Wednesday, July 22, 2009


We've been in Oklahoma for 5 weeks now, and I still have the vague feeling that we're just visiting. It's our stuff in the new house, it's my face on my employee ID badge, and it's my car in the garage but it all feels out of place. It's like a incredibly bizarre vacation where we moved all of our stuff with us, but will be going home soon.

In spite of this feeling, we really are settling in pretty well. We joined the church we were visiting Sunday before last, and we've had some new friends over for dinner. My job is going well, and I am slowly but surely making friends with the people here. I'm excited about the fall because I will be cutting back on my hours a bit in order to be home with the kids after school. I'm also excited about the fall because it will actually BE fall with cooler temperatures and turning leaves. Southeast Texas has two seasons: hot and hotter. Okay, to be fair the winters are very comfortable but it's the getting to the comfortable weather that will kill you!

Our main concern right now is the sale of our house in Texas. It's still sitting there just waiting for the right family to purchase it, and we would like to find that family sooner rather than later. It's that last loose end that we haven't quite tied up yet and are looking forward to the revenue and sense of finality that will come with it. Maybe when we sell I'll stop thinking of it as home and look around me instead.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A New Beginning

In recent months, I have been quite sporadic about writing posts for my blog. Partly because my life has been crazy with the move and a new job, but mostly because I've reached a fork in the road with my blogging. When I first began, I wrote for myself and for my children. It was an outlet for my creative side, a place to vent and a place to record the everyday happenings in my life.

Over time I began to make friends through my blog. Friends who encouraged me, friends who made me laugh and friends who sometimes admonished me in Christ through a more private venue such as email when I needed it. I loved reading their blogs, and began to look forward to my daily reading.

But something else happened along the way. I started writing for my friends instead of for myself. I would begin each post with the expectation that others would read it and I hid my true feelings about things as to not offend, and began to be overly critical of my writing. Sitting down to blog became a chore instead of a pleasure. What should I write about? Will they think I'm boring? Is this post too long? Should I add pictures to break it up visually?

I also stopped writing so much about the every day details of my life, because let's be honest. I care about how many times Gracie wakes up with a dry Pull-up (and probably my mom and a handful of other relatives), but who else in the blogosphere really cares about that stuff? Part of what I enjoyed about my earlier writing was the fact that I was recording in great detail the events of my children's lives. not just the big milestones, but the crazy quotes, quirky little habits and day to day happenings. I love going back and reading about all that stuff that only a mother could genuinely care about.

I read a post this morning that was written by my friend Maff at Girl with a 'Fro, and it really got me thinking about my blogging and why I am doing it. I don't think I'm ready to disable comments yet, but I do think that I am going to start writing for myself again. I love your comments and subsequent emails and chit chat, but it's okay if you don't feel like commenting on a post about the number of friends Nathan has made in the neighborhood, my insomnia or the obvious flaws in our highway patrol system.

Please feel free to come here and read (or see the topic and decide you're not interested), and leave a comment (or not). Whatever you decide, I'm going to keep on writing about stuff that I care about. I will be really pleased to see the familiar names on my comments list, but will not be offended if there are none. Of course, I've never been one to care about the number of comments per post (although I know many who do), so don't feel like you are going to be hurting my feelings if you don't leave your mark every time.

As for me, expect to see a drop in the number of comments I leave for you. Some of my friends write in volume, and I have a hard time keeping up with the commenting. I always read each post, but then feel guilty if I don't leave some sort of comment like "Great post!" or "Good point!". But really, other than affirming that I agree with what was said, did I really say anything of value? Nope. I have made this vow before that I would stop commenting unless I really had something to say, but very quickly broke it because I tend to be a people pleaser.

However, this time I plan to stick to my guns. I may roll on the floor laughing at the antics of your children, or at your adventures the last time you visited Walmart, but I probably won't comment on it. For all of my friends (and you know who you are), I will still be reading every single word you write, I just may not be commenting on it.

So in conclusion:

1. I still love all my bloggy friends.
2. I will still be reading all that you write.
3. I will still be blogging, but it will be for me.
4. I do not expect comments every time I post.
5. I still love all my bloggy friends.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Briar Patch

The first week that Trevor and I were here without the kids, I stumbled across a Christmas tree farm that also had 5 acres of blackberries in the summer. Blackberries are actually not one of my favorite berries, but there is a completely nostalgic value to them that I can't quite escape.

