Archives for September 2008

Where were you?

I actually posted another story, then realized that today is September 11 and decided I wanted to hold that post until tomorrow. It never ceases to shock and horrify me when I remember back to the events of that horrible day. As Nicole said on her blog, this is the “Where were you when JFK was shot?” moment of our generation.

On Saturday, the Discovery channel ran a program titled Inside the Twin Towers and went through the sequence of events from inside the WTC. It was devastating to watch, even though much of it was reenacted. They interviewed the real people whose stories were being told as well, which gave it such a feeling of reality. This really happened. Over 2,000 people really died. For nothing. When they flipped to real footage of the burning towers, every emotion I felt that day came rushing back. I cringed as I watched people jump from top story windows, their bodies falling lifelessly to the ground. My stomach tightened up in knots as they replayed the sound of those bodies hitting the lobby roof. And the moment when the first tower fell, my eyes welled up with tears. I still can’t believe that happened.

Seven years ago today, Lee and I were living in Dallas. Lee was in Atlanta that day, scheduled to fly home in the late afternoon. My mom called me at roughly 8:00 and told me I needed to turn on the news. I headed down to our apartment complex’s workout facility and turned on the news while running on the treadmill. After about 10 minutes of running, I was so horrified that I raced back up to our apartment and sat on the floor, my eyes glued to the television. It was shortly after that that the first tower fell and I lost it. I began sobbing hysterically and I picked up the phone to call Lee. He was in a meeting so I left him a message. Not long after that, he called me back, the same shock that I felt depicted in his voice over the phone. My brother was in the Persian Gulf at this time on a naval carrier and I was terrified for him. My dad was somewhere on the East Coast, also hoping to return home that day and if I remember correctly he was actually supposed to fly out of one of the airports that the highjacked planes flew out of. But I could be wrong about that. At any rate, my entire family was spread out and I felt so very alone.

Because all flights were cancelled, Lee and a few guys managed to secure one of the last few rental cars left and started to drive back to Texas. I pulled myself away from the TV and managed to get to our church where I was involved in the best Bible study with a group of extremely godly women. We held each other, cried and prayed. It was a bright moment in a dark day.

Lee made it home the next day. I was working at the gym and he came straight there and it took everything in me not to break down when he walked in the room. In Texas, Lee and I had the privilege of attending Chuck Swindoll’s church. That Sunday we sat in the second row and cried through most of his sermon. One thing that Swindoll said particularly struck me. His comment was, “There isn’t a hell hot enough for the men who carried out this horrific deed.” It gave me comfort to know that it was okay to feel that way. It was okay to be angry. It was okay to question why. But it was extremely important to remember that the God of September 10 was the same as the God of September 11. Our God did not change, though the makeup of our life may have. And now, seven years later, I am once again reminded that the God I love is constant. The things of this world are not. I continue to cling to that hope and rest in that very simple knowledge hidden deep within the crevices of my heart.

What was I thinking?

A few months into our marriage, I got the crazy, horrific idea that I wanted to be a brunette. This was during a time when several previously blonde movie stars had gone brunette and I thought surely I’d look as good as they did. I told Lee what I was thinking and he was all, “Cool! Great idea! Can I help pick out the color?”

So, we packed our classy selves up and headed to the local Walgreens because where else would a fabulous makeover begin but in the aisle’s of a chain pharmacy? After scouring over the different choices of hair color, we found a brilliant auburn that we both liked. The girl on the front of the box looked beautiful, breezy and very natural. I felt confident as I shelled out my 10 bucks that I was fast approaching a new, radient me.

Upon returning home, Lee had to head off to work and I decided to go ahead and get the process going. We had only one car at that time for some reason that I can’t recall, so he just dropped me off and I assured him that I would be a sexy brunette when he returned.

I quickly tore into the box and applied the hair color, then sat down and waited for the 25 minutes to pass. Finally, with much excitement, I rushed back into the bathroom and checked my hair. I knew immediately that this was not going to turn out as I’d hoped. My head had a blackish purple color to it. I quickly jumped into the shower and tried not to panic as I saw the dark, very dark color, swirling at my feet. Upon getting out and drying my hair, I began shaking and an actual panic attack set in.

