Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gigglefest 2006/2007

That is what I am calling this visit to the ranch. Brianne, Brenda, and Savannah came with me this trip. You put 3 young women in a car for any extended amount of time.. and everything is funny, downright hilarious!! From Brenda & Savannah trying on the kid's riding helmets.. back wards, to their stories of previous adventures. People watching at the gas station... starving while waiting for our food at Cracker Barrel... burps, gas, and other strange notions and sounds.. all were accompanied by copious amounts of laughter.
Today started with "mole eyes" and bright light after very little sleep. We rode horses in the mud and mist. Very unhappy, not so well behaved horses in the mud and the mist. I am forced to mention Brenda confused my quarter horse, still saddled.. with her unsaddled Percheron when we were putting the horses back where they go. It was a momentary lapse, but funny none the less. Of course I have a few more days for memorable moments from Bri & Savannah as well! The girls played pool while waiting for lunch, then we did some people watching and evil villain planning.
Everyone was quite disappointed that it was raining more than misting for the afternoon ride, but when they found out they could ride if they wanted to, they were on it. I worked with Tortuga for a bit, then decided I really didn't want to get wet. So here I am in the warm, dry room, and they are getting wet out in the pasture with the horses....oh the quiet!
I am really enjoying them. I know I still enjoy getting together with my friends when I can. We have our gigglefests too. It is a universal language of friendship.. laughter, love, sharing. It is funny we can laugh with our friends about silly or embarrassing things, but if anyone else tried to kid us about the same things, we would bite their head off. I am glad they get to do this. They will go back home to their colleges, work, etc.. but they will have the fun and laughter of these memories to carry with them forever. I'll be sure to share more later! I have a few adventures of Hunter, Tristan & Alexa to share as well.. stay tuned!


Today is my friend's birthday. This is the first time she hasn't celebrated it with me in 3 or 4 years. We met each other a very long time ago in St. Petersburg, FL. We have remained friends no matter how far away we lived from each other. We used to walk to the mall, and to the 7-11 for chocolate pies we would heat up in the microwave. We snuck out one night during a sleepover and months later told on ourselves because we were bragging to her sister and her mom heard us! I hit their mailbox, I argued with her sister. I wore dirty sneakers for cheerleading pictures..(her mom was sooo mad!) We may have liked the same boys at the same time, but never took one from each other... and NEVER had our boyfriend borrow our skates to skate with the other one of us...friends don't do that! We have a ton of fun stories and little jokes. My friends are my life preservers and I wouldn't do without any of them, so Thank You Terry.. and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

I Lied..

I didn't even think before I did it, it just popped out of my mouth and there it was..
I told a young woman that I had a stroller I wasn't using and if she could use it, I would get it to her. I didn't have one at the time, but I did get her one. I was driving downtown coming home after going to the horse supply store. I noticed a woman walking with a stroller, a very decrepit stroller, with the wheels held on with some kind of wire. As I drove by I thought, " that really isn't safe". Then I thought about being a single mom with Kie and not having a stroller. I thought how much easier things may have been if I had one. Then I thought about Kie struggling as a single mom and what if that were her. I felt compelled to turn around, and I actually said a prayer, "Please let me find that girl and help her". I was on a one way street so I had to go around a couple blocks to get back where I was when I saw her, but she was gone. Again I said, "Please let me find her, I have to do this!" I turned down a side street to do another drive through, and there she was crossing on a lower street. I lowered my window and called out to her, " excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you, I don't mean to, but could you use a stroller?" She looked at me a moment as I pulled over across from where she was. I told her I wasn't a crazy person, I had just seen her walking and remembered when our stroller started losing wheels and they don't make them like they use to. She smiled and relaxed a little. She said she had 3 daughters, 7,5, & 3. The stroller had almost lasted through all 3. It looked it. The closer I got the worse it looked. Beaten & bent. Beyond repair. I repeated my lie about having a stroller, and asked if I could get it to her later. I could give her my cell number and she could let me know where to bring it or where to meet her. She took my number and told me she was staying at a local shelter, I could bring it there. I got the kids sizes and asked her if anyone could use the infant car seats and a play pen I had, she gave me the name of another girl stating there with a 6 week old and a 2 year old.
I hit 3 thrift stores on the way home and couldn't find a used stroller. I went home and loaded up what I thought could be used, picked Hunter up from karate camp, then hit Walmart. I found shoes for $2.50. I found jackets for $3 & $4. I even found a stroller on clearance for $37. I called Brian to let him know I was buying some things and he called me "Claire" (from the movie Scrooged). I went to pay for my things and found my check card & ID were gone! I immediately called the horse supply store, nothing there. I called home and Chad didn't answer the phone. So I called my neighbor and asked her to go over and light a fire under him and have him call me. I was in a panic. Chad finally called to let me know he found my check card in my bathroom, it must have fallen out of my jeans. He also found my ID, but after Anise found it first and chewed on it. I had to go all the way home, get the cards, go back to that Walmart, then go downtown to the shelter. You should have seen me putting that stroller together in the Walmart parking lot then running it around my car several times so it would like I at least used it once! I thought I must be crazy to go through all this. The young woman called me to say she wouldn't be back at the shelter when I got there, but to let them know it was for her. I assured her I would. I got there and got things unloaded. I had tagged the things for the mom I met and the other girl she told me about and then I asked them if they could use any of the other things I had. The woman was so surprised I had brought unopened toys and clean, almost new clothes. I asked if they got enough things form the Salvation Army donation centers and she said they get what no one buys, which is usually the dregs no one wants. I was appalled. But she did say they kept any donations they got directly for use there at the shelter. I asked her if they could use anymore things and she said yes. I told her we will be going through alot of stuff and I would rather give it to them than give it to Good Will, or somewhere to be resold at a high price needy people can't afford.
Brian asked me if that satisfied my need to help someone. Well, it would have, but I saw several of the kids that live there and it broke my heart. We have so much, I can't just turn away and do nothing. So I will put out the word and when I am shopping and come across a $2-3 pair of shoes or a jacket, I will grab it and add it to a box to take down there. And I will not hesitate to offer help.. or maybe tell a little white lie.. the next time I see someone who may need something. And the reward? Thinking of Kierra started this mission for me today and as I was done and driving away the song "What Hurts The Most" by Rascal Flatts came on.. and I thought of her again....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What dreams may come..

Last night Brian & I both had some really weird dreams, Very real, very dramatic. Brian dreamt I was in a car accident with the twins. Alexa and I were fine, but he said Tristan had a pediatric walker because he hurt his legs. He told me about it this morning. I told him maybe it was a carry over from me picking up the kids from child care last night when I was really sick. He was probably worried and it carried over when he went to bed. I dreamt, hmm, it is dreaming when it is just voices you hear? I "dreamt" of Kierra screaming, over and over again.. "Where are my babies, where are my babies??" No matter how loud I screamed back that they were okay, they were here with us, she couldn't hear me. She just kept screaming it over and over, louder, and louder, crying, sobbing, still screaming. I tried everything to get through to her and nothing worked. I got so upset it woke me. Brian and I were both woken by our dreams and were up early before the alarm. I don't always remember my dreams, most people don't, yet Brian & I both remembered these in detail. We are hoping for peaceful sleep tonight. We'll just have to see what dreams may come...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Warning..raw prepared..

Brian posted this on the Legacy Guestbook for Kierra, I thought it was worth sharing..
December 25, 2006
Merry Christmas Kierra (My Grouch),I love you and miss you bunches. Holidays just aren't the same without you. It seems that I never get the one thing I want the most for Christmas anymore. Last year it was to have you back. Even though I knew in my heart that was impossible, I thought just maybe... This year, I tried to scale back my wish thinking maybe there would be some chance. I wished that Alexa and Tristan could spend just one hour with you, now that they are old enough to have some lasting memories. I thought then they would have the memory of the sound of your voice, the feel of your hugs and kisses, and your scent to carry with them for the rest of their life. It's always been so painful knowing they were too young to have any of those to keep forever, before you were gone.They're both doing really good, much better than I'm doing this time of year. Me, I feel like the little doll on the Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolph, "I don't have any dreams left anymore!"All my love and hugs and kisses,Daddy

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day..

I watched the excitement and anticipation of the kids this morning, and I saw the simple joy as they unwrapped their gifts. Alexa hugged the boxes before she even knew what was inside. Tristan would unwrap a toy, then run & hide under the table to play with it. Hunter helped pass out the boxes, and kept thanking us for everything. Chad dragged himself up for the festivities, then went back to bed. Brianne was my elf this year. She and Justin spent the night and she helped me wrap, actually she did most of the wrapping (!), and helped me put together the kid's kitchen play set. I want to be a kid again.. it is just too cool. Things have come along way since the older kids were little. I fixed a big breakfast, so we'll do a late lunch/dinner later.
Brian & I were going to put flowers at Kierra's crash site, but I just couldn't find anyhting I felt was right. Everything was too hokey looking. I think I will wait til Tuesday and get some purple roses from Kuhn's Flowers. The sign we put up is gone, so I will put up another one. Not sure if it got torn down from the wind, or someone took it down. No biggie, I will just get another one! We went to Green Cove springs to see the lights the other night. The lights were great, the rest wasn't all that special. They had set up a skating rink, an inflated maze, had marshmallows to roast, etc. But it was too crowded. We are starting new traditions. We will continue the old, but the kids need some things that we can do without getting so sad.
Things have wound down and I have to go cook. The twins are resting, and Hunter is starting to settle down too. It doesn't feel much like Christmas Day. It is rainy, gray, and yucky outside, so I concentrate on the warmth and brightness of the decorations and lights on the inside. The laughter and innocence of children. Kierra watching over us all..

