Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The sound of his voice..

How strange it is for me to be a parent, a grandparent, yet still feel like such a child when I talk to my Dad. There is something about his voice. We talked for close to an hour on the phone last week. What makes that a big deal is that my Dad doesn't usually like to talk on the phone. We were talking about trips out west he took with my Mom and about making copies of the video they took. So it wasn't really a "serious" conversation. The timber of his words reminded me of when I was a child and he would try to teach me about something, explaining it in detail so I would understand. It was just the sound of his voice.

One of the first times I ever heard him say the words "I Love You" to me was on the phone. I was in England January 1991, Brian had just left in the middle of the night and was headed for Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War. I was in a foreign country by myself with my children and I was scared and alone. I called my Mom & Dad. As we were saying our goodbyes I said my usual I love you, his usual reply my whole life was "me too". This time he said "I Love You Too". I was speechless and tears sprang to my eyes. My fear was forgotten in that precious moment. It was just the sound of his voice.

His voice was barely audible when I first saw him after Kierra's death. He held me so tight as I heard his voice in my ear saying "I Love You". I couldn't even speak. My Mother had so wanted to be the one to comfort me while I cried and I couldn't do it. I couldn't release that part of myself for her. I didn't intend to release that part of myself for anyone. But as my Dad held me and said those words in my ear I could not hold it back. It was just the sound of his voice.

So never underestimate what it means for someone to hear.. the sound of your voice.

Talking up a storm..

Tristan & Alexa had speech evaluations today and Tristan no longer needs speech therapy! He tested at the 4- 4 1/2 year old range. He just has to be reminded to slow down sometimes when he talks. Alexa still needs therapy, she tested at about the 3 year old level. Her former speech therapist said it may be an ongoing issue with her, so we shall see. So even though Tristan doesn't need to go anymore, we still have Alexa's appointments twice a week. They both are making progress, Tristan has been in speech therapy a year longer than Alexa because initially she talked more than he did and did the talking for him. I am sure with a little more time she will catch up too. They have come a long way from talking their own gibberish to each other and no one could understand anything they said!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Growing & Knowing..

They are too smart and growing up too fast! Alexa caught me with tears in my eyes and asked why I was crying. I told her I was sad. That didn't satisfy her. She wanted to know why I was sad. I tried to change the subject. She took hold of my face with her tiny hands and looked straight into my eyes. "Tell me why you sad?.. right now!" (I wonder where she gets that determination from??) I told her I was sad because I missed Mommy-Kierra. (That is what we call her with the twins so they will have that connection with her. They get upset and confused when I say she is their Mommy because they don't understand. For the same reason they call Alex "Daddy-Alex", so they will have that connection and know there is a difference. Until they are old enough to understand.) She grabbed my hand and pulled me to the fireplace mantel and pointed to the picture we have there of Kierra with Alexa. "You no miss her.. she right there!" And to Alexa that makes perfect sense. She only remembers her from pictures. She does not know her any other way. I have worked very hard to keep my tears from them. But every once in a while it happens, and they are not as easy to distract as they used to be, especially Alexa. She sees more and is more perceptive than Tristan. But don't let him fool you. He is just as quick to catch things you say or do that you may think he missed. He has also become quite the mimic lately. He noticed the exchange between Alexa & I. He watched from a distance, playing with his cars, and when Alexa & I returned to the living room he climbed on my lap and offered me his favorite car to play with. Already dealing with his emotions in an indirect way.. already a little man. They are almost 4 years old. How can that be?
I wonder at fate sometimes. That I was there while their mother carried them. That I was there for all the Dr. appointments and ultrasounds. That I know her cravings and all the funny things she said & did. That I was there as they entered the world so that I can share with them the miracle of that moment. That I was there as she talked about her hopes and dreams for them. I would trade being there then with her being here now, but since I can't, I will tell them for her. I will share her with them in so many ways no one else can. They will know more than in pictures, they will know so much more..

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Aqua Aerobics..I feel like Garfield!

My sister & I have recently started Aqua Cardio Classes at the YMCA. It is a much harder workout than I thought it would be! We have even signed up for a Zumba class!


