Sunday, December 26, 2010

Go Play

Twas the day after Christmas, and in New Orleans,
My family and I awoke from sweet dreams.
A mommy, a daddy, a sister, two brothers,
All happy just to be with one another.

We had a great Christmas and I just want to say...
I hope you did too! Now I'm gonna go PLAY!!

Hee hee! Seriously. I officially have my own Wii character now. I'm gonna go play.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

It's Christmas Eve Eve. Tonight I am making a decision. I've decided to rise above the exhausted mommy fog, clear the no-sleep-for-over-a-year haze, shake off the mental and emotional cramps that come with juggling mommyhood, marriage, career, home, and life for an extended period of time. The Christmas Celebration at our house has officially begun.

All stress set aside, all duties can wait. All worries are on the back burner. Christmas is here, I'm off for the weekend, and my family and I are going to treasure every moment!!

Here we go!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Inclusion Illusion

I've been reflecting on my own need to be included. I've been thinking about this need and how it affects my self confidence, my ability to adapt socially, and most of all, the practice of my faith.

As I've mentioned, my husband and I have chosen to practice our faith in a very organic way, through a house church. This avenue works well for us, since we come from vastly different religious backgrounds. All our "traditions" are kind of stripped away, and we focus on the important things: you know... Jesus, Him being the Son of God, the Way, the Truth, the Life. That kind of stuff.

Anyway, by choosing to practice my faith outside the traditional church building, (notice I did NOT say outside the church), I'm left without something I had no idea I had relied so heavily upon: The approval of men. I don't mean men in general. I mean people who run the traditional church building. I had, I now know, become very accustomed to hearing, perceiving, and basking in the approval and/or praise of other church members, especially leaders. I relied upon this approval and the myriad of duties and responsibilities that came along with it in order to feel "included." Thus, being passed over for a leadership opportunity, even one I didn't have time for, or being frowned upon for a personal decision meant I was not included, or at least not AS included as I could or should have been. This translated into hurt feelings, lower self esteem, and even envy of those who had more "inclusion" than I, even though their lives were less "fit" by most standards.

I've been pondering a great deal on the idea that meeting my need for inclusion this way has perhaps paralyzed me spiritually. I wouldn't call myself a spiritual invalid. Not by any means. But I have to wonder if looking to the church leaders for inclusion has numbed me in some places. I have to wonder if a great deal of church members are paralyzed in a similar way.

It occurs to me that looking to a human to place a stamp of approval upon my life and my spiritual maturity as he or she perceives it, is a bit of a slap in Jesus' face. He paid such a high, high price to declare me INCLUDED in his family once and for all. He gave his life so that I could have God's approval. Why then, do I need the approval of other humans in addition to the glorious gift He gave me?

Why have I wasted my time trying to earn the favor of church leaders, especially even after becoming very acquainted with the corruptness of such leaders? Why have I looked to another human to tell me what God wants me to do? Why have I allowed other people to make up rules that limit God's ability to work in me and with me? Where might I be now if I had spent as much time exploring what GOD truly made me to be and do rather than worrying about if I were in my proper place according to the opinion of church leaders? I don't mean where, as in perhaps I would be more "accomplished." Since I also am sickened at the time I spent trying to "move up" in the circles of a denomination, when most of such movement is based solely on politics. I mean where, as in would I be closer to God had I simply learned to cling to Him alone?

I return again to a thought. A truth, really. God Himself, through His only Son, Jesus, declared me INCLUDED. He declared me precious, worthy, righteous, and one of His very own children. I AM included. Now and forever. This is the truth I will teach to our children, and pass along to those He brings my way. Goodbye to days of stunted spiritual growth due to restraints placed upon me by the ideas of men. Hello to days of letting God lead me and show me. I no longer need the illusion of inclusion. I have the real deal, straight from God.

Guess what?? YOU DO TOO!!!

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Letter to my TEENAGER

Dear Teenager,

I can't believe you are thirteen years old. We both sure have come a long way! Just 21 when you were born, I gotta tell you, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. You were my first baby, and now you are my first teenager. And guess what... I'm still not sure I know what I'm doing.

I know I've messed up on some things. I wish I had let you believe in Santa. I wish I had been a little more fun and a little less worried about getting everything right. I wish things with me and your dad hadn't meant you had to deal with grown-up stuff sooner than you should have. I wish we hadn't had to move so many times and I could have given you a childhood home to always remember.

But there are some things I'm happy about. Remember when we had "the talk?" You wer SOOOOO embarrassed and so was I, but we did it! It was the first of many embarrassing talks for us both, but we're still talkin'! Remember when you first saw your baby brother Levi? We got you a baby boy doll and you and I took care of our "babies" together. I remember one time you were in a musical at church. You came down the aisle with the rest of the kids and you were so happy and excited. I realized then that seeing you happy is just about the most amazing experience I get to have. Remember homemade waffles on Saturday mornings? Remember playing in the rain on Upstream Street and splashing like crazy in the puddles? Remember "Soap skating?" Remember when you had to be in the hospital? I would have given anything to get you better. Remember your second grade year that we homeschooled? I loved all our fun field trips, and getting to teach you myself. Remember how we had to get through Hurricane Katrina together? Remember "WINN DIXIE!!!"?? I love hearing you laugh. I'm glad we spent time with your Granny Great, and even though you might not remember it all, you got to know her and she got to know you.

