Saturday, December 13, 2008


So, I've been busy lately and I haven't blogged. Bad me! Here's a quick update for anyone out there who is interested...

-- Wes is getting more and more excited about PM&R (physical medicine and rehabilitation). We took the kiddos to St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri last week for interviews and to check out the places. We went to the St. Louis zoo (which is FREE!) and they got to see penguins up-close and personal. But we were really, really impressed with Columbia. It is a mid-sized college town with a cool downtown and a small school for Sophie. Cost of living is low, there are lots of families there with kiddos our age, tons of parks, art festivals, music festivals, etc ... always a party it seems. The program there pays more than others (in addition to the lower cost of living, this is very nice) and Wes will have a lot lighter work schedule. So we are no longer crossing our fingers for San Antonio. We are still, however, going to San Antonio this week for that interview, but they will really have to knock our socks off in order to be #1 on the rank list.

I am no longer employed! WooHoo!!! I haven't really had much free time, though. There are always field trips scheduled or whatnot. Well ... and most of last week we were out of town ... But I am much happier and more patient with my family and it is all working out as I knew it would.

My dad went into the hospital this past Tuesday with some chest pain. He had atrial fibrillation, which is not a heart attack, but it was still scary. He's now on a blood thinner and has to limit caffeine intake, but otherwise the cardiologist said he looked great. He stayed through Thursday and my mother failed to tell me that he had gone home. I called him Friday morning to ask when he was leaving the hospital, and he said, "What? I'm at work!" THANKS, MOM. :P

Also this week, my best friend's dad has been in the hospital, but his situation is more complicated. He has MRSA. He is feeling better and is joking around and acting more like himself now, so we are relieved for that. However, his kidneys are no longer functional, which means dialysis 3 times a week from now on, and he also has suffered some hearing loss. Maybe from the fever? I'm not sure exactly why. But he is here in Jackson, and now my friend Melva has come home from MIT for an extended stay, which is the bright side of it all ... according to me!

Also this week, my one week sandwiched between two weeks of travel, when I was supposedly going to get all of my junk done for the month of December and that little upcoming holiday, I have been without internet until today. It seems small, but consider the things that have been put on hold in my life because of this:
--Christmas cards. I HAVE TO GET THEM DONE THIS WEEK. But my addresses are mostly in my email. Grr.
--Bill paying. Slightly more urgent!! (Don't worry; I just finished!)
--Email. First of all, my mother emailed me to tell me my dad was in the hospital, and I didn't get it! Then, I was surprised to find a message in my inbox today that asked for donations for my son's preschool teachers to have gift cards. Glad I got that one before leaving the state. Thanks, Comcast. Thanks for NUTHIN. Again, I say ... Grr.
--Not to mention all the times I needed to look up small things, like what the heck was happening to my sick family members in the hospital, Melva's flight status when I picked her up from the airport, weather forecast as we were having sleet and snow, directions to different places, what is this barbie mermaid thing Lillie is obsessing about, Columbia Missouri real estate (just for fun at this point), etc.
--I am also frustrated at the fact that I pay for phone service through Vonage, but I couldn't use my phone! So I am sure Wes and I ran up our cell phone minutes in the meantime ... mainly sitting on hold waiting for the comcast people!

So, there you have it: PM&R. Missouri. Atrial Fibrillation. MRSA. Comcast. (Grr.) And no more preschool teaching!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm free again ... almost!

I DID IT!! I turned in my letter of resignation on Monday! I was just fed up. I spent two months in depression, feeling guilty for working, missing important time with my kids, and losing my temper with them because it is hard to be in charge of other people's preschoolers all day and then come home and be nice to your own!

The last straw was when I lost my temper with Lillie over something silly (roaring at Harlan and making him cry) ... I just snapped. I screamed and yelled at her and sent her to her room (and the nice, happy screaming you're imagining is NOT what really happened ... I was really scary, much worse than that roar) and she emerged a few minutes later with a note. It read (with these spelling errors): "Im sad. Plies be nice. I love you but y are you so mad" and I said to myself:

It is not worth it.

It is not worth sacrificing my relationships with my children. Or losing patience with Wes. Or making him do all of the housework AND work in the ER because I am just too stressed (teaching preschool! What kind of wuss am I! He's the one in the ER!) Or being depressed for two months straight and having heartburn every night because I know in the morning I have to go and do it all again.

I prayed and prayed about this. I feel peace with this decision, mostly because my prayers were answered in a reassuring way every time, and the answer was clear: This is not the season for me to be working outside my home. My children come first.

And after praying one night about this issue, I picked up my Book of Mormon and scanned the index, settling for some strange reason on the topic of 'sacrifice.' One verse caught my eye, and although it seemed totally unrelated to my particular crisis, I flipped to it anyway. It was Doctrine & Covenants 132:50, and it reads:

"Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape."

I prayed about it. I received an answer: Put your children first. Then the Lord told me that if I sacrificed this job in order to obey him, he would help me escape!!! I turned in my letter the next working day, and I feel great!