 My hair was not the sexy brown of the girl on the box, but was actually a dark, almost purple color. I looked like some punk goth kid out to prove to her parents and the world that reality does indeed bite.

So I called Lee and tearfully told he needed to come home now, which he did and promptly began laughing his head off. And, God help me, I tried to laugh with him, but it’s really hard to laugh when you’re bawling. So, after Lee composed himself, we headed to the mall (mistake number 2) and I walked into a Regis hair salon and shamefully asked if they’d bleach it out. Instead, they tried to just lighten the color so as not to damage my hair with bleach. An hour and a half later, I had red and orange stripes in my hair and I was sobbing…again. They finally bleached my hair.

At this point my scalp was bleeding and my hair was a very vibrant orange. Think Tony the Tiger – on crack. I paid my $220.00 and walked out with my head hanging low. I would go back the next day to try and correct the color but for the time being, they wanted me to let my head rest from all the chemicals.

Ya think?

Naturally, I had to work the next morning, and guess what? I was a gymnastics coach, which meant I couldn’t wear a hat. So I walked into the gym, my neon orange hair clashing horribly with my bright red cheeks. Of course, every kid in there stared unabashedly. And to top it off I worked with almost all russians. I love russians and their blatent honesty as every single one of them asked me what in God’s name I had done to my hair.

Humiliation in two languages! Perfect.

As soon as I got off, I raced back to the salon where they semi-fixed my hair. But I swear, it’s never been the same…
I know this is a terrible picture. The original is in a .tif format and I’m completely computer illliterate so all I could do was print this picture out and scan it in as a .jpeg. You get the idea though…

It’s Official…I’m a Soccer Mom

On Saturday afternoon, I packed my husband and three children into our minivan and off we drove to the soccer fields where I officially joined the soccer mom brigade. I’ll be honest, this is not something I always looked forward to. I’m not talking about my kid starting soccer, but about the whole persona of being this person. It makes me feel old. My mom jetted us around to sporting events in her own kickin’ minivan. And suddenly, here I am, juggling schedules to make sure someone can take a kid to the game. And this is just kid #1. Yikes!

Sloan, of course, had a blast. He ran down the field with fire on his heels fully intent on kicking the ever lovin’ life out of that innocent ball – and he managed to get in a few good kicks, each time turning to us with a look of sheer delight on his face. The highlight came when he turned and realized we were cheering him on. He ran halfway down the field with his head turned, grinning at everyone on the sidelines, as if they’d all come just for him. Then he threw his arms up in victory. So cute.

Of course, the game was smack in the middle of the day, which meant sweet Landon missed his nap. Here he is about 6:15. He’d just had too much of a good time.

Lee and I also did something this weekend that is, sadly, a rarity for us. We went out on a date! I know, I know, the idea of us desiring to go anywhere just by ourselves is a truly novel concept but it’d been ages since we had a date and we decided to go for it. I got all dolled up, even putting on eye make up. Becke’ and Anna, you guys inspired me with your perfectly applied eyeliner and I went after it. I never wear eyeliner because I feel like it makes me look like a 10 cent hooker. But, hey, a girl ought to be able to look like a hooker in front of her husband, yeah? Lee said he liked the look. Not sure if I should feel flattered or worried. Anyhoo, we went out to Mosaic on Washington Ave. downtown. What a cool place. We highly recommend it! And, some of you will understand this, but for Lee to take me to a trendy restaurant downtown says something important! He’s come a long way from Smokey Bones:)

Accountibility please

About 15 years ago (gulp, I’m getting old), I embarked on a journey that changed who I was and opened up the doors to a most unlikely passion. I went on my first mission trip to Minsk, Belarus with an organization called Student Venture. The second I stepped off the plane into that cold, gray land, I knew I would be back. I loved it immediately. I couldn’t get enough of the language, the people or the culture. It truly changed my life and as soon as we returned, I began to prepare for the next year. I went to Kiev, Ukraine that next spring break and the one after that. When I graduated high school and got to college, I knew immediately that I wanted to minor in the Russian language.

