Monday, June 30, 2008

Birth Control

Last week being youth camp, it was inevitable that the camp pastor was going to talk about sex with the kids. Sam has no clue what sex is all about, but the word itself is scandalous amongst 9 year old boys everywhere, so the minute the pastor said it, Sam's ears perked up. Abby and I have never officially had the sex talk, but I'm pretty sure she knows more than I give her credit for most of the time. However, Tater has done an exceptional job of keeping her kids innocent. And I mean innocent. TotTwo, being a boy, heard the word sex, looked around to see if anyone was going to make a big deal about it, saw that no one was, then went back to making his water bottle battle his Bible in the kind of make-believe war that you can only have when you are bored out of your mind and you're 8 years old.

But TotOne.....oh, that girl listened. She is 10 now and one of the most inquisitive children I've ever met. Sometimes her questions nearly drive me to pulling out my eardrums, but I try to remember that it's just how she is and how she's always been and she'll probably be a high-priced attorney someday and I hope she remembers her poor ol' Aunt Kiki when she's loaded. That being said, I covertly watched her during the entire sermon, which was very blunt, to the point and man, that dude pulled no punches. He laid it out there for those teens in a way that I really think they appreciated. Well, as much as teenagers appreciate being preached at about not having sex.

When the sermon was nearly over and he was about to dismiss us for lunch, the pastor said, "And I want you all to remember one very important thing - a Bayer aspirin is the most effective form of birth control you can ever use." All of the adults chuckled because we'd all probably heard that our entire lives. The youth, however, looked at each other, probably hopeful that there was a form of birth control they could get over the counter and their parents would never suspect. (Hey, I totally remember being young and horny) When he finally delivered the punch line and explained that if you hold an aspirin between your knees you won't get pregnant, the kids laughed, but I'm sure they were secretly disappointed. At least some of them, anyway.

It also didn't escape me that TotOne's eyebrow raised and her head cocked to one side and ohhhhh I knew there were going to be questions and many of them.

Sure enough, I hadn't taken two steps from my seat when I felt her tugging on my shirt. That eyebrow was still raised and I braced myself. I quickly prayed for guidance since Tater and I have vastly different methods of disclosure where our kids are concerned. I know this will come as a shock to you all, but I let it all out, I don't mince words, I tell it like it is. (I know. Who knew, huh?) Case in point, when I was close to delivery with Sam, my two-year-old Abby wanted to know how her little brother was going to come out. I explained that he would come out of my vagina. Tater and my mother were both UTTERLY APPALLED that my toddler was telling people she saw in Wal*Mart that her mommy had a "beegina" and a baby was going to come out of it. Tater is a great momma, but she doesn't agree with my no holds barred methods of explanation and I respect her for keeping her kids innocent as long as she possibly can.

However, I had no clue how in the world I was going to explain the Bayer aspirin method of birth control to my niece without a) making my sister want to kill me, b) making the child's head explode from the mere disclosure of more information than she's used to, or c) opening myself up to WAY more questions.

She matter-of-factly asked, "Aunt Kiki, how in the world can an aspirin between your knees keep you from getting pregnant?"

Without hestitation I replied, "TotOne, honey, if you keep an aspirin between your knees it makes it a lot easier to get down on your knees and pray."

Yesssss. I was proud of my response and while insanely vague and not-at-all the reply I'd have given my own children, I felt it was pretty good on-my-feet thinking. Until she raised that eyebrow again, looked off into the distance while the information processed.....then the lightbulb went off.

"Ohhhhh! So if I pray, I won't ever get pregnant? COOL!"

I heard about three other sponsors behind me snicker and one said, "Sweetie, millions of girls do that every month." I just put my arm around her and ushered her out of the Tabernacle and into the lunch line while I engaged her in a conversation about My Little Ponies.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Emptied and Filled

We are a small church - a little country church with about 30 people average in Sunday morning worship. We have an amazing children/youth program, though, and on Wednesday nights it's nothing for us to have over 50 kids in the place.

This last week we took 32 kids to Youth Camp. 32!! Four of those kids were mine (Abby, Sam, TotOne and TotTwo, minus Kady - she stayed with Grammy and Pops for the week) and the rest were actual youth in 7th grade and up. The girls side of the cabin was so full that TotOne and I slept on a bunk out in the commons area of the cabin, directly across from the refrigerator and adjacent to the sink. That meant that at any given time there was usually 10 kids in my "bedroom" either washing their hair, foraging in the fridge for popsicles or something to eat, at the table making a sandwich, sitting on my bed going through my makeup or just sitting in the floor talking.

God did a miraculous work in me, people, because for years I have been scared of youth. I mean, really really scared of dealing with youth. For so many years I only worked with kids, little kids and left the youth to heartier, more patient people who were equipped with patience and possibly mace. It didn't appeal to me to deal with hormones and drama and emotions - I was content with cottons balls, Elmer's glue and songs about wee little men climbing in sycamore trees. Teens aren't the same as they used to be - there's more attitude, more challenges, more broken homes, broken hearts and issues I didn't feel I was capable of tackling for/with them.

When I volunteered to help with one week of camp I was deep down hoping they'd use me for Children's camp. Weeks went by ..... and two sponsors were secured for the kids which meant that I was going to Youth camp. Strangely, though, I waited for the panic to hit and it didn't. What hit me instead was this overwhelming sense of excitement and joy and I could not WAIT for camp!!! Remember how, as a kid, you could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve because you were so excited about waking up to find your presents? That's the feeling I had continually for weeks before camp.

I know that the kids in our cabin were blessed, but I know I was blessed beyond belief as well. I gave my testmony on Tuesday night during cabin devotions and admitted that I wasn't sure why I was there, other than that God wanted me there and I wanted to be there and I wasn't scared of them anymore. The kids chuckled, but it was like when I admitted that I'd been unsure, it broke down a door and God was able to work. I had girls coming to me at various times, talking about their parents, their problems, their lives. More than once I hugged them, smiled and walked off to cry by myself as I prayed for them.

One particular girl had me wake her up when I got done showering in the mornings (at 5am, which was the only time I could get in there without a line forming outside the door). She took her shower while I put on my makeup, then we met on the porch to enjoy the quiet sunrise and to talk. I don't think we made any enormous breakthroughs or anything, but I listened to her. For the first time in a long time, I listened. It wasn't about me last week, it was about God and it was about those kids. Two other girls sat across from me at lunch one day toward the end of the week and one started talking to me about her home life. I listened and offered suggestions, but inside I was crying. I can't imagine living the way she lives. I could tell she wanted nothing more than someone to pay attention to her, someone to listen and someone to care. I hope she truly felt loved as she talked to me. God put her in my path for a reason, whatever that may be. She went back home yesterday with my phone numbers in her pocket and strict orders to call me whenever. I hope she does.

Do I feel called into the youth ministry? Not right now. I'm open to it, definitely. If God wants to use me to help in any way in the lives of those kids, I am there and I am there with no fear. But if God sent me to that camp last week to do nothing more than empty me out and fill me back, to bring me back close to Him, then I am happy I listened to the call. I feel excited about my relationship with God for the first time in a long time.

Thursday afternoon I made a Wal*Mart run during morning devotions. I made each person in the cabin an envelope and taped it to the wall, then everyone got a stack of cards, one for each of the other campers and sponsors. They had to write something positive or encouraging to everyone. If they didn't know someone well I asked them to write a scripture or at the very least "God Bless You." As I handed them out I was met with with some groans and pouts, but as they started writing I over overjoyed to see them really getting into it and putting serious thought into what they were saying to their peers. As we read through them yesterday morning I was again brought to tears as I read:
"You are awesome!"
"Thanks for listening."
"You are encouraging and give me confidence."
"Thanks for letting me wash my hair in your sink."
"You almost gave me money, but I had some, so you're cool."

And from my daughter: "Mom, I am glad you came with me to camp."

It was worth the sunburn and sweat to read those cards and know that something as simple as letting a teenager wash her hair in my sink or offering one some spending money, simple acts of almost non-mentionable kindness, were appreciated and touched them in some way.

Abby and Sam went forward for rededication and TotTwo went forward for salvation. All together, in our cabin there were two salvations and probably ten rededications. And this sponsor got her socks blessed right off.