I gave 4 weeks' notice, and I think that is a reasonable amount of time for the director to find a replacement. My last day will be November 21.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Peer pressure in kindergarten... oh my!

I am sure I've blogged about similar issues before, but this one is more specific and distressing to me ... I hope I don't bore you before you get to my questions at the end ...

As a child, I had a few Barbies, which mostly sat around neglected unless I decided to take them for a spin in the purple Barbie Corvette.

I did have My Little Ponies, which were somewhat girly, but otherwise I just wanted to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and She-Ra cartoons after school.

Rainbow Brite? Strawberry Shortcake?? Please. Whatever. I couldn't have cared less about that junk.

And now my daughter, of whom I have been so proud because she is just like me, is bending to the peer pressure of Hannah Montana.

Having only seen one episode, all Lillie really knows about it is that she is a cool rock star who wears a wig when she sings so people won't know it's her.

Having only seen one episode, all I really know about it is that she got a credit card from her dad for 'emergencies' and spent boatloads on 'emergency' clothing items and accessories at the mall.

I am not in favor.

But Shrinidhi, Karis and Molly (all in her class at school) have the backpacks. And the shirts. And they go around singing "The Best of Both Worlds" on the playground. And so Lillie looks at her purple backpack with flowers and decides she doesn't like it because it isn't a cool Hannah Montana backpack.

Now. I don't think that moms who allow Hannah Montana are bad; they are just different from me, and that is okay. But I have my own standards. And, being something of a hippie, I have my ideals that I want to pass on to my daughter. And I don't think they include Hannah Montana. So here are my questions, and I welcome your opinions on these:

1. Am I doing my poor child a disservice by keeping her away from the popular tv shows? I mean, almost every 4- or 5-year-old girl at the preschool has something Hannah Montana that I've seen. Am I alienating her from her peers?

2. Do you think I'm trying to force my own identity onto her? Just because I think it's silly, is it okay for me to tell her that without letting her form her own opinion?

3. Do you think she will rebel against me for this later? I know this is a small thing, but really ... think about it ... all of those 1980s yuppies -- who were their parents? You got it: the hippies. In my efforts to pass on my values to her, am I encouraging her to choose the opposite direction when she is older?

I am sure I am overreacting about this. But these things are really important to me. I want my kids to be able to relate to other kids their age without compromising their standards. I want my kids to share my vision. I want them to say, when they are grown, "I am who I am because of my mother," NOT, "I am who I am despite my mother."
Being a mom is hard! No thank you, Miley Cyrus!
Please comment!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Parenting epiphany at the pumpkin patch

It's funny how sometimes we can have a valuable learning experience in an unexpected situation. Last week, I went with Sophie's class on their Pumpkin Patch field trip. We had a hay ride and saw lots of cool animals, and the kids got to pick pumpkins to keep. There was also a place for them to play with swings, hay stacks for climbing, and a small hay maze. Sophie loved the hay maze and kept going in again and again. Here is my lesson learned:

The first time Sophie went into the maze, she didn't have any trouble at all finding her way through. She maneuvered it easily, making her way quickly toward the exit. I thought that surely she would have more fun if she spent some more time exploring it first, so I encouraged her away from the exit and back into the maze. She walked around a little bit more before going back to the exit.

Then she wanted her assistant teacher to go through it with her, so she led and Betty followed. Again, Sophie went straight through the maze, but before going out the right way, she turned and went the same way that I had encouraged her to go before ... and she got lost. The third time she went through the maze, she was headed the right way, then turned again at that spot and had to find her way out.

So, here is my lesson learned from this experience: My kids watch everything I do, and they want to follow in my footsteps. I need to be careful where I lead them!! Also, even though Sophie was on the right path, it only took one little wrong turn to get her all turned around and confused. How easily we are led astray!

Maybe now that I have written this, I can stop feeling guilty about it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just in time for flu season!

Check out this article on CNN titled: "How Some Women Never Get Sick" ... there are some interesting ideas in here! And since I have already used ALL of my sick days at the preschool, I'm thinkin' I might have to implement a couple of these!

CELEBRATE, good times come on!!

Three things to celebrate today:
-- I had a great day! One of the teachers I 'assist' was absent, and I taught the class all by myself from 8 - 2. I was nervous about it, but I felt like it went really well. It was easier than going back and forth all day between the two classes! THEN, after getting Sophie, I took the kiddos for a walk around the block. We saw some acquaintances of ours (a mom and her 3 kids) playing in their front yard, and we stayed for a little while and played with them. Then I came home and fixed dinner and did bedtime all by myself. Bedtime was great! The kiddos went willingly to bed (except Lillie, who I am allowing to stay up late and read), and I feel good about letting Wes sleep all afternoon to get rested for his 11pm - 7am shift in the ER. So, yay for me, doin' stuff today!
-- Lillie is about to hit her 100-book mark on! Woohoo!!! It is so exciting to have a little girl who gets so excited about reading!! She is reading book # 100 right now: "Trick or Treat, Danny!" by Edith Kunhardt. We will be putting it on goodreads when she is done. (If you want to be her goodreads friend, check her out!
-- And last but NOT LEAST!!!!!!!!!!!! -- Wes got his first request for an interview today!!!! At San Antonio!!!!!!! We are thrilled! He is going to schedule it for mid-December, so hopefully he will have one or two other interviews to practice before it! ;) Oh, pray, pray, pray for this to happen!!! It's so nerve-racking and terrifying and exciting all at the same time!

