Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Melancholy Time Of Year

I know I have a lot of catching up to do. I have more vacation pictures to post, pictures from a sweet baby shower we had for my friend JJ, pictures of the applique things that Whit and I have been working on, funny Hill stories, I’ve started a new bible study that I’m excited about, I have lots going on. Work has been good, I’m very busy all the way around, Hurricane Isaac has come and pretty much gone and we are all safe. I have so much to be thankful for…so many many good things in my life.

Yet, inevitably every year, year after year, around mid-August I just become melancholy. It lingers until about Labor Day but it’s there and makes me blah and sad and in a funk. It’s almost as if my aura knows like an annual light switch that something will happen, I should put my guard up, don’t take a second for granted. Not. One. Second.

Every year on August 30th my world just recrumbles. I have flashbacks of one of the worst days and nights of my life. I can’t tell you what I had for breakfast today, but I can recap every move from that entire one day 15 years ago. It’s so vivid and immobilizing and grabs me by the throat and sucks the air right out of my lungs. I feel the hyper ventilation resetting in as I mentally fall to my knees inconsolable, unable to comprehend my emotions for the 15th time, again. It makes me numb. What a dark devilish vision that lay his hands on me. Same mental replay…every time.

Yet there she is. She’s not dark at all…as a matter of fact the vision of her is the complete opposite end of the entire spectrum. She’s white, iridescently glowing, pure, clean, one word…Angelic. My best friend Christina was an angel on earth, you can ask anyone that knew her. Her time here was cut short by a car accident that claimed both her life and another friend, Nancy.

That day Christina and I had plans. She was going to humor me because this random lady asked me to come to her house so she could try to sell us some Mary Kay thing. I was 17, I was a good kid, the kind that would go to a random lady’s house so she could get credit for showing me some make-up, which I didn’t even wear. I’d graduated high school that May and was preparing to leave in 4 days to go study abroad to Ecuador. Most all my friends had another year before they graduated so that summer I spent every waking second with my friends.

I called Christina to make sure we were still on for going to that lady’s house…no answer. I kept calling. It became humorous and uncharacteristic of Christina to not answer. I’d caught wind that she may be down at the Bay with some other friends. So my last message on her answering machine poked fun of her for making me go to this lady’s house solo (which Meredith ended up going with me) and I vividly remember saying…”but I forgive you.”

Who knows about what the outcome of that day would have been if I’d have been with her at the Bay, if she’d have stayed behind, if well any other alternative would have happened. I’ve grown past the “what if” stage, the wanting to punch God in the face phase, the gut wrenching loss and void of my best friend not being there from the perspective of a 17 year old kid. I’ve grown.

Don’t get me wrong, I have the what-if’s still as a 32 year old, but the focus has changed - what if she were still here what would she be doing? Where would she live? What would her husband look like? How many kids would she have? I no longer want to punch God in the face for taking her away. I don’t fester the hate of an angry 17 year old anymore, I rejoice in the fact that I know she is with Him. I celebrate hoping one day to join them whenever my time should come. The void is always there, no doubt, but the always recognizable feeling of her presence picks me up and carries me through rough days like today. Rough days like mid-August through Labor Day. Rough days as there are too many to list where she’s held me up when I simply just wanted to give up. It’s comforting to know that she has been with me through every life journey. I feel her with me, more often than not.

To get me through the grief of her absence and being uprooted to Ecuador all within mere days of each other I kept a journal every day. I'm not sure that I've ever told anyone this and I’m not sure why I haven’t, but every line, every day started with "Dear Christina." She kept me strong and she helped me experience so much that year abroad. I grew up fast and she was there every step of the way. When I returned home, out of habit I picked up the phone to call her only to stop and realize the reality of her not ever going to be there to talk. I knew she was gone. What would have possessed me to do that? I was wrong though, she’s always there to talk and Ecuador was the first of many adventures Christina has been on with me. We've traveled the world, done stupid things and shared so much and she's carried me through all of them. My loss of her has also been my gain...I believe that and I hope you understand what I mean when I say it. Christina's life on Earth touched many people and I'm one of them. Her spirit sings in my heart to this day.

I still grieve for her. I think that's natural. I think it's great when we remember her and talk about her. My dear friend Christy and I keep Christina's spirit alive we talk about her often; and every year on the anniversary of her death, even if I haven't talked to Christy in a month or so, we touch base just to say I love you. We’ve already talked today. It’s always emotional but it’s always comforting. Christy took 15 sunflowers to Christina’s grave this morning. Sunflowers were her favorite. Bright and happy which was totally her personality and so appropriate.

To coat my annual depression with more morbid darkness I need you to understand the full picture. My emptiness during this time of year didn’t really start at age 17 with Christina. It was 3 years prior in 1994 at age 14 with the loss of my step dad, Frank. His passing from cancer before Labor Day that year was devastating. I was young and worried more about my mother and his four kids than myself, then Christina’s death came upon me at such an impressionable age and the stigma of the calendar reared its head again 3 years ago with the loss of Chip’s mom on August 18, 2009, as we were expecting our first born that she so longed for. It’s like a curse. Which is such an oxymoron because I know we are to be rejoicing for they are with our Lord and we are the unlucky ones still here on earth hoping and waiting to join our loved ones. I’m just selfish and at this time of year I open my arms and reach to the sky and say in a sarcastic punk way, “What next? What this year? It’s that time!”

