Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A good start..

I am sitting here listening to the twins while they supposedly take their nap.. haha. I just registered my web site & domain name for Citizens Against Road Rage, it is www.citizensagainstroadrage.com (under construction, but on it's way.)
I am hoping to register the trademark C.A.R.R. too. It feels good to be doing this, to get it all started. To make Kierra's death mean something more than just another news story. Of course it means something to all of us, but I want something good to come from it, I want to make a difference. So here goes.....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Double the trouble, Double the fun..

Alexa Fashion Diva

Alexa Fashion Diva
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Notice the onesie over the shorts, our attempt to keep her diaper on!
The hat is one she wouldn't wear during the winter and won't take off now that she found it in a box I was going through!

Kierra and Alexa May 2005

I hunted all over for the original to this picture. I found a copy I had given to Kierra in the Twin's toybox when we packed her apt. It was crumpled and scratched. I had to get it restored.

I am amazed at the beauty of such a simple moment caught in time..

Kierra and Alexa May 2005
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

My "all knowing" son..

How is it that Hunter is so "knowing"? I didn't make it into the hot tub last night.. Hunter woke up and was in the mood to talk.. He asked about when he was a baby, and if he did the things the twins are doing now. He asked alot about when Kierra, Brianne, & Chad were babies too. He asked me how did I know I wanted to be a Mom? And did it take a long time for me to learn how to be good at it, like him learning to ride his bike? I told him yes, it took my whole life, and I am still learning! He asked me if I knew Brian when he was little, I explained I didn't know him until we were both older. He couldn't believe I was Chad's age when we met and got married. So of course he was wondering why Chad didn't even have a girlfriend, and when would Chad grow up? He asked about all my brothers and sisters, and informed me that was way too many kids! I told him it was only one more than Kie, Bri, Chad, Him, & the twins. He gave me his raised eyebrow look and made it very clear..." then your Mom wins.. we aren't having any more kids in this house!"
I told him I agreed.. and we fell asleep on the couch together.. it did me much more good than the hot tub!

Garage Gremlins..

It is still Wednesday for me, I haven't gone to bed yet.. I spent 5 hours cleaning and organizing the garage.. again! I am convinced that we have little garage gremlins. They come in when we aren't looking and mess things up. Greg & Lisa spent an entire day helping us totally clear out the garage and put in shelves, etc. I have been out there a number of times since then, yet every time there seems to be a bigger mess, and I find more things I need to sort through. I told Brian to take a good long look, it wouldn't stay clean long! He took a few hours off work tonight so I made the most of it and let him handle the kids while I tackled the garage. (I did take a break to let him know how to put them to bed), I finished about 12:30 am. I have a couple boxes and bins of clothes to go through, but I may leave it til tomorrow. I hear the hot tub calling my name! (Which Brian worked very hard on emptying it out and cleaning it the past couple days.. Thanks honey!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Life does move on..

