Friday, February 18, 2011

Seventeen Years Ago ...

... I wasn't really in labor--I just wanted to get out of the house. We'd had an ice storm that week that knocked out the power for a lot of North Alabama. We had power, thankfully, but friends didn't and so they were staying with us all week as the South doesn't recover from ice easily. I was crowded, bored and nine months pregnant when the pains started. When the contractions held at every five minutes for an hour, I announced that I might be having a child that day.

Even then it wasn't a for sure thing. Our first bouncing baby boy, a 10 pounder, arrived after 32 excruciating hours of labor. (I use that fact as motivation every time I need to guilt him into something.) Our little ray of feminine sunshine rolled her 9 pound 12 ounce self into the world after 12 hours of labor. And ten days past her due date. If there was one thing I knew for sure, Boyd babies weren't in a hurry.

Our houseguests had no concept of the leisurely labor process. At five feet one inch, S was as big as my pinkie when she was nine months pregnant. Her babies came quickly because they literally had nowhere else to go, and she bounced them out with the speed and agility of Kobe Bryant on the baskbetball court. They lived the ninth month of her pregnancies in a restricted distance near the hospital and measured all activities by how long it would take to get to labor and delivery from the time the first pains hit.

"Feel like eating at Cracker Barrel?"

"They're on the south side of the street, and we'd have to cross traffic."


"Too many feet from the emergency entrance of the hospital. We'd better stick with Bob Evans instead."

So when I announced the impending arrival of our third child, and then Terry and I went on calmly eating our breakfast, it sent our company into a frenzy. Terry left soon after to do a painting job at a nearby apartment, leaving me to endure intermittent contractions--and two sets of eyes that watched my every move.

 By that afternoon the waning pains and claustrophobia had taken their toll, and I decided to go find my husband. As I waddled out the front door, our friends reached for their coats and flexed their fingers in preparation for dialing 911. Apparently they were sure that, despite all evidence to the contrary, at any moment I would drop to the ground in the full throes of labor and give birth in the middle of the street. Silly friends. Even if I were to go instantly into full blown labor, pushing alone could take 2-3 hours. Plenty of time to get a load or two of wash done and still have the ambulance deposit me at the hospital before our dawdling child decided to make an appearance.

By now I was more than sure that I wasn't actually in labor. Stupid Braxton-Hicks contractions. But I was also equally sure that I wasn't going back into that apartment until I had a baby in my arms. I knew walking could sometimes bring labor on, so my plan was simple:  find my husband and have him take me to Walmart. We'd walk around the store until I went into labor or until our friends got the electricity back on at their own home, however many days it took.

Terry was more or less agreeable to my plan, meaning he took me to Walmart for a while and then, because I was still occasionally having contractions, he insisted I go to the hospital to get checked out. I was not in the mood for a fake hospital visit, but he convinced me it was for the best. After all, he argued, we couldn't disappear for hours on end and then show up back at home without at least having stopped at the hospital.

So my pride forced me to end up spending the evening in a hospital bed, strapped to a fetal monitor and hooked up to an IV. After several hours they confirmed what I already knew:  I was not in labor. I had exchanged two watchful people for an entire shift of them, and I felt more guilty when my doctor showed up to check on me.

I perked up a little when he told me he'd been thinking about my case and my history (gestational diabetes and big babies) and had decided that my pregnancy shouldn't go any longer anyway. Show back up at the hospital first thing Monday morning, he instructed. He'd induce and we'd get this pregnancy over with.

With the promise of the end being in sight, I was finally ready to go back home. One more day and then finally I would have this baby. What a relief!

I thought.

Can you say Pitocin?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Presidents' Day Hodgepodge

So we have a slightly chocolate-flavored and patriotic Hodgepodge for this week, but the rules as always are the same. Seven questions and a random thought. Always leave a comment, and then click on the link. So simple that I cannot tell a lie:  there's no reason for you not to participate. Every week you say you want to, so now's your chance. Take a deep breath, square your shoulders and chop down that tree!

