Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The year was 1976, it was a rain drenched day in October. They say that rain on your wedding day is good luck, right?  That must be true because on October 23rd, my parents will celebrate 35 years of wedded bliss. 

I love to look at my parents wedding pictures.  My dad in his tan tuxedo with a peach bow tie, ruffled shirt and all.  My mom with the 1970's long black "Cher hair", complete with a form fitting empire waist gown.  They look so happy.  They look like kids, in fact, they really were.  My mom was 18, and my dad had just turned 20 the week before.  I went away to college at 18 and didn't even know how to make spaghetti, let alone be ready to get married!
  My dad said that when they got married they had $500, his Monte carlo, and a house with an outside crapper.  Of course,  I wasn't around in the winters of the late 70's, but from what I hear, they were horrendous.  It was so cold in the little house they lived in that they had frost on the inside of the windows...Burrrrrr!  (I can't get over the outside crapper, it must have been so cold!)
They both worked full time, but lived on one income and saved every penny of the other paycheck.  My dad walked to work, my mom used the only car they had because she worked in town.  They saved enough money to buy my late great grandfather's house, it had one bedroom, but it did have an indoor crapper, so it was an upgrade for sure!

Two years later my brother Chad came along, and I followed two years after that.  My dad worked for the railroad and was away from home much of the time.  After I was born, we moved to Corbin, KY, only about three hours away from home for my dad's job, and you would have thought that they moved cross country.  My mom said that it was horrible to have two babies and not to be around family.  A few months later, my dad got laid off from the railroad.  They called my family that day, and in the ice and snow, they moved my parents back home in one afternoon and evening.  They were so happy to be back, even though they didn't have jobs.  They were home.  After some hard times, my dad was fortunate to get a job at Colgate Palmolive less than a year later.  He worked there until they closed the doors in 2007 and he took an early retirement. 
My mom was a stay at home mommy.  She cleaned houses on the side, and she would take us with her.  When I went to kindergarten, my mom went back to school.  She cleaned houses during the day, and went to class of an evening.  I can remember her staying awake all night studying, and then do it all over the following day.  She finished school and got a good job, and all was well...
When I was 11, and my brother was 13, my mom and dad got the surprise of their lives when she got pregnant with my little brother.  It wasn't exactly the plan that they had hoped for, but the Lord, along with some shotty birth control, brought us Zach.  After Zach was born for the first two years, my mom sacrificed her job to stay at home with him, just like she had with us.  My parents had a freshman in college, a senior in high school, and a kindergartner.
Years went by, Chad and I finished school, I got married, and they became grandparents.  Zach graduated high school this past spring.

When I look back and think about my mom and dad, what they have endured through the years in their marriage, and that they are still together and still are in LOVE with each other, it makes me proud.  It is easy to give up when times are hard, but instead they have always taken the path less traveled.  Some might wonder what the key to a good marriage is, what made them stay together for all these years?
  I know that they both had strong examples of what marriage and family means.  They never spent one night apart unless one was in the hospital, my dad never "slept on the couch" because they had an argument.  If they disagreed about something they would discuss it, and agree to disagree.  They kept faith and family at the center of their lives.  They never disrespected each other, they simply loved each other more than themselves.  They were a united front as parents.  They disciplined when necessary, and they loved at all times.  They never missed a ball practice, band competition, baseball game, basketball game, etc etc.  They were front and center of it all.  My house was the house that all the kids wanted to be at, and my mom always fixed dinner for a few extras. 

Looking back and thinking about the most important thing that my parents have taught me, it has to be COMMITMENT.  Their commitment to each other in their marriage, their commitment as parents, as employees, as a family, and most of all, their commitment in their faith.  It is simple, you show up, and you do your best. 

Thank you mom and dad.  You made it to 35,  and here is to 35 more, and an indoor crapper!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

swagger wagon

There are two things in life that I said I would never do.  I would NEVER wear "granny panties" and I would NEVER drive a mini van.  I have come to learn something recently, NEVER say NEVER! 