The past couple weeks have been crazy! Hunter "graduated" from Pre-K, so his school days are over until fall. His last week of preschool Chad got a job..he heard about it Monday, went to talk to them, and started the next morning! Needless to say, it has been hectic for me. He was my other set of arms! He watched them when I just needed to run Hunter to school or go to the store, or the Dr, or the chiropractor, or when I just needed a moment to regain my sanity!
Where he works is right at the front of our subdivision, so he can walk there. He is profiling computer games! Mon-Fri.. 11am - about 7:30 or 8:00, depending on how much he has to do. He pretty much got to pick his hours. I am happy for him, it is right up his alley, and gives him a life outside of his room! Of course, it is another room, doing the same thing, but there are other people there!
Hunter had his cast removed, his "bumps" treated, and is already bored with no school. The twins love having him home and we are trying to set a routine together. Alexa is still houdini with her diaper. If I put a onesie on her that she can't get out of, she undoes the tabs on the diaper, then pulls it out of the leghole of the onesie..so now I put training pants over the diaper, under the onesie, so far so good! Tristan & Alexa are both too tall for their lightweight sleeper pajamas, so I had to go get size 3.. they seem so long, but I am sure they will out grow into them! The size 2 were too tight in length to put on Alexa backwards (you have to turn the feet around). Backwards because otherwise she unzips them and takes them and her diaper off.. we find her sleeping naked in a wet bed!
I have been cleaning out our storage unit. Brenda helped me go through some of Kierra's clothes yesterday. It is strange how we attach memories to things. There were things both Brenda & I could remember the day it was bought, or an occasion she wore something, which ones were her favorites, and which things we knew did not fit over her butt! I had already set some things aside when we cleaned out the apartment, but did not have the time or emotional energy to go through it all then.
But life does move on.. it is amazing the things the twins have outgrown and how much they have changed in the past 6 months. Andrea at Applebee's is no longer working there. We try to go there when we can with the kids, everyone is so supportive and it feels like home. Andrea had car washes planned and always kept me up with what was going on. It will seem strange with out her there. There are graduations & weddings, birthdays and celebrations. Some of Kierra's friends have faded away a bit, and others have major changes going on as well. Brenda cut her hair short! Which is adorable, but a major change for her.. and us.. I have never seen her with short hair in all the years I have known her. It is so cute I want to get mine cut, but everyone tells me NO!
I sometimes think I want to freeze time and stop all the changes. I do not trust my memory or my ability to handle what may come tomorrow. But then I think I can not bear this day without her, maybe tomorrow will be easier.. so I take a deep breath and another step forward because I don't know what else to do.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"It's just emotion that's taken me over..

"tied up in sorrow, lost in my soul.." The rest of the song doesn't apply, but those few words sure do! I seem to get sad, angry, frustrated.. all at the drop of a hat. Some of it has been founded. Those "little things" to others can be something really important to me. But then I get emotional and I can't control it.
I try to be honest and tell people how I feel. I don't want everything written off because of "grief" either. I am more sensitive of course. But I have always been a bitch, and that part of me still remains. Those who know me, know that isn't new! Though the flip side of that is.. I may be bitchy, but don't ignore what I am bitching about!
I try to think if I was any happier with life before Kierra was killed, or was I miserable then too, just on a different level? Her death has changed everything, but aren't I the same person at the core? Or is who we are directly connected to those we love, and when you lose a part of yourself, it all unravels a little and can't be put back together quite the same way? hmmm.. I don't have the emotional energy to answer that. I am not sure if I even know. This sounds pretty depressing doesn't it?? The good moments are so intertwined with the bad, it is hard to differentiate. I try, and I do have good times and I am not always a wreck. Honest.. really.. I swear..

Monday, May 15, 2006

Four Kids Aug22,2004

Four Kids Aug22,2004
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

Family Aug 22, 2004

Family Aug22, 2004
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
I am so glad we had these done..it is the last time we all had our pictures done together.

Mother & Daughter Banquet 2005

Mother & Daughter Banquet 2005
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
This will always be one of my favorite pictures.. I try to hold onto the smiles and the laughter..

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The weight of it all..

I kept busy all day today (actually Saturday!) My mind couldn't release that it was the 13th.. 6 months since Kierra was killed.. but I kept my body busy. Brianne had Hunter over night Friday, and after getting up at 4 am.. the twins slept in, so I got to too! We all got dressed up and went to the Mother & Child Banquet at Brianne's church.. we go every year. It was nice. Of course there was a woman at our table who said it was so sad to see the twins there without Kierra.. and couldn't help commenting that they could pass for my own children there was such a similarity and no one would have to know they weren't mine. I know she meant well. Most people do when they open their mouths and insert their feet..
Brianne & I moved some furniture out of storage and to a friend's house. We really can't afford to keep everything in storage much longer and I would rather someone get some use out of it all. Brianne is my little amazon.. she is stronger and much more of a help to me than Chad or Brian when it comes to moving things or getting things done! We make a pretty good team! Then she took the twins & Hunter to an event at the Zoo sponsored by her job at the hospital. She is keeping them overnight for church tomorrow and will bring them home in the evening. That was her Mother's Day gift to me.. it was so quiet I fell asleep on the couch! I woke up thinking I needed to check on the kids.. then realized they weren't here!
So I got up and went to bed. I layed down and thought I would just go back to sleep.. and then had the strangest sensation.. like someone layed a large sack of potatoes on top of me.. my head felt heavy.. my chest felt heavy, then my stomach and my legs. It was smothering.. I had to get up. All I could think of was.. the weight of it all was too much. The 13th, mother's day, court on Monday (another pre-trial), Kierra's birthday coming soon, is just too much. My mind flashing pictures of Kierra when she was born, when she was little, when she was a teenager, when she was pregnant, at Bri's wedding, with the babies, and the images my mind creates of her death.. it is all too much.. and there are truly times.. the weight of it all.. is smothering me and it is just too much..