1. Your favorite chocolate treat?
Um, hello! Chocolate!

2. What more than anything else makes you feel loved?
Um, hello! Chocolate!

3. Cherries or blueberries?
Um, hello! Which one goes better with chocolate?! (I'm on a roll here.)

4. What is the one trait you most want the leader of your country to possess?
Can I be serious for a moment here? Thanks. I think the two traits that are an absolute must are honesty and the ability to lead. And I think both are in short supply. (I realize I'm getting a little political here, but I didn't ask the question. And after all, this is my blog. You have a different opinion, feel free to give it on your own blog.) : )

5. Are you a saver or a spender?
I save so that I have money to spend. The idea of building up hoards of money to leave to my children doesn't really appeal to me. Sorry, kids!

6. If you gave a party for all of your friends would they already know each other?
I don't know if they'd know each other, but if I'm giving a party for them, they'd better know me pretty well, and they'd better be bringing some pretty impressive hostess gifts. : )

7. Are you interested in antiques?
Yes, but we rarely get to go out because they have to be in bed early.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I work at not being too serious for the Hodgepodge--after all, who can be serious with a word like hodgepodge--but I wanted to give a more realistic answer for #2. I feel loved when my husband is in a crowd of people demanding his attention, and yet he turns and gives me a smile that says he's noticed me. I feel loved when he gives me a card and writes in it that I'm his best friend. I feel loved when he lets it slip that he was looking in my jewelry box to see if the earrings he got me for Valentine's Day were good enough or just like the other jewelry I have. Indiana's a pretty great guy, and he makes me feel loved an awful lot.

Okay, folks, that wasn't so hard, was it? So what are you waiting for? Be serious, be funny. Just don't be silent. Leave a comment and join the Hodgepodge. You're up next!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

There Are Days ...

... when living in a household full of males feels like just a little too much. Those days would be when things happen such as:

*Coming home from work to find my furniture rearranged. (that would be the couch moved directly in front of the TV so that they can be comfortable while they play video games.)

*Spending most of my life wondering what that smell is and who where it's coming from.

*Realizing for the one millionth time that whoever was assigned the dishes chore stopped halfway through the job.

*Using dead animal heads as household decorations.

I can do a lot of whining and complaining about these things normally, but I just read a great post by Mindee at Our Front Door about whining, so I feel a little guilty with the whole whining thing for the moment. And then I read a wonderful joint post by Joyce and Daughter 1 on From This Side of the Pond  about how good it was to spend time together. Their post made me cry, and then I decided that I wanted to make a list of things that I appreciate about living in a household full of guys. These are off the top of my head, so I'm not sure if I'll come up with a Top Ten, but here it is--reasons to be grateful I'm the only female living with six males:

1. I never take out the garbage. Ever.

2. If I'm not driving, I always get shotgun.

3. There's always someone around to help me carry in the groceries. And we have a LOT of groceries.

4. I don't have a lot of cooking demands put on me. If I throw pizza sauce on it, they'll call it good.

5. A lot of nights I get to choose what we watch on TV--as long as it's not chick stuff.

6. They try their best to give encouraging comments. "Your arms aren't nearly as big as they used to be." "I like your hair poofy."

7. I'm never missing clothes, shoes or jewelry because someone wanted to borrow them. (That would be a whole other issue in itself, I think.)

8. Once in a great while I can get one of them to brush my hair for me--but I can't tell you which one because then I'd have to kill you.

9. None of them complain when I ask them to dig in my purse to find a lipstick or some mints for me while I'm driving. They just sigh and ask me if I want the Mocha Freeze or the Sheer Blush.

10. All of them are willing to give me a hug and a kiss, whether we're in public or not. Sometimes I don't even have to ask for it.

Hey, what do you know! I did come up with ten after all. And now I'm feeling pretty good about living with all my guys. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find out where that smell is coming from.

