Thursday, December 27, 2007

You know the drill..

There are pix of the kids all geared up with their new scooters, go to the photo gallery to see them.. just click on any of the photos I've posted. Will post more later..

Alexa's Tea Party!


Alexa's Tea Party!
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Alexa insisted everyone have a tea party with her.. Bri & Chad were showing her the "proper" way to drink your tea!

Brian's big present... Hunter

Brian told Hunter he didn't want anything for Christmas. When Hunter told him he had to open something, Brian told him to wrap himself up because that would be the best present ever... So this was Hunter's Idea!

Christmas Day 8:30 am "After"


Christmas Day 8:30 am "After"
Originally uploaded by mommanana

Christmas Eve/ Day... 2 am! "Before"


on Hold..

We are still in a holding pattern on the closing for the Beckley house. I will post Christmas pix, etc. later..

Monday, December 24, 2007

Just Listen...

The lights are bright on our Christmas tree,
decorations are draped all around.
When all is quiet in the dark of night
I listen yet don't hear a sound.

My mind can hear the laughter
of Christmas's gone by.
My mind can recall the visions
I barely have to try.

Most memories come unheeded
of Christmas around a tree.
With all my children with me
gathered at my knee.

This Christmas we have a different tree
and are making traditions anew.
With your children gathered at my knee
sharing memories of you.

My heart can feel your laughter
from Christmas's gone by.
My heart can feel your presence
I barely have to try.

The lights are bright on our Christmas tree,
decorations are draped all around.
You are with me in the dark of night
I just listen with my heart and you are found.

mjs 12-24-07

Hope vs. Caution

Update on the Beckley house.. it is still ours. We didn't close last week because the appraisal report didn't get done in time. That is the responsibility of the buyer's side of things. We are scheduled to close this Wed. the 26th.. the day after Christmas, "Boxing Day" in England. We are hopeful, yet cautious.. let's hope that "Hope" wins out and all goes well!

Dancing with a Dervish..

Dervish :as bodily movements leading to a trance
:one that whirls or dances with or as if with the abandonment of a dervish

Last Wednesday I got my cast off. My finger was pretty much healed, he just wanted to be sure it was set before I had full use of it enough to do some therapy for my hand. The rules were to keep it taped for 3 weeks until I saw the doc again Jan. 14th. I did pretty good until after Hunter's party. The tape got wet & yucky, so I took it off in the kitchen and headed to the bathroom for more tape. Alexa came dancing by me, grabbed my hand to twirl herself and when she lost her balance she grabbed my finger and twisted to catch herself... snapping and twisting my almost healed finger and rebreaking it! I didn't think it could be broken worse than the first time, or be more painful..but IT IS! They said it was a spiral break this time and was more difficult to heal. The first time it hurt, but I was able to use the hand to support or carry things and I could use the available fingers to open things, etc. Not this time. To use it at all is very painful. I am even typing one handed! I broke down and filled a script for some pain meds. I haven't taken any yet although after running errands yesterday I said I was going to. It is even worse this morning. So I will take half of one and see how that goes. Of course my ortho doc is off til Wed, so I have a temporary hard cast on until I see him. I am sure he will be thrilled. I know I am! The new rules from the ER doc.. no more dancing!

Birthday Boy!


Hunter Newborn
Originally uploaded by mommanana
He is 7 now.. despite my requests for him to stop growing! He had a great day, and an awesome party. I have been spoiled by the availability of places to have parties.. Chuck E. Cheese, Ollie Koala's, Dave & Buster's. Hunter has asked for a costume party for 2 years now. He wanted it to have nothing to do with Christmas. So this year we had a costume party. He invited his classmates and his friends. Out of 20 kids invited, he had 6 show up. They had a blast! We set up our bouncy castle. We set up the sand box so they could dig for buried pirate coins to claim a treasure prize. We rented a popcorn machine and a cotton candy machine too. I fed them Chick-fil-a, lots of sugar and sent them home with more! Hunter said it was the best birthday ever.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jack 12-17-07 9 lbs 1 oz


Jack 12-17-07 9 lbs 1 oz
Originally uploaded by mommanana
I am an Auntie again.. Cricket keeps me loaded with nephews and a neice! This is #6 for her. Isn't he beautiful?!

Hunter, Tristan, Santa & Alexa 12-1-07

This was at a party our Realtor's office had, just got the pix back.. individual pix in the gallery, click on this one to get there as usual.
Is it just me.. or does this Santa look mean?? I didn't notice that at the time!
Tristan looks so short because he was scrunching down to be next to Hunter.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Let it snow!

Caught this website from another blog... too cute! Add a little fun to your day, go make a snowflake!
http://www.popularfront.com/snowdays/

Santa & Alexa 12-8-07


Santa & Tristan 12-8-07


Jackpott Santa & Hunter 12-8-07

We went to the Jacksonville Parents Of Twins & Triplets Christmas party yesterday. The kids had fun. I am waiting for some other Santa pix, but these will do for now. They were taken with my cell phone and everyone was moving, so excuse that they are a little blurry! You can click on any of the Santa pix and go view the photo gallery.

Silent Night!

(I loaded these through the blog, so you can't click on them to get to the photo gallery. I won't do that again! Sorry!)

This was the end result to watching Christmas shows after playing outside. They didn't want pillows & blankets because they weren't tired! Did I wake them up? NO. Did I put them into their beds right away (raising the odds that they would wake up)? NO. I took full advantage of the peace & quiet. I left them there for a while and when I was ready to shut things down and go into my room, then I moved them and they stayed asleep!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas Tree Training!

We have a beautiful Christmas tree. It is full and tall, and right now waiting to have ornaments put on it. The lights and topper are on, but it may be a while before I dare to put anything else on it. I may even take it down and get a tiny bright red metallic tree instead. Maybe then Tristan would stop trying to climb it! He trys to climb it, he hides his toys among the branches, & he flings socks to see how high they go before they stick to it. Alexa watches, cheers him on, and when she thinks no one is watching she joins in. Her favorite thing is to change the light pattern... Papa's little princess for sure! So we are going through Christmas Tree Training here at the Shore house.. what NOT to do to the tree! It is uncertain wether the recruits will pass or fail, and the tree's survival is in question, but I won't give up without a fight!

Along for the ride..

You might be suprised to learn that Princess Alexa has quite a temper, is stubborn, and likes to stick out her tongue... remind you of anyone?.. besides me!? That is also when she looks the most like Kierra. It is hard to maintain your composure when she is in the middle of a fit and you see Kierra in her loud and clear. Sometimes it makes us want to laugh, and other times it is hard not to cry. But we stick to our guns and get through it. It is amazing at almost 4 years old that they have such developed personalities. They always have, but now it is more vocal, more defined. Most of the time it is Tristan getting into mischief, usually with Hunter right along with him. Both boys are so active and so loud! Alexa tends to play more on her own, and although she will play with them, she will veer toward playing by herself. She is generally quieter and easier to entertain if I want to get things done and need them to settle in one place. Tristan can't seem to sit still. Now don't be fooled, Alexa can keep up with the boys and do her own share of mayhem. Just yesterday she coated all her little play people with powder. Thank God for Vaccum cleaners! At least she kept it in one place.
When Kierra was about Lexie's age she & Brianne were supposedly taking a nap. Kierra let Bri, who was about a year or so old, "help" her spray a full bottle of baby powder into the air in the bedroom. It was everywhere! In the speaker holes of the bedside radio, coated all over the hardwood floors, blankets, beds, etc. It took days to clean it all up. Trust me, a little powder goes a long way.. a lot of powder is endless! I think the clock radio still had powder in it when we got rid of it years later!
So some things are destined to be repeated. There are some things they will do just like she did. But they are not her, they are their own person, and they will make their own way in this world.. we are just along for the ride!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

NOEL


NOEL
Originally uploaded by mommanana
My other project I was determined to finish today. I found these decorations on sale at Home Depot because they are discontinued. They are made from grapevines so the brown blends with the landscaping during the day. We aren't messing with all the icicle lights this year.. too much work. The deer's heads move, the kid's want them to stay all year! I am sure the neighbors would love that!
Tristan thinks he should be able to ride them.. good thing they don't go out front unsupervised. I will have to keep an extra keen ear on the door alarm, I am sure he will try it at least once!