You were the most beautiful baby in the world. You were the most adorable little girl ever. Your smile and your laugh could keep me going for days. When you were born I was scared to death. I had this little person and any mistake I made might hurt her for life!! I didn't want to make ANY mistakes.

We were inseparable for the first couple of years of your life. We did just about everything and went just about everywhere together. I wanted so much to be a good mommy. These days you are almost as tall as me. We don't shop in the children's department anymore, and your bedroom door is closed more often than it's open. Some days I'm scared that there are some things you may never learn if I haven't taught them to you by now. Some days I'm scared that since I DO make some mistakes you might be hurt forever.

Then I realize that you are becoming a wonderful young lady in spite of my mess-ups. You are an amazing person because GOD made you that way,and my silly mistakes can't undo HIS great work in you. I'm SO proud of who you are, and so excited about who you will be.

I used to rock you to sleep every night, but can't rock you anymore. I'm rocking your baby brother, Caleb, while you are texting or talking on your phone in your room. I'm learning to be a more grown-up mom to a more grown-up girl. We still have a long way to go together and I know we might have some tough times ahead. But we'll get through that too, just like the tough times we've put behind us.

You were my "Christmas present from God." You still are. You always will be.

Happy Birthday, my Mackenzie!!


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Eatin' Healthy

It's official. The kids and I decided on the way to school this morning. Here's how it went down:

Me: (Handing the kids their on-the-run breakfast of chocolate muffins) "It's not exactly a nutritious breakfast, but it IS a delicious one!"

Kids: Yeah!

Levi: Wellllll... I think chocolate is healthy. I mean it has milk in it, right?

Mackenzie: Yeah, and it comes from a plant.

Me: Well you're right. Chocolate's practically a VEGETABLE!!!

We all laughed like crazy and it was unanimous! Eatin' chocolate IS eatin' healthy!!

Any kid of mine has a sweet tooth inherited directly from me. And now that chocolate is a healthy food... well...

Hee hee! Maybe I won't get mother of the year for this morning's breakfast, but it was SO worth the moment of crazy laughter with my awesome children. Even my little one-toothed guy was giggling! I'll be treasuring that moment all day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I have a few quiet moments this morning. The last few, I'm sure, until after Thanksgiving festivities and the trip to pick up my big kids.

It occurs to me that Thanksgiving is the perfect kickoff to the holiday season. Who is there to thank but God? The day of thanksgiving to Him kind of calls my attention to His work in my life and begins a time of reflection upon what He has done for us all by sending His son, the birth we celebrate at Christmas.

So this year, I'm determined to see Thanksgiving as simply the beginning of a season of celebrating God's blessings to me. Our Thanksgiving day will be full of commotion, food, laughter, noise, and fun...and of course Saints football. And I will celebrate the way God has lavished me with wonderful people, beautiful babies, happy moments, an amazing family, and so much more. I'll kick it off on Thanksgiving day with a bang and continue to celebrate throughout the holidays.

I have so much joy, how can it all be properly celebrated in one day alone, or even two? It deserves a month or more, and so it will be.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Letting Go

After a lot of thought and consideration, the choice was made to open my hands and open my heart and let it go. As of now, I no longer play keys at Riverside. I've learned so much there. I've learned that real love is possible, grace is for all of us, and that sometimes God's people DO come through. I've also learned that sometimes it's just plain time to let go. I'm learning that sometimes it's just plain ok to let go and walk away, regardless of what people think or whether the true situation will come to light or whether everyone will know my side of the story. Not always, mind you. There are times and places to stand firm no matter what may come. But there are times when the best thing for all involved is to release things before they become a total heartbreak. I let go of wanting everyone to think I'm right.

I let go of something today. It's something that was once precious to me, and I've long wrestled with the guilt of not enjoying it as much as I once did. I've long wondered what's wrong with me and what to do about it. It's grown into one big sticky emotional tangle in my life. And today I let it go. No more trying to untangle the strings. No more trying to make myself fit in a place where I don't fit anymore. I let go of my need to fit in.

I had a LOT to say about it. I had plenty of feelings to express. I wrote them in a long email and then deleted the whole thing. I realized that voicing my feelings would not bring a result and it would be more painful to communicate those feelings and then realize... nobody cared, than it would be to leave them unsaid. So I let go of what I had to say. And it's interesting how those negative feelings didn't really see the need to stick around once I let go of them.

And so I say only a fond farewell to my Riverside family. To those of you who know me, you know it's also a farewell to the last bit of a tattered and torn security blanket of all I once knew and believed about following God. I let go of my need for other people to approve of the way I worship. Perhaps now I'm ready to really worship for the first time in a long time.

Now I'm following God to entirely new places and it's good. He's taking me even further out to the edge, and, breathing freer and moving faster due to my lighter load, I'm ready.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All His

This is my Father's World
Oh let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet.

Sometimes the wrong does indeed seem so very strong. Sometimes it's easy to get so irritated by the inconsiderate people in life, especially ones I feel should know better. Sometimes it's easy to focus on the disappointments, the heartbreaks, the stresses in life. Sometimes I forget whose world this really is after all.