God is awesome.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I swear I'm still a US citizen

Believe me when I saw that I feel absolutely horrible for not posting before I left for CHURCH CAMP, but I promise it was unavoidable. Promise.

I had every intention of posting before we left and then was going to have guest posters come in for me throughout the week.

HA!

I try, people. I try. I really do.

We're home now, but I'm am buried in loads of laundry, dirty, dusty suitcases, three exhausted children, two swollen feet and a sunburn.

I will post tomorrow the stories, the blessings, the laugh-out-loud moments from last week, but I'll leave you with this - I received so many blessings last week that I am overflowing with happiness. I feel closer to God than I have in a long time. I have been emptied and filled back up.

I am content.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Until tomorrow........GO CHECK OUT MONTY'S PODCAST!! Happening now, but also archived on her blog. Seriously. She's a riot.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The most fun I've had on a Friday night in a long time

Folks, I am listening to AKAMonty's LIVE podcast and let me tell you.....I am laughing out loud, rolling on the floor while doing it and my ass? It fell off.

You should cancel all Friday night plans for the rest of your life and tune in.

I want to be Monty when I grow up.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hello ... and Good-bye

When Paul and I were first married it didn't take us too long to decide we wanted to have babies. We went to a doctor in town who was the OBGYN at the time. He gave me once over, said he wanted to do some tests, but declared confidently that he could get me pregnant. I went in a few days later for an endometrial biopsy, which days later deemed me to be "anovulatory." He prescribed Clomid and sent us on our merry way to go make a baby.

A few weeks later we were pregnant! I know that having babies is nearly as old as time itself, but we were the most excited couple to ever get pregnant. We called everyone we knew, bought onesies and bottles and bedding for the crib that Tater and I slept in when we were kids. We hit the 10 week mark and the nurse put he doppler on my belly so we could hear our baby's heartbeat. We couldn't, but she told me not to worry, he was probably hiding behind my liver or something. Four weeks later she still couldn't pick up the heartbeat, but my fundal height had grown and things were otherwise normal. The doctor scheduled me for an ultrasound just to check things out.

We were so excited to see our baby on the screen! Having never seen an ultrasound before, we had no clue what we were seeing. The tech was quiet as she took the measurements and declared me to be ten weeks, four days pregnant. Uhmmm....no......I told her she was wrong, that I knew exactly when I got pregnant and I was 14 weeks pregnant. She fiddled around some more, poking and prodding, but still came to the conclusion that I was only 10 weeks pregnant. Then she left the room. She came back in, put things away and told me to keep my regular appointment with my doctor.

Things didn't seem right, but I was a whole 21 years old and unassertive and didn't want to get myself labeled as "one of those" patients. Paul assured me that things were fine even though I could not shake the nagging feeling that something was wrong. My mom told me that gut instincts are more important than wanting to be a "good" patient and suggested maybe I see a different doctor. After calling my doctor and getting the runaround I called a different doctor, Dr. Lacey, and after explaining things to the receptionist, got an appointment for the next day. We both loved Dr. Lacey the minute he walked into the room. He patted my leg as I voiced my concerns and said he'd do an ultrasound right then to set things straight.

Lying on that table, wanting so desperately to see my baby again, Paul by my side holding my hand, I had no clue my life was about to become the saddest it had ever been. After a few minutes of poking, prodding and profound silence, Dr. Lacey turned the machine off, took my hand and said, "I'm sorry. Your baby is no longer alive." We had never seen his face, never even heard his little heart swooshing, but we loved him so very much. We hadn't said hello, but suddenly we had to say good-bye.

The ride home was silent except for my sobbing. We went home, but the house was smothering. We paced, we held each other, we cried, we sat and stared at the carpet. Paul called his mom and cried so hard I felt my heart breaking even more. I called my best friend at the time because I wanted her there when we told Mom. We were at Mom's house when she got home from work. Then again we became the bearers of bad news, telling my mom her first grandchild was gone.

The doctor had said that miscarriage would soon follow. I wanted it to happen because I wanted closure, but at the same time, I didn't. I was holding onto anything I could. A week passed, then two. I called the doctor who again said to let things happen naturally. When I looked at my defunct pregnancy calendar and it declared me to be 19 weeks pregnant I lost it. I think I was as close to a nervous breakdown as one can get without going over the edge. I called the doctor, sobbing, nearly screaming, telling him to do something because obviously my body hadn't gotten the message. Two days later it was over. Well, physically it was. For weeks I was numb. Paul and I didn't talk, we didn't touch, we didn't do anything more than exist. It was the hardest thing I have ever endured and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I had heard my whole life that no parent should ever have to lose a child, that it isn't in the natural order of things. Until I experienced it myself, though, I had no idea how true that statement is. Whether your child is no bigger than your thumb or that child is 25 years old, you just aren't supposed to have to say good-bye. I know that God is sovreign and that He has a purpose for everything that happens, yet sometimes it is hard to remember that. My faith is stronger than it used to be, but even the strongest of faith is threatened at times.

Our baby would have turned 13 this past March. Would he have been tall? What color hair would he have had? Would he look like me or Paul? I have so many questions - why did it happen? What went wrong? What good came of losing our first child? I miss him, miss him like crazy, but I know there was a reason. I may never understand that reason while I'm here on earth, but my heart rests in the promise that my child is in the presence of his King.

My friend T-Racey and her husband had to say good-bye to their son this past week. They are hurting so very, very badly. As they held his tiny body and wept rivers of tears I know they are asking questions that have no answers. I pray for them almost continually that they have peace and understanding and comfort. It isn't easy and it's so unfair and I know their pain in a sense. I have no advice, I hold no wisdom. All I can do is pray.

My friends, please remember this family in the coming weeks. They need to feel God's love around them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's good to be the mom

Abby is in her final week of Math Academy at the school. This means that from 7:30 am when she gets on the bus until 12:30 pm when she gets off the bus, Sam and Kady have to entertain each other. Not that Abby does a whole lot of Polly Pocket or Lego playing these days, but for some reason, the absence of the third sibling makes a difference.

That difference being: They hate each other's guts.

Having only grown up with one sister, I expected fighting between my girls; I wasn't sure how Sam would fit into the picture, what with being the only male stuck between two sisters. Now I know his role perfectly. He's the agitator. In other words, he is my sister. Just with a penis.

My father declared many, many times when we were kids that he was going to legally change Tater's name to "Maytag" because she was so good at agitating. I have entertained the same thought regarding my son. Now, don't get me wrong, the girls have their moments where they do things to annoy the other two, but it seems that Sam has cornered the market. I love him to pieces, but I may staple his lips together before the summer is over.

Because of the whole nuclear enema experience Sunday night, I told Sam that if he went through all of that torture and his appendix wasn't the cause, that I would buy him the Indiana Jones Lego game for the PS2. I told him that to a) get him to drink the glow juice and b) because I really thought it was his appendix. So guess who gave up buying a tanning package this month to buy her son a video game where Indy is nothing more than a bunch of stacked up plastic blocks, the top one of which has a stubbly beard?

Kady and Sam could hardly wait to get home yesterday to play that game, but the longer they played the more they fought. I was busy, so I would just interrupt occasionally with, "Guys, stop it" or "That's enough, you two." You know, because I obviously have mad parenting skillz. Finally I had had enough and told them that if they fought one. more. time. they would turn off the game. Two more of those threats later, I actually made them turn it off. (Where's Super Nanny when I need her to remind me to follow through the first time) AND they are barred from it today.

So this morning they used up their alotted TV time, decided their rooms weren't exciting enough (not to mention you cannot walk through Kady's), played with Biscuit until he got too wound up and started biting, then settled on playing board games. However, when they sat down to play "Jam-Pack Jam" (Thank you, Cousin Courtney. I hum that little song the van plays all the time now.) they immediately started with the fighting again. BUT, because of my stellar eyebrow-raising abilities, I raised my eyebrow, glared until they both felt me boring into their souls and they turned around, risking their faces melting clean off just like those dudes who opened the Ark of the Covenant even though Indy told 'em not to.

No kidding, Sam handed Kady the piece she was whining about (that he had taken while grinning ear to ear), patted her on the arm - watching me the entire time, mind you - and said, "Oh here, Kady, I accidentally picked this up. I think it's yours."