When I was in college and still living at home, my granny would come over a few afternoons a week and help my mom with the mountain of laundry that was always in the laundry room in the basement.  Granny and mom would always laugh at me and tell me that there would be a day when the leopard print thongs that lined my underwear drawer would be replaced with "granny panties".  We all know what they are.  I had volleyball shorts that covered less skin than a pair of control top hanes.  Funny that now almost ten years later, marriage, and two kids, the leopard print thongs are in the bottom of the drawer buried underneath the control top panties. 

A few weeks ago Bobby was involved in a serious car accident.  Thank the Lord that his injuries were minor, but my old civic had driven her last mile.  Cars can be replaced, but my husband can't!  The first few days after the accident we had to decide what we were going to do about a new vehicle.  Bobby and I aren't the kind of people who buys a new car every few years.  We drive them until the wheels fall off, or if they no longer serve their purpose.  We decided that instead of buying a new smaller sedan for him to drive, that it would make more sense to upgrade the family vehicle.  I love my CRV, but after you fit two car seats, and all of the gear that goes along with two babies, there is barley room for anyone else in the car.  So, the race was on to find an appropriate family vehicle. 

When Bobby and I were dating we made a bet one night, one that both of us remember quite vividly!   I said that I would NEVER drive a mini van, I didn't care if I had to tie the kids down to the roof of the car, that I was not going to drive one.  Let's just say that he stood to benefit greatly if he won the bet.  While driving on the lot to look at the larger SUV's, the wager was fresh on my mind.  I thought to myself, I am not going to lose this bet, I am not going to be the "soccer mom".  After looking at the larger SUV's I learned something very quickly, they aren't much bigger than what I drive now, and the ones that are cost as much as a small house.  My image isn't worth 60k!  Discouraged, I looked at Bobby and I said, "Let's just go and look at the mini vans."  His eyes lit up with excitement and at that very moment I knew exactly what he was thinking.  He knew that he was on the verge of winning a bet!  The wonderful husband that he is, he told me, "Babe, we don't have to look at them, I know that you don't want to drive one".  The sensible "mommy" inside of me was telling me otherwise.  I knew that it was the best option, I just didn't want to admit it.  I decided to test drive it because I knew that I was going to hate it and that would end the debate really fast.  I got behind the wheel, and I fell in love.  It was so nice, and it was so spacious.  It was so much cheaper than the Tahoe that I had my eye on.  It was the right choice to make, but I was having such a hard time convincing myself that it was OK.  It is a double whammy...turning 30 and buying a mini van in the same year.  It is like they just put another pair of "granny panties" in the top of the underwear drawer and I might as well just go out and buy my daily women's multivitamins.  I'm turning in my cute coach clutch for the over sized mommy bag!  I had been trying to avoid it, and convince myself for the past three years that I'm not getting older, and that I am just as cool as I used to be.  Those days are long gone. 

After a few days of haggling with the salesmen over pricing, I finally was driving off the lot in my new mini van.  I had a small breakdown, and Bob was grinning ear to ear.  I technically had lost the bet, but I realized something, I really had won.  I have everything that I have ever wanted.  I have a wonderful husband who loves me unconditionally, I have the two best babies a mommy could ask for.  I have a job that I love.  I have a family who surrounds me with love and support like no other.  I have a faith that can move mountains.  What else could I possibly want or need, I have it all.

It is amazing to me that in the act of buying a car, I had come to such an epiphany about my life.  I am adjusting to my new role as the eternal soccer mom, but I have decided that I am going to rock out my mini van and be the coolest mom in the neighborhood.   After all, I was the kid that had the parents that always had extra kids for dinner every night.  I was the kid who had the dad that coached baseball and basketball for 26 years now.  I was the kid that had a mom that made the effort for us to eat together as a family every night of the week.  If this is what being a "soccer mom" is all about, then I'm in it for the long haul. 

I haven't went out and bought a bumper sticker or the stick figurines of the entire family, including the cat just yet, but I will make turning 30 look good while wearing my control top "granny panties" and cruising in my swagger wagon. 

ps.  for those of you who don't know about the swagger wagon, go to YouTube and type in swagger wagon and watch the video...hilarious!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Journey for a lifetime

Remember when you were newlyweds how fun and exciting it was?  Everything was fresh and new.  Vacations, romantic dinners, long drives to nowhere, they were fun times.  Then you decide "Let's have a baby"!   Then those times seem like a distant memory in a life long ago.    For a split second we thought that it was a great idea, then we changed our minds...God had a different plan though, and after less than a week of "trying"  Olivia was already on her way! 