P.S. The gangster pictures are from an old-time photo place we went to over the holidays.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lovin' the Hodgepodge

Every week you've gotta hand it to Joyce. Not wind, nor rain nor sleet nor snow will keep her from her appointed questions. Seven easy (or not-so-easy) questions to answer, followed by one random thought. Leave your comments and then click on the link to see what everyone else had to say. Even add your own link so everyone knows what you think about this week's questions! It's easy, it's fun, and you know you want to. So what're you waiting for?

1. What is more important-doing what you love or loving what you do?
If you love what you do, then aren't you doing what you love? Or am I missing something here?

2. Do you like bleu cheese?
No, and I'm even less fond of green cheese.

3. What is the most difficult emotion for you to handle?
Someone else's.

4. Fresh flowers or a box of chocolate?
If all I get is one chocolate in the box, than I think I'd rather have the flowers. But it better be a pretty big bouquet! 

5. What's a song you love that has the word 'love' in its title? It doesn't have to be a 'love song'.
"If Love Were Oil, I'd Be A Quart Low". I've never actually heard the song, but the title cracked me up.

6. Are you the person you wanted to be when you grew up?
No, unfortunately. I wanted to be Wonder Woman, but I still lack the invisible plane. And a few other things.

7. Any special Valentines Day plans?
Ever since I gave birth on Valentine's Day seventeen years ago, the day's been given over to birthday celebrations. You'd think Luke could have waited one more day!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Sometimes you just need to spit. Or maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Real Reality Series

One of my coworkers was sent this by her daughter-in-law. I have no idea where the daughter-in-law got it, so I can't give credit any further back than that. I think it's hysterical, but if it were real, I would definitely watch it!

Six married men
will be dropped on an island
with one car
and 3 kids each
for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports
and take either music or dance classes.

There is no fast food.

Each man must
take care of his 3 kids; maintain his career,
keep his assigned house clean,
correct all homework,
complete science projects,
do laundry,
and pay a list of 'pretend' bills
with not enough money.

In addition,
each man
will have to budget enough money
for groceries each week.

Each man
must remember the birthdays
of all their friends and relatives,
and send cards out on time--no emailing.

Each man must also take each child
to a doctor's appointment,
a dentist appointment
and a haircut appointment.

He must make one unscheduled and
inconvenient visit per child to the Emergency Room.

He must also make cookies or cupcakes
for a school function.

Each man will be responsible for
decorating his own assigned house,
planting flowers outside, and keeping it
presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television
when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs,
wear makeup daily,
adorn themselves with jewelry,
wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes,
keep fingernails polished,
and eyebrows groomed

During one of the six weeks,
the men will have to endure severe
abdominal cramps, backaches, headaches,
have extreme, unexplained mood swings
but never once complain or slow down
from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings
and church,
and find time at least once to spend
the afternoon at the park or a similar

They will need to read a book to the kids each night
and in the morning,
feed them,
dress them,
brush their teeth and
comb their hair
by 7:30 am.

A test will be given
at the end of the six weeks,
and each father will be required to know
all of the following information:
each child's
height, weight,
shoe size, clothes size,
doctor's name,
the child's weight at birth,
length, time of birth,
and length of labor,
each child's favorite color,
middle name,
favorite snack,
favorite song,
favorite drink,
favorite toy,
biggest fear,
and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance.

The last man wins if, and only if,
he still
has enough energy
to be intimate with his spouse
at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win,
he can play the game over and over and over
again for the next 18-25 years,
eventually earning the right
to be called Mother!

After you get done laughing,
send this to as many females as
you think will get a kick out of it and
as many men as you think can handle it.
Just don't send it back to me....

I'm going to bed.

FYI, I sent it to some female friends, but I didn't send it to any males. I just don't think they'd get it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mama Grizzly In-Laws Part III

If you want to read the whole story of how I met my future daughter-in-law you can go to part one and then part two.

