My beautiful Family

My beautiful Family

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Whatever happened to...

What ever happened to being a kid?  I ask this because when I think back to when I was between the ages of 12 and 18, I had fun.  Yeah I had my share of boyfriends, homework, grounding (don't even get me started on that one I have more than enough experience with that to last me 6 lifetimes), chores, babysitting, and not doing good in school...but I had so much fun, school dances, trick or treating, running around the neighborhood, sleeping over at friends houses, friends sleeping over at mine, more mom's than I knew what to do with (every one of my friends mom, was my mom too and didn't have a problem telling me that I needed to help with stuff around the house since I was there long enough to create the mess, and told me when It was time for me to go home, and my mom was their mom too, she had no problem telling them what they should and shouldn't do).

The reason I am blogging about this is because recently my 12 year old Taylor (and my 16 year old Haley did this last year and the year before) was telling me about the Halloween dance at school (when I was in middle school I so would have been the first person to buy my ticket), and how no one was going to go to the dance because it was "lame" COME ON PEOPLE!?  You are 12 and 13 years old!  What is wrong with dressing up in your costume and hanging out with your friends at a school dance?!  My friends and I went to every single dance (that I wasn't grounded for), we went to the awesome ones (ROTC Ball, Homecoming, Sadie Hawkins-my fav because it gave me another excuse to ask a guy out) and the not so awesome ones (can't even remember which ones weren't awesome, even if the theme wasn't that great, they all rocked).  Haley was telling me that she wasn't going to her prom because school dances are "lame"  Prom???  Really?????  Why can't kids just be kids and enjoy the time they have?  It took Haley 2 years to get to a point where she is involved in anything at school and only because we pushed her to join Key Club last year, and pushed her to join band halfway through school last year.  Now I hate that she missed out on so much fun in high school.  Now she is never home (not complaining because she is doing great things with her school and her education), finally after telling her for almost 2 years that high school was going to be the best 4 years of her life, she gets it.  Why can't kids just be kids?  Why can't they just have fun and enjoy going to school dances, just be silly and run around the block with their friends making crazy faces and jumping all over the place?  Why does everything have to be so serious?  What happened to kids?  Did we do this to them?  Did we make them want to grow up so fast?  Did we make them have to grow up so fast?  Why can't they just be 12?  Why can't they just be 8?  Why can't they just be 15 or 16?  Why can't they just play outside and ride a bike and dress up for halloween?  What happened to our kids??

Sunday, October 16, 2011

San Antonio...and grandpa

So this weekend we went to San Antonio, I love going to San Antonio!  I was born there, raised there until I was 11 and my family lives there.  If I had it my way, I would go visit like every single weekend.  We stayed at the Menger Hotel by the riverwalk (do a search, it is supposedly haunted, but I don't think so), I got to see my uncle who I haven't seen since I was like 13 or so, met my cousin or something that I hadn't met before (he is 3), took some great pictures, watched the Rangers win the game and clench going to the World Series for the 2nd straight year (GOOOOO RANGERS!!!!).  Ate waaaaaaaay to much (I don't think I want to see food again for another year), rode the boar on the riverwalk, took some old time pictures, hung out with my baby brother (even though he is almost a foot taller than me now), went to lunch with my grandma, did some electrical work, walked around downtown, laughed a whole lot and came home.

I finally made it to go see my grandpa.  I sure have missed him.  He isn't doing well, and I am glad I got to see him this weekend.  When I got to the nursing home on Saturday, he was coming down the hall in his wheelchair.  My heart caught in my chest, he looks so frail, so fragile.  Just a shell of the vibrant person he used to be.  This was the first time he has been out of bed in over 2 months.  He got out of bed because he knew I was coming to see him.  He was going down the hall looking for me.  He didn't want me to see him laying in bed.  You see, the last thing I said to him the last time I talked to him was that I was coming soon, that once he got out of the hospital and got to doing better I would be coming to see him.  Sure enough, he got out of the hospital a few weeks ago, and started doing better, so I kept my promise, and I went to see him.  My mom has been telling him for over a week that I was coming, and my cousin told him Friday night that I was coming Saturday morning, so he knew I was coming.

