Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School

And I also forgot to mention how
fun and exciting it was for me to
join the PTA.. Supermommy here
I come... NOT!!

John was laughing when I quickly
made a beeline for that table..
In my defense, I was also checking
out the gymnastics and karate table
for a discipline for Marshall to
learn.. Oh my.. that does sound
super mommyish.. ok..
I completely draw the line at the
moms clubs.. no way no how..
only my on-line support group that
is totally wonderful, supportive and
helpful to say the least. I can give
up my coffee, I can give up chocolate and
cheese (ok, but you won't be able to live w/me)
but I willnot give up these friends..
John's beginning to worry, but they are way cheaper
than counselling and way much more FUN!!

All Grown Up

We made it.. Marshall had a great first day of Kindergarten. He really likes his almost brand new school (and who wouldn't? It's awesome). His teacher is very nice and I have a really good feeling that she is the match for his personality. My prayer was that he wouldn't get a first year teacher. That person wouldn't stand a chance up to this little alpha dog. And Lord knows a college education isn't cheap and Texas is struggling to fill teacher's positions due to a high turn over rate as it is.. What a guilt trip that would be?? When Rachel & I picked him up this afternoon he was all smiles and very excited.. not to mention also very tired. It takes ALOT of work for this little fella to be so GOOD all day long. He made 2 friends and remembered his teacher's name. So we are off to a great start.
I surprised myself this morning. We stuck to our schedule, made it in time (highly difficult for the three of us), and walked him to class. We greeted the three sleeping hedgehogs in their habitat in his classroom (they didn't reply so I suspect they don't do mornings either.. I think I like hedgehogs).. Anyway, we did great w/a goodbye kiss and hug and off we went. This chica who can cry at a wedding of someone I've never met (former photographer's asst... so lots of experience and tears) didn't even weep or get teary eyed. Something tells me it might have more to do w/lack of sleep. My noturnal inclinations kept me up till past 2:30 am working on the slideshow posted earlier. It ONLY took me 5 slideshows (all different of course) to finally remember How to post it here. Senior moment again.. anyway.. I did cry last night while putting this together. It hit really hard just how far we have come.
We found out last Fall just how much of a miracle both our children are after having my surgery last year. Thanks be to God. It still baffles me just how quickly he has grown up. I remember through the jaundice, colic, extremely early teething and then the holiest of trying temperament all the struggles we have been through. I don't really recall ever saying.. "if he would just sleep thru the night".. cause he would., or "if he would just get weaned". I realized how I wanted the time to slow to a crawl so I would remember every moment. There is something that I do remember. John would say "I can't wait till he can talk"..
Believe you me.. I tried to warn the inexperienced and proud daddy. But he just couldn't even imagine how much a child can talk, argue and chatter. Now he wonders if he will ever get a word in edgewise before Marshall graduates or John becomes hard of hearing.
What I couldn't wait for was him to reveal his uniqueness and his personality. What a joy that has been to watch. Today, I realize he has taken the first major step of his journey to prepare to leave the nest. He's in for so much fun, friends and memories. It is bittersweet to know the journey he's on.. for every step he takes towards independence is a marker of our job being done to get him there. My mom friends say it feels the same way every year the first day.. just the newness wears off more as the time fades away. He's five in an hr. and he's more than ready for this journey.. I hope I catch up with him soon. Happy Birthday Marshes.. I so love you and am a much better person because you're in my life.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Murky waters

"As a mother, I must faithfully,
patiently, lovingly, and happily
do my part--then quietly wait
for God to do His"
Ruth Bell Graham
Wow.. I Really need these words tonight.. The daily battles w/our strong-willed,
control seeking self serving ungrateful little delightful blessing has taken me down a
rocky and treacherous road tonight. When I wrote that I was in tears and ready to
pass out into some mind numbing slumber. Then, we met and had a long talk and really
had a deep and meaningful conversation.. How can one little boy comprehend so much at such
a young age? Some days I know he's carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders
trying to figure things out.. He will be an awesome package when he's a man.. A full load of
energy and I promised he could argue all he wanted and fight every battle known to man, but not until then.. I sure hope I live loong enough to faithfully apologize to the woman who will stand beside him and have to deal w/ those promises.. He will be the real deal.. a litigation attorney? A scientist? A philosopher? Prolific writer?
An awesome house painter??.. Who knows.. And then senility will probably set in before I see if his kids are just as strong willed.. Wait, who am I kidding? Those senior moments have already started to creep up..
But I did remember how hard it is being little and have so little control. He trying to tackle the big questions of Why life throws painful curves in our path.. How do you explain that when I'm still trying to master that one myself?
I think you don't, but God intervened tonight and helped with this one.. Thanks big man.. the life raft was most appreciated.. as usual.. :D Nothing like divine intervention..
I think I will tape this quote up to remind myself to let go of the reigns more often..