Hunter 12*25*06

Hunter 12 25 06
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

Tristan with Dancing Mumble

Tristan with Dancing Mumble
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

Christmas Princess Alexa

Christmas Princess Alexa
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Too cute for words!

Tristan & Alexa 12*24*06

Tristan & Alexa 122406
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Tried to get them sitting still.. haha..

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hunter 4 7 2006

Hunter 4 7 2006
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

Happy 6th Birthday Hunter!

Hunter Newborn
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
6 years ago today a baby was born 2 months early, with a hard life ahead of him. We were blessed to be able to love and raise him to be the wonderful child he is today. Happy Birthday Baby Boy!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pieces... Peace

I got a call the other night from someone I hadn't seen or talked to in almost 5 years. It was Brent from Kaluby's Dance. Dori & I took ballroom dance classes once upon a time. It was alot of fun, but pretty expensive. We enjoyed it while we could. They were having a reunion Christmas party last night. Dori had to work and I was busy with the kids. I thought about going.. I watched the clock as I took Hunter to karate for his stripe testing..he now has 2 of the 3 stripes he needs to move up to his next belt. Then I got a call from the child care place that Tristan was having a bit of a temper tantrum and wouldn't calm down, so I left Brian with Hunter, and picked up the twins, took them home, got them to bed, then headed back to karate. I got there just as they finished up. Brian had an off duty job to go to, so I took Hunter home. I looked at the clock again and thought.. maybe I'll go, maybe I could still make it. I got Hunter settled, but then Alexa woke up crying. I checked the clock.. it would be close, but maybe I could still make it. Then Tristan woke up. I got him a drink, and headed to my room to see if I could get myself ready and get there. I looked in the mirror, heard Alexa again.. and realized there never really was a chance. I had green color stamps on my hands from "snippits" where I got all 3 kids hair cut. Even short my hair was a wreck. I looked tired and felt as bad as I looked. So I blew it off and played ping pong between Tristan & Alexa until Brian got home. 2 nights in a row the kids have been wound up and hard to settle. Brian comes home, goes in for 30 seconds.. boom, out like a light, not a peep out of them!
I missed going to that party. I miss going to the dance classes. I miss who I was and what my life was like before. I miss my daughter. Of course, not in that order. I don't miss going to Christmas parties per say. I am glad the only one we have is with family & friends this year. I have been bah humbugging alot. It takes more time & energy than I have. Hunter got upset over a song on the radio today and I told him it was okay to cry, and I missed Kierra too. He said "It's too hard to have Christmas without Kierra. How can I have a Merry Christmas Mom?" I told him there is good all around us. We have to look at the little things and enjoy them piece by piece. It is okay to miss her, but she loved the holidays and would want us to try for each other to enjoy them some too. Do you know how hard it is to encourage him and answer those questions when I have them myself?
He had a Polar Express party at school today. Everyone wore their pajamas. I let the twins go to day care and I spent the morning with Hunter in my pajamas. Then we went to his therapy appt. and then karate. After we picked up Tristan & Alexa we came home and instead of going in the house we went for a walk to see the lights in the neighborhood. Tristan & Alexa get so excited when we drive into the sub division after dark. We take a few detours and they get all excited.. yights! yights!... oooh pretty! So they really enjoyed walking around and seeing them. We practiced holding hands when we cross the street and they were so cute, all three of them, to make sure they held hands. Alexa held Hunter's most of the walk, Tristan held mine. They liked walking them selves with no wagon or stroller. So we ended the day on a good note. They are all sleeping now and I am not far off.
So my pieces (peace) for today were watching polar express in my PJs with Hunter, and the walk.

It's physical..

I woke up one night last week in a panic.. my chest hurt, I couldn't breathe.. I was in the misty fog of half sleep. At first I thought I had a bad dream.. I usually have a similar reaction if I dream about Kie's accident. But the emotion of that wasn't there.. then I remembered I had walking pneumonia. I had rolled from a sitting position to almost laying flat, and that is why I couldn't breathe and my chest hurt. I thought how odd that my body could have the same physical reaction to grief as I had with the pneumonia. Some people think it's all in your head, but even my Dr. has said that there are physical ramifications from emotional stress. It affects us in more ways than we realize. I am feeling better now, and can actually sleep without sitting up. It feels good to breathe normal again! Not much else is normal, so I will take what I can get!

Penguin update..

Everyone seems to be hitting the high point of 323.5.. I can't get past 323.4!! Greta said she got stuck on it for 45 minutes and can't break 300.. so keep smackin!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sibling Rivalry..

Okay, my little sister, Cricket, sent me this game.. her score was 265.1. I was feeling pretty proud to show off that I hit 320.9. Of course, sibling rivalry what it is, just minutes later she e-mails me the pic of her new score.. 322.9! So it's on! I'll take all the distractions I can get!! Join in.. let me know your score.. go smack a few penguins!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hard Candy Christmas..

"I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let Sorrow bring me way down"
If I keep singing that I may finally get the tree decorated! It's been up since Monday night, but I have to find the lights and get them on before the ornaments can go on. Alexa walks in and puts her hands up in a shrug.."Tree in da house?!" Tristan nods his head, like .. Yea?.. and goes about playing. It will be neat to see their reaction when it is finally decorated and lit up. Hunter can't wait to help decorate and we have been talking about making cookies. It is hard to get in the mood, but I am trying. I will mail the last of the Christmas cards out tomorrow. I still have shopping to do, I can't even get excited about that!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


There are several situations circling around me and those I love that I am really having a hard time not speaking up about. As most of you know, I am not one to keep my mouth shut.. so why start now?? To save the feelings of those I love I guess.. so here is a generalized bitch session to no one in particular.. unless you are feeling guilty and then I may be talking about you!! Don't ya hate that!?
Why are parents always to blame for how screwed up we are?? Sometimes it may have some bearing, but we all reach an age when we can use the past as a tool to be better, stronger. Or we can use it to whine about it and use it as a crutch, or an easy excuse when we behave badly. At what point, (for some NEVER), do we truly grow up? When do we take responsibility for our own actions and choices instead of falling back on what we believe was a bad child hood? And why do we think it is okay to disrespect and hurt the feelings of someone we claim to love, because we still blame them for years old wrong doings? It seems so convenient to get what you want from them when you want it, then turn the other cheek and be hurtful and disrespectful once you have what you wanted. No matter how you slice it, that is dead wrong. Your parent, or parents, don't owe you anything. If you are not in jail or a psych ward, you are better off than some. If you have people who love you in your life, you are better off than most. So where is the thanks for what you do have instead of the damnation for what you don't? How easy it is to keep your hand out for what they are willing to give, but quick to slap them down with it when they ask for simple acknowledment or consideration in return. GROW UP!!
Then there are those with Peter Pan syndrome.. they will never grow up. No matter their age they are irresponsible. They make excuses, they lie.. whatever smooths over the latest screw up. And they expect you to pretend you don't know, everything is peachy keen, when in reality you want to choke them. Part of the problem is, I notice things, I see beyond what is on the surface. I tend to get "hunches", and on a rare occasion I am wrong. Which means on the rest of the occasions, I am dead on. It sucks. I wish I lived in a bubble. I wish I could flip a switch, put on my smiley face and wipe the slate clean. Wishing doesn't make it so.
Then there are people who had no problem disappearing from the twins lives before Kierra died, yet now send Christmas cards like it is just another Holiday. As tho her death clears them of all wrong doing. BS! I have a box of things for when the twins are older and I put things like that in the box. I have no use for those cards or those people, but what the twins do with them is their choice. Because we all have choices, we make them every day. WE make them, WE choose. If someone else influences our choice, it is because WE let them! So grow up, own your own choices.

Sick & Tired..Tired & Sick..

After all 3 kids took their turn at the croupy crud, it is now my turn! I am tired of runny noses and sleepless nights! I now have walking pneumonia and have to sleep sitting up! So bear with me and I will be in touch as I find the time & energy!
Good News.. Brian started on day shift yesterday!! 10a-6p Mon -Fri. December is a bit crazy because it is earlier than planned and he has other jobs he committed to.. but WooHoo!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Gentle Reminder..