Lillie is on the last page of her book ... gotta go post it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Slow down; you move too fast..."

Would you like to know what happened to me today? Sure you would!

I came home from school and found something interesting in the mailbox: a letter telling me IN ALL CAPS that my license was SUSPENDED for "failure to comply" with a speeding ticket I got on October 15, 2007. I remember that awful week, just after Sophie got her cochlear implants and started going to school (emotional rollercoaster) and I was trying to figure out how to get all the people to their schools across town from each other at the same time. I got two speeding tickets in one week. Bad, bad, bad. However, I DID pay them!

So, I got on the phone with the municipal court and find out that the 'system' says I never paid the ticket. Luckily, I had done my research, and I informed the lady that I wrote check number 1621 on October 18, 2007, for $188, and it cleared my account on October 25. I kind of yelled at her in a stressed-out voice ... WHERE THE HECK DID MY MONEY GO?!?!

She promptly transferred me to someone else, who was a very nice lady named Sandra. Sandra informed me that, although the original ticket was $188, I owed them $263. Guess what for?? You'll never guess. Late fees, of course, and a WARRANT FEE! Now, I only know of two kinds of warrants, and I'm pretty sure that they didn't want to search my house... And here I insert a note of gratitude to Heavenly Father: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for not letting me get pulled over and arrested when I had no idea this was happening!!!!!

I'll make the rest of this short: After calling our wonderful bank manager, Drew (my hero), and having him locate the scanned image of both sides of the check, and having him fax it to the lovely Sandra ... it turned out that my money had been applied to someone else's ticket because someone at the police department had transposed two of the numbers in the ticket number. And for THAT ... they wanted to arrest me!

It has a happy ending, though: After a trip downtown to JPD (Wes drove, of course!) to meet Sandra and get my paperwork -- and a trip to midtown to drop off the paperwork, my license is now reinstated! What a lot of work (and gas) for something that wasn't even my fault. What a day!

Things to be thankful for:
-- Wes was off today, so he was able to drive us all to Harlan's gymnastics class and to the places to clear up the stuff.
-- Drew McIntyre, Premier Banking, BancorpSouth. He is my hero of the day.
-- Sandra really was very nice, which, if you've ever had dealings with people in Jackson, MS who work for the government, you know is EXTREMELY RARE. No, really. The term "Southern hospitality" does not normally apply to these people.
-- I really did pass a policeman this morning on the way to take Sophie to school, and I really was speeding. And I went through a yellow light. (He was going the other way. He stopped at the light.) And even then, before I knew there was a warrant out for me, I said a quiet prayer in my head to thank Heavenly Father for helping me out. And then I slowed it down a bit.
-- It's a gentle reminder to drive more carefully ... without having to pay for a ticket this time.

So, even with such an annoying situation today, I am looking for the lessons that the Lord would have me to learn. And for those lessons, I am grateful for this experience.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh, yeah, one other thing...

The residency app is DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wes was taking his own sweet time about it, so I did it!! I started getting frustrated with him a couple of weeks ago, when he wasn't filling it out, so I took matters into my own hands. Within a couple of hours' time, I had completed all TWELVE online pages, including personal info such as address/phone number; research/work/volunteer experience (I just had to type in what he had on his CV); awards recieved; results of step 1 and step 2 certification exams ... you name it, it was on there. I even pasted his personal statement (which HE wrote, and I edited a million times). Then I turned it over to him.
During the past two weeks since that wonderful evening, he has researched and narrowed down the list of places to apply (with much discussion between the two of us) but was still taking tooooooo long for my liking. So, with his permission and blessing, I (re-edited and) submitted his application and sent it to the seven programs he had selected. Best $120 I ever spent!
Wes had already gone to bed. He was too stressed out about it to stick around, so I captured the moment to share with him later. Please take a second to celebrate with me!

Now we need PRAYERS!!!!! Not that I didn't say a few before clicking SUBMIT ... but ... OHMYGOSH ... I am so nervous now!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh, baby!!

So ... the receptionist at Sophie's school (Velma) and I were chatting recently as I waited for my little one to come down the hall. Another mom had just left with her son, who is a new student there. I had tried to start a friendly conversation with her, and she was totally grumpy with me and rude. Thank heavens I didn't ask when her baby was due, although she was obviously pregnant.
On this day, Velma had noted the strange conversation that had occurred, and when the woman left, she commented to me on her grumpiness and said that the woman looked pregnant (very) and I agreed. The strange thing, said Velma, was that someone else had come in and asked her how many kids she had, and she said just one. We were wondering why she didn't mention the baby on the way. But we let it go, and I didn't initiate any more conversations with her.
Today I went to pick up Sophie. Velma leaned over her desk and said that she had something to tell me. Evidently, the woman gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday. I was not surprised. The strange thing: The woman was!! She had no idea that she was pregnant! (I told Velma that now I feel bad ... maybe I should have told her myself!) Her husband came in and put a picture of a baby girl down on Velma's desk, and when Velma inquired about it, he replied, "THAT is what happened to us on Sunday!"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

playing with photoshop

Recently, I took this great picture of Harlan. He was not posing; he was just standing by Wes's truck, being himself. I happened to have the camera in hand (surprise, surprise!) so I snapped a picture. After looking at it, I decided it was begging to be messed with. I opened it for editing in Picasa, and then I went a little crazy. Finding pictures, photoshopping ... hours of entertainment! ...Um, literally. So here are the pictures!

