Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'll Fly Away

Tonight I am preparing to leave my babies. My grandmother's funeral is Saturday morning. My flight to Baltimore leaves tomorrow morning.

The longest I've ever been away from the girls was when Isaiah was in fetal SVT and I had to be hospitalized for 5 days. But Daddy brought them up to the hospital every day to see me. He let them call me, too. That's how I found out from Savannah that James had done Mariah's hair and according to her, it looked like a "giant cushion".

We've left all 3 kids overnight with my mom and my sister. It usually involves our wedding anniversary. We would love to get away more, but living overseas and on the other side of the country doesn't make it easy. Being a stay-home parent, it's not unusual for me to need a break from time-to-time. The time away only makes me miss them more.

I just hope they aren't all cushion heads when they pick me up at the airport on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 11, 1916 ~ May 27, 2009

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we will sing and shout the victory!

In loving memory of my Grandnannie ~ the grandmother I was named after ~ who was welcomed into the arms of her Heavenly Father this morning.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Extra wide egg noodles look tastier ~ All. Over. The. Floor.

Yep, climbed up here all by myself. And yep, need a little help getting down.

That'll teach y'all to leave a cupcake within my reach.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tickling My Funny Bone

Today begins a 4-day Memorial Day weekend for James and the kids. Isaiah's doctor ordered a hip x-ray and today was the first day we had available to take him in and get it done. I called ahead to be sure they'd be open:

Radiology: Good morning, Radiology--how can I help you?

Me: Yes. I'm calling to see if you are going to be open today. My son needs a hip x-ray.

Radiology: Yes, we are open. But we are working with a skeleton crew, so there might be a long wait if we get slammed by the ER.

I heard nothing after "skeleton crew".


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Yesterday was one of those days I'm happy to have in my rear view mirror.

After much anxiety and anticipation, we had Isaiah's IEP and placement meeting at the elementary school. We met with the teachers, administrator, and therapists involved in his education plan and and on his transition team. Apparently, Isaiah is quite the little character. According to his preschool teacher, Isaiah is content to watch sit and watch his classmates. They call the other children Isaiah's very own "KidTV" channel. He doesn't seem "motivated" to interact with them or pursue any activities.

In the middle of the meeting, I put Isaiah down on the floor behind me, handed him his favorite toy, and turned back to face the group. A few moments later, they all gasped at something happening behind me. I turned around to see Isaiah pulling up to a stand on a chair ~ something he does ad nauseum at home. Chairs, couches, people's legs...he pulls up on anything and everything.

Just not at school.

I apologized for howling. But this is the kid we have been diligently baby-proofing the house from...the same kid who can out-crawl me when I attempt to corral him for bed...the kid we've nicknamed "Spiderman" due to the way he clings spread eagle on the wall and inches along from room-to-room....the same kid whom I found standing in my shower the other day shaking a bottle of face cleanser.

The kid is motivated. You just have to figure out his motivators. Here's a hint: it's probably going to be something he's not supposed to have.

Savannah's 6th grade orientation was next. I remember Jr. High as such an awkward stage of my development. But 6th grade was still a part of elementary school where we lived. At Savannah's new school, the 6-7-8 hallways are all separated. I was sure to ask if and when the populations co-mingle. To me, it's just unnatural to have 6th grade girls under the same roof with 8th grade boys.

A lot of Savannah's current classmates were at the orientation last night so that helped ease some of my anxiety and a lot of hers. We met the principal, a counselor, the teachers, and took a guided tour of the school. Savannah was SO excited.

At one point during the tour, Mariah started sobbing. I took her aside, thinking that it was probably hitting her that she and Savannah were going to be separated for the first time in their school years. So I leaned over to her and said, "Oh sweetie...I know you are going to miss your big sister..."

Catching her breath through the snot and tears she mustered, "Noooo! I want to go to this neat school, too!"

So much for sisterly love.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Codename: Little Enigma, Total Miracle

We met with Isaiah's neuromuscular team last Friday. From 8am until almost noon, we met individually with all of the doctors and specialists involved in planning his neuromuscular care. It included his developmental pediatrician, an orthopedist, a physical therapist, and a neurologist. We met with the same team this time last year ~ only the social worker was absent this time.

Basically, we have come to the conclusion that we will probably never know what caused Isaiah's cerebral palsy and developmental delays. There is no known etiology at this point, despite years of testing. The doctors say it's very rare for CP kids with his APGAR scores (1,7) to have the severity of his continuing symptoms. It might have been caused by the SVT he suffered in utero, but that would be assuming a few different things. So we have to accept that the fact that it is inflammatory ~ not caused by an injury to his brain at birth.

