Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Who Are You?

How many of us know who are great, great, great, great grandparents are?   Most of us don't think about it on a day to day basis, but I did. I've always had a fascination with the generations that came before me.  I want to know as much as I can.  Why is my hair curly?  Who gave my children their almond shaped eyes and my husband his?  Why does my generation on my father's side of the family have a flair for the dramatic?  I'm being nice here.  We should all be medicated for sure, even if some of us haven't figured that out yet!  Why have I grown up with a passion for religion that stupefied my parents at times?  I was the kid trying to "save" my Hindu and Jewish friends at sleepovers by age 9.  
Many of these questions cannot be answered but some of them can, thanks to the magic of the Internet.  Nowadays all it takes is a 14 day free trial at to figure out who your "people" are, as we say in the South.  Gone are the days of hopelessly searching through archives and microfilm to solve genealogy riddles.  You no longer have to pay an expert $500 to put together a packet of your great great grannies and papas.  With a click of the mouse and a few hours of concentration/ obsessive compulsive behavior you can find the pieces to your genealogy puzzle.  
I did.   For fourteen days I neglected my family and behaved like a recluse pouring over census, marriage, and death records.  Here is the gist of what I discovered.  I am one of the lucky 5% of the population that can say that my gene pool has been in this country since before the revolutionary war.  I say "lucky" because it made it a heck of a lot easier to track my people down.  They don't get around much.  My father's side of the family was of special interest to me because he knew very little about his parents' families.  They were a mystery.  I used to brag to my friends as a kid that I was part Cherokee.  Like a lot of white kids, I felt pretty boring and pinned my ethnic aspirations on a little American Indian blood.  
What a disappointment! I should have known.  I can't even get a good tan.  
Not a drop, I tell you.  There are no Indians in the family tree that I could find.  Here's what I did find.   My Dad's folks originally came from Ireland and England, depending on which branch you follow.  The Beattys were originally Bateys.  Go figure!  Why the change you might ask?  One sassy Grandma, my Grandma, decided that she'd spell it differently (or at least that's how I've heard it told).  I can't ask her because she was born in 1900 and passed on in the 80's but that's what I've heard.  And if you ever met this pistol of a lady you'd believe it.  So she married my Granddad at age 15 and started writing the name differently.  Half of the 9 children she bore spelled it one way and half spelled it the other.  
The Batey men originally settled in North Carolina until a young man named James Beaty (these people loved to mix it up!) picked up and moved to Oglethorpe, Georgia in his early twenties (about 1812) where he met and married his bride, Patsey Nancy Jones.  Just think! I could have named my girls Patsey and Nancy, if only I had known!  Eventually they and their brood settled in Gwinett County, GA, and stayed put.
There they had a stroke of luck!  They won the lottery.  We may not have been Native American but we definitely took their land.  A few lucky settlers who had entered the 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery won large plots of land- I believe 400 acres.
The Bateys settled this land and two generations of children were raised there in what was referred to in the U.S. Census as Hog Mountain, Ga.  Where did all that land go?  I don't know. My grandpa Sanford Fletcher had eight known siblings so perhaps the land was divided up among them.  He was born in 1895 and his was the generation that ventured away from one another.  My father only remembers meeting two of the eight siblings.  My grandfather's only living brother moved to Texas at a young age and was never heard from again.  If my Dad has one regret, it's not sitting down with his Dad to ask questions about his forefathers.    How exciting to think that I probably have second cousins all over the state of GA and beyond that I've never met!  
After all my research, there is only one great mystery left and her name is Missouria M. Callaway, my great-grandma.  She was born in 1869 in Georgia.  She was the mother of my spit-fire Grandma Grace, and apparently nothing like her feisty daughter.  My father remembers bits and pieces.  She had a sweet, quiet nature and always had teacakes on hand for the grandkids. Missouria used to say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me." I love it! She enjoyed the perks of marriage to a chain gang warden by having the inmates work in her garden.  My Dad now recollects men in funny uniforms working in his Grandma's yard.  And here is the kicker!  It is rumored that she helped several of them escape when Gramps wasn't looking!  What a character.  But she has no paper trail.  I only know that her maiden name was Callaway because of a tip from an elderly cousin in Texas.  Could she have been the mysterious Cherokee blood?  Probably not, but I'd like to track her folks down just the same.  
These women put me to shame.  They raised broods of 8, 9, or 10 children without blinking and none of the offspring went to prison! They nursed babies until their bodies were prematurely old and made sure they went to school properly dressed.  They watched their men and sons march off to war time and again, and kept the home fires burning, from the Revolutionary War on.  They buried babies, children, and husbands, and kept on standing.  And they did it all without counseling or SSRI's.  I am proud of them and honored to call myself one of them. 