I’m sorry to vomit all my bad ju ju on you today. It’s just a day, THE day, that always puts me in a selfish funk. And what do I do to feel whole? I journal, I blog, I vent, I kiss Hill repeatedly and make him laugh so my heart can sing. Yet, sometimes I write things you don’t see. I found something that was dated November 9, 2011 and both my mom and Christy know this story but I’ll share its beauty with you too. The beauty of how things can be there when you need them the most.

November 9, 2011. Today I finally got around to moving a piece of furniture from my garage that my mom had given me a month or so ago. I moved it to the guest bedroom, which I'm in the middle of redecorating. As I opened the old dilapidated drawer I saw my mom had stuck an old jewelry box in there so I pulled it out and laughed at the quirky jewelry wondering what on earth I wore this hideous stuff with, but then something caught my eye. There was something in the drawer that was behind the box, a cotton ball bud with a dried up stem. I immediately broke into tears. Called my mom sobbing and asked if she knew that there was a cotton bud in this drawer? The other end of the line was quiet. I think she was worried she’d done wrong. She said she did, she put it there and gently asked me was it ok that she did that? Yes! Yes, it was wonderfuI! I guess I didn’t know that she knew what it was. How she knew what it was. And how important a silly ol’ dried up piece of cotton was. Why she’d held on to such a thing for all these years. 14 years. Mama’s just know.

You see 14 years ago, the weekend before Christina passed away, we took a road trip - ironically enough it was only a few miles from where her life was taken - we pulled over to run through the cotton fields as fast as we could. Silly carefree teenage girls. Before we got in the car we all picked a bud of cotton, why? I guess the better question at that age was why not?

The cotton bud ended up in my bedroom on a windowsill and then I moved to Ecuador 2 weeks later, by the time I returned my mom moved to a different house, then I went to college, married, have a beautiful little boy and today - 14 years later as I moved a piece of furniture around that cotton bud popped back into my life. It's as pristine and together as the day we picked it. It was a breath of fresh air, a lost happy that I needed a precious reminder of. Her presence is felt and her memories are as vivid as that day in the cotton field.

*I miss you Christina Louise Hoelscher you are my guardian angel.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vacation - The First 24 Hours

Man ol man have we had so much fun the first day (and a half) in Orange Beach!
Pictures below...
*When we got there Hill opened up presents for Reid.
*He's played and played and played with Hannah.
*He's eaten nearly a box of Popsicles (sugar free of course since MeMe is on health patrol)
*Went to Hooters and ate chicken wings.
*And of course went swimming in the lazy river, the big pool and the baby pool. He hasn't wanted to do the big slide yet, which is fine by me!

I have been super lazy! While Hill and I napped - Chip, my dad and Hannah went fishing and caught dinner yesterday. We had fresh fish tacos.

Meme has been enjoying reading and doing our mass quantity of laundry and dishes. We have bets on what happens more... Pam going to the grocery store or Hill hitting his head.

So far Pam is winning 3 to 2.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Childlike Fun

Friday and today, Monday, I have had the opportunity to revert to childhood things. It’s been so funny, even though I am 32 it doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the little things in life like ice cream and going back to school.

Last week at work we had “Clean Your Desk Day.” Thursday before you left you had to make sure that your desk was cleaned, passwords and confidential information locked up snug in their drawer…all the security / audit measures met. Then that night “cleaning judge fairies” came and graded your desk. Of course, I got an A+ “Firecracker Clean.” Yay me! The F was “Dynamite Needed,” and I think the fairy judges were kind and didn’t give those to anyone.

As a reward we got ice cream Friday afternoon. I got strawberry and chocolate in a cone. If nothing says fun kid stuff like licking an ice cream cone then I’m just not too sure you had a childhood…unless you were lactose intolerant, then I’m sorry . You can have a popsicle.

What a fun summery thoughtful gesture. I know I appreciated it.

Then Monday at Rotary our guest speaker was our City Superintendent, Tony McGee. Tony is a great guy, a former Rotarian and wonderful educator. He took us on a field trip…on a school bus to the Elementary School. First of all, the average age of our Rotarians is like 76…so when asked the last time I was on a school bus and I couldn’t remember made me feel old - - I had to think about some of these guys who never had the opportunity to ride a school bus because they probably weren’t invented or that was something “big city folks” did. They had to walk up hill both ways in the snow year round.

Once we got to the school it was flashback time. I won’t say flashback from hell because I enjoyed school, as I am a nerd. It was so interesting to see those kiddos and watch them learn and more fascinating to see HOW they learned.