My "new" laundry room


My "new" laundry room
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Well, clean and organized makes it new for me.. it only took me 7 months! Actually I reorganized all the cabinets today to keep all the cleaning stuff out of the kids reach. Then I put up the shelf to hang clothes on and set up the bins to sort the laundry as it goes in there. I even labeled the bins. (Thank you Terri for that idea!) We'll see if it helps keep the laundry under control! I still need to put up the window blind, but since it faces the dog run and the preserve full of trees we haven't worried about it. This was hard enough with only one good hand! The kids are excited about using the signs to put their clothes in the bins.. we'll see how long that lasts!

Let the games begin..

Brian got a Brookstone catalog in the mail the other day and debated getting new LED lights for our tree. We decided to wait and maybe get some on sale after Christmas for next year. I had lunch with my friend Vicky on Sunday and explained the Christmas Tree Light Game we play every year. We have 2 sets of lights that can be set for over a dozen different patterns. It can be quite a chore to get them synchronized, but they look great when they are all done. I like them on constant, or on a slow, calm wave. Brian likes to set them to trick me. There is a pattern that starts out on constant, then goes completely out, then flashes one color at a time until all are flashing, then starts the constant, out, etc, all over again. My least favorite pattern I have nicknamed "prelude to a seizure." It starts out in a nice, calm wave throughout the tree. Then it speeds up gradually until it is frenetically flashing like a disco strobe light gone awry. Brian likes to mess with the patterns, I like to leave it alone, once it is set where I want it! Another Shore tradition, twisted as it may be.. let the games begin!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Where are you Christmas?

I was diligently filling out Christmas cards tonight, not really feeling in the Christmas mood, which is the norm lately, when this song came on my kitchen radio.. quite fitting..
"Where Are You Christmas"
Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean
Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go
Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh
If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
(I'm still working on this part!)
I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love
Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

Just "fine"..

I started my day with a broken stocking holder, a very red ear, and flourescent yellow crayon melted all inside my dryer and all over Alexa's new jeans! Tristan learned the hard way not to pull on the stockings on the mantel. The Mickey stocking holder hit his ear on the way to the floor and is quite heavy. No cuts, but it will probably bruise. I hope Alexa learned by example. I repaired the broken stocking holder, (Thank You super glue!) and on to the next disaster..
I just bought Alexa a couple pairs of jeans because she has less pants than the boys do. I washed them with a load of jeans and then threw a couple pair along with a pair of Hunter's jeans into the dryer so they could get dressed and we could go to a Santa party. When I opened the dryer everything, including the inside of my dryer, was flourescent yellow! Thank goodness I turned Lexie's new jeans inside out.. just the cuff and waistband show bright yellow, but the other jeans weren't so lucky. No one knows where the crayon came from or whose pocket it was in. I check most pockets, but for over a dozen pair of puny jeans there is bound to be a missed one.. obviously!
I cleaned out my dryer somewhat and will finish it later. We went to the Santa party, will post pix when I get them. I then dropped them at daycare for a couple hours so I could run some errands in relative peace & quiet. The time flew by too fast and here we are back home. In the past half hour Alexa has gotten soap bubbles in her eye, Hunter and Tristan bumped heads, and I am about to throw every little toy & whistle they got at that party straight into the trash so they will quit arguing who got what color, etc!
Other than that we're just fine!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Channeling Martha Stewart!

A sure sign I am feeling better.. I channeled Martha Stewart today! I had gotten some plain wooden cut out Christmas trees at Hobby Lobby to use on my mantel. I decided not to use them so back in the bag they went to be returned. I bought 5 sprigs of holly berries for the same purpose and only used 4. I have a thing about empty spaces. I have to fill them. With all the deocrating I did in my entry way there was a definite void on the ledge over my front door. I put some snow fluff up there, then decided to use the wooden trees. But they were too plain. Then it happened.. Martha popped into my head. I snipped all the red berries off the spare sprig and hot glued them to the trees. I had just enough. Then I hung some fake mistletoe in the center of the arched window. Under the mistletoe I put the 2 kissing bears Brian's mom gave us years ago with little ribbons on them saying Gramma & Grampa. It is all Martha's fault, and looks really cute! The kids love it, they go from one thing to another.. it's Mismas! HoHoHo!

The Prodigal Son Returns!

Chad went to visit a friend in Texas before Thanksgiving and finally got home this morning. He actually flew into JAX late last night after missing his flight. Thank you to his Auntie Greta for picking him up! It will be nice to be able to run to the store to get something and have it only take 10 minutes to go by myself rather than the 30 minutes or more it took when I had to take the kids with me! And as much as he drives me crazy sometimes, as do all my children(!), I did miss him and it is good to have him home!

By The Way..

.. I have just about gotten all the Christmas decorations up and done other than the tree, which we will work on this weekend. It looks like a Christmas store puked in here!

A fear of hope..

It has been such a rough week I just am not sure I can take much more emotionally. Maybe that is why I have this fear of hope. We have a good offer on the Beckley house. It all sounds good, and I don't have the uneasy feeling I had with the last offer. Yet I have a serious fear of hope. I am afraid to hope that this will all go smoothly. They want to close before Christmas. This would be such a huge weight off our shoulders. Maybe the fear is because we don't just want this, we need this. And I think it would shatter me for this to fall through. It is strange for me to feel "fragile." To feel so vulnerable. And yes, to admit it! So wish us luck, say a prayer, whatever works! And I will work on getting my emotional strength and confidence back!

NO,NO,NO!

There, I practiced!
I had quite the converstaion with my therapist today.. yes I am seeing one.. don't get your hopes up, I have been seeing her for years now and am still an emotional mess!.. Imagine if I wasn't seeing her!!
Anywho, she said that my being morose and miserable wasn't really such a bad thing. I tend to tuck it all away and keep it controlled most of the time and right now my emotions are on overload and want out! So for those around when I spew... sorry! She also gave me homework.. to practice saying NO. I tend to agree to do whatever is asked of me and then I am overwhelmed. I think I will get a failing grade on that one, I have done it for years.
I did get alot of the Christmas stuff out and have done some decorating. I finished the mantel tonight. I will post a pic in the next day or so. A pearl of wisdom from the movie "What about Bob"... baby steps.. baby steps.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today sucks some more..

I damaged, and pretty much lost, a very important relationship today. We sometimes use an attorney we have known for years. She has been instrumental in some very important events in our lives. She handled Kierra's name change for us, she handled Hunter's, (and Katie & Cody's) adoption for us. We met her in another legal situation before all that. She is why Kierra chose the name Alexa. She has been handling some paperwork for us and more than once her assistant has made mistakes and given me misinformation. The most recent incident caused some major problems with my credibility with Alex. (the twin's biological father). From a legal standpoint it is within the norm, but from a moral standpoint, I consider the wording used in a document she filed to be misrepresenting and wrong. And, unfortunately, so does Alex. It also makes it look like I lied to him, when I went by information her assistant gave me. She is going to write Alex a letter explaining the miscommunication, which will hopefully fix that issue between he and I. The document can't be canceled and refiled without legal cause. Technically there isn't any. She feels if I don't trust her asistant, I don't trust her. That really isn't true. I tried to explain to her that I trust and respect her completely. I just don't know that I could trust her assistant anymore due to this and past issues. I understand how she feels, but cannot change how I feel. I cannot afford to have Alex upset with me. I feel so heartbroken over this. I feel like I had to sacrifice her to keep things on an even keel with Alex. She does not feel comfortable continuing to be our attorney. And I can't stop crying...

And so it begins..

I decided to steer clear of the tree decorations and older boxes of Christmas stuff for now and got out the decorations for around the house and any newer stuff from the past few years. That was a good idea in theory. I thought that would help me avoid any major nostalgia or emotional thunderstorms. The first box I opened had smaller boxes I didn't recall, so I opened them. Only to discover the Carebear tabletop decoration and Carebear ornaments I got for Kierra & the twins for their 2005 Christmas. She never saw them. I never had the chance to give them to her. No matter how hard I try, the thoughts still come that there was still so much I wanted to give her, a whole lifetime I wanted to share with her and her children. This really sucks!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mantel decorated for Thanksgiving

This was an easy transition from Halloween, but now I have to pack it all away and get the Christmas stuff out. Closer pix on the gallery. It is odd, decorating for Halloween and Thanksgiving wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, although some memories were bittersweet. I really dread doing the Christmas thing, but I will. The twins have been saying "mismas hohoho" when they see any Christmas decorations or videos. So I guess I need to keep up with their Christmas spirit!