Harlan as James Dean (I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!)
This one of Lillie is several months old, but it was fun to play with.

Sophie needs HUGS on the go!

Sophie Bella Cinderella

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update on life / random stuff

So I have a few random thoughts ... Very random ...

--Wes took a course last month called "Review of Histology," which consisted primarily of editing the histology lab manual. One of the best sentences I have read is in this lab manual, and here it is for your enjoyment: "Ovaries lead a rather tempestuous life, so it should not be surprising that the specimens in the slide set felt no obligation to conform entirely to textbook descriptions." Feel free to comment on that one ... or just on how nerdy I am to think this is funny!
--Teaching preschool is interesting, to say the least. Ohmygosh. Aside from dealing with kids doing weird, disturbing things in the bathroom and beating each other up for cutting in line, last Friday I was puked on, spat at, and called a monkey ... all before 9:30 a.m. Good times.
--John McCain is annoying and creepy, and I don't agree with him at all, and his arms are too short. And his running mate scares me. Blah. (Wes has the RNC on right now and I'm sick of listening to it.)
--Wes is getting ready to send off his residency applications this week, which is unbelievably exciting. I'm ready to get this thing done!! In a few months, we could be moving to Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Massachussetts ... it's all very thrilling! And his essay is amazing. And he wrote it all by himself! I just polished it a little here and there. Yay, Wes!!
--My mom started chemotherapy yesterday. She will go in again in 3 weeks. She has to have it four times, for 12 weeks total. We're all ready to get it over with. Prayers are welcome. Please.

I guess that's about it for now. I'm too tired to think of anything else to write.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A work update ... and a small rant ...

I guess it's been a month since I posted anything. Oops. We started school this week at Beth Israel Preschool. So far, the short days don't seem too bad ... the kiddos get a free lunch, Lillie gets her Spanish lessons for free, and I got paid on Thursday, which made things a little easier. But the long day -- which is every Friday, when I get to work from 7:30am - 6:00pm -- is going to be grueling. At least, it was this week. And although, at 5:30, there were FIVE teachers there, and only one kid waiting to be picked up (6 kids in all, 5 of whom were teachers kids and 3 of whom were MINE), the teacher in charge would NOT LET ME LEAVE. She said that "if something happened (she didn't specify what, exactly), we would all need to be here." Nevermind the fact that if I left, I would take half of the children with me, and also improve the ratio (4 teachers : 3 kiddos instead of 5:6) ... nevermind the fact that most of the problems were stemming from Harlan's frequent meltdowns because he didn't get a nap ... nevermind the fact that another teacher's kid (he's wonderful and affectionate...he's five but looks like he's at least 7 and probably weighs at least 85 pounds and doesn't have any younger siblings, so he doesn't know how to be careful) kept loving Sophie and accidentally knocking her head into the floor and she kept screaming her head off ... I couldn't leave "in case something happened." How ridiculous is that! I am still fuming. The worst part is I can't even talk to anyone about it because the director of the preschool seems to never listen seriously to my concerns.

Sorry for the rant. In good news, I got some interesting compliments from the kids at school ("Your hair is fluffy!"), Harlan and Lillie are perfectly happy in their classes and their teachers love them, and I haven't had to drop Sophie off early because Wes has been around to take her to school. These are all nice things. I just have to focus on those, I guess.

Friday, July 25, 2008

There goes another decade

I realized yesterday that it has been 10 years this week since Wes proposed to me! TEN years!! It seems like such a long time! I don't remember the exact day ... it was the 20-something of July 1998. I just think that's cool.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Med School Update

Wes got his Step 2 score back yesterday, and he did GREAT!!! Seven points higher than the national mean! Woo-Hoo!! He has basically decided on PM&R (for a definition, visit this site: ) and he gave an awesome presentation the other day about ulcers and abscesses in patients with spinal cord injuries -- and the chair of the rehabilitation dept. -- who is a majorly important guy with a building named after him -- was impressed enough to offer a letter of recommendation!!!!!! AND he has friends at the PM&R programs in San Antonio and Denver, the two top places we've been looking at! Things are looking UP!!

Beach ball wonder

This morning, while Lillie was at theatre camp, we were playing in the back yard with our across-the-street friend Nathan. Terry and I heard crazy laughing coming from the air conditioning unit! When we looked, check out what we found! It was SO FUN!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sophie Sweet!

