Category Archives: Thoughts

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So, life requires balance. I’ve never been very good at balance. I’m usually an all or nothing girl. In the case of ek, I went from having her in regular preschool 3 days a week and never sitting down to do a”formal” therapy session to having her at home all the time and feeling like I needed to do therapy with her every waking moment of the day. That’s a lot of pressure. Since I pulled her from preschool at the end of March we’ve gotten into more of a groove. We take the boys to school, come home, do therapy for 30 min to an hour depending on how well she’s
cooperating, run any errands we need to run, eat lunch, put her down for a nap, try to get some laundry done, pick up the boys, and then hang out with them. The therapy doesn’t stop at the end of our formal session…it goes on all day, but it comes naturally now.
Yesterday I allowed myself a day away. We went to Caden’s field day yesterday morning. He had a blast. He showed us a couple of dances, how he can hula phoop, and how he can jump through a hula hoop like a jump rope. Next was the 50 yard dash and the potato sack race. I was a bit apprehensive before the races started. I’ve mentioned Caden’s competitive side, and his lack of coping skills when he doesn’t win or succeed at what he’s doing. We would have been proud of him no matter what, but he won 1st and 2nd place! He’s quite the little runner! So proud of our little guy.


After field day we wanted to eat lunch with Caden and spend some one on one time with him. He said, no thanks, I’ve seen you guys all morning, I’d like to get some Bojangles and go see the little kids (JL & EK). So, we dropped him off at home with Grandaddy and Grangran and the “little kids.”


Jeb and I went to eat at a deli and he followed me around while we shopped for a friends birthday party and visited a few stores we’d never been to. Isn’t he sweet? I actually don’t mind him following me around. He has an opinion about things too. It’s helpful. :)
That night we went to celebrate a sweet friends birthday at Chilis in Decatur. It was a blast. We had a sitter come watch the kids and we didn’t get back from our celebration until 11ish. So much fun to be able to do that every now and again.
Again, this has been sitting as a draft for weeks. I’m thinking it’s finished enough, so I’m publishing it. :)

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So, I’ve finished all of my Tuesday nightly duties…straighten up the house, help Jeb get kids to bed, make 3 lunches, get bags ready, take my shower, and now sit in the bed while watching something on TV. Tonight I’m watching Glee. They sucked me in with the promise of Michael Jackson. So, nothing big is going on with us. We’ve just been doing the usual. Church, Bible Study, grocery shopping, playing outside, going to therapy, eating at Chick-fil-a, and maybe that’s about all. So, about Glee, I really like the quality of the singing, but the dueling singing and the singing in the middle of the hall at school is a little bit much for me. So, here are a few things on my mind right now…this in no way is all encompassing of what’s in my head. :)

  • I am pale. I need to find a new bronzing lotion because the one I used a few years ago made me orange. I didn’t realize I was orange until a friend from church asked why I was orange. :) Thanks Rodney.
  • I LOVE these boots. And I would LOVE for them to go on sale.

  • made me do the ugly cry. You know, not the cute one you see on TV where a single tear flows down your cheek. The one where you make the horrible noises and snot goes everywhere. So, my daddy did the things this article said girls needed. He always told me to not date someone I wouldn’t marry, he hugged me so hard I couldn’t breath, he told me he loved me, he was/is the best daddy I could have asked for (he even sent me a spreadsheet today breaking down the price comparison of different vacation club point because he’s awesome). And i can imagine Jeb will do the same for EK. She’s 2 so, ya know, we haven’t really had talks about who she’s dating and such…but he tells her she’s pretty, kisses her, and hugs her tight while telling her he loves her. I know he’s will be and is the daddy she will/does need. So, why did I do the ugly cry? Apparently I don’t have a heart of stone. I may not want to watch Courageous and I didn’t cry at the Passion of the Christ (I know, gasp), but I have a heart for little girls (and boys) who aren’t shown love by their daddy’s (or mommy’s)…and the little boys and girls who don’t have families to love them. We have a heart for orphans. And I’m so thankful for my parents and how they raised me.Anyway, if you get a free minute, read the article. It is a blessing.
  • I LOVE store. It’s called the Blue Door Boutique and it’s in Columbus, GA. It would be the silver lining of going to Auburn (you know because Columbus is close to Auburn…get it?). I bought a couple pairs of leggings, a tunic, and a camisole from there. Love them!
  • – This is the BEST place to get bows. Where can you get a 6″ bow for $3? Or a 3″ bow for $1? And they ship the SAME DAY you buy! Crazy! Everything is $4 or less.
  • - This article made me say AMEN. Ella Kate is a challenge. She has cochlear implants, yes…but she also is 2 years old, stubborn, feisty, scrappy, and has the will power of say…me trying to plan a trip to Disney World. And just in case you didn’t know this…I love her with all my heart.
  • And here are a few things I love from Pinterest
  • This makes me laugh out loud every time I read it.

    I heart James Spann. He talked us through April 27.

