Monday, September 29, 2008

A Major Milestone at the Shepherd House

For the first time in Julia's almost ten month little life, she slept in her bedroom Saturday night. She has always slept in her pack n play right next to my side of the bed. She takes naps in her room, but Saturday night marked her first night there. We all fared well. I also returned her exersaucer (which has also been in our bedroom floor) to a friend who let me borrow it. Now that she is so mobile, she does not have time for the constraints of the exersaucer. So, the master bedroom is slowly returning to what is was originally intended for......a sewing room.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Busy Week

Julia and I at Sol's birthday party. Great picture Tara...thanks for sharing it!
I had to go to Little Rock for a meeting this week, so John and Julia made the trip with me. They went to play at a park while I was in my meeting. Julia loved the sandbox and John said that she smiled the entire time she was in it. We ate lunch at Juanita's which is another of mine and John's long time favorites! They have the best fajitas...maybe in the world!

This is Julia's high chair after her lunch. Another increased expense that no one warned me about because of our baby girl...more tips to the waiter who is left to clean up this mess!

Julia's babysitter days are going much better from what I am hearing. She still cries every time we walk inside Melinda's house and screams at the top of her lungs when I walk away. The good news is that Melinda told John that the crying time is getting shorter and only 5 minutes versus the entire three hours that she is there! I check in with another Mom who drops her little boy off after I drop Julia off. She told me that one day she walked in and was so confused because it was quiet in the house. She asked Melinda was what going on and Melinda proudly pointed at Julia who was playing quietly and not screaming. This sweet other Momma tells me that she always picks up Julia and loves on her when she is dropping her son off. Another joy of life in a small town. It has been four weeks now and I am looking forward to the day when I can walk away without hearing my baby screaming. It truly shakes me to the core and I have heard Mom's talk about this for a long time, but I had no idea how hard it would really be.

I had to post this picture because it captures an all too familiar pose. Julia is always reaching out trying to get things. She is quite assertive these days. This is really a nice way of saying that she will let you know very quickly if she is unhappy. Her favorite way to communicate this is a very loud, shrill painful scream. Her second favorite way to communicate her dissatisfaction is to arch her back or straighten in while we are trying to put her in her car seat or highchair. John and I have decided that the best way to deal with this is to to nothing...or not react at all when she screams. Just like her Momma.... a girl who know what she wants and is not afraid to say it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our weekend

Friday night, John and I celebrated our anniversary by staying home, eating meatloaf, letting Julia crawl all over us, and watching "Eastern Promises." Why is staying at home so underrated? When it comes down to it, there is no place I would rather be. By the way, the movie was entirely too ghory for me and I couldn't watch the whole thing because of the blood and gut factor.
Saturday morning, I helped to host brunch for a friend who is in my bookclub and who is having a baby soon. The brunch was held at the home of the decorator friend who I am doing some sewing for. She has a new house and it is absolutely beautiful! I posted a picture of the food table so you can see how gorgeous her dining room is.

Julia and I spent Saturday afternoon with my family who came to visit. Julia explored nature and had a great time crawling around in the grass. Saturday night, John and I went out to dinner and to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We decided to go to Kelly's and eat crab legs which I like to do about every 2 years or so. Unfortunately, the food was just as bad as it was the last time we went 2 years ago and I have been a little "under the weather" with a cold, so I couldn't really taste the food anyway.

Sunday was a good day at home. We layed around alot because John has officially caught whatever this is that I have. Julia, on the other hand, did not lay around and provided us with the best entertainment. She is such a little livewire and is so funny. She loves to chase John around on the floor and play peek a boo. He hides behind the couch and jumps out at her. She laughs so loud! Her favorite game with me is for me to put something on my head and then pretend to sneeze and then it falls off when I "sneeze." She dies out laughing, without fail, everytime! She likes to get under things, like the table, chairs, or other furniture and enjoys crawling over our legs. I guess its just more of a challenge that way, instead of going around. As always, she is such a JOY!

Julia is still a finger sucker. She sucks the first two fingers on her left hand when she gets sleepy or when she is trying to comfort herself (like after she bumps her head). She loves to touch any fabric when she is doing it. Last night, I put her in the laundry basket with the clean laundry and she picked up a pair of John's socks and held them to her face and started sucking her fingers. She also crawled up to John while we were in the kitchen and held his jean leg in her hand by her face so she could suck her fingers! So cute, and as you can tell, she has no preference to what type of fabric she is holding.

For the first time since she was four months old, she woke up after midnight last night crying really loud. I got up and rocked her and she went right back to sleep. We think she must have had a bad dream.