It's my Father's world. It's His. It' doesn't belong to the people who hurt me. It doesn't belong to the rat race and its delirium. It doesn't belong to the tragedies, the evils, the stressors. It belongs to the One who loves me and my family and gave His life to buy my freedom. It belongs to my Father... it's all His and He's going to have the final say.

That's a peaceful thought in the middle of my crazy life. Wanted to share it with you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

It's Veteran's Day, a special day at St. Francis Villa Assisted Living. It always makes me kind of emotional to think of it. I spend each day in the company of several veterans of World War II, a brave group of individuals, living historians who are fast disappearing from our country.

I wrote a little diddy for our ceremony today and thought I'd share it here too...

Hope you enjoy it, and find time to honor a veteran today.

On Veteran’s day we pause a while to think of those who died
We honor those who worked so hard, our freedom to provide
We tell the stories once again of soldiers brave and true
We think of those they left at home, the trials they went through

In times like these our hearts are heavy with the loss we feel
But then in spite of heaviness, hope rises true and real
We celebrate the courage had that no war could destroy
Each time we throw back our heads and laugh with freedom’s joy

Our very way of life each day gives merit to the fact
That our soldiers are the ones who keep our freedom here intact.
We pray, we vote, we work our jobs, we stand up for our rights
All because of work well done by those who had to fight.

In sounds of children laughing, even shouts of strong debate
We hear echoes of freedom soldiers gave all to create.
So out of sadness we will rise to celebrate and live
Lives that treasure freedom that our soldiers died to give.

By Rebecca Jeffries-Hyman

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Re-groups and Rewards

OK, so I couldn't let the Devil's Jukebox be the last word. Not that I've sorted it all out or anything. I have come to one small conclusion. I see my over-obsessing drive for perfection as just one more flaw and obstacle to overcome in my quest for perfection. Wanting too much to be perfect is something else to work on that keeps me from being perfect.

Is that sick or what?

Other than that, I've simply had to table this. Some tangled emotional messes just can't be untangled all at once. Sometimes like a jigsaw puzzle, you just have to come back to it later and you'll see it differently and maybe find a piece that fits.

So in the meantime...

My big boy is EIGHT! Can you believe it?? We had a marvelous time at Chuck E Cheese after all. Levi continues to be an absolute joy to be around. He's INEFFABLE in his charm, his wit, and his zest for life. I love that kid. One of my favorite glimpses into his heart as of late:

Levi (in the car on the way to Chic Fil A for lunch on Saturday): "What's Caleb gonna eat there?"
Me: "Well, I brought him some baby food."
Levi: "What if he's still hungry and wants something else?"
Me: "Well, I guess I could find a little something there he could eat. Maybe they'll have applesauce or something."
Levi: "Mom, when YOU eat does it make more milk?" (taps me on the arm to make sure I know he's talking about my body's milk making processes)
Me: "Ummm Yes, when I eat, my body uses the vitamins to make the milk for Caleb."
Levi: "So maybe you could go and get charged up on the chicken and then if he's still hungry you can feed him some milk."

And that settles that. I did indeed get charged up on the chicken by the way!

Can't stay down for long when God has blessed me in this way. If children are a reward from Him, then He has chosen to reward me indeed.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Devil's Jukebox

I have a nail in my tire. The front passenger side. Don't know where I picked it up, but it's glaring and obvious, it even has a green circle-ey thing around the head of the nail. So I'm riding around with a green circle nailed into my tire.

This morning I sent my son to school without his book report. Again. It was due Friday and he and I completed it and left it on the table where it remained as we departed for school Friday morning. This morning I did it again, left it right there waiting to be placed in a backpack and turned in. What is wrong with me?

This morning I also fed my kids bananas and Little Debbie cakes for breakfast. In the car. We were running late, no time even for cereal. I only had one granola bar, but I had three bananas and two Little Debbie cakes. And bottled water. I did make them eat the bananas first.

My baby slept nearly two hours past his wake up time on Sunday morning. Instead of relishing the extra sleep, I stressed about what could be going wrong to make him sleep so much. He's overdue for immunizations and could be contracting some dread disease. So when am I going to take off work and take him in for shots?

My big boy's birthday is tomorrow. I have cupcakes ready for his class, but I never called his teacher to tell her. I hope she lets them have the cupcakes. I attempted the call several times, only to be thwarted by some urgent thing or another. So the call never got completed. He's going to be eight. I haven't planned a big party with cute invitations and treat bags of junk for all his friends. I never can seem to pull that off. It's just going to be us and Chuck E Cheese. He really wants Chuck E Cheese and since there are no treat bags and friends for a party, Chuck E will have to do the job. I'm not going to think about the mom who gave out hand made halloween themed burp cloths to everyone at the daycare. But I bet she'd have treat bags of junk and 20 kids at the party.

I printed a newsletter at work. I went against my gut and my better judgement and chose the cheaper company to print it. And I hate how it looks. It's well written but looks terrible. Why didn't I listen to my instinct and go with the other company? I saved a hundred bucks but my newsletter looks crappy.

I have only one bottle of milk for the baby for tomorrow. I can't seem to figure out the right amount of milk and right pumping schedule to be able to keep extra milk on hand. I try to pump at night but for some reason my body refuses to let the milk go. And mostly I'm too tired.