That's when I said, "Sam. Dude, you got something on your nose." Of course, he immediately ran to the bathroom while I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.

It really is good to be the mom.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Have a nice day!

This evening as we were driving home from town we were talking about what everyone wants to be when they grow up. Sam wants to be a soldier/pastor/firefighter/police officer/astronaut and gee, I hope there's a career out there for him somewhere. Abby has no aspirations as of yet because ya know, why get in a hurry? Kady chimed in from the backseat: "When I gwow up I want to be one of dose people dat push da button and the thing goes up and then I say 'Have a nice day!'"

When she said "push the button and the thing goes up" I thought maybe she wanted to work at a nuclear missile site or for NASA, but when she said the "Have a nice day" part I was lost. I asked what kind of building someone who does that job would work in.

She said, "A bank."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Are You My Daddy?

Just a few minutes ago the phone rang. I heard my new step-dad's voice on the end asking, "Is this my daughter?"

That was awesome.

I'm no stranger to sitting in an emergency room with one kid or another. Between Kady's asthma and Sam being a boy and breaking limbs occasionally, I've seen my share of emergency room waits. The only time I didn't call my mom during an ER crisis was the one that happened the night before my Papa's funeral and that was because my mom was utterly exhausted as it was, I didn't think staying up most of the night with Kady and I was what she needed. Of course, she was upset that I didn't call her when she found out the next day, but I'm totally digressing.

So yesterday, after Best Nurse Ever had made her initial checking-out of my boy, I called my mom's cell phone to let her know what was going on. I started talking and she interrupted with, "We're in the waiting room. Can we come back?" Now, Mom's been in the delivery room for the birth of each of her grandchildren; she's a very hands-on Grammy. There are few moments she misses. In case you hadn't noticed, we're a very close family.

Pops didn't have to be there yesterday. Heck, he's only been an official member of the family for 9 days now. He wasn't preaching last night because of Father's Day (Our little bitty church cancels evening services on holidays and special occasions) and he could've easily just kicked back in his recliner and enjoyed his evening off, but instead he was right there with Mom to be with his daughter and grandson when we needed him.

Loving him has come easily and naturally and our family is better because of him. He has accepted each and every one of us unconditionally and he didn't have to. Sometimes when families blend, it's not always smooth and harmonious. Our has been.

So, even though Mom hasn't allowed him to read the blog just yet, Happy Father's Day, Pops.

I love you.

Okay, stop me if you've heard this one

For the past week Sam has complained off and on that his stomach was cramping and hurting. He didn't have any diarrhea or vomiting or even any nausea, so I kind of just let it go. I know, I know....Mother of the Year, blah blah blah.... However, yesterday from the time he got up, all through church, the entire time we were at Braum's for lunch and after we got home, the child was in pain. At home he was on the couch, knees to his chest, writhing and moaning. He was also running a fever. I called my mom, she had no clue what to do. I called the insurance company's nurse advice line and after running down the list of symptoms, the nurse said, "Oh, girl, you better git that boy to tha hawspital quick!" Only in Oklahoma do the anonymous advice line nurses call you "girl". I think. I could be wrong, but it just seems so right. She had way more twang than your average Okie, anyway. Instead of outsourcing to India, maybe they outsourced to Texas?

So I called Mom back and asked her to call my new stepsisters and biological sister and cancel our Father's Day dinner which was supposed to be happening about an hour and a half from then. I got Paul off the mower and gave him the option of staying with the girls or going with us. Since Kady was wound for sound and holding her own Redneck Diva Idol in the living room wearing only her underwear, a tiara and a feather boa, he decided to stay at home for the time being.

Sam and I drove to the ER (The second time in FOUR DAYS that I've been to our local ER, mind you) and we began our wait. The last time I was in the ER on a Sunday we waited over 3 hours, but we were the only ones in the waiting room, so I didn't think it would be too long. After about 30 minutes of Sam rocking, moaning, whining and me obsessively feeling his forehead to see if his fever was any higher, we were taken back to a room. The nurse asked a bunch of questions, felt around on Sam's belly and when she hit the right lower area and he scrunched up in a ball, she gave me this look that said oh so much. She said she was going to start and IV, do a urine culture and check his white count because she said we'd probably be doing an appendectomy.

Yeah. Did you catch that? We dodge a kidney stone surgery only to dance with a possible appendix removal? The two men in my life are going to drive me mad, I'm tellin' ya.

Sam was a real trooper while she put a hep lock in his hand, drew blood and had him pee in a jug, which he thought was cool. (This nurse was absolutely amazing with him and I will definitely be sending a letter to The Powers That Be at our local hospital to tell them how amazing she was.) Then he settled in to watch Disney Channel and complain intermittently about his belly. In the meantime, Mom and Pops showed up, the doctor came in and pretty much dismissed the appendicitis notion. Not long after he left the room, though, he was back to poke around on Sam some more because his white count was indeed elevated and his urine was clear, thus ruling out bladder/kidney issues. We were again entertaining the appendectomy. Sam started hollering for his daddy, so we made arrangement for the girls and Paul got around to come in.

Then my phone chirped and announced to me that Ottawa County was under a tornado warning. Now, you know that when the wind even thinks about blowing, we go underground these days. Yet here I was in the Emergency Room with my ailing son, my husband was driving (DRIVING!!! Right into the tornado, in my mind) with my daughters, my mom and stepdad were eating dinner somewhere (in my mind, right in the tornado's path) and I was impressed with myself for not climbing under the bed right then and there. Instead I calmly went to the nurse's station and asked the nurse if she was aware we were right in the path of impending destruction. She assured me that we were nowhere near the path of the tornado and it was actually moving away from us and that if we needed to take cover, they'd take care of us. While it wasn't the comfort of my concerete and steel underground 'fraidy hole, it was strangely somewhat calming.

Around 5:20 the Best Nurse Ever came in with a cup of radioactive yumminess for my son to drink because he was scheduled for a CT scan at 7:20. She said at 6:20 she'd be back with another cup, too. Now, if it had been Abby or Kady, they might've complained, but they'd have drank it because that's just how they are. But Sam? Sam is not a try-er, he is not adventurous and does not take kindly to change or anything out of the ordinary - especially food or drink. He is a profound gagger. It took $9 and five stickers, but he got both cups down. Of course, the extra goop in his belly and the stress of drinking it made him hurt, so he got 1mg of morphine to knock the edge off. Good gosh, that was funny.

Mom, Pops and Paul were all there by 7:15, but it was nearly 8 before the guy from Radiology came in to get Sam for his scan. (Sam also earned five more stickers by calling the Radiology guy "Mr. Sunshine" because evidently Best Nurse Ever and Mr. Sunshine exchange insults regularly. Sam thought it was hilarious to be in on the joking.) The nurse had told me there was an enema involved, so I tried to give Sam a clue-in, but I think there is just no adequate way to prepare a 9 year old for that. Poor kid.....again, he was a trooper. A freaked-out trooper, but still a trooper.

The CT scan showed his appendix to be perfectly healthy and the doctor declared it to be a severe stomach virus. She sent him home with some phenergan for nausea, put him on a clear liquid diet for the rest of the night and the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet for the next few days. He has declared the BRAT diet to suck first thing this morning when I wouldn't let him have a donut for breakfast. The pain is still intermittent and he's spent the entire day on the couch, playing PS2 and watching cartoons. I have slept because I'm hoping that the more I sleep, the faster time will go by and possibly we might avoid more:

a) household disasters, ie. electrical freakouts and busted water lines
b) raging cases of strep
c) kidney stones
d) tornadoes
e) fake appendicitis
d) ANY more trips to the ER, period.

You know, for years I have been afraid of the 3rd of July. Now, June isn't looking all that great either.

But, man my house is clean. I'm a stress cleaner and I've obviously had a lot of stress to keep me motivated.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Quints

Since I missed my last official day of work on Wednesday due to the inconvenience that is my husband passing kidney stones, I got around Thursday morning and went in to the office. I had cleaned my desk out on Monday, but had left a box of Kleenex, my 55 gallon drum of Germ-X and a can of Slim Jims - you know, just in case I needed to blow my nose, sanitize or have a snack. I finalized a travel claim, turned in my ID tag, hugged those that I wanted to hug and got the heck outta Dodge. I grabbed a Route44 sweet tea at the Sonic and went to the hospital, laptop in tow.