This pillow is one of many sewing projects that I finished this weekend for the decorator girls that I am working with. This pillow is quite the masterpiece and I would love to have it sitting in my bedroom. What a beauty.

Friday, September 19, 2008

10 Good Years

Ten years ago today was my wedding day. We got married on the same piece of property where I am sitting today. However, ten years ago, there was not a house here yet, but only a $500 trailer that we bought to live in for a what we hoped would be a short time while we built our house. Three years later, we moved into our quiet, country home. Our wedding was simple, but sweet. John and I have definitely "beaten the odds," and I can attribute that to our strong sense of commitment and the fierce loyalty that we have for each other.

This year, my husband showed me what kind of a man he really is.....tender with an enormous heart and more love inside there than I could have ever imagined. This year has been by far the best. Thank you John for showing me what it feels like to be happily married and most of all, for giving me the best gift of all, my sweet Julia.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Julia Eats Catfood

The weather has been near perfect this week and Julia and I have been loving our afternoon strolls. Tonight, we got a late start and I ended up jogging more than I wanted to so that we could hurry and get back to the car before it got too dark.

Later tonight, John, Julia and I were in her room listening to some silly nursery rhyme cd and Julia crawled off for a second. I got up after about 30 seconds of her being out of my sight and caught the tail end (pun intended) of her grabbing a hand full of cat food. After the famous finger sweep, out came one piece of yummy cat food. I don't think she swallowed any, but she definitely got a taste. I can only hope that it was not so delicious after all and she won't go back for seconds. Time will tell.....

Julia and I hanging out on the deck. I know....these pants are too much and she looked entirely too grown up in this outfit. My mother's comment was, "That's a really cute top," which translates to mean, "Those pants are hideous!"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Sol!

Wow....I can't believe sweet Sol is 1! He was such a stunning birthday boy and we had a great time at his party Saturday. I teared up a little while Julia and I were driving to his party. First because I am so grateful to have Julia to take his party....I remember how it felt to go to friend's kid's birthday parties with no child! And second, because I miss Sol's grandmother, Teri. I know that she was smiling on us all that day. I used to pride myself on not being one of those emotional "crier" types, but I seem to be eating my words lately.
This picture is looks like Julia is laughing and smiling while getting into the balls to play. The truth is she screamed a bone chilling, stop the party scream every time her feet got within 5 inches of those balls. She was having no part of it.

After the party, Julia, Mary Margaret, and Maggie Grace and I headed over to the Cooper Young festival in Memphis. We met up at Tara's and she and Emmy joined us. Tara was an awesome host and we had our priorities in line. We ate sushi before we did anything else and I was so proud of our Emmy. She ate sushi like a girl who already knows whats good! The Cooper Young festival was great fun and I hope to make it an annual event.
Three precious girls!

Julia napped in her stroller while we were at the festival.

That little giraffe that is beside her is her new best friend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Civic Duty Calls and Other Ways We Spent 9-11-2008

I woke up this morning thinking about 9-11 and had a hard time shaking my thoughts. I have visited the empty hole in NYC that housed the World Trade Center. It was eerily quiet and is forever etched in my mind. I had to close my eyes for a few minutes just to find a way to bear some of the pain that I felt for those families. This morning was no different....I had to close my eyes when I thought about those families and those babies who lost their mommas and daddies that day.

Seven years ago today, Ashley (my good friend from Marianna that I miss so much) and I were headed to work in Helena. She lived in Forrest City at the time, so I would pick her up on the way and we would make that long drive almost every morning. I will never forget Ashley telling me to be quiet and her saying, "Wait, why is Katie Couric on FM100?). Once we got to work, we watched TV in an empty patient room at Helena Regional Hospital which was across the parking lot from where we worked at the Delta AHEC. Our boss wanted us to get back to work and all I wanted to do was to go home and get John and all of my animals and lock us in the house together. Somehow, we would be safe that way! I was thinking that this might be the end of the world and that somehow, the entire universe would be terrorized. I kept calling John and he was so busy working and would tell me not to worry and that he had to get back to work. I will never forget that day.
I was asked a few weeks ago to judge a beauty contest at Crestpark (one of Wynne's nursing homes) that was scheduled for tonight. Another civic duty called, and I begrudgingly agreed. I couldn't imagine how this would go and really was not looking forward to it. Mom came and stayed at the house while Julia took her nap and I headed that way. There were tons of families there and it was a little bizarre at first to see these women dressed in their best clothes. However, I quickly got into the spirit and realized that this was a really fun way to celebrate these ladies and the lives that they have lived. We laughed so hard and had a great time. They put on quite a show and the hardest part was choosing the winners. I couldn't help but tear up several times after seeing these ladies, so poised and beautiful, being interviewed. They answered the question about Who was their favorite famous person by saying things like----their late husband who took such good care of them and their children. Wow.....a great way to spend a couple of hours on 9-11. It definitely made me stop and be grateful for all that I have in my own life.
Last year's queen crowning the new Crestpark 2008 queen!
Julia helping with some household chores.
Julia demonstrating her wild Indian call in the bathtub.
My happy Julia.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Meatatariun