This post is mostly for Haley and Betty, Sophie's teachers. I think you'll like this one! I took this video last Thursday (7/10) and it is very fun. (Haley, this is the thing I told you about today. And Betty, I got her new class info today and I'm so excited that she'll be with you again!! Yay!) Enjoy the video.....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

30 - 1 !!!!!

So ... I know this may sound silly to people who are older than I am ... but I'm 29 now! Twenty-nine! Thirty-minus-one! That is so weird! I always thought that at age 30, people had to stop messing around and be grown-ups. I'm not ready for that yet! I feel like Wendy, from "Peter Pan," and it's my last night in the nursery. I have one year of 'twenty-something' left before I enter a new decade of my life. So bizarre. My mom says that having three small children will keep me young. Any thoughts on this one?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Reading Champs!!

After taking two summers away from the Willie Morris Library Summer Reading Program (due to ninth-month-pregnancy and impending surgery, respectively), we signed up once again. Probably exactly like every other library in the country, they give out forms to the kids who participate, and the families keep track of every book they read to their kids -- or the kids read by themselves -- during the month of June. In early July, there is a big party, and the top three readers in each category (Independent Readers and Family Readers) get trophies. Last time we did this (summer 2005), Lillie and Harlan won 2nd and 3rd place in the Family Readers category. This year, we signed Lillie up as an Independent Reader! She read 10 books a day during the month of June, totaling a whopping 303 books! She won first place in her category!

(Yes, that is Wes behind her ... he took a couple of hours away from school to come! Lillie was so diligent and excited to write down all of her books that it was a big deal and he had to be there!)

I tried to read 10 books to Harlan and Sophie each day, to keep up with Lillie, but it was HARD with two very wiggly, very distracted, very hyper kiddos! Harlan had 252 books on his list! First place in his category!!

And let's not forget our Sophie, who also loves her books!! Her list had 239 books, which won her second place!

This may seem slightly dorky ... but Lillie had so much fun reading and seeing the big list of the books she had read that she now has a goodreads account! If you're on there, make sure to add her as a friend ...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I need your blog address!

Okay, so I previously accessed my friends' blogs through a link on my own blog ... Just easier that way. But when I changed my layout, it erased my list! So, to my friends who read this and have blogs: I need your blog address please!! I don't know how to find you without it!!

Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Your purse is contaminated

I found this article at -- I thought it was interesting...I think I'll throw my purse in the washer tonight!

(Wes thought I shouldn't have the whole article on here, so if you want to read about how nasty purses are, paste the link in your browser. It's a good article.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sophie!!

Sophie is Two today!! Yay for Sophie! It is amazing the way that we have all learned so much and grown so much (physically and otherwise) in the two short years since Sophie has blessed us with her adorable presence! We've had a crazy time, figuring out life with a child with hearing loss, trying to survive -- and pass -- medical school, and surgery, and ... well, too much to list. That isn't my point here. My point is, check out Sophie!!

February 2006 ... It's a girl!

July 2, 2006 ... One day old

July 1, 2007 ... One year old

July 1, 2008 ... Terrific Two!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Do the Grasshopper Hop!

This is a clip of Sophie's class during their part of the end-of-school program. She did a GREAT job!! Each of the girls had a little line to say about grasshoppers. Sophie's is "Watch me HOP!" The lady on the stage with them is Betty, one of Sophie's teachers. Her other teacher, Haley, is the one who goes in front of the camera, with the short, blonde hair. We miss you both already! :)

Check out Sophie's awesome dance moves! (By the way, she is at the far right. And she is the one at the beginning yelling, "Hey, Daddy! Hey, Mama! Hey, Lillie!")

You Are My Sunshine

Well, I didn't realize that people checked in on the blog ... but Harlan and Sophie's teachers have requested more blogging, so here are some Harlan videos! He loves to sing the song "You Are My Sunshine," and it is really sweet when he does it. So I tried to take a video of him singing it for the blog. It took 4 takes! I think that in order to see his quirky little self a little better, you have to see all 4 ... don't worry; they are all REALLY short! (And I'll post videos of the others later, I promise!)

Take One: The Whispered Resistance

Take Two: Harlan starts singing and gets distracted by some little rock or crumb or something ...

Take Three: The Pouting Headshake

Take Four: Success! Sort of...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A tough one...

I've got a tough decision to make here ... Wes and I are finding it harder and harder to survive on student loans, and we're sinking deeper and deeper into other debts to make up the difference. Our bank account is all but depleted, and we still have one more month of bills before we get more loan money in July. This is how it is at the end of every semester ... the money is gone too soon. And the loan money that we will get in July is already spent: pay off what we've had to put on the credit card during May/June, pay homeowner's insurance for the year, mortgage in advance for the next 6 months, car note, utilities in advance for 6 months, etc ... and we also have to put aside enough money for Wes to travel to interviews for residency programs and possibly live somewhere else for a month for an away rotation.

On top of this, we don't qualify for stupid George Bush's stupid economic stimulus package (sorry for the slight political rant there), because we didn't make $3,000 last year. Oops, we're just trying to be a good student and good mom here ... and now we're being punished for it. So instead of getting the $2,100 that could float us through June and help us out during this crunch, we're still high and dry while our friends all decide what extras to get with their bonus checks ... even though they have jobs and don't need the money as much as we do. (GRRR... again, sorry for this rant...but not really...)