We finally closed on the Beckley house! It was a long wait and we spent alot of money and time on it, but it is finally done. As relieved as I am, it is bittersweet to no longer own that home. We have alot of memories there. It is the last place I saw Kierra. But as much as that house held some of the best days of our lives, it also held the worst day of our lives as well. Life moves forward, no matter how slowly we follow along.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Did I tell you.. I saw Snow?!

Not here at home.. but last Saturday I was up in Madison at the horse ranch.. it was a very cold wet morning, then in the afternoon.. it snowed! Pretty big, whites tufts of snow fluttering through the air. It didn't stick, but was beautiful to watch. I could not remember the last time that I got to watch snow fall down around me. It was awesome. I went to the ranch alone this time, so I didn't have anyone to share it with, but maybe that was the point. It was something I wouldn't have slowed down to really enjoy and appreciate if I hadn't been by myself. There was such beauty and solace in those moments.
It was a crazy weekend other than that, but I enjoyed the break. I spilled a full cup of coffee on a beautiful ,big, victorian comforter..spent the snowy afternoon at the local laundromat because I felt so bad and didn't want it to stain! I lost my horse, I found my horse.. Trekked through the woods in freezing cold weather to find him. Finally rode Lenny out to find him and he took me straight to where Barney was hung up in some tree branches and vines.. not hurt, so we let him run loose to eat and calm down. He must have gone in to get out of the bad weather the day before. I lost him again that afternoon, but found him shortly after.. without his halter. It's a good thing I love that horse! He had been out to pasture because Tortuga has an abcess in her foot and has been inside the barn in his stall recuperating. He has been out to pasture before, many times, with no problems. Let's hope he is smart enough not to get stuck again. They will keep a close eye on him.
The kids had a blast with Terry, Dwight, & Savannah as always. Alexa likes to play the piano while Tristan plays Terri's guitar like a cello on it's stand. They jam out then bow and say thank you! Terri said they wished they could have gotten it on video.. it was so cute! Hunter told me he "chilled out" in the hot tub by himself to get a break from the twins and he gets to ride on Uncle Dwight's motorcycle with him and even got to sleep in the RV. (Dwight said he won't do that again.. Hunter was all over the place, he hardly got any sleep!) It is great that the kids feel so at home there and I know they are well cared for and loved. They are my lifesavers!

The Tortoise and The Hare

In our world of Potty Training Twins.. Alexa takes the lead and is totally in regular big girl panties now! She even stays dry when we go out...
Tristan is the tortoise in this tale, but I fear he won't be out smarting the hare! He has very little interest or inclination to wear big boy underwear and can't be bothered when he is playing. We are going to try something new over the weekend and we will see if that inspires him..I hope so!

Update on earlier post.. FYI

This is my "journal" of sorts. There are times I ramble, and times I make sense to myself, but not to anyone else. Please let me know if something confuses you or worries you. Usually it is just a miscommunication. I didn't realize the way I worded "IN A HEARTBEAT", that it could be misunderstood the way a few people took it. As I updated in the post.. I did not make the comment about "unloading the kids".. someone else made the comment and it made it's way back to me. You would be amazed at how often that happens. Even when someone says, "please don't say anything to anyone else"... someone, somewhere, will tell someone else and so on and so on. That is human nature I guess. I have been guilty of it myself. It is often not even intentional when someone tells you something hurtful. I imagine sometimes it is, but let's give each other the benefit of the doubt! I have been appalled at some of the things people felt the need to share with me about Kierra. 99% of it I already knew.. but why the need to share things that would shed a hurtful or negative light on someone who isn't around to defend themselves? And to tell things that wouldn't bring peace, but pain?? Anywho.. that is a whole other book! Sorry if I confused or concerned you guys.. all is well in our world, hope you are well in yours..

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Finding the Alphabet..

The twins & I just got back from the grocery store. I just needed to pick up a few things so I hadn't planned on it taking very long. It took almost an hour! It all started when we were walking in and Tristan pointed out a letter on a sign. I told him he was so smart and such a big boy! Not to be outdone, Alexa picked out a letter from another sign. So of course I praised her as well.
So that is how we ended up playing "Find The Alphabet" in the grocery store for almost an hour! I almost forgot what I was shopping for, good thing I had my list! I am sure a few people thought we were odd, but the kids had a blast. it turned a hectic, rushed shopping trip into a fun, educational adventure. Maybe next time we'll do colors and numbers!

In a Heartbeat...