To summarize, I had finally been convinced, against my better judgment, to agree to Kylee's coming to visit us during the week of Vacation Bible School. I figured it was only for a week, but I also told Matt that she would need to help with VBS, and he said she would be glad to.

Uh huh.

I was convinced we were going to be visited by a bubble-headed girl who was more interested in enjoying a week of vacation than in working Vacation Bible School. I also figured if she was infatuated enough with my son to buy an airline ticket in order to see him, especially after only meeting him twice, she would probably be a big distraction for him too. As I pondered work assignments, I debated whether to put her in the full class of crying kids with the slightly more difficult teacher, or the smaller class with the teacher Kylee was sure to enjoy working along side.

Don't look at me that way. I put her in the easier class. I'm not a complete monster.

I didn't get to meet Kylee until the first morning of VBS. Our theme was western last year, and Kylee had even dressed for the part, right down to the boots if I remember correctly. She was already working in her assigned class when I spotted her after the teachers' meeting. She worked hard all week. The only thing that reminded me she hadn't come all this way for VBS was the look of adoration on her face when she watched Matt leading the kids in singing or playing Let's Make A Deal.

I didn't get to know her very well that week as I had to head to work each after VBS. Most evenings when I got home, Kylee and Matt were out somewhere, and he usually dropped her off before coming back home. The boys told me she joined in with their Nerf gun fights, and the one night she and Matt ate supper with us, she didn't complain when I served spaghetti, even though that's what they'd eaten the night before at someone else's house.

Matt and Kylee threw themselves into VBS so well, that most of our own church people didn't realize she was there to visit Matt. That changed on Wednesday night at Bible study, though. When he walked in and sat down with her, heads turned, eyebrows raised and people made a beeline for them during the shake-hands song. Those that weren't close enough to reach them, hurried over to me for information.

"Is she his girlfriend?"
"How long have they been dating?"
"She's cute! What's she like?"

I smiled and nodded and tried not to let on what little information I had. Truth was, though, that during the week Matt had approached his dad and told him he really liked Kylee and wanted to officially start dating her, but he wanted to be sure he had our blessing first. When my husband asked my opinion, I said I was fine with them dating, but I wasn't ready yet to say this was going to be a permanent relationship.

Still, there was something different about this time ...

By the end of the week I'd actually gotten one five minute conversation with Kylee. We discussed purses and shoes--obviously important subjects for a meeting of the minds. I still didn't feel like I knew her very well. But  hugged her good-bye and--sincerely--asked her to come back again. She confidently assured me she would be.

That night as we turned in, Terry and I discussed the week, and our conversation turned to Matt and Kylee. Then I voiced something I'd almost been afraid to say out loud.

"This is it, isn't it? I mean, she's the one."

"I think she probably is."

I could see the question in his eyes. "I'm okay with this," I assured him.

He smiled. "So am I."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Winter Blues Hodgepodge

You know the routine. It's easy. Seven questions and a random thought. Come on in, the water's fine. Although it might be a little icy in some parts of the country. Here in Florida it's in the 70's. But it's also supposed to be storming most of the day, so you don't have to hate us too much. Although we don't have to shovel it when the storm finishes, so that's a plus. At any rate, here's the hodgepodge. Make sure you leave a comment before clicking on the link!

1. Would you rather be seen as a person who did their duty or forged their own path?
Perhaps my path is forged by doing my duty. Ever think of that? I didn't think so.

2. This week's Wednesday Hodgepodge happens to fall on Groundhog's Day. In keeping with that theme, if you could have a do-over of any one day out of the last seven, which day would it be and why. If you haven't seen the movie Groundhog Day this question will make absolutely no sense but that's can answer anyway.
It would not be the day(s) everyone was throwing up. And it wouldn't be the day my husband decided to critique me while I was driving. And it wouldn't be the day I almost fell out of my high heels. You know, I think I'm gonna forget about the past seven days and look forward to the next week.