I am amazed at what other people can do with their lives. A dear friend, Terry M., has recently posted on her blog about Christ being left out of Christmas. Although I have my spiritual doubts I have always hated how quickly commercialism has invaded our space with Christmas decorations and promos before Thanksgiving. Some even started at Halloween this year! Visit this link to another blog I read. She posted about a very neat idea called a Jessie Tree. You can learn more about it on her site. Just a gentle reminder for those who believe, faith is not lost.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I am beat!

I am so done! Today was a good day, but a long one. I only got a few hours sleep last night, then up and out early today. Had a great day with my S-I-L, Lisa. We went to the outlet malls in St. Augustine. I did very well watching my pennies, and managed to pick up some good deals on a few Christmas gifts.. and helped Lisa find some good deals too (LJ, you know you still love me!). Then we picked up Hunter, got back to the house, then went to the grocery store, went to Target to get a b-day present, back to the house, up to the Northside to pick up Randy, over to the southside to Dave & Buster's, ate dinner, played some games, went toward the beaches to pick up the twins from day care, they screamed all the way home (didn't want their cups when I offered, but wanted them once we were on the road!), Hunter sang Rudolph ten times (probably to block out the twins!), I resisted turning the radio on full blast, got them home, got them unloaded, Chad helped get them ready for bed, got Hunter into bed & settled, and I am about to fix a cup of coffee with Bailey's and go in the hot tub!
Tomorrow we have a meeting with a builder and designer..things are moving along with the renovation plans, more about that later! Barney (the horse) did not need surgery, maybe it's just a serious infection, will know in a couple weeks when they recheck him after being on meds a couple weeks. So far, so good!
I am beat.. like overwhipped egg whites.. like an old dirty rug.. like a well worn path..

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Life doesn't come with a warranty..

and neither does a horse! Barney is having some bladder issues, but is doing better. The first thing Brian (& Terri) asked me was.. doesn't he have a warranty? No, he doesn't. He had a Vet exam when I bought him and I took ownership. It is a bit different from buying an animal from a pet store, and other than Terri's goldfish, pet stores only give you 3 days. I saw him and rode him a few weeks ago, I know he wasn't having the problem then. It is like people with kidney stones, you can't predict who will have a problem or when. It just happens. Same thing with Barney. So instead of getting my laptop for Christmas, I am getting a vet bill for my horse! We are hoping it is minor and the bill will be minor too! I am not worried about not getting a lap top, I am worried about my horse! I know he is in good hands & I will be going up this weekend. This is the only part I don't like about having him 5 hours away!
Brenda & I went to a horse show yesterday and I got Barney & Tortuga new halters and a new lead. It was fun to see all the different horses and types of riding. I saw someone I knew years ago. She owns a pet store on the Northside. She was in the Novice level events and had a beautiful horse we had noticed before I recognized her. There were some kids riding and I thought how cool it would be for the kids to do things like that. And the parking and event were both free! The prices for the tack items were very reasonable too. So it was enjoyable and low kind of fun!

Not Today!!

That is something Hunter used to say alot. It was always cute when you would ask him something and he would pipe up.. "Not Today"! Well, that is what the anesthesiologist said to us on Friday about Tristan's surgery. He was getting congested and with his history of asthma and never having surgery before, they thought it was a bad idea to do it. He would have to be intubated for the adenoid surgery and that promotes bronchial spasms, which can encourage an asthma attack if he is having issues already. Not good during surgery. So we will reschedule probably for the first week in January. I will let you all know. They offered to do his ear tubes, but it was crazy to put him through 2 seperate surgeries, so we will wait and do it all at once. Brian had taken the day off, so we ran some errands, and we all went to see Happy Feet with Brianne & Brenda Friday night. The kids loved the movie. Alexa hid her face during the first half, but then was fine. I think it was because we had the stroller and were very close to the screen. It was a cute movie, and it was nice to see it as a family.

Brian, Hunter, & Tinkerbell

Brian, Hunter, & Tinkerbell
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

Group pic

Group pic
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
It is impossible to get everyone smiling in a picture! This is the closest we got.

Hunter & Brian 11-24-06

Hunter & Brian 11-24-06
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Brian & Hunter from our Thanksgiving trip to Orlando.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Giving back to yourself..

I was telling someone very near & dear to me about something women tend to do. Okay, some men may do it too, but primarily women are the care givers. I will use myself as an example.. I put out (no snickers!) a large amount of emotional energy. I give love to those around me, I give encouragement to my children & my husband daily.. have a good day, etc. I listen to and give advice (wanted or otherwise) to those around me. I go out of my way to solve problems and prevent the ones I love from worrying or stressing. I grocery shop, cook, clean (sometimes!), and I always try to help whenever I can.. bagging the groceries, helping people with their packages or finding something they can't seem to locate. It is just an ingrained part of who I am. I volunteer, I go to meetings, help out on committees, I have a hard time saying no. I am not tooting my own horn, honestly, we all do it. In different ways, we generally give out more than we get back.
I know my background leaves me with considerable low self esteem, and no matter how much I tell myself otherwise.. I do not value myself as much as I value those I love. So for a long time I couldn't do things just for me. I have learned and it has made such a difference. I still battle with feeling selfish and guilty. But there has to be a way to give something back to yourself. It does not have to be a day at the spa. It can be as simple as reading a book, taking a bubble bath. Renting one of your favorite movies and actually watching the whole thing uninterrupted! Just take a few minutes to give something back to yourself!
Because if you don't, you will drain yourself emotionally dry. You become overwhelmed and exhausted. You don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have done that many times and when I do, I am no good to anyone, not even myself. So make a promise to yourself today, in some small way.. give back to yourself, and you will be able to keep giving to eveyone else!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Giving Thanks...

We just couldn't do the whole traditional Thanksgiving thing this year. So Brian picked Orlando for us to take the kids to for a few days. He went when he was young on Thanksgiving Day and the place was empty. Boy have times changed! It was packed. The lines were long and the place was wall to wall people. We didn't get to do much at the Magic Kingdom, but the next day at Epcot was a little better and the kids seemed to enjoy it more. Then we went to MGM in the evening for the laser light water show, Fantasmic. That was pretty cool. We had good seats, which meant when the wind blew mist from the water out over the crowd we got misted too. Alexa didn't like it, but Tristan didn't care. Then we went to see the Christmas lights on the streets of America that MGM has set up. It was cool. They had it snowing, which were really just bubbles, but it was cool anyway. The buildings were competely covered by lights and every 20 minutes they would go out and then do a show synchronized to music. It was way cool. It had it's hard moments too, but we knew it would. Kierra should have been there for their first visit to Disney. It is one of their many firsts that she will miss and they will miss having her share it. We are Thankful.. we are thankful we have them to carry on a part of her. We are thankful for all of our children, our grandchildren, our family, and our friends. I am trying to be thankful for the years I had Kierra here with me, and not let the years I have lost overshadow that.
I will be posting more pix soon, but there are a few from Orlando here..
Posting pix to the blog seems to be a problem right now, but that link takes you to the entire photo gallery I upload my photos to, so go take a look.

Greta's B-day!

Once again the system is being flaky about posting pix, so go here.. to view recent pix. There are some from Greta's birthday party Nov. 12th. Her actual birthday was the 11th. She thought she was just coming over for Sunday dinner.. gotcha Sis! It was good to celebrate something. I won't give away her age, but it was a milestone and she deserved to be special for the big day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Places We Go...

I have a life time of memories of places we've been, things we've done. Most of them involve Kierra, Brianne, Chad, & Hunter in the order of when they came into our lives and all the different places we have lived and visited. There are a few memories specific to each one as well. The horse ranch in Georgia is one of the few places Kierra had not gone to yet. She was not living with us the first time the rest of us went there and Brianne and I are the only ones who have continued to go back. Kierra and I had talked about her going at some point, the time just never came before she was gone. It is one of many regrets.
So although I think of her when I am there, I do not have memories of her there, around every corner, or on a specific horse, or in the various rooms of the ranch. She does not.. haunt (?) me there as she does here at home and everywhere else I go. Haunt is not the right word. Haunt seems to carry a negative meaning to some people, and my thoughts and memories of her are not negative or unwanted in any way. Yet even my happy memories bring pain with the remembering and I guess that is the part I don't carry with me when I go to the ranch. I can think of her and know how much she would love it there with out the pain of seeing her there in the past. I am not sure if that will make sense to you. But I think that is why I can find peace there, when I have not been able to find it anywhere else.
I will be taking Hunter, Tristan & Alexa there alot and share with them the love of horses Kierra, Brianne and I have always had. Brian & Chad aren't as avid fans, but I am sure they will be involved more too. We are now the owners of an American Quarter Horse and a Percheron Filly.
It was too good an opportunity to pass up and I am excited for the enrichment it will give to all of us (even Brian & Chad!)
Bonanza's Pleasure aka "Barney".. a 1991 Dark Chestnut Quarter Horse, 16+ hands. Merit Certificate in the show ring, registered AQHA. English and Western pleasure trained. Excellent arena manners for riding lessons. Especially gentle with children. Someday I will share the story of my 23 year record that he recently broke!
"Tortuga", Hunter calls her Tug.. a 2006 (May 22) Black Percheron filly. She will be up to 18 hands tall. Her breed is among the Draft horse lines. I have ridden her mother and love the largeness of the breed and their gentle nature. At 6 months her back is already up to my shoulders. It will be really special to watch her grow and be part of raising her.
Hunter and I went there this past weekend, Brenda went with us. Brian was supposed to go, but work couldn't manage without him. We got to stay in the room they have with a covered wagon kid's bed in it. It was too cute and Hunter thought it was great. Brenda got to ride the much loved Percheron, Stella, and has a new found favorite, a quarter horse named T-bone. Hunter got to ride double with me on a large mare, Snowy and with Brenda on Stella. He got to ride Barney in the arena. He can't quite understand why he can't ride Tug yet. She is already so big it is hard to explain she is still just a baby when she is almost as tall as some of the full grown horses. Hunter also made some new friends, so Sunday he was happier playing with them than riding. That gave Brenda and I the chance to go out and do some trotting, cantering, and leisurely riding without the age old questions.. are we done yet? When do we go back? When can we eat? They also don't have the right size saddles for double riding at his age so it wasn't the most comfortable ride, especially with the added equipment he has being a boy! They have padded go-behind saddles we will try next time.
I am excited for the twins to go and meet their new companions. Of course, expect alot of pictures. I will post some as soon as Brenda gets them to me. I bought a disposable camera which didn't work once we got out there, but she got some great shots I will share as soon as I get them. Making new memories.. and cherishing the ones left behind..