Friday, May 12, 2006

Kie & babies

Kie & babies
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Kierra with Alexa & Tristan Feb. 4, 2004

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mommy & Kierra June 9 1981

Mommy & Kierra June 9 1981
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
My first born, my first everything...she gave me the gift of motherhood, and grandmotherhood, and so much more...now I will have my first Mother's day without her...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hunter long cast

Hunter long cast
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Hunter day three of broken arm!

Hunter short cast

Hunter short cast
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Day one of broken arm..

All is good..

Okay, I have been razzed for not "writing" much lately and for using atricles, e-mails, etc. to fill space... Guilty as charged! I have been busy, out of town, then sick.. not really excuses, just how it is..
Hunter is registered for Kindergarten.. he is going to J. Allen Axson, a Montessori school, we are very happy he got in. He goes to all his Doctors tomorrow.. A dermatologist for 2 small growths in his groin area.. had to wait for a referral.. may just be some type of wart.. started with one, then got a 2nd one and they are getting larger. Then in the afternoon, he goes to the ortho Dr. to check his arm, hopefully get his cast off, and see what tests they want to do to check what is going on with his bones. His Pre-K graduation is May 18th. Hard to believe he starts school the beginning of August! His Pre-K cap & gown pix should be back by graduation. I will post them when I get them.
Alexa is our resident Nudist. I thought it was because she didn't like her diaper wet or dirty.. now it is just because she wants to be naked! She is Houdini.. and gets her brother to unzip her PJs when I put them on her backwards. I now have to come up with new ideas to keep her clothed.. it wouldn't be such a big deal, but miss Nudie pees wherever she is standing (or sitting!)when she doesn't have a diaper on..
Tristan is our resident Demolition expert.. he can break anything he can get his hands on.. kicked the wall to knock down their CD player and managed to rip the door off of it while they were taking a nap yesterday.. (it was up on a high shelf in their room.. he knows if he kicks the wall, it vibrates and knocks things down.).. has gotten into the curio cabinet unnoticed (how??) and broke one of Brian's police memorial things. We aren't even sure when that happened! He can climb up and over the couch with a single bound.. has ripped the security system wiring from around their window.. (it goes almost down to the floor.. they stand on the window sill and look out.) He was so proud he showed it to me when I was coming home yesterday and they were supposed to be taking a nap. I couldn't get the wiring off without a chisel when I have removed it from other windows!
Then we have mornings like today.. Hunter was at school and it was just the twins & I.. we were on the living room floor and they tried to tickle me.. so I tickled them back, and they were all laughs and giggles, hugs & kisses. Alexa laughed out loud like her mother and I had to hold back tears for a minute, she looks so much like her, and her mannerisms are so familiar to me. Tristan does the "Becky Look" like Kierra did, where he tilts his head down then looks out of the top of his eyes. Usually when he is into mischief or in trouble.. just like his mother!
So all is good.. as good as it can be...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

An e-mail worth sharing..