Sunday, August 17, 2008

dog days of summer

This is one of the hottest summers on record. And Thank God I am NOT pregnant. The other two nearly killed me.. 100+ heat and big baby do not mix. We've been trying to stay cool.. WE were going to the river quite a bit. It was so low that the kids could walk across it and I didn't worry for their safety. The water quit flowing over the waterfall during the Spring.

In July though, the river dried up and so did our play plan. We were really enjoying our times there. Would packa picnic and grab the dog and head on out.. So by now, we are getting pretty sick of staying inside and of each other..

We read over 100 books in 1 month during the summer reading program. I am so excited and happy that both of our kids share the love of reading and books. Bet I have bought close to 40 books this summer on top of what they read from the library. And they have discovered all the great VHS movies "Beethoven", "Homeward Bound" and the Disney Classics.. So we've been chillin' trying to stay cool..

And we found an awesome deal on a trampoline.. what fun jumpers they have become.. little roo roos..

Summertime..part 2

Only almost 500 sq. ft. added to our home.. Year 1.. poured a 16x30 concrete foundation...
Year 2: framed exterior
Year 3: electricity added
To Go: New HVAC for home, sheetrocking, demo. existing kitchen wall, new cabinets, new flooring, add new appliances
Now why on earth would I try to reinvent the wheel? Cause I believe there is some deviant
gene that is constantly trying to hinder any progress I try to make. My college room mate once told me that if I had to go to Florida I would go by way of Detroit. Ok.. besides the fact she's
probably right.. why would Ithink I could redo what obviously CAN'T be done one this little home of ours? What? A little personality added to a standard cookie cutter home? A test to show that I didn't sleep through every college design class I took during my Animal House days?
Ok.. I give up.. I can't reinvent the wheel.. They obviously gotten it correct the first time.. I just have to see if they maybe missed something fabulous.. :D
They completed the electrical in two days.. Once we get the Jennaire cooktop then we will be rolling.. Maybe Marshall and Rachel can come home from college break to see the completion.. Woo hoo!!

If the shoe fits

Actually, I miss my high heels.. I used to could work 8 hrs on my feet all day long in them. They were so pretty.. And you can Never have too many. Even 33 pairs are not even close. After I gave birth to Marshall I had to give mine away. They didn't fit anymore. Little did I know they would never fit the same again since my career was not family friendly. So I suppose it was a great thing to have to give up. Truth be told though?? I have been known to cry for my chocolate brown equestrian riding boots though.. Now that pair hurt more than all the others..
I still believe that the love of shoes are genetic. And I'm sticking to it!! Rachel would thank God every night for over a year for her shoes.. Even though she prefers not wearing them.. she does appreciate them.. And she has never thrown a hissy fit in a store over anything more than shoes.. That's my girl.. :D
It will interesting to see what shoes I will find myself wearing after the kids get settled into their lives and school. It's hard for me to think what shoes will fit best in the next stage of my life. It really won't matter I suppose, as long as they are comfortable not only to me but to my family.
Shoes.. shoes.. shoes.. a girl's gotta have her shoes!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

blessed friendship

Writing about Marshall's pain and loss reminds me of mine. I would like to think that all the friends and experiences we have shared that are memorable are gifts from the Lord above. Funny, sometimes it can take decades (ok.. so I'm talking about myself) to appreciate some of those gifts and fully comprehend just how much meaning and texture those have added to my life. So maybe I recognize Marshes pain in Hud's moving more in remembering my own. My very happiest moments as a child occurred while we lived in Lubbock. That was a innocent time for me cause I had yet to learn the harsh realities of loss, jobs, moving and the curves that life can throw to you.