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More Medical Stuff for Tristan..

Yesterday was Tristan's recheck with his ENT doc. No improvement on the infections or the hearing. So Tristan will have surgery December 1st to have his adenoids removed and all the yucky stuff cleaned out. They will also put temporary tubes in his ears to help keep the fluid from settling back in behind his ear drum. Time will tell if he will regain the hearing in his left ear. It is usually an outpatient surgery, but because of Tristan's history with asthma they will probably keep him overnight.
Then today we went to the speech therapist for Tristan's evaluation. He tests at about a 15-18 month old range. The surgery may improve his hearing, but he will still need help to catch up, so he will go twice a week for 5 months for speech therapy. Never a dull moment!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Darkness and Light..

As the first moments of this day dawned I sat at the spot where my child lost her life a year ago. I put a new sign up at the spot where she died. I was cold, alone, and empty. I fear that is how she was on that horrible day. I couldn't stop myself from thinking that. I came home after a while and I climbed in to bed hugging her stuffed monkey to my chest. I fell asleep with my tears running down my face. I dreamt in bits and pieces and slept the same. I felt Brian get into bed next to me when he came home in the middle of the night and I felt him hold me close, and I felt the tears still on my face. I couldn't turn to him and I couldn't speak, I let my dreams take me away again. I woke some time later with my head pounding and my eyes sore and puffy. I got up and went out to the couch, put a hot compress across my face and fell back to sleep. I woke in the wee hours after one of the good dreams and dragged myself into the reality of what today is.. the reminder of the worst day of my life.
I got the kids up and all out the door. Then came back home, thought about going back to bed but couldn't do it. I ended up taking out all my kitchen drawers, fixing the ones that were starting to fall apart, and went through everything and made a goodie bag for Bri of all the gadgets and utensils I don't use or need. Brian and I spent a little time together before he had to go to work for mandatory OT from 3p-2a. I picked Hunter up from school and decided he & I should go to a movie, so we saw Santa Clause 3. Not bad, it was a distraction and gave me some one on one with him. Then we picked up Tristan & Alexa, came home, got everyone ready for bed and they are settling down for the night. This day is finally almost over.
I found myself not wanting to give this day too much merit. Not wanting the grief and anger of this day to overshadow her life. I did not miss her more today than the other 364 days that have passed. I did not think of her more than I do every day since then. So why would I allow today to have more meaning than all the other days. She was stolen from me, she was ripped from my life. That is no less true on any other day. It signifies a total, a finite number for an infinite amount of pain and loss. So why do we do that? Why do we give power to something so awful? The 13th of every month has sucked for me, but so have many other days. It isn't in memory of her that I mourn for her. So I will use this day as a renewal of my wish to celebrate her, to remember what was bright and beautiful in her. I will try to keep the shadows at bay. I know they will still come and some times I will invite them. But I will see more of the sun and I will try to let it's warmth fend off the cold, dark gray of my grief. Even now as the dark surrounds me, I close my eyes, I see her smile, and all around her I see the light..

Sunday, November 12, 2006


That is how I will be tomorrow. As much as I can appreciate everyone's love and concern, I am barely holding it together today, I know I will be useless tomorrow. I will get Hunter to school and the twins to daycare and then I may just spend the rest of the day in bed, I really don't know, but I will not be answering my phone or my door. I may check my voice mail, I may check my e-mail, I may blog if the mood strikes me. But I am not promising to do anything. This is just too hard, too painful and I can't find the words to make it easier for myself or anyone else. Know that I love you all, and I will be okay, I just have to get through the day, one minute at a time, in my time, in my way. Thank you for understanding that..

A year ago, a moment ago..

I had planned to take Hunter camping with Greg & Lisa. It was supposed to be the first time I used my new sidekick kayak. It took me quite a while but I finally got the kayak tied down on top of my van and headed out. I had a few errands to run, but planned on being on my way by 9:30am. Despite all my efforts, the kayak diodn't do so well on top of the car. It made this awful humming noise and the vibration was beyond annoying. I had a 4 plus hour drive. So I pulled into a parking lot, rearranged the van and took the kayak down and tried to put it inside the van. It is a very long kayak. It barely fit and completely blocked my right window and rearview mirror. So I finally gave up, tried to find a route home that only required left turns and made it safely back to the house. I unloaded the kayak, put it back in the garage, rearranged the van yet again.
Just as I was about to pull out of the driveway Kierra pulled up with the twins. She just needed to run in and use the phone real quick. I stayed at her car with the twins while she made her call, and then we talked a few minutes before we were both on or way. We made plans to take the twins to the zoo on Tuesday. She'd been working alot and that was her next day off. She also put in her bid for her favorite Thanksgiving Day dishes and we planned to go grocery shopping together too. I told her I would see her Tuesday and yelled "Love you" as I got in my car and she got in hers, she stuck her head out her window and yelled "love you too!" That was the last time I saw her alive..
I cursed that kayak all weekend, now I am so grateful and know despite my doubts and anger with God, there was a reason I was delayed that day, a reason I had to go back home, and it had nothing to do with the kayak..It is futile for me to wish I had known, had sensed the importance of those few moments. They bring me as much comfort as they do pain. It was a year ago, but just a moment ago..

Friday, November 10, 2006

all around me..

Tonight I met some of the JACKPOTT Moms at a place called pottery works. It was interesting. I question my creativity! There were 4 of us who showed up. We went next door to Jason's Deli for a bite to eat afterward. We got to talking about Kierra, the twins, the affect it has on the twins, Hunter, me.. it seems to be all around me and I know it will be more so as the day approaches. Lisa S. (a fellow JACKPOTT Mom) gave me a beautiful angel statue with a dolphin on it, she is always so thoughtful and listens to me ramble, often!
This week I have gotten a call from dear friends of ours in Michigan, and a high school friend of Ki's. Andrea called today, she used to work at Applebee's with Ki. They are doing a car wash fundraiser for the twins at Applebees this Sunday from 12-4. She wants to do something to help and also to remember Ki. Greta's birthday is this weekend and now my Mom has decided to come into town. It will be busy. Several people asked if we were going to have any type of memorial service, but we aren't. I will do something on here for whoever wants to leave a comment of a memory or their thoughts, but honestly, It would take too much emotional energy. It would be more for everyone else, and I just can't be there for everyone else right now. Maybe next year, we'll have to see.

Click for Pix..

I am having major problems loading pictures onto this blog, but I have added more pix to the photo gallery, so click on any picture in my blog and it should take you to the photo gallery where you can view all photos. I add new ones all the time and there are alot I didn't post to the blog. So go browse (button to the right of the picture it takes you to on the website) and enjoy!

Alexa as Snow White 10*31*06

Alexa as Snow White
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
I still have to get pix from Greta. This is fuzzy, but isn't she too cute?!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Coons, Trees, Sore muscles, Big Butts, & Cheaters!

