Sunday, May 29, 2011


When I was a kid, I spent many, many hours lost in my own imagination. I can remember playing house with my little sister for hours on end. My stuffed animals and baby dolls were all real, and just like in "Toy Story," they all talked and moved around when I wasn't there. In 4th grade I often played news reporter with my best friend, Jessica. One of us would look through an empty paper towel roll and pretend it was a video camera while the other one sat at the table and read made-up news stories. I just knew that one day I would be a reporter for real, or at least a journalist of some sort. My dad's house had a huge magnolia tree in the front yard, and I can remember playing under it countless times as a child. The long leafy branches made a fabulous fort. I also remember my older sister climbing it and getting stuck near the top. It was a a very tall tree. My Barbies all had names and varying personalities. My pound puppies were my real dogs, and I pulled them around on a leash. I also slept with the mama pound puppy one night with gum in my mouth, and I woke up the next morning with dried gum strung all over her head. It never came off. I had an amazing imagination as a kid, and it does my heart good to hear my own kids using theirs. I give Tally full credit for teaching Hunter how to pretend. She lives in a world of pixie dust, where arabesques happen spontaneously, and she probably wonders why everyone else doesn't suddenly twirl around unexpectedly like she does. As I sit here in the living room typing this blog, I can hear her playing with Hunter in the other room. The futon is a ship, and there are sharks in the water. I don't usually approve of them playing on my desk chair, but at this moment it serves as a boat that will roll them across the water to the island. Hunter plays along excitedly and is just thrilled to have his sister's attention and to feel needed in her imaginary world. I often find him playing with his cars, giving each of them a voice and playing out different scenarios like Tally does with her Barbies. That is most definitely indicative of her influence. It makes me wonder . . . did I have the same effect on MY younger siblings? Did I unknowingly teach my little sister how to pretend? Or is it something that comes naturally? Regardless, I am waiting for the day that one of my kids has an imaginary friend. Hunter  has an imaginary monster that seems to come and go, but mine was so real I can still see her face. Kristi Ernie was her name. She was Vietnamese and lived in the house down the street. She visited often, and when we moved to a new town, she still visited frequently. She visited, that is, until my mom sent her home one day. Kristi Ernie refused to get out of my older sister's bed, and we were arguing about it. My sister was NOT happy that Kristi Ernie was in her bed to begin with, so she was yelling at me to get her out. Finally, my mom came in the room, and for the first time, she spoke directly to Kristi Ernie herself. She demanded that she get out of my sister's bed, and she told her to go home. That was the last time I saw Kristi Ernie. I can only hope to have to speak to my own children's imaginary friend. That just might do my heart good again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


No parent is supposed to outlive their child. For the past 5 days my mind has been completely preoccupied with what a friend of mine is going through. We became friends in Germany. Our families traveled to Belgium together one weekend when I first found out I was pregnant with Tally. We often ate at a Greek restaurant together. My friend was always volunteering and helping other people whenever they were in need. I remember her bringing me Taco Bell one night with another friend simply because they were worried about me after I had a baby two weeks before our husbands all left for Iraq. And then this friend and her family moved away as military families tend to do quite often. We have kept in touch through Facebook but I have not seen her in a couple years. After they moved it was discovered that their 2nd son had a brain tumor. He was always so full of energy and silly. He endured multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. He put up a good fight for two and a half years. And then last week, he died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 11. Although they still live in Germany (in a different town from where we lived before), the funeral will be in Indiana. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that their hometown in Indiana is only 2 hours and 45 minutes away from where I am now. I hope that I will be able to make it. There is a feeling of complete helplessness within me that I am so far from my friend, and I can do nothing for her or her family. As long as I can work out the logistics with my own kids, I will be driving to Indiana one day this week to see sweet Nathan laid to rest. I cannot imagine the pain and torment of watching your child suffer for so long, fighting so hard, and then losing him. The world is not supposed to work that way. Lyrics to one of my favorite songs come to mind....

"Lord, make me a rainbow. I'll shine down on my mother. She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh, and life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no. Ain't even great when she buries her baby. The sharp knife of a short life. I've had just enough time..."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's a bird!