So, there's not much I can do about June ... the mortgage is paid, and we have $500 in the bank to pay some of the rest, and every time we've had this problem in the past, the Lord has pulled us through. But I'm thinking about next year.

I've been offered a position as an assistant teacher at the kids' preschool next year. I know everyone there, and I love them all, so I am sure I could work with them ... but I don't really want to be a preschool teacher! Ugh! Anyway, here's the deal: It will pay $950/month. I will work 5 days a week -- until 12:30 on 4 days and until 6pm on one day. Lillie and Harlan will get to come early and stay late for free and have free lunch every day, and on the early days I'll get off in time to pick up Sophie. On the late day, I'll be allowed to leave to get her and bring her back with me, and she will play there with the other kiddos until it's time to go home.

We will get a childcare loan for Harlan's tuition again, since he's under 5, but I'll have to use $250 of my check for Lillie's tuition. And, no, I don't get a discount for being a teacher.

-100 tithing
-250 Lillie's tuition
600 take home

Is it worth it, for five days a week of preschoolers who are not my kids? And giving up my free mornings (which I don't actually get as much as I was thinking anyway)? And the added stress and guilt of being a 'working mom'? And that one day a week that I'll only see Sophie for an hour before putting her to bed?

Shame on Wes for coming to medical school. And shame on that stupid economic stimulus package. Grrr......

Let me know what you think......I could use your thoughts on this one.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Funny video

Here's a good video of Harlan from today as well. It is hilarious. It makes me laugh and laugh. My tummy hurts from laughing. I hope you have as much fun watching this as we did! Two things to watch for: His funny face when he tries to open the paper, and when he says, randomly, "take a picture" for no apparent reason. I might cry I'm laughing so much. Enjoy!

My little author

Lillie wrote a book today! She has done this several times before, but it is usually a silly little story with not a very complex plot, and only simple words. This time, she made up a song, and we worked together to make the book from that. Here is a video of Lillie reading her book! Enjoy! (She does get a little distracted by some "love bugs" at one point, but it's all part of the fun!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

A funny story...

So, if you don't know already, I'll go ahead and admit it: I'm a terrible housekeeper. There is currently clutter all over the kitchen counters and a pile of clean, not-yet-folded laundry on the couch. And that is where my story begins...

It was Saturday night, the night before Mother's Day. I was singing the kiddos their bedtime songs, and Wes said that he was going to go to the store to pick up a couple of items we would need for Sunday. I finished getting the kids to bed and came out to the kitchen, where I checked my email and wasted a few minutes doing NOTHING important. After about 45 minutes, I started to wonder what was taking Wes so long at the store. I tried to call his cell phone, and it was off. I thought that was strange, because he had told me to call him with any extra shopping-list additions, so I looked outside. His truck was IN THE DRIVEWAY! I searched the yard, I searched the house, I looked EVERYWHERE, and he was nowhere to be found. I called out to Lillie, who was still awake, to ask if she had seen him and she said no. I went back outside to look again and was just starting to panic when Wes ... came OUT of the house!

When I finally got it all straight, I found out that this is what had happened: Wes had come out to the living room when I was singing, and he hid under the clean clothes (note to self: FOLD!!), where he was planning to jump out and surprise me when I came down the hall. The snag in his plan was that he was so warm and comfy that he fell asleep! He was on the couch, under the clothes the whole time! He only woke up when he heard me asking Lillie if she had seen him.

Luckily, my Mother's day got better after that! :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The feeling of sound...

A couple of weeks ago, Sophie taught me something that I will always remember. It was bedtime, and I was lying in her bed with her. She didn't have her processors on, so she couldn't hear anything, but she kept saying, "aaaaaah" and laughing. I was pretending to sleep (so she would sleep ... tricky, I know ... but it didn't work) so my eyes were closed. Then Sophie reached out, grabbed my hand and placed my fingers over her mouth and repeated the sound. I felt it! I'd never thought about that before -- the feeling of sound. Of course, everyone knows that you feel bass when it booms at a concert, or the rumbling of an airplane engine, but I never noticed how the little sounds felt. So then, she put her hand on my mouth and made the sound, indicating that it was my turn. I did it, and she giggled. We took turns, and each time she made the sound with my hand on her mouth, she would look at me to see if I reacted. Finally, I took her hand and put it on my throat and said, "aaaaaah" ... she was amazed! She had never thought to try it there before! And I had never thought to feel the sound coming out of my mouth.

I am so amazed at this little person. What seemed like an insurmountable trial just one year ago has shown me the greatest miracles I've ever seen. She is bright and bossy and talkative, and she loves to dance. Even when she isn't wearing her processors, she dances because she can feel the music. Her way of experiencing the world is already so different than mine, and I am extremely grateful -- and humbled -- to have this wonderful little girl, who --although she is not yet even two-- is already teaching me so much. I can't wait to see what comes next!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Why, Oh, Why...