Twins on the bull 11-24-07


Twins on the bull 11-24-07
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Brianne & I took the kids to the ranch for the weekend. I only got to ride once in the wee hours, but the kids had a blast! This is a fake roping bull the kids love to play on at the ranch, the twins are no exception! They were waiting their turn to ride. Click on the pic to view them on horseback and enjoy other photos in the gallery. There is even a suprise photo with a mystery guest.. check it out!

Family Gatherings..

This was an internet article a friend sent to me. I found it quite interesting and somewhat helpful. Not just for dealing with family for the Holidays, but for dealing with the past, expectations, and being true to yourself. Take what you can from it, and toss the rest!

Built Upon the Past.....Family Holidays

As the holidays approach, you may be preparing yourself to gather with family members you don’t usually spend time visiting. You may even feel that you are choosing to meet more from a sense of obligation than celebration. But when we trust that the universe always places us exactly where we need to be, we know that we have been placed in our families for some higher purpose. Your spirit may have chosen that particular group of souls to help you learn certain lessons, or to give you the experiences necessary to overcome specific challenges. And when we feel we’ve moved away from situations that don’t resemble us or the life we choose to live, it can seem frustrating to put ourselves back into an old scenario. But even a sense of obligation is a sign that you are still connected to the energy of your family, and for that alone it is worth investing yourself into making the most of any gathering.
Once surrounded by people from your past, you may find that you are feeling challenged by a sort of identity crisis. There is likely to be a gap between the person you know yourself to be now and how you are seen by those who knew you before. But you can call upon your inner strength to stand in your truth and simply be who you are without needing their approval or heeding any criticism. Then, you can offer them the gift you’d like to receive when you also allow them to be themselves. Being in situations that we might not choose for ourselves allows us to see ourselves in a new light. The contrast helps us to see our own strengths and weaknesses, and to learn to accept others for theirs.
Part of the magic of family is the way in which it bonds diverse people together, allowing them to function as a complete unit. Who we are today has been built upon our past. If nothing else, rejoining with the family and friends who knew us in our earlier days allows us to recall where we came from so that we can appreciate all that we’ve been given.

11-22-07 Cruisin in the Hummer

Cousin Samantha, Tristan, Alexa, & Hunter taking an after dinner drive!

11-22-07 The Kiddie Table


11-22-07 The Kiddie Table
Originally uploaded by mommanana
We finally used our dining room and tables for a sit down dinner. We have 2 square tables, so we can use them seperately or put them together to make one huge table. Remember sitting at the kiddie table when you were young? I do, at my grandmother's house. Even when I wasn't a "kid" anymore! We used the kid's picnic table. Brian's Mom, his younger brother & his family, joined us for Thanksgiving. It was a lot of cleaning, and a lot of cooking. It was a hard day without Kie. We did our best to remember all we have to be thankful for. Hope you & yours did the same.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Time change..

It has been a busy few days. Thursday night I was up til 4:30 am cooking for a Teacher appreciation lunch at Hunter's school on Friday. So I only got a couple hours sleep. I volunteered at the school a couple hours yesterday and got through most of the day. It gets dark so early now it is hard to gauge time. I thought for sure it had to be late. I felt absolutely exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open. So I decided to get the kids ready for bed and turn in early. When I checked the time it was..... only 6pm! The kids thought it was so cool that we ate pizza in our pajamas. We watched transformers and they fell asleep on the couch. I put them to bed, put away some laundry, dozed on the couch about an hour, cleaned the kitchen, spent a few minutes with Brian when he got home around midnight, and went to bed about 12:30-1am. My head hit the pillow..and Alexa woke up crying. I got her a drink, and tucked her back in. (They used to take a sippy cup to bed so they would have a drink if they woke up, but we got rid of almost all sippy cups this week!) I got back to my bed, just started to fall asleep, and Tristan woke me up for a drink. He walked right past Brian.. my drinks must taste better! Finally I got back to bed and crashed. Brian tried to let me sleep in this morning before he went to work, but in this house that is next to impossible. So far today I have fixed the kids breakfast.. mini muffins, bananas, scrambled eggs, bacon, & toast. Completely emptied and cleaned out the fridge, read and answered 20 emails, caught up on the blogs I like to read, and now I am going to sweep and mop the kitchen floor. It just hit 11 am! I wish I could convince them to take naps!
I say I will get to bed early, but I know I won't. I am tired often, but this kind of tired is different. Chad says it is because when you break a bone it wears out your body to heal it. I don't remember being this exhausted when I broke my foot. My therapist said it could be depression. But I am often depressed and it isn't the same. So who knows, I figure I'll blame it on the time change!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our Fall Foliage


Our Fall Foliage
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Doesn't look like much does it? I do not even know what type of tree this is. We have one out front, and a couple more in the back yard. It is losing it's leaves quickly, but for a short time I have just a touch of north around me. I'll take what I can get! I love the northern colors of fall, the natural display that signifies change of season. Florida tends to go from green to gray/beige with little to no fanfare. I will enjoy this little tree now before it grows up and I have back breaking raking to do!

Feeling Froggy


I spy.. a green baby frog.
Originally uploaded by mommanana
I spy.. a little green tree frog. They are everywhere. They are the size of your thumbnail. The brave ones show themselves all over my front windows and the window sills. The more bashful hide among the plants and bushes in the front yard.
Alexa sees them and responds in the miniature maternal way girls talk to their dolls and babies of any kind.. "awwww baby froggy, you cute!" Tristan responds in the timeless language of boys.." Hah, froggy, cool, I want one!" I tell him he has hundreds, and they live outside. Although I have rescued numerous ones from inside the house, disposing quickly of the ones I find that didn't get rescued quick enough!
I am not up to the great Shore tadpole rescue we had a few years ago. Adding 30-40 tadpoles/frogs to the house is just too much to even consider! We will enjoy them while we have them around us and then we will remember them in pictures. As it is with all things precious to us..

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One More Time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crQ7Y2alDxI

I meant to post this link instead of one of the other ones yesterday, but they are all funny. I think laughter is one of the best medicines! So take a break and laugh a little!

Monday, November 12, 2007

You gotta laugh a little..

If you have read the previous blog you will understand how I was feeling after I read it and posted it this morning. I was thinking how tired I am. How tired of the way grief drains your soul. How I miss her laughter, her full out, from the gut laughter. As I thought that I came accross a video clip on another blog. I don't normally bother with them, but clicked on it anyway. I laughed out loud! It struck me so unexpectedly, and I laughed some more. Then I saw another clip and checked it out. It was hilarious. I do not normally laugh out loud when I think something is funny. And humor is selective, you may not find it as funny as I did. But you know what? It was a Kierra kind of humor, she would have laughed the loudest. I think she was right there with me, showing me I needed to laugh a little, maybe even alot.. so here are my chuckles for today, go laugh a little!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IR5HWr9IIw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MdVx6UYpHg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWUf7_CB644

A Father's Love..

Brian posted this on the website Brenda created in memory of Kierra. I wanted to share it with you. (Her site is www.myspace.com/kie_ker )

Nov 10 2007 3:18 PM
To My Grouch,
Not a day goes by without thinking about you and missing you so much. The last time I would ever see you was two years ago today. I had worked the night before and was up because I had to go to a driver’s license hearing on a drunk driving arrest. You came by the house to borrow the vacuum to do some cleaning at your new apartment. You said one of the kids’ toys was stuck in your vacuum so it wasn’t working. I told you to go ahead. As you left, you said, “I love you Daddy!”. That was the last words I would ever hear you say and I cherish the sound of them as I replay that moment over and over in my mind.Lately I’ve had the last lines running through my mind from one country song you liked. It’s from “Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim Mcgraw. I’m sure you’d remember it, it goes: “Take the very breath you gave me. Take the heart from my chest. I’ll gladly take her place if you’ll let me. Make this my last request. Take me out of this world. God please don’t take the girl!” I wish over and over I could take your place so you could be here with your babies, Mom, Brianne, Chad, Hunter and everyone else that misses you as much as I do. All My Love and Hugs and Kisses, Daddy

Every Day..