Today at approximately 12:00 noon, I was standing at the back door of my house talking to Tally who was in the back yard. She was so excited that she had just witnessed soldiers jumping out of an airplane and parachuting to the ground. The door was wide open, and suddenly something swooshed by my head. I looked back over my shoulder and saw a bird flying frantically all over my kitchen. I love to watch birds when they are in my yard or in a tree, but apparently when they are inside my house, I freak out. I yelled to Tally, "There's a bird in the house!" and I ran outside screaming. A moment later the dog took notice and started barking at the bird. I slowly crept my way back inside to keep track of the bird's movements just in time to witness him pooping as he flew over the coffee table and living room carpet. Since he was still fluttering about, I screamed again and ran out the front door. Two of my neighbors happened to be standing outside, and one of them came running to the rescue. She offered to bring her cat to my house to do the job, but I feared that my dog would eat the cat (although he would probably just lick it). The bird had landed on top of a window by this point, so we brainstormed ideas on how to catch it. Just as Tally came in with a box, the bird took off again, and I screamed while running down the hallway. Apparently I am useless in a crisis situation. Luckily, the bird then flew out the back door and everyone was safe. No one was pecked to death. Phew!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reading is good for the soul.

I absolutely love the feeling of finishing a good book. It is a feeling of satisfaction, yet, at the same time, a feeling of disappointment because there is no more of it left to read. Sometimes I wish a good book could just go on forever, and every night as I get into bed, I can look forward to reading it. The very end of the day is my most favorite time to read. All the daily chores are done, the kids are asleep, there are no interruptions, and I am able to read until I just can't keep my eyes open anymore. Rainy afternoons are great too, most definitely with a cup of coffee at my side. My most recent good book is Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in about five days from cover to cover. My house might have suffered a little bit while I took advantage of every opportunity I had to read, but it was worth it. Sweet Jiminy is the second book of Kristin Gore's that I have read, and I loved the first one just as much. She may very well be surpassing Jennifer Weiner as my favorite author. Now the never ending search for a good book continues as my last search comes to an end.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Painting by the Window.

I cannot help but chuckle as I listen to my 2 oldest kids (ages 5 and 3) carry on a conversation while they paint on their little kids' table by the dining room window. After about 10 minutes of diligent painting, Tally, my 5 year old, gasps and says, "Oh, Hunter! Your picture is so beautiful!" Hunter shows a huge grin on his face as he responds, "You think my picture is bootiful?!" And he continues to add more paint strokes to his paper of multi-colored scribbles, his face beaming. Tally continues to praise him, saying, "Yes, it is, like, totally beautiful. So pretty. I love it." So now even if he thought about quitting (which usually doesn't take very long), it is no longer an option. As Tally completes picture number 3, Hunter finally finishes picture #1, which might possibly have more water on it than actual paint. The two of them go back and forth between bickering ("Hunter, you're mixing the colors! Look! You've ruined the yellow! I wanted to use yellow and now it's brown.") and gentle, kind praises of love. Hunter apologizes for ruining Tally's favorite color ("I'm sorry, Tally. I am so, so sorry.") And Tally moves on to picture #5, designating each one of her paintings for someone different (but most of them for her BFF next door). Listening to the two of them actually getting along for once melts my heart. I can only hope that as they grow older, they will continue to love each other and become the best of friends. This world needs their love.

Hunter's Painting

One of Tally's Paintings

One of Tally's Paintings

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


There is much truth to the saying, "When it rains it pours." This week, it has been pouring. It is only Tuesday, but I already have my eyes set on Friday. The week just needs to end. My mood has been altered by an extreme lack of sleep, thanks to Hunter's operation that occurred over a week ago. I haven't gotten a full night's sleep YET. Earlier this week I received news of my husband's grandmother (whom we named our first born child after) being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I only hope it does not progress too quickly and that she will still be of a somewhat sound mind when he and his brother both return from their deployments this summer. The icing on the cake, however, occurred this morning in the doctor's office. Maddy had her 9 month check-up. As we sat in the waiting room, a couple sat off to the side of us playing with their own 9 month old baby, when suddenly the husband loudly blurted, "What in the world is on your baby's feet?!" I felt all the eyes in the room turn to me and stare down at Maddy's brace. Look up the word insensitive in the dictionary and you will see his face. Who does that?! I briefly gave an explanation, and then, fortunately, our name was called. His rudeness has stayed with me ever since. The rest of the check-up went well. Maddy is in the 95th percentile for height and 80th for weight, so she continues to be my biggest baby, but she is healthy! She is being referred for physical therapy because she is not yet crawling and is not even close to being able to pull herself up to the standing position, nevermind walk. When she sits, her legs automatically stretch out into an amazing split position because that's how she sits with the brace on. She's a happy baby who has no idea of what challenges she has already overcome and what challenges are yet to come. I hope the physical therapy will quickly get her on the right track. And if I ever see the insensitive man from the waiting room again, I would love to smack him over the head with the brace.