Plus I have a nail in my tire. Did I tell you about that? I'm driving three kids around in a car with a nail in the tire.

This blog is horrible and terribly negative. You are probably alarmed at its tone. I like to think I'm an upbeat person, generally happy, with a positive outlook. Yet the preceding litany of condemnation is precisely the way I speak to myself. It's the playlist in my head. The devil's jukebox selections and he never seems to run out of quarters.

I have to wonder if my constant barrage of self inflicted condemnation has an effect on my mood. Ya THINK? But how do I stop? The bottom line is, I want to be better. I want to host cool, fun birthdays for my kids. I want to feed them nutritious breakfasts, hot ones, with time to digest before we lurch toward school. I want more milk than Kleinpeter Dairy, and I feel like if I fed my baby better (more milk?) maybe he would be... what? Bigger? fatter? healthier? He's healthy and happy, just like my other two are. See, I don't even know what I want. But I still can't let myself off the hook. I just said I want to be better, but the truth is, I have an unrealistic desire to be PERFECT.

Maybe every mom has it, maybe I'm one of the few, the proud, the insane enough to admit it. Or maybe I just have issues with perfectionism. I don't know and even this moment I resist the urge to resolve this post with a happy little ending, all tied in a bow. I don't know what to do, and I'm tired of wearing myself out. I desperately want to let it all go, but have no idea how to let it all go without... well, letting it all go, if you know what I mean.

Somebody pray for me. My joy is buried somewhere in this pile of thoughts and worries. Tomorrow's a new day, and will bring new mercies, I know. But tonight is looking like sack cloth and ashes.

And there's a nail in my tire.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Listen up, World!

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I've disappeared. I've fallen into the black hole of working, breastfeeding, rocking, diapering, parenting, and running around trying to accomplish it all. You're thinking I'm a casualty of life and its stressors.

But I'm STILL HERE! Somewhere underneath the woman you can see who is trying to pay the bills, keep the house, love the husband, teach the kids, feed the baby, and make it from one day to the next... Somewhere behind my bleary, sleep deprived eyes and underneath my way overdue for a haircut hair... Somewhere underneath the clothes that aren't quite the size I wore before I got pregnant... Somewhere buried under the to-do lists...

I'm still here. I still think deeply and dream big. I still love passionately and live creatively. I still have a mind that wants to learn and a heart that wants to save the world.

It might seem like I've gone away but I'm still here somewhere. So don't forget me because when you least expect it, I'll be back. Back and better than ever. I'll have a stroke of brilliance in one of those quiet moments I spend hooked up to a breast pump. Or I'll write a beautiful piece one evening after the family is sleeping peacefully. Or I'll invent an idea one day sitting at my desk or standing at the sink. And all those seemingly meaningless tasks, those moments of the mundane that everyone thinks are wasted, those late night crying jags, those angry moments, those breathless times wondering if it'll all work out, those questions that make everyone uncomfortable except for God... those won't be wasted. They'll be part of me becoming something more than I thought I could be.

I'm still here. So don't count me out just yet.... ok?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Veggie Soup

It's been way too long since I've written and I'm bursting at the mental and emotional seams. I'm gonna dive right in...

This week in Origins, we studied in Colossians 3 about how God wants us to live in our families. Greg included the statement that the place where our faith should go to work is in our homes and families. I think for most people, the greatest source of joy and pain in life is the family and I'm no different. The ones we love the most have the power to hurt us the most but also have the ability to bring us the most happiness.

As we spent the week studying and discussing how wives and husbands, children and parents should relate to one another, I enjoyed reflecting on what God is teaching me through my husband and my children. My awesome husband is a chef, and does most of the cooking at home. However, this week he had a little surgery and as he recovered, I of course took over the food prep. I decided to make vegetable soup.

Veggie soup, you must know, is one of Mackenzie and Levi's favorite dishes. Mine too. Dwayne can put together a veggie soup that can make you feel on top of the world. He's gotten me through a few colds with that yummy stuff. It's a beefy, hearty, spicy soup that is SO hard to put down. He had frozen part of the last batch he made and so I grabbed it, thinking I could quickly turn it into a good dinner for all of us. There was only about half as much as we would need, so I started by throwing some onions in the bottom of the pot. Then I added some more veggies and a couple of cans of tomatoes. See, my Granny made a tomato based veggie soup that was absolutely amazing. As I've mimicked her recipe in the past, the kids have learned to adore it. I stood there stirring the half-Dwayne-half-Rebecca veggie soup and had to smile.

This is just like our family. We're blended. Some spicy, some hearty... a little straightforward southern and a little crazy cajun. I set the soup down in front of everybody and it disappeared in no time. His recipe and mine blended together to make the best soup yet. The combination of the two becoming much more than either of them could be on their own... something unique and wonderful.

There is no cook book with a recipe for that soup. I may never be able to duplicate it again. And that, too, is just like us. We're going full speed ahead. Our days are filled with learning how to love each other as a husband and wife, talking boys with a twelve-going-on-twenty year old girl, soothing the frustrations caused to a little boy by second grade math, trying to make enough breast milk for a six month old, and juggling the bills to try to pay for it all. Some days we drop in bed too exhausted to say goodnight. But in all our crazy running, all the crying and trying, laughing and working, we are becoming something delicious. Something one-of-a-kind and wonderful.