    Thanks for the reminder. :)

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Right now I’m sitting in the bed while the boys are watching Scooby Doo Camp Scare for the 829th time.  Jeb’s going to put them to bed, and for that, I am so thankful.  I put EK down sometimes, but for the most part Jeb does night time duty.  I get them up, get them ready, and take care of them all day…then 6 o’clock comes and Jeb swoops in and is my SuperHero Husband Helper.  I love that moment when he walks through the door.  Not only because I love him to pieces and want to spend time with him, but also because he helps me wrangle these crazy munchkins.  After I finish this post I’m going to pin a few birthday ideas to .  Right now I have a wee bit of a wishlist going for me…MacBook Air, a couple of necklaces, some clothes, crazy expensive boots that I’ve swooned over for a few years, etc.  It’s fun to pin stuff even if it never actually becomes mine.

Anyway, to the point of this post, I have good news.  I took Ella Kate to see Dr. Cogan in Birmingham today.  He wanted to see how her glasses were working for her.  I was so super nervous about going.  I never mentioned this because I just didn’t feel like telling the world wide web about it, but what the hey, I’ll go ahead and talk about it.  Last time I took her to Dr. Cogan, he mentioned testing her for Usher Syndrome.  It was the 3rd time he or his partner had said something to us about it.  He had forgotten he’d mentioned it to us the first time we came when she was itty bitty.  And he also didn’t know his partner had mentioned it.  For some reason, it really rocked my world.  Sent me into a bit of a spiral downward making me into a shell of a person.  I had trouble sleeping.  I had trouble functioning. It wasn’t a good situation.  I really feel like it was some spiritual warfare going on inside me.  You see, Usher Syndrome is the leading cause of deaf/blindness.  It starts as night blindness and then turns into tunnel vision and then the person eventually becomes blind.  There is no cure.  Here’s the good news about that (not the good news I initially set out to write about..I’m on a rabbit trail here), only 3-6% of hearing impaired children have it, her retina’s look fine right now, and she has other delays (namely OT) that would lead us to believe her issues come from another source other than Usher’s.  Anywho, because of all of that I was nervous about her appointment today.  I was hoping Jeb could come with me, but he wasn’t able to because of work.  So, Grangran and Grandaddy came to keep the boys and EK and I went off to Bham.  We got there, they took us back very quickly, checked her glasses, and then we waited for the dr.  We waited about 45 minutes in the room.  I’m pretty sure one of their goals there is for us to watch Toy Story the entire way through EVERY TIME WE GO.  It’s playing on the tv there when we go, and it plays on a loop.  Last time we went, we watched it twice…that’s how long we were there.  I’m hoping they change it to Tangled or a different Toy Story sometime soon…let’s mix it up a little guys.  Anyways, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I was nervous, it took the doctor FOREVER to get into the room, but when he got in he did some test on EK with her glasses and said she was NOT crossing with glasses.  Let me say that again for effect…her eyes are NOT CROSSING WITH GLASSES.  That means the glasses are doing their job!  Yippee!  Then he asked me to take her glasses off, he did the test again, and he said there was a significant change.  He said crossing with the glasses off was ok, crossing with them on wasn’t ok.  If she was taking her glasses off or crossing with them on, it probably meant she needed a stronger prescription.  He said we would need to come back every 4-6 months until she was 4 or 5 to check her eyes and prescription.  He also said her eyes would probably get worse before they got better, but that was normal.  He didn’t mention anything about testing her for Usher (so yay for that), but we will probably do through it genetic testing instead of through him.  It was a fabulous appointment.  He thanked us for being wonderful patients. :)

And, to tie up the lose ends about my downward spiral…I’m better now.  It only lasted about a week.    Risking telling the world too much, I’m back on my anxiety medicine and it’s helping.  So, with prayer and medicine I’m much better. :)

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Our power was out.  I talked to my friend Carrie from Tuscaloosa, who had power and an extra room.  I also talked to the Panama City Holiday Inn Express and Disney World.  Panama City was having “biker week.”  She also informed me Destin was also having biker week.  Disney World was in “peak season” (i.e. most expensive time to go).  I called Birmingham hotels and they were all booked up.  I called the Florence/Shoal Creek Marriott, and again, sold out.  So, Tuscaloosa it is!  We loaded up the car with 7 days of clothes and 2 ginormous coolers and 2 regular coolers loaded down with everything worth saving from our fridge, freezer, and deep freeze.  We’d been told it would be 7-10 days before we had power restored, and Jeb’s clinics were all  without power (they were closed), so we didn’t know when we’d be back in Cullman.  We stopped in Birmingham, filled up all of our gas cans, bought tons of water, and a chainsaw.