They had the internet blocked, so I sat in a horribly uncomfortable plastic recliner for roughly 8 or so hours and played spider solitaire, Zuma and Purple Place. Paul was still having trouble with nausea, wasn't producing any output because of the uncontrollable vomiting, and therefore was not even remotely close to passing any stones. Around 6:30 the urologist came in, checked the x-rays and CT, gave Paul the option of going home to pass them or just have them removed in the morning. He opted for an 8am surgery. The doctor warned, though, that he had a reputation for scaring stones out of patients and more than once he had scheduled someone for surgery the next day only to have them pass the stones during the night. We were open to anything, but considering how thing had gone, we weren't optimistic.

I went home to get the kids so they could see their daddy and in the meantime Paul showered and managed to eat and drink a little. We got back to the hospital around 8, the kids took advantage of playing on the empty extra bed and then Paul went to the bathroom while the kids were engrossed in Disney Channel. I tidied up the room until Paul poked his head out of the bathroom and said, "What does a kidney stone look like?" Now, while I've had one myself, I had to have mine surgically removed because it was roughly the size of a watermelon (Okay, so it was only 5mm, but considered "unpassable") so I have never seen a kidney stone live and in person. I said, "Honey, if you peed and something other than pee is in there, I would assume it would be a kidney stone."

They were awfully small and there were two. We called the nurse in and she put them in a specimen cup and went out to call the doctor. The urologist said he wanted to still keep him overnight and keep him on the surgery schedule, just in case.

About 30 minutes later he passed three more.

Yeah.

Fortunately, none of them hurt in the passing and he was promptly taken off of the surgery schedule at 7 the next morning when the urologist declared him to be fit as a fiddle. Paul has to make an appointment in a few weeks and they'll decide then if they're going to do lithotripsy to blow up the remaining stones in his kidney. I personally think we should pay off this hospital stay before we go makin' any more surgery plans. But they aren't my kidneys we're talkin' about and he's pretty adamant about NEVER. DOING. THAT. AGAIN. so we'll see.

We left the hospital around 9 Friday morning, dropped his prescription off at the pharmacy and went home. The kids had cleaned house (term used loosely, but still a very precious gesture) and were ecstatic to have their daddy back in the house. He settled into the recliner and I crawled into the big chair and we both took a nap. It was rainy, stormy, gloomy and we were both exhausted. The kids took turns snuggling with both of us and while I accomplished not a durn thing, it was a relaxing afternoon.

We went to Wal*Mart last night because we were out of important things like toilet paper and enchilada sauce. Plus I hadn't gotten Mom and Pops' wedding pictures developed yet, so I had to drop them off, too. Paul's back started hurting while we were there and we both went into a not-quite-panic mode until he decided that he had maybe just overdone it a bit. We grabbed a bite to eat at Sonic, (they are going to give me the key to the corporate headquarters I've given them so much business lately) went back to Wal*Mart to pick up the pictures, dropped Abby off with a friend, picked up 40 precious, precious Vicodin and headed back home.

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed and sent good thoughts our way. It was a stressful couple of days and even though he wasn't in any danger, it's still rough having a hurting/sick spouse. I appreciate you all so much.

Now we just have to come up with five names for our newest additions. He swears that if they caused him that much pain, by golly, they all get names. He also says we're claiming them on our taxes next year.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Comedy of Errors, Part 2

Okay, so remember how a couple of weeks ago my life took a nosedive? Oh you don't? Well, it's more than fresh in my mind, but if you need a reminder, read this post.

Well, now we can add to this list:

Husband gets not one but TWO -- count dem TWO! TWO vunderful kidney stones! MUAH HAHAHAHAHAH *thunder/lightning* -- kidney stones making their way from Kidneyville to Bladdertown and then making their way right on through through Urethraburg.

Good times await us here at the Hoover Ranch.

This morning I had texted him making sure that the weekend that Lori and I had planned our First Ever Girls' Weekend Without Husbands and Kids where there will be much laptopping and casinoing and I'm sure tons of laughter was still okay with him. He called me, instead of texting back, you know, so I could get the full effect. He sighed dramatically and said, "Well, a whole bunch of us from work were planning on going canoeing that weekend.....but I guess if you'd rather go with Lori.......I understand. *sigh* I know you've been looking forward to this for a long time...... I'll just canoe alone......" People, I wanted to hit him with the very phone he was talking on and then maybe again with mine for good measure.

I angrily texted Lori whining, complaining, venting, etc. about my asshat husband and after the text was sent I still fumed on the inside. When my phone rang again and I saw that it was him it took everything in me to not answer, "What do you want, asshat?" I'm so glad I didn't. In fact, I answered with a very pleasant "Hello" and when I heard nothing on the other end, another cheerful "Hello?" Finally the silence was broken by my husband's voice, teeth clenched in obvious pain as he asked, "What does a kidney stone feel like?"

Hey, I've had a kidney stone. It's not something you ever forget. Naturally, someone who has had one is a perfect source of valuable comparitive pain information. After a few questions, it was decided by me (I'm not a doctor, but I play one on my blog and sometimes in real life) that indeed, he had a kidney stone. I asked, "What do you want me to do?" His answer was a very quiet, but very determined, "Come get me." Now, my husband is not a medicine-taker, a complainer about ailments and maladies, etc. He just deals with it. He's a pretty quiet guy and doesn't get too riled up about much of anything. But this? This was kickin' his ass and takin' his name.

I immediately told KD and Sam to get their shoes on, called the school and asked the principal to get Ab out of class and have her ready for me when I pulled up, I texted Mom and Pops, called Tater, then called Bub (yes, my ex-brother-in-law) to see if he could meet me at the hospital to get the kids, called my mother-in-law who didn't answer, called work (today was supposed to be my last day) then flew southward. I picked up Ab, answered many, many questions about kidney stones on the 10 minute drive from the school to the casino, including the one that my son asked - "Mom, can Dad die from a kidney stone?" to which I answered, "No, but he'll feel like he wants to," then wheeled into the parking lot to retrieve my hurting husband.

I checked in at the back security desk and they said he was in the bathroom because he'd been vomiting uncontrollably since he'd called me. Finally he emerged with his manager holding him up because he could hardly walk. We got him loaded, I asked him his hospital preference (he didn't care) (in fact, he asked if I'd just shoot him right there) then drove toward Miami. Bub met me in the lobby to get the kids, I got Paul checked in while he writhed and gritted his teeth and moaned about wanting a bullet to the head.

Of course, they never move fast enough when you're hurting and it didn't take long for Paul to get incredibly frustrated with the questions about family history of Tuberculosis and diabetes and migraines and finally he just let me answer. He was too busy writhing around on the bed anyway. I SO remember that writhing - there is no possible way to get comfortable and moving seems to be the only source of comfort and even that hurts, but you do it anyway. Finally the doctor popped in, agreed that it was more than likely a stone, ordered some demerol and x-rays and went about his merry way. In the time between ordering the meds and the nurse getting them Paul started with the vomiting again. I don't handle vomit well, so I just tried to think happy thoughts and not breathe or look at anything other than the floor.

The first round of Reglan/Toradol did nothing. They gave him Demerol which knocked the edge off and he slept for about 45 minutes. He woke up hurting, more Demerol, more writhing, more begging for a bullet, until finally the nurse gave him Morphine, then Morphine again. Eventually he was stoned, but still in pain. It was not a super cool fun afternoon.

The nurse, a four-time kidney stone veteran, was sympathetic and decided that he needed a CT scan and went to hunt down the doctor. While he was in CT I ran to the bathroom, grabbed a bag of Doritos (Cool Ranch!) and a Coke. He slept off his high while I watched I Love the 80's 3-D and texted Cousin Stacey, Lori and Mrs. Coach. If not for those women I'd have lost it this afternoon.

The CT revealed the two stones en route to their final destination PLUS two more in the kidney that will make their presence known at some point in the future. Oh yay. The doctor came in and offered him a Get Out of Jail Free card or an overnight (if not two) stay in the hospital. He suggested the overnight stay rather heavily for the simple fact they were having such a hard time controlling his pain. Normally Paul would've been like, "Hell NO I ain't stayin' in here overnight!" but instead he wearily looked at me and said, "I think I should stay." I kissed him on the forehead and said, "I agree."