Check it out.  You never know who is waiting to be found!

Friday, December 23, 2011

God Bless the Broken Road

This much I know is true: we are all loved by someone greater than ourselves.  I believe He lives inside that still, small voice that whispers warnings that we brush off with our sense of self entitlement.  He is close by in the middle of the night when we are too heart broken to pray or ask for help.  He is there when a life is spared in a situation that defies all rational explanation.   He is there when a second chance at life is given to someone who does not deserve it; someone who has been desperately waiting for it.  
Why believe?  I think each soul has to answer that for himself.  Nobody can give you faith.  But, I will share my story of a life transformed and a second chance given.  
My story begins about two years ago.  My family had suffered a loss that is so ugly and awful it seems unreal.  Our lives in 2010 were the stuff of bad lifetime movies and nightmares.  I won't go into detail about this because it is not my story to tell.  But our family suffered a loss and the trauma continued for about two years.  During this time, we were fortunate enough to have a nondenominational church planted about two blocks away from our house.  We just so happened to be church hunting for about three months when they plopped down next to us.  I visited by myself to check it out, and knew it was where we were meant to be.  When I walked out after the church service, I shook the pastor's hand and said, "I feel like I was starving and I just got fed!"  
The church became my family's sanctuary and refuge from a never ending storm.  There were days that I would show up Sunday morning and would be so overwhelmed with sadness that all I could do was cry through the service.  There were Sundays when I was so grateful for God's presence in my life that I would practically shout for joy.  There were Sundays when I was so angry with God that I couldn't even bring myself to take my coat off and sit down.  
But I came.
Here is the great thing about being a part of a church community.  They pray for you and hug you when life gets really scary and you can't stand up alone.  Who doesn't need a hug and a prayer?  I was surrounded by this group of badass, strong Christian ladies that really didn't know me, but faithfully prayed for my family.  
Last Spring, my husband was out of work, like a lot of America, and had exhausted all his resources in the job hunt.  I was working, thankfully, but a teacher's salary (part time) is not much.  We were both feeling pretty glum and I needed a break from reality. My cousin Annie invited me to Georgia to visit their new home so I jumped all over that! 
As soon as my plane hit the ground and I set foot on Georgia red clay, I felt at home.  You see, I had lived in Georgia as a child.  Annie and I were neighbors as children and it was a magical time.  I was elated to be back and talking a mile a minute as we drove through Atlanta. She asked me what I wanted to do on the trip and I told her that I had just finished a geneology project on our Dads' side of the family, who came from Georgia, and I would be interested in seeing the town where our ancestors lived.  As far back as 1800, our fathers' fathers lived in Hog Mountain, Georgia.  When I mentioned Hog Mountain, she looked stunned.  My cousin said, "Katie, I live on Hog Mountain Road."  
We were both speechless (if you can believe that). 
I told her how good it did my heart to see her happy.  How happy I was to see that after some hard times, God had brought her full circle, back to the home of her ancestors.  For the first time in a long time, I had hope for my family's future.  If God could give her a second chance, then maybe He would do the same for me.  When I went home, it was with a lighter heart and a bit of hope.
About one month later, hubby found a job opening.  Guess where?  Georgia.  My man was born and raised in Chicago and had about as much chance of moving to Georgia as the cast of Jersey Shore.  This was completely out of left field, but it was the very thing I had prayed for faithfully.  The weekend that hubby flew out for an interview, I asked our entire church congregation to pray for the interview.  Then, the waiting began.  We waited for a month.  When we finally got the news and our relocation packet in the mail, I had survived about five nervous breakdowns and was convinced that God was just toying with me.  
But it was real.  So here I am on Georgia red clay and wild horses couldn't drag me away.  Life is not perfect.  It never is.  But everyone is healthy, safe, and loved.  I have no doubt in my mind that when I am old and gray, I will look back at these years as the best years of my life. Here is what I have taken away from the broken road that led us here.  God's dreams for you are so much bigger than your own.  I never could have imagined this life for my family in a million years. And do you want to hear the icing on the cake? After months of house hunting, guess where we found our house?  On good old Hog Mountain Road!
Ha! Now He's just showing off.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