My Junior year of college, I embarked on yet another journey into the land that felt just as much like home to me as the U.S. For four months, I was immersed in the culture. It was lonely and cold (really, bitterly cold) and at times frightening (foreign men are forward!). It was during this last trip that I became enamored with the stories of WWII veterans from the former Soviet Union, particularly the Ukrainian region. The loss of life in Ukraine during those years is staggering. Some estimates say that Ukraine alone lost up to 10,000,000 men, women and children. One woman, in particular, had a story so fascinating that I couldn’t forget it. Her name was Maria Ivanovna and she was a laborer in a German prison camp for two years.

Upon coming home, I knew that I had to do something with Maria’s story. I was officially declared a Professional Writing major and began a class that required us to write a novel over the course of a year. I began my novel based on Maria’s story.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was still trying to figure how to make this book authentic when I got the fabulous opportunity to go back to Ukraine and tour the country interviewing veterans and survivors of prison camps. For one month, I hauled my pregnant behind (I was carrying Sloan) all over that country gathering material for what I thought would be a non-fiction book. I even had a publisher lined up. So exciting. But I came home, the publisher fell through and a few other things happened and once again, I was back at square one, only this time I had a lot more information to pull from. So I started my novel yet again. Well, it’s a daunting task, writing a novel like this. I want to do it right and I struggle with self esteem, feeling like I’m not good enough a writer to tackle such a project. But, the story is stuck inside me and it’s slightly crippling because until I get it out, it’s hard to focus on anything else. So, I’m sharing with you, my blogging friends, that I am digging out that manuscrpit, cracking my knuckles and diving back in. And now that it’s out there, I have to finish. I’m already 260 pages in. Some of those pages are great, brilliant even, but some of them are horribly attrocious (I’m thinking more are poorly written than are well written, but I’ll edit when I finish). I don’t know if I’ll even publish this story, but I do know I have to write it. Thanks for listening. I won’t write so much in my next post – promise!

Sarah Palin

*update #2* Okay, McCain just finished and I’ve got tears in my eyes and I’m wondering if there’s a homeless shelter I can go serve in tomorrow morning. I also hopped up on NyQuil about 30 minutes ago because I needed the sneezing, sniffling, coughing, aching, fever so I could sleep medicine. So, I’m a little loopy. I may erase everything I’ve typed in the morning. But for now, I’m really excited and pumped up and really liking McCain right now. After that speech, voting against McCain would be like voting against puppies and sunshine! He started a little rocky, but he finished strong!

*update* I’m listening to John McCain right now. I really like him, though he does not deliver a speech nearly as well as his kick-arse running mate, Sarah Palin. I really feel like McCain is ready and experienced to lead. He will be a good leader. I’m not sure I agree with everything he says, and I really don’t believe that he’ll do all the things he says he will, because, you know…he’s a politician. Now he’s talking about his time in Vietnam. I don’t know where I’m going with this ramble except to maybe publicly pat myself on the back for sticking with it this long. Lee gave up a few minutes into the speech. He’s downstairs watching the Gaither’s on YouTube. hehehe.*

I try not to delve too deeply into politics on this blog. First of all, that’s not really why I started it and second, well, I’m just not a very political person. I am not interested in politics the way I should be. I know, I know, I have a moral obligation to be aware and informed so I can protect myself and my children’s futures, blah, blah, blah…If I’m being honest here, I’ll tell you that the only time I really pay attention to politics is every four years when the big election comes along. Outside of that, I just don’t want to deal with it.

That being said, I have recently become a little more aware of what’s happening in the political sphere and I’ve tried to make more of an effort to keep myself informed about what the candidates support. I have never been all that impressed with Obama. I just haven’t. I think he is a smart man and a brilliant speaker, but that doesn’t make a great leader and I am not even remotely convinced that he will lead this country in the way that we need to be led. That, and I just don’t agree with him in a lot of areas. I didn’t know much about McCain, but figured since Obama was out for me, McCain was in just by process of elimination. Please don’t judge me for this lacadasical approach to electing our President. But, of course, I could not help but hear about all the hoopla surrounding Sarah Palin as McCain’s VP running mate. When I first heard it, I immediately thought that the McCain campaign was brilliant. Of course! Pick a strong conservative woman and bring the focus of this being an historical race back to the Republican party. It was a bold move, and I think it has great potential to pay off.