You know how a comment can go from one person to another to another? Very often that comment gets back to the person you probably would have preferred it never get to. That has happened to me a couple times lately. A couple comments were made about me and have gotten back to me. One that I have really thought alot about & tried to honestly evaluate I would like to share.. and clarify. (To clarify further..I did not make the comment, someone else said it about me and it was repeated back to me.) The comment was to the effect that I would "unload the kids in a heartbeat". I am not sure if that applied to all 3 or just the twins, but it doesn't matter.
They are alot of work, alot of hard work. Some days I don't know how I will do it. And I take full advantage of opportunities to get away and recharge. Most days I am worn out at the end of the day. But it's not just from the kids, it's from life in general too. I could not imagine our life without them. I would not be able to function without them to care for. It keeps me going and keeps my heart in tact. It is easier financially than when my older three were small, but so much harder emotionally. Did I/would I have "unloaded" my other children?? Of course not.. Did they drive me just as crazy? Of course they did! Would I do it all again? In a hearbeat!
Some people think they know how I feel.. I assure you, no matter who you are to me, you don't. You may have a vague notion, but you do not know how my heart feels. That is mine, and mine alone. Comments like this make me gaurd my heart even more.
I get stressed, I get tired. Show me a parent of 3 small children, even without our extenuating circumstances, and you will see them stressed and tired as well. I am blessed to have support from family & friends whom we hold very dear. We could not do this without them. It is not the way I thought my life at this stage would be, but there is no way for me to bring Kierra back, and that is the only way I could/ or would change where my life is today. So in case you were wondering.. my heart beats almost a hundred times a minute and no one is going anywhere.

One on One..

It is a rare opportunity that I get to spend one on one time with the kids. I get to have a few minnutes with Hunter when I drop him off or pick him up from school. I can't really count when I volunteer in his classroom because he shares me with 17 other kids! I guess he has gotten the most one on one time because he has gone to the ranch a few times. Once my hand is healed I want to start doing that with the twins too. The other night Alexa just wouldn't settle down and finally I let her come out to the couch long after the boys had fallen asleep. She insisted she was waiting for Papa to come home. We snuggled on the couch and she drew on her Dora Doodlepad. Now she very often will climb into our bed during the night and tends to get a bit extra TLC that way. Hunter does that once in a great while. Tristan will not climb into our bed to sleep. He only climbs up if we are awake and playing around. He will go out to the living room during the night or in the wee hours of the morning, but that is as close as he gets.
Well, last night Tristan got sent to his room at about 6:30 for telling me "No". He was sound asleep in less than 5 minutes. I figured that was no big deal since they go to bed anytime from 7:30 on.. sometimes 7:00 if they are really tired and cranky! Well at about 9:30pm he woke up, wide awake. He started to say "good morning" which he does every morning, but then he looked out the window and realized it was still night. I let him stay up thinking he would tire again in a short time and go back to bed. We had to force him to go to bed at around midnight so we could go to bed! But I did enjoy the time with just him. He played with his cars, drew on his Diego Doodlepad, and scrounged off Brian's dinner plate after he got home from work and finally had the chance to eat something. There were even a couple snuggles too!
Now were you thinking this adventure might have led to Tristan sleeping in later today? You would be mistaken! He was on the couch wrapped in his blanket and ready for the day before my alarm had the chance to go off this morning!
I don't plan on making all our individual time happen late at night, but I do plan on making sure it happens more often!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not a Day Goes By

by Lonestar

Got a picture of you I carry in my heart
Close my eyes to see it when the world gets dark
Got a memory of you I carry in my soul
I wrap it close around me when the nights get cold

If you asked me how Im doin Id say just fine
But the truth is baby, if you could read my mind
Not a day goes by that I dont think of you
After all this time youre still with me its true
Somehow you remain locked so deep inside
Baby, baby, oh baby, not a day goes by

I still wait for the phone in the middle of the night
Thinkin you might call me if your dreams dont turn out right
And it still amazes me that I lie here in the dark
Wishin you were next to me, your head against my heart

If you asked me how Im doing Id say just fine
But the truth is baby, if you could read my mind
Not a day goes by that I dont think of you
After all this time youre still with me its true
Somehow you remain locked so deep inside
Baby, baby, oh baby, not a day goes by

Minutes turn to hours, and the hours to days
Seems its been forever that Ive felt this way
Not a day goes by that I dont think of you
After all this time youre still with me its true
Somehow you remain locked so deep inside
Baby, baby, oh baby, not a day goes by

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Still not closed..