I’m going to sound like one of the 76 year old Rotarians, (in my best old lady voice) “They have these machines that project a computer screen onto a board. The board is touched by a special pen and writes, erases highlights and other technical fancy stuff. So much for chalk boards or over-head projectors that bulbs blew like every day and had clear sheets written on by a type writer then use an erasable marker to write the answer down - or – like when I got into college it was dry erase boards. No more chalk boards as I’m sure that teachers and students inhaled too much chalk dust and got emphysema or something. Kids probably stole the dry erase markers and got high sniffing them. Crazy kids these days. Things just can’t be simple anymore…school busses, technology, yah yah yah.”

Personally, I had just eaten lunch, the classroom was nice and cool and the room was dark (I guess to better see the projector board) - - I was ready for a nap. I’m sure these fancy boards are stupendous. But I really really really (but am willing to be convinced otherwise) don’t understand why we have to invest so much money into these learning devices when education back in my day was very efficient and sufficient. Is it to save on paper usage? That would make sense. Is it more so for the visual learners? I’ll buy that as I am a total visual learner. I’m not dissing it, just trying to better understand. And the fact that I just said, “diss” totally tells you how old school I am.

Computers are great, there were a ton of computers throughout the school. Dr. McGee said that kids these days are learning basic keyboard and mouse functions in Kindergarten. Wow, that amazes me. I remember going to the computer room in 2nd grade and playing the Oregon Trail. I always died of some diphtheria or dysentery or something random. It was in DOS and you used a big ol’ floppy disk and sometimes had to blow on it…which was normal because I had to blow on my Nintendo games too. You know, to fix it and get the dirt out. Oregon Trail was not educational, neither was pong. I liked to get to play on these gargantuan machines tough. It was fun. I think I got my first personal computer in 1993 maybe? I was probably 13. It was given to me by my Uncle Ralph who was extremely knowledgeable, truly a man before his time as he got in on the computer / internet world before most had heard of the internet. It’s now 2012 and Chip’s dad still thinks that the internet is a place somewhere and he’d like to visit this ‘internet’ place sometime. I think he thinks it’s in Washington D.C. Anyway, computers are great.

A lost art is cursive writing. Did you know that they don’t teach cursive in schools anymore? Maybe one day when my kids get to college it will be a foreign language? They can major in cursive.

I enjoyed our little visit to the school. I am scared to death for Hill and Reid to go to school, that means they are growing up. I may just start crying now as the next 3-5 years is all I will have to shelter them in my little bubble of the simple life.

Here are a few pictures…

The ice cream day at the Bank and some of our school tour.

*You can see my friend Hollee saved me a spot next to her on the bus. I told her on the way back to the Square that maybe she could pump me to my house on her bike once we got there.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I’m At ‘That’ Stage

So Reid and I are trucking along on into mid-week of gestation week numero 25. She is a spinner. I think that she will be one of those circus ladies that spin by their hair from like 30 feet in the air. Impressive. If she gets Chip and Hill’s hair then we can start practice maybe when she’s 2 weeks old…yet if she gets my hair, well her hair won’t grow until she is like 3 years old and we will have to tape bows on her head with double sided sticky tape and find her a new occupation. I’m hoping she won’t wrestle alligators.

I’m at ‘that’ stage – you know, the one where you have to get a leveraging kick start with your feet to swing yourself outta bed in the morning (or the 18 times in the middle of the night to tt.) It’s really an art as most of you moms know. You get a workout no doubt, but the key is to hook your foot onto the side of the mattress to pull yourself up.

I’m at ‘that’ stage – you know, the one that you don’t really shave your legs as often anymore because you can’t see them so it doesn’t really matter. Yet, I still continue to wear a dress most every day – don’t judge, just say “Bless My Heart.”

I’m at ‘that’ stage – you know, the one that getting off the couch makes you feel like an Olympian because the twists and turns you have to do to land on your feet. It’s talent - GOLD! USA! USA!

I’m at ‘that’ stage – you know, the one where walking across the house is like running the Boston Marathon because by the time you get there your side hurts from the brisk walk and you’re out of breath.

I’m at ‘that’ stage – you know, the one where you stand at the window in your nice cool house to watch your kid play on his swing set outside because you don’t want to endure the heat. Poor Hill, he just wants someone to push him on the swing! Then I feel bad and go push him for like 45 seconds and talk him into coming back inside to play trucks.

I’m at ‘that’ stage – you know, the one where anything you ingest gives you heartburn so you feel the need to drink something carbonated to make you burp and in the big scheme of things that probably isn’t the right thing to do but you feel that even water would only add fuel to the firey chest of hell.

I’m at ‘that’ stage – you know, the one where you try not to drink anything because you are so freaking tired of having to get up and go to the bathroom ALL DAY LONG. I’m so glad the stock price at my work is rising because if I were a betting girl I’d say they were losing money due to all the toilet paper, paper towels, soap and water I use on a daily basis just back and forth to the potty, and if you want to get technical the wear and tear on the carpet back and forth from my office to the lounge. I will say, in the past month at my office they have had the commercial carpet cleaning company come and clean the carpets and then then twice just this week I’ve seen an “out of order sign” on one of the stalls in the ladies room. I swear when the plumbers walked by my desk they were looking at me in that Godfather-esque “we’ve got our eyes on you” kind of way. They may have even done that scary gesture where they point to their eyes and then to yours – like “watch yo self.” Guilty conscious, maybe? I feel that any day upper management may come up to my office and say, “Rachel, we’re going to need you to start providing your own paper products and soap as you are the cause of the rise of operational costs.” Seriously, if my bladder could come outside of my body it would punch me in the face then run away and never come back. It may just be as tired as I am.