As a woman not all, but most of us dream of the day that we start a family.  We create this glamouous image and plan of how everything is going to happen, and when in reality, things never really do go exactly as we had imagined it.  

From the moment I saw the pink plus sign on the five different pregnancy tests sitting in a shot glass filled with pee on the back on my toliet,  my life has never been the same.  After calling my husband and telling him that he needed to come home from work NOW, we decided that the 99% accuracy of the home pregnancy test was not enough,  so we headed to the hospital at midnight to have a friend draw my blood to make for certain.  I didn't sleep at all, the next morning I woke up early and drove straight to my parents house.  When I walked in the door my mom was standing in the kitchen and I told her that I had some news.  Her reply, " You're pregnant aren't you?  I told you to wait awhile before you did that!"  Of course, my mom quickly warmed up to the idea and is the best "Gi Gi" that I know. 

I immediatly went out and bought all of the pregnancy books I could find.  I was going to do EVERYTHING that the books said, and I was going to embrace this wonderful miracle that my body was going through.  Three weeks later it happened, I woke up one afternoon after working all night, and I had this nauseating feeling come over my body like a wave.  My body knew this feeling, it felt exactly like a bad hangover.  Great,  not only are my boobs so sore I can't even look at them, I feel like I had one too many martinis last night.  Everyone told me, " It will get better, morning sickness only lasts a few weeks".  They LIED.  At my next OB appointment I had lost 7 lbs.  What the heck?  I could starve myself before I was preggo and never lose a pound, get me knocked up, an instant weight loss plan.  After 9 months of listening to people tell me how wonderful their pregnancy was, how they had never felt better, I literally was nauseated at their stories.  I puked everyday, was hospitalized twice, and was so over this "amazing experience". 
The day had finally come, and I had a plan of how I wanted my delivery to go.  Olivia had a different plan.  36 hours later I was lying on an operating table looking into the eyes of my sweet daughter.  It was love at first sight, and it was worth every time that I puked, including twice during my c-section.  She was here, she was healthy, and no matter how she got here, or how much I really didn't embrace my pregnancy, the end reward was life altering and mind blowing.  We were responsible for this tiny life, she depended on us completly, then without warning, before the pain meds wore off, the anxiety set in.  How are we going to do this?  What will I do if I can't get her to stop crying?  etc etc.  A beautiful experience and time had now became a constant worry from the very first day.  After another three exhausting days in the hospital, struggling with breastfeeding, going on no sleep at all, they bring you discharge papers to sign, and the prize is this tiny little baby, strapped in car seat, ready to go home in your care.  That was the longest drive of our lives, probably it had something to do with the fact that Bobby drove about 20 miles an hour on the interstate because of the new, precious cargo that we had on board.  When we arrived home, it was a relief to see my mom's car in the driveway.  She was there, she had came to my rescue.  I had never been so glad to see my mom in my life.  The first few days were rough, as they always are with a newborn.  Sleep deprivation, coming to terms with the fact that I had my stomach cut open from side to side, and that just getting out of bed was a challenge.  Not to mention the fact that no one tells you what it feels like when your milk comes in.  Engorged, blisters, really?  What happened to the book saying that women never looked more beautiful than they do when they are a nursing mother.  Really?  You got to be freaking kidding me!  They make it look so easy, but for me it was so hard.  Finally I came to the conclusion that the breast pump was my best friend, and continued to be for 5 months.  After a few days my mom told me that she had to go home, the 25 miles away from me home.  It could have been Californina as far as I was concerned, I just stood at the door and sobbed.  She told me, I'm just 30 minutes away, if you need me I will come.  I walked back in the door, looked at Liv and Bob and I thought, well, lets get on with it.  We can do this, and we did. 