I know what you're thinking!  This post looks so superficial!  Christmas is not about presents!  And I will be the first to agree, but like it or not, gift giving is part of the Holiday Season. And you know what?  I like it!  
Not the shopping, of course.  Spending gobs of money on presents in a short amount of time (my fault entirely for waiting until the last minute) gives me hives.  It makes me mean and crazy for about two weeks.  
But, I ask you this: who doesn't like presents?! I love opening them (duh) but even more, I love to watch people open them.  My favorite part of Christmas Eve is sitting in a circle at my parents' house on their living room floor, while the kiddos pass out presents to each family member.  The anticipation builds as we scrutinize each person's pile to see who has the most (that may just be me).  In an organized fashion, each person takes turns opening their pile, beginning with the youngest.  The longer they take admiring their gift the better!  It doesn't matter if the gift cost $10 or $100.  I just want to live in that moment when each one of us becomes 5 years old again, discovering what Christmas holds in store.  And most of the really wonderful gifts don't cost much.  They are perfect because the person giving them knows you so well.   
If you read my last post, you will know that I have had little to do with my three horridly sick family members this weekend.  So I'll tell ya what I did.  Surf the net!  Great use of my time.  Here are some things that I really love this Holiday Season.  


 I may be a relatively new Georgia transplant, but I have figured out by now that every Athens girl needs a pair of cowgirl boots.  Whether they are the real deal or a knock off, it does not matter.  A country girl just needs some boots.  These are Old Gringo's and they are the real deal.  They are beautifully made with bright, embroidered floral detail.  They are hand crafted artisan boots so they are pretty pricey.  They are a work of art and a great conversation piece!  I do realize that they are not a practical Christmas present, but I just love me some shoes.  I am notoriously cheap about them and will never buy them for myself.  I think that's why I get so ridiculously excited every year when my mom gives me a pair of shoes for my birthday.  She knows that they are an indulgence that I will never buy  for myself.  

I love these crazy, inappropriate Christmas cards!  I was introduced to this line of cards and screen printed goods by one of my favorite blogs, "Attack of the Redneck Mommy".  The company that makes them, Sweet Perversion, says things that we all secretly find hillarious but would never say in public.  I am dying to have these babies.  I especially love canvas tote that says, "My mustache brings all the boys to the yard."  Nice!  Perfect for PTA meetings.  
Warning: Do not read if you are easily offended!


Just looking at their chubby, little faces and those fat Pillsbury feet sends me down memory lane.   I actually went through a period of mourning when Santa stopped bringing me Barbies and Cabbage Patch dolls for Christmas and started bringing clothes and...luggage.  Yikes!  That's an adjustment. Now I finally get to enjoy cabbage patch dolls again!  That's one of the perks of having two daughters.  At the top of my list of things to do in Georgia is a visit with my girls to Babyland General, the nursery where Cabbage Patch babies are born and adopted in Cleveland, Ga.  I vividly remember going as a Kindergartner when we were living in Georgia; sheer joy!


This is my favorite gift of all for the Holiday Season!  It's an Embrace baby warmer and it saves thousands of premature babies' lives in the developing world every year.   Here's how it works!  At less than one percent of the cost, it works like an incubator, insulating the baby so that it allows baby to maintain his/her body temperature.  It is incredibly hard for premature babies to stay at a healthy temperature and when their little bodies are fighting so hard to stay warm, they don't develop properly.  It is estimated that these warmers can save millions in future health care costs and productivity in developing countries.  You can go to the website (featured on ABC's 20/20) and buy a $25 tribute card for someone you love to donate to the cause in their name.  

These are just a few of my favorite things for gift giving.  I didn't feel the need to state the obvious cards! What thirty something year old, I'm sorry, human being, does not drool over gift cards?  It's like, "Okay, you twisted my arm.  I guess I'll have to do a little shopping!" Love it.

What are your favorites for the Season?  Whether you've been naughty or nice, here's hoping somebody knows just what you need.  May the best gift of all be the laughter, stories, and hugs you share on Christmas.  Happy unwrapping! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Can I Get a Little Help Over Here?