So here we are. Isaiah has not regressed in any areas of his development. In most areas he has absolutely improved. His doctor asked us where we think Isaiah is developmentally. Then he asked us if we have given any thought his to long term care. It gave me pause ~choked me up~ but only for a moment. Our answer is and will always be that when we can't be here for Isaiah, we will make sure someone is. But we plan on being around for a very long time. Isaiah has lots of miracles still in store.

I've wondered what I would do if they ever came out with a pill that could make my son "normal". Would I give it to him? Probably not. Because the Isaiah I have is the son I'm supposed to have. He is the son I know and the son I love. Anybody else would be an unwelcome, uninvited impostor.

God has blessed us with 3 beautiful, amazing children. Who am I to mess with perfection?

Miss Savannah's Opus

Savannah's 5th grade recorder recital was last week. It wasn't nearly as excruciating as I had anticipated. Savannah has actually been pretty diligent about practicing. (And I have been pretty diligent about taking my Excederin). The kids performed remarkably. I was a clarinet dropout when I was her age, so I have much respect for anyone who can play a musical instrument with any degree of recognizable notes.

They saved the Army Song for last and the audience filled with proud GI Moms and Dads joined in.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tug of War Part 2

It looks like the path of least resistance for our family would be for the kids and me to stay in Washington state while James is overseas.

We prayed, crunched the numbers, looked at the big picture and decided it would be better for us to wait until the fall and move as a family. Once we came to that decision, it felt like a weight had been lifted off of our shoulders.

We are going to break the news to the kids tonight...over pizza, root beer floats, and a puppy.

Tug of War

I realize I've been unusually quiet since I broke our big news. As you might imagine, it's been a flurry of activity and emotions since we found out we'd be relocating. All along the way there have been lots of twist and turns on our journey to the White House Communications Agency job. And let's just say, it ain't over...

Apparently James is irreplaceable to his unit for their upcoming deployment. He has found himself in a tug-of-war between his command and WHCA. WHCA has first dibs because technically, James had been qualified and "on hold" for this position for over a year. His command is saying that he is the only one with certain specialized training to go downrange to fill that spot. I say it is all a load of hogwash ~ not that James is qualified, but that they can't forsee anyone else in his place. But in true military protocol, my opinion doesn't mean squat. Mission first.

It's been a very emotional week with lots of ups and downs. I cannot express how low I got. I've fallen back on scriptures and remember that God did not bring us this far for nothing. I'm always raving about God's perfect timing and I have no doubt this is all part of a much bigger plan for our lives.

The compromise between his command and WHCA is as follows: James will indeed deploy this summer. But only long enough to set up the equipment he is trained in handling and delivering. When he finishes, he is free to go. He is not to be in the Middle East longer than 90 days. WHCA will hold his position and he will be able to report a few months after the original August date.

Today he received personal phone calls from the higher-ups expressing their regret for all of this drama with assurances that this new plan, while not perfect, is for the best. But until I get that phone call, I'm withholding my appreciation.

James' command has offered to move me and the kids anyway so we can get settled before school starts. I absolutely don't want them to transfer schools, clear across the country, in a totally different timezone in the middle of the school year. Neither situation is ideal. I'm just hoping for the path of least resistance and drama. This is SO much bigger than James and me.

*enter silver lining* At least we'll be able to pay off our California trip with the extra deployment money like we had originally planned and still be together for Christmas which we hadn't.

Don't we all feel better now? ;)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mr. B. Goes to Washington

It looks like another brotha and his family are heading to Washington, D.C. this year.

After beginning an application process in 2007 while still at war in Iraq, my awesome husband successfully completed the process and was approved for a new position in D.C. He reports for duty in early August. Which means the Brownies will be on the move yet again. But this time, we hope to stay put for a while. And this time we'll be surrounded by a support system of the family and friends we have missed so dearly during the last several years during our time overseas and on the West Coast.

And in keeping with God's perfect timing, this means James won't be deploying to Iraq next month. It would have been his third tour. His unit has already begun the process of finding his replacement. My hope and prayer is that these wars will end soon, will end responsibly and that no one will be sent to replace anyone else again...ever.

We've known for weeks that this opportunity was at hand, but my husband had me under a gag order until everything was finalized. Water boarding ain't got nothing on what I've been through: I couldn't mention it on The Blog.

Now that was torture.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Picture Perfect Park

Yesterday we drove to the park that will be the location for Isaiah's Littlest Heroes Project photo shoot with Trina Gueck. It's a gorgeous park filled with koi ponds, flowers, gardens, and trails. I actually saw not one, but TWO palm trees. Sweet.