I have been asked why I am not having any type of memorial service for Kierra tomorrow. I know some people need that sort of thing, or think they do. But I don't. I don't want to make more of the day she died than I do of all the days she lived. I miss her every day. I try to celebrate her life. Not commemorate her death. Her friends & family should get together to spend time with her children, celebrate the life she had, the lives she created and had to leave behind, not to mourn her. And not just on the day she died.
Yes, I will mourn her tomorrow. I will mourn her and everything we lost on that day 2 years ago. But I will do it by taking a walk on the beach, maybe take her kids to the park. Maybe I will go see a movie..of course a scary one, those were her favorite! Because that is what I do often when I miss her, on all the days I am reminded that she was taken from me. So do what you want/need to do. Remember her however you feel will honor her in your memory and your heart. That is what I do every day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A day full of Births..

Sending big birthday wishes to my sister, and one of my closest friends, Greta. Also sharing this auspicious day is my Puerto Rican Baby, Jezell up in the Bronx, NY, and my nephew Eddie in Tennessee. Quite a productive day, and what special people it produced! Hope you all have a great day!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Camping In" 11-10-07


Camping In 11-10-07
Originally uploaded by mommanana

This is the option when you promised to go camping, but it is a Holiday weekend and you messed up your hand. Then you can't camp out in the back yard because it is going to be 48 degrees outside tonight. So we are camping in. Brian bought these for the kids last Christmas, this is the first time they've been out of the box. They came with their own sleeping bag, flashlight, & compass. Now it's time for hot chocolate & Marshmallows!

Click on pic for close ups of each one!

Ready for Winter! 11-10-07


Ready for Winter! 11-10-07
Originally uploaded by mommanana

The Claw!


The claw
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Or hook, whatever the kids decide to call it at any given time! Note the color, purple was the only color they had at the ortho office yesterday. I have to wear this for at least 4 weeks. They think the break will heal enough by then for me to start physical therapy on the tendons and muscles I messed up when the finger seperated from my hand. I am getting used to doing things one handed! I can't use the salt & pepper grinders very well, and I have to be careful not to drop anything breakable when I am getting things in and out of the fridge. In the light of day at the doc's office I decided I really didn't need any drugs. In the dark of night I cursed myself. I will manage with my tylenol since they said I have to take that, not my Advil that I prefer.
A bonus is that the hard cast will protect my hand when I go horse back riding.. did you actually think I wouldn't still do that?! The downside is.. I can't kayak, and it is a bear trying to wash dishes or shower! Everything is a trade off!

Brian helping with the kids! 11-10-07

I couldn't resist sharing the view I saw when I came out of the kitchen this morning. I had been cleaning up after breakfast and thought it seemed a little too quiet. The twins are engrossed in Mickey's playhouse and must have decided to be quiet so Papa could sleep. He doesn't get home and into bed until after 1 am when he works the evening shift like he did last night, and we wake him up pretty early with all the noise and kid chaos in the morning. Hunter was off playing in his room. Let's see how long this lasts and how much I can get done!

What would you do?

I posted the following comment on another blog I read and thought it was worth sharing here. The post was about seeing someone with a rear facing carseat in the front seat. Should she have said something? She also commented about seeing someone excessively discipline their child in public, or a friend over indulging in alcohol when she was pregnant. I know I recently mentioned my new mantra "Not my ___, not my problem." But I must admit in similar situations I would have to try to help, here are my reasons why, what would you do?


I used to be the one who kept quiet and worried about it all day, sometimes longer. After dealing with a sad situation that could have been prevented I decided not to be the quiet one anymore. I have addressed similar situations numerous times. Most are not pleasant conversations, yet suprisingly, some are. Either way, if I make that person stop and think even for a moment, or make them look up the dateline article on how dangerous the carseat issue is, then maybe it was worth a few minutes of uncomfortable conversation in a parking lot or store. Maybe it will make enough difference to change or save a life. I don't aproach them in anger, I aproach them like a friend I am worried about. I aproach them like the young, scared, uninformed mother I once was. You never know if they just needed someone to tell them where to go for help, or just needed to hear a friendly voice when everything else in their life is going terribly wrong. We tend to feel it isn't our place or our problem. I used to feel that way, and I missed out on the feeling of doing good, of making a difference, of touching just a little bit more of this earthly world I am living in. It far outweighs the nasty response you sometimes get and it far outweighs saying nothing at all. Another bonus, my 6 year old son notices others more and often points out someone in need, whether it is an elderly person who needs help or someone struggling to deal with their child. It isn't in a nosy way. It is with concern and compassion. What better way to teach than by example.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Give Me A Break!! Really!

Today was a busy day, so after I picked Hunter up from school we went home and got the twins, their sand toys, and Cali. We took the long walk around our block and ended it at the playground. They dug in the sand and played for almost an hour. They filled in their holes and slid down the slides a few more times. Just as we were about to go a big dump truck drove by. Something on it made a very loud metal BANG and the twins covered their ears and yelled, "Too Loud!" which is what they do when something is too loud. Cali tried to jump and run, but got caught up in her leash, which then freaked her out more so she started howling. I didn't want her to hurt herself or scare the kids so I reached for her harness. There is a metal loop where you attach the leash. My left pinky slid into that loop just as Cali twisted away. I felt and heard the snap, grabbed the harness and her with my right hand, and got my finger out. It was sticking out from my hand at an odd angle. I didn't even hesitate, I pulled and pushed it back in place. Of course I screamed and the kids came running. I told them I was fixing my boo boo and we needed to go home. I got them all home, grabbed a towel and some ice and drove myself to the ER. I went to where Brianne works so I could hopefully get through quicker. I dislocated that finger and broke it from the lower knuckle diagonally across up to the middle knuckle. they said it was a good thing I set it back in place so it didn't shift or break through the skin. If I keep it immobile it should heal without having to put pins in it. I have to get to an ortho doc tomorrow to get a set cast. I can't do anything halfway can I?! I turned down pain meds because I just don't take them and figured it couldn't hurt worse than when I set it, right? Okay, wrong! I am calling my doc as soon as they open and I want drugs! So I am off to search my medicine cabinet for some relief. It's all uphill from here, right??

The rollercoaster continues..

Well, I had been putting off blogging because I didn't really have much good stuff to talk about. It has been a frustrating week. I fired my realtor on Monday, hired a new one today. I have been dealing with some people this week who either don't know their job, or they just don't care, either way they are useless to me! My Neurologist says they found another ruptured and herniated disc (or 2!.. need to see the actual films, not the computer CD) on my thorasic spine, between my shoulder blades. As if that isn't good enough news.. they feel I have reached maximum medical improvement without surgery. So we will wait to see if the spinal injections help. I got injection #3 yesterday and have had spasms across my back and rib cage all last night and this morning.
Emotions are high anyway, so this all just adds to the roller coaster. I have been walking the kids and Cali around our 1.1 mile block every day and letting them play at the playground to let off steam and get us all some fresh air. And that leads us to another adventure.. and another blog.......

Monday, November 05, 2007

Counting on my fingers & toes..

I got to do two things I really like to do this weekend.. wait actually more than that, so help me count: (not listed in order, but how they pop into my head)
1.) Got away with my daughter & my friend for the weekend ( a 2 for 1!).
2.) Stopped at the ranch on the way up (& back) and went horse back riding! (another 2 for 1!)
3.) Went to the mountains and saw fall foliage and felt cool, crisp air..very crisp, there was frost on the ground Sunday morning & our bathing suits froze!
4.) (explanation of the frozen suits..) Went into a hot tub outdoors in very cold weather, warmed up with the hot water and Asti!
5.) Got to go to the top of a mountain and see awesome beauty during my favorite time of year.
6.) Went shopping in a quaint little town, Helen...well duh! We were in the mountains, not Siberia!
7.) Got to stay in a rustic cabin complete with stone fireplace.

It was different to spend time in close qaurters with people I don't really know. The Jax Kayak group gets together locally, but not often for weekend trips. There are some I wish I had more time with and some, I wish not to! I am sooo spoiled by those I know & love! Thank you all!! As usual Terri, Bri, & I made our own fun and had a great time. I would like to visit there again. It would have been cool to kayak, maybe another time. They are having an awful drought and the water levels are too low. Oh!, & I learned a new Mantra.. you fill in the blank.. "Not my ____, Not my problem!" (ie; kid, family, credit card, husband, house, etc.) It works!