Men make crappy their wives, that is.  Where children are concerned, hubby is a child rearing wizard.  No complaints there.  But throw a sick wife in the mix and forget about it! Before I continue let me add this disclaimer: I too suck at taking care of my spouse.  I think I just have no patience for someone else who needs me!  All day long it's "Mommy!" so when he gets home from work, I'm looking for a little team effort.  
I am readily admitting that I have no room to complain here.
But I will.
Most of us ladies would probably agree that our duties around the house don't change when we're sick.  I can't figure it out, do they just not SEE the mess or is it a contest to see who can outlast the other in the game of "How High Can This Pile of Dishes Get?!"  If it's a game, that's not cool.  Because he knows that my mother hen nature will inevitably kick in when the kitchen starts to smell.  So he wins every time!
And what about the rug rats?  Does he not HEAR them whooping it up on my bed when I'm about to toss my cookies?  Maybe he thinks I take my meals in the office too!  I shall make it a point to tell him otherwise.  
Why don't we speak up ladies?  I really hoped that I had married a mind reader.  It is not so.  Instead of decoding my dirty looks as I'm loudly doing the dishes, he just walks around shaking his head, saying, "What?!"
Let me start by giving you the rundown of our day.  I woke up and scrambled to get the kids ready for school.  I dropped Lulu off at Auntie Annie, my savior's house, so I that I could go home and clean my unwashed body for court.  Yes, court!  You see there was the matter of a disagreement about the speed limit on a certain highway a couple of months back.  As I am headed to court, I get a call from Savannah's teacher saying that she has a 102 degree temp.  Holy cow!  How'd that happen? I had just taken her temp an hour and a half early and she was normal.  Great...I get to be that mom.  The one who sends her sickly child to school b/c I either can't tell the difference or I just don't care.   Awesome!  
So Auntie comes to the rescue again and  picks up my kindergartner while I go to court.  After two hours of traffic court, I was pretty sure that I had the fever "crud" too.  I picked Savannah up at Auntie's house, drove to preschool, only to discover that Lilah too had the CRUD.  Mother of the year!  
The three of us sick ladies, came home, piled into bed with Fred (the dog) who is the sympathetic male in my house and slept for like three hours.  The next couple of hours are a blur.  There was moaning, wailing, trips to the bathroom, and prayers to Jesus.  Thank goodness for Tylenol.  
Let me leave you with some tiny bright spots after all this whining.  When we pulled into our driveway after preschool, there was an Elf on the Shelf to greet us; a Christmas miracle that sent the girls over the moon.  Auntie to the rescue AGAIN!  
And you've gotta love this.  While I was vegged out on the couch I looked at Savannah and said, "Why can't Daddy be here NOW?" She looked indignant and replied, "I know! Doesn't he know that you are not very tough?!"  
Later, I was shooing children out of my room, trying to explain that I was watching a rerun of "Pulp Fiction" which is NOT for kids.  Savannah nodded saying, "We can't watch this stuff.  It might teach us bad adult words like stupid, crazy, or OLD."  
If she only knew just how right she is!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Unexpected Gift