I hope that I never undervalue or write off my kids feelings and emotions towards anything they feel passionate about. So many times, we say.. "well they don't understand, they are Only kids"..
If only we listened to these kids more.. they have so much to teach us cynical and unappreciative jerks sometimes...and they can do it w/out the cynicism and bravado.

It has taken me a long time to realize just how much I value and appreicate my friend Shannon.
Yes, I would always acknowledge him as a friend. But now, I can appreciate just how much he touched my heart. There's the proverbial email that has been around a zillion times about how much a person can mean to someone else and not even know it.. meaning how you touch others..
I met him the first day of school and was lucky enough to have him in all my classes through the fourth. Yep.. we were just small kids. We had soo much in common and he could make me laugh like no one else. We were ruthless at teasing each other. Interestingly, if you would have asked me about my best friend.. I would have named off whatever girlfriend of that year was. Speaking honestly though, today it would be Shannon. But he was a guy and guys and girls weren't best friends back then.. were they?? You weren't even supposed to like each other..

Our sisters were the best of friends. And we loved acting like them.. We tried to imitate them as much as we could. And what was scary was we got the gist of alot of what high schoolers were talking about. I'm not sure if that was a good thing or not. We thought we were IT!! Watching the original Saturday Night Live and Monty Python. He thought my MawMaw was the coolest cause she watched the "scary" Dr. Phibes movies w/Vincent Price in them with me and my sis. He said he didn't know adults could be so cool..

He teased me endlessly about arriving to school in the horrid "Bat Mobile". My folks had an old '57 Chevy tourquiose car that looked alot like the caped crusader's wheels. I was so embarrassed with that old car and he would lie in wait ready to verbally pounce. I remember trying to hide behind a bush squat walking to try and get into the building w/out him noticing. I'm told that car could have purchased some college credit hrs. if my brother hadn't destroyed the interior years later. But oh how I was sooo embarrassed by that car.. and it Could fly a time or two w/my mom behind the wheel!! Whee!!

Getting back to the point.. we never really do know what or how we impact someone else's life. I realize that now. I can't watch the movie Carrie without thinking about Shannon. He ruined the ending of the movie for me while we were jumping on the trampoline. And to this day, if that stupid movie is on, I will drop whatever I'm doing and watch it..just to remember him.. but, I did that for years without realizing what I was doing at the time.

Cinnamon Jolly Rancher candies crack me up everytime I see them.. I buy them now and then just to remember the time we got busted in reading class eating them. Our favorite teacher knew we were up to no good. So naturally she called upon me first to read. I swallowed mine.. and let me tell you.. if you haven't swallowed a jolly rancher.. it's not easy and it hurts!! Especially cinnamon. I read and thought.. cool beans.. I made it.. Well,then she called upon mr, fredenburg to read. He couldn't talk.. I had to talk for him.. he had sucked on his candy so hard they made his teeth stick together. I'm laughing so hard while trying to cover for him. He got sent to the school nurse and she made him drink water until the candy dissolved and he could talk again. I was laughing so hard I peed my pants.. he came back water logged... Oh my gosh!! What a sight we were.. And if memory serves me, that ended the jolly ranchers. So how can a person NOT laugh when they see a jolly rancher candy after that?? He had some very informative information concerning sex..he was the source to ask. And when he was 10 he requested no gifts for his birthday party. Now what 10 yr. turns down gifts?? He would stand by you, defend you, tease you mercilessly and make your bad day better. He was the total package when it came to friends..He marched to his own drum.. even at a young age.. what fun we had..
Oh yea.. and he was impressed by my battle scars of roller skating off the garage roof onto the metal cellar door then rollingdown the hill out into the alley. Scars you ask? Major Pain When (not if) you missed the cellar door and your shins scraped the corner... Literal battle scars..