I’m at ‘that’ stage – you know, the one where all the above mentioned things seem like a task so you put your pj’s on when you get home from work with intentions to go to bed at like 8:00pm to avoid any further daily feats.

I can’t say that I’m at ‘that’ stage on this one because I don’t really remember having this issue when pregnant with Hill…but I have Braxton-Hicks contractions so often and all day that there have been a couple times during my relaxing hot bath I thought I may just go ahead and have a water birth right then and there. I’m probably totally over reacting because I fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, have never really had a true body debilitating contraction. With Hill I never dilated, he was born at 39 weeks and 4 days - I am confident enough to say that should they not have removed him via csection then he would still be in my belly today, at age 2 and a half. I kid you not. I don’t remember having Braxton-Hicks with Hill…Chip said I did? If I did, they weren’t like this. I do remember thinking Hill was going to fall out of my va-jay jay all the time as he was so low, but I don’t remember him making my stomach turn into a cumbersome tight boulder all day long.

Needless to say this pregnancy has been perfectly fine, extremely different, but good. This rodeo I was so sick the first trimester, the emotional toll I went through until literally like maybe 6 weeks ago, now the perpetual Braxton-Hicks. In the big scheme of things none of this is bad – like at all. I know I’m more tired this go round because a) well I’m pregnant and that’s what happens and b) I’m chasing around and playing with a two year old all the time when I’m not working my other full time job at the bank. Makes me tired just typing that.

Things are good and we are truly blessed. Reid Catherine is going to be here in 3 months and 2 days and we’re getting excited!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Dental Appointment

For the past year Hill has been going every 6 months to see Dr. Middleton, our local dentist. Dr. Middleton and his crew are awesome. We are so fortunate to have such a great dental practice that would see him here with his cleft in the little Land of Koz. Sure saves this mama a lot of time and gives also me comfort if I were to need anything or have questions as Adam (Dr. Middleton) and his precious wife, Anna, are our friends.

I don't really know when kids are to start regular check ups but when Hill's teeth started coming in I noticed that he had an extra tooth next to his top right 'front' tooth. This tooth was parallel with his cleft and came in forward to back not side to side. If you'll recall my terror last year I was thinking he was one of the rare cases where the palate is affected but skin covers it up so you never know unless crazy teeth or no teeth start coming in.

Thankfully that was not the case with Hill. He just has a random extra tooth - who knows if it's associated with the cleft or not? We go for check ups every 6 months to check development.

Hill is phenomenal at the dentist. It's so funny how grown-y he acts when there. Mrs. Sharron Davis (who is a long time family friend of Chip's) just eats it up when Hill comes. She is so good with him and makes it so much fun!! We get all kinds of toys and stickers and she talks to him the whole time - she's amazing. She cleans his teeth and he giggles because it tickles. He listens and follows instructions like open wide, bite, you know - all the dental commands. It's seriously funny.

Dr. Middleton looked at the x-rays and you can see such great development between now and 6 months ago. The permanent teeth (that obviously haven't come down) look to be good. It seems as though there may only be one permanent tooth to replace those two teeth which is totally what I wanted to hear. This means a) no pulling of teeth as he will lose his baby teeth on his own, and b) that there is actually a tooth that will replace the baby teeth and c) no reconstructive surgery as far as implants etc. Rejoice!!!

We love ALL the people at the dentist. They all come in and goo and gaah over his cuteness. The receptionists are the same way. Can't beat feeling like a movie star when you're there!

So with that said we go back again in six months just to keep monitoring things. What a fantastic check up!

Here are a few pics of my big man at his appointment.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

My Sweet Boys

When Hill moved into his big boy bed he graciously said he'd give Reid his crib. I asked him if she could have his brown rocking chair too. He quickly said, "No, I keep my chair."

This is why.... I can't say I blame him.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Out With The Boobs

Chip and I bought our house like 5 or 6 years ago. We love it, it was one of those places we both walked into and “knew” it was perfect for us. Knock on wood we have not had to do anything major to the house it’s 14 years old which isn’t old in my eyes. We did replace the air conditioner last month which was a biggie, yet the rest has just been personal preference…we added a fence, landscaped, have only had to paint one room since we’ve been there, added wood floors to our bedroom…still a few personal preferences we'd like to do, but other than that it’s been move in ready since day one.

Except the light fixtures. Chip has always just randomly talked about how he dislikes all the light fixtures in the house. I don’t care, I never notice it. When I need light, I flip a switch and it provides it. Given our house can be conformed into a cave in like 2.5 seconds and we are on a wooded lot where sunshine only comes in certain windows so I guess I’ve taken the light situation “lightly” – hardy harr harr – pun intended.