I had such a wonderful visit with him, so many memories were made.  He wasn't back to how he used to be, his voice is very quiet, and my mom and I had to pat him on the back to break up the fluid in his chest every once in a while to get a voice back, but he told me that he didn't have much time left, and he could feel it coming.  He got to see Sierra and Ella again.  They picked flowers for him and covered him with about 40 yellow and orange flowers and he even let Jimmy take pictures of him (something that he NEVER lets anyone do) I gave him a mini massage he showed me how he could move his fingers on his left hand (something he just started doing within the last few months (he hasn't been able to move anything on his left side since his second stroke over 5 years ago).  He was trying to tell me things that I couldn't understand because he has no voice and I couldn't hear him, but all in all we had a great visit.  We sat outisde in the beautiful fall weather and just enjoyed some much needed time together.  I know that Sierra and Ella are way to young to remember any of this, but my grandpa's day was made by them loving on him even though they really don't know who he is, by them showing his rolly polly's that they found with their cousin (that they had just met for the first time the previous day but were instant best friends).  We stayed for almost 2 hours, but they just flew by.  I could have stayed all day, but he was tired, it was a lot for him to handle since it was his first time out in a few months.  I have a hard time looking at him as a fragile shell of who he used to be.  I see him and just want him to start making donald duck voices again, or telling me about how it was when I was groing up and telling him he was my daddy and holding onto his leg, or when I was digging in the backyard when I was like 5 and I couldn't find anymore dirt, or remembering going to the apple carnival thing when I was 13 or so and he introduced me to Toby Keith music.  It's not easy to see my big strong grandpa who could defeat anyone and anything because he is all powerful, reduced to a shrivled old man (who isn't old), who needs someone to change his clothes, wipe his mouth, someone to move his hand and wheel him around so that he can get where he needs to go.  Someone who has to point at a board to tell you when he needs or wants something because you can't hear him because he can't speak above a muttered whisper.  But he is still the same person on the inside, trying to joke around and make faces.  Still wanting and needing his family to love him, needing people to talk to, someone to show that yes, they still care about him and he isn't forgotten.

That was probably the best, and worst part of my trip down there.  I will never forget the time I got to spend with him this weekend, and there never is enough time when it comes to someone you love.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Weekends are for a normal family, a time to relax, time to sit back and really do nothing.  Notice I said a normal family.  If I have ever given the impression that we are a normal family, I assure you, we are not.  Our weekends are hectic, they are crazy, they are loud, there is a lot of running around screaming like crazy people, there is a lot of kids screaming "she touched me, she won't quit singing in my ear, why doesn't she have to go to bed?"  The peace and quiet idea of weekends is lost on me.  Not that I really or truly mind, but sometimes it is nice.

This weekend was of no exception, we had our housefull (as we do quite often).  All 6 kids here, sugar flying, attitudes soaring, rain (thanks, couldn't have waited until during the week, lets rain on the weekend and keep everyone inside.  In reality, I loved it, but wished it would have rained before 1:00am so I could have sat outside and really enjoyed it, but that's ok), dogs barking and running around, growling because one of the kids won't stop picking them up (did I mention before we have 4 dogs, all of them small, 2 male sharpay/boxer mix puppies, 1 male chihuahua/min pin mix and one female purebred shi tzu puppy, she is the one who doesn't like to be picked up very much, the story of getting 4 dogs will be another story for another day), constant setting and clearning the table, neverending picking things up all over the house (don't even get me started on the bedrooms or laundry).  Our weekend was packed with football games, birthday parties, going to friends houses, work, ministering at the prison and before we knew it, Sunday night is here again.  All we can do is look back and say "wow, where did my weekend go?  What happened to the relaxing we were supposed to do?" 