On a Mountain Hike 11-3-07


On a Mountain Hike 11-3-07
Originally uploaded by mommanana
The three of us went to North Georgia with a Jax Kayak group. The water levels were too low to kayak so we went exploring the mountains. Very cool! (literally!) More pix in the photo gallery, click on pic to view!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ready to go! 10/31/07


Ready to go!
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Click on the photo to view more pix in the photo gallery!

Halloween 2007


Halloween 2007
Originally uploaded by mommanana

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

The kids had a blast, I will post some pix. Hunter was Wolverine from X-men. Tristan was Batman, Alexa was a sparkly pink & black princess-witch. (Her description!) She reminded me all day..no, not witch, princess-witch! They remembered to say Thank You and Happy Halloween. Most of the time they said Trick or Treat. There were about 1/2 the houses that participated, and 1/2 who didn't. After making 100 goodie bags, we only had about 15 trick or treaters. We only saw 2 other families out in the neighborhood. Maybe there will be more next year. Alexa kept telling people.." I like you doggie, I like you kitty, I like you spiders (decorations), almost every house she saw something she had to tell them she liked. It was really cute. We had them take turns ringing the bell/ knocking on doors. Alexa kept track of whose turn it was. After each house she would say.."Everybody, everybody..it's My/Tristan/or Hunter's turn!" She kept it straight too. Tristan & Hunter were going a mile a minute and wanted more,more, more. Typical boys! I'll post the pix on the photo gallery and put a couple here. Brianne came over and had dressed up at work like a nerd..very funny and oddly.. believable! She taught Alexa a witchy laugh, but it came out more like a HeHeHe giggle. One of the neighbors took a picture of all of us, so if he emails it to me, I'll post that too. Hope everyone had a safe night.

Red Umbrella

Rain seems to be a metaphor for me alot lately with music that touches my soul!
Jodee Messina "Bring on the Rain", Cheryl Ladd "Lady Gray", and now Faith Hill's new song..

Faith Hill Red Umbrella Lyrics

Sometimes life can get a little dark
I'm sure I've got bruises on my heart
Here come the black clouds full of pain
Yeah, you can break away without the chains

Your love is like a red umbrella
Walk the streets like Cinderella
Everyone can see it on my face

(So) let it rain
It's pourin' all around
Let it fall
(No) it ain't gonna drown me
After all
I'm gonna be okay
(So) let it rain(Oh, let it rain)
(Let it fall)(I'm gonna be okay)
(So let it rain)

You can wear your sorrow like an old raincoat
You can save your tears in a bottle made of gold
But the glitter on the sidewalk always shines
Yeah, even God needs to cry sometimes

Your love is like a red umbrella
Always there to make me better
When my broken dreams
Are fallin' from the sky

So Let it rain
It's pourin all around
Let it fall
No, it ain't gonna drown me
After all
I'm gonna be okay
So let it rain, Oh let it rain
Let it fall, I'm gonna be okay
So let it rain

Let it wash my tears away
Tomorrow's another day
Yeah
so let it rain.....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Excuse her, she's "ill"..

I am sitting here listening to the kids play at the kitchen table, loudly! They migrate to where ever I am most of the time. Right now I am baking garlic bread in my"too easy to not make it" bread machine. There are pumpkin cookies in the oven, spaghetti sauce heating up and pasta cooking on the stove. (No worries, it is all on low and I have lots of timers set!) You would think with all that going on I would feel uber productive right? Well I don't. Most of it is practically on auto pilot. I have a kitchen to clean, laundry to do, laundry to put away. I really should vaccum and I don't feel like doing any of it! I am at the tail end of a stomach virus that I worked so hard to keep the kids from getting and now I got it. So to top it off I probably won't feel like eating anything I am cooking! I know... 1-800-waaaaaaaa. It just aggravates me.
I was talking to my mother the other day when I first got sick and she was so... not really patronizing, but too nice. She said she understood why I felt so bad since the anniversary of Kierra's death is coming up. I couldn't seem to convince her it was a stomach bug. Of course it is coming up, and yes, I think about it. But it really doesn't feel worse than any other day right now. I am sure on the day it will. It is more in my face that day. But right now it feels like it does every other day. Because it is always here, that ache, that pain. It doesn't go away and just come back on certain occasions. But if you know me, know how my Mom is, then you understand. At least she isn't explaining me away as being "ill". Well, at least not that I have heard of anyway!
So I will finish up all the goodies I am cooking, feed the horde, and see what else I can get done.
Be Well!

Learning to Improvise..

I improvised on another recipe today. I didn't have the exact ingredients, but I found suitable substitutes in my cupboard and it turned out quite well. It has been mentioned to me that I use to be an "all or nothing" type person. I guess in retrospect I was, and to be honest, sometimes I still am. But I have learned to improvise/ compromise alot the past couple of years. Both in recipes and life. There was a time I would either have gone to the store, or not bothered to make something if I didn't have exactly what I was supposed to for the recipe. There have been instances in my life where I would have stood firm with no exceptions or flexibility. I bend a bit more than I use to. I don't give in against what I believe, but I have more acceptance that others may not feel the same or see something the way I do. It doesn't change how I feel, but it is a broader view than I used to have. Imagine that, a leopard can change it's spots.. or at least rearrange them a little!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hunter & Cali 10/28/07


Hunter & Cali 10/29/07
Originally uploaded by mommanana

They were waiting to get their picture taken at the doggy Halloween party. Can you tell they are both tired of waiting?! Hunter at 6 years, (almost 7!) and Cali at 5 1/2 months.

We did have a good time despite gray weather and a few sprinkles. Cali got to run with the "big dogs" and socialize a bit. And Hunter got to have some quality fun time. All in all a good day!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Out of the house & happy!

I refuse to let this gray day drag me down! I am really tired of all the dreary rainy weather we have been having for weeks and weeks now. So right now I have fresh french bread being made. (Thanks to my bread machine via Nancy!) Then I am going to make bread pudding out of it. In the meantime I am going to take our new Great Dane puppy to a Great Dane Halloween Party at a local puppy park with Hunter. The twins are going to play at Kids By The Hour which is right down the street from the dog park. I don't want to try handling a young, but big, puppy, and the three kids on my own. Brianne & Chad are going to Orlando overnight to go to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. Brian is working, so that leaves me on my own with the munchkins. Tristan & Alexa really like going to play at daycare and they haven't been there much lately. So this gets everyone out of the house and happy!

One Project Done

Yesterday was a very long & grueling day. I volunteered to help at the Fall Festival for Hunter's school. It started to rain, so it all had to be moved inside, which didn't seem to be planned for. We got a good spot in the cafeteria, and were one of the most popular booths. We had customers before we even got fully set up. It was a cookie creating booth. We had sugar cookies which they could put frosting and candy and sprinkles on. What a mess! Add a few hundred kids and their families and it was crazy! Hunter got to go with me and help and when we got a relief to cover the booth for us we had a chance to walk around and do some things. Neither Greta or I won his class pumpkin. All the classes decorate a pumpkin or a scarecrow that gets raffled off. Hunter's class made spiders out of their thumbprints and covered a pumpkin with their spiders and a web. We added little white lights under the web. It was too cool. A little boy won it and was thrilled to death, so I couldn't jump him in the parking lot to take it, however I did think about it momentarily! So this project is done.. Hurray! On to the next one..

Friday, October 26, 2007

Have you ever wondered?

I was talking to a friend today, (I actually got to talk to three friends today who don't live nearby, but their hearts are right here with me!) and we talked about what Brian & I have taken on and whether there was any real "deciding" about doing it or not doing it. I never thought about any other choice. It was the same when we took Hunter into our lives and took the steps to adopt him. It was never a "choice" for me. It was the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do as far as I was concerned. It was never an option for me to have someone else, anyone else, raise Kierra's children. They are my blood, they are a part of her, a part of me. The idea that they would live anywhere else is foreign to me. It is not within my range of thinking.
A comment was made to someone when Kierra died.."Will they want to give Hunter back now?"
Such a thought is so ludicrous to me. He is our son. He is our child.
I don' t think about what my life would be without them, other than wondering what it would be like if she were still here.
Yes, I have days when I don't want this to be my life. Yes, I have days when I wonder if I will ever have time with Brian without kids underfoot! But, No, I will not disappear one day and abandon my family, the people I love.
Honestly, haven't we all wondered what a different life would be like? Have you never thought what it would be like to back pack around Europe? To have no responsibilities other than yourself? I am sure the ones who have that wonder what it would like to have a van full of kids and a picket fence. That is human nature. Wondering isn't wanting. Wondering won't have me packing my bags. I want the people I love to live long lives and be happy. I think that is enough of a goal to shoot for. And I plan on being around to help them accomplish it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yada, Yada, Yada..