First, the "coon".. our first night here one of the guys wanted us to try his "barbecue". It was Raccoon meat with barbecue sauce and sweet potatoes. Despite the automatic Eeeeew factor, we all tried a bite and it was edible. It might have been better if I liked barbecue sauce at all, but I don't! They are big hunters around these parts. I told Bri & Dori you should at least try new things before you say you don't like them.. I had to eat my own words!
We have ridden different horses since we got here. One of the horses I have been riding is Missy. She can be a handful, but likes to run. The first time I got her up to a good canter we had made the horses turn back down the main trail. They wanted to head back to the barn, but we were more stubborn than they were.. or so I thought! Missy let me enjoy my run, had me feeling pretty confident, until she took a hard left right into the trees! Thank goodness I am short and I yanked back hard on her reigns. I ducked and missed being knocked out of the saddle. I also made her go back down the trail and we did it my way. You can still see her hoof marks in the clay where we did our "brake check"!
Needless to say we have used muscles our body forgot we had. I have faired better than Bri & Dori, but had a few sore spots too. So we made use of a new service you can call out for here at the ranch... a masseuse! Brianne had her first massage, and is now hooked. Dori & I are already among the addicted, so we all enjoyed the chance to relax. We met an older gentleman here visiting from Germany, Christoff, who was quite surprised we would get a massage from a man. In Germany they are done mostly by women. He teased us before he left this morning about ruining our massage by going riding again. He was headed to Nashville for the next part of his trip. I got him the info for the Opryland Hotel and once he heard they also had a golfcourse he said he would be staying there. I hope he enjoys it and has Godspeed and safe travel home.
Now I bet you are intrigued by the Big Butts title...well.. they have Percheron draft horses here. Dori has been riding Stella. So Brianne & I asked if we could ride one as well. They let me ride Marge, and they got Trudi out of the pasture for Bri. Boy do they make me feel small! When we were all ready to ride the girls from the stable, Marei & Connie, came out with their cameras and asked if they could take pictures. Most people won't ride them because they are so big and intimidating so they hadn't had all 3 out at the same time before. They even took pictures from the back of the horses. We had been joking.."does this saddle make my butt look big??", well on those horses nothing looks big! They were great to ride, quite different from the average horse. They want to use the pix for their website and calendar.. hopefully not the "butt" shots.
We have been falling asleep by 9:30 every night..and getting up before 6 am! The cool country air, riding horses 4 hours a day, the huge meals, and the quiet here at night are all very conducive to sleep. I wake up after a couple hours, but don't want to wake up the others, so I stay in bed and usually fall back asleep for awhile. Then I lay awake and wait til I hear someone else awake, then we get up and go get hot tea and wait for breakfast. Tonight we are up late! We played cards after dinner. We were playing Go Fish after we played Rummy. I took a bathroom break and when I got back we played Spoons. Dori and Brianne hatched a plan to cheat, but Dori got flustered when she heard me coming out of the bathroom and dealt the "cheatin" cards wrong. So at the end when Brianne lost they spilled the beans and we laughed so hard we almost wet our pants.
We head home tomorrow after our morning ride. It has been great. I haven't felt so relaxed in so long. I wish Brian enjoyed riding more. I had tried calling him from out on the trail today and Bri & Dori got the horses running without warning me and I almost dropped my phone! It was the first time I took it on the trail. The Brats! I am looking forward to coming back in the spring with Brenda. We missed you girl! Thanks to Greta and Randy for taking the kids for the weekend! Thank You to Chad & Brian for holding down the fort at home. I will post pix tomorrow night!

No Pix

I can't get the pictures to load from here, so I will work on that tomorrow night when I get home and get everyone settled, sorry! I will have Halloween pix, and the pix from this weekend!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Scratching an Itch!

Brianne, Dori, & I are at a horse ranch in Georgia. Brenda was supposed to come, but couldn't. (That's another blog.) We miss you Bren! Dori was working in Atlanta which is just an hour from here, so she came over. Brianne and I got here earlier than Dori yesterday so we were able to go out on the afternooon ride. When we got done we came out of the barn and saw Dori by one of the fences. I thought she was doing the "pee pee" dance and was going to tell her the barn had a bathroom, but as we got closer I noticed her rubbing her feet and hands together. In her excitement to see the horses she had climbed under one of the fences and she was having a major allergic reaction from the grass or something on it or in it. She couldn't stop the itch and was scratching all over. By the time we reached the room her hands and feet were flame red and swelling. She took some allergy meds and finally decided to get in the shower and see if that helped. Brianne and I were sitting on the bed and about fell off laughing as Dori vocalized her pain/pleasure in the shower. It ranged from OOOOH, Ahhhhhhh, God Bless America! to throaty groans. Anyone else would have thought of When Harry Met Sally, but it didn't sound like she was faking it! So we had an interesting start to our weekend! She is a little better today. I get hives quite often the past few months. The Dr. says it is stress induced.. go figure! I can totally empathize with Dori, but I couldn't stop laughing!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

All About The Treats!

At least that is how Alexa saw Halloween. She dressed up like Snow White. I was waiting to blog to get the pictures loaded, but having some snags, will get them on soon! Tristan was his new favorite hero, Buzz Lightyear. And Hunter was Leonardo, one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (That was a blast from the past!) Hunter showed them the ropes and then Tristan & Alexa caught on fast and were on the run for the goodies. Alexa refused to say the "trick" part of Trick or Treat. She would smile big, open her bag and say Treeeat! Then she would turn and make a mad dash down the driveway to the wagon and she was ready to go to the next house. A few people had their lights on, but didn't answer the door. Alexa would get mad and say "No Treat!" and do her mean look. So off we went to another house. It was about a 30 minute adventure and then back to home. Tristan followed Hunter & Alexa, but didn't have the same enthusiasm. I took all three over to Greta & Randy's beforehand and Tristan wouldn't wear his costume until we got to their house. I have a great pic of Alexa, then tried to get one of allthree in front of one of the houses that was all decorated, but niether one of the boys wanted to sit still, and anytime I tried to get one of Tristan, he turned and ran or hid. I think Greta got some good shots at her place. I will post them as soon as I can.
It was another bittersweet day for me. Last year Kierra and Darnell took them around the neighborhood. For some of our neighbors that was the last time they saw Kierra. She always loved going to Universal and Busch Gardens for their Halloscream stuff. I will have to find and scan the pic of Kierra at Halloween in 2003. She was very pregnant and dressed up as a fairie. It is a picture with her & Brenda dressed up as a princess (of course!). Halloween is the kick off of all the holidays, ugh! This month will be hard. We are planning alot of distractions. For now the kids are high on sugar and had a great time. We will take one day at a time.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

That was then, this is now..

What a difference 25 years can make! I am at my friend, Regina's, in St. Pete. It was just a quick overnight trip to attend our 25th High School Reunion last night. I head back home today. Mary came in from Ohio and stayed at Gina's too. It was good to see some people who weren't at the 20th reunion. I never went to the 10th. It was a good time. Of course, just like high school, it was the company that made it fun. There were still the "clique's" there were back then, but almost everyone mixed and mingled. I won the prize for having the most grandchildren, and for being married the longest. That was pretty cool. We drank and we danced. We touched base with old friends. For me 1981 wasn't about high school. It was about moving to Indiana, starting what I thought was a new, good life. It was about the birth of my first child. It was desperately wanting to give Kierra a happy, healthy life. High school took a back seat to all that. So when I think of 1981, the nostalgia of high school really doesn't do much for me. I was invisible in high school. Other then the select few friends, most of whom are still in my life, I didn't "know" anyone. I didn't join any clubs or do much of anything. So it was the same as back then.. being on the outside of the little groups looking in. But it was interesting for me. I used to look at them 25 years ago and think I wanted their life. I wanted better than what I had. As much as I would give not to have Kierra gone, I would not give my life to anyone. I would not give up loving the people I love. I would not give up being who I am. I was a meek young girl, too unsure of myself to be my own person. Too unsure to speak up for myself. Too invisible for most people last night to remember who I was. A far cry from who I am now. I found myself looking at the small photo book I brought of the kids, and it made me smile. I called Brian twice to dance with him over the phone. I stood there moving to the music with his voice against my ear. They are what is important to me, they are the biggest part of who I am. Not the only part, but the most important. So I look back as if standing from a distance, not yearning to go back to what some consider the best years of their lives. The "best" years started for me after that, with the birth of Kierra, then along came Brian, then Brianne, Chad, Hunter, Alexa & Tristan. It wasn't always easy, but it was what it was... my life. Just as it is now. Not always easy... but mine.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Holding Hands

