Monday, March 28, 2011


I can't believe that my first baby, my sweet Sadaroo, is going to be SEVEN tomorrow. SEVEN! It seems like just yesterday, we were bringing her home from Davis Hospital, a tiny little thing in a pink and yellow jacket. I was TERRIFIED when Jesse pulled onto I40 next to a tractor trailer. Her life seemed so fragile - I couldn't stand to think that we were so helpless and she was completely in my hands to protect! It was the longest car ride of my life! Tonight, when I hugged her goodnight, I realized that it was the last time I would ever hug my SIX-Year-old Sadie. Sigh. She's growing up so fast, and I love her so much.

Please stay little
Just a little while longer
Don't grow up so fast
Pleast stay little
Just a little while longer
I want this moment to last.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ask Adelaide Why

and she will answer:

Cause I do.
Cause I am.
Cause I was.
Cause I wasn't.
Cause I did.
Cause I didn't.


My third column from - this one made me cry. Seriously - I'm such a sap.

"Just one more, Mommy?" Josie asked as we sat in the rocking chair in her room.

"Please?" We had already read two stories, and it was time for bed.

I love those just-bathed, damp-haired, sweet-smelling, teeth-brushed, pajama-wearing moments when my girls climb onto my lap and snuggle in for a good story.

It takes me back to when I was a little girl and my daddy used to read to me every night. Since he worked long hours, bedtime was our special time together. More than the stories themselves, I remember the safe, happy feeling of being held on his lap in our old, bright orange ‘70s-era rocking chair.

I hope my girls will remember the feeling, too.

Sometimes they know the stories better than I do. They can quote Goodnight Moon or The Foot Book word for word. Sometimes I share one of my childhood favorites like Scuffy the Tugboat or Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. (I still have practically every book I’ve ever owned – I can't bear to part with them. They are like old friends).

Sometimes they try to convince me to read Love You Forever, a story about a mommy who sneaks in and watches her child sleeping at night as he grows up before her eyes. This book brings me to tears by the third page every time I read it. For some reason, my girls think it’s funny to see Mommy sniffling into a tissue and bawling like a baby.

Sometimes they get to choose from The Library Bag, which we usually restock every week or two. They dig through the bag like they're hunting for treasure.

They always find it.

We laugh together at Papa Bear's misadventures. We cry together when Laura Ingalls' old bulldog, Jack, dies. We sleepily whisper sing-song lullaby stories to each other. I realize that we are sharing more than just a book.

Now I know why my daddy took that special time to read with me. Soon my girls will be able to read their own stories. Soon they will be too big to sit on my lap. Soon they will be busy with things deemed more important than tonight's all-important bedtime story.

I look at Josie's rosy cheeks, the hopeful look in her eyes. I say, "OK, just one more."

Or maybe two.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mean Old Mommy

My second column for was conveniently about our LONG LONG LONG (and long-awaited) trip to North Carolina.

"Can I hava snack? Can I?"

"Did you see dat? Did you?"

"Is my baby brudder sweeping? Is he?"

Two-and-a-half-year-old Adelaide decided to see how many questions she could ask before I went bonkers during our trip to North Carolina to visit family.

Sadie, 6, and Josie, 5, have been making this trip since they were born. They listened to their Little House on the Prairie CDs, trashed the back seat, sang songs, played with the dirty gravel they painstakingly chose from the Bob Evans parking lot, practiced their Southern accent ("over yonder," "I caint!" and “don’t pull my hay-urh!”), worked some dot-to-dots and then conked out, drooling on their pillow pets. They learned long ago how to make the best of the situation.

I, however, learned something new this trip: traveling with four kids is hard. Since I'm still nursing my 4-month-old – it's almost impossible to breast-feed at 75 miles an hour – what should've been eight hours turned into 10.

Whoever said getting there is half the fun obviously never had very much fun when they got there.

After 13 trips to gas station potties, two juice box explosions, a headache, three fights, one finger mashed in a window and a trail of goldfish crackers on the floor of the minivan, I turned into what my kids call "Mean Old Mommy."

Mean Old Mommy decreed mandatory quiet time until we counted 20 green highway signs. Mean Old Mommy refused to turn off Amos Lee in favor of the more popular Artist Currently Known as Raffi. Mean Old Mommy chewed gum and did not share. Mean Old Mommy is, well, mean.

Four-month-old Jedidiah's one major crying fit just happened to coincide with the beginning of everyone else’s nap. His feeding postponed by 15 minutes because of a missed exit, my sweet little boy retaliated against my starvation tactics with eight minutes of crying, four minutes of wailing, and three minutes of "What kind of a mother are you?" in baby language.

All the racket meant that chatty Adelaide slept for all of 10 minutes out of those 10 long hours. For the other 9 hours and 50 minutes, she talked. And talked.

“Could you please be quiet for two minutes? Just two?” Mean Old Mommy asked. Adelaide crossed her arms, squinted her eyes in the rearview mirror and said, “Well, dat wasn’t vewy nice.” She was right. It wasn't.