This year I got an unexpected birthday present.  Well, let's be honest, I got many. Let's see; relocation to Georgia? Check.  Shiny new job for my husband? Check.  Buying a house two miles from one of my favorite people in the whole world?  Check.  Church group that I adore?  Check.  Living within driving distance of my mom and dad?  Check.
I'm not gloating, I swear! It's just that you need to appreciate where I was a year ago; desperately unhappy, frightened for our future, and thinking that I might need to moonlight at Mickey Dee's just to pay the mortgage.  I was praying for a miracle. Then the Lord, in His goodness, gave us like twenty.  I would not trade one minute of the hardship our family endured for the last couple of years (my husband would disagree!) because it gave me such tremendous gratitude for God's provisions for my family and His faithfulness.
Enough of the Hallmark stuff.  I digress!  If you haven't already, meet Fred.  His is the sweet mug featured above.  About two months ago, I dragged my husband kicking and screaming to the Athens K-9 rescue adoption event at Pawtropolis.  I had been not so subtlely dropping hints (demands) for a K-9 friend.  Hubby hemmed and hawed but came to the adoption center.  And then it happened.  From across a crowded room, I saw that sweet furry face and it was puppy love at first sight.  Freddy's fur was longer, making his ears look especially droopy and he was very shy, shaking and whimpering next to his foster mom.  When asked what energy level I was looking for in a dog I literally said, "half-dead".  You see, my children were afraid of dogs and had little tolerance for jumping and moving in general.  Freddy seemed to be the perfect fit for our family.  I assumed that he was an old man b/c he looked so tired and haggard.  No one could understand my immediate connection to Freddy, but I knew he was meant for me.
Our family went home dogless and deadlocked in the debate over Freddy. Being a tiny bit sneaky, I filled out an online application for him, but out of guilt confessed that my husband was not 100% on board (to put it mildly).  Hubby appeased me by agreeing to revisit the subject after we sold our home in Chicago.  Disappointed, I put the idea out of my head and tried to behave like a 33 year old women.
You can imagine my surprise when one month later, I opened the front door and there was the adoption volunteer from the shelter with Freddy in her arms.  "Happy Birthday!" she shouted.  I knew one thing for certain in that moment.  My husband loves me selflessly and deeply.  What a guy!  He will be reaping the rewards of that decision for a LONG time.
Turns out Fred was no old man, but a puppy.  And as far as the "half dead" business...HA!  Freddy is a miniature schnauzer- need I say more?  Pretty damn energetic; like actually achieves levitation from the ground energetic.  But I am not complaining.  
Fred is now my fur baby. He is the furry son I never had; only better because he can't speak!  What is more unconditional and perfect than the love of a dog?  My mom voiced her doubts asking, "Do you really want one more thing to take care of?" Now, she freely admits that she was wrong.  It is such a relief at the end of a busy day, to curl up in bed with Fred, who wants nothing from me other than my affection, and enjoy the SILENCE.  He follows me around wherever I go and sleeps every night above my head on a stack of pillows.  I love everything about him...except the tootsie rolls he tries to swipe from the litter box.  I love his stinky doggy smell.  I love that his paws smell like popcorn.  I love his scruffy face, especially when he's got bedhead.  I love that he thinks I'm the coolest person he knows.  I love that he doesn't snap at the three year olds that pull on his beard.  And I love his sturdy, warm, little body.
So if you know my husband and you happen to see him, give him a pat on the back and let him know that his wife thinks he's the bee's knees.  And for the love of God, give me some ideas for his birthday! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Creature Comforts of Christmas

What are the creature comforts that you can not live without?  It has to be something or someone that makes you squeal (on the inside) and curl your toes in delight.  For me, it has always been Christmas in North Carolina.  From the time I was 6 weeks old, my Mom and Dad would load up the car, packed full of presents, suitcases, and a cooler full of soggy sandwiches to eat at a rest stop (we were nothing if not thrifty).  I could skip the soggy sandwiches, but I loved knowing that we were on our way to my Grandma's neck of the woods.  I even enjoyed the car ride.  By the time I was thirteen, I spent at least 50 percent of the time daydreaming about my potential suitors (HUGE selection!).  As a small child, I would unload my suitcase of Barbies and quietly act out dramas concerning  weddings, funerals, and my limited knowledge of romance as we sped down the highway.  
Once we arrived, my brother, cousins, and I would be released into the wild to play in the woods.  When that got old, I could always count on my cousin Jamie to hole up with me in a back bedroom for a Barbie marathon.  What could be better?  
I'll tell you what!! The food!  Oh, the food.  We could always count on a smorgasbord of southern comfort food; chicken and dumplings, casseroles galore, homemade biscuits and jams, collard greens, hand rolled sausage, chocolate cream pie, endless cakes and cookies, and last but not least, Mema's chex mix!  Is your mouth watering yet?  
 Besides the dinner table, my favorite place to be was visiting my aunts, uncles, and cousins for good food, great stories, and a present opening extravaganzaBoth sides of my mother's family were living in this tiny, country town.  I mean one gas station, one stoplight tiny!  We never veered from tradition; always spending Christmas Eve with the Greenes and Christmas morning with the Harris family.  If you could walk out of Aunt Judy's house without emphysema, it was worth it.  Because these genteel, tough, southern ladies that were my great aunts were expert story tellers, incredible cooks, and spoiled me rotten!  Great combination. The matriarch of the family was my great grandmother, Mama Harris, a gentle soul who lived to the ripe old age of 101.  
Today, the old traditions are gone, but not forgotten.  The location is different.  The food has a little less lard and sugar in it.  Most of the beloved great-aunts have gone on to glory.  But, the thrill is the same.  And you know what the best part is?  My children dream about their Christmas in North Carolina all year, just like I did.  They think they have it better than anyone else!  They think their Mema and Granddaddy's house is the most magical place on earth.  And so should every child at Christmas.  May there be magic in your Christmas, wherever you are!  

Savannah baking Christmas cookies with Aunt Delma and her Mema

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where are you, Christmas?

