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.