Finally across the state line, I was relieved to announce (in my Normal Mommy voice) that, yes, we were finally in North Carolina.

She studied me a few seconds, looked around her and said, "No, we are not. We are still in de car."

Monday, March 07, 2011

Finally Made It

We had a relatively uneventful trip down to NC this time, but it was LONG. We ended up being in the car (and out, since we stopped FOUR times) about 10 hours, total. The kids were really good, but Adelaide ended up sleeping for only 10 minutes out of those 10 hours. She talked incessantly for the other 9 hours and 50 minutes. She asked over and over, "Are we goin' to Norf Carelina? ARE WE?" However, she must not understand yet what North Carolina actually is, because once we crossed the state line and I told her we WERE in NC, she said, "No, we are not. We are in DE CAR."

My mom drove 1/3 of the way and I drove 2/3. It sounds strange, but I was happy to smell the chicken poop when we crossed into good old Wilkes County! That's how I knew I was finally home after a whole year of being north of the Mason-Dixon! I went for BoJangle's for breakfast Saturday morning, and they were doing a fundraiser for MDA (Jerry's Kids) where they put those little signs up with the names of the people who donated. Wouldn't you know that one of the names was BUBBA?! It made me feel like I was really home.

Thomas, Elizabeth, and Josh came over to see us and Sadie ran out to meet them, yelling, "Hey, Uncle Thomas!" then Josie ran out saying, "Uncle Thomas! I missed you!" then Adelaide saw him and said, "AAAAHHHHHHHHHH!" and ran away, craying. Oh well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, they always say.

I was afraid that she'd be scared of EVERYONE, since she hasn't been to NC since she was about 18 months old and doesn't really remember anyone, but when we got to Daddy's and Sylvia's, she wasn't scared a bit. Daddy leaned over to unbuckle her from her carseat and I braced myself for screaming and crying. Instead, she grinned up and him and said, "Hewwo, Papaw!" Sadie and Josie also threw themselves at him and Mamaw for hugs. I love seeing my children with their Papaw :) I asked Adelaide later why she wasn't scared, and she said, "Cuz. That's my stinker Papaw."

Caleb and Cameron (who have grown like crazy over the past year - Cameron is now a mini version of Scotty) came down with Sharon to visit and meet Jedidiah, and it didn't take long for all the cousins to break into full playing mode. The best thing I heard all evening was (from Josie and Caleb) "Okay. Now we are going to play tag in the dark! Isn't that a good idea!?"

Then Sadie and her Great Grandma Genevieve stayed up late last night (prior to a terrible night of crying/screaming earache pain from Sadie) 'sorting' all of Grandm'as lipstick and Sadie got to pick out FIVE tubes of lipstick to take home with her... because we all know that a six year old NEEDS a LOT of lipstick.

Sadie ended up with an earache on Sunday, so Josie went to have special Papaw/Mamaw time all by herself. She wanted to eat lunch at a Chinese buffet and then she went shopping with them. Papaw bought Josie a mermaid to play with in the tub, and she bought him some gum. Mamaw also gave her a really cool sparkly gold purse to carry her treasures in. She came home with a gift for everyone (I got a pretty greenish angel bell to replace the one I had to throw away in the flood), but the best was a big yellow smiley-face balloon for her baby brother - he watched it like a hawk! Mamaw said it was hard for the store clerk to reach so she tried to talk Josie into choosing another one, but nothin' doin' - she wanted THAT one for Jed.

One of my favorite parts of going to NC is sharing my scrapbook with my aunt Sharon. She seems to be the only one in the world who really appreciates it! :) While she and I perused my hard work and Adelaide and the baby napped, the girls were impressed to see Papaw working on a new axe! Then they went out for pizza at Village Inn (our favorite), and Mamaw told Sadie some new stories while Papaw built a wooden model of a forklift with Josie.

Later, Adelaide decided that her new name for my Daddy is "Old Papawhead." Josie decided that Mamaw is a great and wonderful cook because she LOVES her Thousand Island salad dressing (she ate three bowls of salad for supper)!

We all went over to Annie's (my daddy's sister's) to play with Lauren, and though Adelaide hid behind the TV from EVERYONE ("Because I'm vewy shy," she said) Josie had a great time playing indoor tag with her cousin while Sadie sorted out Lauren's entire play kitchen... for FUN.

The old stand-by, livermush, made its appearance, along with the ever-popular Bo-Berry biscuits from BoJangles! I laughed when I saw a name-tag in the drive-thru window with the name "Bubba" on it. Adelaide got to make biscuits with Great Grandma, and Sadie learned to make cornbread! Now, if I could just learn to make chicken and dumplings the way she does!