NO, we have not closed on the Beckley house yet! Our absolute deadline is end of business tomorrow. Wish us Luck, say a Prayer.. whatever works!!

little people.. big mess!

I am always amazed at how big a mess the littlest people in the house can make! Brian & I spent the better part of today cleaning & fixing things and we aren't done yet! I completely cleaned and organized both of the boys rooms and steam cleaned Tristan's carpet. Alexa's room will have to wait until tomorrow. I downsized and sorted out their toys and Brian stripped, cleaned and remade their beds. Resolve makes the most awesome spot magic stain remover.. it works on chocolate, candy of various colors, and poop! Can't tell you how much fun cleaning all that was! Our steam cleaner is one of the best investments we ever made. On to cleaning the hall and the area between the kitchen and the back door!

H. Pylori

Helicobacter pylori is a helical shaped Gram-negative bacterium that infects various areas of the stomach and duodenum. Many cases of peptic ulcers, gastritis, duodenitis, and perhaps cancer are caused by H. pylori infection. However, many who are infected do not show any symptoms of disease. Helicobacter spp. are the only known microorganisms that can thrive in the highly acidic environment of the stomach. Its helical shape (from which the genus name is derived) is thought to have evolved to penetrate and favor its motility in the mucus gel layer.

This is the latest thing my doctors have found me to have. I have some minor symptoms, but nothing major. So I am on Nexium and mega doses of antibiotics. I am supposed to avoid ongoing stress & coffee. (LOL) Always something! I see my hand doc tomorrow, I will let you know what they say..

Sunday, January 06, 2008

3 Little Elves..

Have you looked under your couch lately?? I am fortunate that ours is situated away from the walls. I can just tip it back and have access to underneath. I do it about every two weeks. It is quite the adventure even in such a short amount of time. Today I found pieces of puzzles, toys, hair barrettes, lots of dust bunnies, crumbs from assorted snacks, pieces of paper, wrappings from Capri Sun straws, & unknown bits & pieces. There are a couple toys down inside one of the pieces to the couch. They are unreachable, forever destined to live in the dark crevices of our couch until we someday get a new couch. I refuse to cut the underside to get them out. It is another mystery how they came to be there in the first place. The infamous elf, "I Don't Know" must have done it. He seems to get around alot these days! He hides in the house somewhere with his pals.. "Not Me" & "I Didn't Do It".. If you notice there are 3 of them.. quite a coincidence that we have 3 elves of our own living here too!

Christmas is over!

The kids keep telling each other "Christmas is over!" while they watch me pack up and put away all the Christmas decorations. Why does it take 3 times as long to put stuff away than it did to get it out? My house looks bare! ( At least the walls and shelves/tables do.. toys cover most of the floor!) I still have some things to pack up, but it is all narrowed down to my formal dining room area. I will be glad when it is all gone! I hate putting it away more than I couldn't stand getting it all out. Hopefully today will finish it up. I still have to get plywood and get it up in the attic so I can get stuff stored and out of the garage. The kids keep asking me why I am putting everything away.. and that is where they learned their new phrase... Christmas is over!

Getting back on track..

The past few weeks have been crazy for everyone. It really shows in the kids and how they behave. I thought things were hectic before the Holidays, but even a crazy routine/schedule is better than none at all! By the way.. I didn't pick out the carpet color.. it came with the house!

