Monday, April 26, 2010

Choo Choo!

Saturday night, Brandon dreamed about being in a magic train that could fly over the tops of the trees ... "just like we did on the train today, Momma!"We rode the passenger train out of Van Buren, and Brandon's favorite part was driving on the tall trestles, literally taller than the forest around us. However, we couldn't get Brandon to understand that we were still on tracks. He was absolutely convinced we were flying -- the blending of his two favorite things, trains and planes.
Abi's favorite part was the bathroom with the foot pedal flusher and miniature-sized sink. She spent a large part of the trip in the bathroom!
Camryn's favorite part was the goldfish crackers MeeMaw Sandy brought along.Cami giving sweet kisses before we boarded the train!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Complex Little Camryn

This photo is so "Camryn" -- nails freshly polished and a scrape on her knee! She's so full of opposing characteristics, idiosyncrasies.

The girls enjoyed a mommy-manicure this afternoon. Abi painted her own fingers, I mean nails, bright red. After a few Q-tips soaked in polish remover, her fingers no longer look like they're bleeding!

Camryn's manicure started off a little rough, because she mistakenly thought that she would be painting her own nails. We had a bit of a struggle before she finally relented to a "little help" from Mom. She is so headstrong! She did love her "pink thingers" (aka pink fingers), in the end. She loved the princess nail dryer -- too much -- she and Abi ended up in a scuffle over the diva dryer. Sisters!Don't miss the Super Woman tattoo on the bicep!

Camryn has been asking to wear "pannies" lately, so I decided we'd just try and see what happened. She lasted about 20 minutes in the first pair, after emphatic promises that she would not pee-pee on Dora. I discovered her leakiness by stepping in the pee puddle. So, with a fresh pair of panties, we ventured out of the house, only to soak her panties, pants, shoes, wicker chair, and floor underneath at the local Mexican restaurant. I was fully expecting that to happen, so I had a diaper in tow. I think she likes the idea of wearing "pannies" but lacks the focus just yet. Got a cute picture out of it, though!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Has it really been four years?

It was a day just like today -- kinda warm, breezy, sunny -- I wish I had it recorded in a way that I could show others what I see in my mind. For some reason, God made me notice the smallest details about that day, vividly. I wish I had a picture to share of Abi standing on the side of the livestock trailer, looking at "her" new cows, the smell of cow wafting in the breeze, her curls blowing in the wind. I wish I had a photo of Brandon's tiny fingers reaching out for the leaves, shining in the sunlight as they flitted in the wind, held up to the tree by the loving arms of his grandfather. I wish I had a way of sharing the smell of deviled eggs and sandwich meats from the last meal we shared together. I wish I could perfectly reproduce the clanging of the post driver I heard as they built a fence for the cows. I wish we could have that day one more time.

We love you and miss you terribly, Papa Ray! We miss you as our father, our grandfather, our friend.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Big Birthday Girl!

Abi decided that she wanted to take a few friends to Chuck E. Cheese's, rather than having the frog-themed birthday party with a bigger group of friends that she had originally planned. So, we picked up a few friends after school, hit Happy Hour, headed to Creekmore Park for some fun in the sun, played games and ate pizza at Chuck E. Cheese's, went to the mall for a cookie from the Cookie Company, and watched a movie in the car on the way home.
What I learned from Abi's big girl birthday: we need a 15-passenger van to hold all the giggles of sweet little girls, Brandon is going to suffer greatly at the hands of her sisters and her friends, and kids either love or hate the mouse man at Chuck E. Cheese's and no amount of soothing talk will change that!
Abi and Paige after school.The Happy Hour GirlsYes, that's blood on Cam's shirt. It was our only blood-incident -- at least it was my kid and it didn't involve a loss of teeth!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mexican Food Poisoning