Within a few weeks, we had the feedings and diaper changes down to an art.  Bobby went from being afraid to holding a newborn baby to taking sweet little daddy naps on the couch with his girl wrapped tightly in his arms on his chest.  Sure, there were some bumps in the road.  After I figured out that I didn't need to take a shower with the shower curtain open and the baby sitting in the carseat directly in from of me.  Or that I didn't have to sleep with my arm literally hanging over the side of the bassinet on her chest to make sure she was still breathing ( I think that is why I have carpal tunnel).  We felt that we were so good at this, that at her first birthday party, I was already four months pregnant with Frankie.

Dirty diapers, dirty laundry, sleep deprivation, toys scattered everywhere, potty training, are everyday occurences in our home.  Motherhood doesn't look like a Norman Rockwell painting, where all of the family and children are gathered in their Sunday best, sitting around the fireplace in a spotless house.  There are some days that I just want to pull the covers back over my head, but I don't.  These little people need me, they depend on me, and even though things never go as planned, we go forward. 

This Mommy thing for me has never went exactly as intended, and there are days that I would like to just hit a pause button for about 12 hours and go back to those days before kids.  Then I think about how much joy they bring into my life, about how I miss them the few hours a week that I work.  Their smiling faces, snotty noses, and dirty little hands are the best.  I love slobber kisses and the sweet little germs that they give me.  This Mommy thing, it isn't as perfect and glamorous as some make it out to be.  It is a journey of a lifetime that lasts for a lifetime, and I'm loving every minute of it. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The SOUL of a shoe

I have been searching high and low for an good pair of boots for Liv the past few weeks, and finally I found a reasonable, cute pair yesterday that I just knew that she would love.  Of course, I was right, she could not get them on fast enough, they fit like and glove, and she LOVED them!  She actually loves them so much that yesterday and today both, she has refused to even take them off for her nap.  A three year old napping in her boots is one of the cutest things that I have seen.

When I was younger one of my favorite past times was going shoe shopping with my Mom and Granny.  On any given Saturday afternoon it was not unusual for the three of us to end up in the shoe section at Value City.  We took Value City shopping very seriously, (for those of you who don't know, Value City was like TJ Maxx is now).  On one occasion we went in the store to shop and it was "spitting" snow outside, and when we finished, there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground...those were fun times!  I would try on every pair of high heels I could reach.  Those were good times that the three of us will remember for a lifetime. 

I am addicted to shoes.  I tend to argue that a good pair of shoes can totally make or break an outfit.  I'm not some high end fashion guru, but shoes is like the period at the end of a sentence.  The last line of a good book.  The punch line of a joke.  Without them, the story would not be complete, and your feet might get cold!  I took the opportunity today to check my closet (which is a mess), and look at the many pairs of shoes I have, old and new, and take inventory.

I still have the first pair of high top Nike basketball shoes that I wore my freshman year in high school.  They are white with the classic red swoosh down the side.  They signified the first varsity ball game that I started in.  I remember it well.  It was a home game, we were playing Charlestown.  They had a girl on their team who was a senior who eventually went on to play in the WNBA.  I scored three points.  Not much, but for my first game as a freshman playing against such a good team, I was proud!  They were great shoes.

The next pair I noticed was wool clogs that I just had to have about 10 years ago.  They were expensive shoes, so expensive that my mom told me that she would buy one shoe, but I had to buy the other with my own money.  I wore them for years until they literally had a hole in the wool.  Once again, they were great shoes. 

Another pair of shoes that I came across were a  pair of pointed toe black stilettos.  My "dressy" shoes.  The go to pair that every woman has.  I actually bought these shoes to wear to my papaw's funeral.  It was sweltering that day late in August.  I wanted to look my best because he only deserved the best. 
I wore that same pair of shoes to my first Kentucky Derby.  We went in style, we had box seats.  I spent so much money on my hat, that I had to wear a dress and pair of shoes that I already had.  We had a great time, Big Brown won, I puked in a popcorn container, and I will Never. Drink. A mint julep. Ever. Ever. Again.

I have not one, but three pair of knee boots.  I know, a little excessive, but I LOVE them.  When I was about 20 months preggo with Liv, or at least it felt like 20 months, my husband made a bet with me one night that I could not get into my high heel knee boots that he LOVES as well.  I was out of breath, but after about 10 minutes of stretching and pulling, I got those babies zipped, and well, he lost the bet is all I have to say!  I had Liv that same week.