...Although I am NOT a fancy girl (I much prefer my bellbottom jeans and a t-shirt to a fancy dress anyday ... and makeup --forget it!) it seems that both of my girls are going to be the fancy type. Since she was about three, Lillie has loved her dresses and absolutely refused to wear jeans. She loves it when I paint her toenails and longs for the day when I will let her be in charge of her own shiny lip gloss (which was a gift from someone else ... not anything I would ever in a million years buy my own kid), but I was just sure that Sophie would be different. I thought that having a big brother would make her a little more of a tomboy, and the frilly stuff just didn't seem to fit her spunky personality. Was I ever wrong!

Not only does Sophie love all accessories: barrettes, sunglasses, shoes, headbands, bracelets, etc ... she is demanding dresses! And she isn't even two yet! Last night I tried to put her in some cute pajamas-- shirt and pants -- but she would not have anything to do with them. She kept the shirt on, but she stripped off the pants (and her pull-up) then marched into the bathroom, where she picked one of Lillie's fancy summer dresses from the dirty clothes and tried to put it on by herself. Finally I gave in -- it wasn't that dirty, anyway -- and she wore it to bed with the pajama shirt underneath.

Shoes are even better, though. She insists that everyone must wear shoes at all times. She loves to stomp around in Harlan's, if she can't find any princess dress-up shoes around. She adores her shoes. She tells other people about them. If we have to search for them before school, she worries and whines until we've found them, and when we do find them I can see the relief on her face. When she gets new shoes, she dances and watches how her feet look when she moves with them on. It is a love affair with shoes.

So, this morning, I was getting her ready to go to the hospital and get tubes put in her ears. I had picked out some very comfy sweats that are pink and matchy and cute. As soon as she saw them, she pointed her finger, made her mad face, and yelled out an angry string of jibberish that started with "NO!!" and ended with "DRESS!" I got a dress, and she giggled as she stepped in.

Now, fast-forward to after the tubes ... she was groggy and weird, but we had to stop by the pharmacy to pick up her ear drops and some tylenol. We got into the place, I was carrying Sophie and trying to find the tylenol, and then ... blech! ... she puked up apple juice everywhere. Not just a little bit, either, but quite a lot. It was on me, on her, on the floor ... Her dress was soaked. But guess what her lament was, as she was moaning and scared and covered with puke! She pointed to her foot and wailed, "MY SHOOOOOOOOOE!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


So, the other day, Lillie was having a terrible attitude. I told her to go and wash her hands, and she put her hands on her hips and just told me NO! I told her again, and she replied, "I will not go wash my hands!" Finally, I won the battle ... and as she was headed toward the bathroom, I called out, "While you're in there, wash away that bad attitude, too!"

A few minutes later, I told Harlan that he needed to go and wash his hands. His reply: "But I didn't have an attitude!"

I guess he was listening, after all...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The difference 5 years makes

I know this might seem kind of random, but it's interesting ... to me, at least ... When Lillie was three months old, we took her on campus and took pictures. There is a statue behind the chapel there that we like, and we don't know who it is supposed to be or anything, but it's this man praying and he is holding his hands cupped. We were a little silly that day and we laid Lillie down in his hands and took a picture. Last weekend, when we went back for a visit, she was hanging around the statue, so I put her up there and took another one. The first is from April 3, 2003, and the second is from March 16, 2008 ... almost exactly 5 years. What a difference!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another day in the life...

Today does not like me. Today's story must be told.

This morning, Wes woke up feeling awful. He needed to stay home from school, so he called and let his 'team' know that he wouldn't be coming in. I didn't feel very well either, but I had my one day of 'awful' on Tuesday, so I got up and did what I had to do. I got the kids dressed -- Lillie in her school t-shirt for her field trip today -- and had to leave 15 minutes earlier than normal, also because of the field trip. The kids ate their waffles in the car as we drove to Sophie's school to drop her off first ... and when we got there, I realized that I took my poor tiny kid to school with no backpack and no lunch! I carried her in, my poor little no-lunchbox, no-backpack, short-sleeved baby in the 43-degree weather (because the high is 74 today), and had to drop her off in the cafeteria with the office manager because we were there before 8:00. After asking Mrs. Addie if Sophie could just have a school lunch today (for 5 bucks!), I left my screaming, crying, reaching-for-me baby and rushed out to the other kiddos in the car.

So, then I started driving, planning to go to the other kids' preschool, needing to get there just in time to drop Harlan at his class and arrange seating for any other kiddos who would be riding with me, and then I realized that I never packed a snack for Harlan. His lunchbox, he told me when I asked, was on the kitchen floor, obviously empty. I called Wes, who groaned at me from the pillow, and he agreed to get some crackers and a juice box together for me to pick up on my way to the school. After hanging up the phone with him, I heard Harlan whimper, "Mommy..." and I looked back just in time to see him PUKE all over himself and his clothes and his car seat. I called Wes again and said, "I know you're home today because you're sick, but you also have to take care of a kid who just puked. We'll be there in five minutes. Welcome to a day in my life." Then my low-gas light came on.