I love the soup that I'm in. I love the intensity in my husband's eyes, the laughter of my children, even the months on end without a full night's sleep. I love the crazy wonder of trying to live life following God, and the adventure of following Him together. Neither of us are sure what God is up to, but we know He's working in our lives. I love what He's making of our family, of our marriage, of me. It's not always easy, but I don't have to go far to experience God and what He's teaching me. It's right here at home, right here in my family, and following Him in life means trusting Him to create just the right recipe with me and the ones I love.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Just for fun, and because I can't sleep...

Lately I've noticed a rash of ridiculous signs. You know, papers posted up with warnings or requests of various kinds. They make me laugh.

In a French quarter jewelry store: "PLEASE DO NOT TRY ON THE TOE RINGS."

Just picture it. Somebody walks in a jewelry store after walking around the quarter for a while. Probably wearing sandals. They spot a toe ring. "Mmmmm.... I like this. Wonder if it'll look good on me." Then they proceed to try to balance on one foot while they figure out which toe...

In a beauty salon restroom: "PLEASE DO NOT SLAM THE TOILET SEAT DOWN."

OK... most of the clientele in salons are women. Have they been lifting the seat? Is this sign for the men? Who is disturbed by the seat slamming? Is there a certain individual seat slammer, and the sign has been posted as if seat slamming were a chronic problem, but in reality is a way to get across a message without directly confronting the habitual slammer? I must admit, it's a conversation I'd dread. "Hey, listen... can you do something about the toilet seat? I mean the way you slam it down... it just really... I'm not trying to hurt your feelings or anything... just could you please not slam it down? I mean, the slamming noise... it's so... slammy."

On a potted plant outside a place of business on Carrollton: "PLEASE DO NOT SIT ON PLANTS."

Wouldn't your butt get dirty from the potting soil? Wouldn't you be afraid of squishing the leaves? Are there plant sitters out there just waiting for me to put a potted plant out? Is my hydrangea in danger out there in front of the house?

I have to wonder... are these signs effective? Has there been a drastic reduction in toe ring fittings, toilet seat slamming, and plant sitting? I mean, if they work, then why am I not using signs?? If horrible behaviors such as plant sitting could be stopped, just think what misery I could end by posting a sign.


or how about


or maybe


OH! Here's one:


A girl can dream, can't she?? :) Anyway, the sign idea and it's absurdity has been a fun source of entertainment for my brain tonight. I really, really should be sleeping. Here's one more sign:

"SHHHHH!! Mommy sleeping!! DO NOT DISTURB!"

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

At Least Milk

Motherhood certainly has its um... adventurous moments. Tonight I had just such a moment at band rehearsal. Riverside Church, where I play keys, has a sweet new music director. He started just a week or so after Caleb was born. This evening he and I were having a conversation regarding a song for Sunday. I was sitting there calmly discussing a nuance of the music when...

My milk let down.

EVERY mother who has ever nursed a baby just cracked up. And I'm not even to the good part yet. For everyone who has NOT nursed a baby, the "let down" is a reflex in a nursing mother's body that causes milk to be pretty much forced out. It usually happens when the baby is nursing, but sometimes can be triggered by other things, like too much time away from the baby, a thought of the baby or another crying baby. It's a very cool thing God built into a female in order to ensure proper nourishment for her infants. It is not, however, all that cool to experience letdown when one is not nursing, but is in conversation with a new music director, or any other person for that matter.

So the milk let down without warning, and suddenly, midsentence, I feel the drips. That's right. Drips. I look down and sure enough, white drops were coming through my shirt and splashing onto my lap. It looked as if... well... as if there was milk coming out of me, dripping through my shirt and onto my lap. It didn't help to have a black shirt on, which effectively highlighted the white substance dripping off of me.

Uh... WHAT do you say at a time like this??? Do I excuse myself? Do I attempt to make an explanation? Do we both sit there and act like nothing's happening?

I managed a "Oops, I'm dripping. Sorry." and quickly crossed my arms, hoping to slow the flow if you know what I mean. I have no clue if new music guy caught what I said or even noticed what happened. Part of me dares to dream he didn't notice. Part of me knows he probably did and is probably embarrassed to pieces. I mean, I really don't know this guy too well. He seems like an easygoing sort, so hopefully he wasn't too mortified. Most likely he'll snicker through the next few services and rehearsals, as will I. Nothing like gettin' to know somebody, huh??

It was one of those absurd moments in life. One of those times you never could have dreamed or made up on your own. A moment when you MUST laugh... or else cry. Perhaps a moment that makes life a little sillier and reminds me that all of us, regardless of how hard we try to be dignified, drip from time to time.

Ah well... welcome to Riverside, new music guy. May your voice be louder, your guitar strings always in tune. Bet you didn't know it was the land of milk and honey. Or well... at least milk.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gifts and Friends and Falls

Friendship 911:

Me: "Can I come by for like, 5 minutes?"
Janet: "Only if you don't care that I'm in my nightgown and haven't had a shower."
Me: "That's ok. I'm coming by to take my pants off anyway."
Janet: (Knowing she'll get the whole story when I get there) "Ok."