Last week you saw the picture of my new Craigslist chandelier. We love it and are so glad I lived through the transaction to enjoy it. It provides so much more light than I anticipated. Maybe that’s what got this locomotive going, but as we were looking at toilets at Lowe’s (we seemed to buy a bunch of stuff except for a toilet) we decided to get rid of the boobs. You see, in our kitchen we have these two globe-like lights that are better suited for like a hallway or entry way… Chip has always referred to them as “the boob lights.” Albeit, he’s a boob man, he hates the boob lights. I have to agree. They are always burning out, they take special bulbs, you have to get a ladder to change them, even fully lit they don’t put out good light. Yadda Yadda Yadda. We hate the boob lights in the kitchen. We made an executive decision to oust the boobs.

So glad we did. It’s like I was blind and I didn’t know it. All my senses were heightened just by providing more light, new light! I could see things I didn’t know existed --and some I wish I didn’t know existed, like how nasty funky dirty my air vents and ceiling around them were. Vom-it! When was the last time you thought about taking the vacuum hose to your ceiling? Yeah, me neither. The light made me clean the dishes out of the sink too because I could finally see how bad they were piling up! It’s amazing what light can do. You cannot see with boob lights, but new improved - not your grandma’s track lighting - does the trick! So, all in all for $210 we have totally upped the ante on the total ambiance of our house with the chandelier and two new kitchen fixtures. Just with lights. Seriously, I’m so happy.

I’m also happy my hubby knows how to swap out things like that. Don’t tell him I told ya’ll but he’s super handy.

We will probably end up putting one boob in my mudroom entry thing- - still more to come on that as it is currently under construction.

Here are a few before, during and after pics.

Relaxing Weekend and Making My Kids Clothes

I had a great weekend. One of probably the most self-fulfilling weekends I’ve had in a while. Friday night I was so tired so Chip cooked steaks and we lounged around the house watching the Olympics. What is your opinion on my son taking gymnastics? Personally I think it’s awesome. Chip thinks he will get beat up. My rebuttal is that he could totally whip their butt because have you seen how buff gymnasts are? Oh how the stigma of what’s popular and unpopular gets on my nerve. I think I will sign him up anyway. Let Hill decide if he likes it or not. Whatever.

Saturday morning Chip and Hill rode around with me while I went to a few garage sales looking for a small chest of drawers that could be used as a changing table for Reid’s room. No such luck. So if you have one, I want it.
After that Chip had some errands to run and Hill wanted to go play at Nana’s house so I went over to Whitney’s house to work on the project I’d mentioned earlier last week. I am super duper pleased with the outcome.

Growing up my grandmother made a lot of my clothes, I loved it. I just found a picture of what I liked and she made it happen...right down to the fabric that was in the picture. She even made my formal Derby Doll banquet dress in high school. She taught me how to sew at a very young age. She'd let me help, always. I use to love spending hours watching her pin and cut and sew - watching a bunch of nothing turn into something fabulous. Maybe that's where my need for visual productivity stems from? I use to like to cut out fabric to make it look like a folded dress shirt. She'd let me make the collar and sew buttons and most of the time no one would realize that it wasn't a real shirt until they tried to unfold it and it was just a square with a collar and buttons. I'd go put them in the dresser in the guest bedroom like should guests come spend the night at her house and need a shirt, they'd be fooled by my faux shirt. Don't make fun I was like 7 and it was funny. Spending time with Mamaw was probably some of my fondest childhood memories. Life always seemed so simple with her.

When she passed away I inherited all of her sewing stuff. The machine stopped working after the second time I tried to use it and Chip so generously offered to have it fixed even though the guy said it would be cheaper to buy a new one. It was antiquated, not worth it monetarily to fix. I guess you could say my inspiration died with that machine. Mamaw wasn't around to guide me and time just never gives itself to me anyway. Plus, I always have good intentions of doing crafty things but usually they never pan out because I don’t have the proper materials and things to make it happen right then and there…as I am from the instant gratification generation. Yet, Whitney on the other hand has taken crafts and sewing to a totally new level. Maybe it sounds cheesy but it's like she has breathed life back into my sewing spirit. The one that has been stagnant for the past 20 years.

Whit has gotten into sewing over the last year (as you’ve seen some of her handy work on my blog) and done an awesome job at everything she’s tried her hand at. I have to admit, I’m jealous. So while we were in Oxford I decided “we” should try to take on the cutest shirt ever, the Colonel Reb patchwork looking shirt. Whit didn’t hesitate to want to help me; by the following week she had all the materials and know how to make it happen. Why spend $36 on a t-shirt when you can make it yourself? I have to say…ours turned out WAY cute, dare I say cuter than the one we saw in the store.

Admittingly at first when Whitney was showing me I was like hmm blah - trace, cut, then retrace then cut then iron then cut then iron then sew. Stick me in the eye with a fork but whatever I can make this one cute shirt and spend time with my girl, no prob. Then by the time I was cutting the 8 millionth piece for the 3 billionth time I could see the project come to fruition. I felt the spark and before I knew it we had spent all day making fun things! I also made Hill a shirt with his name on it and then I made Reid her first non-hand me down outfit with her initials on it. I am quite proud. Chip was very much impressed and even suggested Whit and I get together more often and do this. Couldn’t agree more babe, let’s make this happen!