Running shoes, work shoes, flip flops, and flats.  Some are new, others are worn.  Our shoes say something about the person that wears them.  The right pair of shoes can make you feel just ordinary or make you feel extraordinary.  From the gym, to work, to a hot date, they take every step we make.  It may be time for me to clean out my closet, to let go of some of those shoes that I have held onto for so long.  The memories though, they will stay with me forever. 

What do your shoes say about you?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I wish it were me

If I had a dollar for all the times that I heard my parents make the statements "I wish it were me instead of you" or "This hurts me more than it hurts you"  I probably would be able to go and buy that new Honda Pilot that I like!  As kids we thought that these statements were just a crock, that there was no way that my butt being spanked hurt my mom as bad as the sting on my back side.  The older that I get, and now being a parent,  I have to agree that those statements hold some truth.

This past week has been an emotionally and physically draining week.  We spent 5 days in the hospital with our baby Frankie who was diagnosed with a nasty case of pneumonia, double ear infections, and RSV.  It is hard for me to even begin to grasp how this child became so sick so fast.  This was not the first time that he has given us a scare, at three weeks old he was diagnosed with Pertussis (whooping cough) and was hospitalized and came home on a monitor for weeks.  Frankie is now on the mend and we are home, Thank God!  Since things have began to slow down some, and I have got some much needed sleep, my mind is just now beginning to grasp what we went through this week. 

Having a sick child has to be one of the single most difficult things to go through as a parent.  For those of you who have children who have been critically ill or have chronic conditions, I have so much respect for you.  The feeling of helplessness, the feeling of guilt, it just tears away at your heart.

 When we brought Frankie to the Emergency room, I knew that he was sick, but I just didn't realize how bad he really was.  His temperature was almost 105 after being treated around the clock for 24 hours.  His beautiful little eyes were swollen shut, and the color had faded from his sweet little face.  You would think that with a nurse for mommy, and a doctor for daddy, we would not have let our child get that sick, but it happened so fast.  We were trying to rationalize everything from a medical standpoint, and did not listen to our gut instinct as parents.  Watching them stick my baby time after time to start an IV because he desperately needed IV fluids, seeing him being suctioned, having to hold him down literally so that they could do all of these things was awful.  Daddy could not even take it and would have to leave the room.  I knew that all of these things were necessary if my baby was going to get better, I do the same things to my own patients, but this was different.  It was my baby. My son. I was humbled.  When all of this was happening, I kept on thinking about what my parents would say when I was sick.  "I wish it were me instead of you" and now I knew full circle that what they had said all of those times was so true.  I wanted to get in that bed and trade places with Frankie.  I wanted to take all of that away from him, and it broke my heart that I could not do so.  I can remember when I was in labor with Livi and had been in hard labor for about 24 hours and nothing was happening, so the doctor said that it was time for a c-section.  I had never even considered having a c- section because I figured that a big ol' girl like me would be able to birth a baby with no problem, but Olivia had a different plan.  My mom and Bobby were as exhausted as I was and after we decided to have the c-section at 4am, my mom followed the doctor into the hallway.  I could see her from a distance and could hear her.  She said something along the lines of "That is MY baby in that bed, and I want to make sure that you have had enough sleep to do this"  in a Kathy Wilson kinda tone. Then she came back  into the room crying and telling me that she wished that she could trade me places.  At the time I thought that she had just went off of her rocker temporarily and that she needed a nerve pill, but now I know that feeling. An hour later our sweet little girl was born, and we were both fine. 

As parents, we want the best for our children.  We want them to be good, successful people.  We want to see them blossom into the person that we have tried to raise them to be.  When they fail at something or when they have a stumbling block in life, we want to take that away from them.  We want to clear the path and make everything better.  It is our nature, it is what all parents do.  When they are sick, we want to take all of that hurt and pain away.  My mom once told me that "An old cow bawls for her calf".  It is true, in every species mommies want to protect their young, they would kill, and even die themselves for their babies.  It is the way that God made us, it is our job.  As a person of faith it only makes my faith stronger to think of the sacrifice that God made with his own son, for all mankind.  What a heart wrenching decision that must have been.