This emergency phone call was placed by me yesterday after an unfortunate incident in the Winn Dixie parking lot just down the street from Janet's house. I had dropped off the kids at school, then stopped by work with a hungry baby to feed him in Dwayne's office before I ran some more errands. I got caught at work in a thunderstorm, but waited it out, determined to get some things done. So, I FINALLY headed off to the Winn Dixie with freshly fed, sleeping baby in the car.

I parked strategically in the side of the parking lot by the exit doors and proceeded to get the baby out. Upon stepping up to the rear passenger door, I noticed a large pothole under the car. (If you live in New Orleans, you know that potholes are a way of life here.) "Better not step in that" I thought to myself. So I leaned precariously over it and picked up the car seat with still sleeping baby inside. I stepped back, however the curb that was behind me evidently had issues with being stepped on. It tripped me. In what seemed to be slow motion I fought against the inevitable backward fall, but was unsuccessful. I fell backward right on my behind. (Thankfully on my freshly unpregnant but still carrying extra cushion behind) Car seat with still sleeping baby fell too, right on top of me, I'm grateful to say.

Now on a dry day in New orleans, sitting on the ground will give you a wet rear end. If you recall the above mentioned thunderstorm, however, then you can imagine how wet and muddy my behind was as a result of my plop onto the grassy curb. A kindly older gentleman witnessed my mishap and came running over to help me up. He assisted me back to my feet and I smiled bravely to assure him he could go his merry way. Then I put car seat with the still sleeping baby back into the car and, hands shaking, got back into the drivers seat. My first plan was to go home. But then my inner rebel kicked in and completely refused to be defeated. I was NOT going to go all the way home, change, and start over. Neither could I enter WinnDixie in my current state.

This brings me to the phone call referenced above. A plan had begun to form in my mind. Janet lives right down the street. Now Janet is one of those friends who has seen many of my worst moments. She's just plain real and just plain there for me. She is one of few that has withheld judgement from me and simply been a friend. You can't surprise her and you can't shock her. So I knew it would be nothing to call her and ask to come over and strip off my pants. Actually, I've been blessed with an unusually high number of this kind of friend in my life. Perhaps God knew how much help and understanding I would need. For whatever reason, He has chosen to give me the gift of amazing friends, and has provided them wherever I've gone. Some from childhood (that's you, C!) and some from college, some from churches here and there, and some my mother bore herself!!

So I proceeded to Janet's where she came up with an ingenious plan of her own. I stood in the bathroom doorway while she blow-dried my butt. I didn't even have to take off the pants. She sent me out the door in decent enough shape so still sleeping baby and I could accomplish our desperately needed grocery run.

I didn't know until the next day when two huge bruises appeared and some stiffness was felt, that I had had a fairly serious fall. It's kinda like life. Here's something I have learned: I can't and neither do I want to, spend this life doing it all on my own. Sometimes I don't know how bad it is until the shock wears off. Sometimes I need help, sometimes I need advice, sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes I need someone to blow dry my butt. Today, especially as I'm entering a new phase in life and trying to make hard decisions I'm exceedingly grateful for those angels God has given me, and grateful for the opportunities I've had to be an angel for someone else. So many thanks to those of you who have been and are there for me. Thanks for letting me call and cry. Thanks for being mad when somebody hurts me. Thanks for loving my kids. Thanks for cheering when I have a success. Thanks for not cheering when you were right and I wasn't. You are one of my most precious gifts. If you're ever in New Orleans and need someone to blow dry your butt... just call.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Birth

In the tradition of all new mothers who want and need to tell their war stories, and to preserve it while I can still remember vividly... here's the story of Caleb's birth...

February 11, we had a doctor's appointment in the morning. We waltzed in at 9:30 and I had only the smallest glimmer of hope that the doctor might say it was time and we could go ahead and deliver. I even skipped my lovenox injection that morning, hoping against hope, having had enough of heartburn, backache, and that feeling of your hips about to fall apart completely. And sure enough... ultrasound wand in hand, my fairy godmother of a perinatologist said "Not enough fluid. Time to take baby today." I looked at Dwayne and gave him the thumbs up. He freaked.

So while they called my OB, we started on the call list, letting everyone know it was time, and setting the plan in motion. We finally got settled in a Labor and Delivery suite and by around 2:00 pm, out came the pitocin. Dreaded drug of every mother who has experienced it's excruciation. (Is that a word? Is now, I guess!!) I had decided if I ended up needing pitocin that I was going to opt for an epidural. So the nurse sent for anesthesia. No dice. Evidently epidurals can't be administered until 24 hours after a lovenox injection at the risk of paralysis. Unfortunately the pitocin was dripping into my IV already and labor had begun. It wasn't so bad.... yet. But I was scared out of my mind. Laboring on pitocin with no pain relief was NOT in my plan.
I set myself a goal to hang in there until 9:30pm, my 24 hour mark, so I could get that epidural. Ha. Ha ha ha. Around about 5:00 or so, things started to intensify. The kids had all been hanging out in the room with me and I was tolerating contractions really well, but at this point it was getting intense and I wasn't sure I wanted my little ones (or big ones) to see me that way. They went to grab some food and while they were gone, Dwayne helped me to the bathroom. Something about standing up made things shift into overdrive. I had a couple of contractions on that bathroom trip that nearly had me on the floor. Thank goodness my man can hold me up!