If he doesn't pass the stones overnight tonight the urologist will be in to consult tomorrow and decide if surgery or lithotripsy are needed. He's still having trouble with the vomiting and even though they are pushing him to drink, drink, drink, he can't keep it down. He looked like hell when I left and it was really just about all I could do to not run back in there and crawl in bed with him and take care of my baby. But considering the kids were with me and trying hard to not freak out that their big strong daddy was in the hospital with an IV coming out of his arm and a roommate in the bed next to him and all of that was just rocking their little worlds to pieces, I instead kissed him, squeezed his hand and blinked back my tears. Those will be making their stage debut when I hit the bed in about 10 minutes I'm sure.

We arrived at the hospital 12:30 this afternoon and got settled in his room at about 6:45. It's been a long day. While I didn't do anything more than send 70-some text messages, hold the puke bag, rub his back and watch VH1 I am absolutely exhausted. He wanted me to spend the night with him, but at the same time knew I was tired and needed to rest at home. It was finally decided that I would go on home and spend the night with the kids, get Ab off to school in the morning and my mother-in-law is going to stay with them tomorrow.

While it's certainly not life-threatening, all prayers would be appreciated - for comfort, for not-needing-surgery, for peace......

Oh, and for money to drop out of the sky and directly into my bank account.

Because you know....I just quit my job.

Figures.



Lord, if you have those plans all worked out could you give me a preview of coming attractions? Because I really do have faith in You, but that whole being human thing is inconveniently making me freak out just a bit right now. I know You have it under control, but could you just let me in on the plans? I promise to act surprised and no one will know You told me ahead of time. Thanks. And amen.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Blogaversary Question - The Final Photoblog

The final Blogaversary question if from Lauren, all the way from Boston. Wow, girl. I'm flattered that someone from out east would be so intrigued by a redneck diva in the middle of the country. So of course, I obliged and took some pictures of Miami ( MY-AM-UH ) for all to see.

Note: Some of these pictures - no, most of them - are horrible. First, I left my camera in Tater's car Sunday and we left Tulsa before they did. My camera is still (I hope!) locked safely in her car. I had to use Ab's camera for the pics and I'm not used to her little Nikon with a serious lag between snap and take. Oy, I got frustrated! Second, Paul was the one driving me around on our little photo tour and he was hungry. He would slow down, allow me .25 seconds to snap a picture (mind you, with a lag) and then drive on. Third, it was nearly dark and a storm was rolling in.

Ah good times.

Lauren asked:
I have never been to your part of the US and from the way you describe it, it sounds kind of magical - tornadoes and possums and the Indian Casino. Could you maybe take us on a photo tour of your town and surroundings? I live smack in the middle of Boston, so it'd be a real treat to see something new.

We start on the south end of town with the swimming pool. The big yellow Slide of Death is just a few years old. Needless to say, my children have never been.

After the flood last summer the public pool was full of mud. Ew.








Next, The Stables Casino! Just one of the many, many Native American Gaming Establishments in our town.








Look! We have a neighborhood trolley!

Kady calls it "the charlie."











The Townsman has been a part of our town since forever. At the Townsman restaurant I ate many pieces of pie with my Papa. It's currently undergoing a serious restoration since during last summer's flood it was completely under water.







We only recently got a Holiday Inn Express.

Whoo hoo us! It's to hold all the many many people who come into town to gamble at one of our many many casinos.







A few miles out of town we have our own cigarette factory so that means cheap Indian cigs at the outlet!

Located right behind the Indian Clinic.

Hmmmm......coincidence? I think not.







The Indian Clinic - where I get my free government healthcare, but only when I'm at death's door.










A sign.

Wow.










You knew there would be a picture of this place, didn't you? It's

THE BIG FANCY CASINO! I love the Buffalo.

Ted Nugent will be here this month I think. I tried to get his name on the sign in the picture, but Paul was too busy flying into the parking lot so I could get a picture of the actual building.











It doesn't look like much more than a big tent from the outside (It really is a big tent thing) but it really is fancy inside. It's the nicest one in town, I think. Not the best paying, mind you.







And where else but in my hometown can you gamble in a trailer?

Yes. A trailer. As in a mobile home.






We also boast a church that used to be a Wal*Mart.









The new Wal*Mart is right across the street.










Main Street, heading south.










Braum's.

Yum.

Purely a midwest store.

Again, yum.


(Sorry 'bout the bug guts)








Here we were, blazing past Video Giant, where we rent all our movies.

Why were we blazing past?





Because Paul had his sights set on some Taco Tico. The Tico has been closed for about two years, but man, they have brought it back and it's still just as awesome as it used to be.










And finally.........we're back home.











I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Blogaversary Questions - Set #4

Here's the next-to-the-last round of questions!

Debbie asked this question:
I know everybody worries about blogging and work, what about blogging and family? Does most of your family know about (and/or read) the blog or not? Is there anybody you hope won't find/read it?


My family is aware of my blogging. Most of them don't have a clue what a blog even is and they all just nod politely, but then there's my aunt and cousin who read it regularly, my sister who pops in when it's slow at work and my mom who reads it, but would never admit it.

As far as I know, my stepdad - A PASTOR - does not read my blog. I think this is largely because my mother won't give him the address. I thought about giving it to him behind her back, but if it bugs her that much I guess I won't freak her out. I really have cleaned up the language around here and haven't used the f-word in a lonnnnng time, so I think it's safe for Pops to read. I'll leave that up to Mom, though. He has read some things I have written, so I think eventually the curiosity will get the best of him and he'll mosey on over, as my mother cringes in the corner.

I really don't have anyone that I don't want to read the blog. Heck, I wish more did! I love doing what I do, think I'm fairly good at it and just knowing that when people talk about me they start the conversation with, "You gotta check out this blog! Every time I read it I squirt coffee/milk/tea/soda out my nose!" That right there makes me utterly ecstatic. I love knowing that your nasal passages are dampened frequently because of me, Constant Reader.

Paul used to be really bothered by the fact that I'm pretty much a tell-all kind of blogger. But I really do try to keep it real, keep it funny when I can and stay as true to the original story as I possibly can.

Yes, people, my life really is this funny. It's great to be me.

============================

Sam asked:
Does the carpet match the drapes?

You know, as much as I love looking nice and feeling pretty, I just haven't felt compelled to highlight and layer my uhm......carpet. So no, they don't match.

============================

Nadine Hightower asked:
Vacations....what is your favorite vacation destination and why?

Hands down, Disney World. You can read a long post - with pictures! - here. Pretty much all posts in December 2006/January 2007 mentioned Disney World somewhere in them.

It it every bit as magical as I expected it to be and I have every intention of living there.

Okay, not really. The humidity is worse than Oklahumid there. But still, a visit every week would be sufficient.

I mean, there are literally days I wake up and think, "I need Disney World." Not "I WANT Disney World" - no, I NEED it. I'm a Disney World addict. Do they have meetings for that?

=========================

The final installment is next!

Blogaversary Questions - Set #3 - Photoblog!

My Favorite Texan, Lori, the Dirty Laundry Queen asked me this:

Tell us about your purse. Specifically, how often do you change purses, how often do you buy a new one, where do you get 'em, and how much crap do you carry around in one?

Okay, people, I LOVE purses. In fact, that's how I knew that my mom could marry my stepdad - because his oldest daughter and I share this freakish passion for purses. I knew that the marriage was meant to be because Kendra and I, we heart purses.

I change purses whenever I get the notion. I changed my purse right before the wedding on Saturday - I mean, if you're going to wear leopard print flip-flops you should carry a leopard print purse, right? Right. I don't change purses daily or even to match every outfit, but if I'm going out or dressing up I try to coordinate as best as I can.

I get my purses wherever. Wal*Mart, the mall, garage sales (providing they are in SPECTACULAR condition and not laden with germs and bacteria and other unknown things), but my latest obsession and probably where I will get all of my purses from here on out is Etsy. No kidding people, I stayed up until 2am one morning just shopping at Etsy. Here is my latest purse which I love, Love, LOVE. My step-sister does not love this purse, but oh well, I guess we can't always agree that I have great taste for the quirky and unusual.