We had about five minutes to get Harlan and his car seat out of the car, clean up the mess, call the school to inform them that I was coming, and get there. Harlan felt fine and played the whole time we were gone. Meanwhile, at the science museum, Lillie and her friend Jacci (the two in my charge) were very good and had lots of fun. But I hadn't had time to eat a very good breakfast, just a granola bar. And since I am still under-the-weather with this cold or whatever it is, I started feeling a little woozy. No, I did not pass out or anything dramatic and scary like that; I was just hot and dizzy. I came home, told Wes that I really needed a fried-egg-and-turkey-bacon sandwich on a biscuit for lunch, and crashed on the couch for an hour.

Now for the happily ever after ... well, happily ever now, at least: I feel much better after food and sleep; Harlan seems to be perfectly fine; Wes is better and has now gone to school; the weather is warm enough that Sophie's short-sleeved t-shirt should be just fine; and the car has a full tank of gas. I guess we were really lucky that Wes was too sick for school this morning because otherwise, I would have been home with Harlan, and Lillie would have gone on the field trip without me! So, even though today doesn't like me, I am thankful for blessings in disguise!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lillie reading some more!

This is another video of Lillie reading. This story is from the same book. It's about Ariel (the little mermaid). Enjoy!

Lillie reading!

I am posting these mainly for the grandparents' benefit ... but everyone is welcome to view if you're interested. They are short; each story is about three pages.

Here is a video of Lillie reading a story from her Disney princess beginning reading book. This one is about Jasmine (from Aladdin):

Friday, March 7, 2008

Stranger Danger!

Today as we were driving out of the Target parking lot, Lillie started talking about strangers, and how she didn't like them because they might take her. Don't get me wrong; I am not making my kids paranoid, but I have given them the normal instructions: Don't go with someone you don't know, etc ... so I thought that was the perfect opportunity to review our address and phone number. I told the kiddos that if anyone ever takes them away, to look for a phone and call 911 and give their names and their address and phone number. Lillie did pretty well remembering it all: 645 Newland Street, Jackson, Mississippi ... she only needed a little prompt. I'll work on that. Harlan, however, when it was his turn, said, "My phone number is 345 Jack-issippi!" I think I need to go over that a few more times...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

An outlet for the energy!!

And here's one from today. It was Harlan's second gymnastics class! The parents sit upstairs, so you'll get the aerial view, but it's still fun! Harlan is the one with the white shirt on ... and, yes, there is ONE other boy in the class! He isn't the only one! He's a natural at jumping and running and climbing ... now, if we could just get him to follow directions...


So, Sophie's class has been learning about dinosaurs lately, and I thought you would enjoy this little video I took yesterday. Watch for these things:
--Sophie's funny face (only one of many!)
--Sophie's awesome ROARRR!
--She says "dinosaur" at the end so clearly you wouldn't even believe it if you didn't see it!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Zero Miles to Empty

The other day I was rushing around -- as usual -- up early, dress myself and three kiddos, pack lunches/snacks, remember coats, shoes and backpacks, spend 10 minutes trying to convince them to get in their seats and get buckled, drop off Lillie and Harlan at their school down the street from our house, then drive the 15 miles in traffic to Sophie's school ... and if I get to her school at or after 8:30, she's tardy and the teacher has to come down and get her in the lobby, which is traumatic for both of us. Of course -- as usual -- Wes had gone to school before we even woke up, so I was flying solo.

It was Valentine's Day, and Sophie's class was having a party for which I was assigned to bring "pink juice," which was sitting 15 miles away on my kitchen counter. I dropped off Sophie in her classroom, then I got in my car, drove to the nearest grocery store, obtained MORE pink juice, dropped it off at the school, and commenced my drive back home. I remembered on the way home that my gas was getting low-ish, so I pushed the button to show how many miles were left in the tank of gas (yes the car is new and has a few fancies) ... and much to my surprise, it said, "0 Miles to Empty." Luckily, I was very close to a gas station, and I made it there all right. But in the meantime, I freaked out. I thought about how scary it was to have ZERO miles left, and of course, I planned what I would do if the car died before reaching the gas station.

After getting gas, I had to hurry to make it to my other kids' school in time to attend their parties. Immediately after leaving the parties, we had other places to rush to, errands to run, trying to clean a little at least, picking up Sophie, getting pizza for dinner, giving them a bath and bedtime alone ... because Wes was on call and stayed at the hospital all that night ... and planning for the next day, when Lillie and Harlan would have their big-deal Winter Program at school, making sure they had the right clothes clean for the program, taking a few minutes to reply to a few emails, folding clothes, washing more, loading the dishwasher, sorting the kids' artwork, and finally dragging my weary self to bed around midnight.

Since that day (a typical day for me), I have thought more about the message from my car, and I decided that one day, far from now, when I write my memoirs, the title of this chapter of my life will be "Zero Miles to Empty." It wraps up everything perfectly: Running out of money, out of time, out of energy, out of patience. But it will be okay. I know that, just like the other day when I made it to the gas station just in time, I'll get to the light at the end of the tunnel just in time for some relief ... and to fuel up for the next adventure.