Saturday, November 28, 2009

The South: What's not to love?

Since I never pictured myself a redneck (or as I prefer to call me-self a "Georgia Peach"), I never thought too much about making fun of the south. I mean come on-- everybody does it. You think "the south" and you picture Larry the Cable Guy drinking a beer, fartin', and yellin' "git r done," at the neighbors.

Don't mistake what I'm saying-- this is a most deserved stereotype of the typical born and bred southerner, but I've found there is more to these Rednecks than meets the eye. For those of you who don't live below the Mason Dixon line, I'll let you in on a couple of the best kept secrets of the south.

Simply put, they are two holidays-- the 4th of July and Christmas.

If you want to know what unashamed pride and love of country looks like- watch a redneck. They would defend this country's freedom to their dying breath, they know how to honor our soldiers and veterans, and they are unafraid to play " I'm Proud to be an American" at every social gathering possible (after they sing the national anthem of course!) When I experienced this the first couple times, I thought them to be corny and overdone-- until I realized they were sincere. They meant what they said and sang.

I've found Christmas to be much the same in the South. True, church is a solicitation here. I've never seen so many billboards, flyers in the mail, and knocks at my door hoping I would join their congregation. BUT... no matter what your religious persuasion, they are not afraid to share the meaning of the season with you.

This week, while we were vacationing in Myrtle Beach, we took the kids to one of my favorite dinner theatres-- The Dixie Stampede. I love their Christmas show- it's a lot of fun. My favorite part is right smack in the middle of the show. They lower a set down from the ceiling with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They have a live nativity with all the animals, and the wiseman- the whole nine yards. Most importantly, they are not afraid to let the audience know that this is the reason for the season.

I've really come to love living here, especially at these two holidays. Agree or disagree, these folks are passionate about what they believe and are unafraid to share it with the rest of us. Tacky or not, it is heartwarming to see the conviction and makes you stop and be grateful that your children are still learning "old fashioned values" that are so easily brushed under the rug in other parts of the country.

I guess I'll say I'm proud to be a Redneck!

And no... Ethan does not have a speech impediment. He's just been exposed to boiled peanuts and sweet potato fries since birth-- it happens.

(Man, I've got to do a picture like this, If only I could get Colonel Mustard to oblige my request! Please comment if you'd like to see our version of the "White Trash Family Christmas Photo" )

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


With Thanksgiving coming in a couple of days- I know I'll get wrapped up in the excitement of the holidays and forget to post. So..... I'm going to express my gratitude a couple of days early. I could say I'm thankful for my family, the gospel, good health, etc. etc., but I think everyone tunes out when we repeat those common, albeit important, gifts we all have been given.

A few things I'm thankful for this year.

I'm thankful for good insurance. Although it costs more than I care to discuss, it has allowed us quick access to some of the best doctors around. Some may call it luck, or a blessing, but I also know that because we were insured, we were sent to the best help available for Ava.

I'm thankful for unconditional love. It has been a trying year for my family and I have seen the power of unconditional Christ-like love at work. No matter where we are, or what happens, we are a family and will come together to help one another out in times of need.

I'm thankful for modern medicine and science. We have been blessed to use our minds to better the lives of our fellow men. Although I recognize that it is not the answer to our every woe, I also see that many of us have benefited greatly from it. Over and over, I have watched Ava struggle to breath and always say a prayer of thanksgiving when a simple dose of medication allows her body to calm and breathe normally again.

I'm thankful for portable DVD players. They make an otherwise awful drive, more pleasant. I would much rather hear Kung-fu Panda -- the legendary warrior who's Kung-fu skills are the stuff of legend!-- 500 times, than the the sound of children fighting in the back seat!

I'm thankful for disposable diapers. -- enough said.

I'm thankful for Colonel Mustard's "skills." Not his "nunchuck skills," but his handyman skills have sure come in, well....handy! I could not send the kids to the basement if he didn't have the skills to build one. I also couldn't check out my ghetto booty in my new full length mirror I got as an anniversary gift! (though sometimes is better to live under an illusion of what you think you look like!) Haha.

I'm thankful for Sunday afternoons, little voices, rice cakes, hot showers, good neighbors, dump trucks, freedom, marriage, and a few moments of peace and quiet.

Lastly, I'm thankful for this blog. I'm grateful that I have found a way to keep a little journal of my life to share with others and to keep for myself in the future. I feel as though it has allowed me to finally accomplish a goal I have set for many years. (this is just so much more fun the a pen and paper!)

I hope this Thanksgiving you find yourself thankful for all the big and little things that make your life the challenge and joy that it is!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Faith and Prayers

First I apologize for the quality of the image. This was the only picture I had on my computer, and for those of you who don't know my brother Kirk, I wanted you to be able to put a face with the person you are praying for.

Yes, this post is for the purpose of soliciting your faith on behalf of my family once again. It seems the Lord is testing our faith on a continual basis. While I am grateful for the spiritual presence in my life, I must constantly remind myself that the Lord has a purpose in all he does. I may not understand it now, but when I feel overwhelmed I must only find faith and the rest will be provided for me.