Shannon was in a horrible car wreck when he had just started his life and college. He sustained extensive head injuries and went into a coma. I was devastated when I found out. It broke my heart. I never could summon up the courage to call or write his family because I thought that if I didn't then HOPE was very much alive. I prayed for him for years and years holding out hope for a recovery. My son found a jolly rancher candy in his Easter egg one year. So I went searching on the internet to see if there was any news. Shannon died right before he turned 37. What a loss of talent, sense of humor and life. Today, I cherish those 4 short but very nurturing and incredibly fun years of my life. We moved after that. And I never felt quite as safe and secure in who I was.. But so is life..and so I thank God for my dear friend and pray for friends of that caliber for Marshall and Rachel..Ones that can sustain a person throughout their life. Thanks Shannon for the precious memories.. for all the times I'm reminded through a candy, hideous car, a certain way a person tilts their head and looks at me, movies and all the other wonderful things that you touched me with..

Well, I can say that i survived my son's first heartbreak.
Marshes best friend moved to Nashville the first week of
June and man did that hurt. We had to convince him to
have his birthday party almost three months early so he
could celebrate it with Hudson. We had the party in a
historic train car and they had a great t ime. But, it was
such an emotionally draining experience. Poor guy was so excited
for his friends and the party. But at the same time, he was
holding back tears throughout the day and party casue he knew that
Hud was moving the very next day. It hurt me so much to see my son hurt so bad.
Actually, he still hurts but thankfully with time the pain fades a little.
I am so thankful that Marshes knows that kind of hurt. Don't get me wrong,
I am not saying that I want him to hurt. However, for him to hurt about this friendship
then I know he has made a very good friend and sees quality and emotional connections are
worth nurturing. Our little fella is such a deep and thoughtful and not to mention
insightful individual. It hurt him so much more than Hud cause he understood the
ramifications of this loss.
He starts kindergarten at a new school and I pray he finds some good friends he will cherish for always and like the one he shared with Hudson.

love is is kind...

Two weeks later, my husband's cousin got married close to our home. Again, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit and celebrate w/ his extended out of state family. The wedding took place at one of the prettiest places I've ever seen for a wedding. It took place on a bluff overlooking the Texas Hill Country and was an open air affair. The heat was high, but the breeze cooled things down for the early evening wedding. It was the first time we met one of his cousins. In fact, Matt (the groom) is the first of the great grandkids. What a beautiful couple they make. This chapel is free for weddings and just gorgeous. And I never even knew it existed. It's only about 15 minutes from our home. You could say right in our backyard. All I could think about that evening was what a gorgeous and romantic place to have your second vows ceremony.. Funny., how life works.. Two years ago.. I was minutes from dissolving "us" and now I'm dreaming about a second vow ceremony for us.. Life works in just an interesting way, especially when you allow the Good Lord to head up the direction for your life. I'm so thankful I listened and heard that voice in my rear view car mirror when I was loaded up and entering my "new life".. It's nice to know that life will give you a turn around lane when you find yourself on a detour in unchartered territory and you can't tell up from down.

Later that evening, we ate and danced the night away in Lake Way for the party!! Rachel and I danced almost every song. That girl was on the stage dancing and showing all her moves. She was in her element that evening and she Knew It.. All I could think of was that I was seeing how she would be when she got a chance to spread her wings.. And thank goodness.. she taught me some good moves.. For once, I threw self consciousness to the wind and had a blast.. That was such a great time.. We hated leaving but we were worn out.. for those who would like to spy a peek at this gorgeous and free wedding facility. I was trying to talk my friend into this place.. but that's another story for another day..

Summertime...part 1

Summer always begins with the Memorial Day weekend for us. And we head out to the great state of Loosi-aner for a HUGE, and I do mean Huge family reunion on my husbands side. I come from a very small and spread out family. My children however have the best of both worlds. My side is small while the Cajun side is so large you can't throw a rock in the state of Lousiana and east Texas without hitting a family member. And this doesn't include all the other family members spread out throughout the United States.

I have found in my travels and experiences that there are predominently 6 states in America that could basically survive without any help or guidance from our federal government if need be. In fact, these states pretty much can hold up the Union if needed. The pride and self-sufficiency of Texas, California, New York and Louisiana are comparable to none. (and Hawaii and Alaska I would guess.. would like to travel to prove if I'm right) Each is very unique and if you don't understand them, then you just really don't get it..