*We finally got Alexa's toilet unplugged.. it had doll brushes stuck in it.
*Hunter ate ALL the icing off about 3/4 of a whole red velvet cake Rick brought for Christmas dinner. He demolished the cake, leaving a trail of it all over the floor to his room... mostly on the cream colored carpet!
*You would think that was enough cake.. but he did the same thing to the remainder of Terry's birthday cake as well! He does this in the wee hours of the morning before anyone wakes up.
*Tristan sneaks candy into his room.. spits out what he doesn't like.. again on the cream colored carpet! Can't figure out where the candy keeps coming from!
*Both Tristan & Alexa hide "dirty" pull-ups & underpants in various places in their room.. adds quite the "odor" to their room & carpet, not to mention a few stains as well. I have been spot cleaning.. time to shampoo all the carpets!
*They all have every toy they own pulled out and scattered everywhere!
*Alexa has become even more of a drama queen. She scratched a scab on her foot, asked for a band-aid, then proceeded to limp and asked to be carried because her foot hurt and she couldn't walk!
*Tristan has become our professional whiner.. he whines when he first wakes up, he whines whenever he wants a drink, snack, etc.. he whines when he is told to go potty, he whines when he is tired. That pretty much covers whenever he is awake!
*Soap crayons may wash off bathrooom walls, but not room walls.. Tristan's room still has streaks of red that even my magic eraser can't get off! The other colors came off with major scrubbing, but not the red!
*One night while Terry was here we tried to take them all to a movie, we got as far as McDonald's and decided to do movie night at home they were so out of control.. they even made that difficult! Alexa cried about wanting popcorn until Brian told her (via phone) that we had popcorn at home.. only to discover at movie time that we had no popcorn! I got them to settle for potato sticks instead.
*Alexa's new thing whenever she is mad.. she has to talk to Papa/Daddy (depending on how upset she is decides what she calls him).. she cries and cries, then boo hoos to him on the phone.. giving me the evil eye the whole time. And magically the tears disappear!

Now that I have complained about them.. let me tell you about the best part of the past few weeks. Yesterday morning Brian & I were in bed. Alexa had crawled into our bed during the night. The boys came in to wake us up and we spent over an hour playing and sharing hugs and tickles before we all got up. Brian didn't have to go to work and we had no where we had to go. It doesn't happen often, so we really enjoyed it. We have movie times like that too. Brian usually misses those, but he got to share in one last night. Those times make it easier to deal with the normal chaos they produce on a daily basis. It doesn't balance out, but life very rarely does.

Hunter returns to school tomorrow. The twins start back with speech therapy this week. I am putting away all the remnants of Christmas. Hopefully we can all get back on track!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mistakes and Moments..

Here we are, just one month away from the twin's 4th birthday. I am constantly amazed at how they change and grow every day. I can honestly say that on most days they wear me out! They have boundless energy and very little fear. They see everything as bright and new and theirs.. even when it isn't! I wonder some days what they would be like if Kierra were here to raise them. I wonder if they would be different. I have known people not raised anywhere near their parents, yet they are alot like them. Both in mannerisms and habits. I wonder how much is from who raises you, or who gives birth to you. I am sure it is a mixture of both. I am not as carefree as Kierra. She was such a free spirit. I try to do the things she liked to do with them. I try to show them the things she wanted them to see.
Every parent wants the best for their children. We all second guess how we do things and what is best for them. I think I have learned from my years of parenting, yet no 2 children are alike, and each experience is new. So I will learn along with them, and we will teach each other along the way. I know I will make mistakes, and they will too, as did their mother before them, and as all my children have. A mistake is an unexpected opportunity.. to learn, to change, to grow. (I should be 10 feet tall by now!)
So on the days when I doubt I will survive this, I will try to remember that I have been here before. I will remember another blond haired little girl who tried my patience more than once. I will remember another pair of hazel eyes that looked at me with mischief brewing in them. I will remember the time that flew by too fast and I will treasure the moments I have, good and otherwise.

Greta- Family Pix 12-30-07

Greta Family Pix 12-30-07
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Cody, Katie, Joshua, Jonathan, Hunter,Alexa, Randy, (holding his Great grandson!), Greta & Tristan.

Greta wanted a picture with all the kids. I thought getting just 3 to stand still was tough.. it wouldn't be them if they weren't hamming it up!

Jan 1 2008

Jan 1 2008
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Got them to stand still for a split second.. it is amazing how quick they move! I have dozens of blurry pictures! I thought it was cute that Tristan put his arms around Hunter & Alexa. Sometimes they actually like each other!

Chad & Bri 12-24-07

Chad & Bri 12-24-07
Originally uploaded by mommanana
My big kids who still act like little kids! Here Bri grabbed Chad for a pic, which he avoids having taken all the time!

Terry & the munchkins 1-1-08

We've been pretty busy since Christmas. Terry came to visit from down south for almost a week. I have known her for more than 30 years! It was great to have her here, even for a quick visit. We got to get away for the weekend to celebrate her birthday which is New Year's Eve. Click on the pic to view more pix. Happy Birthday Terry!