When I was a girl, Gramps had a long row of blackberries that he grew. They climbed the rudimentary trellis as they matured, and in the summer we would all pick berries until our hands and arms were scratched and bleeding from the briars. They were huge berries, not like the ones we would find wild in the woods around their house. They were good right off the vine, and they stained our fingers purple as we picked and devoured them, enjoying the juicy sweet but tart flavor until we were full.

When our buckets were full, we would bring them in to Granny and she would work her special magic in the kitchen, making blackberry dumplings, cobblers and jelly. The dumplings were my favorite, and the very thought of them takes me back to 1982 when I was 10 and the summer stretched endlessly in front of me.

All of this flashed through my mind when I saw that farm, and I decided that I would take the kids blackberry picking when they got here. Today was the first day that we've been able to get out there, so Gracie and I got up at seven and drove over. Nathan wasn't interested in going, so the girls had some special time together.

As we walked up and down the rows picking berries and chatting with other pickers, I felt like a child again. Gracie caught on quickly, and was proud of her progress as she made her way down the row, occasionally calling out and letting me know when she found a particularly big one. It's only rained once for about 5 minutes the entire 3 weeks that we've been here, but this morning the clouds were looming on the horizon. We finished up and went to the shed to have the berries packaged and weighed. All in all we picked about 3 quarts, which was more than enough for our little family.

Not long after we got home, the sky opened up and the rain came down in heavy sheets. We had timed our trip just perfectly, and set to work washing and picking over the berries.

Gracie ate one after they were washed, and announced that she didn't really like blackberries. That's okay...she'll always have the memory of picking blackberries in the summer with me and she'll eat them for that reason alone.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Sunday evening, the daylight was fading and the kids were begging for just a few more minutes outside. They knew that Monday would be my first day at work, and their first day at daycare so they were trying to squeeze every last moment from the day. I gave them a few more minutes, and watched from the window as Gracie walked across the lawn with her "hiking stick", which she found in the field next to our house approximately 46 seconds after she arrived in Oklahoma.

It was an old, weathered bamboo stick with rough jagged ends and about a foot taller than Grace. As I watched her, I turned to Trevor and said something offhand, like "She's going to poke her eye out with that stick." Less than a minute later, Gracie came stumbling up the driveway with the stick in one hand, holding her eye with the other and screaming bloody murder. Gracie is my child that falls down and gets right back up running, so when she screams like that I know something is very wrong.

Nathan was frantically trying to tell me what happened as I grabbed Gracie and carried her into the house. Her eye was bleeding, she had blood all over her hands and I couldn't tell if it was coming just from her eye or from somewhere else as well. I got her on the kitchen counter and forced her hand away from the eye. At first glance I couldn't tell if she had damaged the eyeball, or if it was just superficial puncture wounds and small cuts to the skin. I quickly realized that all the blood was from her eye, and that she had not impaled herself on the stick.

As Trevor and I examined her, Nathan told us that Gracie was running with the stick and it got caught on the pavement. The stick stopped cold, but she kept going and jammed her eye on the end of it. I tried to calm her down as I cleaned the eye and put ice packs on it. I was convinced that we needed to go to the ER immediately, but Trevor was not so sure. He felt that the damage was purely superficial and that it would be a waste of time (not to mention money), and that she would be fine.

I went along with the plan after ascertaining that she could see out of the eye and move it around without any difficulty. She climbed into my lap and I held her for a long time with the ice pack held firmly in place. We called Mama on Skype and did a video call so that she could see Gracie's eye. She read Gracie a few books, and it really cheered her up. By the end of the books, she was feeling much better and I was glad that Mama had been able to take her mind off the injury.

When it was time for bed, I let Nathan and Grace sleep together so that Nathan could come get us if Gracie needed anything in the night. I went to bed, but couldn't sleep for worrying that I should have taken her to the ER. I had visions of her waking up blind in that eye, or of having some sort of swelling behind the eye that affected her brain function. I finally gave up and went into the living room to watch TV. I must have checked on her at least 8 times that night, and didn't get to sleep until about 2am.

Monday morning was my first day of work, and I was willing to go in late or call in so I could take her to the pediatrician, but Trevor volunteered. The doctor concurred with Trevor that all of the wounds were superficial and that there was no lasting damage. All Gracie could talk about that day was how she learned her lesson about running with sticks. Another quarter or half of an inch lower and she could have been permanently blinded or worse. If this kind of close call doesn't convince you that we are surrounded by angels, I don't know what does. Here are a few pictures of She-Who-Runs-With-A-Stick:

The night of the accident

The next morning

Monday evening