He got the nurse and she checked dilation. 8 centimeters. At this point I'm squeezing the crap out of Dwayne's hand and the tears are starting. The nurse offered me Stadol, saying it would take the edge off and would only last about an hour or so. I agreed, thinking it would get me through to 9:30. Ha. Ha ha ha.

So in goes the Stadol through the IV and while the nurse injects it, I tell her: "OK, I'm not pushing, but my body is. My body is pushing the baby out." She takes this as a tip that I might be ready to push. Hmmm... Another dilation check and sure enough! 10 Centimeters!! Call the OB!! He runs over and through a Stadol haze, I could see them bringing in delivery equipment. The part about taking the edge off? I'm not so sure. But Stadol does produce intoxication. That I know.

My husband was still holding my hand and reassuring me, drying my tears as usual. I heard the doc say "You can push now." Out came Caleb's head, and one more push, out came his body. I opened my heavy eyelids and my beautiful son was there. Doctor Hogan put him on my chest and Dwayne cut the cord. Then we both cried. Actually all three of us cried! We did it!

We brought all our kids in to see him, Nathan, Jessica (Caleb's godmother and sister in law), Mackenzie, Levi and Mel (Dwayne's nephew and Caleb's godfather). We all spent a few minutes together before Caleb had to go to the nursery because of his breathing.

In hindsight, the Stadol totally wasn't worth it. Didn't help the pain that much and it made me intoxicated for my son's first moments. A fact I regretted intensely when he ended up in NICU and I couldn't hold him or feed him whenever I wanted. I cried and cried. But looking back, my memory of the experience is fairly clear. I'm thankful to be able to remember in spite of the drug fog.

All in all, a gorgeous little son has been born. A miracle. My Caleb had to fight to get here and fight to stay and fight he did, just like his namesake Caleb in the Bible. Our family is overjoyed and I'm having too much fun being a mommy of a newborn again. Here we are:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day five

Day five at home. I have to admit I'm a little overwhelmed. I'm not sure why. I mean, I've done this before. Twice. I have two beautiful, healthy, amazing kids to show for it. Part of me just tries to look ahead to when mom is gone and real life sets in. How will I get everyone in the car and to school on time? How will I ever go back to work?

Now, I know that's silly thinking. I'll do it somehow. And I'll feel better and better in the next few weeks. It'll happen. I can't let those thoughts come in and take away the joy of these moments.

So it's time to refocus. Refocus on baby smiles while he sleeps, tiny diapers, fuzzy hair on his head, tiny fingers and toes, and looking right into his eyes while he nurses. Refocus on how proud his daddy is and how tiny he looks in his daddy's hands, how he turns his head to check out what his big brother and sister are up to, and how he has a fancy crib but prefers my arms every time.

And refocus on taking a nap while he naps... g'night.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We Are Home!

Caleb is home! We brought him home yesterday, Mardi Gras Day! He's doing very well. We are blessed to have endured 5 scary days with virtually no scrapes or bruises. Caleb was born quickly. VERY quickly. As in two measly pushes quickly. One for the head, one for the rest of him. He had some breathing trouble and was diagnosed with TTN. This is common in newborns who are born by C-section or who are born very quickly. It takes a few days for the lungs to catch up with the fact that they are no longer inside mom but on the outside with the job of breathing actual air.

So gradually his breathing stabilized, and we were discharged from the NICU on Mardi Gras Day. We are exhausted but so happy to be home. My mom is here and taking care of the kids and me. Dwayne, the super proud daddy is back to work after spending five days taking the most awesome care of me and Caleb. And I'm nursing for all I'm worth and trying to sleep some in between. We are so thankful for your prayers and love. More later! WITH pictures, I promise.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Caleb is born!!!

Caleb Paul Jeffries Hyman was born February 11, 2010 at 7:05pm. 5lb,5oz, 18 in. long. We had about 30 minutes with him before he was whisked away, and then ended up in NICU. Having a little breathing trouble. He's improving every day. Thanks to everybody for calling and checking in on us. Please be patient if we can't call you back or keep things as updated as we'd like. Our days right now are nothing but trips to the hospital, pumping breast milk, trying to recover and praying for our little man. We are exhausted but thankful. My Mom is here and taking good care of big sister Mackenzie and big brother Levi.

Love to you all, and we will update as soon as we can. Praying and hoping to bring Caleb home by Tuesday.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


I totally just watched the Saints win the Superbowl!!! WOW! I'm not one to buy all the hype and the destiny this and that. However, I just can't help being a little emotional on this one. It just plain feels awesome to see a dream come true. A good thing has happened to a city of passionate, fun-loving people and most of them are crying like babies with the joy of it. (and the beer of course)

Sometimes life brings along enough bad stuff that it makes you kind of scared to hope for something good to happen. It's nice to see an impossibility become possible, a glimmer of hope actually become reality, to live through a victory no one thought would ever come.

Too cool. Too cool that my kids witnessed a historic event and the courage of a city whose tragedy they also experienced. Too cool that my new baby will be born the year the Saints won the Superbowl. Too cool to see the stuff of a hollywood movie happen for real in front of my eyes. Yay, Saints! Bless You Boys!!