Yesterday I had my second epidural injection for my neck. He went in higher this time and OMG did it hurt! The first one was a breeze and I had some spasms/pain afterward for the day. This one hurt the whole time he did it, took longer, and I am still feeling it today! Yesterday was worse, so I am glad it is better today. The logic that something has to hurt this bad to make it feel better is beyond me. I have one more in two weeks, and the hope is that I will have about 6 months or more of relief from pain. At least that is what they tell me. At the moment I have less faith than hope. What doesn't kill me will make me stronger, yada, yada, yada!

Lost & Found

I have been hunting through the house looking for our 2006 tax paperwork. I have found all kinds of other things, but not that! We had them at the rental. All our other tax stuff is in a portable file. Why this folder didn't get back in there, I don't know, but it is driving me crazy! In the meantime I have found all kinds of things I hadn't seen in a while. Photos, journals, all kinds of stuff. Some made me melancholy, and some made me smile. It is crazy how much mess you have to make to truly go through a box, or a closet, to reorganize it and sort through what to keep, what to trash. I amaze myself when I see something and wonder why didn't I throw this away when I was packing it? What made me decide then to keep it and now not to? It will all get done, slowly but surely. Of course the tax papers, like all lost items, will be in the last place I look!

Yay! They did it! aka Poor Chad!

The kids use Chad as their personal jungle gym on a daily basis. It is fun to watch them tackle, tickle, and team up on him. Yesterday they were having a wrestling match in the living room when the two of them combined their efforts and pushed him off the couch. They immediately turned to each other and did a High-5 slap high in the air and yelled "yay, we did it!". I hadn't seen them do that before. They were laughing so hard, they almost fell off the couch! It even caught Chad by suprise. They sure make everyday an adventure.

Monday, October 22, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRENDA!!


Brenda with T-bone
Originally uploaded by mommanana
It was actually yesterday. I meant to blog this when I blogged about the p-nut butter pancakes.. but as usual, I was distracted!! Hmm maybe by the 3 little Gremlins I have running around here! Brenda knows all about that! So if you didn't give her a shout out yesterday, click on her link on the right side of my page and give her a holler!!
Love ya girl..

Just one more way..

Last night I spent some of the time waiting for Brian with a couple other police wives. They are always friendly and talkative until they realize I am the "one whose daughter was killed on JTB". I try to assure them it is okay, and talk about other things, but usually the conversation fades and they end up walking away. I try not to bring it up, but one of them mentioned it. It is definitely a mood breaker. I am considered an outgoing person, but I really am not. I rarely fit in with any of the people I meet or socialize with through the kid's groups, school, etc. I end up on the outer edges. Doing what I need to do, but not really connected. Just one more way I am not who I used to be...

A Working Date..

Brian was working "Caring Chefs" last night at the local mall. It is a fund raiser for The Children's Home Society. (It's on Sunday night so the mall is closed.) They set up tables throughout the 2 story mall with food and drink from almost 50 local restaraunts. For 2 1/2 hours you walk around sampling it all. They give the officers that work it an extra ticket. I had heard of it before but never attended. I had to hang out a bit until Brian got a break, then we got to walk around for about an hour. Then I sat near where he was stationed and relaxed and people watched. We discovered quite a few places not too far from where we live now. He claims it covers him taking me out to eat for at least a year, since he took me to all those restaurants in one night! NOT. We didn't even get to most of the upstairs. It was too much food! But it was nice to spend time with him no matter what we did!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

P-nut Butter Pancakes..

Well, the menu choice this morning was pancakes. last time I made them I made pumpkin spice pancakes. The time before that it was banana. I only make them every couple weeks or so. Today it was peanut butter pancakes. Then the boys, Chad included, wanted chocolate chips too. So I made a couple plain peanut butter for our picky princess Alexa. Then I added choc. chips for the rest. I liked them better without the chocolate.. how wierd is that?! I think it was too much sweet for me with the p-nut butter and chocolate. Of course Brian had apple butter on his, which to me is ewwwww! I like apple butter on plain pancakes, and I like to put apple butter in pancake batter, but not with p-nut butter and choc. chips!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

To Be or Not to Be.. a Morning Person!

Hunter wakes up bright eyed and bushy tailed early most mornings. Tristan wakes up at the butt-crack of dawn cranky & demanding right off the bat. If Alexa gets woken up before she is ready she drags herself and her blanket to the couch and vegetates until she is fully awake.. which sometimes takes a while! And it is well known that during her "waking up" time she is best left alone!
I must say I am not usually a morning person. Especially at the butt-crack of dawn to whiny children! I have no patience or tolerance that early in the morning. It doesn't help if I have only gotten a couple hours of sleep! On the rare occasion I wake up on my own, which usually only happens on my horse ranch weekends, I think I am generally in a good mood. Not chipper, but not cranky.
So, do we inherit our morning moods? What determines our body's timeclock? Can it be changed? Is there a magic happy pill for cranky morning children?? Ok, I know the likely answer to the last one, but couldn't resist slipping it in there!!
Last Saturday morning I woke up in the hotel room near the horse ranch and realized I was all by myself. It was a bit disappointing that I woke up much earlier than my alarm! I actually had to sit there a few minutes and try to figure out what to do. That may sound strange, but most days I wake up to demanding children. I start my day doing for them, putting anything I want at the bottom of the list. Some days I am lucky to think about getting a cup of coffee. Even luckier if I actually remember to drink it! I usually take someone to the ranch with me. So I am thinking of what they may like, or what our schedule needs to be. Greta and Randy went with me, but they had their own room and were spending the time with Katie & Cody. So I was almost at a loss as to what to do. Riding my own horse by myself gives me the freedom to go and ride whenever I want, not just when the ranch has their set times to ride. It is a habit for me to ride during those times, so I set my schedule for then. It just took me a few minutes to decide what I wanted to do since it is usually dictated by the kids!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Martha Moment!

It must be the fall air, or maybe a shortage of air?! I was fixing the kids lunch and got the whim to make their sandwiches into ghosts and pumpkins. They thought that was the coolest thing! Last weekend Randy talked about making hot dogs into octopuses. I tried that the other night and they thought it was great! Sometimes the simplest of things can put a whole new twist on things. I'll have to be careful though.. princess Alexa may decide she prefers her sandwich without the crust!

Gremlins?

We must have gremlins in our house. (Besides the obvious three!) I just spent over an hour going through all the kids DVDs. I have several empty cases with no movies. And another stack of movies with no cases. Where do they go? How can they just disappear? I have checked behind beds, in toy boxes. All the places our little houdinis could manage to hide them. None, nada. I have moved the kid's DVD collection to inside the bottom of the entertainment center and put all my photo albums in the side section on the shelves. I got tired of them stacking stuff to reach the movies and the constant state of disarray the shelves were always in. I am not sure this is a foolproof way of keeping the area organized, but what the heck, it's worth a shot! I have been feeling very unmotivated about keeping the house clean. It seems just as fast as I clean it up it is trashed again. I am sorting through and getting rid of any broken or unnecessary toys. I will TRY to get them to keep more of their things in their rooms. They prefer to play in the living room so they can be near me when I am cleaning or doing things in the kitchen. But it would be easier to keep things picked up if I could get them to help! It is hit & miss, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. Today I seem to be more motivated, so I will make the most of it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Presentation, or Potato Chips??