Here is a picture of the Colonel Reb below, but Hill's name shirt and Reid’s gown aren’t quite finished yet but soon. I’ll post pictures as soon as they are done, but in the mean time…here is the most adorable Colonel Reb ever. Yay for some grown up time with my friend and sparking that old sewing flame! Love you, Whit!

Chinese Water Torture and How The Dolphin Changed My Life

Your kid may love getting his face uncontrollably sprinkled on from the shower, lucky you! My kid HATES to get his face wet without having something to immediately wipe it off with, he always asks for a napkin to wipe his face off (which cracks me up in general.) Shower time is like Chinese Water Torture to my sweet first born. So you can imagine my debacle…I know that I set the standards when he was teeny tiny by providing a baby sling for him to lie on in the bathtub. Yet, over the years instead of pouring water over his head and it getting all in his face I gently had him lay his tiny angel head and body on the sling and held my hand at his hairline and gently poured water on his head much like at the beauty shop does to get the soap out. Since his umbilical cord fell off we’ve been doing this. Yes, he’s two and a half years old and still uses the same baby sling from when he was two and a half weeks old. IT’S SO FREAKING EASY this way. He can splash around in the water and play with his toys then I bust out the sling and he can lie there, I can scrub his stinky feet and hands and belly with no fuss. I do not know any different. I do not know any other way to bathe a kid or how to get soap out of their hair without drama.

I’ve tried to have this conversation with my closest of friends, but I just can figure out how they bathe their kids without getting water in their face without a fuss…unless they use the sling. How do I wash his hair without it getting in his face? How do I do this? It’s more complicated to me than doing a global debt service coverage for a Fortune 500 company. Why does this plague me so?

I’ve been secretly stressed out about this for a few months now. My little boy has hit a growth spurt and the sling is becoming well, not ok anymore.

Ok so yesterday we went to Lowe’s to look around at “tawlets” (toilets for you civilized folk) and I accidentally found this little happy shower thing in the shower head section that said “My Own Shower,” it was for kids. It had this fun little cartoon-like dolphin that showers your little bugga boo at his own level instead of a big ol’ mommy / daddy shower that pelts water at you from 35 feet up in the air and gets all in your face and causes babies to scream like they are being dropped from sky scrapers.

So, I bought the dolphin thing. It was $16 and Hill seemed to want to play with it while we shopped, which made it worth the 16 bucks in itself even if it didn’t work out. We got home and later that night Chip hooked it up. It has an adaptor that hooks to the adult shower head but when you disconnect the dolphin hose the adult shower works like normal. It’s very easy and I’m sure this is handy for when you share a shower with your family, as not everyone wants to shower with the dolphin, I suppose.

The dolphin has changed my life. Absolutely hands down the best money I have ever spent. At first Hill was a little hesitant. He wanted only to stick his right leg in where the dolphin sprayed. So we did the hokey pokey and he got his legs and arms wet. This really did help; I swear we sang the Hokey Pokey. Then I told him he needed to get his belly button wet. So he did. Then he got brave and wanted to drink the water so he stuck his tongue out and let it splash in his face a little. We had to get a ‘napkin’ (towel), but he was ok with it. I had him turn around and back up to the shower and I tilted his head back to get his hair wet. He fussed for just a second then realized it was ok. That was absolutely all it took. Right then and there he became a professional shower taker. I made a HUGE deal about it and told him how big he was and how he can take a big boy shower and get his hair wet! It was amazing. I may have cried. He called for his Daddy to come watch him back up to the shower and get his hair wet so he could see how big of a boy he has become!

There is a little bar in Hill’s shower that I guess is used to hang wash cloths on? Anyway it’s now the bar that Hill holds on to so he safely leans back and gets his hair wet. The water doesn’t go everywhere so you are able to leave the shower curtain open and sit there and supervise. You can also plug the drain and they can still splash around and play with toys while the dolphin fills it up.

I think he played in the shower for probably 45 minutes, I could not get him out. He was so proud of himself and he had so much fun playing! He’s always been the strange kid that asks you randomly if he can go take a bath, he’s never minded bath time at all. This has just totally taken us to a new stage of bath taking fun and put a new spin on EVERYTHING. My big man is growing up so fast!

Below is a picture of the baby sling I was talking about that we’ve used for two and a half years.

Then I took a picture of the dolphin and how it’s hooked up…and of course Hill has to show you how the dolphin works!

Friday, August 03, 2012

"Crack" Me Up!

Hill inherited his daddy's no hiney. His boxer briefs have issues staying up - poor little buddy. I'm so glad Whitney was able to capture the hilarity of his condition.

Dr. Shell and The Potential Craigslist Killer

Sorry, I typed this Tuesday, but forgot to post it….The update is underneath…

The title sounds dramatic doesn't it. Well it's two totally separate thought processes but when you put it together it makes for good conversation.