I listened to the last half of the RNC last night because I wanted to hear Sarah Palin speak. On paper, she seems perfect – a veritable bionic woman who can do no wrong. And after hearing her speach, I must say I am mightily impressed with this woman. She was confident, well spoken, funny and poignant. As soon as she threw in the hockey mom joke, I knew that she was going to be really, really good. I think she has revived the McCain campaign by bringing a youthfulness to it that was lacking, and by just making people want to watch – and when they watch, they hear and I truly believe that McCain is a good, decent man who would be a very good leader.

Now, I know that Sarah Palin is not the Virgin Mary or some angel sent from heaven. She’s a real person with real flaws, but she seems to have a good head on her shoulders and I admire her for that. Having said that, I will confess that I don’t understand how, as a mother, she could possibly have said yes to this potential job. This is just me and my opinion, on my own blog, but I could not have said yes to such a nomination, no matter how great the honor. Especially given the fact that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant. She had to know that the media would jump all over this. Personally, my first instinct as a mother would have been to protect my child. I could not see myself allowing my child’s personal life to be thrust into the spotlight of the world and scrutinized by every Tom, Dick and Harry who think they know what they’re talking about. My heart hurts for Bristol Palin that she has to face the media of the world and be analyzed and talked about. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t do that. But, in watching Sarah Palin speak, it is obvious that she is a very strong and secure woman, and I imagine some of that confidence and strength has been passed down to her children, including Bristol. I am not judging Sarah Palin’s decision. I’m simply saying, I personally couldn’t do that. But, I also could co-run a country. Heck, I can barely co-run my house! So there’s that.

Anyway, I think Sarah Palin adds an interesting spin on the election. I would love all of the condidates to stop the junior high bickering and just stick to the issues. That annoyed me last night, the constant character bashing and name calling. Please, people, stop telling me what the other guy’s not going to do and start telling me what you are going to do. And I think the idea that Sarah Palin won’t be able to focus on her children if she’s elected when Obama too has young kids is absurd. Clearly, she is a woman who knows how to juggle home and work. She has a loyal and loving family – not a perfect one (whose is?), but a family who is clearly in support of her and of one another. Children need an involved father as much as they need an involved mother so that argument against Palin needs to be shelved.

Anyway, those are my, long-winded, thoughts on this election process. I’ll keep up with it as much as I can tolerate all the whining and arguing (I wrote about my lack of patience with politicians here), but as soon as they start to annoy me, I’ll probably turn the TV off and pick up a good book. I already know who I’m going to vote for at this point anyway. I’d love to hear any comments from some of you readers (I think there might be like 10 of you now). I don’t mind disagreements, just please be kind.

Third Child Woes

Hey all – Landon here. Just wanted to stop by and post a message of my own. I’m close to 9 months old now, and so far life hasn’t been that bad. I started crawling the other day. That was cool, but I’m over the excitement now. I’m movin’ on to the good stuff, pulling up, walking, getting into everything I possibly can. I see how the older two run mom ragged and it looks kinda fun. I want to get in on that action.
I do, however, have a couple of issues with the whole third kid thing. First of all, I get left alone an awful lot. And despite my rather persistent cries of protest, they just leave me. Mom’s all “Sorry bud, but I just can’t hold you now.” What’s that all about? I’m adorable! Who wouldn’t want to hold me. And, you know, mom keeps complaining about the extra 10 pounds she’s holding on to…well, if she’d tote my 23 pound behind around more, I could guarentee a quick and easy weight loss. Then there are my siblings. I mean, they’re cool and all, and for the most part they crack me up. But they can also be a little annoying – especially the one with the longer hair who keeps pushing me over and trying to pick me up even though I weigh almost as much as she does. And the tall one that talks a lot – well, he just eggs her on! Tonight was no different. I was in my room…alone…again, when they both came running in all sopping wet and naked. I had just enjoyed my own bath and was minding my own business when I felt this cold goop hit my head and saw them laughing and pointing. Feeling foolish, I tried to laugh along, but when mom came in and shook her head and said that “no” word that I hear a lot, I knew it wasn’t good. Turns out the one with the longer hair thought it would be hilarious to glop lotion on my nice, clean head. Ha, ha, ha. Real funny guys. Geesh. What they don’t know is that I am storing up all these moments of torture and I will have my revenge. I’ve heard that little brother’s are supposed to be pests – I can’t wait to live up to that!