You thought my question was going to be weather related didn't you?
Of course not! You've seen one blizzard, you've seen them all!

3. Hot cocoa...yay or nay on the marshmallows?
The marshmallows can get their own hot chocolate. I don't share with anybody.

4. Do you wear makeup every day? What are the top two must haves in your daily makeup routine?
Are you saying you don't believe this is my natural glow? I think I'm a little bit offended, but if I were to wear makeup, I think the two most essential items to the routine would be lighting and a mirror. It's a little hard to put makeup on in the dark and without looking at yourself. Or so I've heard.

5. Is it more important to you in a relationship to be loved or understood?
I'd rather be loved. Sometimes I don't even understand myself, so how can I expect anyone else to?

6. Parsley sage rosemary or thyme... your favorite?
No, actually, it's not my favorite song. Can I pick another?

7. What do you do when you feel angry?
Stop trying to convince my husband I'm right. He'll figure it out eventually, and then I'll have the fun of saying I told you so.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Throwing up is never fun whether you're doing it or cleaning it up. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mama Grizzly In-Laws Part II

This is the post (series of posts) where I tell how I met my future daughter-in-law. I started this post about two weeks ago, so I can understand if you are confused about the Part II in my title and are wondering what I am talking about. If you want to start at the beginning--and really, you do want to start at the beginning--you can click here. When you finish reading that, come back here and read this post.  Isn't that neat how that works out?

I should also point out that you can chalk up my actions either to the fact that I have a tendency to overreact  to things, or to the fact that my son lacks the ability to communicate very well. I'm gonna go with the last one and here's why:  Matt had been praying for some time about God's will for his life. He had specifically been praying about a future mate, and apparently he was aware of God's leading soon after he met Kylee.

Kylee had also been praying for God's will in regard to a future spouse, and she also felt God leading soon after she met Matt.

So God was working behind the scenes, but no one told me that. What I was told was that Matt had met this girl twice, and now he wanted her to come down and meet the family. And by the way, he wanted her to come during one of the busiest weeks of our lives.

You know how, when you're watching something on television, there's background music and then all of a sudden something happens and you hear a sound effect like a needle scratching across a record and all music and sound comes to a complete stop? And now you know where I was at. Meeting the parents is a big step. I don't know how long you should know someone before you take that step, but I was pretty sure you should have met more than twice.

As I scrambled for how to slam on the brakes, I pelted him with questions.

Why this girl? His answer--because I like her and she's hot. See what I mean about his communication skills? Was that really the way to convince a mother this was a good idea?

 Who is paying for her ticket? She is.

 Does she have a round trip ticket? It's always best not to assume these things. Matt rolled his eyes and assured me that yes, she did have a round trip ticket.

While Matt was very confident in what he wanted, I still felt like things were moving too fast, and I was sure I had the perfect argument. He wanted Kylee to come during Vacation Bible School. Clearly he couldn't have picked a worse time to bring in a visitor or plan a "meet the family" time. So I was sure I had him when I asked why he wanted that particular time. But he had an answer for that too.

"Serving the Lord and being up to our elbows in church work is the heart and soul of who we are, Mom," he explained as if I didn't know that. "I want Kylee to see what we're all about and realize what's most important to us right from the start."

Rats. How could I argue with that? I couldn't, but I still have one question left to ask.

Where was she going to stay?

 I wasn't being mean-spirited. It was a legitimate question. We already had one of Matt's college friends staying with us for the summer, plus we had a missionary family staying with us for the week of VBS. We literally didn't have room for another house guest. Matt had already considered that, too. He mentioned some friends that not only had room, but would be glad to have her.

So with all my arguments and reasoning blown to the wind, I had no reason not to agree that Kylee could come for a visit. I decided that I didn't mind that so much. After all, it was only one week, right? What was one week out of our lives?

I think I need to start thinking longer term.

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