I was making meatloaf last week. You know, the ordinary kind with ground beef and ground pork. I put it in the bowl, got out the eggs and some worcestershire sauce, when I realized I had no bread crumbs. I thought about my Grandmother's meatball recipe that used corn flakes, but I had none of those either. Then I spotted a container with the small smashed bits left over from a bag of potato chips. I put 2 cups of those in my food processor. Then I thought of the durkee fried onions in the cupboard and added a cup of those. (Chad hates onions so I usually omit them from recipes. This way I got the flavor without the fresh onion!) I gave them a quick grind in the machine and voila.. filler for the meatloaf! I was a bit unsure how my new recipe would be received, but they loved it! Alexa, the picky one, ate 3 servings! They all asked for more. I used 1 1/2 lbs beef and 1 lb pork, so it made a big meatloaf. I cook it in a square cast iron skillet in the oven so it makes quite a bit. There were no leftovers!
I used to have quite a hard time getting the older kids to eat meatloaf when they were small. I could use the same recipe and make meatballs, no problem, but the word meatloaf immediately brought groans and complaints. Then someone told me to cook it in a bundt pan, which leaves a big hole in the middle. Then you fill the middle and pile it high with mashed potatoes, like a mountain. The finishing touch was to pour cheese sauce over the top.. like an erupting volcano! It worked like a charm. I quit using the term "meatloaf", although I continued to use the same recipe. Whenever they asked what we were having and got the response "Volcano", they couldn't wait for dinner. Sometimes it's all in the presentation, other times, it's the potato chips!

I feel for you..

I do. My grief, and my situation with the kids, doesn't prevent me from feeling and having compassion, empathy, or sympathy for everyone else. If you all worry it will be too much for me to handle... please! If I was going to crack up or jump off a cliff it would have happened by now! I am not so fragile, so emotional, that I can't handle bad, or even sad, news. I feel like I am stuck in a plastic bubble sometimes. No one is sure how to touch me or be near me. I rarely get calls or invites anywhere. I am told it is because they all figure I am too busy with the kids. How will you know if you don't ask me? I may not be able to drop everything right this second, (although in an emergency I would!) but I can plan ahead or rearrange if needed. I know I am not always a bundle of fun to be with, but I am trying! No I am not the person I used to be, but am I so changed that you don't know me anymore? If so, take a chance, spend a little time with me, I am still in here somewhere. So pop the damn bubble already!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Growing like weeds!

Yesterday I had to go into Jax to the bank. Brian is taking his Sargeant's exam this week so I took the twins with me so he could study. Since I was downtown anyway I decided to take them to the kid's kampus playpark. It is a couple acres of educational and play areas for young children. It was early so for a while we were the only ones there. They had so much fun. Alexa even played in the sand! Of course she constantly shook and wiped her hands off.
The park starting getting full of playgroups and preschools so we went to the Museum of Science & History. They still have the dinosaur exhibit and a new play area for the little ones. It is not as easy as when they could be pushed around in a stroller! I noticed throughout the day that Alexa has a new phrase. Whenever I would say it was time to go to another area, or time to get in the car, etc. Alexa would turn to me and say "Not Yet!". Sometimes she would even put her hand up as she said it. I am not sure where she got the phrase, but it is so funny. She is very serious and uses it alot! Tristan gets distracted alot, so his phrase for the day was "wait for me!"
I had to drop off something at Greta's office so we brought her lunch then went over to the mall. We were going to try to make it to the indoor playground, but by the time we had lunch and picked up a couple things at Sears it was time to go get Hunter. I guess we will do it another day!
They are growing like weeds! Alexa is now wearing size 4 slim pants! Most size 3 are too short. Regular size 4 is too wide, even with the adjustable waist bands, but the 4 slim are perfect for her. Tristan seems to still be able to wear most of his 3T pants. I couldn't find 4 slim for him to try. He seems to have a longer body and shorter legs, whereas Alexa has really long legs. They wear size 3 & some size 4 tops. It depends on the brand I think. Some Size 4 are almost big enough for Hunter! Alexa is in a size 4 dress. The size 3 are too short. Alexa has moved up to a size 81/2 shoe. It seemed like she was stuck in size 7 all summer then had a growth spurt! Tristan is in 81/2-9 WIDE. If it isn't wide it won't fit. I am glad I bought alot of winter clothes and shoes ahead last year. I try to do that whenever I find a clearance sale. It sure helps! Hunter is in size 6 clothes all around and wears 11 1/2-12 size shoes. I have bought ahead for him too. I have been getting out their winter things and their closets are full!
Tristan is still lazy about the potty training thing, but Alexa is in big girl panties all the time now! I still use a pull up at night because she is a hard sleeper and doesn't always stay dry at night. Tristan isn't even trying. I have to remind him constantly and even then he is usually already wet. I was warned he would take longer. I am sure he will catch on eventually. Some progress is better than none!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Losing track..

In the day to day way of things I lose track of stuff I mean to tell here. There are so many funny stories to tell about the kids & life in general. But then at the end of day it has been pushed aside and I forget. I will have to keep a notepad in the kitchen or something so I can jot things down. So I will try to remember some of the things I had forgotten!
Hunter has been doing super in school. He gets a horse shoe each day if he has behaved and has done his work. He only missed one day in three weeks! I am classroom Mom. I am not good at placating egos and dealing with the mini mommy dramas, but I am hanging in there!
Alexa seems to be so content to play on her own, whereas Tristan can't stand to be alone. He even blocks her bedroom door when she tries to go play by herself to get away from him. And they are learning the art of blaming each other for everything.
Chad learned how to handle a crisis despite being panicked.. the other day Tristan wedged his arm into a very small space at the base of his entertainment center in his room. Somehow a small ball got in there and he wanted to get it out! I was picking Hunter up from school. Chad had to unscrew the base plate to get his arm out. I got home to the crisis being over and Tristan on the couch with an ice pack. His arm wasn't broken, just sore. He rebounded fast and was back to running around in no time!
I haven't taken many pictures lately either, so I will try to catch up on that too!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another demon dealt with..

I was asked why I refer to Kierra's biological father as that instead of as my ex-husband. I really hadn't put much thought to it. I guess the marital connection has been severed for so long I really don't think of that. The only connection, tenuous as it was, was with Kierra. We were married just over a year before we split, so it was a brief moment in time compared to the almost 25 years I have been married to Brian. And since we married very young, for all the wrong reasons, it really didn't feel like a true marriage to me. I married Brian because I loved him like I had not ever loved anyone else. I wanted to spend my life growing old with him. Brian loves me like no one else ever has. Yes, I have been in love before, I can't say I haven't. But the depth of love is so different.
We met Kierra's biological father and his new wife yesterday so they could meet the twins. It has been about 10 years since I have seen him. The last time Kierra was just a teenager and had wanted to meet him. I realized I still held alot of anger & resentment toward him then.
Kierra broke off communication with him for her own reasons several years ago. He wasn't aware the twins existed until his mom tracked him down to let him know Kierra had died. He recently got married and they were coming to Florida for a vacation. I wondered how I would feel now, how I would react.
Brian went with me and we met at a Mcdonald's with a playground so the kids could run around. It was odd. I didn't feel anything. No anger, no sadness, no anything. The only connection we had died with Kierra. I don't feel any connection between him & the twins. He hasn't been any part of their lives. Brian is their Papa. It kind of felt good to not feel anything. There is nothing left between us. He remembered people and places I hadn't thought about in so long. I have been Brian's wife and living such a different life for so long that I barely remember a life before.
Another demon dealt with.. and it wasn't such a big deal after all!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dealing with my demons..

I can't seem to cut a break. I handled Alex's visit and thought I came out of it with minimal emotional damage. I have family crap going on and have actually accepted how I feel as being okay. Not for some people, but for me. I am still gauging the emotional toll of that one. Now I have Kierra's biological father coming to meet the twins with his new wife. Brian & I talked about it and agreed to let them meet the twins. Still working out the details. It is supposed to be later this week. I know we all have our demons to deal with.. but do mine have to gang up on me all at the same time??! My light at the end of the tunnel will be going to the ranch this weekend. I am not sure if it can get me totally out of my funk, but I know it will help, and it will get me out of town! I keep humming.. the devil went down to Georgia!!

Home for Sale..again!

I haven't blogged about the Beckley house because it has been a thorn in my side. We had an offer.. a pathetic offer that would get us barely breaking even. But after going back and forth we finally accepted it. Paid off and off our hands was better than having 2 mortgages every month! I didn't feel good about it and told Brian I wouldn't celebrate til it was signed and done. We ended up with a repair list, more money down the drain! Then his gauranteed financing fell through less than a week from closing. So a month wasted and back to square one! So it is still for sale. Wanna buy a house??