Julia loves meat. I think meat and cheese, oh yeah...and broccoli, are her favorite foods these days. She can eat two whole slices of Boarshead turkey. Today, she had CrossRidge baked chicken for lunch and couldn't get it in her mouth fast enough. By the way, that is one of Wynne's best kept secrets...our hospital serves, what John and I agree, is the best baked and fried chicken breast every Tuesday at lunch. I get the baked and put in on a salad and John swears the fried chicken is the best he has ever had....and, a complete lunch for the bargain price of $3.00!
Other things to note:

- Today was Julia's 3rd day at Ms. Melinda's. She is not loving it. This morning, when she realized where she was and figured out that I was about to leave her, she cried so hard. It was awful. I went to work shaking from head to toe and couldn't concentrate. I am hoping that things will get better and that she won't be so miserable. John picks her up and Melinda reports that she cries a while and plays a while. She thinks that she is scared of the noise and commotion that the other kids make. He usually brings her to the parking lot of the hospital so that I can hold her and see for myself that she is still in one piece.

- Julia has learned a new trick that she has been practicing all day. She puts her hand to her mouth and moves it back and forth to make the Indian sound. We are certain that this is just another sign of her brilliance!

- Today, Julia and I went walking on our old neighborhood 3 mile route. Kristen met us along the way. The weather was perfect for walking today and I needed a break from the treadmill. I have been doing okay on it, but was ready for some fresh air. I have to make constant goals to keep my interest up on the treadmill. For example, I am trying to get two miles in a shorter time every day. So far, my quickest time was 27 minutes. Don't laugh you runners!

- My parents returned from their Washington DC bank vacation and they had a great time. Riding a chartered bus with 46 others to Washington DC does not sound like my kind of vacation, but they made new friends and had fun. Julia and I visited when they got home. It was a happy reunion.....Julia was happy to see them.

- I am going to do some custom sewing for two decorators in town. They gave me my first "job" today and I am a little nervous about being able to pull it off to their standards. One fabric that they are using to make some pillows cost $106 per yard.....I was really better off not knowing that!

- Our landscaping project is slow going.....which is a nice way of saying that nothing has happened. I haven't even started the process yet (other than getting bids) and so far, only one person has kept their word and come when they said they would. The construction business must be booming in Wynne because obviously none of these guys need to work. I am having flashbacks of building this house (my worst nightmare) and I am hoping that this project starts to look up soon.

Too much information, I know. Pictures next time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It Won't Be the Last One That Gets Eaten.....

I was talking to my friend Mary Margaret on the phone today and we were laughing about how intense it was to take care of a baby. About 10 minutes after I hung up, Julia crawled behind the ottoman and got quiet. She came back chewing and here is what came out when I finger swept her mouth.....
Yep, it's an insect. A small beetle, I think. Talk about intense....

Julia likes to chase after Spooky, our cat .... who has been on this earth for over 14 years. Spooky hid today in what she thought was a pretty safe place (under the table), but Juia, the cat terrorist, figured it out and got under the table too. Poor Spooky, the safe places around our house are getting fewer by the day with Julia's ever expanding mobility.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A New Friend

Georgia called me Friday and told me that my friend Anne Block who lives in Los Angeles was in town and they wanted to come over and meet Julia after I got off work. I called John and asked him to clean up a little before I got home because they were planning to come over around 4:30, which gave me about 15 minutes to straighten up. I raced home to three shiny, sparkling clean stainless steel appliances and a pretty huge mess every where else that I looked. I had to laugh because this was such a good example of another quirky John-"ism"...he explained his spending an hour shining the appliances instead of tackling a chore that was much more critical as something that really needed to be done. I cleaned the rest of the house in the 15 minutes before they arrived and I was shocked when they didn't even mention how clean my appliances were.
I was happy to see Anne. She was such a good hostess to my Mom and I when we were in LA the February before last to see the after-Oscar Oprah show. Anne has the coolest job of anyone I know...she is kind of like a travel agent, except she gets to accommodate all of her clients on their vacations. She told me that she had been to Paris 49 times. Her favorite place that she has visited is Italy.
Julia, Anne, and Georgia