"The spaces between our fingers were made so that another person's fingers could fill them."
My hand fits perfectly in Brian's. It is as if it was always meant to. I held his hand as he held mine in court on Monday. I held his as he held mine today as we spoke to the media. I have held his hand throughout our life together. It has given me strength, comfort, & support. It has given me tenderness, love, & passion. It has held mine through happiness, sorrow, and pain. His hand has held mine through marriage, birth and death. When all else is dark around me, I remind myself ... to just hold on.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I am not sure how I feel tonight. Ghazi pled Guilty, by convenience. Which means he pled guilty because it was in his best interest, but he still maintains his claim of innocence. He pled that to 2 counts of reckless driving. Adjudication was withheld. He will have 150 hours of community service working at a free clinic, and a year of probation. That resolves the criminal case. He would never have gone to trial on the Vehicular Homicide charge, it would have been lessened to what he pled to, and he probably would have had adjudication withheld then too. It just would have taken longer and they would have dragged Kierra through the mud numerous times and made our lives hell in the meantime. We had to agree to the plea. The specifics weren't up to us, and it was an all or nothing situation. So we had to decide what was best for us and for the kids. There will never be closure, but at some point we need to be rid of this albatross and move forward however possible. I guess today was a start. The civil settlement still has to be resolved, hopefully this week.
Brian & I feel we chose the lesser of two evils. If it was just us to worry about, I would have pushed it to the max, no matter what they said or did. But we have not just Tristan & Alexa, but Brianne, Chad, & Hunter to think of as well. We all have to live here, and find whatever state of normal we can to keep going. The deciding factor was when the state attorney and our attorney went over the options with us and we realized the outcome would likely be the same, it would just prolong our pain and grief being public fodder. We are not "happy" with the decision. It was not what we wanted. It was what we agreed to because we feel it is the best disposition we could get considering all the factors involved. It sucks, no matter how you slice it. There just aren't any road rage laws in Florida. No law is specific enough for this to have come out any different. I hope Citizens Against Road Rage can help change that.
We declined comment to the Media after the court hearing. They have respected our wishes to be left alone for now. Our attorney warned us it is not over, and they will say plenty of things that we probably won't like because it was a plea bargain. They don't have to live our lives, so I can't worry about what they think. I know every one has opinions. I have some myself. In an ideal world it would be very different indeed. But reality bites and we have to deal with the here and now. As well as the future. We have to be able to explain to Tristan & Alexa what happened to their Mother, and why we made the choices we made. They matter, what they will think matters, that is what is important to us right now. Our attorney told us, despite the technicality, guilty is guilty, at least we have that. For me it is not worth the paper it will be printed on. It is a meaningless plea. He never has, and never will, feel truly guilty for what he did. Nothing will change that, just as nothing will bring my child back to me. No conviction would bring her back, so does it really matter? There is a means to the end, and I have to focus on the kids and my family. And hope Kierra understands and knows we are doing what we feel we have to do, for her, and for her children..

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Problem with Pain.. that you have absolutely no control. Wether it is emotional pain, which can also be physical, or the physical pain of a migraine, broken foot, pinched nerve, torn ligament, etc.. sometimes, even the medicines don't work and you are at the mercy of your pain. I don't usually give up control without a fight. I hate giving in to something and letting it take over. I missed the Florida Twin convention activities today (actually yesterday) because of this stubborn migraine. I made it to our bi-monthly get together at Terri, Dwight, & Savannah's, but this damn headache drained me of my "fun factor", and I couldn't enjoy everyone and everything like I normally do. I didn't even get in the pool with the kids.. Thank you Greta, Savannah, Dwight, & Terri for doing that for me! The food and the company were great, I just couldn't relax & enjoy it like I wanted to.
Emotional pain can be like that too. It drains you and steals your ability to do things, to enjoy things, and to be yourself. I had been visiting a blog about a young boy and his Mother dealing with multiple surgeries and a heart transplant. He had been doing okay, but had some complications and sadly, died (Saturday, 10/21). What a strong testament to love. And of faith, which I am still lacking, but that is another blog.. sad things happen every day to everyone. Not always as tragic as death, but emotional pain has it's own scale, it's own weight of measure. Not to be underestimated.
This damn migraine, which is 2 days going now, may be a more dominant pain at the moment. And at times it may seem like a greater pain, but it isn't. Brenda told me I was a trooper for cooking and going to the party with my migraine. I have forced myself through other things with my emotional pain killing me inside, so it wasn't such a big deal to strongarm myself through this migraine. I hate giving in to anything, so I am sure I will fight through it again. Like now, when I refuse to let my pain keep me from typing this.. when I refuse to give up control. If this pain insists on being unbreakable, I will suffer through it. Given the choice of giving in and letting it get worse as I cry over it, or fighting against it and still doing what I feel I should.. I will fight the fight. I make that choice almost daily with the pain of my grief. It is familiar to me, it is my life, it is what it is..

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Beef Stew

I am up late cooking for a get together tomorrow. I was planning to do it today, but my migraine had different plans! I am fixing autumn stew. It is the same as beef stew, but you add fresh pumpkin to it. Kierra loved beef stew, and autumn stew. She also loved corn chowder. She asked me once how I learned to cook. I told her those were staple foods growing up because we had such a large family. Stew & chowder stretched more than meat and potatoes did. Kierra, Brenda, & I took a trip up to Tennessee when Kierra was pregnant. It was the beginning of November, so the weather was just getting chilly up there. We were at my parent's house and my Mom asked her what she wanted to eat. Well, before I could warn her, Kierra got all excited and said Beef Stew and Corn Chowder! I tried to shake my head at her, but Kierra didn't notice. Later I explained to Kie that although I learned to cook some things from my Mom, I had improved upon them over the years. My Mom's version of both of those dishes were quite different from what Kierra was used to. My Mom & Dad like their food simple. Which sometimes means bland. My Mom's beef stew is with the broth from the beef and potatoes & carrots, and I think celery. I add some onion and spices to mine and make a gravy type broth for it, so it is quite a bit thicker. And generally has more flavor. My Mom's corn chowder has potatoes, and corn, evaporated milk and the water the potatoes were cooked in. I use evaporated and whole milk after most of the water is drained from the potatoes. I use whole kernel and cream style corn, real bacon bits, and green onion. Needless to say they were not what Kierra expected. But she ate them like a trooper, and told my Mom how good they were.. then got a burger from McDonalds on our way back to the hotel! I don't think I have fixed either one since she's been gone. So I will share the beef stew, and the story, with everyone tomorrow.

Migraine Pain

Not quite sure what the deal is, but I will have to give in and make an appointment with my doctor. I used to get Migraine headaches alot. There were numerous tests done and alot of speculation, but nothing conclusive. I dwindled down to an occasional migraine and have been blissfully without them for a few years now. I have had 4 in 2 weeks. Two of them knocked me down so hard I couldn't function for the whole day, the other two knocked me down for a few hours. If you haven't had a migraine, you are blessed. They aren't just a bad headache. They are painful to the point of making me physically ill. And throwing up only makes the pain worse instead of better. Your eyes hurt, everything echoes, and you cry every time you move and your head splits open. I have had my vision black out from a migraine before and it is scary stuff. Usually a dark, quiet room and sleep will help. There are times medication works and times when it doesn't. I know stress is a big trigger for me. Honestly, the past couple weeks have been almost as stressful as when Kierra died. The past 11 months have been stressful as well, but not like this. So bear with me if I say I have a headache. And let's just hope it is from the stress, I can't handle anything else right now!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sea World

Sea World
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
This may be a true sign of insanity, but I took the three munchkins to Sea World by myself on Sunday (yesterday). I took them down to Orlando Saturday night, then we did Sea World until they got tired, swam in the hotel pool and stayed over last night. (Hunter had no school today.) We got home about 1:30 today. Hunter & I have yearly passes and the twins are free.. until they turn 3!
I thought I needed time away, time to be around other people and time away from the kids. I couldn't figure out why the cruise wasn't all I had thought it would be. You would think handling all three kids by myself would have the opposite effect, but it really recharged me. It helped me refocus and force all the other crap out of my head. You can't be worrying what might happen in court next week when you have 3 kids in a swimming pool with you. You can't stay depressed when you have 3 kids laughing and running around you while they chase water geysers in a play ground splash zone. Or the excitement on their faces when they see a clydesdale up close and are in awe of it's size. To see and hear the joy they get from seeing penguins swimming in the water and waddling in the snow. To see the moment of wonder when Alexa touched the glass and a dolphin swam up to her hand in the underwater viewing area. She would have stayed there all day if the boys hadn't been so impatient to move on to the next adventure.
To sit in the quiet and listen to them sleep. I took my insomnia with me, but I wrote a 5 page letter to a dear friend who doesn't get online to read this, and I read another Nora Roberts Novel.
I realized how much Hunter is growing up and what a great kid he is, although I already knew that! He was so helpful and so patient. He was okay that we were limited by the stroller and the fact that I was the only adult there. Little things constantly amaze me with him. I carried his back pack on the stroller on the way to the car this morning and when he offered to carry it, he said.." Thanks for carrying it for me Mom, I hope it wasn't too much trouble." Where does that come from?? He was quick all weekend to open doors for me and pick things up the minute Tristan or Alexa dropped (or threw!) them out of the stroller. I am so proud of him.
I didn't have anything or anyone else to distract me. My entire focus was on them. Everything we did was at their pace. I am amazed how much better I feel today. Things are still crazy here at home, and they are bound to get crazier. But I am reaffirmed in my mindset that what we are doing and all we are going through will be to the benefit of these children someday. And I will not question if it was all worth it when it is all over, because nothing will bring Kierra back to me, nothing will ever make it right again. But I will give her children a better future and I will give them all the love I have. Insanity included.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I'll be offline until Sunday night or Monday. I am taking the kids to have some fun. I will have pix and stories to tell when we get back!