Sunday, the day we are supposed to relax, never is the day it is supposed to be anymore.  Not that much got done today, food was cooked (heath bar pancakes for breakfast and some chicken pasta thing for dinner, lots of snacking in between), laundry was folded and put away (for the most part, there is still some in the middle of my living room floor that I am ignoring at this moment even though it is calling my name), kitchen was cleaned again, and again, and again.  But for the most part, today was relaxing in our own way, we watched a few movies, ran around the house chasing the girls around, gave the little ones baths (after the 3 year old decided that it would be more fun to wipe her poop all over the toilet seat than to throw the toilet paper in the trash), let them run around outside for a while to burn off energy, made cookies (yeah, smart to make cookies at 9:00 at night, not our most brilliant moment of the day, let me tell you), wrestled the little ones to bed in hopes the sugar crash would soon take hold of their over tired little bodies, which it did, a whole 20 minutes ago.  So I am sitting here on my laptop in the living room, Rebecca and Sam wanting to watch yet another movie to delay the bedtime that is coming enjoying the quiet time that is the few minutes I get between when Sierra and Ella go to sleep and when I finally unwind for the day.  A few minutes to really relax, have some "me" time.  And now, my "me" time has come to an end, my eyes are starting to droop and the morning is coming way to soon.  So good night for now, sweet dreams to all, and until next time :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grandpa...tell me 'bout the good old days...

Yes that is a Judd's song, my favorite of all time.  Not because it is catchy, not because they sing it really really good, not because of anything other than it is my grandpa and my song.  As far back as I can remember, I would always say "Grandpa" in that way when he would say something really silly like carrots (caruts is how he would say it, you see my grandpa is from England and that is how he talked and it was a running joke between us to get him to say carrots, bear and scrunchies, that was my favorite), and I would say "Grandpa" and he would always finish with "tell me 'bout the good old days" and not just say it, he would sing it to me, every single time.  Every time I talked to him on the phone, say him in person, that was our thing, no one else's.  I can't hear that song without thinking of my grandpa.

5 years ago, my grandpa had a stroke.  He was found on the floor in his bedroom by my aunt (great aunt, his sister) when he didn't show up to church on Sunday morning and he didn't call her or answer the phone when she tried to call him.  We found out later he had been laying on the floor for 24 hours before she found him.  The fire department couldn't get in to him right away because of the bars on his door and windows, but they finally got in.  I will always remember the phone call from my mom telling me he had a stroke, he was at the hospital and she was on her way to check on him.  He recovered from the stroke almost completely within a few weeks I think it was, and then he started having strokes again.  I think he had 6 or 7 of them total.  We were told he would never be back to himself again.  He would never walk again, he would never be able to be on his own again, might never eat again.  My grandpa wasn't my grandpa anymore, he was a shell of the person he used to be.  But he was still my grandpa.  It took him some time to get used to the fact that he was going to have to stay in a nursing home for the rest of his life, he went through depression, anxiety, hallucinations that someone was trying to kill him (he has no mobility or feeling in his right arm, and it would flop over him during the night and he thought it was a person), acceptance, back to depression, back to acceptance and so on.  It has been a roller coaster ride with him, but every time I go see him, I will always get him to say carrots, bear, and scrunchies (my absolute favorite because he says it skrungies) and I will always say "Grandpa" and he will say "tell me 'bout the good old days" even though you can't fully understand him.  He is always in good spirits, joking around, making everyone laugh even when he is hurting.  The last time I talked to him I told him that I was going to come see him, but he had to get out of the hospital first, and he said, "I did, but you didn't come so I came back!"  He was only out for a day, then had to be re-admitted for pneumonia again.  He has decided that there will be no more hospital trips for him, and he told the nurses that he is ready to die, he is tired, he has been fighting for a long time.  I can't say that I blame him, he can't even get out of bed anymore, I don't know if I would have lasted as long, but I am greedy, I want my grandpa, I need my grandpa.