I don’t have anything creative to say today. Lee left town for a couple of days, I am not feeling well and the kids are ruling the house like a couple of rabid monkeys. So, instead of trying to write something cute or witty, and doing a poor job of it, I’m just going to share a couple of pictures. Sorry, I know that’s a little boring. I’ll try to do better tomorrow. In the meatime, enjoy a few shots from our lovely time in Arkansas.
Landon just chillin’ with PapaTia playing outside with the boys. She’s the only girl, so when the boys take off their shirts because theiy’re hot – she does too.
My baby learned to crawl this weekend – life just got more complicated
Sloan, Eli and Sam decided to wash Bebe’s table with bubbles and water
Swimming at the neighbors
Pointing at the large grasshopper drowning in the pool
It’s hard to say who had more fun at the pool, the little kids…
…or the big ones


The Other Labor Day(s)

I hooked up with this meme over at Rocks in my Dryer. You know, for us gals, sharing labor and delivery stories is like sharing an old war story. It’s just in our nature to share, so here are my labor stories – the condenced version:

How long were your labors?
Sloan – 5 hours
Katya – 2.5 hours
Landon – hard to say, contractions off and on for about 24 hours but true labor maybe 7 hours

How did you know you were in labor?
Seriously? Ummmm…how about mind numbing pain that shot from the middle of my back to my knees. Yeah – the whole idea of when it’s time, you’ll know – totally applied to me.
Sloan – I had mild contractions all day until about 1:00 am when they jumped to crazy intense. Got to the hospital and found out I was a 6 and two hours later, he was here!
Katya – my water broke around 4:00 am, she was born at 6:20 – she wasted no time…she still wastes no time.
Landon – he took his time. Lee and I actually drove out to a Christmas party in Imperial the night before he was born – in a blizzard – despite contractions coming every 15 minutes. We’ve never claimed to be smart.

Where did you deliver?
Missouri Baptist Medical Center and loved it!

No, actually. I opted for no epidural. When I had Sloan they didn’t even give me an IV, which was awesome! Before you think too highly of me you should know that I am deathly afraid of needles. Squeezing a kid out drug free is way more appealing than letting some yahoo shove a needle into my spine. That’s just me. And, to be honest, my deliveries were so fast that an epidural just didn’t make sense. By the time I felt unbearable pain it was time to push (oh, and to the author’s of the book that said that once you get to the pushing in natural childbirth, it’s much easier because you are naturally numb by that point – you guys are idiots…just sayin’) Actually, when I walked into the hospital with Landon I was at an 8 and could barely feel my contractions. He was my easiest labor, despite being the longest – but my roughest delivery! Weird…

Oh, thank God no! They would have had to put me under I would have been such a basket case!

Who delivered?
Sloan – the house doctor because my doctor didn’t make it because they thought since it was my first pregnancy it would take me longer to progress. I was only in the delivery room 45 minutes when the nurse checked and freaked out and told me to wait while she got help. I almost said a bad word in response, maybe I did, I can’t remember. I vividly remember telling Lee to quit breathing in my face because he had bad breath. I felt bad about it later, but when you feel like your rear end is about to explode you really can’t be held accountable for the things you say.
Tia-My OB just barely made it. He was waiting outside the room and told us to call him when I was ready to push. The problem was, when I was ready to push, she just came out. I think he got there in time to catch her with one hand just before she hit the table.
Landon-He was a little different. I couldn’t really tell if I was in labor or not. In fact, when I got to the hospital, I thought for sure they’d send me home because my contractions were so mild. When the nurse said I was at an 8, I was shocked. My OB kind of rushed Landon’s birth because he had a scheduled C-Section to get to, so he just told me to start pushing even though I wasn’t really ready. I think that’s why delivery hurt so much with Landon. But, you know, the pain is so short and then, all of the sudden, this perfect little being is in your arms and the pain is gone. It’s so miraculous. If the newborn phase weren’t so dang difficult, I think I’d have a couple more babies.
So there you have it. My labor stories without too much gross embarrassing stuff. If any of you want to join, click on the link above and link to the meme through her site. Happy Labor Day!