Too Much Information! I have always felt knowledge was better than ignorance. I never understood "ignorance is bliss". Because Brian is a police officer we were given alot more information and details of Kierra's accident than the average person would have. Because I insisted, we have copies of all the reports, depositions, & evidence from the case. I have googled Kierra's name and come across articles and message boards about her and about the accident. Some of the comments are more offensive than I can mention. I am appalled at the judgments people make without any true knowledge of a person or a situation. I am as offended, yet not surprised, by the slant the media puts on things and how quickly it sways public opinion. I am sorely disappointed in the justice system and how the machinations of the process dehumanize the victims. I know more than I ever wanted to about the pain of grief and the darkness of depression. Ignorance would be bliss, but once known, you can't "unknow" and the knowledge can be what hurts you the most.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So Much..

Cricket had this posted on her website. It didn't make me feel like a bad parent, as she claimed it did for her, but it defintiely makes me think.. what do I have to bitch about?! I wonder what will life be like for this boy when his father can't run for him anymore... the sacrifices we make for those we love come in all shapes and sizes. What a testament to love.
Right now all I want is for Kierra to rest in peace. So much is going on and so much I can't really get into because everything changes from one minute to the next. We are emotionally overwhelmed and overwrought. I feel as though I am barely hanging on.. then one of the kids calls me, needs me, and I grab hold for just a little longer. I can feel my fingers slipping, grasping for a ledge to hold on to. I will find one, I always do, until I am here again, dangling..

The Cruise..

It was a break. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great. It was good. I know that doesn't explain much, but so much is going on it doesn't seem important right now. We enjoyed the time with Greta, Terri, Uncle Bobby, and Robyn. It was fun to see some of the Hodges group people we know. The weather was beautiful and the food was great. I don't feel re-charged, and I desperately want some time alone with my hubby. I think we expected too much of ourselves, and no matter where we go, our emotions go with us..

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad, Bad Blogger!

Sorry! I have been a bad blogger and not kept up. I promise to be more detailed tomorrow, but for tonight I have caught up on e-mail, and everyone else's blogs and I have a splitting headache! We made it back from the cruise in one piece and without a quickie divorce, so all is good! We did have a good time. Sorry, no, not great, but good, for the most part. I slept more than I have in a long time, so that part was a bonus. Now we are back home and balls to the wall. So I will try to catch up more tomorrow, okay? Love ya'll..

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shattered Glass..

I have tried before to verbalize what it feels like when your life is changed forever. It isn't just a feeling really. In that moment you can actually hear and feel something break inside you. The closest I can come to describing it is.. shattering glass. An explosive, expanding, shattering of glass. It isn't always just from major events like Kierra's death. Sometimes it is the unexpected. Sometimes it is a simple knowledge of someone or something that catches you from left field. And in that moment of knowledge, you can feel something inside you shatter. Into thousands of pieces of broken glass. And with it comes the knowledge that it will never be whole again. And I have to wonder, how many pieces of me can be broken before nothing is left? I can replace that part of myself with something else, something false, something that appears to be mended. But it will never be the same. I can keep trying to pick up the pieces in the hope that somehow the shards that cut me can heal me too, but I don't believe they will.....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Smoke gets in my eyes..

It actually did at the disco the other night, and it is getting under my skin as well. Brian has smoked for years. He smokes at work, and some at home. He has always smoked outside because Brianne, Hunter, and now Tristan, have asthma. He has quit before, but started again some time back. His reasoning was because he works nights and it helped him stay awake. I bought that because way back when I worked nights at a convenient store in Wyoming I smoked as well. And on intermittent occasions I have smoked when out drinking with friends. So I know first hand what an addiction is. I am not without guilt of it myself. There are enough addictions between my family and friends for me to be affected on various levels. From cigarettes, to alcohol, to drugs. It isn't what a person is addicted to, it is how inconsiderate the addiction makes them. It is that sometimes the addiction is more important than anything, or anyone else. I have noticed over the past months that Brian smokes more often at home than he used to. I have used the excuse of Kierra's death and him working so much to try and abate my resentment when I am balls to the wall with the kids and call our for his help only to realize he is outside and can't hear me. When he gets a phone call and I am in the middle of something and have to go find him because he is outside. It used to be only when he was first waking up, or when he was getting ready for work. Lately it is alot more often.
I am not sure if it is that we don't spend this much time together, or if it is because my sister Robyn smokes as well, so he has a smoke buddy. But it is becoming a bone of contention for me that he is smoking like a chimney on this trip. The other morning we were out on deck for breakfast. He & Robyn stepped away to the pool area of the deck to smoke. I didn't realize Brian chain smoked. I sat there waiting while he had 1 cigarette, no problem. I got a bit annoyed sitting there while he lit and smoked a 2nd cigarette. I was done waiting when he lit the 3rd. I went over and told him I was tired of sitting alone waiting while he chain smoked, I was going back to the room to change. He said they got talking about insurance. Whatever. Then that night at the disco he was sitting next to me and didn't even move away to smoke, it blew right past my face. When I said something he said it wasn't because he blew it the other way. Whatever.
Numerous times he just leaves where we are, or leaves the cabin to smoke. He doesn't say, Honey I will be right back, nothing. I just look up and he is gone, or I am watching his back as he leaves without saying anything. Yesterday were getting ready for dinner. I had literally just stepped into the shower, I said "hey baby, we can actually take a shower together.. no kids..come on in!" I got no response. I stepped out and opened the bathroom door.. "hey babe".. no response.. he was gone. I finsihed the shower, got out and was getting dressed when he came back. I told him earlier in the day it was my birthday, it would be nice if he cut back. He didn't, and as the night wore on it really annoyed me. I told him how much it was upsetting me, he said "then why are you counting my cigarettes.. I am not counting I told him, every time I turn around, you are gone." This morning we got woken up by a wrong number phone call. He got dressed and asked if I wanted to walk the deck and get coffee. I couldn't stop myself from asking, "so you can smoke?" He got mad and said he wasn't a kid. He may not be a kid, but he is like every other addict.. inconsiderate about how his addiction affects other people. Inconsiderate about the priority his addiction has over whatever else is going on. And I resent it coming between us when we were supposed to use this time to be together. It may not be a big deal to some people, but right now, it is a big deal to me!

A jawbreaker broke me..

Yesterday was my birthday.. woo hoo~. First thing in the morning Brian and I went to get coffee at the gourmet coffee shop, (the ship's coffee is awful!) While we were standing there we noticed some candy that they sell. One of them is a huge jawbreaker. Kierra use to love those things, she would eat them for days. You would open the fridge and there it would be wrapped in a paper towel. Then you would see her with this huge thing half in her mouth and her lips all white while she sucked on it. I had to step away and go look out the window at the ocean and cry where no one would see me and ask questions. Brian was upset too. It is always with me, but things like that trigger the pain and make it hard to act normal. We thought we had gotten it under control untilwe went up for breakfast and Greta, Robyn, and Uncle Bobby tried to sing Happy Birthday to me. I had to walk away. At that moment I could not think of it being happy. I could not imagine celebrating anything when Kierra was gone. I felt bad, their intentions were good. I just couldn't do it. By dinner I was able to control it better so they could do the cake and singing. I got some great gifts, we drank Asti, amd went dancing. It was all good. Some days are just easier than others. I guess this was a warm up for the pending Holidays. I'll take it as it goes..

Update on Tristan

I can't remember sometimes what I have blogged and what I haven't, so bear with me if I repeat myself..
For some time now Tristan has been doing a gasping type noise at random. We thought he was playing it up because it didn't seem to be serious. He didn't do it more than once at a time, and it didn't cause him to turn blue or slow him down at all. It became a concern when I was putting away laundry and noticed him do it in his sleep. I asked the pediatrician about it and as I was describing it, Tristan did it. She said it was a Stridor, it is like a spasm of the pulmonary muscles, an intake of breath when he is trying to breathe out. She said it can be a red flag for something else. She sent us to an ENT specialist. I took him last week, they numbed his nasal passages and did a scope. He had 100% obstruction on the left side. His left ear was full of fluid and his adenoids had a major infection which had been there a long time and looked like it was eating away at them. (Sorry that was a bit gross! trust me, I saw it through the scope and it was!) He is on a 6 week course of antibiotics, then we will recheck it and recheck the hearing in his left ear to see if there is permanent damage. He can't, and hasn't, been able to hear out of his left ear in quite some time, if ever. That is why he doesn't talk much or well, and some of his development is affected. The ENT doc said it is hard to catch. Alot of kids, especially twins and preemies, have chronic ear infections like Tristan has had, and until something flags a closer look, most docs don't do a scope to see what is really going on. A lot of times Tristan didn't act sick or like he had an ear infection, the doc said it is probably because that side is so damaged he didn't really feel it. So I will update you as I know more. The Pediatrician and I also found 2 referrals in the records for an allergist for Tristan & Alexa, and a speech therapist for Tristan. I didn't know anything about them, it was from the end of October last year when Brian, Hunter, & I were on vacation. I don't remember Kierra mentioning it and didn't see anything in her belongings. Any who, the Doc's office never followed through about it with me either, so now we will get those appointments set up as well.. Never a dull moment!

Monday, October 02, 2006

What it takes to take a break!