I don't think I am fully ready for the day that he isn't here with us anymore, even typing that tears me apart, he has been more than a grandpa to me, he was a father when I didn't have one, a disciplinarian when I needed one, a protector when I didn't want one, and everything I needed when I didn't know I needed it.  I keep telling myself that I am ready, and I will be able to handle it when he goes, but I know I am not ready, I know I will handle it because God will never give me more than I can handle, but it won't be easy.  For as long as I live, there will be so many things that remind me of him, the name Billy (his "twin" brother that used to scare the daylights out of me as a kid), brown paper bags (he used to play with an invisable ball and catch it in the brown paper bag), Toby Keith (he introduced me to Toby Keith music and got me a cassette tape of his), McHammer (he used to make me mix tapes and send them to me all the time), potatoes, (his favorite food in the whole world), cheese (he HATES cheese and I always tease him that I will make him potatoes and he gets all excited, and then I tell him I will put lots and lots of cheese on it and he always says "gross!!!" and then we all crack up).  I know there will come a day where he will not be here, and when I go to San Antonio to visit my mom and grandma, I won't go to the nursing home to see him and it will be so weird, and I won't be asking her how grandpa is anymore and it will take a lot of getting used to because I talk to her almost every day and I always ask how he is doing and what is the lastest on him.  I know there will be a day that I hear that song on the radio and just burst into tears because he won't be there to say "tell me 'bout the good old days" anymore.  But I know that he will be better off, he won't be in that nursing home anymore, he won't be tired anymore, and he will be happy.  I will see him again someday when it happens, but for now, I will stick to calling him and mom translating our conversation and sending hugs and kisses (on the cheek always on the cheek becuase that is just the way he is) and cherish the time I have left with my wonderful grandpa, who will tell me 'bout the good old days

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Church and bedtime...

Well today was the first time in a while that we went to church.  Jimmy and I got up early, got ready and rode the bike to visit a local church.  We don't have a church home which will shock a lot of you, our church home is the prison, and our support group.  We have church wherever God leads us to have church at the time, if it is at our kitchen table, so be it, if it is a group on Tuesday nights, ok no problem, and it always always always happens at the prison on Fridays and the 2nd saturday of every single month without fail for the last 5 years.  So while we don't have a "Church home" we have many church homes that love us and welcome us and are excited to see us every week.  So anyway now that we have that out of the way, we went to church this morning and heard an amazing message about being on fire for the Lord, how to many churches are dying because they have become pew sitters by nature and think that they are serving by doing nothing.  That we need to get out there and do some footwork, how do we expect anyone to get saved if we aren't doing anything to show them what it is like to live as a person who is saved?  Are they just supposed to look at someone sitting in a chair about to fall asleep and think "Whoo-Hoo!!!  I so want some of what they have going on!!!!  Let me go ask them how I can do that too!"  NO!  You have to get out there and start showing people how blessed you are, post it on facebook, tweet about it, put it on myspace (if it is still out there, I have heard a rumor that it is), text about it, scream it from the rooftops.  Let everyone know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, he is the only way!  That a life with Him is so amazing and you don't know how you did it before you found Him.  How is anyone supposed to know if you don't tell them and show them the amazing gift you have been given?  Needless to say, this evening, Jimmy and I went out to pass out fliers about our ministry, to let people know about Him and what He is doing in our lives.  We knocked on doors for about 2 hours, handed out fliers, told them about what we were doing (scared one guy, I guess the biker vests were a little to much for him, he wouldn't open the glass screen door).  Some might show up at group this week, some might not.  Either way, we got the word out there and someone who's door we knocked on, God set that up, they needed to hear that there is something out there for them, someone who won't judge what they have done, who loves them for who they are.  There is a group of people out there meeting every week with piercings, tattoos, bikers, cowboys, old, young, some with bad tempers, some that are quiet, some that are loud, some that cuss then blush, some that cuss and then cuss again because they are sorry, but no one judges one another, we just love one another, and we would love to have them join our group if for nothing else, just to check it out (they almost always come back at least a few times, and some we just can't get rid of no matter what we do j/k we love all of our people).