Thursday, August 2nd, we have an appointment with Dr. Shell in Memphis. Chip won’t be able to go so Hill and I will be traveling solo. It’s usually a quick turn-around trip 3 hours there, see Dr. Shell for 2.5 seconds then grab a bite somewhere and head the 3 hours home. I’m hoping Hill will sleep in the car at some point…or a lot of points. I’ve made this trek with him alone before and my most “oh my goodness gracious I want to drive off a cliff moment” in motherhood thus far was one of those alone trips to Memphis. He was a tiny infant and he screamed from Batesville, MS to Kosciusko, MS. I cried and had no idea what to do; I called everyone but the police trying not to flip out. So I sort of get a flashback knot in gut feeling when I think about making the trek alone. Hill is a much better traveler now thanks to technology and the trans of Dora The Explorer episodes. So, happy trails to us.

When we last went to Dr. Shell in March he said he’d be able to tell more at this August visit about potentially needing or not needing another surgery. It’s crazy to think that even 15 months after his surgery his lip is still swollen. I’m assured that this is common because I’ve noticed significant decrease in swelling just from March to now. I hope that Dr. Shell notices it too and will be able to make a sure decision on how Hill’s lip will lay once finally healed. I don’t know the “stage” of healing Hill is at but if we are close to the final healing stage I feel that Hill will need a little bit of a tuck because the right lip droops more so than the left side. Most people don’t notice it and behind the droopy lip hides the fact that he has an extra tooth that goes front to back (not side to side) that is parallel with his cleft. Which we’ve been seeing our awesome dentist Dr. Middleton going on a year now monitoring it. We go back to him on the 9th.

Weekend before last someone said, “Oh no, did he bust his lip?” Which is a compliment in our book; most people wouldn’t even know that he’s had two major reconstructive surgeries due to being born with a cleft lip. We’ve come a long way. I’m pleased with everything and know Dr. Shell will know what’s best from here forward. I hope and pray constantly that my tiny noggin doesn’t have to endure another surgery, but Chip and I trust Dr. Shell and want all that can be done to be done now…when he doesn’t fully remember.

Depending on what time we hit the streets to Memphis we have to make a stop either before or after our appointment. For those of you not familiar with Craigslist you must familiarize yourself. It’s a website much like a trading post for anything - people post items they no longer need or services available and it’s divided out to search by cities and states. It’s how we found our boombostic deal on our lot in Bay St. Louis (which we closed on last Friday – whoop!) It’s where my husband found his job! Odd, I know right? I’m serious though.

Well I am making my first personal face to face transaction because I found a chandelier that I want and it’s in Memphis. I’ve had this paranoia about having to meet someone and buy something from them in person because of all the scary stuff you see on the news about being abducted or stabbed because they lure you in with Craigslist ads…and now since I found out yesterday that Chip is unable to come with us to Memphis, the most crime ridden city in the United States…I started wondering how bad I wanted this chandelier. It’s a $380 chandelier for $50. I’ve been corresponding with the guy and he gave me his home address - which is in a nice neighborhood - and he said he probably won’t be there but his wife or sister in law would. So I’m thinking I can take on some crazy woman should I need to fight for my chandelier and protect my 2 year old and unborn child.

Then I googled the guy because we’ve been corresponding from personal emails. His email is from The University of Tennessee, maybe he’s a professor? So, after googling him I found that he is a resident pediatric neurosurgeon. I felt a little more comfortable about the situation now. He must love babies so he probably won’t chop me and my pregnant self up…or my precious son. However, as a neurosurgeon he may want to perform a Frankenstein experiment on our brains. That thought popped into my head after Young Frankenstein was on tv last night. What a wild creative imagination I have. Bless me.

So, I’ve sent Chip the guys name, email, personal address and the link that shows his picture just in case Hill and I do get abducted. I feel like we will probably just end up with an awesome $380 chandelier for 50 bucks, but what fun would my saying I’m buying something off of Craigslist be if I didn’t let you into my psychedelic 14,000 mph thought process of how it could pan out. Just sayin’.


Hill and I were able to leave town around lunch on Thursday. We made awesome time and Hill was such a travel trooper. He watched his tv until about Batesville and then napped until I turned into the Craigslist Killers neighborhood to pick up my chandelier. I’m sure these really super nice people dislike that I refer to them as the Craigslist Killers on my blog. They were not killers but probably people that would be my BFF if I lived in Cordova. I’m sure we looked really homely going up to their door (which my mom had me have her on my phone while I nonchalantly held it in my hand the whole time.) Hill demanded to wear his Superman pj shirt on top of his red polo yesterday.

Side note: the pj’s are sized 18 month and I’d passed them down to a friend. My friend gave them back as her kid has now grown out of them…well Hill spotted them in the bag and feels the need to wear the shirt 24-7. I’ve learned to pick my battles. Superman pj tops are not one I’m taking on. Yet, no socks on with the tennis shoes is a battle I’ll take on. Holy moly mother of sweet 8 pound baby Jesus, Hill inherited my stank feet. I put his shoes in the closet one night then the next morning when I went to pick out his clothes I opened the door and the odor nearly knocked me off my feet. I literally thought something had died. So now, we MUST wear socks with shoes. It’s become part of our house rules.