My brother Kirk, husband to one amazing woman, father to 5 beautiful children, and resident family comedian, ( #8 of 13) has recently been diagnosed with cancer. I waited to post until we had more information regarding his treatment and prognosis, and now we do. We have found out that his cancer has metastasized to multiple parts of his body and traditional treatment plans are not an option at this point. An estimation from his doctors is a year to live.

I am here once again, asking for your faith and prayers on behalf of him and his family. We are all aware and believe that the Lord will take him home when he sees fit, but we also recognize that we cannot give up--for we know not his purposes or the miracles he has in store for each of us.

Please pray for his continued strength and that of his family. I would ask that you especially pray for his son, Cameron. He is preparing his mission papers at this time, and I can only imagine the heavy weight that rests on his young shoulders as he bears a great priesthood responsibility for his mother and 4 younger sisters.

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, for our knowledge in his plan makes all the difference. Thank you, and may you be blessed as your faith will bless others.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Unfortunately, Ava has inherited her mother's temper. (No smart comments, Colonel Mustard.) And what's a mother to do?

I'm trying desperately to ween her, as I really do not have a choice. Her diet has now been restricted to fruit and it's juice (the ones she is not allergic to), vegetables, plain rice cakes, and Elecare. NOTHING else. Since it is impossible for me to nurse on such a diet, and because there is no way to determine what proteins my body makes for her, she must stop nursing.

At first, she took it rather well. I dropped her down to one nursing a day and she seemed to really like the Elecare. I was relieved, and decided this may be easier than previously thought. In the last 5 days, she has started whining more and more for food she can't have, and eating less and less of the Elecare in the bottle before she stops drinking, and just carries the bottle around with her for an hour. This morning she vehemently refused the Elecare and cried and cried. I tried to pacify her with some fruit and apple juice, hoping she would get over it and take the bottle. (Here's where the temper part comes in).

I tried for about an hour and a half to make her happy when she finally couldn't take anymore. She freaked out when I picked her up to comfort her and wouldn't nurse her. After several minutes of ear piercing screaming, I put her down and she proceeded to bang her head on the floor---At which point I picked her up, nursed her, and cried. (Of course, she was perfectly fine after that and has played most contently the rest of the morning.)

See for yourself.

What would you do? How on earth am I suppose to make this work when this is her reaction? Heaven help us both!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Four years ago today, my sweetest, easy going, mild mannered little boy made his appearance in the world-- 15 days early and we joke the doctors had to spank him to make him cry!

Could somebody please tell me where that quiet little boy went? The one in the other room is slamming doors, pouting, and refusing everything I suggest to him today. Maybe it's the age. He went running through the house this morning-- "I'm four, I'm four, I'm four!" Maybe that was code for, "I'm old enough, I'll do what I want, when I want, and there ain't nothin' you're gonna do about it!"

Oh well, he's still cute and nice most of the time, and I appreciate that he always picks a rather easy cake for his birthday!

Crazy to see him turning four in the same house he came home to from the hospital.

The Frog Cake

I guessed the wish....
"I wish my brother over there would have his lips permanently taped shut, and his hands tied behind his back so he can't pick on me anymore!" In reality it was probably more like... "make a wish... what are they talking about? I have no idea. I'll sit here and smile and pretend I get it-- that usually works."

The presents must have been well wrapped...

But it looks like it was worth the wait.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Losing Friends

I find myself in a strange place today. For the first time, I am watching people come and go while I stand still. Admittedly, it is hard for me. I love change and can pick up and go with nary a second thought. But this time, I must sit back and watch someone else make that move, take that next step, enjoy that next phase in their lives.

As we got ready for bed last night, Byron and I talked about how weird it was, and the tinge of envy we felt that our boxes were not packed, and our truck not loaded, and our goodbyes not said. Many may laugh, but it is unsettling to us to be so rooted where we are. It is foreign.

I took comfort in knowing that this is just a small piece of the circle of life here. Through the years, people come and people go. Some are here for a short time, and others spend many years here watching the others coming and going-- in and out of the phases of life. How interesting to stop and ponder the wonder of it all.

I think we have these friends and family for a reason, and someday, in the next life, there will be no goodbyes-- Only seamless transitions from one place to another, where we can be together and associate with all those we have learned to love in this life.

So in honor of their departure I have written a poem for Rod and Jazz.

Ode to Rod and Jazz
You're moving,
You've left us,
You suck!

Okay, that wasn't very nice, but the conversation was getting too deep-- we had to lighten it up a little!

We really do wish you the best, and pray that, along with all the other friends we've made in our journey, we will meet again someday.

Now, a personal ad:

Young, childless, couple. ( with no responsibility so we may feel young and free for a few moments!) Must be quirky, funny, and able to play games for extended periods of time while sucking down Sonic, and obscene amounts of junk food. Any who cannot love our obnoxious kids unconditionally need not apply!