Season of Sorrow

I have tried to decorate for Halloween/fall. I did not realize we had so much stuff. Then I realized we haven't decorated or gotten any of it out since October of 2004! We were on vacation right up until October 31st the year Kierra died and we haven't gotten into it since then. I am trying. The kids love it and that is what counts.
It is like the start of the "Season of Sorrow" for me. So many memories, and the anniversary of her death coming up. I try so hard to put a positive twist to things, and I manage to pull it off most of the time. Keeping too busy to let it drag me down. But it manages to drown me anyway.
So bear with me, and know this too shall pass! Won't it?

Come & gone..

My birthday has come and gone. It was just another day. I did get to go to dinner with Greta Tuesday night. Then Thursday I had lunch with Terri & Dori. Saturday was supposed to be my big date night with Brian. He ended up having to work.. suprise, suprise. So Chad & I went to dinner and a movie. We went to a fondue place for dinner. It was a good time. We don't do much together so it was cool. He even changed his mind from us seeing Resident Evil (Yuck!) to seeing Heartbreak Kid. It was pretty funny. There were a couple scenes I would not have been comfortable seeing with him a few years back, but little shocks either one of us anymore! Nancy called to remind me I am now the same age as her, next in line is Terri, the baby of the group!
Brian got cards for the kids to sign on my birthday. When I got back from Taking Hunter to school Alexa ran to me saying "happy birthday! Happy Birthday to you!" It was too cute.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Forgive..

1 a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for b : to grant relief from payment of a debt
2 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON: to forgive one's enemies

Sounds simple enough doesn't it? Yet it isn't so simple for me. I can't seem to flip that switch on an old issue that I have dealt with most of my life. I know all the old addages about forgiveness and letting things go. It isn't one thing that caused the issue. It is a lifetime of things. I have tried to resolve how I feel. I just can't do it. I don't expect anyone to agree with me or understand how I feel. Just respect that they are MY feelings. Pretty vague, isn't it? It is family stuff and very personal stuff and I won't air it here. Just venting and letting you all know my head is in a funk right now. Not just from this.. life is what it is.. and some times it is... gray.

Do you see what I see?

Over on Nancy's blog she has some really awesome pictures of the Grand Canyon. There are some with shadows that look like a picture within a picture. Some people can't see what she sees in the shadows. Isn't that the way life goes? We all see things differently. We look at the same world around us, yet we see something different. We can live in the same house and the same thing happens. Wether we are children or adults. Nancy took a photo of rocks and trees that looked like it had faces in it. It was so cool. It was more than just a photo. It is amazing what we can see when we let ourselves see beyond the surface and look with our emotions as well as our eyes. Look around you, do you see what I see?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From Red Roof to the Ritz..

Brenda went with me to the ranch this past weekend. It was a quick visit, but we had a really good time. Even having to stay at a nasty hotel the first night didn't ruin it for us! I usually stay at the ranch or the Comfort Inn. In almost a year I have never had to stay anywhere else. This weekend they were both full! They had a baseball tournament, a college football game in the next town, a dog show, and a horse show.. all this weekend! The only rooms left were at the Red Roof Inn. It was gross! We didn't even want to take our shoes off! We checked out first thing the next morning and recharged ourselves at Starbucks! We survived it and got a room at the Comfort Inn the next night. I told the girls at the Comfort Inn they were like the Ritz Carlton after the red roof experience!
We had great weather and three great rides. The horses were in good moods and there were no mishaps. Who could ask for anything more?! We got back into town in time to meet Terri, Dwight & the kids at the Shrine Circus Sunday night. It was fun to see the twin's reaction to their first circus. Terri's brother Chris, his daughter and her friend, Brianne, Justin, his sister-in-law, and her 2 daughters all went too, so the kids had lots of laps to sit on and lots of circus food to try. It wasn't a big circus, but it was a good show. I have to get the pix from Brenda that she took for me and I will put them in the photo gallery for everyone to see.

Tortuga 9-23-07


Tortuga 9-23-07
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Isn't she getting big?!

Alexa & Tristan


Alexa & Tristan on table
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Cricket took this 9-1-07. I am forever amazed at how beautiful they are and how they can bring sunshine into my darkest days..

Monday, September 17, 2007

I may be crazy.. probably..

There is a song with those words, don't know the title or who sings it, just a catchy tune. I have been humming it for hours now as I try to finish a project I VOLUNTEERED to do for Hunter's class. I VOLUNTEERED to help in Hunter's class, now I am class mom. I VOLUNTEERED to help one half day each week, now I am covering 2 half days. I also did all the coordinating and scheduling for the VOLUNTEER schedule. I hear or see the word VOLUNTEER and I shudder. I VOLUNTEERED on several sheets for various school activities at Hunter's orientation. New community, new school, I figured it would be good to help where I can. I have also been asked to be the liason between the school and the development we live in. Did I say NO...no, not yet, I said I would think about it. I think this is one of the extremes my friend was talking about!

A big THANK YOU to my sis-in-law, Lisa, for finding the graphics for the kid's pirate day t-shirts. I am ironing on 19 of them as we speak, (ok, type). A big THANK YOU to my sister, Cricket, for helping me get the darn thing reversed. I know it is normally an easy process, trust me, it was a pain in the ---! But it is almost done so I can take them in tomorrow for my afternoon to VOLUNTEER, so they can wear them Wednesday. Oh, I almost forgot.. I VOLUNTEERED to co-chair as zone captain for JACKPOTT in St. Augustine!

VOLUNTEER= CRAZY!!!!

Selfish Pleasures..

I have had quite a week. What hits me is that it wasn't really out of the ordinary, just crazy, chaotic, same stuff, different day. I did get to go Kayaking with Terri early Saturday morning. It felt good to get out on the water again. We joined a Jacksonville women Kayaker's group and they are always planning paddles both local and around the state. They have one coming up in North Georgia the beginning of November that sounds like fun. It isn't quite as therapeutic as horse back riding, but close. You are out in nature, no phones, no people other than whoever you are paddling with. It is exercise, but relaxing at the same time. One of my selfish pleasures..
I put myself on a see-saw about being a selfish person, yet I don't think I live a selfish life. I want what I want, but I try to give back and do for others too. I asked a friend about it and she said I go from one extreme to the other. I doubt I will ever understand my own psyche, and I am not sure which comes first.. the things I do for the kids, school, different groups, friends, family, etc. or the things I do for myself.. the horses and, now again, kayaking. I run myself to a frazzle, rejuice my psyche for a weekend, then jump right back in. Or I indulge in my pleasures, then run myself to death to rid my guilt.. use the weekend rejuicers, then do it all again.. hmmm, perhaps a bit of both? I don't even know if it matters.. just one more thing on my mind in the middle of the night!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chorus of Lady Gray by Cheryl Ladd

Oh, I feel so blue today

I call this mood Lady Gray

Blue is much too bright to be

The way I feel these days

Blue is sky,

Blue is sea

Gray is nothing

just like me.

I think of how it used to be

and it sure gives me the grays...


This is the only part of the song I have remembered for almost 28 years now. I have her debut album and this chorus has run through my head so many times. It seems to fit my mood lately.
Lots going on, just not in the mood to blog about it. I go through the motions and do the things I am supposed to do. I'll try to be more upbeat before I blog again!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tristan & Brian 9-2-07

Cricket took some awesome shots while she was here for our parent's party.. lots more to come..

click on the pic to see some other shots she took..


Tristan & Brian 9-2-07
Originally uploaded by mommanana
This is one of my favorites!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dad, Mom, & kids 9-2-07


Dad, Mom, & kids
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Okay.. here is who everyone is..
Cricket, Dad, Me, Tina, Greta, Tom, Robyn..
then in front is Roy Albert & Mom.

Mom on Roy Albert's motorcycle!

She was actually revving the engine! Later that night I got the chance to ride on this bike with my little brother. We went from my house to North Jax where Greta lives.. a solid 45 minutes to an hour. It was awesome! I will admit my butt was numb by the time I got there, but it was well worth it. Not just the fact that it is a great feeling to be on a motorcycle, but I got to do it with my brother. One of the highlights of the weekend for me!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Alexa with the chimpanzee 8-27-07

These two were so taken with each other! View more pix by clicking on this one and browse through my photo gallery.