At this time six years ago, I still carried my firstborn in my womb ... I had just enjoyed a delicious meal on the outdoor patio of my favorite Mexican restaurant, a long walk in the park by our house, a foot rub with a yummy peppermint lotion by my mom, and was relaxing comfortably, chatting on the phone with a teaching colleague. I was anticipating an early bedtime, knowing I would have a long day the next day, supervising the senior class trip to a Cardinals baseball game in St. Louis. It was my due date, and Nick was still trying to talk me out of riding the bus to the game and to ride in the car instead.
At 11 p.m., exactly one hour after going to bed, I awoke to the most horrible back pain I've ever felt -- well, I'd felt it one other time a month earlier. And after embarrassing myself by going to the hospital and being sent home when the pain stopped upon arriving at the hospital, I assumed that it was, again, muscle spasms in my back. I couldn't lie still, so I went downstairs so I wouldn't wake Nick up. As soon as I got downstairs, the onslaught of diarrhea began -- I was cussing the nice Hispanic gentlemen who worked at El Maguey, certain they'd given me food poisoning. I tried several times to crawl up the stairs on my hands and knees, only to be quickly relegated back to the downstairs bathroom for another "episode." For over half an hour, I was loudly calling, "Nick! Mom! Help me!" Nothing. Except a battle of snoring from upstairs.

Finally, I made it back up the stairs and caught my mom in a lighter sleep cycle, I suppose, because she finally came to. She sprayed warm water on my back for about an hour in the shower, but when the pain didn't stop, she said to Nick, "I think you need to get your clothes on. We're going to the hospital." I will never forget his face.
I tried to talk them out of it because it was the same pain I felt the month before, and I didn't want to get the "You're a first-time mom" treatment again. It certainly never crossed my mind that I was in labor. Wow!
After standing outside of the garage in a very cool April night for almost half an hour, Nick comes out and says, "Well, there's been a change of plans." Finally, he believes me that I don't really need to go to the hospital, just a dose of anti-diarrhea medicine. No, the hospital was full. Nick had called ahead, and they sent us to another hospital because there wasn't one single bed for me. They said I'd have to have the baby in the lobby if we showed up there. But, I wasn't having a baby yet, so it really didn't matter. I just needed to satisfy Nick and my mom, get a muscle relaxer for my back, get back home and get some sleep before tomorrow morning.

After running a stop light, a stop sign, and missing the entrance to the hospital, we arrived at the hospital. The nurse was giving me that pursed lip, you're-wasting-my-time look because I said I didn't need a wheelchair in the elevator up to L&D. Now, didn't her face change when she checked me and said that I was 9 cm and that I should not, no matter what, push!

Just a short bit later, my precious Abigayle Grace was born! What a beauty! My first thought about her was that her lips looked like a perfectly shaped heart. I still love to kiss those little lips! Those long, dark eyelashes! And those fat little thighs! And that round, bald head!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TLC, Here I Come

Today was a mixture of self-loathing and deep despair ... I think it's beginning to sink in that I will likely never have a baby in my womb or a newborn in my house again. I have been realizing that I need to begin letting go of some of my babies' stuff, considering there are Rubbermaid containers stacked over my head in the attic, safely holding my babies' precious things, as if they were a mother's arms rocking things that once touched one or more of my children's skin. Does that sound like the overly emotional ramblings of a crazy woman? I think so ... a crazy, maternal hoarder! I can easily sell or toss pretty much anything -- except my kids' things. It seems like virtually every item recalls some memory, however vague, mundane, or unimportant, a memory nonetheless, of my babies' childhood. I found myself disgusted with myself when I snapped to, in realization that I was really going through socks Brandon wore when he was two, deciding which pair I could let go of and which ones I "had" to keep. I felt like a woman on "Hoarders," trying to rationalize keeping some of the most ridiculous things.
So, I now have a quite impressive pile of clothes that I likely wouldn't dress my next child in anyway, if the occasion arose. There's also a pile of compromises, ones that I think I'll be able to let go of after taking a picture of them. But, then again, what if the house were to burn down and I lost the pictures of those things ... wait, then I'd lose all the stuff still in the attic. Maybe I should build an underground vault in the yard for their things ... can you say, "crazy, maternal hoarder?!"