1) No hitting

2) No lying

3) No eating Ketchup when Chip’s around and

4) You must wear socks with shoes.

I’ve digressed. We looked homely at the Craigslist Killers house, maybe that’s why they spared our lives…they felt sorry for us. Hill had on his seersucker red and white shorts, no shoes (but socks), a red collared polo shirt with a crop top Superman pj shirt over that. I will say that he had the collar of his polo on the outside of the Superman pj top so he was at least “trying” to be stylish in a Jersey Shore kind of way. The girl was nice and carried the chandelier to my car. I handed her cash money and told her to please count it. She said, no I trust you. Guess I wasn’t as homely as I pictured myself? She was a nice girl. Her looks sort of reminded me of my college roommate Sarah.

Anyway, I’m alive and didn’t have my brain transplanted into a corpse or anything obscene. The transaction took like 2.5 seconds and was very pleasant. As a matter of fact when I got home later that night I took a picture of the chandelier and emailed it to them saying “she loves her new home.” I’m a dork like that. But I’m also a dork in wondering where all my old cars are today. Are they being treated right and running still and as clean as I kept them or rotting in a junk yard somewhere sad. I sometimes feel like inanimate objects have feelings. Which is why Hill has 4,000 stuffed animals because I can’t bring myself to rid of them. They may be sad somewhere else. Whoa, ok I’ve fallen off my rocker by publicly admitting that. I’ll work on ridding of the stuffed animals…I promise.

Anyway, Chip loved the chandelier and was very proud of my find. He immediately hung it up and went to the store and bought light bulbs for it. We were both very surprised with me buying something sight unseen and not knowing how it would or if it wouldn’t work. I’m very much NOT like that. I need to see it touch it feel it ponder and over analyze how it’s going to look and then talk myself out of it. That’s how I work. So yay for Craigslist find! $380 chandelier for $50 and it looks like it was MADE for our dining room.

By the time the chandelier transaction took place it was only like 3:00 and so I called Penny at Dr. Shell’s office and she said come on early! So we did. The only tantrum Hill had all day long was when we got to Dr. Shell’s building. I had to tt so so so bad and we walked into the bathroom and Hill wanted to go first. I told him that there was absolutely no way that mommy could let him go first, I’m so sorry – it was an emergency. He proceeded to throw himself on the floor of the bathroom…hands, face, tummy, legs just rubbing all over the bathroom floor. Yuk. I didn’t care I had to go first. The Mean Stupid Selfish Mommy that I am. After literally like 7 minutes of my convincing him he could tt in any of the stalls while real alligator tears ran down his bathroom floor infested face – he went in another stall. He got over himself and we were ready to go see Dr. Shell. Whew.

Hill has talked and talked and talked about Dr. Shell for like 2-3 days. He even was telling Penny, the receptionist, how Dr. Shell was going to be “sssoooo happy.” Well Cassie (his assistant) called us back and when Dr. Shell came in Hill wouldn’t even look at him. It was so funny. I told him how Hill had been talking about him for days now and I’m so surprised at his behavior. I told Dr. Shell that yesterday Hill said, “I go see Dr. Shell….he’s dangerous!” Dr. Shell said, “Hill! You’re ruining my Kosicusko business!”

Hill’s new found word is dangerous. You can’t do something like change the tv channel – because it’s dangerous. He hasn’t quite learned what it means exactly and it’s hilarious to see how he uses it.

The check up went well. My worry of another surgery will have to wait because he said that even though the scar is softening and the swelling is going down, the lip is still red and swollen and we can’t make a touch up decision until all the redness is gone. What does this translate to? Having a soft scar is what you want. If your scar was hard and bulky then it would cause for a tight scar and not look so natural. Even though it’s been 15 months since his surgery Dr. Shell said he thinks a lot more of the swelling will subside. With kids you never know how long it will take their wounds to heal. What we are looking for is all the redness to go away. Once the scar is no longer red / pink then we know where we stand on the healing and can better distinguish what, if any, touch ups are to be done. This healing could even take up to another year. So we wait…on vanishing redness / pink.

We go back in December and Penny said we have to bring Reid with us. So weird to think about the fact that she will be here so soon! How exciting and crazy. Hill was about 25 days old when we met the crew at Shell Cosmetics. They have literally watched him grow up. So it’s only appropriate Reid be a part of that family too.

Here are a few pictures since I made you read so much.

Before & After of chandelier. Hopefully you can tell the more ornate chandelier is the new one and the Lowe's special is the old one. (pardon all the junk on my buffet - I'm cleaning out my mudroom entry way for new construction. More to come on that)

Then you never know what you will learn about at Dr. Shell's office. Yesterday Hill showed me that the picture on the brochure for a tummy tuck makes for a happy carefree mama and super laid back kids. So, Mama needs a tummy tuck!

Then I'll give you a glimpse into the wonderful world of Superman fashion. Be jealous.