My husband's paternal grandparents were raised and raised thier 12 children in a small parish deep in Cajun country. And from those twelve children 50 grandkids were born. I can't even fathom someone having 50 grandkids, or even 45 first cousins. There are so many that the grandkids have always gone by their "Number". To most people, their "Number" might be referred to as the comfort they prefer in a sleep number bed. But to the McNicoll clan it means your status and position on the family tree. This is such a big, happy and fun group of family. For over 30 years, the family has maintained a family tradition to meet and have a reunion at least once a year (but in fact, I think it's twice). The grandparents have been gone for over 20 years, but the family still gets together to celebrate their joys, concerns, celebrations and the roots that run deeper than the swampy water surrounding their birthplace. You are immediately greeted w/ hugs and kisses and pick up as if it hasn't been last year you last saw each other, but more like last week. They have also established a family chat room on the internet to keep everyone connected. It is simply amazing.. and a joy for my family to stay connected. I am very happy that our kids are getting to know their extended family and feel the roots and ties to "their people" (as my maternal MawMaw says).

It seems as if more and more people are straying further and further from emotional and physical connections in this very quick and impersonable lifestyle we find ourselves running within. So I am very blessed to have the opportunity to teach our kids where they came from and who they are. It will be a joy to see them unwrap their personalities into the people they are to become.

Getting back to the reunion.. everyone gathers this one weekend and stays at the family homestead, tents, campers, cabins and motels and whatever else is available. The campground is a secluded site that borders the coldest swimming hole I have ever encountered. Not to say that this closer city girl than country girl has pondered upon that many swimming holes!! But, I would wager that it's up there w/ the coldest. There are swing ropes, slides and homemade diving boards to brave for the most courageous. It has been wonderful to see our very shy and withdrawn son go from shying away from swimming and interacting w/strangers. This year, Marshes couldn't wait to hit the water and find a cousin to meet. And the fact that Rachel has never met a stranger.. they had a blast..

The family is so large, they have the local parish priest come to us on Saturday night for a Mass church service. I think that the church might not be able to hold all of this family in this little community. And this year, after church.. they even staged a fun dance. I was able to teach Rachel to chicken dance while we were wearing the neon glow-in-the-dark necklaces. That girl loves to dance.. and her mama loves the music but has no sense of rhythm.. poor child!! What an embarrassment I can be.. But we had a blast.. Now if we can just do something about the 90+ swamp heat and squeeters that will suck your blood dry if you're not careful..

There's so much to be said about family. You know.. "You can pick your nose" really.. I have been very blessed that these wonderful people have embraced me and our kids into theirs. The food, music and love are so special. I'm glad our kids are embracing and shown that they are loved. I do have one regret though. I never got to meet MawMaw, the grandmother. John asked me to go to La. to meet her during Spring Break of my final semester. He wanted me to meet her and tell her we were engaged to be married. Unfortunately, I declined since I had my major projects due for graduation. And I learned that time doesn't stand still for anyone. MawMaw died before we could get there during the summer after I finished my college work. There have been so many great stories about her and Happy (her husband). However, I'd like to think that I feel their love in all the wonderful ways I'm treated while there..

On a final note: someone pointed out that it isn't pronounced "Loosey-aner". But, I do beg to differ. This is such a casual, unpretentious and loose family that it fits. Maybe the "Nawlins clans can be known to be different or even the northerners.. But, these people are such a joy. I feel great knowing my kids are from "their people".

Where did the time go?

Wow!! The last time I posted it was just before Memorial Day weekend and we were starting our summer break and going on vacation. There were so many plans for this summer.. did we do them? What were they again? And where are we now?
There were so many thoughts I have had along the way... I just couldn't find the time to write..
And now I find myself gearing up for major changes in our lives.

In actuality, I am amazed that I can even remember my password to this blog so I can get back into the swing of things dealing w/writing. A friend signed up and started blogging on myspace and I had created an account myself there as well when I set this blog up. All I have to say is "a mind (being mine) is a terrible thing to lose"!! I couldn't remember my password and so I started over w/ a new account last week so I could share w/her. So incredibly embarrassing.. I forgot the new myspace page I had to set up then. So i have actually forgotten 2 myspace accounts I have set up. When did life get so incredibly complicated that we have to have different passwords for almost every facet of our lives? And are they really necessary?

Will I be able to retain enough smarts to manage posting this one as well?
And after this, I will need to then set up a third account so I can share w/my friends on My Space? Arggh!!