It is simple, when our kids hurt, no matter how old or young, as a parent,  it hurts us too.  I will say the same thing to Liv and Frankie that my parents said to me, that "I wish it were me" and only when they have a child of their own will they fully understand the meaning of those words. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Old school

It was only one of the biggest events of the school year, the Homecoming game.  The band had spent weeks practicing on the perfect song, the ball team had been preparing extra hard, and the queen candidates had picked the perfect dress ensemble.  The gym was decorated with lots of balloons and tulle.  It was packed.  The ball players looked stellar with their warm ups on.  They escorted the cheerleaders in the gym.  Then followed the girls in their ball gowns, they were beautiful, big hair and all.

This past Friday I attended the Homecoming game at my old high school.  My little brother was nominated for King , so of course, his big sister was there to cheer him on.  The night was great, and even though he wasn't crowned king, I was still proud.  After I left, I was thinking about how much had changed in the 12 years since I roamed the halls of the school at Borden.

For those of you who don't know, I went to school in the same building for all 12 years.  The elementary school was located upstairs, the Jr and Sr high school was located downstairs.  Even today, grades k-12 are still in the same building, but there has been much growth and improvement.  Change is good, but sometimes it is funny to remember about how things "used to be".

When I was in school we didn't have air conditioning.  I can remember sitting in class in late August feeling on the verge of a heat stroke at times. The cooks would roll a cart down the hall with trays of ice and white styrofoam cups.  That was how we were supposed to cool off, a cup of ice when the heat index was 105!  Speaking of the weather, we didn't have snow days for a dusting or a few inches of snow.  Our school bus drivers had freaking chains on their tires!  We were bundled from head to toe, but we had school.

 When we played softball and little league baseball back in the day we played at the "town park".  It was an all dirt field across the street from the Borden Tavern and Brewer's General Store.  There wasn't a concession stand, we walked across the street to the store for a bologna and cheese sandwich with white bread and miracle whip.  Brewers had the BEST sandwiches.  If you could hit a home run in the trees, you were definitely going to make the All stars.  While we were waiting for our team to play we would hit the playground in front of the Borden Mansion, or better yet, ride our bikes down the school hill. There was nothing like the sound of the chains squeaking just to see how high we could swing.   When we were older, sometimes we would even sneak behind the old shelter house and maybe have our first kiss!  After the game the town drunks would come out of the tavern and cheer us on and we would go to Judy's Dairy Barn for a dip cone.   Speaking of the town park, what about the Saturday morning flea markets?  I can remember getting those belts that were actually chains with charms all over them or a cheap birthstone ring.

  When we were in school spirit week was the best week of the year.  The week would have theme days such as hat day, or pajama day.  At the end of the week it was red and black day.  The entire school would be decked out in their red and black attire.  A school wide pep session closed the school day with the big game that night.  The entire school k-12 attended the pep session, it was so cool as an elementary student getting to go to the high school gym and hear the pep band play and see the ball team!

 The fall festival was another highlight of the the school year.  There was everything from a cake walk to paying a dollar to get a baseball bat and smash an old car out in the parking lot for fun.   We actually had a REAL turkey dinner made by the cooks and it was always soooo good!

 If you were in elementary school when Mr Hobbs was the principle we all knew what 1-2-3 meant...THANK YOU!!  What the heck is this that they don't call the class parties "Halloween Parties" or "Christmas Parties".  Now they are called holiday parties, and it doesn't seem the same.

Silk shirts, stone washed pleated jeans tight rolled, all while wearing eastlands(with the shoe strings rolled) or white canvas keds tennis shoes.  Umbro shorts and color changing t shirts.  Those were the days.  They were good days.  They are days that I miss. 

Change is inevitable, change is necessary, and most of the time, change is good.  Even though things have changed since I was in school, our school continues to grow, and continues to be the special place that it always has been.  I know that most of you who aren't from Borden probably won't appreciate this blog like those of us that call this school home, but it was a great place to go to school and an even better place to grow up.  Even though this small town girl lives in the city now, it is always good to go home.  I hope that one day my kids can experience a school like Borden.  Maybe they will get the chance to be Braves after all...