We got to go to Melanie's to have play time and lunch with her and Ada. For lunch, she made mac & cheese, hummus, and frozen grapes. My girls thought it was the best lunch ever. It was warm enough to play outside, so after watching Sadie do some kind of crazy (SCARY) flip off of the swingset, we headed into the BEST part of the visit: fresh disgusting entrails under the porch. All of the girls were completely fascinated by this!

When Cameron and Caleb came over to play (they spent the evening at Angela's on another night) they all got a little bit too rambunctious and Grandma made them all sit on the couch! It reminded me of the old days when she used to make me and Angela hug each other and tell each other "I LOVE YOU!" when we were mad. It was torture!

On Wednesday, I went to lunch with Chasity, my little buddy. The kids stayed at Great Grandma's and had a well-deserved PJ day until we went over to see Papaw and Mamaw at 4:00. Sadie got to ride up in the lift in the garage while he changed the oil in my car, and then she had a checker match with Papaw, followed by a marathon story-time by Mamaw. Josie and Papaw and Adelaide played catch. They think it's hilarious when he bonks them on the head with the ball. Then Josie walked on his back since his back was hurting. He played Rocky top on the guitar for them and we all sang - I think I'm the only mom in the world (at least up north!) with three little girls who sing Rocky Top all the time!

Mamaw kept the girls for me while I ran errands and went to lunch with Sherry on Thursday. They told stories, painted fingernails, watched Tom and Jerry, and had a big old time. I laughed when I got there because they had all stripped off their clothes because the woodstove had it STIFLING in there. Adelaide had made it down to her pull-up and nothing else. Jedidiah was fussy and crying until Papaw picked him up out of his seat and then he proceeded to coo and be absolutely adorable for the rest of the afternoon. Papaw called him "Yunior" most of the time (which is his funny way of saying Junior). They loved going for walks in the woods with him, but Josie was on the lookout (and terrified by) ticks!

The scariest (and funniest) part of our visit was when Josie hopped in the tub while I put Jedidiah's PJs on. We were all in the living room, which is literally FEET from the bathroom so I didn't think it was dangerous to leave her in there... I could call and say, "Josie?" and she'd say "I'm okay!" Well... Josie likes to 'relax' when she's in the tub by herself. She leans all the way back in the water, floating on her back with her ears under and her arms stretched out, floating at her sides. When my mom called, "Josie?" No answer. "Josie?" I said, a little louder. No answer. My mom got up and ran into the bathroom, saw Josie laying there with her arms spread out, eyes rolled up, still as a mouse, and SCREAMED, "OHHH! HELP ME LORRRRRD!!! Devone!!!!" I raced in there, just in time to see Mama yanking Josie by one arm up out of the water. You should've seen Josie's face, shocked and dripping, yanked rudely out of her bath, saying, "Whatthe...?" Mama was so relieved she couldn't stand up for two hours. Her knees buckled! Josie apologized, even though she wasn't really doing anything wrong. She couldn't hear us calling for us because her little ears were under the water! :) She, Sadie, and Adelaide all three went around for DAYS yelling "HELP ME LORRRD!" and cracking up at themselves.

We had a really good trip, though we were definitely ready to come back home after 13days and a lot of car trouble (Daddy finally fixed a fuel injector and got it running right again). I'm very happy that all 4 of my children have been able to meet their Great Grandma Genevieve. Not many people are blessed to know and be known by their great grandparents... it's truly a blessing.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


This is from my new weekly column, called 'Mama Says.' Visit to read it every Sunday!!

Sleep was elusive at my house this past Sunday night due to the howling wind outside and the howling little girls inside.

My three daughters – ages 6, 5 and 2 – were terrified of the storm. (Their baby brother slept through the whole thing.) And they informed me that there was no way they could possibly return to their own beds until it was over.

Everyone in Mentor was probably as happy as we were to see the sun rise Monday morning. But that was before we all looked into our basements.

Our sump pump had fizzled in the wee hours of the morning. I couldn't help but be reminded of that old song, You Left Me Just When I Needed You Most.

Like you, I donned my boots (waders, since I married a fisherman) and steeled myself to throw away piles of painstakingly saved soggy preschool papers, ruined by 20 inches of murky water. I sorted through dripping mountains of my babies' clothes that I had planned to save for my grandchildren.

Since this was our first (and hopefully our last) experience with flooding, my heart felt a new kind of pain when I found a ruined pair of tiny pink shoes – the ones my 6-year-old wore when she was just learning to walk.

A bookshelf that my dad made for me when I was heading off to college, the velvet-robed angel that had always graced the top of our Christmas tree, the crib mobile that used to dangle over my baby girl's outstretched hands, the wooden chest that used to hold bathtub toys – all went out to the curb. Proof of our lives, of our histories, gone.

I wiped away my tears with rubber-gloved hands.

Then my 5-year-old met me at the top of the basement stairs, smiling a sweet smile and holding out a crayon drawing, "to make you feel better, Mommy."

As I taped it to the refrigerator, I was reminded that the most precious things we have are not really things. What matters most, make that who matters most, was not lost in the flood at all.