I found something that I lost today.  I lost it last January and it's been missing ever since.  With bated breath, I eagerly awaited its arrival the day after Thanksgiving.  To NO AVAIL! I asked myself, "Where art thou, Christmas?"  
No, I didn't.  
But, I did experience this nagging feeling of emptiness.  My holiday spirit did not rise to the occasion this November 25th.  To be fair (to Christmas spirit), it probably didn't help that we are spending our first holiday season in Georgia, where it is not uncommon to be wearing a t-shirt while decking the halls.  I don't miss much about the Midwest, but there is something comforting about the cold and snow that begins in November.  It is like an old, inconsiderate friend that rings in the holiday season. 
It got so bad, friends and family staged an intervention!  My mom and dad arrived with tinsel and ivy, lights and bows in tow.  They decorated my house while I stood by and nodded appreciatively.  My cousin Annie excitedly showed me her elf on the shelf that watches over misbehaving children and reports back to the North Pole.  Not even this perked my enthusiasm. I only listened to the Christmas round the clock radio at my kids' behest, but frankly, I was sick of the old holly, jolly stuff.  
Until...behold!  Christmas arrived just in the nick of time.  My daughter Savannah and I loaded up the car for some much needed mother/daughter time at my mom and dad's house.  My sweet husband stayed home with Lilah so that we could have some big girl time. 
At Nana's request, I played the only Christmas album I own, Mariah Carey's, "Merry Christmas".  As Mariah crooned "O Holy Night" and "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child" with her multi octave range, my heart melted.  I remembered why all the bells and whistles of the holiday felt empty to me.  I was missing Him.  It felt as if God whispered in a tiny voice, "Here I am.  I didn't go anywhere.  And I miss you."  Joy rushed through me and I fought the urge to throw my hands up as we flew down the highway.  Not a great idea at 65 miles an hour.  It also looks pretty nuts to other drivers. But the urge was there!
In the coming days, I will try to keep Christmas.  We will bake cookies, exchange presents, sing some of the classic hymns at bedtime, etc.  But above all else, I hope I can keep Him and the appreciation of His enormous gift with me.  The gift of God made man.  What parent doesn't cringe at the idea of bringing a baby into this hard world that will surely chew him up and spit him out?  God did it to save us and then watched Jesus die, knowing He could easily have saved His child.  That is a sacrifice I know I could not make.  But I can remember, and most importantly, offer my thanks.   


Friday, December 9, 2011

Hooked on Horror

It's confession time.  I have a vice and I think this is the perfect forum to get it off my chest.  It's not alcohol (not sure if I have ever finished a beer in under an hour).  It's not the cigarettes that I glumly parted with the night before my wedding.  And despite the image I chose for this post, it is not S and M.  I'm just not that interesting. 
Here goes: I am hooked on horror!! It was probably those scary films that I watched as a child, while hiding under my parent's bedside table to check up on them late at night.  My Dad has always been a bit of a connoisseur of scary movies.  But here's where we differ.  His taste runs more to the slasher genre.  You know the kind.  There's always a blond, buxom, 18 year old babysitter who insists on checking on the children, after hearing a suspicious noise upstairs.  Meanwhile, you are hurling things at the TV, shouting, "Screw the kids! Just get out of the house!"
No, I have always been a sucker for a good ghost story.  I will watch any movie that features a ghost.  Period.  It does not have to be well made and cheesiness is expected. In the past, Lifetime has supplied me with my fix of ghostly dramas.  As far as TV goes, the options were disappointing to say the least! I had to settle for reality series that follow a team of buffoons around with night vision, hoping to make contact with the beyond. 
So imagine my excitement when I saw a preview for FX's new fall drama, "American Horror Story".  My brother and I share this passion for ghostly entertainment, and he turned me on to this series.  Every Wednesday night I get a text from him that goes something like this.  "A new episode of AHS is coming, yo." 
As if I needed reminding!
Here is what I love about this series.  It's less about being scared stiff and more about the drama.  Even if you are like my husband, who sees EVERYTHING coming, I guarantee you a few surprises that will leave your jaw hanging.  My favorite character is Tate, the psychotic, disgruntled teen-aged ghost who is in love with Violet, the vulnerable, lovely girl who resides at his former residence.   Tate is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to plot twists.  My bro and I were trying to figure out what we like so much about him.   We agreed that Tate's attraction is his  lethal combination of psychosis and a tender heart.  Ha!
The drama is so good that I don't even mind that the living are having conversations with, being impregnated by, and being murdered by ghosts.  The fact that this is absurd does not even matter!  I often find myself rooting for the dead, who are actually less flawed and more fun than the living characters.  
If you are a fan of the macabre, (on TV that is)  check out "American Horror" on FX, Wednesday nights at 10pm. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