Our old house we rented in Beverly Heights

We didn’t know what we’d find when we got to Tuscaloosa.  We didn’t have internet or TV, so all we knew was word of mouth (or actually text).  We weren’t sure how the best way would be to get into the city.  As the weekend progressed we realized how beneficial it was in this situation to know back roads.  If we hadn’t known back roads, we would have been totally roadblocked/lost.  State troopers, Army Reserve, Policemen, Firemen, or Alabama Power workers were at every turn.

Where Krispy Kreme once stood

The scene in Tuscaloosa that first weekend after the tornado was so very sad.  Thousands of homes were taken or damaged.  Places I drove by on a daily basis were turned to complete rubble.  The devastation was too much to take in.  It was too much to process.  It’s one of those things that if you try to think too much in the future you would get overwhelmed by the amount of time, money, and manpower it will take to rebuild.  Neighborhoods were completely wiped out.  Businesses gone.  Trees that had taken hundreds of years to grow…snapped like toothpicks.  Lives were completely turned upside down.

What I have seen since April 27 is something I never thought would come out of such devastation…hope.  I see beauty rising from all the ashes.  I see groups of people joining together for a common cause.  I see selflessness.  I see the church being the hands and feet of Jesus more now than I ever have before.  I am proud to be from the state of Alabama.  I am proud to work side by side with fellow Alabamians to restore and rebuild our great state.

Those images of Tuscaloosa, Holt, and Alberta City will forever be ingrained in my mind.  The images of complete destruction.  The looks on the faces of the people who had lost everything.  The people pouring into and out of the Belk Center because that was their new “home.”  The sounds of generators, chainsaws, and sirens became normal.  But you know what else became normal?  People wanting to give out food to anyone they saw helping or hurting, groups organizing relief efforts (t-shirt sales, concerts, etc), seeing more bottled water in 3 days than I’ve ever seen in my life, and everyone being kind to one another…not because of what they could do for them but just because everything had been stripped away and all that was left was what was important…and that’s when we realize we’re all the same…we’re weak, we’re but a vapor, and it can all be taken away in a few seconds.

15th Street Hardee’s

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The kids hiding out in the basement

Last week our lives were changed.  James Spann, our favorite weather man, was predicting bad weather.  We were woken up at 5:28 by our friend Karenina.  She sent me a wake up text saying to get in our safe place.  So, we start out the day hanging out in the basement safe room.  That storm eventually passes, and school is cancelled for the day.  Jeb went to work in Hartselle and I took the kids to Wal-mart to stock back up on necessities (like frozen meals, a rug for our safe room because the concrete was cold, pillows for the safe room, macaroni and cheese, and an wide variety of other things).  Weather was a hot topic all day, so as we left Walmart I called Jeb to see what he planned to do at HUC.  He had decided to close early due to the weather.  Jeb gets home around 2 and then it all began shortly after that.  First time we’re told to get in our safe room was a doozie.  We still have power.  I’ve got James Spann on ABC 33/40 streaming on the computer.  We’re watching a wall cloud coming toward Cullman and all the sudden a funnel cloud drops down.  We see the debris ball and the tornado coming.  We’re watching the whole thing on the computer…helpless as it comes towards us…it’s coming directly toward downtown Cullman…we live about 2-4 minutes away from downtown…and then black…no power.  We just sit and wait.  Wondering if it’s coming toward us.  Wondering if it’s over.  Wondering if we’re safe.  We start getting texts from people asking how we are, if we made it safely.  I started sending back texts, we’re fine.  is it gone?  is it over?  can we come out?  We finally get out of the safe room and check outside, and we’re fine!  No damage at all.  The rest of the day warnings go off and on.  We get a text about a tornado going towards Tuscaloosa, but we don’t really think much of it…we have no internet or cable…no access to the “outside world.”

At one point during the day we went out to get a weather radio, but you know, no one had power…and you know what they can’t do when they don’t have power…anything….they can‘t sell you anything.  So, while we’re out we survey the damage of tornado number 1.  Oh, and if you’re wondering why were were all out in between tornado warnings (or maybe even during one, I don’t even remember now), it was because Jeb was going to go by himself and I said I wanted us all to go because if one of us was going to die all of us were going to die (well that sounds morbid now doesn’t it?  it made total sense that day).

So like I said before, we went in and out of the storm shelter/safe room 4 or 5 times.  It eventually ended at 9ish that night and we were all able to go to bed…in the basement…together…in the guest bedroom (#1 because it was cooler since we had no power, #2 because all of our kids (except EK) were traumatized from the day).  Our power remained off from Wednesday until the following Monday.  Our internet and phone lines are still down (because our Cable internet provider is located on 278 where the tornado hit).  Our city did not fare so well.  We were hit by a couple of tornados, they got a large number of trees and demolished many homes, tore the 2nd floors off of houses, picked one up and dropped it back down, ripped part of the roof off of the boys school, and so on.

On a regular severe weather day, our city would have been front page news, but this was a once in a lifetime severe weather day.  You know how I mentioned we had heard a tornado was headed toward Tuscaloosa?  Well, as you know by now, it did hit Tuscaloosa…bad…so so bad.