Subject: Happy Mothers Day

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers
in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and
cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here"
Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying
babies who can't be comforted. This is for all the mothers who show up
at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses
and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew
Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.
This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see.
And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.
This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are
hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers
at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of
their cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could
say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.
This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the
grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream
for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten
instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and
explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand) mothers
who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can
eat. For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for
a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."
This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie
their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who
opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and
their daughters to sink a jump shot.
This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a
little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their
own offspring are at home -- or even away at college.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with
stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only
to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick
them up. Right away.
This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't
find the words to reach them.
For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when
their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings,
and the mothers of those who did the shooting.
For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in
front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from
school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be
peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway?
Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby,
cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your
son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for
the very first time?
The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2
A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when you just
want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in
your home?

Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child
when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?
The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are
for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep
And mature mothers learning to let go.
For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.
Single mothers and married mothers..
Mothers with money, mothers without.
This is for you all. For all of us

Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can. Tell
them every day that we love them. And pray.

"Home is what catches you when you fall - and we all fall."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It is still so fresh..

There have been alot of things lately that bring it all forward again. I can't just tuck it away at the back of my mind. I posted Brian's entry to Kierra's online guestbook from her obituary. He is more eloquent than he thinks..
We went to court this morning with the officer and his wife who's 24 year old daughter, Kristen, was killed on March 12th. As I sat there I thought.. this is so raw for them, so fresh. I thought about next week being Mother's day and also 6 months since Kierra was killed. I think of a baby going from birth to 6 months old.. half a year.. and all the growth that child goes through. So how can it be 6 months since that horrible moment?? How can so much of my world have kept going?
Brian & I held hands in court this morning. I think of how you plan a marriage.. to love each other for better and worse. I never imagined this. That the "worse" would or could be this awful. I couldn't love him more. I am so glad we have turned to each other instead of away.
The Fernandina Shrimp Festival is this weekend. Brian & I both realized it was something we couldn't do yet.. that was a family affair. Everyone's schedule was too crazy to go last year. Maybe we will take the kids next year..
I am going to Atlanta with Greta this weekend. An emotional retreat.. no promises that I will be out of this funk when I get back... it is what it is!

Brian's entry to the Online guestbook for Kie..

To My Grouch,I know I probably should have put an entry here sooner, but words are so hard to find. I've never been as eloquent as your Mom is. I love you and miss you so much. Not a day goes by that you're not in my thoughts. I still can't imagine having to live the rest of my life without your smile, your laugh and hearing you say "I love you daddy!". I wish I could spend just one more hour, just one more day, just one more lifetime with you here. I go to the place where I lost you often, just to think and talk to you. If only you could answer back. I'm trying so hard to hold on to all the memories I have of you so that I can pass them on to Alexa and Tristan. I want them to know what an awesome mother you were. I know that you would have been the Mom that all the other kids were jealous of ("Your mom is so cool! I wish my mom was like yours"" are what I know everyone would have told Alexa and Tristan).I will always love you and miss you so much my baby.Love always,Dad