Brian & I are on a week long cruise. I was amazed at the amount of work/planning that it took for us to do this! We had to find someone to take care of the kids.. Thank You Brenda, Brianne, and anyone else who helps out this week! There were transportation arrangements for Hunter to & from school and to & from karate, Thanks Brianne, Brenda, & Rita!! There were daycare hours to buy.. Thank You Kids By The Hour. There were groceries, diapers, and dog food to buy to last a week. There were Dr. appts to schedule & go to to take care of Tristan and his recent issues (that's another blog), and get him medicine for this week. There were travel arrangements to make for Brian since his job gave him the 1-8th off, but not the 30th. So I drove down on the 30 th to Miami with Greta, Terri, & Uncle Bobby, and Brian flew in the next morning so we could catch the boat out. Robyn met us at the hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. (Terri got to go in place of Greta's husband Randy, who decided not to go.)
So here we are sailing the ocean blue. We are at Carnival's private island today, half moon cay. Been here before.. it's a biggie. Could have gone horse back riding, but didn't bring closed toe shoes! So I am not sure yet what we will do today. Formal dinner tonight, day at sea tomorrow, then on to Puerto Rico, St Thomas and the Grand Turks. ( in whatever order we get to them!) More later on all that. I hear the spa calling my name....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Alexa 9 27 06

Alexa 9 27 06
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Alexa the hambone! Unlike her brother, she eats up the camera! She also has gone from undressing, to changing clothes several times a day. She is quite the girlie girl!

Tristan 9 27 06

Tristan 9 27 06
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
This was about the 10th pic I tried to take. Tristan does not like having his picture taken! He also has started doing the "undress myself" thing. Not long after refusing to wear shorts, he took off his t-shirt too!

My Cave Man..

I did actually get a few hours of sleep tonight. On the couch where I crashed about 12:30 am. I woke up to Brian getting home at 2:30.. upset because I did not get the load of clothes out of the wash and into the dryer, which also meant I did not get the clothes in the dryer folded and put away. For Brian that should have been a priority. I also left a small condiment dish with some soy sauce and a paper towel scrunched up in it, on the kitchen counter. Which had caused a swarm of the damn drain flies we are battling to have a party on our kitchen counter. Both of these things are major issues for Brian. They are two of his biggest pet peeves. And I know that. I did not neglect them intentionally. But to his mind these should have been taken care of hours and hours ago. The laundry was as he left it when he went to work 12 hours before. The load in the washer had to be rewashed.
A part of me deep down inside cares about the laundry and the dish on the counter. A part of me way, way deep down inside. The rest of me truly doesn't care at all. My mind did not even register the laundry although Brian did mention it as he left. I put it in there somewhere, got distracted.. imagine that.. and I never went back to it. I guess the issue for him is that I often forget about it. But we have different perceptions of "doing" laundry. He washes it and drys it. Sometimes he will hang a few things up, but normally it gets semi folded and piled on top of the washer/dryer for me to sort and put away. I try to fold and hang up the clothes as they come out of the dryer and sort them by room. It doesn't always happen that way, and I have left clothes in the living room chair for days (or weeks) before. But I try to get it put away. Brian says he doesn't sort it because he doesn't know what belongs to whom and what gets hung up and what doesn't. That part of it isn't a priority for him. My mind justifies, if I don't have the time and energy to do it from start to finish, why bother.. and honestly, I just don't care.
Is it Mars vs Venus? I am not sure. I know he works out side the home, provides all our financial support, and therefore his efforts are validated. I tell him often how much I appreciate how hard he works and all he does at home in addition to that. And I tell everyone else that too. I am not sure if it is as bothersome to me that he doesn't see what I do as "work" or "contributing", or that I don't feel that it is appreciated by him. We have been married more than 23 years. No matter what job I have had, or the times I have not worked outside the home, my jobs were never as important, or as "hard" as his. At least not from his perspective. That hasn't changed. It is, and always has been, an issue we agree to disagree about.
The emotional aspect for me is the most difficult. Usually I can let it roll like water off my back. It is what it is. But now, as it has been alot since Kierra's death, it is a thorn in my side, It is a piece of popcorn under my gum that I can't seem to get out and it annoys the shit out of me! So I rinsed my little dish, put it in the dishwasher and ran the load of dishes waiting to be done. He started the clothes rewashing, I ran the dryer on dewrinkle and then folded/hung, sorted the load in the dryer and when the wash was finished, I put it in the dryer. I will wait until that is dry and fold/sort/hang that load and have it done. When he wakes up later today and I have gotten Hunter up, ready, and taken to school, and gotten the twins taken care of at the start of their day, and by then I will have run some errands, including picking up his drycleaning, done the grocery shopping for the next week, and prepared to take Tristan to his ENT appt.... will there be laundry to do, and more dishes on the counter?? Probably. But I will have done what I should have done today, right? I will have ended my day fulfilling his expectations, although I fell short once again.
I remind myself, we are both right, we both have valid feelings about it. Because no matter how I feel.. his perception is his reality, and mine is mine. It is how it has been for centuries. It really is a trivial thing, but it exemplifies so much more than being about the laundry. He needs cleanliness and order. He needs things in their proper place. He needs things done how and when he feels they should be done. He has cleaned both bathrooms the past couple days in between working because they needed to be done and it drove him crazy. Yet he couldn't tell you the last time he cleaned the play area. Or took Hunter to Karate, or took the kids to any of the numerous Dr. appts. Or did the grocery shopping. Because he works all the time and that is my job. We both could justify all we do and still not feel appreciated by each other.
Yet I know he loves me, and I know how hard he works for us. I know the exact feeling he is having when he looks at me with the pain so fresh and strong in his eyes that there are no words to describe it. I know that for both of us everything has changed but so much is expected to be the same. I know there are feelings and worries that he keeps from me because I keep my own from him. Not all, but some. I know I hesitate to dump on him when I feel my emotional cup runneth over. I hesitate to say how bad a day I am having because he might be doing better than me that day, and I hate to take it from him. We lean on each other like we can with no one else. So these little cave man moments of him thinking he is the "Hunter" and I am the "grazer", (old joke.. not funny right now!) are just moments, like so many others we have to live through each day. Even after you finally get the piece of popcorn out from under your gum, it is sore and tender for a while, reminding you it was there. Then just as quickly it is gone and you forget all about it.. until the next time it happens! But we keep eating popcorn, knowing we may have to deal with that minor annoyance. It is worth the risk. Will I annoy Brian again tomorrow?.. probably. Will he annoy me? Probably. In the grand scheme of things, will it matter?.. only for the moment, then it will be gone.. until next time!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I didn't think I was a pessimist before Kierra's death, but maybe I was. Maybe I always have been, but it is more obvious to me now. I really try not to dwell on her death. But I have the media, and lawyers to remind me just how screwed up this world can be. And that makes our loss so much more "in our face". Of course, it is always there, but there are different levels. It is very hard to function on the "in your face" level. I manage to dim my grief somewhat to handle the necessary tasks required to get through the average day. Dealing with the media, attorneys, and all the emotions stirred up by them, truly drains the emotional life right out of me. I try to find the good in each day, I try to enjoy the kids and the positive energy they ooze from their pores. Brian & I are taking a much needed, much deserved break next week. I am hoping it helps recharge me. I hate to bring everyone down around me. I wonder if the day will ever come that I am able to see more light than dark. Actually to feel there is something to look forward to, rather than always looking back. I know it is out there, somewhere.. beneath the pale moonlight..

Monday, September 25, 2006

Captain of the Kayak..

That is what Hunter called himself when we were kayaking yesterday morning. Terri, Dori, Hunter, & I went out on the intercoastal side of Guana Park. There are supposed to be Manatees on that side, but we didn't see any. The tide was coming in and we didn't go that far out. We were out for 2 hours, but the tide and current were strong both going out and coming back in, so we didn't get as far as we thought! Hunter chose where he wanted his seat to go on my kayak. He even got to lay back anad chill out while I paddled us around. It went well. He did talk about the day Kierra died. I reassured him and he seemed to accept that. We went to lunch at Caps, and boy does he like gator tail! He liked that better than the shrimp he ordered for his lunch! It was a good day. I am glad he got over the initial fear of going out on the water again. I am looking forward to many more outings!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Morning Among My Friends..

Terri, Savannah, Nancy, Dori, & I all got up at the butt crack of dawn..(Savannah says it was before that so it is the lower back of dawn..) and went to the Jax Farmer's Market. It had been described to me a if it was a sight to be seen and a HUGE expanse of produce and fresh foods. It was minimal, although there was a good variety of produce. Just not what I had built it up to be. So we headed north to the Pecan Park Flea Market. It was just after 9 am at this point so most booths were just getting set up and alot weren't even open yet. After that we headed to an early lunch, so we got to Sticky Fingers just as they opened their doors at 11am. It seemed every where we went there were barely any other people there. We bring our own party with us, which was evidenced by our waiter Kenny, so no crowds was just fine with us. We checked out the new Native Sun health food store and then all headed our seperate ways from my house. It was good morning. As it usually is when ever friends have the chance to get together. It was a great way to start the day!