Friday, February 05, 2010


Me and the Girls at work!! Saints party has already started.


Monday, February 01, 2010


The end of pregnancy can be like the longest, most torturous countdown there is. It's the wierdest mix of giddy anticipation and adrenaline-pumping, nerves-on-end vigilance that there is. Just for fun, and to let off some steam, here's what the countdown looks like at our house:

10: Find a spot on your belly with no bruise to administer your blood thinner shot. "Honey? Can you look under there and tell me where there's no bruise?"

9: Try to get a couple of consecutive hours of sleep. No dice. Run yourself a warm bath at 2am out of pain and sheer boredom. One can only watch Teen Mom on MTV in the middle of the night so many times. Make involuntary popping noises and cries of pain when attempting to roll over in bed. Husband wakes up. "Baby, you ok?"

8: Cry hysterically for a reason. Cry hysterically again for no reason at all. Husband wakes up again. "Baby, you ok?"

7: Notice how everyone who sees you immediately looks down at the middle section of your body which currently doesn't appear to be physically possible. Either they're looking at that or I'm WAY sexier than I thought I was. Husband looks too. "Baby, you are beautiful!"

6: Be INSANELY protective and emotional over your existing beautiful children. Tear up when your seven year old boy throws his arms around your huge belly, and giggle with your twelve year old girl when she feels the baby kick. Watch their gorgeous heads of hair disappear around the corner as they walk into school with their friends. Grab the tissues and have your very own Hallmark commercial right there.

5: Go over every possible going-into-labor scenario with your husband until you both are delirious or delusional with anticipation. While doing so, realize that what will actually happen is COMPLETELY unknown and out of your control. Continue delusions and delirium. Finally try to decide to be happy and enjoy WHATEVER happens.

4: Wash, fold, and put away all your baby stuff. Then REALLY hope the determination is accurate and it really is a boy. Sit in your rocking chair and stare at all the baby stuff. Sit pretty much anywhere and stare.

3: Miss your mother like you never knew was possible. Cry some more to your very patient and understanding husband. "Baby, it's ok."

2: Feel nauseated and want nothing to eat at all. Then eat everything you can get your hands on.

1: Feel and watch baby Caleb moving around in there and think how much you will miss this miracle after he's born. Sit back, relax and wait for it...


Friday, January 29, 2010


It's been WAY too long since I did this.

My life is full of little blisses. Last night, a long conversation with a friend who is walking through what I walked through 2 years ago made me remember. How did you get through? He asked. I focused on life's smallest joys. That was really the main thing I did. And I've quit doing it as much as I should. Smiles come my way through:

A big yellow dog with hair all over my boy after they play.
My very own chef who makes me pancakes on his day off.
Selfsame chef who puts up with me tossing and turning all night and wakes up to see if I need anything, and then still gets up on his day off to help me get the kids ready.
A primping twelve year old girl who borrows my necklace and my lotion.
My Sugarland CD. Turned up LOUD.
Starbucks Venti Passion Tea, Iced with an extra shot of sweet, baby!
Lunch with a friend
Mardi Gras!! And KING CAKE!!

A short list, but effective. Enjoy your own blisses today!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year

The New Year has begun. Though I must confess, it snuck up on me!! (Is snuck a word? I don't really think so, but oh well.... "sneaked" doesn't really sound better and I don't have time to look it up.) Back to the point...our New Year's Eve was spent sick in bed with a stomach flu. My husband had it first, so by New Year's Eve, he was taking his turn as caregiver to me and I was doing my best to get over it so we could go pick up the kids. We took it easy and made the trip to FL and back, bringing our little loves home. The kids had a fun visit to FL for the most part, though there were some not so great moments and I find myself facing big challenges helping my children deal with those. I HATE, and I do mean ABSOLUTELY HATE the fact that my children must be out of my care. Hurtful things happen to them that I can't prevent. I know reality is I'll never be able to prevent all of life's pain for my children, never really could, but it still sucks, plain and simple.

However, they're home now and getting back to their usual wonderful crazy selves. We are lovin' it. Our home is full of so much laughter. Dwayne and I laugh a lot anyway, and the kids join in with one antic or another, and then add our big ol' dog to the mix and we are a crazy bunch. Now we're getting all set up for baby Caleb and ready to add little brother. Never a dull moment indeed.

I'm finding that I really love building a home here in New Orleans... with a New Orleanian. "Let the good times roll!" isn't just a saying here, it's a way of life, and is a big part of our life. I love my Florida roots, my upbringing there was priceless. I'm also loving bringing up my kids with those same good ol' values mixed with a zest and love for life that can't be found anywhere but the Big Easy.

The last few years have been nothing short of hell on earth for me and my babies. We've seen a lot of bad... and a lot of good too. Though my new year came in quietly, without much observation at all, I'm still happy for the newness and renewal brought about by another January. My new family is getting stronger (and larger!) by the minute, and we are moving into a bright future together. My goal, if any, for this year? Make the MOST of every minute. Revel in every happiness. Appreciate every moment of joy, every little hug, every loving touch, every second of laughter with the ones I love. That's it. And really... what else is there?

To all of you: Let the good times roll!! Happy New Year!!