Monday, May 01, 2006

Top 10 Tips to Curb Road Rage from an AOL article by Edmunds.com

1. Get your Zs. A national epidemic of sleepiness is a contributing factor to road rage, according to the National Sleep Foundation. We all know how cranky we get without enough sleep. It makes us prone to feelings of annoyance, resentment and even anger. Eight hours is still the recommended daily dose of sleep for adults.
2. Plan ahead. Do you regularly whiz through your morning routine in a whirlwind of chaos, trying to make up time while on the road? Do you allow just enough time to drive to an appointment? Then you're probably also more prone to a lead foot and a lost temper. If you add 10 minutes to your expected travel time, you'll have time to stop for gas, safely navigate those snowy roads or detour around road construction. Also, try preparing clothing, briefcases, children's school bags and lunches the night before to minimize your morning rush. Extra time equals calmer driving.
3. Your car is not a therapist. Many of us love and identify with our cars, but sometimes you can take the "car as extension of self" idea too seriously. If your boss or your spouse left you steaming, take care not to use driving as a way to blow off steam. Competitive types (you know who you are) shouldn't try to prove themselves on heavily traveled thoroughfares -- save that enthusiasm for weekend romps on your favorite back roads. No matter how much power you've got under the hood, your vehicle is first and foremost a mode of transportation, not a weapon.
4. Turn down the bass. Without getting into the argument over "aggressive music makes people aggressive," it makes sense that listening to relaxing music -- or even a comedy channel on satellite radio -- will make you less pumped up for action than a driving bass line. Try tuning in to classical or jazz to reduce stress. Or listen to an audiobook. (Here are our Top 10 Audiobooks to get you started.) Either way will also help drown out stressful traffic noise.
5. Loosen up, then breathe: If you notice yourself clenching the steering wheel in a death grip, try flexing your fingers and loosening your hold -- you'll find that you can control the car just as well. If your right foot is cramped, set the cruise control if traffic allows. If you're on a prolonged road trip, try not to exceed three hours of travel time without a break where you get out and stretch. Struggling to see through a dirty windshield is also an unnecessary stress factor, so fill up with washer fluid before you go. Periodically roll down the window and breathe deeply and slowly.
6. It's not about you. Perhaps another driver cut you off. Or the car in front of you is braking erratically. Before you assume the driver is getting off on your rising anger levels, realize that you, as an individual, are not the target. Perhaps the driver simply made a mistake or was just being oblivious. Maybe there's a screaming baby, a loose pet or a crazed bee in the car. Maybe he was on a cell phone. The point is, don't take things so personally.
7. Hostility is toxic. And risky. People most prone to anger are almost three times more likely to have a heart attack than those with low anger, according to the American Psychological Association. Other health risks seen in those who display hostility include obesity, depression and stroke. Wow, who knew? Safe driving promotes healthy hearts!Not only will giving into anger not resolve an irritating situation, it can increase the risk of retaliation. Think to yourself, "Is making my point worth endangering my life?" If all else fails, do a mental 180 and try to laugh it off.
8. Use restaurant etiquette. While it's upsetting when a stranger is rude or cuts in line in a restaurant or store, most folks wouldn't lose their cool and become abusive as a result. It isn't only because they have good manners. Driving a car makes people feel more isolated and protected, allowing them to act in ways they would normally find embarrassing. So when another driver acts like a jerk, respond as though you're in a restaurant. And we don't mean Chuck E. Cheese's.
9. Take the self-test. Classes designed to help curb aggressive driving often have participants tape-record themselves while driving. Hearing themselves swear or rant on tape is enough of a wake-up call for them to recognize and reduce dangerous behavior. So try analyzing your driving. Do any of the following statements sound like you? · I regularly exceed the speed limit in order to get to work on time. · I tailgate other drivers, especially those who sit in the left lane. · I flash my lights and honk my horn to let drivers know when they annoy me. · I verbally abuse other drivers whether they can hear me or not. · I frequently weave in and out of traffic to get ahead. · I feel the need to set bad drivers straight. If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, your driving may qualify as aggressive. The American Institute for Public Safety (AIPS) has a more detailed RoadRageous Test that determines if your driving habits fall under the "aggressive zone," "hostile zone" or -- worse yet -- "war zone."
10. Practice kindness. Dr. Leon James, aka "Dr. Driving" and author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, says that remembering simple courtesies, like allowing someone to merge or apologizing when we make a mistake, can go a long way in making the driving experience positive for ourselves and others. His basic motto is the old "do unto others" rule: Treat fellow drivers how you would like to be treated.As additional incentive, reducing your aggressiveness on the road can also keep you out of serious trouble: Several states have created special law enforcement teams to seek out and cite aggressive drivers. Depending on the frequency of offenses, violators may be fined, lose their license temporarily or even face jail time. Often, they are required to take a behavior-modification class as well.We're all bound to lose our cool at some point, but by planning ahead and keeping things in perspective, we can prevent our emotions from getting the best of us. Putting aggressive driving in park will help to ensure your own safety, as well as the safety of everyone around you.