It's absolutely perfect and we had a wonderful time exploring with the kids. Hopefully, more of the flowers will be in bloom by our session in just a few weeks...come on warm temps and sunshine!

Ooh and look ~ I even wore my special Mother's Day shirt! ;)

Isaiah didn't want to leave.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sash and Tiara Optional

Am I the only mother who can't sit still on Mother's Day? I mean I try to sit back and enjoy the day, I really do. I told myself I was going to relax today. Take it easy. Be Queen for a day. That worked in theory for about 10 minutes. Mariah brought me my laptop in bed. I wasn't content. I dumped a whole basket of clean towels on the bed and proceeded to fold them. I couldn't help myself.

What I've discovered through almost 12 years of mothering is I don't have to be put on a pedestal in order to enjoy my Mother's Day. Little gestures from my crew, like picking up after themselves without being told or saying "Thanks, Mom" and meaning it go a long way. That actually recharges my battery on a daily basis, so I don't need one day like Mother's Day to feel special. Sure, it's nice to be acknowledged one day on the calendar, but it's even nicer to be valued all year-round.

My hope and prayer is that all of the mothers in my life know a love and appreciation like that.

And a special Mother's Day shout-out to MY MOM with the sassy new hair! I cannot wait to see it in person. ;) I love you with all of my heart!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day Message to my Brownies

On this Mother's Day Eve, I want to take the time to thank my 3 chocolate Brownies:

Thank you, Savannah, for showing me how to mother creatively. Thank you, Mariah, for showing me how to mother with my heart. Thank you, Isaiah for showing me that saying "I love you, Mommy" doesn't require a single spoken word.

You are each unique and bring something totally special to our family. I'm not perfect, but Mommy is a better person because of all of you.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Nayme Gayme

What's in a name? Apparently, a lot more than people realize.

It seems to me that some parents take naming their children more seriously than others. The biggest offenders and a huge pet peeve of mine: parents who take more traditional names and try to cutesy up the spelling ~ often to the point that the name is no longer recognizable without a "Hooked on Phonics" briefing. No better way to start your kid out in life than with a name no one is able or willing to try to pronounce.

Now before you break out the tar and feathers, I'm not balking at cultural names. They tend to have some meaning and thought behind them. But when a simple "Mary" becomes Mareigh just because Mom and Dad are feeling cheeky, I have to pull my red card.

And I'm not the only one who takes issue with this. Studies have shown that kids with way out there names (which is another rant entirely) and/or unusual spellings are at a disadvantage right off the bat. Why burden a child before he can even walk just because you think it's unique or clever? Save that for a nickname. Or better yet, the goldfysh.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sonic Boom

A new Sonic drive-thru opened last week. Big deal because up until now, there hadn't been a single Sonic here within a 100-mile radius of home. There was one positioned right outside the main gate of Fort Sill during our time in Oklahoma. It quickly became one of favorite quick bites to eat. But it was often hit or miss...i.e., if the grease wasn't somewhat fresh, anything I consumed quickly became human Drano.

Not a problem last night. Only fresh grease at this Sonic less than a week-old. We had attempted to eat there Friday night. Notice I said, "attempted". When we got there, there were workers directing cars to a pre-staging area. We were told the wait was at least an hour. Basically, it was bombarded with two main groups of people: (1) those who had relocated to this area who know, love, and miss Sonic and (2) those who had never heard of Sonic and wanted to see what the fuss was about. At any rate, we didn't stick around with either group. We were hungry. So I bid adieu to the possibility of enjoying a Cherry Limeade that evening and we headed over to the brand new Long John Silver's.

Not a family easily deterred, the next morning James declared, "We are going back to Sonic and you ARE going to have your Cherry Limeade!" Sir, yes, sir! We loaded up in the van armed with a newspaper, magazines, and DVDs. We would show the pre-staging area how to look good doing it!

It was packed again when we got there, but we were only the second car in the pre-staging area this time. The manager was cheerfully handing out cherry limeade samples to everyone in line. Then we received a sticky note with the time we arrived to place on the windshield. We were then directed to the actual staging area. It was a roped off area with about 10 different "lanes" separated by even more rope. Once we were corraled, there was no escape. No worries, though ~ they had me at "Hello! Please enjoy this complimentary cherry limeade!"

It was over an hour before they finally pulled back the velvet rope and let us proceed to the ordering stall. By then, I could have eaten 2 of everything on the menu. But I settled for a chicken sandwich combo with a...wait for it, wait for it...CHERRY LIMEADE!!!

The best day ever? Nah. But it sure came close.