Saturday morning, I had to work at the Colt Pioneer Days festival in Colt. It was like being back in time about 50 years and we were entertained all morning by some local gospel singers. Liza checked blood pressures, while I handed out literature on heart health while I enjoyed my Frito pie lunch (I think this was a little bit of a conflict of interest). Saturday afternoon, I taught a family CPR. They hope to adopt a child soon and needed the certification to be eligible for a possible state adoption. I think everybody should know CPR and I was happy to spend a couple of hours this afternoon helping them out.

Julia has a new favorite game. It involves two plastic cubes. She crawls with one in each hand and then throws one out in front of her and goes to get it. When she gets it, she throws the other one in front of her and goes to get it. What a brilliant game....who would have thought it could bring so many hours of entertainment!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Julia's First Morning at Ms. Melinda's

I headed back to work Tuesday after the nice, long weekend and took my baby girl to the sitter's house for the first time. I have to admit, it felt kind of strange to leave her there. Not because I was worried about her necessarily, but just because I had this weird, "I'm forgetting something" sensation when I drove off without her. I stared at the clock several times that morning, counting down the hours and then minutes until when John could pick her up. I only called Ms. Melinda once, about 10:30. I assured her that I would not be one of those crazy moms who needed to call and check in all the time. She was so sweet and told me to call anytime. Her report on Julia was that she was doing pretty good. She would play for a while and then cry for about five minutes and then play again. John picked her up and he said Ms. Melinda was carrying her around on her hip when he got there. Everything is going to be fine and I am so glad that she will have a few hours a week to play with some other kids.

Julia, bright and early, heading out the door with Mommy.

Julia has spent a lot of time with her Grandparents the past few days. They are leaving today to go on a bank sponsored trip to Washington, DC. I think they needed to load up on all of the Julia that they could get since it will have to last them for several days while they are gone. I hope they have a good time and Julia will miss them!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome Home to Cross County...

John got invited to go to a RedBirds game with a friend last night. Julia and I decided to drive him there so we could do some shopping and visit my friend Tracy and her family while he was at the game. Julia did great we loved meeting little Joanie Terhune, Tracy and Brad's baby girl. She is a little over 4 months old. She and Julia played well together. Dempsey, their five year old son, was definitely the star of the show and both girls could not keep their eyes of of him! Tracy and I decided that our girls would take after us and do really nice things together when they grow visit art museums, go to the theater, etc. HA~ We can only pray that they DON'T take after us.

We picked John up at the game and Julia and I had an awesome view of the firework show from where we were parked to wait on him. We headed home while Julia slept peacefully in the backseat. When we crossed the Cross County line, the first thought in my mind was, "It's good to be home." There is just something comforting about being back in my hometown after a day of driving around in more unfamiliar territory. The second thought on my mind was, "Oh, there's blue lights behind me. I think I will pull over so that he can get to that guy in front of me who was speeding." Unfortunately, it was me he pulled behind. It was a guy I remembered from high school, so I figured I was okay. Said he clocked me at 65 in a 55. I am pretty certain that it was the guy in front of me that he clocked at 65, since I had my cruise control set on 62. Nevertheless, 62 is speeding so I didn't argue. He reappeared at my window after a brief and friendly chat......not with the warning that I had hoped for, but a breaking a city ordinance ticket. Not a speeding ticket, but an inattentive driving ticket. He explained that this would not go on my record and it would not affect my insurance, but that I just needed to call the Parkin City Hall to determine what I needed to pay them for breaking this "city ordinance."

Whatever.....welcome home to Cross County.

I was pretty entertained by this truck that I got behind in Memphis. The sign on the back reads...."Who needs the mafia? We have the IRS."

Tracy and Joan with Julia and I at Tracy's house in Memphis

Julia doing a little salsa dance and having a percussion lesson in the basement with Daddy.

Julia's big girl dinner...whole wheat pasta, sliced turkey, some cheese, mushed green peas are to the side, and some apple juice. I had to be really fast with the camera because she eats the cheese first and eats in really fast!

We spent Labor Day at home and at my parent's house. They had Julia and I over for hamburgers and hot dogs. Julia ate her first dill pickle. She also ate a piece of lettuce. Well, never mind. She never really ate it....she just kept it in her mouth for about 15 minutes???!!