System Overload

We hate a lot of things right now!  We hate seat belts (they're tooooo tight). We hate wet cups.  We hate most foods (besides happy meals, of course).  We hate underwear, socks, jeans, jackets, and hair bows.  We hate the way things smell, especially food. We hate to be warm. Even if our little toes are about to fall off from frost bite, we take our shoes and socks off in the car. The list goes on and on.  And by "we" I mean Lilah Rose.  I know that hate is a strong word to use about underwear but trust me, she hates 'em.  After hours upon hours of driving with the radio turned up to drown out Linda Blair in the back seat (I can use this nick name because it used to be mine!), I can safely say that this is more than a three year old's temper tantrum.  The fact is, the car rides and the act of getting dressed are down right painful for my girl.  
I am starting the process of educating myself about sensory dysfunction.  Admittedly, even as a teacher, I know very little about it, other than the signs that it could be a problem.  While many of these symptoms fit my baby girl to a T, others could not be further from her personality.  So I will leave it up to the experts.  I have made an appointment to see someone whose education far exceeds mine, and will let her decide where we go from here.  Here's my thought process about this: I just don't want to make it worse.  Don't we often think this parents?  Somebody give me a freakin' handbook and tell me how not to break this child!  Lately, throughout my day, I find myself muttering, "Sweet Jesus, help me!"  And I'm not using the Lord's name in vain.  No, I just want Him to throw me a lifeline! I had to explain this to my five year old, Savannah, who has started dramatically throwing her hands up in the air saying, "Oh, my Lord!!"   Maybe I should tone it down a bit?
Either way, we made some progress this morning, thanks to the suggestions of the super mamas in my small group from church.  Instead of turning up the music this morning when the shrieking began, I quietly told Lilah, "Mommy is here and I'm sorry that you are hurting."  She quieted down slightly, still squirming, and grabbed my right hand. I drove one handed while my right hand stayed in hers.  Trust me, this is far less dangerous than driving while a three year old is screaming and kicking the back of your seat.  And that is what we will do until we can find a better plan.  So often, I cannot fix what is hurting my kids.  But, I can be still and bear witness to her discomfort.  A wise man once told me that he figured out the key to validating his wife when she is hurting.  "Sometimes you have to quit trying to fix it and just bear witness."  People need  someone to say, "I see you, I hear you."  So that is what I will do. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ugh! 3 Year Olds

I think this picture pretty much says it all. God tests my patience every day with Lilah Rose. He put this pint sized person in my life who is tougher than nails, hilarious, flawlessly polite to everyone but me and her Dad, sassy, and above all, my little snuggle bug. Every night around 2 am, I feel a warm little body creep into my bed and snuggle up next to me. My favorite part is feeling her hot breath on my cheek!
God also happened to make her a beautiful little girl. You may not be able to tell under the teenage camo, but she is a vision of brown eyed beauty. I have no doubt that He did this to save her life!! Lately, she has taken to screaming every time, I mean every time we get into the car. My husband commented that this is annoying but...manageable. Really?! I reminded hubby that it would be like him driving the 45 minutes to work every morning with some dude in the backseat screaming, "I don't like you anymore! What's that smell? My seat belt's toooo tight! Take me back to Chicago!" the entire time. I think he gets it now.
Here is what I have taken away from the morning madness: I owe my mother a big apology! Because God gave me a tiny copy of my moody self. My mother used to say, "When Katie is good, she's very, very, good and when she's naughty, she's very, very, naughty!" Ain't that the truth. So I have to trust that she too will come out of her childhood appreciating her mother and knowing how loved she is. Until the trying threes pass, I will grin and bare it. And turn up Grace Potter REALLY FREAKIN LOUD when behind the wheel!

And I'm Blogging...

I started journaling again today for the first time since we moved.  This time I am doing it on the laptop.  I mainly want it to be a record of our lives that I can share with our girls as they get older and have their own families.  My cousin Annie insisted that this Journal would be best served in the way of a Blog. So here I am. Hello Blogging World! I will start by sharing part of what I wrote today because it describes exactly how I feel about my home!