So on to the other thing in the title of tonights post.  Bedtime, yes I know it is an odd combination, church and bedtime, but tonight God just opened my eyes to something huge!  I have said before that I am working on getting the girls to bed on their own, so far they have been doing really good, Ella the past couple of nights has been throwing fits when it comes time to make easy decisions for the night.  She does really good up until she has to decide which blanket she wants to use and if she wants it wrapped around her or if she just wants to be covered.  It is a major meltdown as if I have just told her that she will be wrapped up in fire ants or no chocolate for the rest of her life or something awful like that.  I ask her first which blanket and she just sits there and looks at me as if I am speaking Chinese or something, so I ask her again, "Ella, which blanket do you want to use tonight?  Poka dots or the red one?"  Last night she decided she was going to choose something that wasn't one of the two choices just to see if I was paying attention, and of course it would be the one that Sierra was using.  That ended up being a 10 minute tantrum.  So tonight I asked her 3 times, she just looked at me so I said, "ok, you think about it, I am going to go cover Sierra and I will be back to cover you (they are in toddler beds like 4 feet away from one another).  Meltdown 1 starts.  I ignore her, ask Sierra which blanket she wants, she wants her heart one, and she wants it around (which is always more fun because it comes with a snuggle and a bounce/throw onto the bed), hug, kiss, I love you's, sweet dreams and she is done (have I mentioned I love that kid).  Back to Ella, I ask her again which blanket she wants and she just melts down, bawling.  I calmly ask again, "Ella, you need to pick a blanket or I am going to have to pick for you because it is going to get really really cold in your room tonight."  Nothing.  So I tell her, "Ok, I am going to cover you with the red and the poka dot kiss and hug and I am going to go in the living room, I have some things I need to do"  so I cover her, she kicks the blanket off, I cover her again, she kicks it off again.  I cover her, hold it down long enough for me to kiss her on the head, hug her, tell her I love her and good night, out the door.  The child sounds as if she has become posessed!!!  Kicking and screaming, who is this kid and what has she done with my sweet Ella who loves to sit on the couch with me and rub my hair and tell me how much she loves me?!  So heartbroken I sit in the livingroom (right next to their room) and try to get lost in facebook (zombies, smurfs and sims), but I just can't get into it.  I wait a few minutes in hopes she will calm down and go back in, ask her again, "would you like to pick a blanket?  I will either cover you, or put it around and we can start over again."  Supernanny would have a FIT!!!  But it turns out all she needed was a few minutes to realize I meant business, if she was not going to pick, I would and I would make sure that she still got her hugs and kisses and her I love you's, but I was not going to mess around.  I guess she either learned Chinese or I started speaking English again because she picked the poka dot one, wanted it around and gave the biggest hugs and kisses and told me that she loved me.  My Ella Bella was back.

The reason I told the long verson was because this is how it was revealed to me.  We are Ella, or Sierra.  God tells us, you can either go this way and pick which one, I can love you through it, hug you, kiss you, tell you how much I love you and we can do it peacefully.  Or you can make the decision to choose the third thing, not what I intend for you to do.  But if you do this, it isn't going to go well, you are going to end up kicking and screaming and mad, throwing a fit like a 3 year old, but I will still try to help you make the right decision, still give you a hug and kiss and tell you that no matter how you act, I will always love you.  Once you decide that you have calmed down, you can come to me, and we will find a way to get you back where you need to be, back to the choices that I laid out before you, the ones that I am blessing for you.  We can either work together or against each other, but it is always easier to work together.

I was sitting on the couch after the last time I went in the room, when my Ella was back and I just had one of those ah-ha moments and it was like, "duh!  How have I never gotten that before?!"  Ever have one of those moments?  The ones where you can just hear God talking to you and telling you, "This is what I have been trying to get across to you."