The very second I saw this purse I knew I had to own it.
Check out the gal who made it over at Etsy. Be warned, though.....seriously addictive, that Etsy.
What do I carry in my purse? Well, I'm so glad you asked! I shall take you on a photo tour of my purse now. (Note: Yesterday Tater picked up my purse while we were at Incredible Pizza and as she lifted it she raised her eyebrows and said, "Seriously? You need that much crap!?" Well......yeah.)

Bird's eye view of the contents of my purse.
I may look scary, but I know where everything is all the time. I am freaky obsessive about my purse - kind of like my pantry.
I can't go anywhere without body spray and lotion and it goes without saying that there is ALWAYS hand sanitizer in my purse. Always.


My personalized makeup bag. Actually Abby got this for Christmas a few years ago, but I stole it. I mean, it had my name on it, for cryin' out loud! She was too little to be a diva then anyway.
Didn't realize until I took a picture of it, but it's lookin' a little worn.....

The wallet that Abby says reminds her of snot.
She has such a way with words.

A quick peek inside - don't be too jealous of that fiver in there.

And my Tinker Bell checkbook cover.
Yes, corny. I'm aware of that. Hush.
And there you have it - the contents of my purse. Probably more than you ever wanted to know.

Blogaversary Questions - Set #2 - Photoblog!

Miss Wisabus also asked to see inside my refrigerator. Strangely enough, I love seeing inside random strangers' refrigerators as well, so I was more than happy to oblige. Paul, however, was nervous and asked that I please at least wipe the shelves off before I started snapping. Oh, but you are getting the unedited version of ...........

My Fridge










Not the inside, but thought you might like the whole effect...







Sonic magnets.....I will never escape those stupid things. Just about the time I get them all thrown away they put more back in the Wacky Packs.

















Tomatoes, container of dip, stick margarine, head of cabbage, milk, apple juice, jello, eggs.....pretty much like every other fridge, don't ya think?







Paul had nothing to worry about regarding the shelves....our fridge is always so full you can't see the shelves anyway.










Free. Cheese.




It's good to be Native American.
















The door.




Miracle Whip, sweet relish, Ranch dressing, ketchup, grape jam, salsa, Dr. Pepper (gag), chocolate syrup .....yep, we have kids and we are redneck.











Best.




Dressing.




Ever.





Yeah, I know the label says vegetables, but vegetables are overrated. Besides, the few vegetables we have are in with the fruits next door.

I don't drink any of those sodas. The A&W is for the kids, the Diet Pepsi is for Mom and Pops...






Oh wait! What's that hiding beneath the preacher's and the kids' drinks?

Aw yeah.....

Just for the record, I'm a Bud Light kinda gal, but Paul and the electrician drank all my Bud the other day. I'm stuck with Coors Light until payday.



( Yes, my fingernails are painted black. )










BONUS PIC

The freezer!

Eggos, frozen pizzas and chicken fries from the Schwan's man....yep, it's summer and the kids are home all day.

Blogaversary Questions - Set #1

As promised, the answers to your questions - the burning questions that keep you up at night when you're thinking about me...... which is just weird, by the way, so stop. The only person allowed to stalk me right now is Jax and only because she does it so well I don't have time for anyone else at the moment.



These first questions are from Miss Wisabus, a fellow Oklahoman and someone I wish I could be more like.

She asks:
What is your Myers-Briggs type? Do you feel like this is an accurate representation of your personality?

I am an ISFJ. (The first time I ever took this test, I was 18 years old and I took it on paper. Yes, PAPER. With a pencil.) Nearly 20 years ago I was an ESFJ. I have become much more introverted over the years. I used to absolutely crave to be the center of attention and at the heart of everything. Now, I value my alone time, my quiet getaways and just being, rather than doing. I like to think that it is a totally okay change. However, my sister sometimes calls me the Unabomber. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to live in a secluded cabin in the woods with nothing but high-speed internet, my laptop and some sweet tea. Nothing at all.

If there were no obstacles at all, nothing holding you back, EXACTLY what would you be doing right now?

I would be a stay-at-home mom. Oh wait, that’s what I am soon to be again. Obstacles, schmobstacles.

That’s why I turned in my notice last week at work – to stay at home. I haven’t been happy at my job for awhile now. I am entirely too nice and spineless to work in an office full of women. I can’t handle the emotionality of all that estrogen fluxing all over the place and when someone hurts my feelings or takes advantage of me, I just slink off to the bathroom to cry rather than address it. Paul wants me to stay at home, the kids want me to stay at home and I want to stay at home, therefore, I have decided that Quirky Loner Stay-at-Home Mommy Blogger/Writer is the perfect job for me. And ideally, the book will come along shortly. That whole “if you build it, they will come” thing is hopefully going to work for me, except I’m not building a ballpark for dead ball players, I’m just writing a book.

=============================

The next question is from Melessa, another Oklahoma blogger and someone I have met in person and let me just say.....I think she is just about one of the sweetest people to ever walk the face of this earth.

She asks:
Your kids have great names. How did you and Paul choose them?

First let me say that we deliberately named our kids the shortened versions of common longer names on purpose. Most Abigails don’t go through life being called Abigail – they are almost always called Abby. And Samuel is always shortened to Sam. Katherine? Yep, Katy, Katie or, because we’re odd, Kady. So we just saved everyone the trouble and shortened them from the get-go.

Abby’s name was chosen when I was in the 5th grade. I had to undergo allergy testing – you know, where they poke your arms with bazillions of needles and inject you chock full of stuff to find out how you’ll react or if you’ll just up and die - and the gal that was doing the poking on my arm was named Charm. I thought Charm was the bomb and she had a daughter named Abby. I decided at the tender age of 11 that if Charm had a daughter named Abby, then someday I, too, would have a daughter named Abby and I would be as cool as Charm. Turns out, I’m only minorly cool, but my daughter has a beautiful name and she’s cool enough for both of us. Her middle name is a combination of my mom’s middle name and Paul’s mom’s middle name. Lea and Ann – thus, LeAnna. She has asked me before why we just didn’t call her “LeAnn” and my answer is always, “Uhhhhhh….” Get it? Le-Ann-Uh. I slay me.

Sam was very nearly Baby Boy Hoover. When we were like, two seconds pregnant with Ab, the boy name we picked out was Kaden. Well, she was a girl and in the meantime, between pregnancies, the name Kaden suddenly became the most popular boy name ever and we didn’t want to holler for our son on the playground and see ten little boys come running, so we didn’t recycle that name. There were many, many fights over our son’s name, most of which ended in me crying and him slamming a door. I’m telling you, we didn’t want to name him the wrong thing and we both felt very strongly about getting it right. He and Paul’s nephew are the last two male Hoovers in the family, so we wanted to name him something that was sure to make him eligible to get married and lots of male children to carry on the Hoover name. (I know, our minds, they work strangely) One day, I was watching my second-favorite soap opera, One Life to Live, and our son’s name was chosen. At the time there was a character on the show named “Sam Rappaport” and even though I had watched the show every day and ol’ Sam Rappaport was on there every day, for some reason that particular day I really liked his name. When Paul got home from work that night I said, “What would you think about naming him Sam?” He thought for a second then said, “I like it. Sam Glenn.” Glenn is Paul’s middle name, as well as my mother’s maiden name. It was never argued about again.

Kady was the only one of my kids that I didn’t KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt what gender she was. With Ab and Sam, the ultrasounds only confirmed what my mother’s intuition had already told me. However, with Kady, the ultrasound was iffy and my intuition was broken or something and I really wasn’t sure what would be emerging from my vagina on or around New Year’s Day 2002. We still really liked the “Kaden” we had never used for Sam, but were still hung up on the popularity issue. Paul suggested we just turn it into “Kady” for a girl. (If she had turned out to be a boy, she would’ve been a Jake.) I like the unusual spelling and really thought her nickname would be Kady-Did. Turns out, she’s a Kady Bug instead. Her middle name, Dawn, is my middle name. We ended up naming our dog Jake.


Stay tuned for Set #2!!

And the winners are.....

First let me apologize from the depths of my heart about the complete disaster that has turned out to be my fourth blogaversary. I swear, I can't have nothin' nice.

