. We have a routine!
13. We have significantly less debt!



I'm sure the list could go on, but those are the first and easiest to recall. And I'm not going to waist all of these quiet moments during Mercy's nap expressing them to all of you who even read this. It's time to get up and move on. I paid enough attention to my grief today, and so, I will unpack from my trip, shower, clean, and do all the other stay-at-home-mom things I usually do. I will update you all on my trip later, after work tonite (child care work for peanuts).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Going on 5 Years

So I'm going on five years of being in love. Don't get me wrong...everyday is not filled with with rainbows and bluebirds. None the less, I feel fortunate, truly blessed, to have found the one God intended my earthly heart for. This is tricky, you see, because I understand that I, along with my heart, have been truly made for God and His love. I also understand, however, that He intended our hearts and persons to live and "be" in communion with others. This marital love is the perfect example of that intended communion.



I had a dream last night. A dream that I was having to decide and then follow through with a decision on whether I should continue seeing/dating a guy or not. From now on we'll call this guy "Bob". Bob is actually a person from my past whom I had a great deal of feelings for and whom I understood to be a very upstanding, respectable, nice sort of guy. So, you know when you have those dreams that seem extremely real? This was one of those. In the dream, I decide that though I think Bob is great, I also understand that he is not meant to be my one and only. That I think he would make a good husband to someone is beside the point, he is not what I need. I imagine married life with him and realize that I am lacking. I am missing something, a slight emptiness. It is definative and disturbing. I do not feel adequately loved as I understand God desires me to be.



I confidently and gently break it to him (Bob) that while he is a wonderful person and my desire is not to hurt him, it is only right to end this now as I see that I am not to marry him. He is heart broken and so am I in a sense, but I also feel a pride that I did what was only right. I don't know what comes next in my "future" (in the dream), but I understand that my one and only is still out there. God made that clear.



This dream was not so different from the real story only went much smoother. In reality, this particular journey and time in my life was literally close to hell on earth emotionally. I only wish things had gone as they had in my dream. And I wonder sometimes why our brains and dreams work as they do. I mean, why did I need to think of this guy, Bob, much less dream about all that? I don't really know per se, except that maybe it was simply a reminder of what I have.



I woke up with an overwhelming appreciation for the love of my life lying there next to me in that bed. Sometimes, the longer you're married the more reminders you need. I have since thought of Jason (my one and only) most of the day and couldn't keep the grin from my lips. He's something. All his quirks could drive you crazy, but they are also very endearing--ok most of them anyway. His face is adorable and his personality is gentle, sweet, funny, and the list goes on.



This evening after walking in the door from work he scooped up Tutti and loved on her and then proceeded to wrap his arms around me and whisper in my air that he thought I looked really good in these earth tones. Ha ha! That is so adorable! Do you wanna know what I really looked like!? I was wearing my most worn out pair of jeans cause I didn't feel like shaving my legs, a plain brown t-shirt, no make up, and a pony tail. Truly a sight for sore eyes. But not to him. See that is who/what I needed. My one and only was to be the kind of man that cherished me thru and thru. He saw my beauty even when I didn't. He's the very best kind of husband. The kind that makes you feel like you are the most beautiful, most special, most capable, most important person around. That's Jason.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Road Trip!

So, I'm going on a road trip! Haven't done that in quite some time. I mean, I've been on trips to visit my family, but this time it's with my sister. You know, those college days when you decide at the last minute to pile in a car and go somewhere just cause you feel like it. That's this. My sister and I actually found ourselves discussing Indigo Girl albums! That's old school for us.



Ah...I remember the days when the windowsheild was so iced over, and we were running so late that we'd drive to school with the windows down and our heads out the window, Indigo Girls compilation tape blaring over the outside noise. We'd both be singing and happy even if just for those few minutes. You all know how high school is. Stupid and unhappy, trying to find the meaning in life (this is where I'm rolling my eyes at myself)!



Mer. She was the only one standing by my side--and seating next to me in a seat that I paid for--when the Girls came to town on the same night as the Passion concert. Some people thought we were heathens, but we just knew good music and limited opportunity. Well hopefully this coming weeked will involve lots of good music and many small windows of opportunity!



We are going to see our grandmothers. First to Jackson, where we will see various aunts and uncles and cousins from my mom's side, then to Shreveport where we will stay with my dad's mom, and hopefully see many more cousins and aunt's and uncle's from my mom's side. I hope everything works out seeing as it's fairly short notice! I'll write back int with more after roadtrip commentary!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

No more bottle!

Today was the first day of our "Off the Bottle" campaign for Mercy. I know technically she's supposed to be off the bottle by the age of one, but I just didn't have the emotional energy to deal with it till today. There was no prior planning or anything. In fact, she's in the middle of teething yet another top tooth and she was whiny and clingy, yet I still thought today would be a good day to give it a go. And you know what? It was a good day!



She only got slightly frustrated at breakfast about not having her bottle. I did notice that she clung ever more tightly to her binky and her passy. I figure that's ok for now. Even nap times were fairly simple. Don't get me wrong, she wasn't going to just let me rock her to sleep. I had to sing a bit and just place her in her crib, but she didn't fuss. It was truly a God kind of amazing!



Of course we had to celebrate by going out to Babies R Us and getting a bunch of new sippy cups to try! She didn't mind that a bit. She and I both enjoy a change of scenery every once in a while. She drank less total all day, but that's really more of a good thing since I suspect she was having way too much milk as it was. That really helped the cloth diaper thing also, cause she didn't go so much.



I read online last night that a good cloth diaper should go at least 3 hours. That was the max of the max for her a few days ago without a doubler. Not today! 3 hours was fine--it was just right really. I think this is going to be a fabulous new stage in life.



Speaking of fabulous new stages...I stepped on a scale today and noticed much to my surprise that I had lost a significant amount of weight without even trying. I will say I have not been having my daily coffee simply because the heat makes that unattractive. And, Jason and I have been pinching every penny and thus have rarely eaten out. When I say rarely, I mean very rarely! I guess all of those things help. I was thrilled, anyway, standing there on the scale and finding myself only 6 small pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Then I was thrilled in another way...I always said that I wouldn't try for another kid till I had gotten back down in weight! That's coming soon! Of course there's no law that says I have to start trying the day I lose my last pound. It's highly unlikely at that. But it was a slightly mixed up revelation none-the-less.