I couldn't get my internet to work this morning because of the torrential rain and therefore had to give up and just go to work and fuss and fume inside all day. But now I am home, the rain has stopped for the time being and I have put the old trusty Random Number Generator to work and have come up with the winners for the drawings.

The winner of the hairbows is........Mrs. Coach!

And the lucky blogger who gets a new header is ............ Jennifer from dasnowz.com!!

Ladies, congratulations! I'll be emailing you with all the details of your prizes!

And thank you to everyone who entered and hung around waiting.....and waiting....and waiting....

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Like a cyclone

I know, here in Tornado Alley, tornado/cyclone jokes aren't all that funny considering how turbulent this storm season has been, but seriously, my life has been an absolute whirlwind for the last three days. I'm FINALLY sitting in my big chair with my laptop in my lap, the washing machine chugging along in the utility room, my girls are jumping on the trampoline, my husband is on his new! tractor! and my son is happily playing with his new laser pointer thingy that I won him at Incredible Pizza today because I'm just that cool. Guess what I'm trying to say is that we're all just glad to finally be home.


Friday I had to work, so as soon as I got the nerve to ask my supervisor if I could leave early I headed out that door like my tail was on fire. I went to Wal*Mart where I picked up 14 dozen cupcakes. The bakery lady asked why I was picking up an order for that many cupcakes and that they had been speculating all day what the occasion might be. I said it was for a wedding and, as if on cue, my phone started yodelling, which means my momma is calling me. I said, "Oh and there's the bride calling!" When I hung up the phone that bakery lady said, "Oh how sweet. How old is the bride?" I smiled and said, "56." The look on her face was priceless. Who in the world asks how old the bride is anyway?? Strange Wal*Mart bakery lady.

A few observations:

A fat woman pushing a cart chock full of cupcakes out of Wal*Mart is sure to make people stop in their tracks.

A little girl asked her momma why that fat woman had so many cupcakes. I honestly could not help but laugh at the horrified look on that woman's face as she put her hand on her daughter's mouth.

One little boy asked if he could come home with me.

My van smelled like heaven.

I drove to the reception hall with serious pucker factor and wondered more than once why the family clutz was the one nominated to pick up the cupcakes.

========================

The reception hall was hotter than the hubs of hell when we got there. We figured it was because it was Oklahumid and HOT and it was going to take awhile to cool down. It didn't and by the end of the evening I was completely convinced that I gone right into menopause within a matter of three hours and was experiencing one long, continuous hot flash. More than once I made the comment that I was sweating like a whore in church. Mom raised her eyebrows at me after the first time so after that I made sure she didn't hear me.

The Bow Lady came in and worked her magic, turning a not-so-glamorous indian tribe's building into a beautiful reception laden with yellow bows, roses, ivy, etc. I really do heart her.

By the way, as we finished decorating I went to her van and pilfered through her bow boxes until I found THE PERFECT BOWS for the giveaway. Folks, I couldn't stop and the winner is getting $42 worth of bows. I know. It really is an obsession.

We left the reception hall and went to Braum's to get a bite to eat since my husband who swore he had fed my children dinner had actually been beaten by the stupid stick and was confused - he had only fed them lunch. See, there IS a reason I'm going back to being a stay-at-home mom. I fear my children would starve if he had to watch them too much.

==========================

Saturday morning I had every intention of getting up, closing comments, etc etc, but I had to meet Mom at the reception hall again to get the stuff chilling for the punch, make the tea (14 gallons in all, 9 of them my special recipe sweet tea that I'm famous for) (okay, just famous to like, eleven people, but still...) We arrived at the tribal building to discover that it was still hot as all get out in there. Mom, trying as hard as she could to not cry, called the caretaker, he came out and it was soon discovered that of the four airconditioning units for the building, only two were working.

I wished so hard at that moment that I knew how to fix air conditioners because my momma was about two seconds away from losing her sh*t right there. Bless her heart.

When we left there were many men there working on things, but turns out......they didn't accomplish much.

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The wedding was simple and beautiful. The preacher was a bit corny for my taste and a few of the things he said literally made my mother clench her jaw. I was probably the only person in the building that noticed, but I know that woman well enough to know what irks her. He did. But they still got married and they looked so insanely happy that I think I got a few cavities from the sweetness of it all.

My BFF, Tiff, and her skinny husband drove up from Tahlequah to take the wedding pictures for us. She's taken pics of the kids before and does a great job. She's old skool and still uses film. I think digital is great and convenient and all, but I am still very partial to film pictures. She starts her fertility shots this week and I'm so glad I got to see her before she turns into a blubbering mess of hormonal goo. I mean, I love her and all, but no one cries alone in my presence, therefore if we were closer in proximity to each other, I, too, would be a blubbering mess of goo.

The reception was hot. We brought three stand fans and they did their best to circulate the air, but it was still durn hot. However, they looked so cute making their rounds, talking to people, hugging old friends, making goo-goo eyes at each other that the heat didn't seem to bother them too much.

I, however, was entertaining that menopause theory again.

Weird moment - I ate dinner with my high school principal. And we talked about tattoos, having babies and all kinds of adult stuff in his presence and not once did I worry about going to detention. I think I might officially be a grownup.

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On the way home from the reception last night Abby all of the sudden said, "Mom! Today was your Blogaversary!" I wearily said, "Yes, babe. You're right. Four years ago the magic began." Then my children gave me a spontaneous and genuine round of applause.

I cried.

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Before I go any further I have to seriously thank my favorite Texan, Lori, the Queen of Dirty Laundry, for coming to my rescue Saturday morning. All it took was one text message pleading for her help and she had it under control. I'd be lost without her. She is a continual source of support, laughter and prayer.

Lori, you are amazing, hon. I love you.

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Thank you to you all for your patience with the Blogaversary Marathon of Celebrating. I always bite off more than I can chew and this weekend was no different. Today was supposed to be a day of rest, blogging and celebrating, but instead we went to Tulsa to Incredible Pizza to celebrate TotOne's birthday. I'm so glad I went because I spent the day not thinking about work, stressing about faulty air conditioners, my asshat husband who has been a royal asshat in a real asshatty kind of way for three days now and anything else unpleasant. I enjoyed following my son and nephew around the place, playing skee ball (because you know I gots mad skeeball skillz) and laughing. I won TotTwo a Spiderman flashlight and Sam a laser pointer with interchangeable tips so he now projects a thumbs up on the wall when he's pleased because who needs words when you have a laser pointer with which to communicate. TotTwo also asked me to win him a ring for his sister for his birthday. She loved it. I enjoyed being with Tater, Gentleman, the Tots, my kids and just kind of de-stressing.

I needed to experience positive, unconditional love from my family today.

I did.


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Tomorrow all your questions will be answered. Please tune in.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Contest is Closed...and other bloggy business

Hey, y'all! It's Lori here, the Queen of Dirty Laundry.

Diva asked me to pop in this morning and update you on the fabulousness that is the Blogaversary Marathon of Celebratory Awesome Fun. Seems she's neck-deep in wedding preparations, since her Mom was kind enough to coordinate her wedding date with Diva's Blogaversary. More Awesome Celebratory Fun!

Anyway.

Comments are closed on the very fun bow and header giveaway, and Diva will choose the winner on Monday.

Oh, and also? My favorite part - the Marathon of Questions will also begin on Monday. So if there's something you've always wanted to know about Kristin, our very own Redneck Diva, be sure to leave your question in the comments.

Hey, Kristin? Happy, Happy Blogaversary! Thanks for 4 years of bloggy fun!

And Best Wishes to Diva Mom and Pops on this, their wedding day.

Giving It Away (Current posts below)

Okay, with the Blogaversary Marathon of Celebrating looming on the horizon, I have been working my hiney off on securing a couple of (what I think are) fairly kickin' giveaways. Hey, considering it's my first time giving away stuff on my blog and I'm doing it all out of my own pocket because I don't have big corporate sponsers and my mom's getting married this week AND I quit my job (in my heart already, if not physically just yet) you gotta cut me some slack.

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The first giveaway is a conglomeration of hair bows from Just 'Dorable Bows. Debbie is otherwise known to my daughters as "The Bow Lady." In fact, she's in the contacts on my cell phone as "The Bow Lady." I heart her. You will, too. Here are some pics of our personal bow collection. This isn't all of them we own - I had to put the holiday/Christmas/strictly winter bows up separately to make room for the spring collection. I know. I have issues. But my 6 year old is cuter'n all get out.



This is what is currently out for the season in our personal bow stash.

Debbie also made the bow hanger. It's really just 'dorable, isn't it? It's the ONLY way to hang hair bows. A drawer cannot sufficiently contain that much ribbon.


I apologize for the lack of clarity on this pic. I didn't have the macro button pushed on the camera and I don't feel like going back there to re-take the pic.

This is Ab's favorite bow ever. Debbie searched high and low until she found exactly what Ab asked for - "pink with skulls, but the skulls have to have heart eyes." By cracky, she found it!


This is my favorite set of piggy bows for Kady. She wears them on top of her head in two small ponytails and oh my gosh, you could just pinch her in two when she wears them. She has to have an outfit to match them summer and winter.


And what redneck hair bow collection would be comlete without CAMOUFLAGE?


And of course, what diva hair bow collection would be complete without leopard print?

Actual bows in giveaway package will vary. This is just to make you absolutely crave some of those Just 'Dorable bows. Her website is not up and running yet, but I can hook you up with an email address if you ask real nice. I'm thinking I should help her with her website since the other day she said that someday she'd have to check out my blob.

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The second giveaway is a FREE BLOG HEADER. Yes, I said FREE BLOG HEADER. My design gal, Lil, of Design Works is going to create a custom header for your blog if you're the lucky winner. She's responsible for my header design, so if you like what she did with a pink travel trailer and a clothesline full of underwear then you really should enter this drawing.

Header includes small design that you plug in yourself. It does not include color or template overhaul.

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Here are the rules:

Leave a comment to this post (which will remain the top post until Saturday morning). Please oh please oh mercy PLEASE don't do the "no reply blogger" thing. Please please please do that thingy that leaves an email address when you comment! PLEASE! (Am I being polite enough?) If you simply do not want to leave your email address in the comments, drop me an email privately [theredneckdiva (at symbol) gmail (dot symbol) com] and leave it. I kind of need your email address if I'm going to give you stuff.

In your comment you need to tell me which drawing (or both!) you'd like to be entered in and the most money you've ever paid for a gallon of gas.

If you do not specify which drawing (or both!) and/or do not tell me how much you've been robbed you've paid for gas I will not enter you in the drawing(s). Period.

The drawing will be done through a random number generator and I will have no control whatsoever with who wins. You just gotta believe me on that one.

Drawings will be closed sometime between 8 and 9am Saturday, June 7th, 2008, the day the magic happened back in 2004 when I posted my first blog post over at tripod.com. After I close the comments I will then proceed to get my momma hitched and will be incommunicado and insane the rest of the day.

Winners will be announced Sunday evening.

FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY IN THE DRAWINGS you can post on your own blog about my giveaways and the Blogaversary Marathon of Celebrating, link to this post and make a redneck girl very happy. If you choose to post for an extra entry, you MUST let me know. I'm talented, but I can't read minds worth a crap.

Okay, I think I've covered it all. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, spay and neuter your pets, don't run with scissors, drink 8 glasses of water a day, don't talk with your mouth full and don't jump off a bridge even if all your friends do.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Redneck Momma

This morning only Sam walked with Abby down to the end of the driveway to catch the bus for summer school. Usually Kady goes, too, but she was sleeping in this morning. After the bus picked his big sister up, Sam and Biscuit headed back up to the house because Magic Schoolbus was coming on any! minute! and heaven forbid he miss a second of Miss Frizzle shrinking a classroom full of school children and heading into the abyss of the human intestine.

I saw him coming up the driveway, but was working on checking my email and didn't just sit and watch him every second. I mean, he's 9 after all; he's big enough to walk up the driveway on his own. Kady got up in the meantime and planted herself on the part of my legs not covered by my laptop. In the back of my head I wondered what was taking him so long, glanced out and saw Biscuit and him running in circles about halfway up the driveway. Ah, a boy and his dog. A little later, again I wondered what was taking him so long, but figured they were still playing.

All of the sudden the front door busted open and Sam threw himself inside, bawling his head off. The last time he entered the house like that he had just run the four-wheeler through the barbed wire fence and broke his arm. While I knew he hadn't been riding the four-wheeler I instantly wondered which bone he had broken this time and how he had done it.

My thoughts turned from broken bones to the last time I watched Survivor Man and instantly wished I'd paid more attention when Sam said, "There's a snake in the driveway!" and then some more unintelligible words that my freaked-out mind interpreted as "I have been bitten by a crazed poisonous snake and am moments away from death." I did a quick scan over him and didn't see fang marks or blood or snake dangling from his flesh but then I heard him wail something about Biscuit.

Oh holy heck, I just knew that my son had witnessed his dog getting bitten by a snake and oh my gosh, how much therapy is this going to take to get over?

I finally managed to interpret what he was saying and surmised that indeed there was a snake in the driveway, Biscuit and the boy were both okay and it still might take some therapy to get over. As he wiped his tears he said, "Mom, I stood there in the driveway yelling and yelling at you and you never came!" Yes, just send my Mother of the Year award to my home address, thanks. Now that the air conditioner is running you really can't hear anything outside and well....I let my boy down big time. I foresee a trip to McDonald's in our near future.

Now, normally I sleep in pajama pants or shorts and a t-shirt, but last night I was hot (no, not that kind of hot) and put on my only nightshirt when I got ready for bed. I totally regretted that decision as I headed out the front door in the 25 mile and hour winds with my son's pellet gun in hand. In the few moments it took me to head across the yard to where the snake was and successfully scare the snake into the brush before ever getting a shot in, I also gained like, major cool points in the eyes of my son for trying.

And man, am I glad we don't have any neighbors. Because I think there was a partial moon over Ottawa County this morning. 25 mile and hour winds and night shirts are a bad combination. Almost as bad as 9 year olds and snakes.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My eyes! My eyes!

My four-days-away-from-being-my step-dad is a geek. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. The dude is a techno geek deluxe. I heart him. He and I can sit and talk computers for hours. One Sunday after lunch at Mom's he and I broke out the laptops and spent nearly three hours downloading, talking, laughing and at one point Mom walked through, shook her head and said, "You two were made for each other." Yes. Yes, I believe we were.

That being said, it probably comes as no surprise that one of his computers has a screen bigger than most TVs. His computer room has four computers in it. (My kids love going to Pops' house because they each get a computer to themselves.) Oh, and he has a gigantic TV. Okay, well, he did. Now we have it. Awwwww yeah. Mom's den is not large enough to hold a TV of that size, so they're going to buy a plasma to hang on the wall. Poor things. Bless their little senior-citizen-discount-gettin' hearts. But yay for us because he made us a heck of a deal and now we are livin' large. Really.


This is the TV we bought just last year. We felt completely indulgent in getting a 42" flat screen at the time. Paul couldn't believe how much better his PS2 games looked on it and I seem to remember a conversation where I declared I could see the TV through the wall from the kitchen after he'd gone on and on about how the flat screen enabled him to see from any angle.

(Please ignore the dust covering the stand. We live on a dirt road. Yeah. That's why it looks like I haven't dusted in months. Yeah.)




But as of about 6pm last night we became the proud parents of this bad boy. 53" of television-y goodness. I swear I felt even my testosterone level raise as they wheeled it into my living room. Paul grunted like Tim the Tool Man all night.

Pops managed to hook all of our many gaming systems up to it, even the 16 year old Super Nintendo that still uses a modulator. (Because it is insanely old in the world of gaming systems.) (But man, you just can't beat the old skool Super Mario Brothers.)

The kids, of course, immediately flipped the channel to Nick and I was completely blown away at the size of the Squidward looming on the screen. Seriously. Like, nightmare big. It's going to take awhile for me to adjust. The kids and Paul are fully adjusted, adapted and ... well, I slept in the bed alone last night since Paul stayed up until who knows how late because he played Call of Duty and Socom till the wee hours of the morning until he just fell over on the couch due to gigantic television gaming overload. Bless his heart.

I fear that going to the movies will be anticlimactic now.